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Pledge to non violence

Dear Friends,


As you know I have been trying to broker peace between the two factions of the MDC since the 12th October 2005. I know that some of you are skeptical about this and about my ability to play this role but nevertheless I am convinced in my mind at least that this is the right thing to do.


I have been deeply concerned about the vitriolic statements made by both sides and by individuals on both sides since the 12th October as I believe they have greatly lessened any chance of reconciliation being achieved. However in recent weeks I have discerned an even more disturbing trend and that is that violence has been increasingly threatened and used. A vehicle has been hijacked by youths and at least one rally threats have been made to crush members of an opposing faction. This is of course just a continuation of the violence we have seen perpetrated by both sides against each other in the last 18 months.


I do not propose at this juncture to delve into who is responsible for that violence. Nor will I try to assess which side is most culpable at this stage. What is needed now is a deep rooted commitment from both sides to refrain from violence, not just in word but more importantly in action. Anyone can simply condemn violence – Robert Mugabe and Zanu PF do that all the time at the very time they are plotting evil. Violent tendencies can only be quashed if leaders demonstrate that they are not prepared to tolerate violence in any form or fashion.


Furthermore it is clear that one or other, or both, of the two factions in the coming months will engage in mass action against the regime. I am concerned that if violence is tolerated or condoned in intra party disputes that the same policy may be applied in opposing the regime.


In this regard I draw your attention to the “Pledge to non violence” drafted by Martin Luther King for the Alabama Christian Movement for Human Rights which I have both attached and set out in full below.


I think the following points about it should be noted:


  1. Our aim in both the settlement of intra party disputes and in our struggle against the regime should be to achieve “justice and reconciliation – not victory”. The organisation we represent is after all the Movement for Democratic Change not the Movement for Change. In other words mere victory over the other faction or Zanu PF should never be our goal – our goal should be to bring about a new order of peace, justice and reconciliation, not the continuation of the hatred, pain, intolerance and overwhelming power we have experienced under Zanu PF.
  2. We need to “walk and talk in the manner of love”. We cannot just talk about non violence; our entire demeanour must reflect our commitment to non violence. This applies particularly when confronting the regime. If we begin marches with prayer and ensure that no weapons of any sort are used then the regime will find it hard to crush protests because its objective will be so obviously noble. But our walk begins with how we treat our own brothers and sisters in the struggle. How can we possibly convince the regime that we have noble objectives if in the settlement of our internal disputes we are so quick to resort to violence or to turn a blind eye to violence?
  3. We need to blanket our entire actions in “prayer”. It is more difficult to engage in violence if one takes the time to pray before undertaking any activity. But this needs to be genuine, heartfelt prayer not prayer by rote. And when we pray we should not be asking God just to end tyranny but to examine our own hearts and motives. We need to ask God to give us restraint in our words and actions. And if we are confronted by law enforcement agencies then our first reaction should be to get down on our knees and pray, not to fight. The regime will have no answer to such action and also I have no doubt that God’s mighty power will be unleashed in such situations.
  4. We need to “sacrifice personal wishes in order that all men shall be free”. One of the things that has distressed me the most in the split is the realisation that many in both sides are not interested in reconciliation because that is the very thing that will obstruct their path to higher office. There is no doubt that there are people on both sides who have now attained high office in one or other faction; office they would never have dreamt of had the MDC remained united. They fully understand that if the party were to unify they would lose those lofty positions. We have not seen sufficient people on both sides who have been prepared to sacrifice their personal goals for the greater good. But the same applies to our attitude in confronting the regime. I have heard at least one member of the MDC National Executive complain in the last year about not being prepared to wait any longer to become a Minister. Our goal should not be the attainment of high office in Government – our goal must be to liberate Zimbabweans whether that results in us becoming Ministers or not.
  5. If our struggle is indeed a noble one, if we are to maintain the moral high ground, then we must observe “the ordinary rules of courtesy” with both “friend and foe”. How can it be that we have allowed ourselves to be so uncouth towards colleagues, comrades and friends who have been to hell and back together with us in the last 6 years? What has caused us to stoop so low to sling all manner of unsubstantiated barbs against each other in the last 6 months? Why is it that we have not afforded each other the courtesy of testing “facts” before publishing untrue and wildly defamatory statements about former colleagues? Why have we resorted to making such vile and vitriolic statements about former colleagues in public? I have been utterly appalled by the use of words like “sell outs”, “dissidents”, “rebels” , “dictators” to describe colleagues who only yesterday were in the trenches with us. But this principle applies equally as we tackle the regime and law enforcement agencies. Indeed what has greatly diminished the moral authority of our struggle against the regime has been our distinct lack of courtesy shown to each other. It is now perfectly reasonable for the regime to argue that they are up against uncouth people who do not care for truth or the observation of ordinary rules of courtesy.
  6. Our commitment to non violence should be all embracing; we need to “refrain from the violence of fist, tongue or heart”. In other words we need to watch our physical actions, what we say and importantly what motivates us. One can pay lip service to non violence and even refrain ourselves from the violence of the fist, whilst at the same time entertaining deep rooted malice which eventually spills out. It is no good putting on a façade of commitment to non violence whilst at the same time encouraging others, especially young people, behind closed doors to engage in violence. Recently I have been given the excuse that violent acts and statements committed by young men and low ranking officials were not done in the presence of leaders. That is simply not good enough. In my experience young people rarely engage in acts of violence unless they are encouraged to do so by leaders behind closed doors. The history of Zimbabwe is littered with examples of young men and women being sacrificed to achieve the personal political goals of their elders. We must break this cycle both in the settlement of our intra party disputes and in tackling the regime. The cycle can only be broken if leaders consistently demonstrate in their words and actions their deep rooted commitment to using non violence. Unless those who have engaged in violence are disciplined and expelled from the party young people will inevitably be left with the impression that leaders simply do not want to be associated with violence but actually support the use of violence.
  7. There is a need for discipline – all must “follow the directions of the movement”. Even if leaders are committed to non violent methods being used, undisciplined and over exuberant people can get carried away in attempting to achieve what is otherwise a noble goal. I have been alarmed by the cavalier attitude displayed by some in dealing with both the intra party dispute and the national crisis. Some seem to be prepared to throw caution to the wind and not to care how their strategies and tactics may unfold. Zimbabwe is a tinderbox as a result of the great pressures that all people are under. Leaders have a responsibility to consider carefully what they say and do and also leaders need to ensure that their followers are highly disciplined. If this approach is not adopted there is a great danger that a wildfire will be ignited that will be difficult to extinguish and indiscriminate in its destruction.


I recognise that some of you may be deeply skeptical about what I have written. Some of you may just think that these are irrelevant musings of a naïve Christian who does not understand the nature of this regime and what is needed to remove it. I hold to these views not just because I think they are morally correct but because I also believe that these principles provide the best and most effective means of bringing democratic change to our beloved nation.  I think if we engage in intra party violence we will simply perpetuate the struggle for freedom and never deal with the root causes of our nation’s distress. I believe that if we try to tackle the Zanu PF regime using the methods they are most experienced in and familiar with, we will lose that battle. When Mugabe speaks of having “degrees in violence”, that is no idle boast. I think the one thing they are longing for is the excuse to crush a violent uprising. I think the one thing they have no answer to is a genuinely peaceful, non violent movement that does not care about power but is more concerned with rooting justice and reconciliation in Zimbabwe.


Let me conclude by saying that whether you commit yourself to these principles or not I am determined to do everything in my power to continue persuading anyone who will listen that this is the right way. I can do no better than to quote Martin Luther King again in this regard.


“I’ve decided that I’m going to do battle for my philosophy. You ought to believe something in life, believe that thing so fervently that you will stand up with it till the end of your days. I can’t make myself believe that God wants me to hate. I’m tired of violence. And I’m not going to let my oppressor dictate to me what method I must use. We have a power, power that can’t be found in Molotov cocktails, but we do have a power. Power that cannot be found in bullets and guns, but we have a power. It is a power as old as the insights of Jesus of Nazareth and as modern as the techniques of Mahatma Gandhi.”


It would be wonderful if all democratic leaders in Zimbabwe would make a similar pledge themselves to the one drafted by Martin Luther King 43 years ago.


With regards,


David Coltart


Bulawayo 12 April 2006



          1.       MEDIATE daily on the teachings and life of Jesus.

          2.       REMEMBER always that the non-violent movement in Birmingham seeks justice and reconciliation – not victory.

          3.       WALK and TALK in the manner of love, for God is love.

          4.       PRAY daily to be used by God in order that all men might be free.

          5.       SACRIFICE personal wishes in order that all men might be free.

          6.       OBSERVE with both friend and foe the ordinary rules of courtesy.

          7.       SEEK to perform regular service for others and for the world.

          8.       REFRAIN from the violence of fist, tongue, or heart.

          9.       STRIVE to be in good spiritual and bodily health.

      10.       FOLLOW the directions of the movement and of the captain on a demonstration.

I sign this pledge, having seriously considered what I do and with the determination and will to preserve.

Name ____________________________________________

Address ___________________________________________

Phone ____________________________________________

Nearest Relative ____________________________________

Address ___________________________________________

Besides demonstrations, I could also help the movement by:  (Circle the proper items)

Run errands, Drive my car, Fix food for volunteers, Clerical work, Make phone calls, Answer phones, Mimeograph, Type, Print signs, Distribute leaflets.

Alabama Christian Movement For Human Rights

Birmingham Affiliate of S.C.L.C.

505½ North 17th Street

F. L. Shuttleworth, President

*  Pledge signed by volunteers for sit-in demonstrations to protest segregated eating facilitates in Birmingham, Alabama, in 1963.


Drafted by Martin Luther King, Jr.


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Growing poverty seen stoking Zimbabwe protests


Wed 12 Apr 2006 8:38 AM ET
By Cris Chinaka

HARARE, April 12 (Reuters) - Zimbabwe's rapid economic decline has triggered
desperation among city dwellers that could turn planned opposition protests
against President Robert Mugabe's government into a potent force.

Opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai dramatically raised the stakes last
month when he proposed mass protests at a time when the country is battling
its worst economic downturn since independence and has the world's highest
inflation rate.

"We are on the brink ... and anyone who thinks the political situation is
manageable at this rate of economic deterioration is going to be shocked,"
John Makumbe, a political scientist at Harare's University of Zimbabwe, told

"For many people, especially in the urban areas, life has become
unaffordable and unbearable and these people are waiting to vent their anger
through mass demonstrations," said Makumbe, a critic of the government.

The government, while acknowledging the economic crisis, says it remains
optimistic but in private officials say rising prices and unemployment above
70 percent are stoking anger, especially in cities.

Last week Zimbabwe's annual inflation rate, measured through the consumer
price index (CPI), jumped to 913.6 percent for the year to March from 782
percent in February.

Experts expect the rate to soar way over 1,000 percent by mid-year and
Zimbabwe also faces shortages of fuel, food and foreign currency and
breaking sewerage systems, power and water cuts, uncollected domestic
garbage and deteriorating roads.

It amounts to the worst economic situation since Mugabe led the country to
independence from Britain in 1980 and the time when Zimbabwe was one of
Africa's most prosperous states is a distant memory, political and economic
analysts say.


The government employed tough policing methods against mass protests in 1998
and subsequent demonstrations, cowing many people but now there was a
generation of unemployed youths ready for confrontation, Makumbe said.

"The element of fear is exaggerated ... and I think that point is going to
become clearer if the government fails to sort out the economy in the next
few months," Makumbe said.

Mugabe, 82, warned Tsvangirai he would be "dicing with death" if he tries to
use protests to drive him from power but officials sources said the
government was worried and working on plans to clamp down on the opposition.

"There is no denial that the political and economic climate is not ideal for
the government and the system must be ready to overcome all those who may
try to subvert law and order," said one official who declined to be named.

The ruling ZANU-PF party -- which co-led Zimbabwe's independence war -- 
warned Tsvangirai it was a battle-hardened movement and any street protests
by his main faction of the MDC would end up in bloodbath.

Tsvangirai is yet to name a date for protests, which could start small, and
analysts say Mugabe's strategy could be to stifle any campaign before it
takes off in the coming months.

A key opposition demand is for a new constitution, viewed as essential for
fair elections. Tsvangirai says ZANU-PF party has rigged three major
elections since 2000, a charge Mugabe denies.

The government's own view of the economy is upbeat. The state-controlled
Herald daily said on Wednesday industry's capacity utilisation fell more
than 50 percent and Gross Domestic Product shrunk by 35 percent over the
past seven years.

"These negatives could soon begin to fizzle out if spirited efforts to
resuscitate the economy are sustained," it said.

Lovemore Madhuku, chairman of political pressure group National
Constitutional Assembly, said while Tsvangirai appeared to have the numbers
on his side, his real challenge would be to capitalise on the growing
national frustration.

"If the whole democratic movement comes together, and it looks like that is
beginning to happen, I see this programme of mass action getting off (the
ground)," he said.

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Tsvangirai to unveil mass action programme

Zim Online

Thu 13 April 2006

      HARARE - Zimbabwe opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai is next week
expected to unveil his Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party's
timetable for mass anti-government protests to more than 100 civic society
allies, insiders told ZimOnline on Wednesday.

      Tsvangirai has in the past two weeks visited Zimbabwe's main cities to
rally supporters for mass protests, defying a stern warning by President
Robert Mugabe that he was "dicing with death" by attempting to instigate
revolt against the government. But the opposition leader has not said when
exactly the protests will take place only saying it will be this winter.

      Insiders said Tsvangirai will spell out his party's "programme of
action" at a meeting with representatives of 130 civic society groups
dubbed, the all stakeholders' conference and to be held in the southern city
of Masvingo on April 20.

      "Mr Tsvangirai will table the roll out programme (for protests) at the
all stakeholders' conference in Masvingo next week," said a senior official
of Tsvangirai's faction of the MDC, considered the main wing of the divided
opposition party. The official would not be drawn to give out details of the
protest programme before next week's conference.

      MDC spokesman Nelson Chamisa confirmed the party will meet its civic
society allies next week to discuss mass action. Chamisa said: "We will use
the all stakeholders meeting to fashion out our way forward on dismantling
Mugabe's dictatorship. We have to appraise our allies, and with them launch
the drive to free this country. The meeting was supposed to be held two
weeks ago but had to be postponed as we refined our strategies."

      The meeting will be convened by the National Constitutional Assembly
(NCA) pro-democracy civic alliance. Church organisations, human and civic
rights groups, lawyers, the student and labour movements are among some of
the groups expected to attend the meeting.

      A NCA official Earnest Mudzengi confirmed the meeting, adding that
civic society groups wanted to complement efforts by Tsvangirai and the MDC
to mobilise Zimbabweans to force Mugabe and his ruling ZANU PF party to
embrace democracy.

      He said: "As civic groups we are going to play a complementary role to
the MDC's democratic resistance programme because we are fighting for the
same values. Masvingo will be the launch pad for the resistance programme."

      Tsvangirai, who says the MDC has lost faith in elections as a
democratic tool to change the government because Mugabe always rigs polls,
has vowed to call mass anti-government protests to force the government to
accept a new and democratic constitution that would ensure free and fair

      But the government, which has in the past deployed anti-riot police
and the military to crush street protests, has strongly cautioned Tsvangirai
that it will not allow him to instigate an uprising against it, warning the
MDC leader that mass action could lead to bloodshed and that he himself
could be "physically eliminated".

      Political analysts say the MDC that enjoys strong support in urban
areas is best placed to organise streets protests against the government.
But they also caution that the opposition party is at the moment too
weakened to confront the government and its army in the streets after it
split into two rival political parties last year.

      Besides the Tsvangirai-led MDC - that is widely seen as the main rival
to Mugabe and ZANU PF - there is another faction of the opposition party
that is led by former student activist Arthur Mutambara. - ZimOnline

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White farmers seek solution to land reform impasse

Zim Online

Thu 13 April 2006

      HARARE - Zimbabwe's white farmers have initiated dialogue with the
government in a bid to improve frosty relations between the two and to seek
a solution to the impasse over the land reform programme, ZimOnline has

      Authoritative government sources said Commercial Farmers Union (CFU)
president Doug Taylor-Freeme and other union officials met with Agriculture
Minister Joseph Made and Lands, Land Reform and Resettlement Minister
Didymus Mutasa in the past two weeks.

      "The farmers want a normalisation of the situation in agriculture and
want to re-establish cordial relations with the government," said a senior
official from the Ministry of Agriculture.

      He said both parties agreed to work together to mend bridges destroyed
soon after the government embarked on its land reform programme that saw
more than 4 500 white farmers losing their properties.

      The government has accused the CFU of supporting the opposition
Movement for Democratic Change and of pushing for economic sanctions imposed
by the West on senior ruling ZANU PF officials.

      The CFU confirmed the meetings in a statement posted on its website
last week and said both Made and Mutasa had made "encouraging remarks
regarding the ongoing issues of offer letters, disturbances on farms and
creating an environment to enhance agricultural production."

      "This last week has seen both the president and vice president having
several meetings with four different ministers and permanent secretaries of
certain ministries," said the CFU.

      Zimbabwe has witnessed a free-fall in agricultural output since 2000,
a situation largely blamed on the government's programme of compulsorily
acquiring land from white farmers and redistributing it to landless blacks.

      The impasse between the government and white farmers has sucked in
other countries, with the West siding with the commercial farmers and mainly
African governments supporting Zimbabwe. - ZimOnline

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Mutambara warns Mugabe of a revolution

Zim Online

Thu 13 April 2006

      HARARE - The leader of a faction of the opposition Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) party Arthur Mutambara has warned President Robert
Mugabe he is sawing the seeds of a revolution if he does not abandon his
autocratic rule.

      Mutambara, chosen last February to head the faction that broke ranks
with MDC founder Morgan Tsvangirai last October after disagreeing on how to
unseat Mugabe, appeared to endorse Tsvangirai's calls for mass revolt,
saying he and his group were not afraid to "engage in confrontation" against
the government.

      "We are saying to Mugabe change the way you are doing things, if you
don't change immediately, you are creating a revolution and we are
presenting ourselves as leaders of this revolution," Mutambara told about
200 supporters at Mount Pleasant hall near the University of Zimbabwe (UZ)
in Harare on Tuesday night.

      He added: "We are not afraid to engage in confrontation through
democratic resistance. If jambanja (protests) does not work we have other
plans, Plan B, Plan C, Plan D and so on and so forth."

      Tsvangirai has held rallies in major cities urging Zimbabweans to
brace up for a winter of protests to force Mugabe to give up power to a
transitional government to be  tasked to lead the writing of a new
constitution and organise fresh elections.

      Mugabe, who has in the past sent in soldiers and the police to crush
protests by MDC supporters, has warned he will not allow the opposition to
foment a popular uprising against his government.

      Mutambara, a popular student leader in the 80s, also used the meeting
to lambast civic society groups he said were partisan, clearly referring to
the groups' apparent backing of Tsvangirai.

      He said: "The National Constitutional Assembly, Zimbabwe Congress of
Trade Unions, Zimbabwe National Students Union and other civic society
groupings such as the churches are partisan. If you are partisan we will be
forced to form parallel structures."

      Mutambara, an American-trained professor of robotics, also touted
himself as the best qualified to run Zimbabwe.

      "I am the only one with the capacity to rule this country. Ask
Tsvangirai, ask Jonathan Moyo (former government information minister), ask
Daniel Shumba (former Mugabe associate) if they have the capacity. I am
capable of ruling this country. I am the champion of the people's project,"
said Mutambara to cheering from his supporters, many of them apparently UZ
students. - ZimOnline

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Govt denies militarising state, goal is economic rescue

[ This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations]

JOHANNESBURG, 12 Apr 2006 (IRIN) - The Zimbabwean government has defended
using security and intelligence personnel to oversee the revival of the
economy, described as the fastest shrinking in the world outside of a war

Last month local media reported that a new economic and food security
revival body, known as the Zimbabwe National Security Council (ZNSC), which
includes officials from the Central Intelligence Organisation, the army,
police, prison services and the Registrar-General's office, had been set up
to oversee and enhance the capacity of ministries.

"There is nothing sinister with involving security force personnel in areas
like the economy and food security: the government is doing what is best for
Zimbabwe. Any complaints to the contrary are only meant to rubbish a genuine
economic revival and food security programme," Obert Mpofu, the minister of
industry and international trade, told IRIN.

Henri Boschoff, a military analyst at the Institute for Security Studies, an
African think-tank, said the Zimbabwean government's decision to involve the
security services in governance was two-pronged. "It helps to stem any
chance of a revolt from within its ranks by taking control and keeping those
in authority informed, but the security forces with their trained personnel
will also provide much needed leadership and management capacity to drive
each sector."

The ZNSC, headed by President Robert Mugabe, is a key component of a
National Economic Development Priority Plan, comprising sub-committees
responsible for various issues such as mobilising foreign exchange and
tourism, restructuring public enterprises, and managing local authorities
and food security, according to the Zimbabwe Independent, a privately owned

Zimbabwe has been grappling with food shortages for the past four years,
mainly due to erratic weather conditions and the impact of the chaotic
fast-track land reform programme on the agricultural sector.

A current inflation rate of more than 900 percent is proving a considerable
hurdle, while the lack of foreign currency has affected the country's
capacity to import even basic requirements such as fuel, fertiliser and

The sub-committee responsible for mobilising foreign exchange has reportedly
been asked to raise a minimum of US $2.5 billion in three months, beginning
from March.

Contrary to popular opinion that the flurry of stopgap measures indicated a
slide into total economic collapse, the sub-committees would enable
government to stay in touch with all the key sectors of the economy, said
Mpofu. He denied there had been a militarisation of basic government

Didymus Mutasa, minister of national security, said the deployment of
security personnel to civilian ministries was to ensure that "things move";
the government needed to closely monitor the performance of all sectors of
the economy to ensure that the goal of recovery was met.

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Troubled Air Zimbabwe Announces Turnaround Strategy


      By Tendai Maphosa
      12 April 2006

Air Zimbabwe, the failing national carrier, is to restructure its operations
in a bid to regain viability.

The plan announced by Air Zimbabwe chairman Mike Bimha will see the airline
split into five strategic business units to ensure better performance. It
will also lay off 30 percent of the airline's employees.

Bimha is quoted in the state-controlled daily, The Herald, as saying staff
levels had remained the same against the backdrop of a shrinking fleet and
huge losses. He attributed he losses to a drastic drop in the number of
passengers flying Air Zimbabwe.

But last week the newspaper quoted the airline's acting chief executive
officer Oscar Madombwe as saying in 2005 it ferried less than a quarter of
the million passengers who used it in 1999.

Air Zimbabwe's passenger fleet has dropped from more than 20 aircraft in the
1980s to less than 10. In the past few years the airline has had cash flow
problems that have seen it temporarily suspended by the International Air
Transport Association for non-payment of dues.

Last November, the airline ran out of jet fuel and failed to service its
routes. The fuel problem persists and sometimes aircraft have to fly via
Lilongwe in Malawi to refuel. Airline CEO Madombwe said this is expensive.

He also blamed the negative publicity about the political and economic
situation in the country and the shortage of hard currency to buy equipment
and new planes.

Madombwe said there is a perception that because the airlines planes are
old, they are unsafe. Some of Air Zimbabwe's planes are more than 30 years

Madombwe pointed out that Air Zimbabwe has an excellent safety record. He
said the fact it was not on the list of 93 airlines banned from European
Union air space for safety reasons earlier this year confirms it is a safe

But a regular Air Zimbabwe flier, speaking to VOA on condition of anonymity
said delays and cancellations with little or no notice, rather than safety
is the problem with the airline. He said while these problems also happened
with other airlines, Air Zimbabwe has shown a certain disregard for its

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UK wins appeal against deportations to Zim


          April 12 2006 at 06:32PM

      London - Britain's Court of Appeal overturned a decision Wednesday
that prevented failed Zimbabwean asylum seekers from being deported to their
home country, which has been wracked by political violence for years.

      Home Secretary Charles Clarke, the country's top immigration official,
welcomed the decision but said the government wouldn't deport any
Zimbabweans until an immigration tribunal had ruled on two sample cases.

      "We have always argued that decisions on asylum claims should be based
on their individual merits and the court's judgment is consistent with that
approach," Clarke said.

      Wednesday's ruling said the Asylum and Immigration Tribunal had "erred
in law" in October when it barred deportations to Zimbabwe. The judges said
the cases of two Zimbabweans should go back to the immigration tribunal for

      "I cannot emphasise strongly enough that we would not enforce the
return of a failed asylum seeker to Zimbabwe if we believed that they were
at real risk of mistreatment," Clarke said.

      Zimbabwe's economy has been in free fall since President Robert
Mugabe's government began seizing thousands of white-owned commercial farms
for redistribution to blacks in 2000, disrupting the agriculture-based
economy and leading to acute shortages of food, gasoline and essential
imports. Inflation has soared to 782 percent in the past year.

      More than 15 000 Zimbabweans fled to Britain between 2000 and 2004.
Many asylum seekers say their lives would be in danger if they returned. The
government has agreed to defer the deportation of any failed Zimbabwean
asylum seekers until the case was settled. - Sapa-AP

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Government must ensure the safety of those returned to Zimbabwe can be monitored

                  PRESS RELEASE

                  Commenting after the Home Office successfully appealed
against a court ruling which prevented it from deporting failed asylum
seekers to Zimbabwe, Shadow Home Secretary, David Davis, said:

                  "The reason for this whole court case is the abject
failure of the Government's policy on Zimbabwe, with its dreadful
consequences for the citizens of Zimbabwe and their opposition to the Mugabe

                  "Last year we called for the Government to put in place a
rigorous method of monitoring the continuing safety of those returned to
Zimbabwe. The Government must now show they have done this and not simply
wasted the past few months. Otherwise, we will not know the fate of the
people sent back and what the Mugabe regime does to them."

                  Rt Hon David Davis MP

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Facing up to an uncertain future

As the home secretary wins an appeal against a ruling which prevented failed Zimbabwean asylum-seekers from being deported, some of those affected tell the BBC News website of their concerns over the judgement.


I'm afraid if I was sent back to Zimbabwe I would face a lot of difficulties since I'm a political activist and the government of Robert Mugabe does not take kindly to political opposition.

I was a youth activist for the opposition and we used to rally the youth and distribute flyers and mobilise people. I was kidnapped by the regime's agents, tortured and beaten, electrocuted, it was a horrible time I had so I know what they are capable of doing.

So I would be in great danger because as soon as I arrived I would be taken from the airport by the security services and goodness knows what would happen. But the result would be grave, we are talking about death here.

Most of my family back home have disappeared or died. I don't think it's going to be safe to go back until there's a change of government.


If I had to go back to Zimbabwe I would be killed just for having claimed asylum in a foreign country, which is not allowed by the regime.

I think sending people back to Zimbabwe is a error of judgement on the part of the government, they should consider our cases and grant us asylum.

In Zimbabwe I was a secretary but I fell out with the government. Most of my family have had to flee the country, some are in South Africa, some in America and some in the UK.

I think it's too dangerous for people to be sent back, I think there would be suicides or people going into hiding.


I'm involved in a group which helps Zimbabweans in detention centres and fights for them to be released into their communities.

The High Court decision is sad for us because we thought we would finally have a decision and an end to this whole case. I think it just throws people back into an uncertain state as to what is going to happen with their case.

Right now this case is going back to the tribunal and possibly back to the court of appeal and then the House of Lords, this could take a couple of years.

In the meantime people will remain destitute. We have people who are living on the streets, because they cannot get any support from the state.

I think the politicians need to bold and take a decision. Everyone is agreed the situation in Zimbabwe is grim. Politicians agreed the situation was grim in Iraq, it's the same thing in Zimbabwe and we need a resolution.

So I would call on the politicians to reconsider their position on Zimbabwe and grant some relief to Zimbabweans.

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Zim Must Learn Chinese

The Herald (Harare)

April 12, 2006
Posted to the web April 12, 2006

Sifelani Tsiko

FOR a long time as Zimbabweans we had become accustomed to thinking that
speaking and writing English was sufficient for all our needs.

This had also crippled us into believing that we could not learn any other
language besides English. Early this year, talk about plans to introduce
Chinese into the country's education system was met with resistance. I was
also sceptical about learning Chinese, joining the bandwagon of people with
a stunted view of the world. But travelling is seeing. When I was in Beijing
recently, I realised the importance of learning a foreign language. I was
mistaken to think that English as influential as it was, is spoken in every
corner of the world. In Beijing, the Chinese speak in their native tongue.
My failure to understand Chinese created barriers.

I couldn't enjoy the experience of being in China until I met a young
Zimbabwean who was fluent in Chinese. Her language skills made a difference
for me and made my stay in Beijing enjoyable. Linguists say a traveller who
knows the language of the country not only has an easier time solving
everyday problems associated with travel, but also has a more pleasant
experience and greater understanding both of the people of a foreign country
and their culture.

During my stay in Beijing, I realised that many business, political and
educational leaders are belatedly realising that the whole world does not
speak English. Whilst critics in Zimbabwe deride policies aimed at promoting
the learning of Chinese, their Western counterparts -- the owners of the
same English we boast about -- are busy opening up universities and other
institutions to promote the learning of and understanding of Chinese

Western universities are fighting for the Chinese educational market, to
help prepare their own people as well as Chinese students for a role in a
multilingual global society. Zimbabweans must be encouraged to learn
Chinese, not by making it compulsory, but by communicating the benefits that
go with it. Zimbabweans do not live in isolation.

They have to take their rightful place in this ever-changing interdependent
w orld in which diverse cultural and linguistic groups converge. The Chinese
prefer to converse, to do business and to negotiate in their native tongue.
And by learning Chinese, Zimbabweans can develop the tools for dealing with
various types of survival challenges, technical skills, interpersonal
exchanges and to clinch better business deals with their counterparts.

It also leads to an expanded awareness of the need to conduct not only
business, but also diplomatic relations in the language of the host country.
Growing joint university programmes between Chinese and Western institutions
combine global and local approaches to learning, something that if adopted
here can help open up opportunities for young Zimbabweans who are
increasingly becoming mobile. There is a growing desire among the young
generation to travel abroad and learning Chinese can help them prepare for
future opportunities.

Western countries are "looking East" in a big way as a result of increased
activities in international business and the inflow of huge amounts of
foreign capital into China. In the United States, there is a new foreign
language policy that has now seen the Chinese language being taught at
primary, high school and university level. It aims to prepare students to
take up business opportunities in one of the world's fastest growing
economies. The Americans now see sense in learning Chinese after years of
mistrust and a stunted anti-communist world view.

Zimbabwe must also take up the challenge to promote joint university
programmes between itself and China to prepare our young scholars for the
future. Given the giant economic strides registered in China, there is no
doubt that this giant Asian country will continue to play a prominent role
in world affairs. This role demands that Zimbabweans be able to understand
the language and culture of the Chinese to promote business and other
bilateral relations. Learning a foreign language, of course, takes time and
shoul d be started at an early stage.

And moves by Old Windsor Primary School to introduce Chinese are laudable
and can open the doors for young Zimbabweans to the future. We should not
discourage but interest students about learning Chinese in much the same way
as we interest them to learn English, French, Afrikaans, Spanish and
Portuguese. Learning foreign languages will also help to build our corps of
foreign language translators and interpreters.

Other students can even open up language translation businesses in future.
China is prepared to fund programmes that promote the learning of Chinese.
Conversely, China is also benefiting from a small but growing army of
Zimbabwean English language teachers who are going to China to teach English
at a number of institutions in the giant Asian nation. These Zimbabweans are
now mastering Chinese while at the same time using their skills to teach the
English language to the Chinese. And, I believe every language Zimbabweans
master will en hance their enjoyment and reduce their frustration and
isolation as they travel around

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UNICEF: 1 in 3 Zimbabwe children an orphan


Wednesday, April 12, 2006; Posted: 8:39 a.m. EDT (12:39 GMT)

 HARARE, Zimbabwe (AP) -- The U.N. Children's Fund is embarking on an
ambitious program to improve the care, health, education and nutrition of
vulnerable children in Zimbabwe, where one child dies of AIDS and another is
orphaned every 20 minutes.
In a statement Wednesday, UNICEF said it had received a British donation of
22 million pounds ($38.4 million) to help children facing some of the worst
hardships anywhere in the world, given the extent of the economic crisis.

The British donation will also go toward increasing school enrollments for
affected children and family and community support programs as part of
Zimbabwe's National Plan of Action, which enjoys government backing.

"Almost one in three children in Zimbabwe, 1.6 million, are now orphaned,
having lost at least one parent, and this number is growing," UNICEF
Executive Director Ann M. Veneman said in the statement. "HIV and AIDS have
dramatically increased children's vulnerability in recent years."

UNICEF said a child is orphaned and one dies of AIDS every 20 minutes; three
infants are infected with the AIDS virus every hour, mainly from their
mothers; and one in eight children now die before the age of 5, compared to
one in 13 children 15 years ago.

At least 3,000 people die every week in Zimbabwe from AIDS-related causes.

The AIDS epidemic has lowered average life expectancy to below 40, from 69
after independence in 1980.

UNICEF said, however, despite the country's economic collapse Zimbabweans
still continued to lead by example in their care for vulnerable children.
More than 90 percent of orphans were absorbed into extended families,
sometimes even distant relatives.

Two in five households in the poorest rural areas took in orphans and the
vulnerable, adding to their burden of economic hardship. Less than half of
these households received any form of aid or support in the past year,
UNICEF said.

In November, UNAIDS reported a decline in Zimbabwe in infection from 26
percent to 21 percent of the population.

But it acknowledged that collecting accurate data on the rate of infection
in the 12.5 million traditionally polygamous population was hindered by poor
responses in research surveys and a common stigma associated with HIV
infection in Africa.

With spiraling inflation, up to 913 percent last month, collapsing health
services and acute shortages of food, gasoline and medicines in Zimbabwe,
more AIDS-related illnesses are being nursed at home and many burials in
rural areas go unrecorded.

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Zim says aid agencies must stop crop forecasts

Mail and Guardian

      Harare, Zimbabwe

      12 April 2006 10:12

            Zimbabwe's government has said aid agencies do not have
permission to compile food production forecasts after some organisations
projected the country faced a huge grain deficit, local reports said on

            Agriculture Minister Joseph Made complained that aid
organisations were conducting "backdoor assessment exercises" and urged
rural communities not to cooperate with the studies, the state-run Herald
newspaper reported.

            Zimbabwe has been plagued by meagre harvests since the
government began implementing a controversial land reform programme in 2000,
and the authorities are keen for this year's growing season to be a success.

            But recent reports have suggested Zimbabwe's food woes are far
from over. According to some reports, a harvest of only around 700 000
tonnes of the staple maize is expected this year, falling far short of the
country's annual requirements of 1,8-million tonnes of the crop.

            Made also said the state's Agriculture and Rural Extension
Services should "stop giving speculative reports" on crop yields, the paper

            The minister said only a new committee that will operate under
the stewardship of the Central Statistics Office had the mandate to carry
out such assessments, the paper reported. - Sapa-DPA

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Makwavarara acquires council house for $780m

From The Herald, 12 April

Herald Reporter

Harare City Council has sold its commission chairperson Ms Sekesayi
Makwavarara a plush seven-roomed house in the upmarket Highlands suburb for
a paltry $780 million - less than 5 percent of what similar properties in
the area are fetching. The house is on 4 068 square metres of land and that
plot alone, without any development, could be sold for around $8 billion.
The council could have sold the property - which has a three-bedroomed house
and a workers' cottage - for close to $20 billion even if a bit of work was
needed on the main house and garden. The price was fixed in a municipal
valuation done last month and questions are already being asked about how
the value was arrived at. Some commissioners are reportedly most unhappy
with the sale and want the house revalued to reflect proper market prices.
Ms Makwavarara stays in the mayoral mansion in the equally plush Gunhill
suburb and has at least 11 domestic workers there - all paid for by the
council. She owns another property in Mabvuku, which she deserted two years
ago after rowdy MDC youths attacked the house after she quit the opposition

Ms Makwavarara elbowed out the then chief legal officer Mrs Ottilia Dangwa,
who is now the acting chamber secretary, from the Highlands property after
the latter allegedly refused to occupy two other houses identified for her
in Belvedere and Eastlea. The house has been refurbished at a cost of about
$500 million and council sources say Mrs Dangwa was also interested in
buying the property in line with council's policy to avail decent
accommodation to senior managers as an incentive to retain them. Ms
Makwavarara has not stayed in the house as she moved from a council-rented
house in Gunhill to the mayoral mansion in the same suburb. The physical
address of the property sold by the council to Ms Makwavarara is given as 19
Nigel Lane in Reitfontein, which is a part of Highlands. It is described as
an institutional residential property being sold to the commission
chairperson as the occupying tenant. "That the property be sold to the
sitting tenant, being Her Honour Ms Sekesayi Makwavarara, at the price
recorded in the valuation report and in terms of council resolution which
authorised the sale of stands to senior officials and commissioners," reads
a recommendation by officials to the finance committee. A valuation of the
property was done last July but a formal recommendation to sell the house
was only made on March 14 this year.

Council recently adopted a resolution to charge interest on all land sales
between fixing the price and getting the purchase price as a measure to curb
the loss of money due to inflation. The house has three bedrooms with
built-in cupboards, a lounge with French door leading to the veranda, dining
room, bathroom with ceramic tub and wash basin and built-in cupboards,
kitchen featuring single bowl stainless steel draining sink with built-in
cupboards which are under overhead built-in cupboards. There is a passage
leading to the bedrooms, toilets and bathroom and veranda under lean-to
translucent roof sheets supported on round steel pipes with slasto floors.
The property has two-bedroomed staff quarters with a kitchen area and
toilet. It also has a storeroom and carport. Although some commissioners are
not happy with the move, a full commission meeting recently resolved to seek
authority from the Minister of Local Government, Public Works and Urban
Development, Cde Ignatius Chombo, to be given residential, industrial and
commercial stands despite the fact that most of them already own residential
and commercial properties in the city.

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MDC-UK Demonstration

The MDC-UK has asked the Zimbabwe Vigil to host a demonstration this Saturday (15th April).  The protest is to mark Zimbabwe Independence Day (18th April) and to show solidarity with the big MDC rallies taking place in Zimbabwe.  We are also showing solidarity with other MDC districts in the Diaspora including MDC Canada Province who are holding a demonstration on the same day.

The demo in London will be held outside the Zimbabwe Embassy, London, at the usual Vigil time of 2 - 6 pm.

 - Please come and support us.
 - Bring posters and banners.

Please pass this on by text to 5 other people so we can make sure people turn out in their numbers.
Vigil Co-ordinators


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.

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MDC Mutambara Faction Hit by Defection, More Expected


By Blessing Zulu, Chinedu Offor & Irwin Chifera
      Washington & Harare
      11 April 2006

The faction of Zimbabwe's opposition Movement for Democratic Change led by
Arthur Mutambara took a blow Tuesday with the resignation of its director
for elections and parliamentary whip, Blessing Chebundo, member for Kwekwe
in the Midlands.

Chebundo said he has rejoined the MDC faction led by its founding president,
Morgan Tsvangirai, under pressure from his constituents. More defections are
said to be in the works as Mutambara faction members grow discouraged at
their president's seeming inability to drum up popular support even as
Tsvangirai rallies draw thousands.

The faction now led by Mutambara emerged late last year after a group
considered to be led by Welshman Ncube, former secretary general of the
pre-split MDC, broke with Tsvangirai over whether to contest November 2005
senate elections. Tsvangirai was adamant that the party should boycott
elections for a senate brought into being under ruling party constitutional
amendments. The pro-senate faction won seven seats.

Mutambara, a student leader and associate of Tsvangirai in the 1970s, was
recruited by the so-called pro-senate faction earlier this year amid high
expectations. But since the rival factions held their respective congresses
in February-March, Tsvangirai has consistently drawn larger crowds and
generated enthusiasm among his grass roots followers by calling for protests
and civil disobedience to topple the ruling party.

Chebundo was the second high-profile Mutambara faction member to cross the
floor, following Binga parliamentarian Joel Gabuza, who joined the
Tsvangirai camp during its March congress and reclaimed his post as
spokesman on environmental issues.

Reporter Blessing Zulu of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe asked Chebundo to
explain why he decided to rejoin the Tsvangirai column of the opposition.

Meanwhile, a senior official of the Mutambara faction said Chebundo's
decision came as disappointment, attributing it to heavy pressure from the
rival faction to jump ship.

Priscilla Misahairambwi-Mushonga, who is deputy secretary general of the
Mutambara faction, told Studio 7 reporter Chinedu Offor that other members
of her camp have been coming under similar pressure and what she described
as "intimidation."

Despite Chebundo's resignation and reports of more defections to come,
Mutambara seemed determined Tuesday to continue with his efforts to build a
popular base, addressing a political meeting at the University of Zimbabwe.

Reporter Offor spoke with Studio 7 Harare correspondent Irwin Chifera who
said that the onetime student activist's speech drew only a few hundred

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Sent: Wednesday, April 12, 2006 8:36 AM
Subject: Resignations

Dear SG,

Kindly be advised that the following people have with immediate effect ceased to be members of the MDC Led by Professor Mutambara.

Silence Chihuri, Givemore Chindawi, Frank Mamvura, Ignacio Mushoperi, and Nyasha Munjoma.

We have come to the conclusion that our aspirations and contributions to the Zimbabwean political process will not be realised by our affiliation to that grouping. We will no longer act, speak, or engage in any activity on the supposed behalf of that group.

We have notified our colleagues accordingly.

We wish you well in your endearvours to enhance the democratic process in Zimbabwe.

Thank you

Silence Chihuri


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MDC (Tsvangirai) has People's Mandate

Sent: Wednesday, April 12, 2006 6:22 PM
Subject: Editorial in for posting

MDC (Tsvangirai) has People's Mandate

A new constitution and UN supervised elections - this is the crystallisation of what needs to happen in Zimbabwe now to get the country out of crisis.

MDC supporters in Chitungwiza and Bulawayo have given the party the mandate to carry the hopes of the nation to their final conclusion, with or without the Mutambara faction.

The Chitungwiza and Bulawayo rallies - after successful ones at Gweru and Masvingo speak for themselves that the MDC led by President Tsvangirai and the Liberation Team, should now deliver.

The people have defied threats and intimidation to attend rallies where everybody who is anybody was present, which means MDC is now the people and the people are MDC. The only thing that the Mutambara factionalists can do is offer their support or miss the boat.

President Tsvangirai told the more than 20 000 people at Huruyadzo Shopping Centre in St Mary's, Chitungwiza, and 16 000 people at White City Stadium that all democratic forces should unite in fighting tyranny and building a new and democratic society.

He was being very magnanimous, bending backwards to bring into the coalition people who have shown treachery and disloyalty. It is about time the students, workers, religious and civic groups took a stand with the only party that has the potential.

The rebels can remain in political oblivion if they so wish. Blessing Chebundo, who has resigned as the group's elections director and chief whip, has seen the light. Many more should follow.

A new Constitution has already been demanded by the people in a referendum in 2002, but the government has refused to accept this - so now people have the right to demand it together with fresh elections supervised by the United Nations and international observers. Surely this is not too much to ask.

By sheer numbers and with the MDC's commitment to non-violent action, the change can be achieved without any shots fired - the people just have to show that they are united. If their provocation agents can be neutralised by being ignored, so that no violence breaks out, then the people's army, the Zimbabwe National Army will not have any reason to intervene.

As President Tsvangirai said the crisis in Zimbabwe cannot not be wished away, but it will not go away either. Mugabe is now forced to face reality, that it is the people of Zimbabwe who don't want him anymore - not Tony Blair. President Tsvangirai: The solution to the country's multi-layered crisis lies in Zimbabwe and nowhere else!

Together with his secretary general, Comrade Tendai Biti and Vice-President Thokozani Khupe President Tsvangirai has already given the Mugabe regime notice to start preparing to move out - it is up to them whether they move out with dignity or wait to be pushed out - which Zimbabweans are now ready to do.

There is definitely a cause to be euphoric, because efforts at weakening the MDC by dividing it have failed and once again the party is moving with the people who are more resolute that they do not care what happens - the Mugabe government must go.

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The Mutambara factor

New Zimbabwe

By Bekithemba Mhlanga
Last updated: 04/12/2006 09:38:23
IT IS difficult to ignore the Arthur Mutambara effect. It's all over the
place and forcing people, organisations, men, women and children to take
positions about Zimbabwe.

Everyone senses that this time around, something could just happen. A few
months ago Mutamabara's entry onto the political scene was being derided as
some desperate move by an ethnic clique wanting to establish some sort of
national colour by having a Shona leader.

All this now sounds like claptrap in the light of what is happening in

Take Morgan Tsvangirai, for instance. When the whole of Zimbabwe was urging
him to lead them out of the hell that the country has become, he flatly said
he was no martyr and would not embark on a silly exercise of such folly.

It was refreshing then to learn that all this has changed and that he is now
ready to be interred kumbudzi for the sake of a free Zimbabwe. I am sure
Susan Tsvangirai will have something to say about this seeing that the cake
she once fashioned as Zimbabwe House for her better half never saw the day
of light in Chancellor Avenue.

Not much has changed to convince me that Tsvangirai is simply not reacting
to the Mutambara effect in his grandstanding. What he needs now is to stop
speaking in tongues and tell people what he expects them to be talking about
to each other in bars, shops, schools or even soccer matches. Don't leave
them to their imagination Morgan - leadership is about action and not

And surely no one would have missed the energy around Nelson Chamisa. The
spokesperson has never been more enterprising. He can be at a rally without
being there! He counts more accurately than anybody else and therefore is in
a better position to tell us how many people attended the Tsvangirai rallies
at any one time. He has even mastered the art of swearing at all and sundry
in public without flinching a muscle - a preserve that once belonged Zanu
PF. His combative mood leaves you in no doubt that the he is a man on a
mission. The question only is which mission? Is it to deflate the Mutambara
crusade or to mobilise against the Mugabe charade? Its not in dispute that
this is not the Chamisa we knew before Mutambara came round .

The Mutambara factor is all over the place, even in Zanu PF. The succession
debate is said to have reached a crescendo within Zanu PF. Didymus Mutasa is
not speaking to Shamuyarira, we are told. Gideon Gono has a public spat with
Murerwa, say reports. Everyone feels that the stakes have been raised so
much now and that anytime in the not too distant future, the power balance
will shift and no one is prepared to see the future happening without them.

One cannot ignore it in other areas. The other day we had Reverend Obadiah
Msindo's position raising all sorts of well founded noises within the
women's groups and the next we knew the poor chap had been arraigned before
the courts facing rape charges. He belonged to the untouchables a few months

Oh! and there is that sorry musician who made a name for himself by likening
Tony Blair to an ablution facility. Now he has been kicked out of a property
that never was his. A few years ago Deputy Minister Kasukuwere gave this man
a whole splosh of Wonga so that he could continue his tirade at a concert
about Tony Blair. He must now know that he has been flushed down the pits.
Now that is a real toilet my friend! How things have changed.

As any first year political science student will tell you, those in power
simple do not hand it over. It must be wrested from them, and in a
democracy, this happens peacefully. In dictatorship there is no guarantee
that this happens peacefully as well. Now we await the Mutambara effect on
this turf.

Bekithemba Mhlanga is a Zimbabwean journalist based in London. He can be
contacted at:

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Bleak future for children with a double burden

From IPS, 4 April

Vusa Nyathi

Harare - The child squirms drowsily as it struggles to roll over on the bunk
bed, eventually succumbing to sleep. The skin on its face is too taught.
Wisps of hair look as if they could fall out at any minute. "He is just from
his daily ARVs (anti-retroviral drugs)," says the woman who takes care of
him at Fairfield Children's Home, an orphanage in the eastern Zimbabwean
city of Mutare, which houses 74 children up to the age of 14. Several of
Fairfield's charges are HIV-positive. "We try to accommodate everyone and
never discriminate against babies infected with the virus. We take them on
board and give them special care," says Peter Mufute, administrative officer
of the home. However, the extra needs of children infected with the AIDS
virus have placed a heavy financial burden on Fairfield -- and raised
questions about whether government is doing enough to care for children who
face the double burden of parental loss and HIV. According to the National
Aids Council (NAC), a government body, Zimbabwe's orphan population has
grown from 345,000 just under a decade ago to some 1.3 million today. About
165,000 of these children are infected with HIV - and the United Nations
Children's Fund (UNICEF) estimates that just over 20,000 need ARVs. However,
only 2,000 are receiving the life-prolonging medication.

"Both national HIV/AIDS plans and poverty reduction strategies (in Zimbabwe
and various other nations in sub-Saharan Africa) are stronger on proposed
policy actions than on budget allocations and clear statements of targets to
be achieved for children, young people and HIV/AIDS," said a December 2004
report by the World Bank and UNICEF, titled 'Poverty Reduction Strategy
Papers: Do they matter for young people made vulnerable by HIV/AIDS?'. "The
situation of children who have been orphaned or made vulnerable by AIDS
receives little attention," added the document. These words are echoed by
Festo Kavishe, UNICEF's representative in Zimbabwe. "There remains an urgent
need to boost prevention, care and treatment programmes in Zimbabwe,
ensuring the rights of orphans, while preventing HIV infection in infants
and young children," he said. The plight of HIV-positive orphans reflects
the situation in society at large. According to UNICEF, about 1.6 million of
the approximately 13 million Zimbabweans have contracted HIV. Just over
340,000 require anti-retroviral treatment, but only a fraction of these
persons are on ARVs. "There is still a huge gap between those who need and
those under anti-retroviral therapy (ART)," Health and Child Welfare
Minister David Parirenyatwa said recently. "By December 2005 only 26,000
were on ARVs. Of these, 20,000 were on government ART programmes, while the
remainder were being taken care of by the private sector."

Latest figures from the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS)
put adult prevalence in Zimbabwe at 24.6 percent. However, the 'AIDS
Epidemic Update' for 2005, published by UNAIDS and the World Health
Organisation, also notes a drop in HIV prevalence among pregnant women from
26 percent in 2002 to 21 percent in 2004. John Robertsen, an economist based
in the capital of Harare, says worsening economic conditions are undermining
efforts to address the ARV crisis. "Crushing poverty, high unemployment and
low wages have reduced the ability of households to take care of their sick,
and this has increased the burden the government has to bear in welfare
interventions," he noted. "But the government is currently trying to reduce
its welfare expenditures because already it is in a fix with its economy
which has the highest inflation rate, the highest unemployment rate and
among the highest economic shrinkage (rates) in the world."

For several years, Zimbabwe has suffered from acute shortages of foreign
exchange, fuel and food -- this in the wake of a controversial programme of
farm seizures ostensibly aimed at rectifying racial imbalances in land
ownership that dated back to the colonial era. Zimbabwe's involvement in the
Democratic Republic of Congo's five-year civil conflict, which ended in
2002, also proved a drain on state coffers. Although Zimbabwe launched a
'National Plan of Action for Orphans and Vulnerable Children' in 2004 in a
bid to provide comprehensive care for these children, Parirenyatwa admits
that much more needs to be done. "Because a majority of our people are poor
we have a big financing problem. The money allocated to us from the budget
is too little to do anything much about the orphan crisis," he said. IPS was
not able to obtain figures for how much of the national budget is spent on
orphans at present. According to Parirenyatwa, however, "The most visible
HIV/AIDS support programme run by government is BEAM (Basic Education
Assistance Module) which is implemented by the Ministry of Public Service,
Labour and Social Welfare in conjunction with the Ministry of Education. It
provides school fees, uniforms and supplementary feeding for AIDS orphans."

NAC Executive Director Tapiwa Magure says government would like to phase out
orphanages in favour of placing orphans in community care. "Our thrust is to
discourage institutional care. We are therefore exploring possibilities of
facilitating an exit plan for institutionalised children," he noted earlier
this year. However, another NAC official who did not wished to be named told
IPS that such initiatives seemed ill-advised when incidents of baby dumping,
and the proliferation of child-headed households and street children
suggested communities were already unable to cope with orphans.
"Community-based care may be the best rehabilitative model, but more
resources will be needed in terms of mobilising community-led initiatives,
paying community outreach workers and government care coordinators," said
the official. "In Zimbabwe this is wishful thinking considering that the
government is perennially broke. If the government had that money, would we
be having orphanages in the first place?" NAC statistics indicate that there
are about 60 registered children's homes in Zimbabwe providing care for
about 800 children.

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Zim Piece-Workers Become a Nuisance in Phikwe

Mmegi/The Reporter (Gaborone)

April 12, 2006
Posted to the web April 12, 2006

Onalenna Modikwa

The influx of Zimbabweans to the mining town is becoming an irritant as they
roam residential areas continuously knocking on doors looking for piece
jobs - sometimes as early as 6a:m.

The Zimbabweans, who are mainly female, move from house-to-house in pairs
looking for piece jobs ranging from weeding to laundry. Though the plight of
Zimbabweans, mostly those without work permits seeking jobs, has occurred in
the past, the situation has worsened and has become almost uncontrollable.
Their impact has been strongly felt in the locations of Newstance, BCL
Residential Area, Western Area and the Mall.

Most of them stay in Botshabelo and walk in groups towards the town every
morning, where they later disperse in different directions to hunt for work.
Even though they are illegal workers, they freely negotiate for piece jobs.
At times they even offer services on credit, keep records and round up
payments at month end. At lunch time most of them sit in shop corridors and
eat their packed meals or buy loaves of bread. Others target women to plait
their hair.

A Zimbabwean woman, who has been in the business for a year - and declined
to be identified - says it is fina ncially rewarding and is easy to give
customers service on credit when you know them. "There are those who are
trustworthy and those who give us headaches. Sometimes they turn against the
agreement we initially made and pay with a plate of food or a less amount
than previously agreed." She said she had come across situations where male
customers demanded sexual intercourse. "It is disheartening because we did
not come here of our own will, but we are driven by the economic situation
back home and the fact that we have families to look after," she said.

She acknowledged that they are often trading illegally without work permits
and said they often lock themselves up in houses when the police and members
of Botswana Defence Force are on patrol.

A resident of Newstance, Kaelo Moses said the situation causes concern
because the Zimbabweans knock on their doors very early and disturb their
sleep. He said they negotiate for reasonable prices but keep on reducing
until they finally do the laundry at only P10. "They are a complete
nuisance, but at times I feel pity and even offer them something to eat."

Moses said even though he normally complies with the Zimbabweans' request
for piece jobs, he is aware that he is running the risk of being arrested if
he is discovered by the police. He stated that at times he sympathises
because he understands the current situation in Zimbabwe but said it is now
a concern in that they compete with the locals for the small amount of work
available and beat the locals with their low prices. "They are really
worsening the current poverty situation because they are at every spot where
the locals wish to try their luck and they will eventually outnumber us," he

Another resident, Diketso Batsweleng called on the government to take stern
measures to control the influx of Zimbabweans and blamed them for
perpetuating the increase in crime. She said the locals had now begun to
hide behind the Zimbabweans when committing cr ime, knowing it would be
blamed on the Zimbabweans. "There is no sleep nowadays, Zimbabweans knock
one after the other and there is no way you can fail to attend to them as
they are patient enough to stick around and wait until you wake up. At times
you miss very important people when you mistake them for the Zimbabweans and
ignore them."

Phikwe Police Station Commander Isaiah Makala acknowledged the situation but
said the way of controlling the situation is only if Batswana comply with
the law and stop employing Zimbabweans without work permits. He said most of
the Zimbabweans have got valid passports hence it is difficult to charge
them except in a situation where they are found working. "During our stop,
question and search operation they produced valid passports so it is not
easy to monitor if locals are hiring them behind our backs," Makala said.

He disclosed that during the recent operation between the Police and BDF, 16
Batswana; two males and 14 females were charged P1, 000 for employing
non-citizens without work permits. He said in most of the cases Zimbabweans
were hired to harvest Mophane worms.

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Ex-Zanu PF Chairman Convicted Of Defamation

            Zim Daily

            Wednesday, April 12 2006 @ 12:05 AM BST
            Contributed by: correspondent
             The Bulawayo Magistrate Court has found suspended ZANU PF
chairman for Matabeleland South Province, Lloyd Siyoka guilty of having
criminally defamed Home Affairs minister, Kembo Mohadi. Matabeleland North
regional magistrate John Masimba, sitting at the Bulawayo Magistrate Court
yesterday convicted Siyoka of having defamed the minister during a meeting
with President Robert Mugabe in Bulawayo in 2004.

            Handing down his judgment, Masimba said he had no reason to
doubt that Siyoka said the statements in order to defame the minister as
there was no foundation to the said statements. Charges against the former
chairman arose at a meeting at Elangeni Training centre in Bulawayo when the
ruling ZANU PF party held a meeting for three of its Matabeleland provinces,
whose aim, the court understands, was called to iron out all the problems,
politically and economically, that had besieged the province.

            Politburo and central committee members from the three provinces
attended the meeting together with some other members of the party from
Harare and other areas. It was allegedly at this meeting where Siyoka told
President Mugabe that the minister had threatened to shoot him with a gun.
Reading from submissions made during the trial, Masimba said that when
Siyoka was asked to describe the color of the gun, the former chairman
failed to describe the gun, but instead changed goalposts, saying that he
was forced to assume that Mohadi wanted to shoot him as he was shivering and
very angry.

            Masimba however ruled that the evidence supplied by the four
state witnesses in the trial showed that Siyokamade the statements with a
clear intentionof soiling Minister Mohadi`s name and making him appear as a
"trigger happy cowboy. "The allegations made against the appelant (Kembo
Mohadi) by the respondent (Lloyd Siyoka) are unlawful and sufficiently
serious to constitute defamation.

            The state has been able to prove that the allegations against
the appelant are untrue and thus, you are hereby found guilty of crimimal
defamation," Masimba said. The sentence in the case is expected to be
delivered on the 24th of April when Siyoka re-appears in court.

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Mining tycoon faces new multimillion blow


      Basildon Peta
          April 12 2006 at 11:57AM

      South African businessman Mzi Khumalo, who was recently ordered by the
Zimbabwe High Court to pay another company $7,4-million (about R45-million)
in damages, is being sued again.

      This time a consortium of prominent black Zimbabwean businessmen is
seeking damages for breach of contract.

      They are accusing him of having unfairly ditched them in a business

      Khumalo's Metallon Corporation is now Zimbabwe's largest gold
producer, after having bought the largest mines in the country from their
former Canadian and British owners, who decided to pull out of Zimbabwe,
citing the poor economic climate.

      Now it seems the businessman's Zimbabwe investments, which constitute
the largest portion of his global gold-mining portfolio, are mired in
mounting problems.

      About two weeks ago, Zimbabwe High Court Judge Yunus Omerjee ordered
Khumalo to pay $7,4-million, Zimbabwe's biggest-ever damages claim, to
Stanmaker Mining, led by prominent businessman Lloyd Hove.

      Stanmaker had agreed on a partnership with Khumalo to jointly purchase
Independence Gold Mining, which controlled Khumalo's five mines in Zimbabwe.

      Stanmaker would buy 15 percent equity in Metallon's Zimbabwe
operations and would become Khumalo's empowerment partner in Zimbabwe in
line with the country's regulations to empower locals.

      However, Khumalo ditched Hove's Stanmaker Mining in favour of another
Zimbabwean group called Manyame Consortium, led by prominent lawyer and
businessman Honour Mkushi.

      However, Mkushi's consortium has now also filed papers at the Zimbabwe
High Court alleging that it has fallen into a similar predicament to

      Mkushi alleges that Manyame is also being side-stepped by Khumalo who
is "acting in bad faith" and wants to control all the shares in Independence
Gold Mining.

      Mkushi's consortium wants the High Court to order Khumalo to comply
with their shareholder agreement and allow Manyame to acquire its stake in
the mining operations.

      Khumalo's five mines in Zimbabwe: Acturus, How, Mazowe, Redwing and
Shamva, account for more than 50 percent of Zimbabwe's annual gold

      They also represent more than 90 percent of Khumalo's gold-mining

      Metallon has already hinted that it would appeal against Judge
Omerjee's $7,4-million award

      No comment could be obtained from the company over the latest lawsuit.

      In the latest application, Mkushi also wants the High Court to order
Khumalo to comply with provisions of the Companies Act and to meet all his
obligations to his partners in terms of their shareholder agreement.

      Mkushi alleges that his consortium agreed to acquire a stake in
Metallon's mines in 2003, with a payment of $1-million having been agreed to
be made within 45 days of the signing of the agreement, and the remaining
$8-million to be paid from dividends over some time.

      However, Khumalo later refused to recognise Manyame as a shareholder
in the mines and claimed to have cancelled the agreements.

      Mkushi insists in his court papers that the agreements are still valid
and wants Khumalo to honour his obligations.

      It seems that if Khumalo's ultimate goal is to retain the ownership of
his Zimbabwean operations on his own and side-step indigenous players, then
he might run into problems with the Zimbabwe government.

      It has made it very clear that it wants majority stakes in the
country's mines to be owned locally.

      Metallon is one of the major South African firms which have already
protested loudly at draft mining regulations requiring foreign mining
conglomerates to cede at least 51 percent equity to the state, largely for

      The draft regulations have since been withdrawn after the protests, to
pave way for more dialogue and new ones are being drafted.

      This article was originally published on page 6 of The Star on April
12, 2006

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Zimbabwe's Mhangura copper smelter needs $500 mil to be repaired

      Source: Platts

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The copper smelter at Mhangura in Zimbabwe, will need a huge cash infusion
in order to rehabilitate it and increase its mineral treatment capacity,
said an official at the Minerals Marketing Corporation of Zimbabwe. Nhlanhla
Mpofu told Platts from Harare, that the smelting plant will need not less
than $500 million to rebuild it and increase its mineral treatment capacity.
"I am afraid the plant has deteriorated over the years and the cost of
repairing it has also gone up," the MMCZ executive official said. He stated
that government efforts to have the plant rehabilitated has not yielded
positive results because of the harsh economic situation prevailing in the

Mpofu said at the time of its closure in the middle of the 1990s there was
talk that the plant would be leased to Mwana Africa Holdings of South Africa
but this had not happened. "Government is still looking for serious
investors who could run the refining and smelting facility," he said.

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Firm cuts off food supplies to Mpilo

      April 12, 2006

      By Andnetwork .com

      A major supplier of patients' food to Mpilo and United Bulawayo
Hospitals has cut off grocery supplies to the two hospitals.

      Sources said Willsgrove Farm Enterprises, which has a tender to
provide the two hospitals with food stuffs from its supermarkets and
vegetables from its fresh produce farms, stopped delivering food at the end
of last month after the two hospitals had accumulated debts.

      Supplies to Ingutsheni Central Hospital were not affected as the
hospital was making efforts to pay its arrears.

      Food supplies to patients have been erratic since deliveries stopped,
a source said, adding it was a matter of time before stocks run out unless
the debts are settled and supplies resumed.

      "The company has suspended all its food supplies to the hospital and
will only resume supplies on condition that the hospital clears the hefty
amount owing," said a source at Mpilo.

      He said Mpilo Hospital owed from January but paid some of it off  in
March 2006, leaving an outstanding amount not paid.

      "This debt has accumulated since the beginning of the year and failure
by the hospital to clear the debt might seriously affect the patients as the
hospital will run out of food," he said.

      A source at Willsgrove Farm Enterprises confirmed that the hospitals
owed the company lots of money.

      When contacted for a comment a manager at Willsgrove who only
identified himself as Mr Mutero said the issue was confidential and up to
their company and the hospitals to resolve the matter.

      Efforts to get an official comment from Dr Godwin Gwisai the UBH
medical superintendent and his Mpilo counterpart, Dr Lindiwe Mlilo were
fruitless as they both referred Chronicle to Health and Child Welfare
Permanent secretary Dr Edward Mabhiza, who in turn asked for questions in

      Last week, Matebele Steam Laundry impounded linen belonging to the two
institutions after they failed to settle debts.

      Source: Zimbabw Chronicle

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Salaries Gap Continues to Widen

The Herald (Harare)

April 12, 2006
Posted to the web April 12, 2006

Kudzai Chawafambira

SALARY disparities continue to widen with top managers now earning more than
$500 million while shop floor workers are taking home less than $5 million
each month.

The disparities in earnings are partly influenced by those with scarce
skills that can individually negotiate salaries with management while
low-ranking workers depend on collective representation for quarterly or
half-yearly salary reviews. Although workers' earnings are influenced by a
number of factors that include qualifications, experience and position of
influence, trade unions have called for salaries to be automatically
adjusted in line inflation to ensure the purchasing power remains stable.

Purchasing power for most -- whether professional or self-employed -- 
oscillated around a mean that allowed most groups, from the very top to the
bottom of the economic heap, to maintain a reasonable standard of living.
However, since inflation picked an upward momentum around May last year the
situation has never been the same. The general cost of living has
drastically risen to unprecedented levels leaving millions of families
living below the poverty datum line (PDL).

Most com pany executives were earning around $30 million this time last
year, but because of the high inflation regular reviews have seen salaries
rising to the current figures. Middle level managers are now earning half of
what chief executives are getting while shopfloor workers have seen only a
marginal increase in earnings. The majority of shopfloor workers are getting
weekly wages of between $2 million and $4 million.

Collective bargaining is currently underway and this is going to push the
salaries of those at the top even further up. While inflation is still high
at 913 percent the existing disparities are a result of the upward momentum
in inflation from almost a year ago. Senior management in the manufacturing,
information technology, engineering and financial sectors top the list with
executives earning up to $750 million a month. These high salaries are also
complemented by attractive perks, which include membership to exclusive
social clubs, huge cellphone and fuel allowa nces, and domestic help, among
others. There are other benefits, which include car and holiday allowances
and school fees for their dependants.

This allows their children to attend some of the elite schools and
universities abroad. Some of the chief executives also own shares in the
companies they run and are entitled to dividends on a regular basis. Others
are allowed to dispose a certain percentage of their shares at agreed
intervals. However, it is shop floor employees who have lost out due to
inflation as their salaries have remained stagnant and have not been aligned
to the rate of inflation as is the case with top level managers.

Some human resources practitioners said the issue of salaries remained
critical in any company's endeavour to recruit the best personnel. "High
salaries are a major factor in any company's desire to attract the best
person for the job and most firms are prepared to give substantial amounts.
"There are a number of reasons why salaries have been shooting up and one of
the major reasons has been the high rate of inflation. "Other factors
include the brain drain which has seen a reduction in the number of skilled
personnel which means there are many companies pursuing few experienced
people," said a human resources consultant. He added that some directors of
non-governmental organisations were earning much higher salaries than chief
executives. This was partly explained by the fact that some of them are paid
in hard currency.

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