Tuesday, October 31, 2006

zim gov't cracks down on dissent

"...(New York, November 1, 2006) � In reaction to a recent wave of protests against deteriorating social and economic conditions in the country, the Zimbabwean government has intensified its campaign to suppress peaceful dissent, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today.
The 28-page report, "'You Will Be Thoroughly Beaten': The Brutal Suppression of Dissent in Zimbabwe," reveals the repressive tactics that the government has used against civil society activists in the past year.

Human Rights Watch has documented systematic abuses against activists, including excessive use of force by police during protests, arbitrary arrests and detention, and the use of torture and mistreatment by police and intelligence officials.

"When Zimbabweans engage in peaceful protest, the government responds with brutal repression," said Georgette Gagnon, deputy Africa director at Human Rights Watch. "The authorities use torture, arbitrary arrest and detention to deter activists from engaging in their right to freely assemble and express their views." Political, social and economic conditions in Zimbabwe have deteriorated considerably in recent years.

Civil society organizations have increasingly expressed concerns at the worsening conditions by engaging in peaceful protests and demonstrations.

The government's response has been heavy-handed and brutal. Police have violently disrupted peaceful protests by beating demonstrators with batons and in some cases rifle butts. On September 25, for example, police violently disrupted a peaceful march by some 500 activists from the National Constitutional Assembly in Harare.

Riot police armed with batons stopped the march, asked the activists to sit down, and proceeded to beat them one at a time with batons before ordering them to leave. During the beatings, a number of people panicked, which led to a stampede that injured about 24 people, seven of them seriously.

Police have also used laws such as the Public Order and Security Act and the Miscellaneous Offences Act to justify the arbitrary arrest and detention of hundreds of civil society activists around the country. After arrest, most of the activists are released within hours, but some are held for days, often without charge. Others are brought before the judicial authorities to answer charges that, in many cases, are dismissed by the courts.

Civil society activists who had been detained told Human Rights Watch that they were often held in overcrowded and filthy conditions, with human waste on the floor and blankets infested with lice. The activists have sometimes been denied legal counsel and access to food, water and needed medical assistance....

Third world church

A previous post was about churches trying to have the government reform itself, using beautiful but vague language.

In Africa, however, the problem is poverty, HIV, the reversion to the worst of paganism, economic stagnation and political problems.

Sister Maggie sent a new letter, where she relates how her new, charismatic community is trying to re establish their ties with the local Catholic church:

May I take this opportunity to let you know that at
long last we now have a Bishop in our diocese. His
name is Bishop Martin Munyanyi. He saved for many
years as a rector at the major seminary (Giving
lessons and monitoring the training of seminarians. He
was ordained Bishop on the 26th of August.

Sr Martha, our oldest and latest addition made an
appointment to see him last month. She had previously
worked closely with him before. She explained how we
were banned from attending mass and how she was
expelled from S.J.I. The Bishop had a very different
and distorted version of both incidents, he also asked
about the five suspended priest and one deacon. The
Bishop asked Sr Martha to ask the expelled priest to
come and see him.

About our case all he said was that we should pray for
him so that God may show him how best to resolve the
case. What is most important is that he was able to
sift the truth from lies, and he supports what we
stand for. He said that he is going to do everything
in his power to see that we go back to church. He said
that at present, there is a lot of speculation going
on especially about how he is going to handle our
case. He thinks it best to ignore it and concentrate
on many other issues wanting his attention. He said
keep on praying and be patient. Dr Nancy I am very
happy. We are all very happy about this turn of

One of the expelled priests went to see the Bishop.
They had a good time together and he said their case
was much more complicated since it involves the most
senior Bishop Bhasera. All he said was that, now that
he is armed with correct facts he is going to make use
of them when ever the issue is discussed at the many
conferences held by Bishops. We are all not very much
concerned with how long it will take we are just happy
that the Lord has a very willing instrument in him.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Photgraphic essay: A day in the life of Africa

go to link for photos

UN Criticizes rich nations for failing Africa on food aid

"...A United Nations agency has criticised rich nations for failing to meet pledges for financial assistance as it warned that millions of people in southern Africa face food shortages.

Some 4.3 million people in southern Africa will now have to go without the aid earmarked by the World Food Programme (WFP), which blamed a £30 million gap in funds for the cuts, reports Reuters.

The cutbacks will affect mother and child nutrition centres, school feeding projects and schemes targeting HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis patients, for whom nutrition is key in boosting immunity to diseases that have ravaged the region.
Around 1.4 million people were found to be in "critical need" of food aid in Zimbabwe, where the WFP said it had already been forced in October to scale back help to about half of the 900,000 people in need.

The food deficits in troubled Zimbabwe have been blamed by critics on drought and an exodus of the country's most productive commercial white farmers who fled the government's controversial land reform programme...

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Churchmen propose national vision for Zim


The church group said the document was prepared based on extensive consultations with civil society organizations and opposition politicians, and examined issues such as land reform, the economy, the constitution and possible national reconciliation.

The church leaders said their main recommendation was the opening of a discussion involving all of the country's stakeholders. But some in the opposition have criticized the church initiative, saying its leaders have let Mr. Mugabe manipulate them. The organization invited the president to a prayer rally earlier this year.

Mr. Mugabe and his ministers said they would examine the document carefully. But one source present at the meeting described the president’s response to the paper as “lukewarm,” in particular with respect to its call for a rewrite of the constitution..."

Now, if the churchmen really wanted to make a proposal to save zim, the document would be short...it would say:

Quit, you A.....

China doesn't interfere with internal affairs, so that's why Mugabe loves her

"...China was the main supporter of Mugabe's ruling ZANU-PF party in the 1970s when it waged an armed struggle to free the country from colonial rule, said Mugabe, adding that the ties between Harare and Beijing have since been ever-lasting...

Zimbabwe has been under sanctions by western countries, led by former colonial power Britain, for allegedly undermining democracy and human rights. Mugabe denies the charges, saying they were only a smoke screen for London's opposition to his government's seizure of farms from white farmers for black resettlement.....

Harare has come up with a "Look East" policy, centered around renewed, broader engagement with China and other Asian countries, which Mugabe said could be an alternative economic cooperation partner to the West which Zimbabwe had lost....

The major reason for Zimbabwe to value its ties with Asia is that Asia is home to the most population in the world, Mugabe said.

"China and India put together, plus other states there (in Asia), they amount to the largest percentage part of the (world) population," he said.

"And secondly, we said these were the friends we relied upon during the liberation struggle and they will not let us down," he added.

Mugabe chronicled China's assistance, in various forms, to his country over the years, declaring: "For Zimbabwe, going to China is going to our second home. We regard China as a part of us."

In the twenty-six years after Zimbabwe's independence, China has financed a variety of infrastructure projects in the country, including construction of roads, hospitals and stadiums.

Just last week, China extended a 5-million U.S.-dollar loan to Zimbabwe to refurbish the nation's biggest stadium, built several years ago by a Chinese company.

Mugabe also spoke of China's military assistance to Zimbabwe after its independence, which he said had made Zimbabwe less vulnerable to manipulation by the West.

But he said the main focus now would be economic cooperation, noting China recently offered Zimbabwe 200 million U.S. dollars to finance agricultural production in the country, and Zimbabwe's acquisition of three MA-60 passenger planes from China....

China, keen to secure strategic natural resources to help sustain its mouth-watering economic growth of more than 10 percent, is investing heavily in agriculture and mining in Zimbabwe. Chinese investment in Zimbabwe is estimated to be billions of dollars..."\

Ah, but someone should remind Mr. Mugabe "There is no such thing as a free lunch".
Chinese ties will have to bring back money or they will stop investing.

And someone should warn China that "if you feed and care for a dog, he will not bite the hand that feeds you; that is the difference between a dog and a man"...

Mugabe is trying to nationalize the mainly South African funded mines. If he will steal from his main support on that continent, why does China think they will be immune to having their businesses confiscated?

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Using plays to educate traditional healers

Too depressing to post...trying to educate traditional healers NOT to tell men to rape virgins to be cured of HIV...

More white farmers face eviction in Zim

"....n September ZimOnline reported that the Zimbabwean government had renewed seizing white-owned farms, despite official statements that the process had ended.

"Your farm has been acquired by the government and we therefore request you to wind up your business before the start of the rainy season," Masvingo provincial governor Willard Chiwewe wrote to local farmer John Sparrow.

"You are advised to comply with this order since you risk being forcibly removed ... We also take this opportunity to tell you that you are not allowed to move out with any of your farming equipment," the letter added.

This was despite the government saying that farm evictions had ended as it was concentrating on raising production on land already acquired from whites.

Influential Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Governor Gideon Gono, as well as vice-presidents Joseph Msika and Joice Mujuru, on separate occasions this year publicly called for an end to farm evictions.

A former official of the white-representative Commercial Farmers' Union in Masvingo, Mike Nickson, described the situation as unbearable. Farmers had no option but "to surrender our properties in order to save our lives", he added.

Under the government's land-seizure laws, a farmer cannot challenge the expropriation of his land by the government in court and faces jail for removing equipment from the farm. -- Sapa-AFP

Mortality of children under five rises

"..Reports from Zimbabwe's Central Statistical Office and the United Nations Children's Fund, or UNICEF, show a significant increase in early childhood mortality.

The Statistical Office’s Demographic Health Survey report shows that child mortality rose from 59 deaths per 1,000 live births in 1985 to 102 for every 1,000 live births in 1999. A UNICEF report said that the under-five mortality rate continued to rise in more recent years, to 129 deaths per 1,000 live births in 2004.

Health and Child Welfare Minister David Parirenyatwa was quoted in the government-controlled Herald newspaper Tuesday as saying the rising death toll could be blamed on prohibitive hospital fees....

...Dr. Henry Madzorere, secretary for health in the opposition Movement for Democratic Change faction led by Morgan Tsvangirai...said many factors have contributed to the rise in child mortality, but the poverty and malnutrition resulting from Harare's economic policies are the most important...."

Zambia exports maize to Zim

"... ZAMBIA has exported 100 tons of corn to its food-starved neighbour, Zimbabwe, worth $24.8m, it has been revealed.

Ben Kapita, Zambia's Agriculture Minister said the sale was aimed at helping Zimbabwe, once southern Africa's breadbasket, but now critically short of food including maize, the national staple..."

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Air Zim ticket prices rise 500 percent

Bad news: Prices up 500 percent.

Good news: It's a lot lower than the inflation rate, which is 2000 percent

Friday, October 20, 2006

Massacre causes old wound that still inflames political tensions

"...A government spokesman's remark that he has no regrets over the masscare of about 20,000 people by Zimbabwean security forces nearly 20 years ago is reopening old wounds and pitting the country's deputy president against President Robert Mugabe.

ZANU-PF spokesman Nathan Shamuyarira made the comments during a recent workshop in Manicaland Province, bordering Mozambique, almost two decades after a five-year reign of terror in the southern provinces of Midlands and Matabeleland by Zimbabwean soldiers of Five Brigade, who were trained by North Korea....

Shamuyarira's recent statement that he had no regrets about the killings raised the ire of vice-president Joseph Msika, whose politics are rooted in Nkomo's PF-ZAPU....

A grouping of people affected by the 1980s genocide issued a statement condemning Shamuyarira for trying to inflame ethnic divisions among Zimbabweans.

"By claiming that Gukurahundi soldiers were protecting the people, when exactly the opposite happened, is not only false but very provocative. The people of Zimbabwe cannot be blackmailed any more by such tribally motivated chauvinism, meant to mask murder, rape and brutality. It is our sincere belief that the crimes and sins of Gukurahundi fall squarely on the perpetrators and their apologists, and are not transferable to all Shona-speaking people - as the cunning tribalists would want in order to create ethnic animosities," the statement said....

Zim trade unionist receive award for courage

"...Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions Second Vice President Thabitha Khumalo has received one of four Window to the World Awards bestowed by Britain's Women of the Year organization and sponsored by glass products manufacturer Pilkington.

The Window to the World award recognises women who have worked in dangerous and intimidating environments. The trade unionist has been harrassed by police on a number of occasion while working to advance the rights of women and workers..."

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Hunger, evil spirits and Apostolic preachers

Summary: Lots of malnutrition.

Now, in Mashona society, when someone gets thinner and thinner, it is often attributed to witchcraft...also many diseases are attributed to witchcraft.

And with malnutrtion increasing, we see the "apostolic" preachers filling the void of traditional exorcism in place of the n'anga..."apostolic" churches combine African beliefs (polygamy, faith healing via ceremonies) with Christian/biblical beliefs.

zimbabweans flood across limpopo

"...All along the border, police arrest Zimbabwean migrants who fail to verify their identity or legal status, often assaulting them and extorting money, according to a new report by the international rights watchdog group Human Rights Watch.

Many people drown or are taken by crocodiles, as they attempt to cross the Limpopo under cover of darkness; some are crushed to death by elephants. The river was memorably described by Rudyard Kipling as the "great, grey-green, greasy” Limpopo but in 2006 it is a wild zone of people-smugglers, corrupt security forces and a never-ending flow of illicit human traffic across the water.

The report, "Unprotected Migrants: Zimbabweans in South Africa's Limpopo Province", said Zimbabweans continue to stream into South Africa to escape their own country's deteriorating economic and political conditions. It said the vulnerability of the estimated 1.2 to three million Zimbabweans now living in South Africa is made worse by their frequent lack of legal status, effectively making them refugees...."

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Using Africa as a publicity stunt

As pop stars flock to Africa, camera men and reporters in tow, is there short term largesse actually helping anyone?

"...."We're talking about building constituencies of interest," says Jeannie Zielinkski, country director for the international aid group CARE, responsible for aid programs in South Africa, Lesotho and Swaziland. "If I made a funding appeal myself, I would only be singing to the choir, those who already care about Africa. How effective is that? But you get a celebrity singing a totally different song, reaching a much wider crowd, to me that is really useful."

What stars have done for Africa

In the troubled Sudanese region of Darfur - where hundreds of thousands of Sudanese have been killed, and millions of refugees live in makeshift camps - actors George Clooney, Don Cheadle, and Mia Farrow have visited, raised money, and spoken before Congress on the need to stop what many see as a genocide of Sudanese minorities.

In the Democratic Republic of Congo, Jessica Lange and Angelina Jolie have visited burgeoning camps of people displaced by a decade of civil war, where perhaps 4 million were killed.

British pop singer Bono, of the rock group U2, has set up a Washington-based pressure group called DATA, which lobbies in the halls of Congress and in European capitals for debt relief among Africa's poorest nations. He's also launched high-end "ethical clothing" labels that promise fair working conditions in African textile factories....

Aside from emergency relief - such as the famines in the Horn of Africa, the tsunami in Indonesia, and the earthquake in Kashmir - donors need to completely rethink how aid is given, says Ross Herbert, a political analyst at the South African Institute for International Affairs in Johannesburg. He says much more aid needs to be directed toward helping African economies become self-sufficient.

"The best way to help fix the lives of women is to get them jobs," Mr. Herbert says. "Bob Geldof [the rock star who organized the Live Aid concerts of the 1980s] came back to Africa 20 years later and asked what had changed. He was appalled."

"I think too much aid is based on the donor nations and agencies wanting to look good, so they choose the most poverty-stricken place and try to alleviate the conditions there," says Herbert. "That might make them look good, but it's not doing something to fix Africa."

"Look, it's nice for [celebrities] to come and donate money," says Frank Maphutha, manager of a dry cleaning business in Johannesburg. He cites the rare positive example of Ms. Winfrey's school for children in Soweto, but adds that, "We need to see how the money is being used. I want to see the results."...

Zimbabwe ZCTU beatings

Friday, October 13, 2006

The most incredible lies

"....ERIC Schmidt, chief executive officer of Google, the world's most popular Internet search engine, has predicted the advent in five years' time of revolutionary new computer software that will -- hopefully -- make politicians think twice about what they say....

The existence of the online world had given ordinary people the power to challenge governments, the media and business.

My first reaction upon reading about this development was to feel deprived because Zimbabwe has neither the infrastructure nor the requisite levels of computer literacy to make it feasible for voters in all parts of the country to go online.

But then again, I soon realised that this new software was redundant in this country. Zimbabwean politicians have become so brazen about telling what legendary British statesman and orator, Winston Churchill, termed "terminological inexactitudes" that what the people in this country need is a device that would help them to recognise the rare occasions, if there are still any, when they are not being taken for a ride....
( here he mentions the health reforms, which weren't implemented, and the land reform, which benefitted only the rich cronies of the government)...

The point is that in those countries where government officials still accept that the electorate has the right to scrutinise, question and challenge their utterances and actions, a minister would not have the cheek to invoke a previously unknown legal dispensation to justify sweeping such a serious matter under the carpet. If Mpofu belonged to a government that still cared about the rights of the people, he would have known he would be challenged to say why the icala kaliboli concept cannot apply to all Zimbabweans suspected of breaking the law....

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Fury at Mugabe Approval of Police Beatings

"....Ordinary Zimbabweans are angry with President Robert Mugabe for what many are describing as unforgivable and irresponsible statements he has been making following the bone-breaking assault last month by his security forces on national trades union chief Wellington Chibebe and other top union leaders.

"Addressing a rented crowd bussed to Harare Airport, on his recent return from addressing the United Nations General Assembly in New York, Mugabe said he would continue to sanction the beating of labour leaders who disregard police orders.

"Rejecting widespread international condemnation of the assaults on the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions, ZCTU, leadership, Mugabe said his government has no apologies to make. "There are some [foreign countries and human rights groups] who think we are not independent, who think they can organise demonstrations and look for pot-bellied people like Chibebe to demonstrate.

"We cannot have a revolt to the system. Some are crying 'We were beaten up'. Yes, you were beaten up. When the police say move, move. If you don't move, you are inviting police to use force."........

.....Elsewhere, Joram Nyathi, editor of the weekly Zimbabwe Independent, one of the few remaining non-government newspapers, wrote in his regular column, "Who will protect us from a vengeful police force so emboldened by a culture of impunity that they can break people's skulls in broad daylight without any fear of prosecution?....

..."Police brutality has become the norm, especially among ordinary civilians who take the beatings for granted," wrote Nyathi. "When a president extols the virtues of police savagery it fills me with a sense of dread. Zimbabweans must be afraid, very afraid indeed. Mugabe has just opened for us the gates of Hell."

One prominent critic, however, said the trade unionists' attempted protest had been "just plain dumb". Professor George Ayittey, writing in the Zimbabwe Independent, said, "ZCTU leaders don't seem to have learned anything at all from their own experience or that of other African countries. Just because protest marches worked against the white colonialists, who were 'frightened' by a huge mass of black people, does not mean they will work against black neo-colonialists."....

Whatever happened to Didymus Mutasa?

....Between 1980 and 1990, Mutasa maintained his reputation as a fair man, full of charm and integrity as parliamentary speaker.

A major transformation was apparent by 2000 when Mugabe, furious that white commercial farmers had funded the opposition MDC, incited his supporters to invade farms and drive off their owners, triggering a catastrophic and continuing economic collapse.

In that same year, Mutasa was appointed anti-corruption minister. He stayed in the job for three years watching and doing little as a wave of alleged corruption swept higher and higher through government and the top reaches of the judiciary, defence forces, police and civil service.

Once profitable commercial farms confiscated from whites were among the main prizes taken by the new elite. Mutasa appropriated one of these farms in eastern Zimbabwe for himself and independent newspapers documented extensively how he and other ministers looted other farms of billions of Zimbabwe dollars worth of expensive equipment for resale or use on their own properties.....

... and less than a year later he became the second most powerful man in the land when Mugabe appointed him minister of national security and land affairs, positions that made him chief of the much feared Central Intelligence Organisation, CIO, and gave him responsibility for the country's controversial, chaotic and violent land reform programme.

In May 2005, in one of the earliest exercises of his new powers, Mutasa launched Operation Murambatsvina [Operation Drive Out the Filth], in which soldiers, police and government militias used extreme violence to destroy the homes of hundreds of thousands of poor people on the outer edges of the country's towns and cities. Mutasa presented Murambatsvina as a regeneration and renewal scheme to "clean up" urban areas. But most people who lost their homes were opposition supporters, and nearly a year-and-a-half later virtually nothing has been done to provide new homes for the estimated 700,000 to a million people who watched their houses being bulldozed, sledgehammered and set ablaze.

Anna Tibaijuka, the special envoy of United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan, lambasted Mutasa's operation as inhuman and a breach of national and international human rights laws.

Emboldened by the "success" of Murambatsvina, Mutasa, with the power of the much-feared and ubiquitous CIO as his weapon, began threatening to "physically eliminate" government opponents. To this end, he was accused by the remaining independent press in Zimbabwe of slapping a police officer in his home constituency of Rusape and of assaulting a man who dared to challenge his nomination as the ZANU candidate for Rusape.

When Walter Marwizi, a reporter for the independent weekly Zimbabwe Standard, investigated alleged corruption in the national security minister's home province, Manicaland, Mutasa threatened the journalist, "I will deal with you ruthlessly if you don't tell me your source [of the corruption story]. Make no mistake. I am sending my operatives and they will do a clean job."

Quietly, in recent weeks, Mutasa has relaunched Operation Murambatsvina, with yet more humble homes being torn down in urban suburbs by powerful organs of state.

Mutasa, who had once worked with Clutton-Brock, the Haddons and other devout white liberal Christians, to carve out an island of tolerance in a sea of bigotry and small-mindedness, regularly describes the handful of remaining white farmers as "filth" and recently vowed, "I will rid the country of remaining whites."

But when venting his ire he does not discriminate racially. Nobel Peace Prize winner and South African national icon, Anglican Archbishop Desmond Tutu, accused the Zimbabwe government of "making a mockery of African democracy." The CIO chief spat back, "Tutu is a puppet of the West, a vassal of imperialism and a lost soul."

Mutasa dismissed as another lost soul the Zimbabwean most widely tipped to succeed Tutu as a Nobel Peace Prize winner - Pius Ncube, the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Bulawayo, who has said the greatest service Mugabe can perform for his country is to let "the Lord take him away".

When Archbishop Ncube protested against the government for neglecting families who were starving to death in and around Bulawayo, Zimbabwe's second city, Mutasa replied, "A heathen man who lies through his teeth …The cleric has a psychological disease and needs to have his head examined because he is a liar."

Mutasa's most recent exploit was to launch his CIO and other security services against the country's trade union leaders as they prepared to demonstrate on the streets in September this year for living wages and proper anti-retroviral drug support for the millions of Zimbabweans facing death from AIDS. National trades union chief Wellington Chibebe and his top lieutenants sustained broken limbs when they were assaulted, without being charged, in a notorious police station and torture centre on the outskirts of Harare....

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Outcry over opposition MP sexist remarks

Mubhawu stated that: “It is against God's principles that men and women are equal”. He went on to say that the Domestic Violence Bill should look at the way women dress, because “some of the dressing by women is too inviting.”...

Political commentator Professor Stanford Mukasa wrote in an email; “Mr. Timothy Mubhawu’s comments, if he indeed was correctly quoted, were completely sexist, unfair to women, uncalled for and way out of line. We should all express our great indignation on this and call upon Mr. Mubhawu to withdraw them and apologize to women.”

Professor Mukasa said women are playing a leadership role in the struggle for democracy in Zimbabwe. And they are doing so under a male dominated culture that represses women.

He said the MDC offers the people of Zimbabwe a new hope for a Zimbabwe that is free of sexism, tribalism, ethnicity, exploitation and violation of basic human rights. ...

What is really amusing about all of this is that the traditional dress of the Mashona woman was...a leather apron.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Zim will never support "sell outs"

Isn't it nice that the state run papers let us know what people think?

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Saudi Arabia to invest in Kariba

a Saudi Arabian company is eyeing investment in Kariba and Gonarezhou national parks.

Rani Resorts, an Asian company which already has interests in mining, tourism, and wildlife in Zimbabwe, has shown interest in investing in the two national parks.

The company owns Stanley and Livingstone Hotel in Victoria Falls and is part of Victoria Falls Game Reserve.

The Government gave the company custody of four rhinos last weekend.

A local director of the company, Mr Tirivanhu Mudariki, told The Herald that a feasibility study was already underway to see how it could invest in Kariba and Gonarezhou national parks.

"This is a clear indication that the Look East Policy initiated by the Government is bearing fruit and once all the modalities have been worked upon, necessary announcements would be made," said Mr Mudariki, who is former Member of Parliament for Harare East.

Chairman of Rani Resorts Mr Adel Aujan, who flew into the country at the weekend, said his company was not only committed to tourism but to conservation of wildlife as well and would do all it can to assist Zimbabwe emerge out of the current challenges.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

russian investors visit Zim

A 48-member delegation of Russian business people and journalists was in Zimbabwe for a week to explore business opportunities, it was reported at the weekend.

The visit comes after unconfirmed reports last week that Air Zimbabwe was to replace its ageing fleet of three Boeing aircraft, possibly with planes from Russia.

Russian Ambassador to Zimbabwe Oleg Scherbak said the delegation on a week-long visit was keen to explore investment opportunities in the country. "These investors have various business interests ranging from transport, power and mining to tourism, telecommunications and agriculture," he said.

"The Russian journalists will meet local journalists from various media houses and will have an opportunity to share and exchange ideas. They will also have an opportunity to move around the country and establish the truth behind the negative publicity that Zimbabwe is currently receiving from some Western countries," said Scherbak.

He said another purpose of the visit was to select local journalists who would engage in similar programs in Russia.

"So far, over 32 local journalists have forwarded their applications, but we will only consider eight for selection. We will also look for local journalists who will further their studies in Russia and this will help to strengthen ties between the two countries," he said.

Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe public relations manager Kumbirai Nhongo said Zimbabwe would gain from the Russians' expertise and experience.

People in the West may not know about it, but there are many Africans who attended communist universities in the days before the fall of the USSR...so there is a long Russian influence there

HIV farmworkers forgotten

HARARE, 3 October (IRIN) - Little is being done to provide treatment and care for Zimbabwean farmworkers living with HIV/AIDS since the government launched its controversial fast-track land redistribution programme in 2000.Historically neglected, the chaotic reform programme and a series of bad droughts has deepened the vulnerability of the remaining farm labourers working the land.

On Bryne Farm, about 55km west of the capital, Harare, Lloyd Munapo*, 39, was diagnosed as HIV positive in 2001. He can no longer work and relies on his wife, Anna*, to get by. She is also HIV-positive, but can still join other labourers every morning in the fields."If she stays behind taking care of me here, we will both die of hunger.

The doctor told me to eat healthy foods, so we have to work for it at all costs," said Munapo.Due to the high death rates on farms, owners now give workers as little time as possible to bury loved ones or tend to the sick, claimed acting president of the Zimbabwe Farmers' Union (ZFU), Jabulani Gwaringa."It's now very common on most farms. If you give them [farmworkers] the whole day, production will suffer. It's now only a handful of workers who attend funerals these days, the rest will be working," said Gwaringa, who owns a farm in Mashonaland East Province.

The 1,200ha Bryne Farm, which produces maize, tobacco and cattle, was invaded by former Masvingo provincial governor Josaya Hungwe in 2001, who dislodged the previous owner, David Dobson. About 100 workers still live on the farm....

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Henrietta Ndebele RIP

....The death of the feisty late print journalist, broadcaster and later public relations practitioner, has robbed Zimbabwe of one of the few remaining dedicated television journalists.

Ndebele, who died aged 28 in her home city, Bulawayo, Thursday morning, was full of life....

Ndebele, in all these events, exuded self belief and for many young girls in Bulawayo and some parts of Matabeleland, she was the reason to go on.

She was an icon who touched their lives and at the same time reflected the national qualities in her work.

Perhaps the name Ndebele was the only way people realized she was from Matabeleland.

Her sweet voice on This Morning, broadcast between 06:00hrs and 08:00hrs Monday to Friday, on ZTV, was the reason why admirers saw the good things in broadcasting despite shoddy management and shambolic state of affairs at the national broadcaster.

Here was a bubbly, energetic and proud journalist who wooed viewers to her programmes through an infectious smile.

The smile was the arsenal! It hid all the agony that she had to endure to keep professionalism evident at ZBH....

Mugabe succession continues to roil ruling party ranks

President Robert Mugabe has publicly admonished the leadership of his ruling ZANU-PF not to fall out among themselves over his succession, telling them they are "free to throw their hats into the ring" on condition they do not create intra-party divisions.

The 82-year-old president and party leader expressed confidence that the leadership of the Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front could handle the issue.

But insiders said factionalism is fracturing the party down to the grass roots.

ZANU-PF brass are also jostling to replace first vice president Joseph Msika, 83, who is reportedly in poor health and expected to step down before too long.

In a related development, ZANU-PF spokesman Nathan Shamuyarira backed off from statements he made last week saying the anticipated 2008 presidential ballot would be postponed until 2010. The suggestion generated intense criticism from administration critics and the opposition. Shamuyarira said his comments were misinterpreted.

But influential ZANU-PF youths and some war veterans want Mr. Mugabe to stay on after 2008. Party Deputy Youth Secretary Saviour Kasukuwere told reporter Blessing Zulu of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that youth backs the current leadership.

Sunday, October 01, 2006


Desperate women in Zim trade sex for basic needs

The actual headline is :Desperate Zimbabweans Resort to “Transactional” Sex

Catastrophic decline of country’s economy fuels changing sexual habits.

But the article is detailing a sad fact that occurs in any country where women have no other way of supporting themselves, and in this case, it is not only the professional women, but ordinary women who prostitute themselves for the basic needs of their families.

Alas, since HIV is so high in Zim, the result will be a long term increase in HIV...

Kubatana has links to the protest here

Kubatana has links to many stories of the labour protest and even has a video of the police brutality HERE

Mrs. Matibenga's story is HERE

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