Tuesday, February 28, 2006
The students, from the University of Zimbabwe, are being detained at Matapi Police Station in the high-density suburb of Mbare, said Otto Saki of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR).
A student representative, Promise Mkwananzi, said that his colleagues addressed a student meeting on Monday morning and then were "urged to march to the vice-chancellor's office." "The police barricaded the way" and arrested the eight students, said Mkwananzi.
One of the detained is Washington Katema, the president of the Zimbabwe National Students' Union (ZINASU).
Lawyer Saki said ZLHR had lodged a High Court application to secure the release of the detained students.
Protests have been mounting over shock fee hikes announced earlier this month for many institutions of higher learning in Zimbabwe. In some cases the new fees - which were reportedly approved by the government - were ten times more than those for last year.
At least 21 students were arrested earlier this month for staging a violent protest against fee hikes at the NationalUniversity of Science and Technology in the country's second city of Bulawayo.
Students complain that with the new fees education will become a preserve only of the very rich.
A regular loaf went up to Z$60000 ($0,60), from the government-controlled price of Z$44000.
Bakers said price increases in uncontrolled ingredients such as sugar and yeast threatened the viability of their businesses, even though they received subsidies for flour in a bid by the government to keep prices down.
The private Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries said that if bakers were prosecuted under state price-fixing regulations, current shortages of bread, a staple food, would worsen, leaving many shelves empty...
Monday, February 27, 2006
Nevertheless, Mugabe is a true homophobe...
Wonder if it has to do with his medical history, i.e. a certain cancer...
Sunday, February 26, 2006
What is bad is the note about someone dying of TB...
TB is a disease of malnutrition...most docs in the US, until HIV appeared, had seen few cases....(I had seen many in Africa and when I worked in the US in the Indian Health Service)...
And TB is easily treated.
My husband's father died of TB, and more recently, his sister died of pneumonia related to her TB exacerbating from old age (she was in her 80's)...My husband also had it after the war...his father died during the depression, and there was a lot of malnutrition in the Philippines during World War II...so after the war, he developed TB while going to medical school...
But he had friends who arranged for him to get Streptomycin...and he injected himself for 18 months...as a result, he has a hearing loss (streptomycin can affect the auditory nerve) but he is alive....
Nowadays, we usually use two or three antibiotics, and TB resistance is common with HIV, where it is harder to treat...but essentially it is a disease of poverty.
Now to return a verdict on Mugabe's interview: it provided the clearest sign yet that he is rapidly losing his grip on reality. His detachment from events on the ground and the situation around him shocked many.
Mugabe appeared off message and handcuffed to the past, thus confirming he is beyond his sell-by date as a leader.
His analysis of the current political and economic crisis was based on a flawed premise, and was, in the end, neither interesting nor convincing. Due to the lack of structured analysis, Mugabe was found wanting and exposed on real issues, especially to do with the economy. He struggled to articulate fundamental political, policy and institutional issues underlying the prevailing crisis.
Eventually, Mugabe - assisted by a rather apologetic interviewer - just turned the show into a platform for a blame game now typical of his regime's head-in-the-sand politics.
While denying he was an autocrat, Mugabe managed to prove he was not only a political dictator but also an intellectual one as well by refusing to listen to other people's ideas.
Describing others as intellectual slaves, he also failed to realise that, in fact, he himself is a prisoner of shibboleths of the past. This is made worse by his tendency to reason by conclusion on issues.
However, Mugabe's interview provided interesting insights into his make-believe world. It showed he is rigidly opposed to reform. It also indicated what he thinks about African leaders, including Mbeki: that they are not revolutionaries, but cowards.
The interview also exposed his threadbare grasp of modern economics and his struggle to get to grips with global dynamics. It helped to confirm the wholesale abdication of reason and a complete breakdown of common sense in government.
Mugabe avoided certain telling issues, including the fact that currently state institutions and government departments - a vast swathe of the bureaucracy - have collapsed due to leadership and policy failures. This explains why the functions of a number of ministries are now performed by the central bank which has assumed a quasi-fiscal instead of a monetary policy role.
Mugabe could also not explain why government has lost capacity for effective policy formulation and implementation, something at the heart of the current system's virtual collapse....
Arthur Mutambara was elected unopposed at a meeting of 3,000 of the faction's supporters in the city of Bulawayo.
Mr Mutambara led student protests against state corruption in the 1980s. He returned to Zimbabwe recently after being in South Africa for 15 years.
The MDC split has weakened opposition to President Mugabe, observers say.....
He is a member of the majority Shona ethnic group - seen by many analysts as essential for any party leader.Mr. Tsvangirai's MDC faction will hold its own party leadership congress in mid-March.
Friday, February 24, 2006
Johannesburg (AND) The government has deployed state security agents, heavily armed anti-riot police at universities and tertiary institutions in response to student demonstrations that have rocked the country from last week
|The Zimbabwe National Students Union (ZINASU) is leading protests against the 1000 % increase intuition fees resulting in some faculties rising to $90million up from $3 million a semester.The militant stance has seen the students’ body close down government universities and tertiary institutionscountrywide in protests to the new tuition fees|
ZINASU secretary general, Promise Nkhwananzi, said thedeployment of the police would not cow them to abandon the demonstrations.
"We will remain resolute and the protests will soonspill into society. We are prepared to make this country ungovernable....the sooner the fees they arereviewed the better.The student movement is prepared and geared to fight the government," Mkhwananzi told AND Authorities at university and tertiary institutionssay the police are defending public property. NUST Director of Information and Publicity, Felix Moyo said: "We have a duty to take measures that we feel would properly protect public property...". National University of Science and Technology Students (NUST) in Bulawayo last Tuesday destroyed property worth several billions of dollars in demonstrations. Twenty-two of the students were arrested and charged for public violence when they appeared in court.On Tuesday, 15 Masvingo Polytechnic students were arrested but later released for taking part in demonstrations.
Students at government institutions have also boycotted lessons in response to the ZINASU calls to lodge all forms of resistance against the new fees. Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) secretary general, Raymond Majongwe said they are fully behind the protests saying, "Labour, lecturersand other bodies need to fight with the students to force the government to review the fees".
Christian Alliance convener, Bishop Levee Kadenge called on the government to engage in talks to solve the crises. "...We call upon the government to embrace a new culture of listening to the students...," said Bishop Kadenge.
A.N.D. could not obtain a comment from Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education officials and the police at the time of going to press.
A magnitude-7.5 earthquake that hit central Mozambique early Today was felt in parts of neighbouring Zimbabwe, particularly in the east of Zimbabwe. The state radio has reported.
In the central city of Gweru, terrified people ran out of their houses during the tremors that lasted for about a minute, the radio said. In the eastern border city of Mutare, the tremor rattled windows and crockery and shook walls. Aftershocks were felt at least two hours later. In some areas of the capital Harare, the tremor set off car alarms and set dogs to barking. The radio said there were no reports of serious damage in Zimbabwe. The earthquake was centred about 530 kilometres north of
Trucks loaded with maize and emblazoned with stickers belonging to the World Food Programme (WFP) were yesterday seen passing through the provincial capital of the Matabeleland South province en-route to Bulawayo where the aid was reportedly being assembled for distribution to various parts of the country.
Drivers interviewed said they had transported the maize from South Africa and were on their way to Bulawayo where they would deliver the maize to either the Grain Marketing Board depots or the National Foods milling plant in the city.
“There are several other trucks on their way. We have been directed to deliver the maize to the GMB and we will be on our way back to South Africa after delivery,” said one of the drivers. Recently, the Zimbabwe’s minister of National Security, Lands, Land Reform and Resettlement was quoted in the public media as saying that there were plans by the government to import more maize from South Africa to beef up the current stocks.
China's expanding economy is seeking friends in Africa...partly to get oil etc. and partly to get markets to sell their goods.
The bad news is that this will undercut the local manufacturing markets, the same way as cheap Chinese goods have discouraged local Philippino factories.
The good news is that they are filling a vacuum left by the departure of European and Indian businesses...
This is, of course, Neocolonialism....but I don't consider that a dirty word..
Wednesday, February 22, 2006
The 43, all members of the National Constitutional Assembly (NCA), were late on Tuesday being detained at Harare Central police station, said lawyer Alec Muchadehama.
All but one of the detained are women, he said.
"They [the police] have not advised them what charges they are likely to face," Muchadehama told Deutsche Presse-Agentur in a telephone interview. It would appear that the police are alleging that they were demonstrating illegally.
Mugabe celebrated his 82nd birthday on Tuesday amid worsening economic hardships in Zimbabwe.
In a statement, the NCA alleged that some of the demonstrators were beaten.
The NCA has regularly staged anti-government marches in recent years, earning the group the wrath of the police and the authorities. Under tough security laws, all organisers of demonstrations are supposed to seek police clearance several days
Tuesday, February 21, 2006
Tobacco production in Zimbabwe, dominated by white farmers, has dropped from a peak of over 250 million kg five years ago after the government drove off whites from the farms to pave way for the resettlement of landless black peasants.
As a result, the country has suffered chronic shortages of foreign currency, the bulk of which was earned from tobacco sales...
////Today Mr Mugabe, who has been in power for 26 years, will be the guest of honour in the eastern city of Mutare, where residents have been ordered to spruce up dilapidated buildings to give the best impression during the few hours that he will be in town. Enock Porusingayi, a ruling party youth leader in Mutare, hopes to raise about £550,000 “to mark our President’s birthday with dignity”.
Nobody wants to displease the President amid growing signs of his isolation, and anxiety as Zimbabwe’s crumbling economy takes its toll.
In the exclusive Borrowdale Brook suburb of Harare, construction of Mr Mugabe’s retirement mansion continues. Last month neighbours were told that they would have to sell their houses because the area is “a security zone”. In the meantime, they must brick up their windows that face the mansion.////
In interviews given to mark his birthday, he said: “One cannot ignore the call of the people because the people are the ones who make the final decision.” Yesterday Mr Mugabe remained defiant, criticising African leaders for failing to stand up to the West, and the International Monetary Fund for allowing itself to be bullied by countries such as Britain. “Our erstwhile coloniser still wants to control us by remote control,” he said.
Even some ministers are expressing concern. Last week Kembo Mohadi, the Home Affairs Minister, made the first official admission that the country was seriously short of food. “There is no grain whatsoever. Our people are actually starving,” he said on state radio....
Authoritative sources within Zimbabwe's feared Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) told ZimOnline at the weekend that Mengistu, who fled to Harare in 1991 and now acts as President Robert Mugabe's security adviser, warned the Zimbabwean leader that the swelling slum and backyard population in Zimbabwe was creating a fertile ground for a mass uprising.
With the Zimbabwean economic situation ever deteriorating and a discontented population growing in numbers, Mengistu advised Mugabe that the only way to pre-empt a mass revolt -- or any other form of mass action -- in Zimbabwe was by depopulating its cities via the brutal slum-clearance exercise.
Dubbed Operation Murambatsvina, the controversial home-demolition exercise left at least 700 000 people homeless and affected another 2,4-million people, according to a report by United Nations special envoy Anna Tibaijuka.
"His idea was that reducing the urban population through such an operation would greatly diminish the chances of an uprising," said one senior intelligence official.
According to the intelligence official, who spoke on condition he was not named, the former Ethiopian dictator was of the view that spontaneous riots, worse than food riots that erupted in Harare and other cities in 1998, could happen at any time because of the deteriorating economic situation in Zimbabwe. Urgent pre-emptive action was hence necessary, he told Mugabe....
A senior Zimbabwean politician has blamed fertiliser shortages and technical ignorance among black farmers for a predicted bleak harvest this year.
The deputy agriculture minister, Sylvester Nguni, in a rare admission of failures in the nation's land redistribution programme, said in a state-run newspaper that many new farmers who received formerly white-owned land lacked the expertise to produce crops on what he called a "commercial and even subsistence level"....
Robert Mugabe, the president, has insisted his land redistribution programme, begun in 2000, was intended to correct imbalances in ownership dating from the colonial era.
Critics say, however, that prime farms were allocated to ruling party members, judges, city business owners, government supporters and law-enforcement officials with no farming experience...
So you end up with a shortage of maize in the major cities LINK
THE maize meal shortage in Zimbabwe has reached crisis proportions as the scarce commodity is being sold in smaller quantities, where it is available.
In Bulawayo, for example, two small teacups command $35 000 while in Harare, 500g cost $50 000. Maize meal joins a plethora of other basic commodities such as fuel, electricity, sugar, salt, tape water and cooking oil which are not readily available.Nearly five million Zimbabweans are expected to face food shortages this year...
Mr Mugabe said his Government would print money to help it ride out its economic problems -- including food, fuel and foreign currency shortages and a 613per cent inflation rate, which he blames on Western sanctions and intermittent droughts.
"Those who say printing money will cause inflation are suggesting that you just fold your hands and say, 'Ah, let the situation continue and let the people starve'," he said.
"The good lord up there has given you a brain and the brain must function, not in a stereotyped manner but in a flexible manner ... so I will print money today so that people can survive."
Mr Mugabe, who last week suggested he was ready to repair relations with Britain, which he regularly accuses of seeking to recolonise Zimbabwe, again said his country's major problems were largely caused by London....
Mr Mugabe's pledge to print money echoed sentiments by Zimbabwe's central bank governor Gideon Gono, who said the bank had printed money to buy foreign currency to pay the IMF....
Contradicting assumptions that he has already chosen his heir apparent, President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe said in a televised interview that his ruling ZANU-PF party should decide who will take his place if and when he steps down in 2008.
Political analysts said the speech was significant because it signaled that Mr. Mugabe is preparing the ruling party and the country for his exit after 26 years in power....
He warned party leaders about secret compacts – a clear reference to a meeting held in the western town of Tsholotsho in late 2004 to organize opposition to the selection of Mujuru as vice president, and led to the downfall of several prominent members of the ruling party, including then-information minister Jonathan Moyo. “Sure, we will always rely on the leadership that is elected at congress, and not from clandestine meetings – they will never win, never,” Mr. Mugabe declared...
He warned party leaders about secret compacts – a clear reference to a meeting held in the western town of Tsholotsho in late 2004 to organize opposition to the selection of Mujuru as vice president, and led to the downfall of several prominent members of the ruling party, including then-information minister Jonathan Moyo.
“Sure, we will always rely on the leadership that is elected at congress, and not from clandestine meetings – they will never win, never,” Mr. Mugabe declared...(He also blasted the west and the IMF for being devils...)
Monday, February 20, 2006
The safari operators were among thousands of participants from 50 countries who converged in Reno, Nevada for the International Hunters' Convention.
Sunday, February 19, 2006
Mugabe tore down slums to resettle people...he did it indiscriminately, quickly, and without proper plans to relocate the huge number of people.
Now, as a background/comparison project, I am posting a link to a Philippine investigative website that has a report about a nearby clearance of families to build a much needed railway project.
Unlike "cleanout the trash", this is being done a little at a time, and unlike Zim, there is a long tradition of NGO and churches and local rich people helping people in needd...So, ten Thousand are already moved...but are finding it difficult to resettle...and more will be dislocated in the near future...
The main point is that the government underestimated the funds needed, and that by breaking up communities, people lost friends, jobs, and family resources that enable poor people to survive.
Affected families and NGO workers interviewed for this report say that the North Rail relocation is plagued by the absence of a comprehensive relocation action plan and a lack of transparency on the part of project authorities. They say information is provided to the affected families only on a piecemeal and need-to-know basis.
The families are also being herded to resettlement sites that lack basic facilities such as water supply, electricity, drainage and sewage systems, and health centers and schools. They are uprooted from their sources of income without the alternate jobs being provided.
For this reason, the relocated families have found it difficult to pay for the high monthly amortization of their lots in the resettlement sites, which cost between P100,000 and P125,000, payable within 25-30 years at a six-percent interest.
In not a few cases, evicted families moved out of their relocation sites to settle elsewhere in search of jobs, even as many have now taken to selling the construction materials allotted to them to build their houses just to feed their hungry families. Children have also been getting sick especially with the onset of the rainy season.
So far, 7,297 families from Metro Manila and 1,401 families from Bulacan have already been relocated. It is expected that the clearing of Bulacan up to Malolos of some 11,477 families will be completed before the end of October.
All these families are affected by the first section of Phase I of the Project — the construction of the 32-kilometer double-track, narrow-gauge rail line from Caloocan to Malolos. Another 20,000 families in Pampanga will have to be relocated when the construction of the line to the Diosdado Macapagal International Airport inside the Clark Special Economic Zone gets underway. ,,,
Today, NGOs working in the relocation sites say that all the resettled families are appealing for are jobs and livelihood assistance. "May pabahay nga kami rito, wala naman kaming hanapbuhay? Paano kami mabuhay? (It's true we have houses here, but what good are these if we don't have jobs? How do we survive?)" asks Nelina Rendora, 43, a mother of four who has chosen to be relocated at the Towerville resettlement site in San Jose del Monte City, Bulacan.
In addition, unscrupulous private individuals and public officials have been milking the relocation for every opportunity to engage in corruption. Residents say kickbacks and payoffs are extracted at almost every stage of the resettlement project. They point to the purchase by the NHA of overvalued real estate used for the relocation sites. This, they say, allowed well-connected property owners to make a killing with the connivance of NHA bureaucrats.Evicted families say they have also been forced to use the assistance money they had been provided to buy overpriced construction materials from suppliers favored by the NHA. In addition, contractors and land developers in the good graces of local government officials have been awarded fat contracts to develop relocation sites```....
....Administration officials said Mr. Bush's comments reflected discussions between the United States and its allies calling for a broader interim role for NATO in Darfur until a larger, United Nations peacekeeping operation can be established.
Fighting between rebel groups and government-backed militias has destroyed entire villages, killing more than 200,000 and displacing about 2 million people. Both the United States and the United Nations have been criticized for responding too slowly to evidence that the African Union peacekeepers were having little effect.
Evangelical Christians have been particularly outspoken in their calls for a more active American role, and Mr. Bush's remarks, in a question-and-answer session in Tampa, appeared to focus increased attention on the issue.
NATO has played a small logistical role in Sudan thus far, primarily airlifting African troops. Until recently, government officials had said NATO might do more, but all the discussion has been about providing equipment, communications and other logistical support....The bad news, of course, is that NATO, i.e. Europe, couldn't even stop the genocide in Bosnia until Clinton decided to step in...and China, who is aiming for Sudan's oil, is sure to veto any meaningful NATO or UN involvement...
Saturday, February 18, 2006
In this interview, one complains first, he saw nothing, second, it was America's fault...
Not mentioned: The roll of a MSM that ignores tyrants...
Zim is rarely mentioned in the US press...let alone mention of the million deaths in Central African civil wars, although a small group of Christians is protesting the deliberate genocide in Dafur...
And CNN managed to ignore the genocides of Sadam Hussein (Easton Jordan admitted that if they publicized it, they would have had reporters removed from that country) just like CNN ignores present day massacres: ignores the thousands killed by the Mullahs in Iran, the 100 000 killed in the Algerian civil war, the 1 million displaced in Colombia because of Marxist terrorists fueled by drug money, the 60 000 killed by maoists in Peru, the ongoing civil war in Nepal, the 60,000 Kurds killed by the Turkish government, the Chechnyan genocide by Russia, etc...
Three year old photos from AbuGrab, whose perpetrators are already in jail, are more important than these things, because it's more important to bash evilbush than to notice the real monsters are still out there...
HARARE, Zimbabwe (AP) -- The corpses of at least 20 newborn babies and fetuses are found each week in the sewers of Zimbabwe's capital, some having been flushed down toilets, Harare city authorities said, according to state media Friday.
Town Clerk Nomutsa Chideya said the babies' remains were found among a wide variety of waste and garbage cleared by city council workers unblocking sewers and drains in Harare.
"Apart from upsetting the normal flow of waste, it is not right from a moral standpoint. Some of the things that are happening now are shocking," the state Herald, a government mouthpiece, reported Chideya as saying.
Of course, they still complain that " Ten pre-school children die every minute from malnutrition and this number has not changed since the early 1980s despite global promises."...
What's wrong with this statement?
Well, first of all since the numbers haven't increased but the population has increased since 1980, that means the rate of children dying has gone down.
Second, it ignores wars and tyrants and corrupt governments are behind malnutrition deaths
Third, it implies these deaths are "despite global promises", i.e. the assumption that Big Brother UN is the answer...
Here is another quote: "For instance, east Kenya last year faced a famine. In the west of the country there was an excess of corn, but this was shipped to Europe because neither the means nor the money was available to get the corn to those starving in the east."
Ah, but why was the corn shipped out? The corn had to go EAST to be shipped, so obviously there were roads.
And the statement "because neither the means nor the money" implies no roads...but there are roads and paths...ox carts can carry grain across small paths, and rivers can be used to ship grain...and there is money, indeed, one suspects much of the foreign aid was siphoned off by corrupt officials LINK
And the food shipped out? Notice that they say there was no "money" available? Yes, it's probably in swiss bank accounts of the elites...
In Ireland, the British shipped corn out of that country while a million starved because the main food, potatoes, had been destroyed in a famine...
Like in today's Kenya, the REAL story is that there is no WILL to feed these people, or to spend aid money on improving the infrastructure or farms...
Friday, February 17, 2006
Why are so many people still going hungry?
The basic problem is poverty.
Most Africans live in rural areas, where many are subsistence farmers, dependent on a good harvest to get enough food to eat.
There are hardly any irrigation systems, so people rely on the rains.
If one rainy season fails, people have very few savings - in either food or cash - to see them through.
Even in good years, there is a "hungry season", when last year's harvests have run out and the next crops are not yet ripe.
While people were starving in parts of Niger last year, shops in the capital, Niamey, were full of food but many could not afford to buy it.
In both the Horn of Africa and Niger, some of the most vulnerable were pastoralists, whose animals quickly succumbed when there was nothing left to graze.
When the animals die, their owners have no other way of getting enough food to eat.
Some say that the pastoralist lifestyle is no longer sustainable.
What are the other reasons?
Many farmers say that rains have become less reliable in recent years, which could be the result of global warming.
The Sahara desert is certainly expanding to the south, making life increasingly difficult for farmers and pastoralists in places like Niger.
Also, rising populations have led people to farm on increasingly marginal land, even more at risk from even a slight decline in rainfall.
Southern Africa has the world's highest rates of HIV/Aids and this is a major factor in that region's food crisis.
Some of those who should be the most productive farmers - young men and women - are either sick or have died, so their fields are being left untended, while their children go hungry.
What about the role of governments?
Nobel prize winning economist Amartya Sen said that no democracy has ever suffered from a famine and Africa's political problems have certainly contributed to the hunger of its people.
Some three million people are going hungry in Zimbabwe, which used to be the region's bread basket. Most donors say the government's seizure of productive, white-owned farms has worsened the effects of poor rains.
The government has also been accused of only delivering food aid to its own supporters and punishing areas which vote for the opposition.
Conflict obviously makes farming difficult, as people either run away from their fields or are too afraid to venture too far from their homes.
Farmers and pastoralists in countries such as Somalia and Democratic Republic of Congo face constant harassment by armed men.
Thursday, February 16, 2006
Harare - More than 180 women arrested during a protest march this week in Zimbabwe's second city of Bulawayo were released on Wednesday but 250 others remained in custody in Harare, a lawyer said.
The marchers from the Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA) group were demanding "roses and dignity" during the marches held in Bulawayo on Monday and Harare on Tuesday.
"Some 141 people including 14 children who were arrested... were released on Wednesday in Bulawayo after being charged with engaging in a march without police clearance and obstructing traffic," said lawyer Sarah Chishiri.
"About 252 arrested in Harare on Tuesday are still in police cells. We are still negotiating to secure their release," Chishiri of Zimbabwe's Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) told AFP.
Wednesday, February 15, 2006
The private Zimbabwean weekly Financial Gazette, a publication generally favourable to the Government, reported in its latest edition that 10,000 troops had been let go in the past year.
A health catastrophe also looms in Zimbabwe as other government services such as garbage collection fall apart, causing a wave of cholera.
The outbreak of disease follows President Robert Mugabe's notorious "Operation Sweep Out The Filth" in June, in which police destroy up to 700,000 shantytown homes along with drainage systems and drinking wells.
The effect of such changes, the overloading of sewerage systems and a chronic shortage of fuel for refuse carts is now being felt, with cholera, previously rare in Zimbabwe, sweeping the country.
Tuesday, February 14, 2006
Development everywhere is homegrown. As G-8 ministers and rock stars fussed about a few billion dollars here or there for African governments, the citizens of India and China (where foreign aid is a microscopic share of income) were busy increasing their own incomes by $715 billion in 2005.
This is not to say that all Western aid efforts in Africa are condemned to fail. Aid groups could search for achievable tasks with high potential for poor individuals to help themselves. To do so, they would have to subject themselves to independent evaluation and be accountable to the intended beneficiaries for the results. Such an approach would contrast with the prevailing norm of never holding anyone individually accountable for the results of traditional government-to-government aid programs aimed at feeding the hubristic fantasies of outside transformation of whole societies.
An example of such achievable and accountable programs can be found in western Kenya, where work by nongovernmental aid organizations to get meals and textbooks to schoolchildren raised attendance and test scores, according to careful subsequent evaluation. Perhaps these well-nourished and well-educated children will be tomorrow's leaders and entrepreneurs. Aid could also be used to support the efforts of promising local social and business entrepreneurs who already have a successful track record, people like Awuah, Keter and Maddy -- letting locals take the lead with their superior motivation and inside knowledge.
Dare one hope that in 2006, it will finally be understood that Africa's true saviors are the people of Africa....
Monday, February 13, 2006
When I worked in Zim, quite a few missionaries and local church workers were martyred...some were merely killed, but most of the deaths would be considered martyrdom, i.e. deliberate killing of someone because they were a witness to truth (i.e. because they represented the Christian church, or because they worked as doctors or nurses in local hospitals or clinics that were church or government funded... or because they saw atrocities and were killed so they would not report the truth)...
Ironically, although many were holy people, and had done quite useful work, the only person that the local people revered as a saint and a martyr was John Bradburne....
Now, I had never met or heard about the guy when I worked there...most of those I knew were doctors or nurses and we were all busy doing our thing in public health...and a few of my friends got killed trying to help out...(I wasn't in the preaching area of "missionary work")
In Western eyes, we like to praise those who do big things...start hospitals, preach, make converts, you name it...we are achievement oriented...
But Bradburne was a failure: A shell shocked soldier who hung around missions trying to be helpful, but not really doing anything really useful...
I was amused, since this is how God always seems to work: The person who in the world makes a big splash is not necessarily the holiest one (too often those like myself who are big at doing works are also big in the Pride department)...
Here is an excerpt:
The destruction of Zimbabwe's productive agricultural sector wrought by dictator Robert Mugabe's policies removed a key source of foreign currency (ie, exported food and agricultural products) has reduced most of the population to poverty.
Now Zimbabwe has no hard currency to pay for essential imports, like oil. African and western sources report that in Zimbabwe gasoline cannot be bought legally by private citizens-- it is only available on the black market. One estimate of annual inflation (December 2004 to November 2005) in Zimbabwe was 500 percent.
Two-thirds of the adult working age population is unemployed. It is hard to arrive at an accurate figure for inflation since the Zimbabwean currency is regarded as worthless and much of the economy is based on barter.
One of the saddest stories of 2005 --and it received very little coverage, other than a few stories in June 2005 and a handful in December-- was Mugabe's attack on "illegal houses" (alleged squatters). The houses Mugabe's supporters removed were for the most part located in areas where the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party is strong. The "counter-squatter" operation had the name "Operation Murambatsvina" (a Shona phrase, one translation is "drive out the trash"-- an opposition website translates it as "clean out the filth."), It’s estimated that 700,000 people were left homeless. (One source said that ultimately 2.4 million people suffered from the "operation.")
The MDC and other opposition groups claim that several hundred thousand small businesses were also destroyed. That's a huge claim, but in sub-Saharan Africa many businesses in urban areas are "mom and pop" stands selling food, crafts, and various supplies in front of the family home or shanty.
The ZImbabwean government subsequently began a "reconstruction program" called "Operation Garikai/Hlalani Kuhle." The government source said this is Shona and Ndebele for "live well," and claimed that 5000 new houses have been built.
But few of the displaced have the cash to pay for them. Apparently the program requires the family pay a "deposit" for the new home-- the requirements aren't quite clear. Very few of the destroyed houses have been replaced, though the government says more houses will be built. Still, this looks like a political ploy --an attempt to quiet critics in the "international community."
Saturday, February 11, 2006
Government sources told New Zimbabwe.com Friday that Mugabe's failure to return to work was "sending diplomatic tongues wagging".
Constitutional law expert Dr Lovemore Madhuku told SW Radio Africa last night that it appeared Mugabe was slowly scaling down, handing over work to Mujuru.
Madhuku said the recent signing of the draconian General Laws Amendment Act (GLAA) into law by Mujuru was significant in that Mugabe rarely gives that power and authority to anyone but himself. The law expert believes Mugabe is actually grooming Mujuru.
Mujuru signed the Act, which advocates for the imprisonment of journalists who write falsehoods, people who insults the president and bans unauthorised gatherings, on Friday last week.
Madhuku told SW Radio: “I believe Mugabe keeps postponing his return to work by a day… and so he is acting against the natural order of things (retiring) when he says he wants to go back to work.
“Mujuru is very very far from the kind of person that would lead our country. This country has enormous problems and from what we have seen of Mujuru, and this has nothing to do with gender, is that she has no capacity. She is just empty.”
Government sources told New Zimbabwe.com last night that rather than scaling down, Mugabe who has led Zimbabwe since independence in 1980, was "unwell"....
The fate of Zimbabwe's dispossessed white farmers was uncertain yesterday after the regime publicly contradicted private assurances that some landowners would be allowed back to their properties.
Ministers close to President Robert Mugabe are considering a partial reversal of the land grab. Assurances have been given that some farmers will be allowed to lease back their holdings.
After this was disclosed in The Daily Telegraph, Didymus Mutasa, the security minister also responsible for land reform, denied any U-turn. "We are not going to change our land policy and we are not going to surrender any land that has been given to our people," he told state television.
A constitutional amendment passed last year made every acre of agricultural land the property of the state.
Mr Mutasa pointed out that the last handful of about 250 surviving white farmers need official leases to stay on their properties.
"To my knowledge there are not many, if any, white commercial farmers who have the permission, so most of them who are farming now are doing so illegally," he said.
Senior figures in the regime have told farmers that, as a first stage, the surviving 250 will be given leases allowing them to stay on their holdings. Then a limited number of displaced landowners will be given leases allowing them to return.
The thinking behind this policy is that it will ease pressure from the International Monetary Fund, which has threatened to expel Zimbabwe for failing to pay its dues.
But Joseph Made, the agriculture minister, told the state press that white farmers were "irrelevant". He added: "The country's land policies are very sound and will not be frozen or set aside."
Harare - Zimbabwean authorities have vowed to forge ahead with land seizures from white farmers who have remained on their properties after the country's controversial land reforms.
"We are still hungry and we want all our land back and all our land to be used by our own people," land minister Didymus Mutasa said, dismissing speculation that President Robert Mugabe's government could give in to widespread criticism and stop farm invasions which started six years ago.
"We are not going to change our land policy and we are not going to surrender any land that has been given to our people," Mutasa said in an interview aired on state television on Thursday night.
Mutasa said following constitutional reforms passed by parliament last year "there is not any white farmer now who is farming legally" and urged white farmers to seek permission from government to continue operating.
"(Constitutional) Amendment number 17 gave all land, all agricultural land to the state and by that stroke or event nobody is allowed to farm unless he has permission from the minister of lands," Mutasa said.
he continuing erosion of human rights in Zimbabwe was highlighted in 2005 by Operation Murambatsvina, the government’s program of mass evictions and demolitions which began in May, and, which, according to the United Nations, deprived 700,000 men, women and children of their homes, their livelihoods, or both throughout the country. The evictions and demolitions occurred against a background of general dissatisfaction in many of Zimbabwe’s urban areas over the political and economic situation in the country. The country is currently spiraling into a huge economic and political crisis.
The government continues to introduce repressive laws that suppress criticism of its political and economic policies. In August, parliament passed the Constitutional Amendment Act, which gives the government the right to expropriate land and property without the possibility of judicial appeal, and to withdraw passports from those it deems a threat to national security.
Download Human Rights Watch world Report HERE
Tuesday, February 07, 2006
In order to run any country, one needs a solid middle class which understands the implications of rising interest rates and the attendant pitfalls of a depreciating currency.
My beloved brothers in government are so ignorant of the simplest things in life. They read about German inflation, a woman carrying a wheelbarrow full of German marks in order to buy groceries. Such people are either intentionally wicked when they allow the central bank to charge minimum interest rates of 540 percent, or they are plain childishly naïve.
Do they know that the great companies like Walmart and K-Mart in the US are lucky to make a six percent profit on their merchandise? These brothers have no understanding when they depreciate money by 18 000 percent. If one owed $100 and the money was devalued by 18 000 times, one would owe $1 800 000.
Apart from their economic ignorance, my brothers are deliciously naïve. This naivety, I believe is embedded in the African ethos as well. Look at the childish naivety in their welcoming the World Bank representatives. The World Bank does not care about Zimbabweans, or the Zimbabwean veterans. It wants us to pay our loans to western lenders. Dr Nyerere asked this question: "Shall we starve our children in order to pay you?" The answer is YES, STUPID. Look at their naivety in believing that Britain and the US will come to their aid? The World Bank is an American bank. It is not going to do anything against US policy -- and US policy requires that formerly white-owned land be returned to its titled owners or there be adequate compensation.
Unless there is a new generation of rulers who appreciate the realities of the modern world, are not naïve in believing that the western world is out to save us from ourselves, who understand that if you build a presidential house in a neighbourhood, one's neighbours too have mortgages to pay. Whispers of confiscation can squash property values, and thus the life savings of one's neighbours.
Now you will say: "Ken, but surely these brothers can learn this new paradigm." I did not learn this new paradigm at school. I learned it by running a real estate business. The smallest whispers, say, that the police are hanging around your restaurant looking for drug dealers, can cause a shutdown of the business, and a man's lifetime savings goes down the drain.
I don't think the brothers have the slightest idea of what they are doing. My sister had a life insurance for $240 000 for which she contributed for 25 years. When she died, it was not enough to buy her daughter's uniforms. My nephew, a newspaper editor, had a good pension of $5 000 a month in the year 2000. He cannot buy one banana with it now.
It is the economy stupid! Mr Blair and Mr Bush are laughing their lungs out till hell freezes over.
The state electricity provider is also reported to be unable to pay its debts to suppliers and transport companies.
Coal-fired stations in the capital, Harare, and in the second city, Bulawayo, have already been shut down.
Zimbabwe's main external power provider South Africa says it has temporarily halted supplies for maintenance work.
"I would like to bring to the attention of all consumers that the current load shedding due to supply shortfall is set to worsen," head of the power regulatory commission, Mavis Chidzonga, was quoted in Zimbabwe's Sunday Mail as saying.
She warned that electricity production at the Hwange facility servicing north-west Zimbabwe may also have to be reduced due to the shortages.
She said the recent coal shortages had been made worse by the state electricity provider's inability to pay its debts to suppliers and transporters....
Monday, February 06, 2006
As we enter our seventh year of political turmoil, most Zimbabweans are desperate, despondent, and disempowered. In the face of a total onslaught by their own government, they feel helpless, and many have been made homeless. The economy is stuttering to a halt as social breakdown escalates. Government actions are erratic and oppressive and incapable of solving the chaos they have created. It is hardly surprising that the popular mood has shifted during the past ten months from a guarded expectation of change to a numbing hopelessness.
Six years ago, when the ZANU PF government was rejected by the people in a constitutional referendum and began its war on Zimbabweans, people believed that a democratic electoral process and a respected independent-minded judiciary would eventually rid them of an oppressive, increasingly irrational government. A popular opposition party was in the ascendancy and waiting in the wings.But after six years of election campaigning and legal challenges, it is clear that the institutions of democracy are so completely subverted that they cannot support the will of the people or resurrect the rule of law. ...
READ THE WHOLE THING
MASVINGO – Zimbabwe’s ruling ZANU PF party is probing several senior members of the party in Masvingo province for allegedly misappropriating about Z$1 billion during last year’s parliamentary election.
According to ZANU PF officials in Masvingo, the funds which can no longer be accounted for, were raised through the sale of party cards in the run-up to the controversial election won by President Mugabe’s ZANU PF party.
Among those under probe are former Masvingo provincial chairman Daniel Shumba and another senior party official in the province, Clemence Makwarimba. The two have however strongly denied the allegation.
ACTUALLY THIS IS NOT AS BAD AS IT SOUNDS, SINCE THE LATEST EXCHANGE RATE IS:1 US Dollar = 98,457.1 Zimbabwe Dollar....
President Thabo Mbeki has reiterated that Zimbabweans must find a solution to their own problems. Speaking during an interview with the SABC, Mbeki said he was initially optimistic that the ruling Zanu(PF) and the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) would work jointly on a new constitution after they agreed to that.
.....The IMF team said bringing the fiscal deficit under control would be crucial to restoring macro-economic stability, and acknowledged the limited progress achieved in 2005 to reduce the fiscal deficit, but noted that the targeted reduction in non-interest expenditure had not been achieved. They said most of the budgetary savings were attributable to a decline in interest outlays due to the forced restructuring of the government's domestic debt. "A loose monetary policy has aggravated economic imbalances and fuelled inflation, and has increased the vulnerability of the banking system," the team is said to have told the fiscal and monetary authorities. "They also said authorities should take immediate corrective measures to mop up excess liquidity, allow interest rates to become positive in real terms and dismantle the distortionary subsidised credit facilities. (There is) need to ensure the health of the banking system by dealing promptly with non-viable institutions, and to fully enforce prudential regulations and capital adequacy requirements."....
Patients were observed writhing in pain at the hospital's outpatients department without being attended to. James Mushoriwa, whose leg injuries were turning septic told Zimdaily that he had been held at the hospital for the past one week without any treatment, adding that he could not afford to seek medical attention at private hospitals because of the prohibitive health costs there. Health minister David Parirenyatwa yesterday refuted reports that the hospital had run out of anaesthetics.
"That is not true at all," Parirenyatwa said. "The reason why the intensive care is not working is because there are renovations taking place there. Dont try to politicise this issue," he said. Health and Child Welfare is listed at number 16 of the 21 ‘vote appropriations’ in Zimbabwe’s national budget. Over 40% of the health budget goes to salaries, but there is little money for salary increases, doctors’ on-call allowances and home nursing visits......
Sunday, February 05, 2006
HARARE - DOCTORS in Zimbabwe have for the first time voiced their concern over the poor state of the public service delivery system in a country gripped by an outbreak of communicable diseases. The Zimbabwe Association of Doctors for Human Rights (ZADHR) issued a statement on Saturday saying they wanted the government to act on the deteriorating system, which contributed to the outbreak of diseases, in particular cholera.
About 14 people died of cholera in Zimbabwe a few weeks and others died of dysentery. Health experts blamed the outbreak to an accumulation of garbage in Zimbabwe’s capital, which is facing acute fuel shortages. Also, due to foreign currency shortages, local authorities have failed to upgrade sewer system resulting in frequent pipe busts.
It’s common in Zimbabwe for raw sewage to flow through streets for months without any corrective measures being taken by local authorities.
They often say they do not have either fuel or spare parts needed to fix the chronic problems. The concerned doctors who treat victims of the deteriorating health environment said: “It is essential that there be a more coherent central Government strategy to ensure that Zimbabweans are accorded the best attainable state of physical and mental health. The Government’s knee-jerk response to the cholera outbreak earlier this year continues to be inadequate as a measure to prevent disease outbreak in the medium to long-term future,” said the doctors.
ZIMBABWE’S economic crisis calls for an urgent implementation of a comprehensive policy package comprising of several mutually reinforcing actions, the International Monetary Fund has said. In a statement just released following the conclusion of a staff visit to the country from January 25 to February 1.
The organization said; “These include: strong fiscal adjustment; full liberalisation of the exchange rate regime for current account transactions; adoption of a strong monetary anchor; elimination of quasi-fiscal activity of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe and transparent absorption of these losses by the budget; and fundamental structural reform, including price deregulation, public enterprise reform, strengthening of property rights, and improvements in governance.” The organisation said in the absence of a comprehensive and immediate policy package, “Zimbabwe’s economic prospects would be bleak.”
Saturday, February 04, 2006
Persistent power and water outages have revived friendships and socialising in Zimbabwe, homeowners say. People see more of each other during outages that last several days, according to businessman James Martin. He visits friends across Harare to wash after making sure their taps aren't dry."We call it social bathing," he says. When the power is out, he also invites himself over for dinner, bringing supplies from his thawing freezer and warm beer for re-chilling.There was less cheer in the beer this week. With inflation spiralling, its price rose by 40% on Monday, the fourth increase since October.Martin buys scarce gasoline at five times the official price. Charges for phone calls have increased by at least 1 000% in the past year despite fast deteriorating service. Water shutoffs are blamed on pump failures and shortages of water-treatment chemicals.
Well, here in the Philippines we still have rolling brownouts in the hot season right before the monsoon starts (when hydroelectric power is low, since it is dry season, but the electricity use is high due to airconditioners)...
So everyone has a generator...
Ditto in rural Oklahoma...ice storms and thunderstorms cause wires to go down...
Of course, in Zim, the problem would be getting petrol for a generator...
And most of us here store water in buckets to bathe and cook...and fill our overhead watertanks when the electricity is running...poorer people without watertanks just leave the tap on when water pressure is low, and when the buckets are full, turn it off...the low pressure means it might take an hour to fill a ten gallon bucket...or ask a neighbor with a tank to fill a bucket.
Our neighbor has an old fashioned windmill to fill his tank...looks like I'm back in Oklahoma...
As for chemicals, the trick is to get a porcelin filter tank, and only drink from that, or boil...
Since rural people in Zim have to walk several miles in the dry season to fetch water, and tote it back on the head, I feel less than perfect sympathy for the city elite who have this minor inconvenience...
Friday, February 03, 2006
Research published in Science shows how there has been an almost 50 percent decline in HIV prevalence in some groups, which the researchers attribute to people delaying when they first have sex and having fewer casual partners.
They found HIV prevalence fell most steeply at young ages, with a drop in prevalence of 49 percent for women aged between 15 and 24, and a 23 percent drop in men aged 17 to 29.
In 2003 Zimbabwe was estimated to have 1.8 million people infected with HIV/AIDS out of a population of 12 million.
Dr Simon Gregson, from Imperial College London, who led the research, said: "Although we can't say for certain, fear of HIV and AIDS may have influenced this change in behaviour, with Zimbabwe's well educated population, good communications, and health service infrastructure, all combining to create this effect."
In Washington, Bush devoted nearly half of his 51-minute address to foreign policy, warning Americans not to give in to the isolationist and protectionist tendencies that had always existed in US politics. As he berated Zimbabwe and the other less democratic nations, Bush lauded Saudi Arabia and Egypt - long-time allies that Washington - to provide greater freedoms to their citizens.
"Every step toward freedom in the world makes our country safer, and so we will act boldly in freedom's cause," Bush said. Analysts say the crisis in Zimbabwe is likely to receive more attention now that the US has assumed the presidency of the U.N. Security Council. Britain and other Western countries have for a long time now been failing to have Zimbabwe discussed in the Security Council regardless of many campaigns calling on the UN to put Zimbabwe under the spotlight.
HARARE – THE Zimbabwe government says is it not moved by United States President George W. Bush’s statement citing Zimbabwe among some of the most undemocratic countries in the world.
State Security Minister Didymus Mutasa, one of President Mugabe’s closest allies and confidantes, said Bush’s State of the Union address confirmed he was a bully and a warmonger.
Mutasa said the Zimbabwe government remains unmoved by Bush’s comments and would not lose sleep over them at all.
In his annual State of the Union address delivered on Tuesday, Bush cited Zimbabwe along with Syria, Burma, North Korea and Iran as countries that denied their people freedom. He said the demands of justice and world peace required the US and the rest of the free world not forget the plight of those living under dictatorship.
"At the start of 2006, more than half the people of our world live in democratic nations. And we do not forget the other half - in places like Syria, Burma, Zimbabwe, North Korea, and Iran - because the demands of justice, and the peace of this world, require their freedom as well," the world's most powerful President said. Countries like Iran have since reacted angrily to Bush’s comments saying they will not be pushed into submission or change their policies to please the US.
Says Mutasa in response: "We should not and cannot allow warmongers like Bush to tarnish the image of paragons of peace and democracy like President Mugabe. We are not moved by his statements. If anything, we are proud that we are not an ally of the neo-colonialist Bush, whom I can only describe as a bully."
TOP officials of President Robert Mugabe's government are using their positions to access antiretroviral drugs meant for the poor, according to Zimonline, an independent internet news site that focuses on Zimbabwe.
Zimonline's sources in Zimbabwe say officials intercept the drugs from donors or those purchased by the government's National AIDS Council before they are distributed to state hospitals.
The website, which operates from SA, said it had a list of some of the names of the government and Zanu (PF) officials involved in the drugs scam, but for legal reasons could not reveal them.
It said the list included cabinet ministers, members of Zanu (PF)'s politburo committee, police and military officials as well as some close relatives and friends of the politicians and government officials.
"The (AIDS council) just hands over the drugs (to top officials). It has become so normal it is kind of semi-officialised," said one source, who refused to be named for fear of reprisals.
The source told Zimonline that of the few antiretrovirals that had been received, most had been snapped up by powerful government and army officials or by those who were connected to the ruling elite.
This is one of the reason that many are cynical about sending carte blanch aid to many African countries...
The HIV drugs were donated to be given free to the poor...now will be used by the rich, or more probably resold to desperate people for a profit...
Under Zimbabwe's tough Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act, all journalists must be accredited by the government-appointed commission for them to practise. Media houses also have to obtain licences from the MIC for them to operate. The accreditation is renewable every year, while the publishing licences are for two years. "Most of us have been accredited now, while those who were away will certainly be registered by the MIC," a senior reporter at the paper said. "We understand the truce came about after our editor agreed to publish the retraction." The Independent will publish the retraction on its inside pages, according to the reporter. In December, Mahoso had threatened to withdraw the licence of the Financial Gazette after the paper had refused to retract a story it had published. The paper however published the retraction a fortnight ago. The MIC has closed down four newspapers in three years, including the Daily News, the country's biggest independent daily at the time of its closure in September 2003.
Wednesday, February 01, 2006
....At the start of 2006, more than half the people of our world live in democratic nations. And we do not forget the other half - in places like Syria, Burma, Zimbabwe, North Korea, and Iran - because the demands of justice, and the peace of this world, require their freedom as well....
The governor of Zimbabwe's reserve bank last week admitted that his country is in the grip of hyperinflation, with some economists predicting an inflation rate of 1,000% within two months.
This week saw the introduction of a so-called "bearer cheque" worth 50,000 Zimbabwean dollars - 50 times the highest available banknote - but actually worth around half a US dollar and only enough to buy a loaf of bread.
BBC World Service's Outlook programme spoke to five Zimbabweans, all of whom did not wish to be named, about what life is like living under rampant hyperinflation.
(go to link)