Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Christmas in Harare

the ZimbabweMail:

In his first Christmas message since he was appointed as Zimbabwe’s premier last February, Tsvangirai called on Zimbabweans to work together to ensure the success of the Global Political Agreement (GPA), a power-sharing pact that paved the way for the formation of the coalition government.

“Each one of us has a role to play in building this future by abiding by the rule of law, shunning corruption and embracing the concept of peaceful transition within the framework laid out in the GPA,” Tsvangirai said.

He implored Zimbabweans to ensure that 2010 would be a year of consolidating gains made during the first 10 months of the coalition government.

“By working together we will set an example for the region and the world that will illustrate what can be achieved by a people united by their belief that democracy will deliver development and that peace will bring prosperity,” he said.

thirty children of cult died from measles

from the VOA:

At least 30 children have died in eastern Zimbabwe where members of the Johanne Marange Apostolic Faith church have refused to allow their children to be vaccinated against the deadly communicable disease.

World Health Organization Country Representative Custodia Mandhlate said it is tragic that children are dying of a preventable disease. The outbreak is also affecting other provinces with 340 cases of measles reported.

Health Minister Henry Madzorera told VOA Studio 7 reporter Sandra Nyaira his ministry has been frustrated by the denial of access to children for vaccination by members of the Apostolic Faith Church and other religious sects.

thirty children of cult died from measles

from the VOA:

At least 30 children have died in eastern Zimbabwe where members of the Johanne Marange Apostolic Faith church have refused to allow their children to be vaccinated against the deadly communicable disease.

World Health Organization Country Representative Custodia Mandhlate said it is tragic that children are dying of a preventable disease. The outbreak is also affecting other provinces with 340 cases of measles reported.

Health Minister Henry Madzorera told VOA Studio 7 reporter Sandra Nyaira his ministry has been frustrated by the denial of access to children for vaccination by members of the Apostolic Faith Church and other religious sects.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Police stop worshippers at Anglican Service

from SWRadioAfrica

despite a court order they were stopped

Bishop Gandiya took over from Bishop Sebastian Bakare at a time the Church of the Province of Central Africa was locked in a dispute with Kunonga, the excommunicated pro-Mugabe bishop. Kunonga was sacked in 2007 after he attempted to unilaterally withdraw the Diocese of Harare from the Central African Province. Using police and ZANU PF militia he has been able to defy the mother church and continue holding onto Anglican property. This is also despite him claiming to have formed his own church and having appointed his own priests and bishops.

On Thursday Bishop Gandiya told us pro-Kunonga police units went around most of the Anglican parishes in the high density areas of Harare threatening parishioners who were trying to attend services on Christmas Eve. ‘They drove people out and stopped those that were trying to get in,’ Bishop Gandiya said. Those planning on attending services on Christmas Day were also threatened with arrest. All this despite an emergency court hearing in chambers last week Saturday which reconfirmed earlier court orders that property should be shared, until the matter is fully resolved in court.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Zim rivals clash over IMF Cash

from Al Jazeera:

The two main factions in Zimbabwe's unity government have clashed over how to spend half a billion dollars from the International Monetary Fund, in a dispute that could create further tensions in the already shaky coalition.

The country's finance minister, Tendai Biti, of the Movement for Democratic Change, has earmarked about $50m of the funds for agriculture,,,.

But farmers, many of whom support the Zanu-PF party of Robert Mugabe, Zimbabwe's president, say the government should spend the bulk of the funds on assisting new farmers.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

The Invisible suffering of farm workers

from Kubatana (archive):

It represents the views of only a small section of the 1.8 million people that lived and worked on Zimbabwe's commercial farms. However, the continued gathering of data means that in time we will be able to paint a detailed picture of the lives of farm workers across the country, as they struggled over the last nine years with State-sponsored invasions, torture, violent assaults, murders, rapes, evictions and other violations of the law and their rights. For the moment, though, the data presented here makes no claim to be statistically representative.

Nevertheless, what emerges makes sobering reading. The prevalence of human rights violations recorded by the sample in this survey is disturbing. The data also shows that earlier estimates by farmers of the violations experienced by their workers appear to be largely consistent with estimates made by the workers themselves. This lends further credibility to extremely high figures of violation prevalence. The fact, for example, that 1 in 10 of the present respondents report at least one murder amongst fellow farm workers, and that 38% of respondents report that children on the farms were forced to watch public beatings or torture, shows the extent to which Robert Mugabe's regime is responsible for an extensive series of crimes that were both widespread and systematic: the very definition of crimes against humanity.,,


The reason I posted this link was the end of the previous article mentioned Mugabe's land reform, describing it thus:

Mugabe's seizure of white-owned commercial farms to resettle landless blacks has been blamed for ruining the southern African country's once prosperous economy.

The veteran leader, in power since independence from Britain in 1980, denies the charges, saying the economic crisis was caused by Western countries opposed to his land reforms.

The reality of course was that a lot of folks lived on those farms, and instead of giving them the farm (e.g. as a coop, with the white farmer to advise them) they were often chased off and the farm given to big shots.

Nestle suspends Zim operations

from Reuter US:

HARARE, Dec 23 (Reuters) - Swiss food company Nestle's (NESN.VX) Zimbabwe unit has suspended operations, two months after pulling out of a deal to buy milk from a farm owned by President Robert Mugabe's family, state media reported on Wednesday.

"Nestle Zimbabwe has temporarily decided to shut down its factory," the state-controlled Herald newspaper quoted a company spokesperson saying.

If Grace can't sell her Blood Milk, no one can sell milk

Mugabe, Tsvangirai Agree on Zimbabwe Commissions, AFP Says

from Bloomberg news:

Dec. 22 (Bloomberg) -- Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai agreed on the appointment of commissioners to oversee reforms in the media, elections and human rights, Agence France-Presse reported, citing James Maridadi, the prime minister’s spokesman.

Agreement has not been reached yet on the appointment of a central bank governor and an attorney general, the news company quoted Maridadi said. Mugabe and Tsvangirai will meet again tomorrow to discuss these appointments, it said.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Musical interlude of the day

gimmo1000 translates in the comment section: this is shona from zimbabwe she is saying lets Celebrate coz the heavens have broght mercy for us, we have been given a baby boy Jesus Christ, so that we can be dilivered from our sins lets Celebrate, lets Celebrate

Monday, December 21, 2009

Violence in SA against Zimbabweans flares

from the NYTimes:

POLOKWANE, South Africa — Men in Westenburg Township went hunting Zimbabweans. They prowled its dirt roads by the truckload as night fell recently, brandishing clubs and throwing stones....

In May 2008, South Africa’s image as a home to people of all races and nationalities took a hard knock as xenophobic violence leapt from city to city, victimizing poor Africans who had sought asylum and opportunity in the region’s richest country...

Last week, South Africa’s president, Jacob Zuma, pleaded with his people to “embrace especially our African brothers and sisters, who usually bear the brunt of ill-treatment more than foreigners from other continents.” Navi Pillay, the United Nations high commissioner for human rights and a South African, this month called attacks on foreigners in her homeland “gravely alarming.”

The police here in the capital of Limpopo Province gathered up Zimbabweans that terrifying night two weeks ago and took them to the old Peter Mokaba stadium for safekeeping....

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Ghost workers earn 2 million dollars a month

from the Zim times

MASVINGO – More than 19 500 ghost workers were unearthed during the initial stages of the civil service audit which ended on Friday, December 18, amid fears that the figure might double as the inclusive government gears up to get rid of ghost government workers.

Nkala denies taking part in Gukurahundi

from SWRadioAfrica;

In spite of numerous reports of his involvement the veteran nationalist lays the blame squarely on ZANU PF’s Robert Mugabe and Emmerson Mnangagwa.

Speaking on the programme Hot Seat on Friday Nkala said: “In 1985 we had elections. After those elections I was appointed Minister of Home Affairs. It was during this time that through my influence in cabinet we made attempts to stop what was happening… it was me who went around removing the curfews.”

He said: “I am not the author and finisher of Gukurahundi. That question must be put to Mugabe and Emmerson Mnangagwa who was in charge of the CIO.”
Nkala denied threatening ZAPU at a rally in Stanley Square in Bulawayo, where he is alleged to have said ‘ZAPU must be eclipsed’, and giving ZANLA forces instructions to carry out an attack. It was statements like these that allegedly led to the Entumbane fights - the first disturbances that led to the Gukurahundi.
But Nkala also denied this, although he admitted that he advocated for ZAPU’s ‘political destruction’ but not military destruction. He said he would not be living in Matabeleland if he had ordered the killings of his own people.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Mugabe's workers storm Nestle

from SWRadioAfrica:

...In October this year pressure from human rights groups forced Nestle to stop accepting milk from Grace’s farm.,,,

But loyalists from Mugabe’s camp have continued their attempts to intimidate Nestle into accepting the milk. In October a group of ZANU PF youths tried to force the company to buy about 20 000 litres of milk from the farm....
Reserve Bank Governor Gideon Gono also entered the fray and responded by freezing the bank accounts of Nestle Zimbabwe, a week after the dairy firm stopped buying milk from Grace Mugabe...

On Thursday this week 6 employees from Grace’s farm, driving a white ERF truck, parked outside Nestlé’s headquarters along Park Lane and demanded to see ‘whoever is in charge so that they can deliver milk,’ it was reported... Meanwhile two South African managers working for a company that sold dairy equipment to Grace Mugabe, have been forced to leave the company.

Mugabe in Copenhagen

Via ABC (Australia)

Firebrand leaders Hugo Chavez, Evo Morales and Robert Mugabe turned up the heat at the UN climate talks, dumping the blame for global warming squarely at the feet of capitalism.

In speeches greeted with occasional ripples of applause, the long-term critics of Western policy lashed out at what they called the hypocrisy of the world's wealthy elite....

The anti-capitalist theme was picked up on by Mr Mugabe, Zimbabwe's veteran President, who is the target of Western sanctions over alleged human rights abuses.

"When these capitalist gods of carbon burp and belch their dangerous emissions, it's we, the lesser mortals of the developing sphere who gasp and sink and eventually die."

The 85-year-old said industrialised countries in the northern hemisphere which bore historical responsibility for global warming showed none of the zeal for punishing 'eco-offenders' that they did for abusers of human rights....

"Where are its sanctions for eco-offenders? When a country spits on the Kyoto Protocol by seeking to shrink from its diktats, or by simply refusing to accede to it, is it not violating the global rule of law," he added in reference to the core emissions treaty which the US has refused to sign....

Instapundit blog comments sarcastically:

If every leader did to his country what Mugabe has done, carbon emissions would drop dramatically, and yet leaders could still jet off to conferences and talk about how moral they are. And the conference organizers would treat them with respect.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Evil Mugabe honored guest in Copenhagen

from the NYPost:

WASHINGTON -- Zimbabwe dictator Robert Mugabe turned the UN climate-change summit in Copenhagen into a farce yesterday, laughing off the travel sanctions of Western governments and throwing the harsh disapproval of his Danish hosts back in their faces...
But the real reason for Mugabe's trip is that it's his only chance to go shopping in Europe while he's under an international travel ban, said Stanford Mukasa, a professor at Indiana University of Pennsylvania who has studied Zimbabwe and Mugabe...

Under the plans being considered at the UN conference, developed countries such as the United States and European nations will pay billions to Third World countries such as those in Africa to pay for the alleged effects of global warming.

According to African press accounts, Mugabe aims to offer strategies to curb the climate change he believes has caused protracted droughts, floods and erratic rains in Zimbabwe. But Mugabe has been widely condemned for disastrous management of his country's resources -- including stripping lands from competent farmers and giving them to cronies -- and turning Zimbabwe from Africa's breadbasket into a basket case.

Zim's 2008 election reatured systemic rape

From the Botswana Gazette:

(Johannesburg) – Members and supporters of President Robert Mugabe’s ZANU-PF party committed widespread, systematic rape in 2008 to terrorise the political opposition, said AIDS-Free World in “Electing to Rape: Sexual Terror in Mugabe’s Zimbabwe,” a report released last week. These crimes against humanity have received little public attention and the government has made no effort to hold the perpetrators accountable. A concerted regional effort is needed urgently to bring both high- and low-level perpetrators to justice.

The 64-page report is based on extensive interviews with 72 survivors and witnesses, and documents 380 rapes committed by 241 perpetrators across Zimbabwe’s 10 provinces. ZANU-PF supporters who carried out the attacks, including members of the “youth militia” and former soldiers in Zimbabwe’s war of liberation known as “war veterans,” identified themselves to their victims. All the women targeted were supporters of Morgan Tsvangirai’s opposition party, the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC)...

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Podcasts of interest

The Free Library of Philadelphia has podcasts of authors talking about their books.

Some African (or more likely African American) related themes:

Monday, December 14, 2009

Mugabe threatens to end coalition early

from the UKTelegraph

..."The inclusive government has a short life of 24 months," he said. "So we must be ready for the elections. We must win resoundingly and regain the constituents we lost [last year]."...

Mr Mugabe was forced to go into a coalition with the MDC last year after a poor election showing. But Zanu-PF retains control of the military, police, central bank and other organs of state, and the party clearly intends to do everything it can to stay in authority despite its plummeting public support.

Ratcheting up the pressure on the coalition, the party resolved at the weekend not to allow any discussion on replacing the reserve bank governor and attorney general, key issues for the MDC, which boycotted cabinet for three weeks last month.

everything to stay in power...and they control the police, the military, and the youth militia to make sure they stay in power.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Zim's "look East" policy

From Zim Independent via All Africa:


China, as one of the world's fastest growing economies, has a voracious appetite for Africa's vast and in some cases untapped natural resources. The first Focac summit was held in Beijing in 2000, followed by the second summit in Addis Ababa in 2003 and the third summit in Beijing in 2006....

Zimbabwe is well endowed with virtually every strategic mineral resource known to mankind; most of which is yet to be exploited.

China is acutely aware of Zimbabwe's strategic position as a sleeping economic giant with vast mineral and other natural resources. China has become the third largest commercial partner in Africa after the US and France.

There are about 450 Chinese-owned investment projects in Africa, most of them in resource extraction. Since the inception of the first Focac summit in 2000, the trade relationship between China and Africa has increased from US$10,5 billion to US$106 billion in 2008....


She boldly stated that African countries should be very careful and cautious when they enter economic and financial agreements with China. For obvious reasons, China would like to portray herself as Africa's "all weather friend".

Naturally, African dictators are very keen to enter economic relations with China mainly because China is hardly bothered about issues of governance, environmental sustainability and human rights.

These African dictators will tell you that aid from China is always without any strings attached. ...

If Africa fails to develop her own strategic economic agenda with the Chinese, the African continent will remain just a huge market for cheap imports from China whilst Africa's vast natural resources will continue to be plundered by the new capitalists from the East....

Red Cross asks for food aid

From the NYTimes:

The Red Cross says it needs $32 million to feed more than 200,000 Zimbabweans who have no access to hard currency in their country’s collapsed economy. The Red Cross’ Zimbabwe representative, Stephen Omollo, said Wednesday that markets had food, but that people could not afford to buy it. The Red Cross is distributing food vouchers that vendors can later exchange for cash. The United Nations also appealed this week for $378 million in aid

I'm Goin' to Denmark and I'm gonna ask for money

Zim Independent via AllAfrica:

PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe will next week take a 59-member delegation to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in Copenhagen, Denmark, while Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai's delegation will comprise 19 people putting a further strain on the country's financial resources....

This comes at a time when Finance minister, Tendai Biti, when presenting the 2010 budget decried the country's total expenditure on foreign trips which was put at US$28 million at the end of November...

Delegations from the two Zimbabwean leaders will join an advance party which is already at the summit, bringing the country's total representation to more than 80 people.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Trouble in China's little Africa

from the AsiaTimes Online:

...China has injected billions of dollars in aid and investment into the continent while at the same time giving a free pass on despotism and human-rights abuses to nations such as Zimbabwe and Sudan. Chinese merchants and laborers are also increasingly a presence. ...

A subplot often overlooked in this larger story, however, is the increasing number of Africans who have come to China to ply their trade...
The southern Chinese province of Guangdong, the country's (and much of the world's) manufacturing hub, has seen the largest influx of Africans, with most of them doing business in a single neighborhood in the provincial capital city of Guangzhou. An estimated 20,000 Africans now live in Guangzhou, with thousands more regularly streaming through the city as visitors who buy pirated DVDs and Chinese-made clothes, shoes, electronics and other products for resale back home. ...

(The article has a long section about traditional Chinese dislike of all foreigners, noting the African students in the 1960's had trouble, but then so did everyone else).

The African traders in Guangzhou, however, do not fit the usual expatriate profile. They are a foreign underclass generally living in shabby quarters and treated as second-class citizens and third-world poachers who are trying to elbow their way into the light of China's economic miracle.

Media stereotypes portray them as unreliable and untrustworthy, some taxi drivers refuse to pick them up and local police routinely harass them with visa checks, which only intensified in the run-up to the 2008 Olympics, hosted by Beijing. Since residency is all but impossible for an African to obtain and visas generally extend no longer than three months, many overstay, dodging police checks to remain in the country. ...

UN seeking $378M for food

from the WashingtonPost

U.N. deputy emergency aid chief Catherine Bragg said Monday at least 1.9 million Zimbabweans will need food aid in the first three months of 2010. Millions of others remain vulnerable from the erosion of basic services and livelihoods.

The U.N. also warned that cholera cases are re-emerging during the current rainy season. The water-borne disease killed more than 4,200 people last year...

Monday, December 07, 2009

Zim economy set to improve

from the BBC

Zimbabwe's first budget since its unity government began sharing power 10 months ago predicts a healthy economic future for the country.

Finance minister Tendai Biti said the economy would grow by 7% next year, after 10 years of sharp contraction.

He said growth would come from key sectors such as agriculture and mining.

Zimbabwe's biggest economic problem, stratospheric inflation, has been all but halted since hard currencies, such as the US dollar, were allowed. ,,,,

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Mutambara speaks

From the Zim Mail

"In my opinion, the starting point is to remove ignorance and to remove arrogance on the part of the West vis-à-vis what’s good for Africa," he said.

"So we, for example in this inclusive Govern-ment, we are guided by Sadc member countries, they said ‘do it in your country’s national interest’.

"Once they advise us to do that, we cannot succeed if we go up against them.

"So the greatest influence over the future of Zimbabwean politics lies not with the intervention of Western governments, but rather lies with Africa and the will of the African people," he said...

On elections, he said while the GPA said they should be held within two years of the signing of the agreement, what was more important was the creation of conditions so that the poll outcome would not be disputed.

Friday, December 04, 2009

New US HIV strategies for Africa

from NPR(US)

...new World Health Organization guidelines released Monday advised doctors to start giving patients AIDS drugs a year or two earlier than previously recommended, instantly adding another 3 to 5 million patients that qualify for treatment to the 5 million already waiting for AIDS drugs...

Since its launch in 2003, PEPFAR has been a game-changer in the provision of HIV care around the world, providing health services for more than 10 million people.

But many in the health field and the current administration say PEPFAR needs to be better integrated with other health services and needs to be paired with improvements in health systems to make lasting gains, a theme President Obama reinforced in May when he proposed his Global Health Initiative, which would build from PEPFAR but also include maternal and child health, as well as nutrition.

Under the new strategy "PEPFAR will be carefully and purposefully integrated with other health and development programs," the report stated and "will now emphasize the incorporation of health systems strengthening goals."

this sounds good, but what it means is that they will use PEPFAR to promote a Westernized idea of sex, with promiscuity and birth control, not just to high risk groups who are promiscuous, but to strict Muslim and Chrstian populations who would be aghast at the "safe sex is fine if you use a condom" idea. (never mind that the condoms deteriorate in the heat)

Monday, November 30, 2009

Zim airplane crashed in China

The crash was reported in the news here in Asia, and it made me wonder...then today, there were reports that some Americans were killed in the crash.

it was going to to Kyrgyzstan...???? both US and Russia have military bases there and there is a lot of smuggling to there, including heroin, but that usually goes across the border.
Wall Street Journal
Article has more:

Avient, whose Web site says it was founded in 1993, has drawn scrutiny in the past because of accusations that it has supplied weapons to conflicts in Africa. A United Nations report in 2002 said Avient had been involved in illegal actitivies in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The British government later investigated the charges but didn't find evidence supporting them. The company has since been accused of other illicit activities by think-tanks that investigate conflicts around the world.

Mr. Clarke at Avient denied all accusations against the company. "We do not carry arms and ammunition," he said...

The rest of the article is about the aircraft involved, which is a tricky plane to fly, and why.

Mutsekwa orders arrest of killer Mwale

From SWRadioAfrica

Co-Home Affairs Minister Giles Mutsekwa has ordered the police to arrest notorious state security operative Joseph Mwale, who is accused of murdering two MDC activists at Murambinda Growth Point in 2000. Tichaona Chiminya and Talent Mabika were brutally killed when Mwale threw a petrol bomb into their car, burning them to death. Kainos Kitsiyatota Zimunya, another ZANU PF activist, was also implicated in the murder.

Despite a High Court order to have Mwale arrested and charged with murder he has remained at large,

Friday, November 27, 2009

Selling Africa

two links via Afrikasources

Stop the Land Grab

To date, more than 40 million hectares have changed hands or are under negotiation -- 20 million of which in Africa alone. And we calculate that over $100 billion have been put on the table to make it happen. Despite the governmental grease here or there, these deals are mainly signed and carried out by private corporations, in collusion with host country officials. GRAIN has compiled various sample data sets of who the land grabbers are and what the deals cover, but most of the information is kept secret from the public, for fear of political backlash.

Nothing in this race for farmlands in the South is in the interest of local communities, whether you're talking about Pakistan, Cambodia, the Philippines, Madagascar, Kenya, Sudan, Ethiopia or Mali. Many of these countries are tremendously food insecure themselves. And these land grabs are designed to do away with small scale farming, not to improve it. If only for that reason alone, this new global land grab has been quickly seen by social movements as a recipe for profound conflict -- over not only land, but water as well.

Today in Rome, we have a microcosm of this conflict. Over at the FAO, governments, international agencies (like the World Bank) and private companies (like Yara, Bunge and Dreyfus) are trying to work out what they call codes of conduct or voluntary guidelines to make these deals “win-win”. Their main concern is the money. They don't want the dollars and the dirhams being put on the table for farmland acquisitions to run away. So they have constructed an opportunistic response: to make these land deals “work” by managing the risks involved. And we know why. After 50 years of agricultural modernisation schemes like the Green Revolution and biotechnology, and the last 30 years of broader structural adjustment programmes, we have more hungry people on the planet than ever. It's plain knowledge that all these programmes to supposedly feed the world have backfired. Unfortunately, the World Bank and others have now decided that the best option is to fly forward, follow the money and install large scale agribusiness operations everywhere, particularly where they have not taken root yet, in order to fix the problem. That is the essence of the land grab paradigm: to expand and entrench the Western model of large scale commodity value chains. In other words: more corporate-controlled food production for export.

The whole article is an "Ain't it awful"...
The part against the green revolution is typical: Note that part about more people hungry? Well, it's because there are more people (i.e. they haven't starved to death). The actual number of hungry people is lower.

Nowadays, the only people starving are in failed countries such as North Korea or Zimbabwe, and it is due to failed governments

Ghadaffi asks to stop African land grab.

But U.N. officials said investments in land could also benefit small farmers in the developing world.

"It is a wrong language to call them land grabs. Those are investments in farmland like investments in oil exploration," said Kanayo Nwanze, who heads the U.N. International Fund for Agricultural Development. "We can have win-win situations."

Earlier this year the International Food Policy Research Institute, a Washington-based think-tank, said that since 2006 15-20 million hectares of land in poor countries had been sold or were under negotiations for sale to foreign buyers.

Supporters of such deals say they provide new seeds, technology and money for agriculture in economies that have suffered from under-investment for decades.

FAO Director-General Jacques Diouf told the summit "private investment should be encouraged," both domestic and foreign, but rules were required "preferably within the spirit of a code of conduct on agricultural investment in developing countries."

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

New Social sector data


...The data showed a 20 per cent increase in under five mortality since 1990, the baseline year for the Millennium Development Goals, with children in rural areas and those in the poorest one fifth of the population being the most vulnerable. Major causes of death of children under 5 are HIV/AIDS, newborn disorders, pneumonia and diarrhoea.

The survey also showed startling data that 1 in 2 pregnant women in rural areas were now delivering at home and that 39 per cent nationally were not accessing the requisite medical facilities for delivery, while 40 per cent where not attended to at birth by a skilled attendant posing huge dangers for both mothers and newborns. These findings confirm the result of previous research indicating that user fees and other financial barriers are limiting women’s access to life-saving obstetric services.

In addition data from the national survey which had a sample size of 12,500 households in Zimbabwe, revealed stark disparities between the rich and poor with the lowest quintile being the hardest hit in terms of access to critical services in health and education.

Current data also revealed limited support to the country’s orphaned and vulnerable children, with 79 per cent not receiving any form of external assistance. Further, around two-thirds of all children in the country do not possess birth certificates....

Monday, November 23, 2009

WOZA women win award

from the AP

WASHINGTON — After the beatings by President Robert Mugabe's policemen, the overcrowded, lice-ridden jail cells, the degradation of nightly strip-searches, Jenni Williams and Magondonga Mahlangu still cling to hope for Zimbabwe.

They talk of hope that the devastated country still may be able to write a homegrown constitution, which would lead to real elections and recovery from the depths that a decade of increasingly malign misrule has dug....

it's a good article...go to link.

China-Zim farming

from the Herald.

"There are indeed ongoing negotiations for contract farming arrangements in the agricultural sector. The greatest impact of Chinese involvement in Zimbabwe has been in the agricultural sector, which as you know is the backbone of the economy," he said....

Apart from the support in agriculture, China has also supported the countriy's mining and manufacturing sectors with the China-Africa Development Fund acquiring shareholdings in Zimasco and uranium joint ventures with the Zimbabwe Mining Development Company.

Chinese Ambassador to Zimbabwe Mr Xin Shunkang, yesterday said they had provided at least US$300 million to the country in the past three years and urged the strengthening of ties between the two countries....

Hmmm....wonder how much will actually get to help the people of Zimbabwe?

Here in the Philippines, a multimillion dollar "Chinese broad band" contract fell through after a whistle blower thought that a 40
percent kick back was just too high...(the usual kick back/bribe here in the philippines is 20 percent of a contract going to politicians)

Of course, none of the money went to our lovely president (but her husband was probably involved)

Saturday, November 21, 2009

MDC claims ZANU PF terror campaign

from SWRadioAfrica

...The MDC has accused ZANU PF of mobilizing its militia to re-open torture bases countrywide, to intimidate the electorate into accepting the controversial Kariba Draft constitution. Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s party says it has unearthed evidence that meetings are being convened to revive terror squads to harass, intimidate and torture people to endorse the draft constitutional document, which leaves sweeping presidential powers largely intact....
At Chief Nhema’s homestead in Zaka North, Masvingo, ZANU PF official Shenu Jeya openly told villagers that all militia bases set up last year during the violent presidential run-off had to be re-opened. Another meeting in Murehwa at Zihute Hall saw one district chairman, known as Siwela, telling the gathering that ‘if they heard their neighbours screaming at night, they should remain indoors.’ He also warned that ZANU PF youths were monitoring the movements of everyone in the area.

In the mining town of Bindura, where Tsvangirai began his career as a mine foreman, 43 war veterans called for a meeting at Killstone Farm. The meeting was chaired by a retired army colonel known as Siya, who said it was impossible to convince the electorate to vote for the Kariba Draft and as a result it was necessary to use violence. The MDC say similar meetings are being held in all the country’s 10 provinces.,,,

Tsvangirai will discuss Zim with Libyan leader

from Reuters:

The MDC leader said he was going to Morocco for diplomatic engagements and would also meet Gaddafi, chairman of the African Union (AU), during his five-day trip to North Africa.

"The AU is one of the guarantors of the GPA (Global Political Agreement) so I am taking advantage of being in that region to brief the chairman of the AU on the developments in the country, what progress we are making and SADC's progress in dealing with the outstanding issues," he told journalists.

Political analysts say Tsvangirai's talks with the AU chairman will help him to maintain diplomatic pressure on Mugabe to honor the power-sharing agreement. Mugabe and Gaddafi have strong political ties.

Friday, November 20, 2009

China and African Science

from the Scientist

At the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation in Egypt, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao told attendees that the country would create a science and technology partnership with Africa, which would entail carrying out 100 joint research projects and training 100 African postdocs in China, reported the Chinese news agency Xinhua. Jiabao promised to provide $73 million worth of medical and research equipment to help improve health care and support malaria research. The country also highlighted the need for clean energy cooperation between the two regions, and said it would set up 100 clean energy projects on the continent.

The Chinese leader also promised to boost efforts already underway in Africa to build food security and increase agricultural research. Two years ago, China said it would build 10 multi-million-dollar Africa-based agricultural technology centers, but now says it will up that number to 20...

World Poverty Down: Except in Africa

the big question: Why does Africa lag behind Asia?

from SmartPlanet:

Perry adds that while the authors don’t explore the reasons for the record reduction in world poverty, much of this lifting of global growth can be attributed to globalization, market-based reforms, liberalization, Information Age technology, productivity gains in agriculture, and the collapse of central planning in China and India.”

The opportunities generated by the global economy are now reaching into every corner of the world. It’s smart business to recognize that both robust producer and consumer markets now exist across much of the world, and information technology brings these markets as close as if they were next door.....

Saturday, November 14, 2009

MDC says soldiers beat up orphans

from SWRadioAfrica:


The Changing Times newsletter spoke to Charles Ncube who runs the Thuthuka Orphanage, and he confirmed that soldiers wielding AK-47 rifles arrived in an army truck and forced their way into the premises. They accused authorities at the centre of habouring MDC activists.

But Ncube says they suspected that a ‘disgruntled’ soldier, named only as Tafadzwa, may have been behind the raid. Tafadzwa is said to have visited the orphanage trying ‘to propose love’ to a 15 year old girl at the centre but was turned away by authorities. He later returned with a dozen soldiers as reinforcements and they unleashed ‘an orgy of indiscriminate violence at the orphanage leaving scores of children nursing injuries,’ with 7 of them said to be in serious condition....

Bennett case

from the NYTimes

Lawyers for Roy Bennett, a leader in the opposition Movement for Democratic Change who faces terrorism charges, asked the trial judge, Chinembiri Bhunu, to recuse himself on the grounds that comments he made in a related 2006 case showed bias. In that case, against the man who is now the state’s key witness, and who says he was tortured to implicate Mr. Bennett, the judge denied bail and said there was “overwhelming evidence” against the man, who was later acquitted by a different judge.

Khama urges new elections to overcome impass

from Zimbabwejournalist.com

IN a state of the nation address on Friday, Botswana President Ian Khama said in Gaborone that if the political impasse in Zimbabwe cannot be resolved, the best solution is to hold fresh elections.

In the absence of genuine partnership, it would be better for all parties to return to the people. For they are the ultimate authority to determine who should form the Government of Zimbabwe, he said....

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Zim Union head arrested

from the times SA

Lovemore Matombo, president of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions, and two of his colleagues, Michael Kandakutu and Percy Mcijo, were arrested in the north-western resort town of Victoria Falls on Sunday for "holding a meeting without notifying police," their lawyer, Kucaca Pulu, said.

Union officials said Matombo was arrested on the first stop of a tour of the country to consult with union members.

His is the latest in a series of arrests in the last three weeks that have included the heads of the country's umbrella organisation for civil society bodies, a senior human rights lawyer and an official from the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) official who was found to have been tortured. ..

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Sokwanele: Violence in Zim

From ZigWatch (sokwanele)

October has been a month characterised by violence, lawlessness, corruption and the complete abuse of power for partisan and personal objectives. Despite Robert Mugabe’s outrageous claim to the contrary, Sokwanele has logged an incredible 3850 breaches of the GPA by Zanu PF since the start of the ZIG Watch project, making this party responsible for 88.8% of all breaches logged up until the end of October.

the article then gives details on retribution to Nestle for not buying Grace's milk, and the Roy Bennett case, and the deportation of the UN representative who was investigating torture.

Slap on the wrist for Zim's Blood diamonds

editorial at ALL AFRICA.com

...Last week the Kimberley Process -- the name by which the initiative is popularly known -- convened a summit to try to convince Zimbabwe to suspend itself from membership of the process after the country's soldiers allegedly killed more than 200 miners in an operation to seize control of the Marange fields late last year.

But the summit's host government, Namibia -- unwilling to be perceived as a 'puppet of the West' -- would not stand up to the government of President Robert Mugabe, even though the credibility of the Kimberley Process depended on it. So the summit granted Zimbabwe eight months to sort itself out....

Saturday, November 07, 2009

The problem with NIgeria

Ralph Peters at the NYPost includes this snip about Nigeria in his column:

Nigeria: It ain't just about e-mail scams. Nigeria's one of the key oil producers on which our security and your daily commute depend. A government amnesty initiative for the rebels who've been attacking Niger Delta oil installations for years shows some promise of cooling the conflict. (There's been massive environmental damage, too -- where's the left's outrage?)

But big issues remain between the brutalized Christian tribes of Nigeria's oil states, who've seen their oil wealth stolen, and a thieving central government unjustly tilted toward the Muslim north. Nigeria's vastly more important to our well-being than Afghanistan, yet the crisis gets little coverage. Wouldn't want to offend any viciously corrupt Muslims . . .

Friday, November 06, 2009

Harare council police go on rampage

from SWRadioAfrica

. Problems started when a small group of council police officers went on the rampage at the terminus looking for illegal touts, people who ‘assist’ bus conductors and drivers to fill the vehicles with passengers...

Muchemwa said two truckloads of council police, numbering about 50, returned and ran around beating people, again randomly. He said they beat up almost everybody in sight, including some school children and the elderly. This incensed the public even more, resulting in the running battles, especially from many youths who pelted the police with stones in retaliation. Several people are said to have been injured and a number of commuter buses damaged....

Tsvangirai ends boycott

from AlJazeerah


Tsvangirai's decision on Thursday followed a meeting in Maputo, Mozambique, with members of the Southern African Development Community (SADC).

"We have suspended our disengagement from the GPA (Global Political Agreement) with immediate effect and we will give President Robert Mugabe 30 days to implement the agreement on the pertinent issues we are concerned about," he told reporters.

He said his return to the cabinet would give the southern African group time to mediate.

no mention of violence or jailing by the government...

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Grabbing up Africa's land

Via the Sydney Morning Herald (Australia):

...The food rights campaign officer for Action Aid, Alex Wijeratna, said: ''There's a new scramble for land in Africa. It's growing at an incredible rate. There's massive secrecy, poor communities can't get information and they're not being consulted....

Earlier this year the legendary speculator George Soros highlighted a new farmland-buying frenzy ... South Korea has bought huge areas of Madagascar, while Chinese interests have bought large swathes of Senegal to supply it with sesame.

''I'm convinced farmland is going to be one of the best investments of our time,'' Mr Soros said. ''Eventually … the bull market will end. But that's a long ways away yet.''

I'm not sure what to make of all of this: foreign investment and agribusiness is a no no to greens and local small farmers, but without agribusiness and modern techniques, Africa will continue to starve...my main question is if the aim is to sell to locals and make a profit or to export it while locals starve...

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Regional summit set for Thursday

the AP reports that there will be a regional summit on Thursday, of the Southern African Development Community. including South Africa, Mozambique, Swaziland and Zambia,

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Timid SADC can learn from ECOWAS

from Nehanda Radio\\.

Even as he headed for South Africa for the first in a series of meetings he hopes to hold with regional leaders, Tsvangirai would have known that there was no hope of the Southern African Development Community adopting a stance against Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe as tough as the one taken by Ecowas on Saturday against the leaders of Guinea and Niger.

In case you have missed your continental news, here is an update: Following the massacre of, reportedly, more than 150 people at an opposition rally in Guinea last month, Ecowas convened an emergency summit in Abuja on Friday.... the Ecowas meeting was no talking-shop.

West African leaders, headed by Nigeria’s Umaru Yar’adua, reacted by slapping Captain Moussa Dadis Camara’s regime with an arms embargo.

They also mandated Yar’Adua to lobby the African Union, the European Union and other international bodies to do the same.

In a statement issued after the summit, Ecowas described the state-sponsored violence in Guinea as a “real threat to the peace, security and stability” of the entire West African region...

Despite calls for help from a desperate MDC, the SADC has done very little to ensure that Mugabe meets his end of the bargain.

Mugabe faces losing gem lifeline

from the UKGuardian

Members of the international diamond watchdog, the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (KPCS), will consider suspending Zimbabwe for at least six months at a four-day meeting after a working party investigated the Chiadzwa fields in the east of the country.

A suspension would in effect stop the Zimbabwean government importing and exporting rough diamonds. However, the scheme is voluntary and the Zimbabwean authorities would be required to enforce it – the same authorities that are said to be heavily involved in illegal smuggling and violence at the mines.

Perhaps more importantly, a suspension would also put the onus on reputable traders and governments not to buy Zimbabwean diamonds,...

The government sent in troops in October last year after thousands of people descended on the site in a modern-day diamond rush. Soldiers beat and killed illegal panners as helicopters hovered above, shooting at miners.

Since then, the military has thrown a huge cordon round the site and is accused of using local people as virtual slaves to dig up the diamonds, which are then smuggled out of the country.

and to make things worse, the UK owners just won a court case when they asked for their mine back

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Bill Gates vs the Green lobby

fromFrontPageMagazine (a right wing US webpage)

...Greenpeace has long claimed GM foods increase allergies; however, the World Health Organization – hardly a corporate, capitalist shill – concluded, “No allergic effects have been found relative to GM foods currently on the market.” Although six EU nations ban GM foods, Jaap Satter, a senior policy adviser at the Dutch Agriculture Ministry, has said, “You cannot say anymore that there is a scientific reason to be against genetic modification.” The National Research Council summed up the situation: “no conceptual distinction exists between generic modification of plants and microorganisms by classical methods or by molecular techniques that modify DNA and transfer genes.”

Some environmentalists seem concerned the foods will be too successful at feeding the poor. Al Gore has worried, “The most lasting impact of biotechnology on the food supply may come not from something going wrong, but from all going right…we’re far more likely to accidentally drown ourselves in a sea of excess grain.” ,,,“The Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa was established by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation” and the Rockefeller Foundation in 2006 “with the objective of improving agriculture in Africa.” However, its leader, former UN secretary-general Kofi Annan, vowed in 2007: “We in the alliance will not incorporate GMOs [genetically modified organisms] in our programmes. We shall work with farmers using traditional seeds.”..

earth to greens: it is not an "either/or" question.

You can have factory farms to produce lots of GM food to feed the poor in the cities, while paying farmers to grow their traditional seeds.

If you got rid of the tsetse fly and used modern farming techniques, Africa could feed the world.

But getting rid of the tsetse fly would mean farmers destroying "game reserves" that warm the cockles of the rich western greens (who live in areas where their own wolves, carrier pidgeons and mammoths no longer survive thanks to men).

And I've seen too many TV shows by those who should know better lauding the "natural" tribal lives of the poor: ignoring of course little things like children dying of diarrhea, moms dying in childbirth, and the constant stomach aches from parasite infestation.

Organic products are labor intensive. Are they better? Perhaps, but the harvest is lower than modern methods, so you get less rice.

so although our family grows organic rice and veggies, the dirty little secret is that we sell the products at a price twice that of ordinary rice and veggies; the ordinary farmers are underpriced by Chinese and Vietnamese etc. farmers who do use lots of pesticides and fertilizers and use the best seeds available, and so can underprice local farmers.

there is a lot of money in all of this, as the article points out:
National Review’s Deroy Murdock found:

In 2001, the 30 leading anti-biotech groups…spent $341.4 million, including Greenpeace USA’s expenditure of $23,748,737, Environmental Defense’s $38,794,150 and the Natural Resources Defense Council’s $41,625,882. Between 1996 and 2001, this crusade’s lavish underwriters included the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation ($11,906,500), the Ford Foundation ($39,978,020) and the Pew Charitable Trusts ($130,996,900).

It also included a large portion of the organic food market. Somehow, this story of an industry trying to spike a competitor did not make MSNBC or the pages of Mother Jones.

Whatever the dangers, the prohibition of GM foods is a moral issue. As Velasio De Paolis of the Pontifical Urban University has said, it is “easy to say no to GM food if your stomach is full.”

Food Crisis set to worsen

from SwRadioAfrica

The food crisis that is threatening to leave millions of Zimbabweans once again facing severe hunger in the coming months is set to worsen, as the country’s remaining commercial farmers continue to come under both physical and legal attack....

Commercials farmers themselves have warned that a failed farming season is on the cards, as a direct result of the state sponsored, ongoing efforts, to drive farmers from their land. Since the formation of the unity government in February there has been an intensified wave of attacks on commercial land owners, by thugs working for top ZANU PF loyalists, all in the name of land ‘reform’.... This year alone, at least 80 farms have been seized, more than 150 farmers have faced prosecution and over sixty thousand farm workers have lost their jobs.

CFU President Deon Theron explained this week that the culprits behind the illegal land seizures are from all walks of state-connected life, including government ministers or related families, army, police and CIO officers and senior businessmen.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Two election support network members arrested

from SWRadioAfrica

...The Zimbabwe Election Support Network staff members, Thulani Ndhlovu and Ndodhana Ndhlovu, were arrested on Wednesday evening in Hwange’s Dete area, for conducting a public outreach workshop allegedly without police clearance. ZESN Board Chairman Tinoziva Bere denied they had conducted an illegal meeting, saying the group had received permission from the local traditional leadership and the district administrator’s office. He said Ndodhana was subsequently released but Thulani is still in police custody and is being charged with contravening a section of the Public Order and Security Act (POSA)....

UN official on torture denied entry into Zim

from the ZimbabweMail

Harare - Robert Mugabe's rogue Justice minister who claims to have invited UN rapporteur on torture Manfred Nowak to the country has accused the UN official of trying to sow division in the country's shaky unity government. ...

he took the last-minute decision to cancel Nowak's visit and that Nowak's insistence on pressing ahead with the trip was creating "a very bad spirit" between Harare and the UN....

Nowak flew into Harare anyway Wednesday evening on an invitation from Tsvangirai, but was refused entry at the airport and put on a plane back to Johannesburg.

"He (Nowak) should not have come," Chinamasa said.

"He wants to come on the invitation of the prime minister who has announced a partial pull-out from the government,"


From SWRadioAfrica: Deportation of UN official sparks diplomatic problem.

United Nations human rights expert, Manfred Nowak, was prevented from entering Zimbabwe on Wednesday and was deported, after spending the night at the airport, on the orders of ZANU PF.

Nowak had originally been invited by the government, but at the last minute, while he was in Johannesburg on his way to Harare, the invitation was withdrawn, because everyone was ‘too busy with the arrival of the SADC team’. But Prime Minister Tsvangirai sent a personal invitation.

Clarifying the fact that Mr. Tsvangirai has no power in the government at all, this invitation was completely ignored by authorities. On arrival at Harare airport Nowak was detained by security officials and told he had no clearance to enter the country. While he was being detained, Foreign Affairs Minister Simbarashe Mumbengegwi was actually at the airport receiving members of the SADC Troika ministerial team, but neither he, nor the SADC officials, did anything.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Tsvangirai, not Obama, deserved the Nobel Peace Prize

from AustinBay on StrategyPage.

"...Zimbabwe's Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai ought to have won the 2009 peace prize, and the fact he didn't is damning. Giants among us like Tsvangirai demonstrate that "peace warrior" is no oxymoron. Since the presidential election of 2008, which Zimbabwean dictator Robert Mugabe stole, Tsvangirai has provided a global lesson in physical courage and long-range vision.

Despite beatings, jail and the death of his wife, he has refused to let Mugabe's "machinery of violence" stall his steady, peaceful Movement for Democratic Change. A prime minister with little political power, Tsvangirai's adroit participation in a "unity government" has prevented (so far) a civil war. A Nobel would have provided protection for him, as well as forwarded his quest for peace. .."

Wednesday, October 28, 2009


We used to get MNET on our cable system (it disappeared last week ...they are readjusting their channels again).

So one would expect the African film industry to be centered in South Africa, which has had a film industry for years and has produced high quality films that are equal to any Hollywood production, from The Gods must be Crazy to District nine.

But while investigating an unrelated story on the internet, I ran into this article, on Christianity Today, about the film industry in "Nollywood" which produces many low budget DVD films with Christian themes...indeed, half the films are by Christian film studios.

List of films HERE.

The interesting thing is that, unlike Hollywood, which continues to use cameras and film, the locals are making movies using digital cameras and then marketing them directly via DVD.

and the UN claims that Nigeria is the second largest film producer in the world.

According to the UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS) survey, Bollywood – as the Mumbai-based film industry is known – produced 1,091 feature-length films in 2006. In comparison, Nigeria’s moviemakers, commonly known as Nollywood, came out with 872 productions – all in video format – while the United States produced 485 major films.

BBC article HERE, with feedback saying: We love the films because they mirror our lives, but others saying they lack production values and a decent story.

has photos of Nollywood Stars

this has nothing to do with Zimbabwe, but shows that if prosperity returns, that this is another business that Zim could encourage.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Police arrest NGO leaders for "illegal meeting"

from Bloomberg news:

Oct. 26 (Bloomberg) -- Zimbabwean police arrested two officials from the National Association of Non-Governmental Organizations for allegedly holding an illegal political meeting.

Dadirai Chikwengo, chairwoman of the organization, and Chief Executive Officer Cephas Zinhumwe were detained at Victoria Falls airport yesterday, Farai Ngirande, the group’s spokesman, said in a phone interview today from the capital, Harare. The group, known as Nango, is an umbrella organization for most of Zimbabwe’s non-governmental bodies.

“Police have accused them of holding an unauthorized political meeting, which is untrue,” Ngirande said, adding that the officials were in the resort town for a scheduled meeting.

Yesterday’s arrests follow a police raid on a Movement for Democratic Change house in Harare on Oct. 24.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Zimbabwe's crisis

from AlJazeerah

Zim police raid MDC house

from AlJazeera

...Speaking on Saturday, Biti said: "Last night, armed police numbering over 50 raided this residence on the pretext that they were looking for arms stolen from the police or the army.

"[They] ransacked every room and took a bunch of valuable party material from a room occupied by our organising secretary Morgan Komichi.

"They beat up the wife and sister of the caretaker before they started digging part of the garden ostensibly in search of weapons."...

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Nestle being pressured again

From SWRadioAfrica

International food giant Nestlé has this week come under growing pressure from groups loyal to Robert Mugabe and his family, to renew its recently severed commercial ties with the First Family....

Last week a group of youths tried to force the Zimbabwe branch of Nestlé to buy more than 20 000 litres milk from Gushongo Estate. It’s understood the group, led by Youth Minister Saviour Kasukuwere and his ZANU PF politburo member brother Tongai, tried to force Nestlé staff to offload the milk tanker that had been transported from Gushongo farm. But after a four hour stand off, including intense debate and negotiations with Nestlé Zimbabwe management, the tanker and the ZANU PF youth group were turned away.

A local black empowerment group then lashed out at Nestlé on Wednesday, saying the international group should be forced to sell its Harare branch to local blacks if it refuses to renew its relationship with Mrs Mugabe.//...

Zim faces power shortages

from Bloomberg

Oct. 23 (Bloomberg) -- Zimbabwe faces two weeks of “massive” electricity shortages while the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority closes a plant for maintenance, the state-owned Herald said, citing Fullard Gwasira, a Zesa spokesman.

Power generation at Kariba Hydropower Station will be slashed from 750 megawatts to 500 megawatts starting today,

more at article

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

MDC activist left for dead

from SWRadioAfrica:

A group numbering 20 youths, led by two well known war veterans named as Mudzamira and Nhongo, visited Mutizhe’s home and said they had ‘come back to finish him off’ after failing to do so in June last year.
MDC MP for Makoni South, Pishai Muchauraya, told SW Radio Africa that the gang first ransacked his house and took almost all his clothes and $450 he had in cash after selling two of his cows....

No awards for African leadership

from AlJazeerah:

The Mo Ibrahim Foundation, which annually hands out a $5 million prize for African good governance, has said it could not find anyone to award this year.

Last year, President Mogae of Botswana won it.

Two Al Jazeerah journalists detained

from the Zimbabwe mail, but no mention of it on Al Jazeerah so far.

The two journalists were first detained at a small police post located at Munhumutapa Building at around 09:00 am before being transferred to Harare Central Police Station.

Witnesses who saw the incident told this reporter that the security detail who detained the two journalists verbally harassed them and accused them of trying to show to the world the gaps created in the cabinet meeting room because of the boycott by Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) leader Morgan Tsvangirai and ministers from his party.

“They (security details) accused the journalists of being agents of regime change and of attempting to show the empty seats in cabinet to the whole world and make an impression that Tsvangirai is the boss in the coalition government,” said the witnesses.

The two journalists were only released at around 11:50 am after the intervention of President Robert Mugabe’s spokesperson and the permanent secretary in the Ministry of Media, Information and Publicity George Charamba. Charamba reportedly intervened after officials from Al Jazeera telephoned Charamba to enquire on the detention.

Cholera breaks out again

from the UKTimes

Summary...Some new cases...worries as the summer rainy season starts.

The sewers are not yet fixed, and with government squabbling, few foreign governments want to invest in the infrastructure.

The Zimbabwe Mail has more information on the outbreak

"...A senior Health Ministry official, Gerald Gwinji, told the state-controlled Herald that the five deaths had been recorded from 117 cases in the Manicaland, Mashonaland West and Midlands provinces.

"Most of the cases were recorded ... among religious objectors, who for a long time have been reluctant to seek medical attention," Gwinji said...."

There are some African/Christian cults in Zimbabwe (as there are in other areas of Africa) that rely on faith healing and don't use western medicine.

But of course, even if the deaths are from non treatment, the infection is spread via contaminated water.

Leaders to talk

from Reuters

...Welshman Ncube, Industry and Commerce Minister and secretary general of a splinter Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), told industrialists that Tsvangirai's decision to disengage from Mugabe ZANU-PF had shaken renewed investor confidence in the country. The MDC boycott has sparked the country's biggest political crisis since the formation of a new administration and while analysts say the decision may not mean the end of the fragile coalition, it will put pressure on regional leaders to act. "I am happy to say that in the last 48 hours the political leadership of the three political parties have resolved that they need to holistically look at the issues that have led to the current situation," Ncube said. "We hope that in the next two to three days there will be a meeting of the three leaders to discuss those issues." Ncube's boss and deputy prime minister Arthur Mutambara met Mugabe on Monday over the MDC boycott....

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Opposition boycotts unity government

from the NYTimes

...“It is our right to disengage from a dishonest and unreliable partner,” Mr. Tsvangirai said at a news conference in Harare, Zimbabwe’s capital.The catalyst for this step was the jailing Wednesday of Roy Bennett, Mr. Tsvangirai’s deputy agriculture minister-designate ...

Mr. Tsvangirai laid out a broad array of grievances. He accused Mr. Mugabe’s party, ZANU-PF, of selectively using the law to punish his legislators, putting 16,000 members of its youth militia on the government payroll and remilitarizing the countryside on bases used in last year’s discredited election to organize a campaign of terror against his supporters.

Although he stopped short of quitting the government, Mr. Tsvangirai warned that if the crisis was not resolved and a working relationship restored, he would call for elections supervised by the United Nations.

A former ZANU-PF information minister, Jonathan Moyo, who recently rejoined Mr. Mugabe’s party, said Friday that the M.D.C.’s decision to disengage would reduce the party and the prime minister to political irrelevance. ...

Thursday, October 15, 2009

More persecution of MDC

from SWRadioAfrica:

"...Prominent human rights lawyer Alec Muchadehama pleaded not guilty to charges of contempt of court on the first day of his trial in Harare...

The state alleges that in April this year, Muchadehama unlawfully facilitated ‘the improper release’ of three political detainees, Andrison Manyere from Chikurubi Maximum Prison, as well as Gandhi Mudzingwa and Kisimusi Dhlamini who were under hospital detention at the Avenues Clinic.

Mudzingwa is a former aide to Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and Chris Dhlamini is the Director of Security for the MDC, whilst Manyere is a freelance journalist. Prior to this, the trio had been in police custody since 2008 following their abduction by state security agents...

then we have:

"...Once again MDC official Roy Bennett has been placed in the firing line, further testing the validity of the Zimbabwe justice system under the power sharing government. On Wednesday Mutare Provincial Magistrate Lucy Mungwari delivered a judgment against the MDC Deputy Minister for Agriculture designate, committing him to prison pending trial in the High Court,,,.

In 2006 Bennett was accused of plotting to kill Robert Mugabe, he fled the country to South Africa where he was granted refugee status. The MDC official returned to Zimbabwe when the coalition government was formed in 2008, after he had been given assurances by senior officials in the South African government that it was safe for him to return to Zimbabwe. But the MDC Deputy Minister for Agriculture designate was arrested shortly after his return to Zimbabwe in February and on the day the new government was sworn in. .."

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Mugabe cronies dropped by state

From the AP


Deputy Attorney General Prince Machaya told The Associated Press on Sunday that the state will not represent officials being sued by prominent human rights activist Jestina Mukoko and eight others....

Finance minister issues ultimatum

from AFP

HARARE — Zimbabwe's finance minister Tendai Biti vowed on Monday that he would quit if he is asked to return the local dollar which was abandoned as the country fought a losing battle with hyperinflation.....

When it took office the new government abandoned the Zimbabwe dollar and adopted multiple foreign currencies as a measure to curb galloping inflation which forced thrice-daily price increases in some cases, rendering the local currency unusable.

The move saw shops which resembled empty sheds restocking although the foreign currency was hard to come by for the average citizen.

Mugabe hinted that he would ask Biti to bring back the Zimbabwe dollar saying the majority of the people had no access to foreign currency.

Biti said be was reluctant to join the inclusive government.

"I took this job because Mr Tsvangirai asked me to do it," the Herald quoted him as saying.

"Improbable" research looks at the trillion dollar basket

From the UKGuardian

The journal of improbable research usually reports on absurd things in science (for example, last week, a bra that turns into a gas mask won one of their prizes).

So this week's Improbable research column is about Zim's dollar:

Gideon Gono, author of the new book Zimbabwe's Casino Economy – Extraordinary Measures for Extraordinary Challenges, displays a rare, perhaps unique, kind of scholarly reserve. He is a scholar with a PhD from Atlantic International University. The US-based institution, which has mostly distance-learning courses, proclaims on its website: "Atlantic international university is not accredited by an accrediting agency recognised by the United States secretary of education." And he has reserve, or rather Reserve, with a capital "R". Since December 2003, Gono has been the governor of Zimbabwe's Reserve Bank.

Two weeks ago, Gono was awarded the 2009 Ig Nobel prize in mathematics. The Ig Nobel citation lauds him for giving people a simple, everyday way to cope with a wide range of numbers – from very small to very big – by having his bank print banknotes with denominations ranging from one cent to 100 trillion dollars.

During 2007 and 2008, Zimbabwe's inflation rate rose past Olympian heights: topping 231m%, by Gono's reckoning; and reaching 89,700,000,000tr%, according to a study done by Dr Steve H Hanke of Johns Hopkins University and the Cato Institute...

Gono modestly shares the credit, writing on the very first page: "I am especially indebted to my principal, President Robert Mugabe."...".

The book is, at heart, a 232-page literary fleshing-out of an 18-word statement issued by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe on 21 January 2008: "Blaming the government, the Reserve Bank or the governor all the time is unacceptable and will be met with serious consequences."

Personal update

I live in the rural Philippines, and although our farm and house were not affected by the flooding, many of our friends and neighbors were.

So keep us in your prayers.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Spain to encourage EU Zim dialogue

from AFP

MADRID — Spain on Thursday promised Zimbabwean Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai it would promote dialogue between the European Union and Harare during its upcoming EU presidency.

Tsvangirai, who is in Spain to receive a lifetime achievement award, met separately in Madrid with Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero and Foreign Minister Miguel Angel Moratinos....Moratinos also expressed Spain's "strong support for the stabilization process" underway in Zimbabwe "and for the democratic transition led by Tsvangirai himself, who represents the new Zimbabwe and is the hope of the African country's people," the foreign ministry said.

Friday, October 09, 2009

Tsavngirai wins two International awards

from SWRadioAfrica

Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai received a prestigious human rights award and a lifetime achievement award in Spain on Thursday. Tsvangirai’s spokesperson James Maridadi told SW Radio Africa from Spain that the International Bar Association has awarded the Prime Minister with their human rights award in recognition of his efforts to advance the cause of human rights in his country. Tsvangirai was also given the International Lifetime Achievement Award 2009 from the Spanish Foundation Cristóbal Gabarrón, for his fight for peace and democracy.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Neocolonialism or new prosperity?

from the Economist, a long article on China, Korea and the Gulf states investing in Africa and poor Asian countries, to grow crops for biofuel or food...

"...If you assume that the land, when developed, will yield roughly two tonnes of grain per hectare (which would be twice the African average but less than that of Europe, America and rich Asia), it would produce 30m-40m tonnes of cereals a year. That is a significant share of the world’s cereals trade of roughly 220m tonnes a year and would be more than enough to meet the appetite for grain imports in the Middle East....

China has set up 11 research stations in Africa to boost yields of staple crops. That is needed: sub-Saharan Africa spends much less than India on agricultural R&D. Even without new seed varieties or fancy drip-feed irrigation, investment should help farmers. One of the biggest constraints on African farming is the inability to borrow money for fertilisers. If new landlords just helped farmers get credit, it would make a big difference.

Yet a certain wariness ought to be maintained. Farming in Africa is hard. It breaks backs and the naive ambitions of outsiders. To judge by the scale of projects so far, the new investors seem to be pinning their hopes on creating technologically sophisticated large farms. These have worked well in Europe and the Americas. Paul Collier of Oxford University says Africa needs them too: “African peasant farming has fallen further and further behind the advancing commercial productivity frontier.”

But alas, the record of large farms in Africa has been poor. Those that have done best are now moving away from staple crops to higher-value things such as flowers and fruit. Mechanised farming schemes that grow staples have often ended with abandoned machinery rusting in the returning bush. Moreover, large farmers are often well-connected and spend more time lobbying for special favours than doing the hard work. ...
The deals produce losers as well as winners. Host governments usually claim that the land they are offering for sale or lease is vacant or owned by the state. That is not always true. “Empty” land often supports herders who graze animals on it. Land may be formally owned by the state but contain people who have farmed it for generations. Their customary rights are recognised locally, but often not accepted in law, or in the terms of a foreign-investment deal....

Monday, October 05, 2009

African tribal customs and rape in the DRC

from IWPR:

First part of article discusses the custom of a widow sleeping with her husband's brother to "get rid" of his spirit.

They then discuss teenaged marriage.
(sorry, but I am not shocked at 15 year olds marrying...some of my friends married at 16 and that was in the US).

They then discuss why men desert their wives for being raped:

Not because the women are unclean, but because the rape proves they are not man enough to protect her, so they discard her in shame.

They then discuss how men who can't afford to pay a bride price will "rape" the virgin so that under tribal law they have to marry her (without having to pay the dowry).

Again, I'm old enough to remember "shot gun weddings", where the couple gets pregnant so their parents have to allow them to marry.

Finally, they discuss the idea that a woman doesn't need an education, and that her duty is in the kitchen and to obey.

But in Africa, since educated girls bring a higher bride price, this may not be the case.

As to teaching girls that her duty is in the kitchen: The best comment on this was by humorist Erma Bombeck, who said that the woman's movement taught women that being a sales clerk in a store was a "higher" calling than bearing and raising a child or being a home maker.

so the article has very little to do with rape per se, and a lot to do with complaining about coerced sex under tribal customs.

China investing in African Agriculture

From the Asian Times:

China's growing appetite for African resources over the last decade is well documented. Indeed, China's massive industrial machine relies on oil from Angola, Sudan, and Nigeria, and minerals from South Africa, Zambia, and Liberia. While China maintains that its trade relationship with Africa is benign, some commentators see China's investment as a resource grab. In 2006, South African president Thabo Mbeki was notably frank when he warned that Africa could fall into a "colonial relationship" with China, leaving Africa "condemned to underdevelopment".

The latest iteration of the Sino-African relationship involves China's burgeoning interest in African agricultural resources...

Between 1995 and 2005, China provided at least US$12.5 billion in aid to Africa, canceled billions of dollars in debt, and constructed new roads, schools, government buildings, stadiums and hospitals across the continent. In return, Africa now supplies a third of China's oil...


China has indeed begun to put down substantial agricultural roots on the African continent. China's investment in Mozambique illustrates both its commitment to the agricultural sector and the diversity of Chinese investment in Africa. Through a series of agreements, China has pledged $800 million to modernize Mozambique's agricultural infrastructure and has financed the building of a dam and canal to bring water to arable land. Additionally, at least 100 Chinese agricultural experts are stationed in several research stations within Mozambique, working with local groups to increase crop yield and otherwise improve the performance of the agricultural sector. .... One estimate from the Chinese Ministry of Commerce puts the number of Chinese experts in Africa at over 1,100 and the number of farm laborers at over 1 million, dispersed throughout 18 countries. These Chinese experts help maintain at least 11 agricultural research stations and no less than 63 agricultural investment projects scattered over southern and eastern Africa....

(The criticism is that they will plant rice and ship it home, not help the African people)

In March 2009, the Chinese Academy of Agriculture (CCA) began a project funded by the Gates Foundation entitled "Green Super Rice for the Resource Poor of Asia and Africa". The project will bring high-yield rice varieties designed to withstand drought, flooding, harsh weather, and various toxins, to seven African countries. Working with several international organizations - including the Africa Rice Center - the CCA estimates that the project will increase rice production by 20% and will help feed 20 million poverty-stricken farmers in participating countries.

The height of irony: While western NGO's promote traditional farming, it is China that just might introduce the green revolution into Africa...

Trying to divert HIV funds for their own priorities

BBC today laments that HIV is "diverting" money from other priorities.

Bunch of nonsense of course. The "clinic next door" lacks equipment but can pay the salary of a physician? Why doesn't the government hire a medical assistant who can do deliveries and give IV and WHO rehydration fluid, and use the difference in salaries to buy supplies? And why are there no supplies (or shall I say: who stole the supplies?)

Then there is the lament: spend the money on safe drinking water.
This was made by a Euroweenie. Fine. Let their own country fund that project...nope, it's easier to criticize someone else.

What this all is about is population control, of course. Look at this: BBC complaining
The UN's special envoy on fighting Aids in Africa has accused the United States of endangering the gains Uganda has made in containing the disease.

Stephen Lewis told the BBC that Uganda - under pressure from Washington - was putting greater emphasis on abstinence to tackle the disease than condoms.

of course, if you bother to read the end of the article, Uganda is spending a lot of money on condoms too...the abstinence emphasis of course means that churches and mosques will cooperate with prevention.

and here is more: Obama will divert HIV funding to population control
Wood said that although President Bush's global health programs -- such as the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief -- have brought more HIV/AIDS treatment to developing countries than under any other president, spending requirements for abstinence-only education have hampered family planning and the prevention of sexually transmitted infections worldwide.

They are trying to push this on the Philippines: Sex is fine but use a condom...the low HIV rate here will of course baloon as teenagers are encouraged to have premarital sex, of course.

Our barangay chapel just buried a teenager who died at age sixteen of heavy vaginal bleeding from "cancer"...I suspect since she was away from school she was seduced and had an illegal abortion, and died from it.
The PC will say: She should have used a condom (but she probably did...they don't work well in the US for teenagers, so they probably don't work here either).
The real problem: A culture (MTV and US movies) that push promiscuous sex as the norm, and no one to support her when she suffers from her deeds...and of course the guy got off scott free.

I have argued many times that you have to use a person's culture to promote public health.

You don't teach American sex education (give your 15 year old daughter a condom) to pious Muslim/Christian girls, and you don't try to teach sexual abstinence to prostitutes who have no other way to make a living.

But teaching doesn't work when the airways are polluted with promiscuity.
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