Sunday, February 27, 2011

Lavish birthday party for Mugabe

from the Times Live

"...A huge party, expected to be attended by 10000 Zanu-PF youths, was scheduled for yesterday, at a local five-star hotel in the capital.

The adverts were marked by hero-worshiping phrases and language. In one advert, Mugabe was described as a legendary icon whose selfless dedication in rendering service to the nation and the peoples' of Africa, was inspiring as well as unparalleled..."

and the paper has this photo of the lapdog China seeking stuff from the beloved leader (sarcasm).COMRADES-IN-ARMS: Chinese Foreign Affairs Minister Yang Jiechi and President Robert Mugabe.

Iran hunting for Uranium in Zim

via IndianExpress

VIENNA: Iran is expanding its global search for uranium and a key focus is Zimbabwe, says a intelligence report. A report from a member country of International Atomic Energy Agency — with the AP — says Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi met last month with Zimbabwean mining officials to negotiate Iran’s uranium procurement plan.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Zim police claim to foil uprising

from the NewZimbabwe

Arrested ... Munyaradzi Gwisai

Egypt: Fatwa on US Middle-East strategy?
'No' vote shall be Zimbabwe's Egypt
Egypt: Zanu PF dismisses PM 'pipe dream'

POLICE say they have foiled Egyptian-style uprisings in Zimbabwe after storming a meeting of 46 rights activists in Harare and arresting them, including the former Highfield MP, Munyaradzi Gwisai.

The activists face charges of “plotting to oust a constitutionally-elected government”, said Inspector James Sabau, the police spokesman for Harare province.

Police said they also seized a video projector, a laptop and two DVDs which Gwisai used to show videos from the Tunisian and Egyptian protests which led to the ouster of those countries’ leaders...

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Will Zim rise to destroy the dictator as in Egypt?

from the Mail and Guardian (SA) this writer says no. Unless those in Zimbabwe are willing to do it themselves.

My opinion?
Ah, but the strongest and most willing have left Zim to work elsewhere and send money home to their families. Like Iran, when the best brains and hardest workers put all their energy into leaving, the hope for change at home lessens, allowing the government to threaten and keep the rest under control.

Violence against opposition again: Redux of past elections

lots of stories about the attacks on the opposition members, almost a copy of what happened the last election, where Tsvangirai dropped out to protect the lives of his followers.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Diamond money

The Zim Guardian:

THE Treasury is benefiting from sales of diamonds that have surpassed US$170 million this year alone, despite Finance Minister Tendai Biti's claims that diamond dividends were not flowing into the national fiscus.

Documents obtained by the State-run Herald newspaper reveal that Treasury will benefit from at least US$174 million in diamond sales for January to February 7 alone.

Some of the money has already reached the Treasury, although Biti claims that the country has not benefitted from diamonds...

Sources also indicated that Minister Biti was trying to force the Mines and Mining Development Corporation into revealing how Zimbabwe sells its diamonds, which could result in the contracted foreign firms being slapped with Western sanctions.

Recent revelations by whistle-blower website WikiLeaks claim Minister Biti has in the past been actively consulted by the EU when the bloc structured its sanctions regime.

from UPI:

HARARE, Zimbabwe, Feb. 14 (UPI) -- Zimbabwe's government says it will investigate the disappearance of $100 million in proceeds from an auction of diamonds.

The Ministry of Finance received a document from President Robert Mugabe's office passed to him from The Minerals Marketing Corp. of Zimbabwe saying it had given $170 million from the sale of Marange diamonds last year to the treasury....

"Treasury only received $64 million from the sale of alluvial and kimberlite diamonds. In that schedule MMCZ claims that treasury used part of the money to pay tax to Zimra....

Monday, February 14, 2011

Green Gurus

alas, it's streaming audio, but the BBC has interview with three founders of the Green movement:
the most important one for those working in development:

1. EF Schumacher

Julian starts by investigating the legacy of radical economist EF Schumacher. When his catchily titled book 'Small is Beautiful' came out in 1973, it was a huge best seller. He was courted by both politicians and the media. Schumacher's message was that conventional economics had failed us. In headlong pursuit of greater consumption, we had lost our humanity. We needed to get back to basics, he argued, and embrace small scale production and 'economics as if people mattered'. Schumacher believed passionately that the poor of the Third World were perhaps the greatest victims of modern capitalism. He set up an institute to design 'appropriate' technologies for the Third World that would not rely on Western manufacturers. Nearly thirty years on, how have Schumacher's ideas endured? In a world dominated by global corporations has 'Small is Beautiful' been trounced by 'Big is Best'?

Listen again to programme 1 Listen again to Programme 1

China criticizes West's approach to ZIm

from CNN:

(CNN) -- China's foreign minister pushed Friday for the lifting of sanctions against Zimbabwe, saying no country has a right to dictate the internal affairs of another nation, state-run media reported.

Starting in 2002, the European Union and the United States imposed targeted sanctions on Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe and some senior party members amid rampant reports of stifling his political opposition, human rights violations and his controversial land reform policy that has targeted white commercial farmers.

Mugabe blames the sanctions for his country's woes, which late last year included an unemployment rate of more than 90% and an inflation rate of 231,000,000%.

Speaking Friday during a two-day visit to Harare, Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi said that "China believes that Africans have the right to choose their own way of development, as they are masters of the African continent. All others are just guests."


of course, having a greedy dictator who lets his croonies steal everything in sight is not quite the same thing as letting Africans chose their own way of development, but hey, what's a couple million dollar bribes between friends?

Violence by ZANUPF

According to Amnesty int'l, Mugabe back to his old tricks of harassing his opponents in Zimbabwe. More HERE.

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Fear of Infection lowered HIV

from AFP:

WASHINGTON — Fear of infection helped drive a 50 percent decline in new cases of HIV in Zimbabwe from 1997 to 2007, said an international study published Tuesday in the United States....

"Today's findings strongly show that people in Zimbabwe have primarily been motivated to change their sexual behaviour because of improved public awareness of AIDS deaths and a subsequent fear of contracting the virus," said the study in PloS medicine.

Attitude changes were rooted in mass media campaigns that infiltrated church settings, workplaces and other activities, the researchers said.

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Mob riots and loots in Harare

ZANU PF demonstration started to riot and so it's Tsvangirai's fault, if you believe Reuters.
Police said they had allowed youths from President Robert Mugabe's ZANU-PF party to demonstrate against Harare city council for awarding a car parking contract to a South African firm but the protest had been infiltrated by criminals.

"We have arrested some known criminals from Mbare (a suburb) and we are still investigating the group that infiltrated the march," police spokesman James Sabawu told Reuters on Tuesday.

A Reuters witness saw shattered windows and empty shops early on Tuesday. Most of the shops remained closed. The state-owned Herald newspaper said those arrested in Monday's incident were suspected MDC supporters

from Newsday:

Our source said after demonstrations at the Gulf, the party expected the provincial leadership to address them and perhaps make clear the message to the foreigners – that if they have to be in Zimbabwe, they ought to bring with them meaningful investment in manufacturing and other sectors but not selling cellphones and the staple sadza.

Unfortunately, the planners overestimated the discipline of the youths, drawn from various townships, including “battle-hardened” Mbare’s Chipangano members.

Even while their colleagues were still gathering at the Fourth Street party provincial headquarters, scores of youths, chanting Zanu PF slogans and flying the party flag, had besieged the Gulf Complex.

the Zimbabwean gives the MDC side:

The Zanu PF youths are wearing MDC T – shirts. They gathered at Zanu PF headquarters early this morning before driving past the MDC headquarters, Harvest House in seven trucks on their way to the Zanu PF Harare provincial offices along Fourth Street. At the Zanu PF provincial offices, they were given MDC T – shirts. They then marched to the Gulf Complex where they looted goods and property.

Monday, February 07, 2011

Zuma welcomes Mugabe's ambassador

from SWRadioAfrica

04 February 2011

South Africa’s President Jacob Zuma on Thursday warmly welcomed the disputed Zimbabwe ambassador unilaterally appointed by Robert Mugabe, in a move that analysts say further undermines his efforts to mediate in Zimbabwe’s political crisis.

Sunday, February 06, 2011

High Protein Cassava?

from NewScientist:

A DEADLY poison could save the lives of millions of African children, thanks to the discovery that cassava can be duped into turning about half of the cyanide it makes into extra protein.

Although cassava is a major source of carbohydrates for 700 million people, mostly in Africa, it normally contains only small amounts of protein. Claude Fauquet of the Danforth Plant Science Center in St Louis, Missouri, and his team bumped up the protein content to 12.5 per cent by adding bean and maize genes to make a protein called zeolin. They were surprised to find that the plant used its natural supply of cyanide to provide the building blocks of the new protein. "Cyanide is a source of nitrogen within the plant," explains Fauquet.

While non-modified cassava supplies just one-fifth of daily protein requirements, the extra protein is enough to supply the needs of infants on a typical cassava-based diet (PLoS One, DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0016256). Fauquet says his root could save 1 in 4 African children from a potentially fatal condition called protein-energy malnutrition.

However, it will be some years before it is rolled out

we didn't eat a lot of cassava in my area of Zimababwe but it is a staple food in Malawi and other areas of the continent

Thursday, February 03, 2011

Zim Urban councils looted

via Zim Online:

HARARE – Corrupt councillors, commissioners and politicians in Zimbabwe’s capital Harare and other cities looted hundreds of millions of dollars in public funds, land and other assets in an unprecedented orgy of self enrichment over the past decade while service delivery collapsed in the various municipalities.... Harare alone could have been fleeced of more than $100 million in shady land deals and contracts during the tenure of illegal commissions appointed by Local Government Minister Ignatius Chombo, a former university lecturer whose wealth soared upon joining government....

Corruption has not spared town councils outside the capital. In Bindura, then mayor and now Mashonaland Central governor Martin Dinha bought a mayoral house he had lived in for a miserly $40 in 2008. The house costs at least $70 000.

Former deputy mayor of Chegutu town Phineas Mariyapera was fingered in a 2003 government audit for siphoning the equivalent of $4 million today from the council. Mariyapera, a ZANU-PF official, was never prosecuted.

more details at link

Mugabe opponents beaten

from the NYTimes:

"...political violence in Harare, the capital, and its impoverished suburbs — carried out by youths chanting ZANU-PF slogans — has surged in recent weeks, civic groups and independent journalists reported this week...."

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

new surge in political violence

from the Zimbabwean

article has details of attacks on various politicians

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Poverty level up

from the Canadapress:

HARARE, Zimbabwe — Zimbabwean officials on Monday said it takes nearly $500 a month for families to be above the poverty line in this economically ravaged country, where most teachers and government workers earn less than half that amount.

ZANU PF tries to lure opposition

from Nehanda radio:

ZANU-PF desperate to annihilate its rivals at the next elections, has dangled a carrot in front of beleaguered Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara... \

The shopping list, according to the insiders includes Mavambo/ Kusile/ Dawn (MKD) leader, Simba Makoni, who, at 30, became the youngest bureaucrat in President Robert Mugabe’s cabinet when he was appointed minister of industry and energy in 1981 after joining the country’s first black administration a year earlier as deputy minister of agriculture.
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