Friday, February 26, 2010

Pushing Circumcision against HIV

From the BBC:


In the next eight years the government aims to carry out the operation on 80% of all young men in the country - three million people in all.

Circumcision is not widely practised among Zimbabwe's cultural and religious groups, but the centuries-old procedure is now regarded as a key weapon in the country's fight against the spread of HIV and Aids .

Trials in Kenya, Uganda and South Africa have shown that the operation, in which the foreskin is removed from the penis, reduces by 60% the risk of a man contracting HIV - the virus that causes Aids....

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Mines minister buys$US40 thousand dollars of gardening equipment

from SWRadioAFrica

...Mines Minister Obert Mpofu brought business to a standstill at Halsted Brothers in Bulawayo last Friday when he splashed out US$40 000 in cash to buy ‘gardening equipment and other hardware...

...Only last week the Supreme Court issued a second order for Mpofu to return 29 kilograms of diamonds he, along with a senior police officer, took from the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe....

Zuma to pressure UK to lift Zim sanctions

From the Financial times:

..."What have sanctions done to help the situation?" Mr Zuma told the Financial Times in an interview in Pretoria. "Zanu-PF says [it is] in a cabinet of this unity government. But part of the cabinet can go anywhere in the world for their work and part [the Zanu-PF members] can't go out of the country. This unity government is being suffocated. It is not being allowed to do its job by the big countries."...

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Zimbabwe for Zimbabweans?

via Kubatana net:

The Zimbabwe standard article:

says that nuturing business skills is the answer, not freebies.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Diamond issue is a "pawn" in the power game claims gov't

from the Herald:

actually the article is as usual filled with hypertrophic jargon against those who dislike Mugabe putting his cronies in charge (using the excuse of making local Zim blacks as part of the business is important. Fine, but why not get someone qualified and honest) , but if you want to see their point of view, check link.

The "Ark of the Covenant" of the Lemba people

from the BBC:

...Colonial officials originally put the vessel on display at a museum in Bulawayo.

It was last photographed in 1949, but during the war of independence it was hurriedly taken to Harare with other artefacts for their protection.

It was forgotten about in the move and the Lemba people thought their sacred relic had been lost....

The Lemba people claim to be part of the Jewish diaspora...many went to Ethiopia, but others traveled southward.

And DNA studies confirm a Semetic link.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Let them eat Cuy

one of my essays at BNN discusses using guinea pigs as a cheap protein source in Africa:

small headline in the news: Guinea pig touted as solution to Congo food crisis.

…it’s not known how or when guinea pigs — native to South America — arrived in Congo, but CIAT (the Colombia-based agricultural research institute, the International Center for Tropical Agriculture) researchers discovered them last year being kept as “micro-livestock” in the nation’s hard-hit North and South Kivu provinces, which border Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi.

“Small and easy to conceal, guinea pigs are well-suited to (Congo’s) conflict zones, where extreme poverty and widespread lawlessness means that the looting of larger domestic livestock is commonplace,” the group said in a statement.

Very interesting…

(with the war in Central Africa, there are major problems with finding meat to supplement the diets, and )  the “animal rights” people have been lamenting about it for awhile, since it seems that one source of food is monkey meat, and eating monkeys into extinction upsets them a lot more than dead black babies.

Finding cheap protein to feed growing children is an ongoing problem, and not only in war zones.

When we worked in Africa, we had a nutrition center to “feed up” children who were losing weight. Usually the kids did well until they were weaned, but then the local diet didn’t provide enough protein. The result was Kwashiorkor, protein malnutrition. Kids would come in bloated, lethargic and with red hair. If the case was severe, they died even after feeding. So we had our village health workers screen local children for malnutrition, and then helped with cheap protein supplements for the diet. In severe cases, we admitted them to be”fed up” in our Nutrition village, where we trained our mothers to add peanut butter to porridge, to raise chickens in cages for their eggs (free range chickens laid eggs where they were often stolen or broken, and of course free range chickens ended up as meals by the free range dogs). We also introduced rabbit breeding. We didn’t introduce food that would be new to the area, because village people are conservative in what they eat, so you build good nutrition on what they already are comfortable eating.

Yet in the Andes regions of South America, guinea pigs– actually a larger version of what Americans raise as pets, which are called cuys– are commonly eaten to supplement the diet.

My oldest adopted son told me that his “first mom” kept the cuys in the kitchen, where he used to sleep. At night, he would hear their soft chirps and would be comforted. She would feed them grass and scraps, and when they “felt weak” or otherwise needed a good meal, she’d kill a few of the younger cuys, and cook them for her family.

When I visited his home town, they treated me to a meal of one, and it was quite good.

So I find it interesting that a Colombian based NGO reports that locals have already started to breed and eat cuys in Central Africa. Yes, a Colombian would be more aware of this valuable source of protein than a European, and would recognize the importance of encouraging the trend. And the fact that locals already eat Cuys suggests that the locals will accept them as a food source.

If the idea catches on, it’s an idea for those working in other areas of Africa.

Better a cuy than the alternative: Eating monkey (which can spread disease) or having your child die of Kwashiorkor (caused by lack of protein in the diet).

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Gwezere describes torture

from SWRadioAfrica:

Gwezere was until recently locked up at Chikurubi Maximum Security Prison after he was abducted by suspected state security agents on October 27, 2009 at his Mufakose home. He was viciously tortured and then refused medical treatment while in custody, pending trial for trumped up banditry charges. He was accused of plotting with army officers and stealing 20 AK 47 rifles and a shotgun from an armoury at Pomona Barracks. With absolutely no evidence against him, the state could not keep him on remand and he was finally released earlier this month. ...

Hundreds at WOZA protest

from SWRadioAfrica

About 700 WOZA members marched through the capital city on Saturday to the offices of the state’s mouthpiece newspaper, the Herald, handing out Valentine cards, red roses and abbreviated copies of WOZA’s report on the state of democracy in Zimbabwe to thrilled passers-by. Six protests started separately and converged on the offices of the Herald. The peaceful demonstrators sang as they marched, handing out roses and Valentine’s cards to eager Saturday shoppers who rushed forward to accept the gifts. At the Herald offices, the peaceful protestors chanted slogans for a few minutes before leaving a copy of the report, a Valentine rose and a WOZA scarf at the door, then dispersed without incident.

Then on Monday, WOZA members re-enacted the scene in Bulawayo where close to a thousand peaceful protestors marched on the offices of the Chronicle newspaper. Five protests started separately and made their way through the city, singing and handing out roses and cards to the public in Bulawayo, many of whom then proceeded to join in the demonstration. WOZA leader Jenni Williams explained how people rushed out of shops and offices to join in the excitement, saying there was a ‘carnival’ atmosphere.

Songs sung by the peaceful protestors included: “We want to expose this delay in writing our constitution, which will delay our getting our social justice”; “we don’t want the Kariba Draft” and “we need a Bill of Rights that respects us - send us around the country to consult on the constitution, as WOZA respects people.”.....

Mugabe schedules birthday party

From the UK Guardian":

...Plans to hold a lavish all-night birthday party for the Zimbabwean president, Robert Mugabe, were today condemned as insensitive to the suffering of the country's people.....

Mugabe, whose birthday is on 21 February, shows no signs of slowing down or willingness to relinquish power to Morgan Tsvangirai of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), his rival in Zimbabwe's unity government.

Opponents criticised the party plans at a time when Zimbabwe's teachers are on strike over pay and around nine in 10 people are unemployed.

Simba Makoni, a former senior member of Mugabe's Zanu-PF party, said: "I'm not aware of the source of the money, but I suspect that state resources will be funnelled to this event improperly.

Delagates come to Zim tourist conference

From Zim online

The conference is being coordinated by Africa Investor, a leading international investment research and communications company, which has partnered with Government, through the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority.

At least 700 more local delegates are expected to attend the investment conference...
\“We are the 35th most attractive country in the world but in terms of confidence we are ranked 122 out of 133 (countries studied by the World Tourism Organisation). That gap between 35 and 122 is what we should bridge,” Muzembi added.

Our Lady of Kiebeho

LINK is podcast by EWTN

Thursday, February 11, 2010

rich vs poor in Zimbabwe

from BBC:

Video at link.
from the transcript:

"The inclusive government has bought peace and there is food in the shops," Julius, a 35-year-old teacher said. "Anytime you get a dollar, you can rest assured that you will find something to buy."
The problem is getting a dollar. Teachers like Julius will mark the anniversary by going on strike this week.
He said he welcomes the fact that the coalition government has restored peace to the country, but complained that he still cannot feed his family....

Back in Harare I found Paul Mangwana, Zanu PF's constitutional expert, at his legal practice putting finishing touches to what his party believe should be the shape of the new constitution - to put the power firmly in the hands of the one executive authority because of Zimbabwe's wealth.

Mr Mugabe's nephew Philip Chiyangwa has fared well in Zimbabwe
"We have a rich inheritance - nickel, platinum, diamonds - every mineral known in the world," he said. "We need to concentrate power in one, strong individual to safeguard those resources and protect them from being taken by foreigners."
Indigenisation is the key to the Zanu PF political philosophy, a philosophy which would appear to exclude white Zimbabweans.
Four thousand white commercial farmers have now had their farms confiscated and given to supporters of Mr Mugabe.
A diamond mine has been taken from its white Zimbabwean owner and is being operated by a government-owned company, protected by soldiers.
From 1 March, any company operating in Zimbabwe must ensure that the majority of shareholders are indigenous Zimbabweans.
Luxury lifestyle
My "minder" at the Ministry of Information was very keen that I should meet someone he believes is a model of a successful businessman in Zimbabwe today.
Philip Chiyangwa, Mr Mugabe's nephew, bought several companies at a time when high inflation, price controls and shrinking demand made it difficult for them to operate in Zimbabwe.
Now a millionaire, he displays the full list in his "Native Investments" portfolio on full-length wall charts.
It encompasses everything from luxury hotels, foodstuffs to the window frame company he says he bought from Roland "Tiny" Rowlands....

Mr Chiyangwa invited me to visit the 35-room mansion where his wife, Elizabeth, showed me around the family car collection - her husband's Rolls Royce and Bentley, her Mercedes and their daughter's sports cars.
I asked her whether she feels comfortable with such wealth when people in her country are starving.
"It is a gift from God," she replied, "it is a blessing from God. I know people are hungry and we are very grateful for what has been done for us".
As Julius puts his children to bed that night, after another meal of potatoes, he could be forgiven for wondering whether it is not his turn, and the turn of millions like him in Zimbabwe, to receive such gifts and blessings.

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

29 KG of Diamonds missing

from the ZimMail

Harare- A 29-kilogram consignment of diamonds from Zimbabwe's controversial Chiadzwa diamond field has disappeared after being removed by police officers believed to be linked to a Zanu PF faction from the central bank, in violation of orders by the country's supreme court, sources said at the weekend...

We have already revealed that the armed group behind the attack on a British-Diamond company ACR in Harare on Tuesday night has been linked to a Zanu PF faction led by Retired Army General Solomon Mujuru.

The faction is objecting to the plan by its rival led by Defence Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa for the Diamonds to be kept at the Reserve Bank as provided by the recent Supreme Court ruling.

The Supreme Court ordered that the diamonds be moved to the reserve bank to be kept by "a neutral body" pending the resolution of the ownership dispute...

Botswana Zim talk on lost animal rangers

from AFP:

HARARE — Zimbabwe and Botswana officials are to meet this week to resolve a diplomatic stand-off over the detention of three Botswanan game rangers who strayed across the border, state media reported on Sunday....

The three wildlife officers were arrested and detained after mistakenly entering Zimbabwe while tracking animals.

Botswana said several efforts to resolve the matter, including an attempt by Vice President Mompati Merafhe to meet President Robert Mugabe at a recent African Union meeting, had failed....

Monday, February 08, 2010

China and central Africa

from StrategyPage

February 5, 2010: The Chinese government recently indicated that it is willing to provide more diplomatic and economic assistance in order to bring stability to the eastern Congo. China has informed both the Congolese and Rwandan governments of this aim. China holds a permanent seat on the UN Security Council, and supports the continuing MONUC peacekeeping effort. The promise of more direct involvement is no surprise, since China has significant investments in sub-Saharan Africa and in the Congo in particular....

Friday, February 05, 2010

China Africa ties

Reuters news blog has two articles:

Africa Asia ties flying high:

How will Chinese culture influence Africa:

Maize needed

from ReutersAfrica:

HARARE, Feb 3 (Reuters) - Zimbabwe needs to urgently import 500,000 tonnes of maize to avert shortages after the staple crop was hit by an extended dry spell, its agriculture minister was quoted as saying on Wednesday....

Chiabva abandons Mutambara

from the ZimbabweTimes

HARARE – Former MDC legislator for Harare South constituency Gabriel Chaibva has abandoned the smaller MDC party led by Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara to rejoin President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu-PF.

In a letter to the MDC-M’s deputy president Gibson Sibanda dated, January 1, the controversial politician described Zanu-PF as the “people’s party” while branding his party as a “tribal grouping”....

Chaibva joins independent Tsholotsho North legislator Jonathan Moyo who has also rejoined Zanu PF.

At party level, he becomes one of its frustrated senior officials in the MDC-M who have abandoned the embattled party citing alleged abuse of power by Mutambara’s executive.

Job Sikhala, a former legislator who lost his St Mary’s seat for siding with the less popular Mutambara group, left the party last

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