The ZIMBABWE Situation Our thoughts and prayers are with Zimbabwe
- may peace, truth and justice prevail.

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Zimbabwe's food shortage fears increase

Harare - Farmers in Zimbabwe have ploughed and planted less than a quarter of the targeted agricultural land, raising fears of food shortages next year, Agriculture Minister Joseph Made has announced.

Quoting Made, state radio on Sunday said that "due to the shortage of tillage equipment, farmers have planted crops on 977†694 hectares this season, compared to the anticipated four million hectares".

The minister added that "no one can assess the impact of what the 977†694 hectares planted so far - instead of the targeted four million hectares - will have on the output of maize (staple grain) as it is in the middle of the agricultural season".

A senior official in the agriculture ministry, Shadreck Mlambo, last week warned that "time is running out".

Tens of thousands of farmers, mostly small scale black farmers, have taken over land once owned and ploughed by a small group of large commercial farmers under the country's four-year-old controversial land reforms.

Thousands of white Zimbabweans have been driven from their farms since 2000 when President Robert Mugabe instituted a policy of seizing and redistributing prime agricultural land to black people.

Made told Ziana state news agency at the weekend that the country needed at least 50†000 tractors to meet its agricultural requirements. A team of engineers and officials left on Christmas Day for Iran which has offered to help Zimbabwe set up a tractor manufacturing plant.

Fewer than half of the 733 tractors in the country are currently operational due to shortages of spares.

Made urged farmers to use animal-drawn ploughs as tractors are in short supply and said farmers should not adhere to the traditional strict planting days as the rainfall season has "slightly changed".

Zimbabwe, once a breadbasket of Africa and net exporter of food, has in recent years suffered food shortages which critics blame on the land reforms. Government says food production has fallen due to shortages of input and successive years of drought.

This year government told international food aid agencies that it required no aid as it had produced in excess of its national requirements. - Sapa-AFP

Quickwire

Published on the Web by IOL on 2004-12-26 11:56:38

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Mashonaland set to shun board

Zimbabwe faces internal split

Cricinfo staff

December 26, 2004

The new board of the Mashonaland Cricket Association (MCA) has confirmed that it is ready to break ranks with Zimbabwe Cricket (ZC). The announcement came less than 24 hours after an emergency meeting of the MCA kicked out several senior officials who were suspected of blocking moves to take on ZC.

"The clubs maintained their position that they believe the ZC to have been established unconstitutionally and as a result the clubs have called for a resolution that MCA do not recognise ZC," Cyprian Mandenge, the MCA's new chairman, said. "The MCA board will disassociate itself from the day to day running of the new ZC and with any competitions under the auspices of the body such as the national league and the Logan Cup."

The special meeting had been preceded by several days of uncertainty, but once the meeting started it soon became clear that the overwhelming mood was one of anger with the old board. The feeling was that it was blocking attempts to confront ZC, and so strong was the opposition from the rank and file that the board resigned without asking for a vote.

The news will be a bitter blow to ZC and Peter Chingoka, its chairman. Last week, Chingoka dismissed reports of a rebellion as little more than a smokescreen by a few individuals, but now it seems that it is far more than that.

After a wretched 2004, Zimbabwe cricket needed peace and harmony in 2005. It seems, however, that the year will start with depressingly familiar headlines.

© Cricinfo

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The Daily Mirror, 25 December
Missing men appear in court
Daily Mirror reporter

Banker Tendai Matambanadzo, Zanu PF deputy security chief Kenny Karidza, Zimbabweís ambassador to Mozambique Godfrey Dzvairo and Itai Marchi were yesterday finally dragged to court on undisclosed charges, amid tight security. The Press and relatives of the accused were barred from attending court proceedings. No reasons were given for barring the Press. Matambanadzo and Dzvairoís lawyer Selby Hwacha of Dube, Manikai and Hwacha law firm confirmed last night that his clients had appeared in court. The four were said to have been remanded in custody to December 29. "The matter has come and gone and we have not had an opportunity to meet our clients. Now that they are remanded in prison, I am hoping that I can get access to them. I donít know what happened to them. We had no one to speak to and nobody told us anything. We still donít know why they were arrested. We are completely surprised that they went to court. I am still in a quandary as to what happened," Hwacha said.
The four went missing about a fortnight ago, together with businessman and Mashonaland West Zanu PF provincial chairman Phillip Chiyangwa, amid reports that state security agents had apprehended them. Asked whether Chiyangwa too had appeared in court yesterday, his lawyer Lloyd Mhishi said: "As far as I am concerned Chiyangwa didnít go to court. In fact, I was not given instructions from Chiyangwa to handle the (purported) matter." Home Affairs Minister Kembo Mohadi last night could neither confirm nor deny that the four had appeared in court saying he was on leave, while Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa was unreachable. However, when The Daily Mirror news crew arrived at the Harare Magistrates Courts yesterday security agents barred them from entering the court building saying they were under strict instructions not to allow anyone into the courthouse.
The security details confirmed that there were proceedings in Court 13, but could not say whether the case was that of Matambanadzo, Maridza, Dzvairo, Chiyangwa and Marchi. "Court 13 is currently sitting, but we are under instruction not to allow you in. In fact, you must not be here. Some of the accused personsí relatives were chased away," one of the security guards said. Some people who were milling outside the court building told The Daily Mirror that the accused persons came to the court in a convoy of unmarked vehicles that had heavily armed security details. A photographer with The Herald, the witnesses said, was punched by one of the more than 15 heavily armed security details, his camera confiscated and briefly detained. The Herald news crew, the witnesses added, was later summoned by some of the security agents and told that they were not supposed to cover the story in terms of a 1985 statutory instrument, that reportedly bars the publication of matters that compromise state security.
From Zim Online (SA), 25 December
CIO gags relatives of arrested Zanu PF officials
Harare - State secret agents have threatened close relatives of Zanu PF provincial chairman, Philip Chiyangwa and other top party officials they are holding on espionage not to speak about their whereabouts or face unspecified but serious punishment. Intelligence officers speaking anonymously told Zim Online that Chiyangwa's wife and relatives of Zimbabwe's ambassador to Mozambique, Godfrey Dzvairo; Zanu PF deputy security chief, Kenny Karidza; the party's external affairs director, Itai Machi and bank executive, Tendai; Mantambanadzo had been ordered to remain silent. "Chiyangwa's wife, for instance, knows where her husband is and the fact that he suffered a mild stroke earlier this week but she is under strict instructions to watch what she tells the press," said one senior agent of the state's secret service Central Intelligence organization (CIO). Chiyangwa, who is a relative of President Robert Mugabe and is Zanu PF chairman for Mashonaland West Province was arrested last week on allegations he was supplying strategic information about the ruling party and government to British and Israeli spies. His arrest led to the arrest of the other Zanu PF officials. Since the arrest of the five party officials family members have maintained standard responses that they were away attending business meetings and not in prison. But according to intelligence sources Chiyangwa, who is believed to be the ringleader of the group, is being detained at the CIO's Goromonzi torture chambers less than 80 km east of Harare while the other ZANU PF officials are scattered at other secret locations of the CIO.
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Yuletide road accidents kill 37 in Zimbabwe
www.chinaview.cn 2004-12-26 23:32:25

††††HARARE, Dec. 26 (Xinhuanet) -- At least 37 people have been killedand 63 others injured in 97 separate road accidents in Zimbabwe inthe Christmas week from Monday to Sunday, police said.

††††The death toll in the past week was less than the number recorded during the same period last year, when 42 people were killed. During the same period police also issued 3,621 tickets, but only a few people were arrested for drunken driving.

††††Superintendent Oliver Mandipaka attributed this to negligence, speeding, misjudgment and inattention.

††††Mandipaka warned the public that police would continue to mountroadblocks through to New Year to ensure that sanity prevails on the roads.

††††"This year was different as sanity prevailed on the roads amongdrivers as only a few were penalized," he said.

††††He attributed this to patrols along highways and roadblocks.

††††"We also attribute this to the sensitization program that the Zimbabwe Republic Police and Zimbabwe Traffic Safety Council conducted through awareness campaigns which played a pivotal role in minimizing carnage as compared to last year," the superintend said.

††††"We still appeal to all road users to adopt responsible behavior on our roads so that we minimize loss of life," said Mandipaka. Enditem

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Zim Online (SA), 25 December
Government to takeover marketing of flowers

Harare - The government will from next year take over marketing of foreign currency-earning horticultural products, as it moves to tighten its grip on whatever little hard cash coming into the country. The state will early next year set up a new Horticultural Marketing Authority (HMA) that will have sole authority for the marketing of flowers and all other horticultural products. The government body will also administer marketing contracts for private horticulture firms. Ministry of Lands and Agriculture officials refused to shed more light on the plans by the government to establish the HMA, referring all questions on the matter to the ministry's permanent secretary, Ngoni Masoka, who could not be reached. But sources told Zim Online that plans to establish the marketing authority were at an advanced stage and added that it could start operations in the first quarter of the new-year. The move by government to take over the selling of horticultural products is the latest after it this year took over the marketing of platinum and asbestos - all hard cash earning products. The government also handles the marketing of gold. Economic analysts have warned that increased involvement by the state in the marketing of platinum and now horticultural products could scare away potential investors.
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Tour of Bangladesh
Zimbabwe due here tomorrow


The Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) yesterday revealed the revised itinerary for Zimbabwe's tour of Bangladesh.

Zimbabwe were due to arrive in Dhaka on December 30 but will now fly into the capital tomorrow and go to Chittagong the same day as part of their first full tour since the International Cricket Council temporarily suspended the southern African nation in April this year.

During their 33-day stay, the Zimbabweans will play two Tests and five one-day internationals against the home side.

The tourists will begin with a three-day warm-up game against a Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) Eleven at the newly-built Chittagong Divisional Stadium on January 1.

The first Test between Bangladesh and Zimbabwe takes place at the MA Aziz Stadium from January 6-10.

Though it was expected that the ICC approved Chittagong Divisional Stadium would stage its first Test, the venue was switched as it lacked necessary broadcast and media facilities.

The two teams will return to the capital to play the second Test staring on January 14 at the Bangabandhu National Stadium. The Big Bowl also hosts the first one-dayer (January 20).

Chief selector Faruque Ahmed informed that a 13-member squad for the first Test is likely to be announced on January 2.

ITINERARY
January 1-3: 3-dayer (Ctg Div Stadium)
January 6-10: 1st Test (MA Aziz )
January 14-18: 2nd Test (BNS)
January 20: 1st ODI (BNS)
January 24: 2nd ODI (MA Aziz)
January 26: 3rd ODI (MA Aziz)
January 29: 4th ODI (BNS)
January 31: 5th ODI (BNS)

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Zim Online (SA), 25 December
CIO gags relatives of arrested Zanu PF officials

Harare - State secret agents have threatened close relatives of Zanu PF provincial chairman, Philip Chiyangwa and other top party officials they are holding on espionage not to speak about their whereabouts or face unspecified but serious punishment. Intelligence officers speaking anonymously told Zim Online that Chiyangwa's wife and relatives of Zimbabwe's ambassador to Mozambique, Godfrey Dzvairo; Zanu PF deputy security chief, Kenny Karidza; the party's external affairs director, Itai Machi and bank executive, Tendai; Mantambanadzo had been ordered to remain silent. "Chiyangwa's wife, for instance, knows where her husband is and the fact that he suffered a mild stroke earlier this week but she is under strict instructions to watch what she tells the press," said one senior agent of the state's secret service Central Intelligence organization (CIO). Chiyangwa, who is a relative of President Robert Mugabe and is Zanu PF chairman for Mashonaland West Province was arrested last week on allegations he was supplying strategic information about the ruling party and government to British and Israeli spies. His arrest led to the arrest of the other Zanu PF officials. Since the arrest of the five party officials family members have maintained standard responses that they were away attending business meetings and not in prison. But according to intelligence sources Chiyangwa, who is believed to be the ringleader of the group, is being detained at the CIO's Goromonzi torture chambers less than 80 km east of Harare while the other ZANU PF officials are scattered at other secret locations of the CIO.
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For attachment, contact Mike Begbie at songbird@mweb.co.zw† The comet should
be visible from 28 December.
...............................
Subject: Comet Machholz in our Skies!

Hi All

Attached is your informative guide to the Christmas and New Year Comet!† Its
big, bright, and visible with binoculars and the unaided eye as soon as the
Moon is out the way.† The article includes a detailed finder chart set for
Harare, but is applicable to the whole country generally.† Observers in
other parts of the world simply have to turn the map so that it matches the
orientation of Orion in their sky.

Have a good festive season and KEEP LOOKING UP!

Mike Begbie

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Sent: Sunday, December 26, 2004 7:07 PM
Subject: Book - Rhodesian Ridgeback Pioneers

A fascinating history of the Rhodesian Ridgeback has been written by Linda
Costa. It is full of old photographs and drawings, a beautiful book.† Copies
(Z$ 250 000) can be ordered through Mrs Wallace, Secretary of the Ridgeback
Club on mushana@mango.zw tel Harare 490555.

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The Standard
Harsh penalties for abusing Mugabe
By our own Staff

FOR likening his younger brother's stubbornness to that of President Robert Mugabe, Arnold Tsunguma Bunya is spending Christmas in prison.

Bunya is languishing in remand prison after a CIO operative arrested him a few weeks ago, on his way from Chitungwiza to Harare for "insulting Mugabe".

His case will only be heard in court on December 28, a Harare court ruled, sending him into custody. Bunya's arrest comes barely a month after another man was jailed for eight months after branding Mugabe "a dictator who rules by the sword".

Bunya was arrested on a commuter omnibus after admonishing his young brother. During the row, Bunya reportedly said that his brother was being as intransigent as President Mugabe.

Over the past three years the government has promulgated draconian laws among them the Public Order and Security Act (POSA) and the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA) that seek to forbid the public from insulting or undermining the authority of the president.

Such a crime, under these laws is punishable by a fine or a jail term of up to a year.

These are not the only laws that have been cobbled up to ensure that the President is shielded from abuse.

There is the amended Road Traffic Regulations, drafted by the government in 2002. The amendment makes it an offence to swear or gesture "within the view or hearing of the State motorcade with the intention of insulting any person travelling with an escort or any member of the escort".

The regulation does not define the gestures, which could be construed as offensive. It therefore means that people cannot make any sort of gesture in full view of the motorcade, lest this be misconstrued as offensive to the occupants.

Over the past months a number of people have been arrested for "insulting President Mugabe".

Arnold Tsunga a Human rights lawyer and activist said the arbitrary arrests could only be found in a dictatorship. "This can only happen in an environment where a country is sinking into dictatorship. " Tsunga said.

Susan Matambo of Mabvuku said it was becoming increasing dangerous to comment on events in the country.

"You never know who is seating next to you, CIO or informers? Bunya never knew that a CIO operative was in a kombi, it's really intimidating," Matambo said.

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The Standard
Private schools take Chigwedere to court
By our own staff

FIFTEEN private schools have made an urgent High Court Chamber application seeking a provisional order barring the Ministry of Education, Sport and Culture and the police from gazetting fees as well as interfering with the operations of schools, The Standard can reveal.

Court documents in the possession of The Standard cite the Minister of Education, Sport and Culture, Aeneas Chigwedere, his permanent secretary Stephen Mahere and the Commissioner of Police, Augustine Chihuri, as the respondents.

The school authorities are also seeking to bar Chigwedere and the police from arresting or causing arrest of any head teacher or teachers of any of the schools when they open on January 11 next year.

The applicants argued that by fixing the fees, Chigwedere erred because Section 21 of the Education Act (chapter 25:04) restricts him to approving or rejecting fee applications and not set the fees.

Apart from that, they said, Chigwedere did not afford the school authorities or their representatives an opportunity to make presentations to him to provide reasons for setting the fees at a certain level.

"Pending the final determination of those and any further appeals, the applicants and other members of the Association of Trust Schools may collect fees and levies based on the fee and levy structure set by the applicants or such other responsible authorities and submitted to the first respondent (Chigwedere) with the approval of parent bodies," reads the provisional order.

In a founding affidavit, a representative of the Association of Trust Schools, Jameson Timba said the closure of schools should be prohibited.

"Accordingly, whatever differences there may be over school fees payable for next year, we are anxious to ensure that there is no repetition of the school closures and arrests at the start of our next school term on January 11th 2005," said Timba.

For the applicants, Abraham Kudzai Muguchu of Dube, Manikai & Hwacha said early this month Chigwedere fixed fees averaging only 55 percent of those the schools and parents had agreed on.

Muguchu said Chigwedere had no power in law to fix fees for non-government schools and "has accordingly exceeded his authority and these orders must therefore be set aside."

He said the fixing of school fees would lead to the deterioration of services and facilities at the affected schools.

Chigwedere is supposed to make a determination within seven days of the service of the provisional order, made on the 20th of December, failure of which it shall be deemed that he has concurred.

At the start of the second term this year, a number of headmasters were arrested and at least 47 schools briefly closed on grounds that they had charged fees and levies not authorised by the Ministry of Education, Sport and Culture.

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The Standard
Zesa fails to pay workers on time
By our own Staff

ZESA Holdings has failed to pay its workers on the scheduled payday. The workers may get their salaries today.

An internal memo, issued on 20 December and marked "Internal Correspondence" a copy of which is in The Standard's possession, informed the workers of the delay in the payment of the salaries.

"Please be advised that due to delays in bank transactions of our payroll as a result of some technical problems, some employees will not be able to access their December salaries on pay day," reads part of the memo.

The memo was from the general manager (corporate affairs) Obert Nyatanga and assured the rest of the workers they whould receive their salaries by 24 December.

Efforts to get a comment for the group's corporate affairs department proved fruitless. They were all said to have gone on holiday.

"There is no one to help you today but who gave you that memo? Why don't you call after the holidays when they would be back?" advised a secretary who responded to The Standard call yesterday.

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The Standard
GMB promises cheaper bread next year
By our own staff

BREAD will be cheaper next year - that is the Grain Marketing Board's Christmas pledge to stressed out consumers who are confronted with escalating prices of basic commodities on almost a weekly basis.

Briefing the media in Harare this week, retired Colonel Samuel Muvuti, the acting chief executive officer of the GMB, said they would be establishing bakeries in every province in the country.

The production chain from the farmer, who grows wheat to the millers and bakeries had resulted in the price of bread to the consumer becoming unaffordable. But by making use of its existing milling operations and the bakeries, the GMB will be offering consumers bread at a cheaper price.

"This will provide customers with an alternative and help in stamping out profiteering by some of the bakeries. All the projects are aimed at benefiting the common man in the street through price stabilization and providing basic commodities at affordable prices.

"We are putting commodities within the reach of even the most vulnerable members of our society by making these basic food items affordable to them," he said.

The eventual aim, he said was to occupy 90% of the housewife's basket.

The GMB already produces maize meal, rice, sugar beans, popcorn, nyimo, salt, samp and coffee and it is the expertise honed from producing and marketing these foodstuffs that the parastatal is hoping to see it successfully roll out its ambitious bakeries project.

In a major step that will locate it at the centre of stockfeed and cooking oil production, the GMB will by June next year launch a stockfeed manufacturing plant at its Norton depot. This would produce dairy, beef, layers; pig and pet feed concentrates.

At about the same time it will also commission an oil extraction project to produce cooking oil and soya/sunflower cake at the same depot.

Muvuti said the projects are expected to stabilize the prices of cooking oil by breaking monopolies and cartels that have been put in place by traditional players in the market. The GMB roject is also expected to play an important role in employment creation.

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The Standard
WFP resumes food distribution
By our own Staff

ALTHOUGH the World Food Programme (WFP) has scaled down its operations, it is still distrubuting food to Matabeleland, Manicaland, Zambezi Valley and other impoverished areas to alleviate shortages.

Makena Walker, WFP public relations officer, told The Standard that the free food distribution targeted the vulnerable groups, which encompasses school children, children below five years, HIV/Aids households, the elderly and the disabled.

"Over 1.6million people who fall under the vulnerable group category will be beneficiaries to the free food distribution a process, which is still going on," she told The Standard.

WFP undertook the general free food distribution after the government, through the Ministry of Labour, Public Service and Social Welfare, gave permission to the Non Governmental Organisation (NGO) to dole out WFP's remaining stocks.

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The Standard
Zanu PF confident of reclaiming Mat vote
By Savious Kwinika

BULAWAYO - Former PF Zapu commander and Politburo member, Dumiso Dabengwa says the ruling Zanu PF stands a better chance of reclaiming some of the seats it lost in the 2000 general elections.

He warned, however, that current disturbances within Zanu PF could work against the party in Matabeleland, more so when there is poor selection of candidates ahead of the 2005 parliamentary election.

In an interview, Dabengwa said Zanu PF had come up with a 'non-violent campaigning strategy and clear policies' which they would put before the electorate in order to make the right impact in Matabeleland region.

"The reason why Zanu PF lost in Matabeleland during the 2000 election was because of its failure to fulfil certain promises it made to the electorate but this time the ruling party has done its homework.

"Zanu PF has successfully implemented a lot of developmental projects for the Matabeleland region hence its chances of reclaiming seats it had lost to the opposition MDC," said Dabengwa.

Dabengwa, who lost in the 2000 election, says he is not so sure whether he will stand because the people have not yet approached him. The ruling party, he said, was yet to conduct its primary elections.

Sikhanyiso Ndlovu, the new secretary for education in Zanu PF's Politburo, echoed the same sentiments saying the commissariat department had revamped the ruling party in Matabeleland region to an extent that those who voted for MDC during the 2000 elections would abandon the opposition. Ndlovu was, until this month, the deputy national political commissar of the ruling party.

"Zanu PF has undertaken a number of projects built in Matabeleland including schools, roads such as the one from Bulawayo to Tsholotsho, hospitals, universities and tertiary colleges at Lupane and Gwanda.

"The ruling party has addressed a lot of problems. It is now a different situation from 2000 when people from the Matabeleland region voted just to oust the ruling party without considering how some individuals performed," Ndlovu said.

He said, with the developments undertaken between 2000 and 2004, he might consider standing for Mpopoma constituency in Bulawayo where he lost to the opposition MDC.

"Mpopoma residents have invited me to stand and I will be there for them. I would not let them down when they need my help most," Ndlovu said.

The Minister of Home Affairs and Beitbridge Member of Parliament, Kembo Mohadi, said the "disaster" of 2000 would not happen again.

"MDC know it quite well that the victory they registered in 2000 was as a result of a protest vote. Zanu PF was caught unawares in Matabeleland region and I am glad that the giant has awoken," Mohadi said.

However, Zimbabwe's main opposition political party, the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) says it will maintain its lead in the region where it is predicting a 97 percent victory if the SADC protocol on guidelines and principles for democratic elections are implemented.

Several legislators from opposition MDC said they didn't see any indications that Zanu PF would 'rise from the dead' in Matabeleland region.

Member of Parliament for Umzingwane, Nomalanga Khumalo (MDC), predicted the opposition would score a 100 percent landslide victory if elections were violence-free.

"Zanu PF here in Matabeleland region is seriously engaged in some in-house fighting, a move that is positively going to work in favour of the opposition," Khumalo said.

David Coltart, the MDC Secretary for Legal Affairs and Bulawayo South legislator, said prediction of the 2005 elections outcome would only depend on how they would be run.

Coltart said the MDC would win 97 percent of seats in the Matabeleland region if the elections were held in a free and fair atmosphere.

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Sikhala rejects election result
By Valentine Maponga

OUTSPOKEN MP for St Mary's Job Sikhala (Movement for Democratic Change) is challenging the confirmation exercise held by his party on Tuesday during which he failed to garner a two-thirds majority vote.

The elections were presided over by the party's deputy secretary general Gift Chimanikire and national organising secretary Esaph Mdlongwa.

Sikhala told The Standard yesterday the process was flawed and he would therefore not accept the result. He said he had made his intentions known to the party's executive.

"Those elections are null and void. Some of the people who were suspended by the party in 2003 were allowed to participate after the Vice President (Gibson Sibanda) made a statement that those who were suspended just before the confirmation exercise started in July. This did not mean that those who were suspended for other reasons would participate," Sikhala said.

During the controversial exercise, Sikhala narrowly lost by one vote, after 12 out of 20 people voted for him. Sikhala argues that he should have been confirmed since some of the MPs were confirmed by the same margin. Sikhala did not say which other MPs or how many were confirmed by the same margin.

The result means Sikhala will now have to go for a primary election and win if he is to stand on a party ticket against the Zanu PF candidate in next year's parliamentary elections. His most likely rival in the primary election is Lovemore Mutamba, who is believed to have expressed interest in representing the MDC in parliament next year.

Chimanikire however said everything was done above board. "I think if anyone had a query, he should have raised it before the elections. We cannot change rules for individuals," Chimanikire said.

MDC Secretary General Welshman Ncube said he had no idea who had taken part in the exercise but explained the procedures, which should have been followed.

On the issue of suspension, Ncube said:

"The vice president did not lift any suspension, I have not heard of that."

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The Standard
CIO bully beaten up in Mutare
By our own Staff

MUTARE -A foul mouthed Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) operative was beaten up in Mutare after he insulted a Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) councillor.

Edwin Mauppa, a councillor for ward 11 in the city was recently convicted and fined $200 000 by a Mutare magistrate for assaulting Victor Tapfuma, a CIO operative.

Mauppa who pleaded guilty to the assault charge, was accused of intending to cause grievious bodily harm on the CIO operative he beat up at a Mutare Hotel last month.

The State alleged that Mauppa on November 16, 2004, while drinking beer at the Wise Owl Hotel in Mutare with other patrons, had an altercation with Tapfuma over political differences.

Mauppa, an MDC councillor, is alleged to have been infuriated by statements made by Tapfuma to the effect that, he (Mauppa) was a puppet of (Morgan) Tsvangirai, the MDC leader as he had been with the now defunct Zimbabwe Unity Movement (ZUM) then led by former Zanu PF political firebrand Edgar Tekere.

The State alleged Mauppa assaulted Tapfuma several times on the head with clenched fists leading to the complainant sustaining some injuries to the mouth.

Provincial Magistrate Billiard Musakwa blamed Mauppa for failing to control his temper as a civic leader.

"You are a civic leader and should lead by example. If you fail to do so the courts are there to teach you how to behave in future," said Musakwa.

Mauppa who paid the $200 000 fine faced an alternative 20 days in in prison.

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The Standard
Information, the only tool against HIV/Aids
By Eliezer Wangulu

MANY communities in Zimbabwe and beyond are experiencing untold misery as a result of HIV and Aids. The pandemic has resulted in poverty and destitution on a large scale as it marches on to infect and affect more people.

Yet, the cure or vaccination remains elusive. Without a medical panacea, the power of information remains the hope for many, until a cure or vaccine is found. It is against this background that the Southern Africa HIV/Aids Information Dissemination Service (SAfAids) endeavours to provide timely, accurate and age-appropriate HIV and Aids information in southern Africa.

Founded in 1994, SAfAids has through its newsletters, toolkits, fact sheets, books, manuals, videos, TV and radio programmes reached thousands of people who require HIV and Aids information in the region. According to the organisation's executive director, Lois Lunga, her organisation seeks to harness state of the art information and communication technology to ensure that those in need of information in the region access it easily.

Lunga said: "We have an operational satellite resource centre in Namibia and will soon be opening another one in Zambia."

To scale up information dissemination in the region, SAfAids has embarked on an ambitious programme to set up satellite resource centres in southern Africa. Already, such a centre has been set up in Windhoek, Namibia, in collaboration with the Namibian Network of Aids Service Organisations (NANASO).

The satellite resource centres are modelled on the main resource centre based in Harare. The Harare centre offers an array of services including electronic and hard copy versions of documents for researchers and other general users.

The centre, which was launched recently, boasts of a video room where the facility's users can view many documentaries on HIV and Aids, Internet facilities for researching on world wide web (WWW) and a variety of materials in audio format. The satellite resource centres coordinator, Cecilia Mhiti, says the Harare resource centre is a mine of information for those yearning for HIV and Aids information and that the facility is user-friendly.

Mhiti says: "The resource centre is a one-stop shop for HIV and Aids information where all the available material is current, relevant to our target readers and is readily available because we use cutting edge information and communication technology."

Satellite resource centres are set to be the hubs of SAfAids activities in the region. For example, the organisation has been training journalists on effective coverage of HIV and Aids in the region. It is anticipated that trained journalist will make the resource centres their focal points which they can use as their meeting points and also use them to research their articles for their various media organisations.

Also, the resource centres in the region will be used to host discussion forums on key and topical issues on the pandemic. Currently, discussion forums are held on a quarterly basis in Harare whereby experts are invited to share the current developments in the area of HIV and Aids. SAfAids is eager to replicate this activity in the region. The last discussion forum was an opportunity for experts who attended the Bangkok 15 International HIV/Aids Conference to share their experiences with Zimbabweans who did not get an opportunity to go to Bangkok.

The use of the electronic media has been exploited by SAfAids to reach a wider audience in Zimbabwe and beyond. One of the organisation's main electronic media production is the Perspectives programme that is aired every Tuesday evening on ZTV. A joint venture between SAfAids and ZTV, Perspectives has paraded a number of prominent experts who have appeared as the programme's guests to talk and field questions on many topics around the pandemic.

The presenter of the programme, Tariro Makanga, believes Perspectives is making a difference in people's lives. She says: "The most gratifying thing is that we receive many telephone calls at SAfAids after the programme has gone on air. Many people call to get more information on the topic of the programme that has been aired. This is very encouraging because it shows us that viewers are benefiting from the programme."

Makanga invites constructive comments, both positive and negative on the programme saying it is through such feedback that the programme can be improved and serve the audience better.

Lunga believes providing relevant HIV and Aids information is a great challenge given the dynamism of the pandemic. With greater international focus on improving access and reducing the costs of HIV treatment, many countries in southern Africa began the process of scaling up anti-retroviral (ARVs) distribution.

"This has placed a spotlight on the need for more information related to human rights, treatment and health policies," she says. Undaunted, Lunga believes the 10-year-old SAfAids has what it takes to rise to the challenge of providing accurate and timely information on HIV and Aids in the region.

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The Standard
2004. Oh, what a year!
Shavings from The Woodpecker

Dead as a dodo IT is just days before we say curtains to the very eventful 2004. As we predicted early in the year, the end of this year means the beginning of the end of the political fortunes of one mafikizolo, the inimitable Jonathan Nathaniel Manheru Moyo.

And as we accurately predicted all those many months ago, Moyo's downfall - which will eventually be crowned when he is finally booted out of the Cabinet (did I hear you scream: When, when?) - is now just a formality and the motor-mouth junior Minister will soon be history; just as the dodo or the Rhodesian dollar.

But before we gaze at Woodpecker's famed crystal ball and announce (or pronounce) the futures of some of our politicians and celebrated citizens, let's take time to digest the year that has sailed past us and in the meantime recognise the individuals (or institutions) that made it relevant for us to say one day: indeed I was in Zimbabwe when that so-and-so did so, so. Ladies and Gentlemen: let me introduce to you the inaugural Woodpecker "Man of the Year" award.

Man of the Moment

WOODPECKER's Man of the Year for 2004 is none other than Uncle Bob. The veteran Zanu PF leader, the grandmaster of African politics, once again rode high above any pretenders to his crown.

The history of Zanu PF (and indeed the political history of President Robert Mugabe) has shown that it is one who stays longest on the course who emerges the winner. Many people (Woodpecker included) were beginning to write off Uncle Bob and it was becoming easy to come across phrases like: "tired", "too old", "old fashioned" and "about to quit" when conversations centred on the man at State House.

There were stories that he would not last the course and would choose the grand stage at the party's long-awaited December congress to make his (long-awaited) departure from the Zimbabwe political landscape.

There were reports (some of them almost verified by the likes of Thabo Mbeki) that Uncle Bob was tired about the never-ending Zimbabwe political and economic crises that he would, before the year expired, name his eventual successor.

There were even reports that the "old man" is busy putting final touches to his Borrowdale mansion (by the way if that is Zhing zhong, let me have it) and cannot wait to move in because he has finally realised that his sale-by day is long gone.

Such talk might have influenced the so-called Young Turks to conclude that since time and tide waits for no man, it was better to influence events by meeting "engale eTsholotosho" and plan that should Uncle Bob try to play a quickie, they would have their own government-in-waiting in place.

But they, as many others before them such as the late Ndabaningi Sithole, "Two Boy" Edgar Tekere and the late Eddison Zvobgo - among many others living or dead - miscalculated and in the heat of the moment, they gave the game away.

The grandmaster made his move and in one stroke he dealt the killer blow to the Young Turks' ambitions while at the same time gaining a substantial support base by doing the impossible: rooting and pushing for a woman Vice President.

The rest (and the Young Turks), as they say, is history.

Crystal ball - the heavies

LOOKING at my crystal ball, what do I see?

UNCLE Bob: Though faced with a tricky election and possible revolt in Zanu PF, President Mugabe will ruthlessly deal with any dissent and drop almost all of the so-called Young Turks from Cabinet before March 2005. While the crystal ball is hazy on whom and when, it says Uncle Bob might make a Cabinet reshuffle before or just after his annual holiday.

JONATHAN Moyo: The crystal ball says Zimbabwe's Joseph Goebels will be dropped from Cabinet at the first reshuffle. It also says his chances to try and stand for Tsholotsho are doomed: his enemies are going for the jugular and what better way to celebrate 2005 than to have his head on the table.

MORGAN Tsvangirai: The star continues to shine for the MDC leader who over the years has greatly matured and become world-wise. The MDC might fail to snatch the 2005 general election but if Tsvangirai plays his cards right, he might be the future tenant of State House, come 2008.

JOYCE Mujuru: The youngest of the Zanu PF heavies also has a good 2005 on the cards. Not only shall she influence who will get what in the Cabinet, her husband's rural home of Chikomba shall replace Zvavahera (the late Mzee's home village) as the place where political - and indeed business - deals are made and cemented. So many a politician will soon be beating the path to Chikomba.

JOSEPH Msika: The sunset is setting for the veteran politician who once declared that he was also "ready to rule". The emergence of Mujuru (and the powerful clique behind her) means that should Uncle Bob decide to take early retirement, it is never going to be a shoe-in for the ebullient and well liked Vice President.

EMMERSON Mnangagwa: The man once known as "the crocodile" (ngwena) might be down, but he is certainly not out, says Woodpecker's crystal ball. The crystal ball adds that, like the crocodile, the Speaker might wait patiently for his turn and pounce at the right moment. The art would be when to judge the right moment. Once bitten, twice shy.

Crystal ball: the lighties

PUFFY and Company: The crystal ball has only one phrase for that boot-licking lot - the short route to oblivion beckons!

For our favourite cartoon character Joseph "Chinos" Chinotimba, it is also sad news. The crystal ball says Chinos might be history soon because he made the mistake of setting foot in Tsholotsho at the same time the rural town was hosting its favourite son, the troublesome motor mouth minister.

The demise of the promising political career of our Chinos - which for him might mean a day job at the city of Harare's municipal police desk - would be a great disappointment to his legion of fans, Woodpecker included.

On the soccer front, the green machine of Caps United will continue to stream roll its way to more fortunes and medals in 2005. For the first time, Caps might actually make themselves noticed on the continent.

But the same year would see the re-emergence of the sleeping blue giant, Dynamos. Dynamos supporters - of whom Woodpecker is prominent - should seriously consider discarding the "DeMbare" tag. Since cheap newspaper columnists started calling Zimbabwe's most successful team "DeMbare", everything has gone haywire.

On that happy note: let's raise our glasses to a successful 2005. Minus Nutty Nathaniel!

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The Standard
Chiyangwa probed over Zanu PF documents
By our own Staff

SOURCES within Zimbabwe's security agencies say senior Zanu PF officials - including Zanu PF Mashonaland West provincial chairman Phillip Chiyangwa - who were nabbed in a swoop last week, are under interrogation on allegations that they might have passed secret ruling party Politburo documents to a foreign power.

Some of the documents were allegedly intercepted recently and it is believed they were bound for South Africa.

The swoop, which has also netted newly-appointed Zimbabwe's ambassador to Mozambique, Godfrey Dzvairo, and former Metropolitan bank senior executive Tendai Matambanadzo, was apparently triggered after a foreign power tried desperately to get hold of secret Politburo documents.

The sources say the foreign power, intrigued by the intense power play towards the December Zanu PF congress, wanted the documents to ascertain how the top Zanu PF leadership viewed events in the country and region.

According to the sources, Zanu PF deputy security chief Kenny Karidza, was reportedly the first to be picked up by the Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) after the spy agency stumbled on information that issues discussed in the Politburo were getting into the hands of a foreign power.

Karidza is said to have led State security agents to others who included Zanu PF External Affairs director Itai Marchi, Matambanadzo as well as Zimbabwe's former consul general in Johannesburg, Dzvairo.

"They (captives) would record information in the Politburo and some of the documents were faxed to SA using facilities in Matambanadzo's office. The CIO somehow intercepted some of these documents," said a source.

It was not immediately clear how Chiyangwa, a flamboyant businessman believed to be related to President Robert Mugabe, was involved in the whole saga.

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