Monday, August 31, 2009

Socialites without borders teach Ruandans how to mingle

This is a joke, of course, from The Onion.

But you know, after the Tsunami, I saw rich white people going there to teach "play therapy" to kids to help them...overlooking that if you took the money spent on airfair and keeping the volunteer in comfort could probably keep a village in food for a year.

Ditto for people like Madonna, who adopt black children with families to prove they love black people, while divorcing her husband and running around with boy toys.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Zuma acknowledges Zim's GNU problem

from SWRadioAfrica;

... Speaking at the Glamis Stadium, Zuma urged the parties to respect the commitments made when they signed the GPA and to ‘remove any remaining impediments to the agreement’ so as to meet conditions set by international donors for economic aid to be restored....

“He did say that Zimbabwe had been the regional breadbasket and regretted that it wasn’t now and hoped that it would recover. So there was enormous recognition of what has happened and ZANU PF cannot write this off and say there are no outstanding issues. Zuma recognised that there are, in a very tactful way, and he brought them into the public at the Harare Show today.”
But as usual there has been no official statement from the inclusive government on the outcome of the meetings Zuma held with the principals, Morgan Tsvangirai, Arthur Mutambara and Robert Mugabe.

EU African Trade agreement

from DowJones:

BRUSSELS -(Dow Jones)- The European Union and a group of six African countries announced an agreement Saturday that will require the countries to gradually lower tariffs to E.U. imports over the next 15 years.

The six countries are Mauritius, Seychelles, Zambia and Zimbabwe, Comoros and Madagascar. These countries have already enjoyed tariff-free access to European markets since January 2008 under a previous agreement....

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Doctor's strike is over

from the AP

who won't allow you to post their stuff...


ZIMBABWEAN doctors who have been on strike for close to a month have called off their strike, giving the government a one-month ultimatum to increase their salaries.

The doctors at the four largest hospitals in the country have been pressing for increments of their salaries and allowances from the current US $390 to a minimum of US $1,000.

Hospital Doctors Association president Dr Brighton Chizhanje, in a notice to the striking doctors dated August 26, stated that the strike action had been called off and all doctors were expected to return to work by September 1.

"After some deep rooted and soul-searching considerations for our patients whom we consider to have the right to health as enshrined in our oaths as patriotic health professionals, we have decided to call off the industrial action," Chizhanje stated. "We are giving government and our central hospitals an ultimatum of a month to take the necessary steps to leave the health worker with well-deserved package."...

and some of the docs were fired

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Mugabe in bad health?

from the BBC

The Times reported that Mr Mugabe had been undergoing specialist treatment in the United Arab Emirates.

But Zimbabwean officials strongly dismissed the claims.

"The president is not sick but was away on holiday," Reuters quoted one official as saying.

"He returned home yesterday, and those reports are a load of rubbish that we get from sick and evil minds."...

Zims in SA losing their jobs

from SWRadioAfrica

Mass unemployment is just one of the negative effects of the global recession, which has already contributed to the funding resistance of international donors in Zimbabwe. But a leading stockbroker firm has warned this week the decline in the performance of the South African economy could also have dire consequences for Zimbabwe’s economic revival....

Monday, August 24, 2009

Swine flu hits eastern Mutare

from Nehanda Radio

Zimbabwean Health Minister Henry Madzorera confirmed Thursday that the H1N1 influenza virus responsible for the so-called swine flu pandemic has reached the country, telling a news conference in Harare that five cases have been confirmed at a private primary school in Mutare, capital of eastern Manicaland Province.Meanwhile, Zimbabweans are reliving the health care crisis of late 2008 though thankfully this time around there is no surging cholera epidemic claiming lives as hospital wards close.

Yet there is no end in sight to the latest strike by resident doctors in the main state hospitals in Harare and Bulawayo, who were joined this week by some nurses while other nurses are in go-slow mode. Many sick people are being turned away without medical assistance.

Friday, August 21, 2009

National AIDS council spends millions on luxuries

from SWRadioAfrica

.... Surprisingly it took the state owned Herald newspaper, notorious for pro-government articles, to reveal that out of US$1,7 million collected in AIDS levies since February this year only US$20 000 was spent by the council in buying critical Anti Retroviral (ARV) drugs. The rest was spent on ‘luxuries’ for staff working for the council, including trips to foreign countries, luxury cars, generous salaries and other mysterious administration costs. Under government’s own policy the National Aids Council should use 50 percent of the levies collected to buy ARV’s. But the Herald reports that the figures it obtained from the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority show that only a shocking US$20 000 had been spent (on medicine)...

Two weeks ago the Global Fund to fight AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria granted Zimbabwe US$37,9 million, after getting assurances from the unity government it would not be misused. Previously Reserve Bank governor Gideon Gono diverted US$7,3m worth of funds from the organization to use in keeping ZANU PF afloat. The same corrupt National Aids Council was also the organization tasked with administering the fund. The United Nations Development Programme in Zimbabwe will now be managing the money from the Global Fund instead.

ten lawmakers held then released

from the NYTimes
Ten members of Parliament from the Movement for Democratic Change, a party that opposed President Robert Mugabe for a decade before joining him in power in February, were arrested Wednesday, then released, said Nelson Chamisa, a spokesman for the party. He said he did not know yet the charges against them. The M.D.C. has a narrow majority in Parliament and many of its members have said they believe that Mr. Mugabe’s party is trying to deprive them of that edge during negotiations for a new constitution that will determine whether Mr. Mugabe retains his authoritarian powers.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

The Grim fate of street girls in the Congo (DRC)

from IWPR

Many hundreds of girls are forced to live this way across the city, where poverty and unemployment are rife. Family life has often broken down and divorce has increased in the wake of two wars in the 1990s, which has led to many children leaving home or being thrown out.

The exact number of street children in the city is not known, but a 2006 study by Lubumbashi University suggested a figure of nearly 17,000. Lubumbashi has an estimated population of around 1.2 million.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Doctor's strike continues

from Zim on line

Doctors at public hospitals went on strike last week to press for more pay. The industrial action has brought back memories of last year when striking doctors and nurses deserted hospitals as a cholera epidemic ravaged Zimbabwe, killing more than 4 000 people before it was brought under control with help from international relief agencies.

"The health delivery system is still struggling to emerge from a crisis that left the country's major referral hospitals unable to deliver services at the end of 2008," ZADHR said in a statement.

"Health professionals are entitled to adequate remuneration and acceptable working conditions. However, this must be balanced against the well being of patients. Unavailability of health services ultimately results in increased morbidity and preventable deaths."

The Zimbabwe Hospital Doctors Association that represents all state doctors is pushing for a salary of US$1 000 per month plus $500 allowance.

expelled MDC MP's to appeal

from the gov't controlled Herald via AllAfrica:

Harare — Expelled MDC Members of Parliament said they were appealing to the Supreme Court against a High Court decision last week dismissing their application to have their disciplinary case reviewed.

In an interview at the weekend the trio's lawyer, Mr Thamsanqa Khumalo said he had already started preparing court papers he will file at the Supreme Court to stop Parliament from ejecting his clients.

The MDC MPs expelled from the party were Bulilima East Member of House of Assembly, Mr Norman Mpofu, Nkayi South Member of House of Assembly, Mr Abednico Bhebhe, Lupane East, MP, Mr Njabuliso Mguni after the party's disciplinary committee found them guilty of misconduct last month.

This prompted the trio to approach the High Court to stop Parliament from ejecting them from the House after the party's secretary general, Professor Welshman Ncube wrote to the Speaker of House of Assembly, Mr Lovemore Moyo to declare their seats vacant.

Bulawayo High Court judge, Justice Maphios Cheda dismissed their case last Friday on the basis that it was not urgent.

Minister's husband dies after June Attack

from SWRadioAfrica

Dr Chris Mushonga, the husband of Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga, the Minister of Regional Integration and International Cooperation, died at his home in Harare at 11pm on Saturday, after succumbing to injuries sustained in a vicious attack two months ago. Dr Mushonga is expected to be buried on Friday at his rural home in Chishawasha, about 20km outside Harare.

A gang of seven men broke into the prominent orthopaedic surgeon’s Harare home in mid June and brutally assaulted him, journalist Michelle Hakata (a family friend who had been visiting from the UK) and Maria Mandizha, their domestic helper. An armed police officer and a gardener had been brutally assaulted and tied up before the gang descended upon the three in the main house.

Zacharia Mushonga confirmed on SW Radio Africa that it was not robbery. “A thief does not come into someone’s house, beat up people and be in the same house for three hours playing music, drinking and smoking in the house.” The brother said the gang did not take anything else except for the victims’ cell phones, because they didn’t want them to communicate with the outside world. He said: “The laptops, the plasma televisions, the home theatres were all intact. I don’t call that robbery that would be lies.”...

The attack happened while Minister Misihairabwi-Mushonga was on a ‘re-engagement tour’ of western countries with Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai. Her husband was a highly respected surgeon and a political activist, who helped fundraise for the freedom fighters during the liberation war, from his base in America. He was also a former Deputy Mayor of Harare.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Doctor strike and Swine Flu fears

SWRadioAfrica via AllAfrica:

A strike by doctors frustrated with their wages has now spread to most government hospitals leaving the country vulnerable to the raging world wide swine flu pandemic. Experts expressed concerns that with few doctors available, the country would fail to deal with any potential disease outbreaks as happened with the cholera epidemic that wreaked havoc last year....

Our Harare correspondent Simon Muchemwa reports that doctors are disillusioned by what they see as a failure by government to prioritise their welfare. The total monthly wage for doctors is currently US$390 because Crown Agents, a British relief agency is forking out an extra US$220 per doctor per month in additional allowances. The doctors say however, the extra payments are not being made in some months and cannot be relied upon. Muchemwa says money injected into the health system has seen the purchases of furniture and vehicles for hospital directors instead of wages.

Saturday, August 08, 2009

Green Revolution

One of the major causes of poverty in Africa is the failure to take advantage of the Green Revolution in crops.

here are some podcast and video links by Norman Borlaug

In this video podcast, Dr. Norman Borlaug remembers the events that led him from a farm in Iowa to the Nobel Peace Prize for the Green Revolution. Norman says serendipity played a large part in the process. The Green Revolution began in Mexico where Dr. Norman Borlaug developed the first high-yielding, dwarf wheat varieties. In this video podcast, Borlaug recalls the major events that helped save millions from starvation.

From Mexico, Dr. Normal Borlaug began working in India and Pakistan where millions faced hunger. In this video podcast, Borlaug talks about overcoming technological, psychological, economic and political hurdles to get new varieties and agricultural practices adopted.

Friday, August 07, 2009

SA opposition accuses Mugabe of mobilizing militias

from Business Day via all Africa

Cape Town — Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe is rearming and mobilising his infamous militias ahead of a referendum and an electoral showdown with Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), the Democratic Alliance said yesterday after a fact-finding mission north of the Limpopo.

The report by Wilmot James and Kenneth Mubu recorded that the Chinese boat load of weapons and ammunition that had been refused transit through SA had been flown to Zimbabwe from Angola.

There is also a deal pending before SA's arms control authorities to sell ammunition to Zimbabwe.

James, the party's representative to the Southern African Development Community (SADC), and Mubu, the international relations spokesman, called on President Jacob Zuma , in his role as SADC chairman, to ensure that Mugabe abided by the agreement with the MDC he had signed.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Partnership not patronage


...If the Obama administration wishes to truly make a difference, it must do so as an equal partner, addressing several low-cost, high-impact priorities.

To start, developed partner countries must curb corruption abroad. Efforts by African governments to strengthen democracy and governance are weakened if money stolen from the continent can find safe havens in secret accounts in the West. Chillingly, major OECD countries have yet to prosecute a single defendant for fraudulent and corrupt practices overseas. Poorly enforced international covenants won't deter collusion and bid-rigging in large African infrastructure contracts....

Secretary Clinton has an opportunity to secure a quick win while in Nairobi, Kenya, for the Africa Growth and Opportunities Act forum this month. Expanding AGOA--the showpiece of America's trading relationship with Africa--to include a larger number of agricultural and processed commodities will help. But if Clinton does not address U.S. agricultural trade subsidies that distort the forces of the marketplace AGOA will never realize its potential--nor will Africa be able to trade its way out of poverty....

more economic points at link (too long to post).

Monday, August 03, 2009

Mugabe in "bid to wreck Unity"

from the UK Guardian

Zimbabwe is on the verge of a new political crisis, amid growing evidence that President Robert Mugabe's Zanu-PF party has launched a strategy to wipe out the former opposition's slim parliamentary majority.

The campaign has in the past few days seen MPs for the Movement for Democratic Change arrested for offences including playing music that "denigrates" Mugabe, and stealing a mobile phone. Fourteen MDC MPs and senators are facing charges ranging from corruption to rape. If convicted, they will lose their seats, forcing by-elections. Less than six months after MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai was sworn in as prime minister, the strategy again raises questions about the role of the country's courts and police...

But grassroots MPs warn the inclusive government is close to collapse. They say Zanu-PF, backed by the police and army, is deploying divide-and-rule tactics, from parliament and the senate, right down to grain distribution in rural areas. Trevor Saruwaka, a 34-year-old MDC MP for Mutasa Central is facing separate prosecutions for rape and assault, both of which he denies. "There is a pattern to the prosecutions. I am one of seven MDC politicians targeted in Manicaland - the birthplace of Zimbabwean freedom leaders. If Zanu-PF kill the spirit in Manicaland they believe they can kill the spirit of all Zimbabweans.

and then there is this:

Yesterday, many Zimbabweans were outraged after a court in Chivhu imposed a fine of just US$200 (£120) on Chinoona Mwanda - who had been found guilty of culpable homicide, after the 6 March incident when his lorry swerved into the path of Tsvangirai's car, killing Susan, his wife of 31 years.

Sunday, August 02, 2009

Cautious optimism in Zim

from the BBC:

It is five months since I was last in Zimbabwe, and there is no doubt that the mood has changed.

I'm here officially now, rather than sneaking around under cover, and of course that alters one's perceptions.

Our presence in Zimbabwe this week, is a welcome, constructive, and important first step

But there's more to it than that.

Almost everyone I've spoken to over the past few days has, with varying degrees of caution, confessed to feeling at least a twinge of optimism about this battered nation. ...

but some note:
"Things are not yet improving. It is only stabilising. We are getting some food in the shops, but to get money is a problem. Industry is still down. At the moment only a small percentage (of the population) is working."

"Prices are very high. People don't really know the true value of the (US) dollar. Things are changing slowly. Very slowly."

MDC MP arrested for playing Anti Mugabe song

From SWRadioAfrica:

Another MDC legislator has been arrested for allegedly playing a song that denigrates Robert Mugabe, on his car radio. The MDC said in a statement that Stewart Garadhi, the MP for Chinhoyi, was driving from Harare to Chinhoyi on Friday morning when he was stopped by police officers ‘who accused him of playing the song - Nharembozha - saying it denigrated President Robert Mugabe.’ He is being held at Chinhoyi police provincial headquarters.

At the time of broadcast it was not clear how the police heard the song if the MP had been driving at the time. A commentator remarked: “Were they in the car, or do they have fantastically large ears that can hear a song from a distance? It sounds like a case of the long ear of the law!”

Several people including members of the general public have been arrested under the country’s harsh security laws for ‘making utterances likely to cause hatred, contempt or ridicule of the President and his Office.’ ...

Meanwhile, there are at least 8 MDC MPs including a Deputy Minister who have been arrested and some of them convicted in recent weeks, following the formation of the inclusive government in February. Deputy Youth Minister Thamsanqa Mahlangu, who was arrested on Tuesday on allegations of stealing a cell phone, will remain in custody until August 13th, after the State opposed bail on Friday. Harare Magistrate Kudakwashe Njerambini had granted the MDC official and his personal assistant bail of US$50 each, but the State invoked a section of the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act, to oppose bail.

The MDC has accused ZANU PF of trying to whittle down its parliamentary majority by arresting some of its members. Several MDC MPs are also appearing in court facing allegations of abusing a government farming inputs scheme. One of the MPs, Ernest Mudavanhu of Zaka North has since been convicted and was sentenced to 12 months in prison.

But on Friday, another MDC MP Ransome Makamure (Gutu East) was acquitted of the corruption charges after a Harare Magistrate threw out evidence submitted by State witness Brigadier General Douglas Nyikayaramba. Nyikayaramba was the Chairman of the farming logistics subcommittee....
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