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Harare submits rights report after eight-year delay

Zim Online

Monday 20 November 2006

BANJUL - The Zimbabwe government has submitted its first human rights
report in almost a decade to the African Commission on Human and People's
Rights (ACHPR) but the document - in which Harare vehemently denies
violating human rights - was embargoed to the Press.

President Robert Mugabe's government, accused by Western governments
and Zimbabwean human rights groups of stealing elections and torturing
opponents, had since 1998 refused to comply with the African Charter on
Human and People's Rights requiring African nations to submit yearly reports
on human rights to the ACHPR.

Director of policy in Zimbabwe 's Ministry of Justice Margaret Chiduku
told ZimOnline that Harare had finally complied with the charter
requirements after it submitted its report to the ongoing 40th session of
the ACHPR in Banjul.

Chiduku, who did not explain why it had taken Harare eight years to
file the report, said: "I am happy to report that we have submitted our
combined state party report since 1998 to the ACHPR and we await to hear
from the commissioners."

The ACHPR secretariat and chairperson of the 40th ordinary session
both confirmed that Harare had filed its report but indicated it would
remain embargoed for now.

But diplomats and ACHPR commissioners, who saw the report and spoke on
condition they were not named, said the document is a "vehement and
unapologetic attempt" by Harare to defend its controversial human rights
record.

They said Mugabe's government - which insists Zimbabwe's political and
economic crisis is because of Western sanctions against the country - uses
the same argument in the report, saying whatever rights violations may have
occurred were because of the abnormal situation the country found itself in
after the West imposed sanctions on the government.

The United States, European Union, New Zealand, Australia and
Switzerland have imposed visa and financial sanctions against Mugabe and his
top officials as punishment for allegedly stealing elections, human rights
violations and their controversial seizure of white-owned land for
redistribution to landless blacks.

According to the ACHPR commissioners, Harare had wanted its report
debated by the current session but this was unlikely to happen with the
report most likely to be tabled for debate at the 41st session next year.

"The idea was to have it discussed and debated now but it came late.
They wanted to smuggle it on the agenda but we are going to deal with it in
the next session that is, the 41st session probably in July," added a
commissioner.

Zimbabwe non-governmental organisations and human rights activists
here in Banjul and who have submitted dossiers chronicling Harare's poor
human rights record, including torture of labour leaders in September said
they had not anticipated Harare to finally submit its record of the human
rights situation in the country.

"While we welcome Harare's submission of its combined state party
reports since 1998, the eight year delay is a cause for concern," said
Wilbert Mandinde, a legal officer of the Zimbabwe chapter of the Media
Institute of Southern Africa.

Human rights violations have been on the increase in Zimbabwe chiefly
because of Mugabe's increasing reliance on the military to keep public
discontent in check in the face of the worst ever economic crisis of his
rule. - ZimOnline


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Church leaders meet bank governor, UK envoy

Zim Online

Monday 20 November 2006

HARARE - Zimbabwean church leaders pushing for a negotiated settlement
to the country's political and economic crisis have met Britain's top
diplomat in Harare Andrew Pocock and influential central bank governor
Gideon Gono to woo them to back their initiative.

The leaders of the Zimbabwe Catholic Bishops' Conference, Evangelical
Fellowship of Zimbabwe and Zimbabwe Council of Churches have proposed a
package of measures, including dialogue between the government and the
opposition and constitutional reform as a means to resolve the southern
African nation's deepening crisis.

A spokesman for the church leaders confirmed the meetings which were
held separately with Pocock and Gono but refused to disclose more details
saying the meetings were confidential.

Reverend Fredrick Chiromo said: "We met Ambassador Pocock first . it
was a closed meeting and There is nothing more I will say.

"The meeting with the Dr Gono also went on very well. Fortunately he
had seen the document already, so it was easy for us just to discus it. He
endorsed the initiative and said it was long overdue."

The church leaders have already presented their National Vision
document to President Robert Mugabe and leader of the main faction of the
opposition

Movement for Democratic Change party Morgan Tsvangirai. They say they
will meet more political leaders of political parties and organised civic
society to get them to support dialogue to resolve Zimbabwe's crisis.

Mugabe commended the church leaders for their initiative but rejected
their call for constitutional reform, leaving analysts wondering whether the
82-year old President had fully bought into the church plan or not.

Analysts say sweeping political and constitutional reform is critical
to any attempt to fix Zimbabwe's problems.

Tsvangirai backed the church initiative but said Mugabe's
intransigency could render it a failure. - ZimOnline


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Mugabe scholarship students stranded

Zim Online

Monday 20 November 2006

BULAWAYO - At least 500 students studying at a South African
university on a scholarship started by President Robert Mugabe a few years
ago are stranded in that country because the government cannot raise money
for allowances.
The students said they have been waiting for the past week for
their allowances to enable them to travel back home to Zimbabwe following
the end of the semester.

But a week after the end of the semester, the students are still
stuck at the university's three campuses in East London, Alice Town and King
Williams Town in the Eastern Cape.

"We were promised the money when the semester opened in August.
But so far nothing has materialised.

"We desperately need the money to travel back home since all of
us have finished writing end of year examinations," said a student at the
Alice Town campus who did not want to be named for fear of victimisation.

The chairperson of the Fort Hare Presidential Scholarship Fund,
Chris Mushowe, who is also the Minister of Transport and Communications
could not be reached for comment on the matter at the weekend.

The Fund, launched with the help of Fort Hare, is in honour of
the Zimbabwean President, who studied at the famous South Africa university.

But beneficiaries have in the past complained of late and
erratic payment of their stipends with reports in the media suggesting that
some of the students were starving because of the late payments, a charge
denied by the Zimbabwe authorities. - ZimOnline


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Australia suspends recruitment of Zimbabwe nurses

New Zimbabwe

By Staff Reporter
Last updated: 11/20/2006 07:59:52
A ROWING Zimbabwean couple has triggered the suspension of all registrations
of Zimbabwean nurses in Australia, New Zimbabwe.com learnt last night.

Hundreds of Zimbabwean nurses already in Australia face a tense week ahead
as authorities go through their papers after a nurse was found with forged
papers and suspended from direct care.

South Australia's nurses board was the first to take the decision. The
state's Health Minister, John Hill, told ABC television a further two
Zimbabwean nurses working in South Australia have been suspended.

He says their conduct is not being questioned, only the Certificates of Good
Standing needed to register for nursing.

Hill also revealed that checks are being done for 88 nurses and midwives
from Zimbabwe registered in South Australia.

It emerged last night that the crisis was sparked by a Zimbabwean couple
after a man who failed three medical checks decided to shop his wife who was
already in Australia, claiming she possessed fake papers.

The man who had been refused entry to Australia told the Zimbabwean nursing
board that his wife, who is based in Townsville, Queensland, had faked
signatures and other related papers to gain entry into Australia.

A source said: "The husband alerted the Zimbabwean nursing board who in turn
passed on the information to the Australians. Various states have suspended
the registration of Zimbabweans as a result of what appears to be a domestic
wrangle gone terribly awry."

The latest checks will affect thousands of Zimbabwean health professionals
in Australia who deserted their country's failing health service in search
of better pay and work conditions.

Alongside the United Kingdom, Canada and the United States, Australia tops
the list of destinations for Zimbabwean professionals, political refugees
and economic migrants driven away by a failing economy at home.

One nurse said from Australia last night: "It's a dark day for all
Zimbabweans here. Various nursing councils across Australia have posted on
their web sites their unwillingness to register Zimbabweans. Hundreds could
be going home at the end of this review."


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The celebrity scramble for Africa

The News, Pakistan

JOHANNESBURG: Their star quality may guarantee publicity but the
galaxy of celebrities promoting good causes on the world's poorest continent
has left cynics cringing at what has been dubbed the new scramble for
Africa.

Ex-Spice Girl Geri Halliwell swapped her famous Union Jack mini-skirt
for a demure white blouse this week when she toured maternity wards in
Lusaka in her capacity as a goodwill ambassador for the UN children's fund
Unicef. The one-time Ginger Spice's trip to Zambia came hot on the heels of
Madonna's visit to neighbouring Malawi where she was so taken by one
resident of an AIDS orphanage that she decided to adopt the 13-month-old
boy.

U2 frontman Bono, Hollywood heart-throb George Clooney and rapper
Jay-Z represent just a handful of the other stars who have taken a break
from their lives of luxury to deliver lectures on how to improve the plight
of Africans. Some charity campaigners insist they are grateful that the
stars are prepared to give up their time to generate headlines and pictures.

But others less than impressed with the motives of the film and pop
stars who usually return to five-star hotels after their brief brush with
squalor.

"We are totally opposed to this patronising attitude of western
personalities purporting to be philanthropists," said Zimbabwe's Minister of
Interactive Affairs Chen Chimutengwende.

"This thing about intervening on behalf of the poor in Africa is all
racism clothed in a liberal dress."

Western show business first started taking a major interest in African
affairs back in the early 1980s when former Boomtown Rats singer Bob Geldof
organised the Live Aid concerts to alleviate the impact of famine in
Ethiopia.

Geldof's fellow Irishman Bono is now almost as well-known for
championing the cause of debt relief as for his pop career. One of his more
recent visits took him to the tiny southern African kingdom of Lesotho which
has one of the highest rates of AIDS in the world.

Dennis Bailey of CARE Lesotho said Bono's involvement was a welcome
ally in the war against AIDS. "We are very glad when people like Bono come
wave a flag on behalf of those we are working with," he told AFP.

Bailey acknowledged that the involvement of celebrities may not always
be inspired by philanthropy but that should not negate their usefulness.
"Even if it is shameful publicity-seeking, that can also draw attention to
issues, even if it is for the wrong reasons. " Few celebrities can be
guaranteed to attract attention quite like Madonna.

The Queen of Pop had insisted her trip to Malawi was a "private visit"
but her move to adopt baby David Banda led to a very public debate about
whether her fame had enabled her to ride roughshod over the usual custody
laws.


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Zimbabwe Gov't Accused of Favoritism

OhMyNews

Farmers said to benefit from agricultural equipment

Nelson G. Katsande (NELKA)

Published 2006-11-19 11:28 (KST)

President Robert Mugabe's controversial land reform program took
another twist with the government issuing 99-year leases to new farmers.
Most of the farms seized from white commercial farmers ended up in the hands
of Mugabe's supporters and former freedom fighters. Government officials and
ministers also benefited from this controversial program.

The new leases are seen as a desperate effort by the government in
restoring peoples' confidence in Mugabe's rule. Most of the people who
benefited from the seized land were pushing the government to provide them
with title deeds to the land. The land issue became Mugabe's election
manifesto and was seen by analysts as a way of enticing voters.

This week the government announced that it had imported agricultural
equipment for use by the new farmers. The equipment valued at US$25 million
includes tractors, combine harvesters and other farming implements.

The equipment will be distributed to chosen farmers through provincial
governors and Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe. But the arrangement has already been
doomed to fail as the farmers blame the government of favoritism. It is
believed that only a fraction of the farmers will benefit from the
equipment. Allegations that the ruling Zanu (PF) party supporters will be
the main beneficiaries of the equipment have already surfaced.

Under the scheme the chosen farmers will be given the equipment as
part of a loan payable over a given period. The government has remained
silent on the terms of agreement regarding the equipment but officials say
those who fail to fully utilize it will result in repossession.

The Reserve Bank says mechanisms will be put in place to monitor
performance and that the set targets are met. Farmers in Mashonaland Central
Province have accused the Reserve Bank of setting unrealistic targets. A
farmer in Bindura told OhmyNews that, "even President Mugabe's farm in
Bindura cannot achieve the targets."

But with the lack of expertise by most of the farmers, the equipment
is likely to lie idle. At the height the farm invasions in 2002, farmers who
benefited from the seized land were reported to be leasing it to businessmen
and relatives in return for cash payments. The few who were lucky to have
been allocated bags of fertilizer by the government were reported to have
put them on the open market.

Zimbabwe is currently experiencing its worst economic recession since
independence from Britain in 1980. Zimbabwe's economic woes are blamed on
Mugabe's haphazard seizure of white-owned farms. The so-called "Liberation
War heroes" who led the infamous invasions terrorized farm workers and
brutally assaulted white farmers.

It still remains to be seen whether government efforts in boosting
agricultural production will succeed.


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Zambia deports 600 Zimbabweans for illegally staying

People's Daily

Over 600 Zimbabweans were deported on Saturday for illegally staying
in Zambia, Zambian immigration official said.

The Zimbabweans, mostly women, were in Lusaka on Saturday. They got on
buses which will leave them at Sieving at the border between the two
countries, Immigration Department spokesperson Malabo Magneto said.

The deportation came after a night operation. The Zimbabweans have in
the recent past flooded the streets of Lusaka selling sweets, chocolates,
peanut butter, biscuits, Mazoe drinks and duvets. Some of them engaged
themselves into illegal business deals, Magneto said.

Source: Xinhua


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UN: Zim has world's highest orphan rate

Mail and Guardian

Harare, Zimbabwe

19 November 2006 02:42

Zimbabwe has the highest number of orphans in the world in
relation to its population, mainly due to the HIV/Aids pandemic blighting
the economically ravaged country, a United Nations official said on Sunday.

"Zimbabwe has the highest number of orphans per capita in the
world," James Elder, a spokesperson for the UN Children's Fund (Unicef) told
the media.

"Most of these cases are due to HIV and Aids," he said.

Zimbabwe's HIV infection rates are currently at 20,1%, down from
24,6% two years ago.

At least 3 000 people die every week from Aids-related illnesses
in the country of 12-million people, which is grappling with four-digit
inflation, huge shortages of food and fuel, and spiralling unemployment and
poverty.

The country's ailing health sector has meanwhile suffered a
gigantic blow with more than half of key medical professionals seeking jobs
overseas, according to a report in a state-run weekly earlier this year.

"The economic crisis makes it much harder to look after these
orphans, whereby 90% of these orphans are cared for by extended families,"
Unicef's Elder said.

"The [economic] crisis makes it harder to provide for basic
services which children need, such as education, nutrition and health care."

Meanwhile, an alliance of local child rights group on Sunday
expressed concern at the growing incidence of child abuse.

The Child Protection Working Group (CPWG) said there were 8 600
cases of child abuse in Zimbabwe last year.

"That is 24 every day, or one every hour," the CPWG said in a
statement. "More than half of all cases reported involve sexual abuse of
children."

The statement said the rise in child abuse could in part be
attributed to prevalent myths such as the belief that Aids and sexually
transmitted diseases could be cured by having sex with a virgin.

"This is the most repulsive of myths," Betty Makoni, director of
Girl Child Network, one of the members of CPWG, said.

"The time has come for all Zimbabweans to speak out and act
against the abuse of country's children." -- AFP


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Iran, Zimbabwe discuss expansion of agro cooperation

Islamic Republic News Agency

Tehran, Nov 19, IRNA
Iran-Zimbabwe-Cooperation
Iran and Zimbabwe here Sunday explored avenues for bolstering cooperation in
various agricultural and animal husbandry fields.

The issue was top on the agenda of talks held between the visiting
Zimbabwe's Minister of Agriculture Joseph Made and the Iranian Minister of
Agriculture Jihad Mohammad-Reza Eskandari.

"Iran has drawn up plans to increase agricultural products. The country can
provide Zimbabwe with its valuable experience in various agricultural
fields," Eskandari said.

Referring to the importance of food security in Iran, he said, "Iran will
have no fear of sanctions, if the issue of food security is materialized in
the country."
He added that work force plays a leading role in increasing production of
agro products and said Iran has used scientific achievements and different
educational methods to gain
self-sufficiency in wheat production.

The Iranian minister stressed the importance of conducting research in the
agriculture sector.

"Annual production of over 15 million tons of agricultural products, 1.6
million tons of sugar, 1.5 million tons of rice, 2.7 million tons of corn
and 15 million tons of wheat brought valuable experience to Iran," he added.

The Zimbabwean minister, for his part, said his country attaches importance
to food security to reach real freedom and independence.

He said Zimbabwe sent out colonial powers from its rich land to protect its
sovereignty through food security, stressing that the move resulted in
enmity of Western states with his country.

Lauding Iran's achieved self-sufficiency in wheat production, the visiting
Zimbabwean minister voiced his country's determination to utilize Iran's
experience in this field.

He added that Iran could play a leading role in marketing Zimbabwe's
agricultural products including linen, tea, tobacco and sugar cane.


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Iran, Zimbabwe underline expansion of mutual relations

Islamic Republic News Agency

Tehran, Nov 19, IRNA
Iran-Zimbabwe-Relations
Visiting Zimbabwean Foreign Minister Simbarashe Mumbengegwi conferred here
Sunday with Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki on expansion of relations
between the two countries.

Speaking to reporters after his meeting with Zimbabwean counterpart, Mottaki
said the Zimbabwean president is to arrive Tehran tonight.

Iran and Zimbabwe share common stands on regional and
international developments, he said.

On his negotiations with his Zimbabwean counterpart, he said during the
meeting, the two sides reviewed issues of mutual interests, developments in
Africa and Middle East region.

Zimbabwe has backed Iran's stands at international fora, he said, adding
that the Islamic Republic of Iran has adopted the same policy towards that
country.

During Iran-Zimbabwe Joint Economic Commission meeting, the two sides
underlined the need to further broaden mutual ties, he said.

Since both Iran and Zimbabwe are two significant members of Non-Aligned
Movement (NAM), they are in agreement on cooperation in various economic
fields, he underlined.

Zimbabwe enjoys high potential in agriculture and mining sectors while the
Islamic Republic of Iran can promote cooperation with the country in
construction of power plants and auto and tractor manufacturing sector, he
said.

Zimbabwe is a suitable marketplace for production of cotton and tobacco, he
underlined.

The two sides have many economic and political cooperation and Zimbabwe
seeks to broaden such ties, he said.

There are huge mineral reserves in Zimbabwe which could be more developed by
making use of Iran's technological know-how and capabilities, he said,
adding that "We can help promote agricultural and mining sectors along with
tourism industry in Iran."


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Zimbabwe clinches deals with six Chinese firms

People's Daily

Zimbabwe has clinched tourism marketing and development deals with six
major Chinese tourist wholesalers during the on-going China International
Travel Mart in Shanghai, local newspapers reported on Saturday.

The deals, which are in conformity with the national economic
turnaround program and the Look East Policy, should bolster Zimbabwe's
penetration of Asia and increase Chinese tourist arrivals from the current
30,000 to at least 100,000 by 2008, The Herald said.

Zimbabwe has clinched deals with The Great Wall Society, China
International Travel Services, China Travel Services, China Youth
International Travel Services, Zheijinag Tourism Group and Shandong Tourism
Administration on the sidelines of the China International Travel Mart.

Among the deals to be signed next week by the Zimbabwean delegation
led by Tourism Authority chief executive officer Karikoga Kaseke, is the
twinning of the Great Zimbabwe National Monument with The Great Wall of
China in Beijing.

Historically revered as a symbol of Chinese ancient cultural and
architectural supremacy, the Great Wall is visited by an average of 3,000
tourists per day, a thing that Great Zimbabwe should benefit from.

The deal includes marketing, promotion and development of the two
national monuments which should see the Chinese who adore and respect the
wall as their national shrine, visit the Great Zimbabwe with the same
respect and cultural significance.

On Monday, Zimbabwe will also sign a memorandum of understanding with
Zheijinag Tourism Group that should see the Chinese group market and promote
Zimbabwe's tourist resort areas.

Enshrined in the memorandum is the repackaging of Zimbabwean tourism
products in line with the Chinese requirements in order to fully exploit the
market of China, which has a population of 1.3 billion.

"You see, our market has been packaging things for the West, for
Germany etc. The Chinese are different, they are their own kind and they
expect different things all together," Kaseke said, adding, it was time for
Zimbabweans to realize that the Chinese were very serious about the
Zimbabwean product and that Zimbabwe needs to enlist Chinese people to
assist in marketing.

"The groups we have engaged are the biggest tourism wholesalers in the
country and we need their expertise as people who have been marketing their
own kith and kin," he said.

The Zimbabwean stand at the China International Travel Mart continued
to be popular in the second day of trading on Thursday, with hundreds of
tourist thronging the stand.

Source: Xinhua


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Mozambique is learning to run while Zimbabwe falters

From The Cape Argus (SA), 19 November

Why, oh why can't Zanu PF be more like its sibling, Frelimo? Frelimo made it
so easy to attend their ninth congress in dreary Quelimane. Accreditation
was a doddle.They didn't even want any money. Zimbabwe, not so long ago the
smug, more prosperous neighbour, should be made to blush about this
congress, its scale and logistics. Frelimo's own fleet of businesses paid
for much of this massive congress, but so did the private sector. Most of
Zanu PF's companies are in intensive care, and the shrinking private sector
is forced to "donate" or face the usual round of threats or reprisals. At
the Frelimo congress of about 2 600 delegates, dignatories and support
staff, (its first outside Maputo) there was none of the wooden obedience
Zanu PF forces on its sullen membership. Top-ranking Frelimo officials
mingled with ordinary members in a familial atmosphere, hugging and kissing,
and catching up with news from provincial delegates. There was a tangible
democratic process going on.

Zanu PF changes its party rules whenever the mood takes hold as it did last
year when it shoved vice president Joice Mujuru into the number two spot in
the party. Four years earlier, Zanu PF suddenly abolished the post of party
secretary-general when incumbent, Emmerson Mnangagwa was seen by Mugabe and
the securocrats as having presidential ambitions. Mugabe drones on at every
congress repeating stories he has been telling for decades, and making the
same old accusations about Zimbabwe's economy - Blair, Bush, "sanctions".
The Frelimo congress indicated that Mozambique probably has a serene and
predictable political future. Armanda Guebuza, 63, the only nomination for
party president, is hugely popular and is likely to be there, bar any
catastrophe, for two full terms, ending in 2014. There was jubilation when
Prime Minister Luisa Diogo, 48, came second in votes cast in central
committee elections, although gossip in the cafes had it that she was no
longer in favour. The man who beat her is Alberto Chipande and his
popularity is not about future power, but recognition that he fired the
first shot against the Portuguese in the liberation struggle in 1964. So
Frelimo, and therefore Mozambicans know, more or less, barring the
unexpected, that when Guebuza steps down, there is already a trusted
replacement waiting in the wings.

Zimbabweans are tormented by the fall-out from the never-ending plots and
sub-plots in the long battle to replace Mugabe when and if he decides to
step down before nature takes its course. It is not only these recent years
of intense trauma which have paralysed Zimbabwe. Development and investments
have often been impeded by spin-offs from Mugabe fiddling around with and
stoking fires between clans and tribes for the last 26 years. So,
diabolically, with a president three months away from his 83rd birthday, no
one knows when he is going and who will take over. Frelimo veterans,
familiar to an older generation of South Africans, like re-elected central
committee member Marcelino dos Santos, are revered. They remain the party's
conscience in the tough and growing free market which is gradually eating
away at the last vestiges of its pre-1989 Marxist Leninist past. Zanu PF's
veterans are mostly dead or ignored, exiled from the party, or have left it.
Few from the founding days of Zanu PF and its predecessor, Zapu play any
role in Zanu PF.

Quelimane is opposition Renamo country, a small coastal town, in a swampy,
hellishly hot province. If Renamo was upset at Frelimo's invasion of its
territory for its congress, it didn't show it. "It has been really good for
business," said a Renamo supporter dishing out prawns at his packed pavement
restaurant. Zimbabwe has stranded itself on an island within the region. No
one can penetrate its financial and political chaos. it is stuck up a pole
with Mugabe. So, did the Frelimo congress mean that Mozambique is on the way
to eradicating poverty? It is on the road, yes, but it is a long one and
only 20 000 out of 1.5 million infected with HIV/Aids are on
anti-retrovirals. The centralist nature of Frelimo, which makes it largely
indivisible from the state, remains. Mostly people in business say Frelimo
is benign, although the bureaucracy, especially in the provinces, is
impenetrable for some potential foreign investors. The partnership of
Guebuza and Diogo give an impression that they know that and want to fix it.
Guebuza's refrain at the congress, "now is not the time to walk, but run,"
is music to the ears of investors struggling with the mountainous paperwork
and a disintegrating administration of justice. Mozambique claims an
inflation rate of about 10%. Some say it may be a bit higher than that.
Zimbabwe's official inflation is 1 000%, with private sector accountants
saying it is nearly double that. If anyone can get past the barriers to
attend the Zanu PF congress near Harare next month, check it out, and see
why Zimbabwe's economy indicates that it, unlike Mozambique, is still at war
with itself.


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Zimbabwe Vigil Diary - 18th November 2006



"Dead by 34." This was the front page splash in the Independent yesterday
(see: http://news.independent.co.uk/world/africa/article1990401.ece). It
went on: "This is the fate of women in Zimbabwe where they now have the
world's lowest life expectancy after 26 years of Mugabe". At the same time
British television showed a harrowing account of life under Mugabe with
prostrate people being beaten by the thugs of the ruling regime. In
addition we had Al-Jezeera, the new international television channel, in
their inaugural broadcast showing the desperate plight of Zimbabweans.

Vigil supporters were surprised at a new poster in the Embassy window "Go to
Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe's true wonder is back". We all wondered where the
Victoria Falls had been - perhaps flooding into South Africa. The window
was adorned with a copy of the Independent front page "Dead by 34" and a
picture of Mugabe with Dracula teeth saying "Who said the devil has no son,
well now he has."

Many Vigil supporters signed letters to the President of the ANC Youth
League condemning his recent pro-Mugabe public statement. We were shocked
at his ill-informed comments. Thanks to Chipo for co-ordinating this.

The dancing today was mainly backwards. Vigil co-ordinator, Dumi,
introduced a new song about moving forward with the MDC but decided that
dancing backward reflected the reality for Zimbabwe. Passers-by were
engrossed wondering when they would fall over .much like the rest of the
world watching the Zanu-PF regime.

Are our Vigil youth joining British youth culture? We had two hoodies
drumming at the end, only to be revealed as regular supporters Bie and Moses
protecting themselves from the cold.

The Vigil is moving in the international arena. Two of our supporters,
Ephraim and Wiz, are going to Munich on 30th November at the invitation of
the Harare-Munich partnership to help them in setting up a Vigil. As the
holocaust in Zimbabwe becomes more widely known, a way forward in pressing
for action is to have Vigils world-wide outside Zimbabwe Embassies.

Some statistics from the Independent article:
- 4 million the amount the population is thought to have fallen
since the last population census in 2002. Current estimates put it at 8
million.
- 50% the amount Zimbabwe's economy has shrunk since 1999.
- 73 million, the size of Zimbabwe's tobacco output in millions of
tons. In 2000 it was 734 million.
- Infant mortality has doubled since the 1990s.
- An estimated 3,500 people are dying every week - the figure is
more than those dying in Iraq, Darfur or Lebanon.
- Life expectancy for women is 34. It was 65 just over a decade ago.
It is much lower than in neighbouring countries: in Zambia, life expectancy
for women is 40; in Mozambique, 46; in Botswana, 40; in South Africa, 49.
Even in Afghanistan women can expect to live until 40.

These figures were distressful to our supporters and Dumi led them in
singing the Shona rendition of "Auld Lang Syne" which translates to "We'll
meet again in Heaven". Tendayi drew us all together to pray for those
suffering back home.

For this week's Vigil pictures:
http://uk.msnusers.com/ZimbabweVigil/shoebox.msnw.

FOR THE RECORD: 58 signed the register.

FOR YOUR DIARY: Monday, 20th November, 7.30 pm, Central London Zimbabwe
Forum. We are at our alternative venue this week: the Rose and Springbok, 14
Upper St Martins Lane, WC2H 9DL. Map link:
http://makeashorterlink.com/?N2D231EA6. Nearest tubes: Leicester Square,
Covent Garden - it is likely we will stick to this venue until after
Christmas as our regular venue is booked for Christmas parties.

Vigil co-ordinator

The Vigil, outside the Zimbabwe Embassy, 429 Strand, London, takes place
every Saturday from 14.00 to 18.00 to protest against gross violations of
human rights by the current regime in Zimbabwe. The Vigil which started in
October 2002 will continue until internationally-monitored, free and fair
elections are held in Zimbabwe. http://www.zimvigil.co.uk


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Parliament to probe Air Zimbabwe incompetence

zimbabwejournalists.com

By a Correspondent

HARARE - Zimbabwe's parliament intends to probe the ongoings at
troubled national carrier, Air Zimbabwe, which will be required to explain
the embarrassing flight cancellations to London.

A parliament portfolio committee has said it has every intentions of
pressing upon the Ministry of Transport and Communications to deal with
incompetence at the airline. The committee on Transport and Communications
will meet tomorrow morning to set a preliminary date on which Air Zimbabwe
officials will be summoned and possibly hauled over the coals.

Committee chairperson, Leo Mugabe, said it had been a very
embarrassing chapter in Air Zimbabwe's history, and that his committee
intends to establish who at the airline was liable for the unpaid debt.
"Heads have to roll. It has been very embarrassing for both Air Zimbabwe and
the country," said Mugabe.

Air Zimbabwe cancelled all three of its flights to London, three weeks
ago, over fears that one of its long-haul, wide-bodied Boeing aircraft,
which ply the London route, would be seized over the unpaid debt owed to the
Agency for the Safety of Air Navigation in Africa and Madagascar (ASCECNA).

The debt - which has been outstanding for a number of years now - saw
ASCECNA seek legal recourse in the courts in 2004, where it won a court
order authorising it to impound the airline's aircraft for non-payment of
the debt. Three weeks ago, ASCECNA decided to effect the court order,
prompting Air Zimbabwe to cancel all three scheduled flights, and in the
process losing thousands of US dollars.

After the embarrassing incident, the airline's management received a
financial injection from government to settle the debt, and continue flights
to London. The London route is Air Zimbabwe's cash cow. Shortly after, the
airline scrambled around frantically and settled the debt, before resuming
flights. The London flights are the airline's cash cow. Air Zimbabwe acting
CEO, Captain Oscar Madombwe refused to comment. "We will only do so after we
appear before parliament," he said.

The developments come at a time it was reported by a financial weekly
that a board and management shake up is looming at the financially embattled
airline. The airline has been operating without a CEO head for over a year
now, with Transport minister, Chris Mushohwe vetoing the appointment of
Madombwe as substantive head of the airline. Battles lines have been drawn
between Mushohwe and the Board of Directors led by Mike Bimha over Madombwe's
appointment as substantive CEO. andnetwork


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Govt refuses to extradite Mann

From The Sunday Mirror, 19 November

Daily Mirror Reporter

The Zimbabwean government has once again rejected requests from the
Equatorial Guinea for the immediate extradition of jailed mercenary Simon
Mann, with a cabinet minister saying Mann would remain in the country to
serve out his sentence. Minister of Home Affairs Kembo Mohadi said
government had resolved that Mann complete his term at Chikurubi Maximum
Prison where he has been held since March 2004. "He will have to serve his
term. Just maybe, when he completes his conviction, we will look into that
(extradition) in consultation with the ministry of Justice, Legal and
Parliamentary Affairs," said Mohadi. Mohadi said while it was not
immediately clear whether the extradition requests would be entertained,
normal procedure dictated that Mann should at least complete serving his
time at Chikurubi. The Sunday Mirror has it on good authority that while
Zimbabwe signed a number of agreements with Equatorial Guinea to promote
justice, mutual legal assistance and fight crime in June this year, the
major stumbling block was the lack of an extradition treaty between the two
nations.

A former member of the British Special Air Services (SAS), Mann was given a
seven-year sentence in 2004, which was later reduced to four years. Mann has
served over two years of his sentence, and will be released in 2008. If
extradited, Mann faces in excess of 30-years in an Equatorial Guinea prison.
Leader of the South African contingent arrested in Equatorial Guinea, Nick
du Toit is currently serving a 34-year jail term for his alleged role in the
botched coup. Furthermore, four other South Africans arrested alongside du
Toit for their role in the plot remain in detention at the high-security
Black Beach prison. This is the second time that Zimbabwe has rejected
requests from the government of Theodore Nguema Obiang Mbasogo for Mann to
be handed over to Equatorial Guinea for trial on charges of trying to
overthrow Mbasogo in 2004. The first time Equatorial Guinea lodged a request
for the extradition of Mann and his mercenary colleagues was in 2004 soon
after their highly publicised arrest. That request was shot down, with
Mohadi himself saying Zimbabwe could not extradite the men before they had
been tried. ohadi said the extradition would be after the conviction of the
mercenaries.

Two years later, after the conviction and sentencing of Mann, another
request was lodged through Equatorial Guinea's public prosecutor, Jose Olo
Obono, for Mann to be handed over to Malabo for trial. In June this year,
Obono told the international media that Zimbabwean had promised Mann's
extradition process would be in place within a space of two months, which
meant September. The authenticity of Obono's claims became questionable with
Zimbabwean authorities - namely Justice minister, Patrick Chinamasa,
Attorney General Sobusa Gula-Ndebele and Mohadi - professing ignorance of
the alleged assurance of extradition. When clarity was sought at the time,
Chinamasa referred all questions to Mohadi who initially tried to throw the
matter back to Chinamasa and Gula-Ndebele. The Justice minister and the AG
insisted the issue was not their baby, and shortly after that, Mohadi agreed
to provide this paper with a substantive comment. Mohadi added that
government, wary of legal loopholes, was evaluating "legal options and
realities" in and between the two countries.

Mbasogo's government has been particularly interested in Mann, who was the
alleged brains behind the foiled coup plot, financed by Mark Thatcher (the
son of former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher) among others. Less
than a month back, Mbasogo refused to pardon Mann's five accomplices being
held at the Black Beach prison saying it was too early for their release.
Mann was convicted of breaching Zimbabwe's firearms legislation, whilst the
other mercenaries were charged and convicted of breaching the country's
immigration laws. The two pilots were given 16-month sentences. Mann and 69
others landed at Harare International Airport on the night of March 7,
2006 - en route to Malabo, Equatorial Guinea - to boost their arsenal
through a weapons purchase of 100 000. Zimbabwean security forces foiled
the transaction and arrested the mercenaries. After leaving the SAS, Mann
co-founded Executive Outcomes - a highly trained mercenary outfit - in the
1980s. It was officially dissolved at the end of 1998 after South Africa
passed a law banning mercenaries from operating on its soil.


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Better the devil you know

zimbabwejournalists.com

By a Correspondent

The news that Peter Chingoka has survived the internal firestorm of
the last year to emerge still as the chairman of the new, improved Zimbabwe
Cricket is about as surprising as Robert Mugabe winning the last/next
presidential election.

In Zimbabwe it's more who you know than what you stand for that
matters. Chingoka's tenure as ZC chief - well into its second decade - has
hardly been a success. Admittedly - and even his critics acknowledge this -
up until about 2003 he could justifiably claim to have done a decent job.
But, mirroring the decline of Zimbabwe as a whole, the last few years have
been a catalogue of failures.

The exodus of talent, the collapse of established internal structures,
allegations of financial mismanagement and intimidation have all been to the
fore. On the field, the side has become an international joke, and not a
very funny one at that. And much of the blame for that must rest with
Chingoka. So how come Teflon Pete remains at the helm? The key is that he
has friends in high places, both inside and outside the country.

One thing Chingoka has always been good at is cultivating
relationships, and this has ensured that he has been able to call on friends
when the heat has been on Zimbabwe. Of late, he has made sure that Zimbabwe
has backed India within the ICC, and that loyalty has been rewarded. The ICC
inspection carried out in August by Percy Sonn and Malcom Speed further
endorsed his grip on power. Sonn and Chingoka are old mates, so there were
hardly any surprises there, but more importantly the ICC realised that it
was far better dealing with Chingoka rather than an unknown quantity.

In Zimbabwe, more often than not the person next in line is far worse
than the one in charge, and in cricketing circles that also applies. The ICC
hierarchy is not stupid either. They realised that whatever the faults of
Chingoka, he was likely to be in situ for some time and so they would be
better backing him and trying to work on change through official channels
rather than alienating him. That might have meant them looking the other way
when confronted with some unpalatable internal issues, but they would argue
that is a price worth paying. Within Zimbabwe, Chingoka plays a shrewd
political game, remains a skilled operator and has the knack of being able
to stay one step ahead of the opposition.

Opponents have come and gone in the last year, and all the time
Chingoka has survived. What has been irreparably damaged is his reputation.
Those close to him suggest that he is concerned about his legacy, but it is
hard to see how he can emerge from the shambles with much in the plus
column. All Chingoka can hope is that things do start to get better before
he finally steps down. There are occasional signs that the crisis may have
bottomed out, mainly because it would be hard to see how it could get any
worse. For now, he's still there and Zimbabwe cricket needs to accept that
and make the best of a bad situation. As the last year has shown, fighting
Chingoka only produces one winner.
cricinfo

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