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

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Zimbabwe Arrests Fin Min Amid Currency-Exporting Charges

      Copyright © 2004, Dow Jones Newswires

      HARARE, Zimbabwe (AP)--Zimbabwean police arrested the country's
finance minister early Saturday amid allegations he was illegally exporting
hundreds of thousands of rands, pounds and euros to South Africa.

      Christopher Kuruneri's arrest follows last week's announcement by
President Robert Mugabe to crackdown on "economic saboteurs" he blames for
contributing toward the country's downward-spiraling economy.

      Assistant Police Commissioner Wayne Bvudzijena confirmed the arrest
but offered few other details. Under new regulations, Kuruneri may be held
for up to 28 days without bail.

      "All I can say is he will appear in court soon," Bvudzijena said.

      State radio said Zimbabwean detectives were traveling to South Africa
to investigate alleged violations between March 2002 and early 2004 of as
much as $1 million in rands, pounds and euros.

      They are also investigating allegations the minister traveled on both
Zimbabwean and Canadian passports, in violation of new citizenship laws. The
laws have already prevented thousands of white Zimbabweans from voting
because they are of foreign descent. Kuruneri studied in Canada in the

      Under Zimbabwean exchange controls, money earned abroad has to be

      A South African newspaper reported earlier this year that Kuruneri was
building a 30 million rand ($1=6.7877 ZAR) luxury home in Cape Town.

      Kuruneri said the property was only worth seven million rand funded
from overseas consulting he had done 10 years ago.

      Bvudzijena also said police wanted to question about 30 people and
organizations for alleged illegal foreign currency dealings with Zimbabwe's
Treger group of companies, whose executives have fled to the U.K..

      The list includes the Anglican Church, the Salvation Army, a Roman
Catholic priest, a Catholic church, and an educational and development

      Zimbabwe has been in deepening crisis since 2000 when Mugabe began
seizing white-owned farms for redistribution to black Zimbabweans.

      Annual inflation is estimated at 602. The country also faces acute
shortages of food, medicine, gasoline and other essential goods.
Unemployment is estimated at over 70%.

      (END) Dow Jones Newswires

      April 24, 2004 10:54 ET (14:54 GMT)
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From The Witness (SA), 24 April

Witness correspondent kicked out of Zimbabwe

Reuters sports journalist and Weekend Witness correspondent Telford Vice,
who was in Zimbabwe to cover the five-match one-day international cricket
series between Zimbabwe and Sri Lanka, was forced to leave the country on
Friday after he was refused press accreditation. It is illegal to practice
as a journalist in Zimbabwe without accreditation. An exhausted Vice,
speaking from Johannesburg International Airport last night as he waited for
a flight to Durban, said Reuters made the decision to send him to cover the
series late and thus his accreditation application did not completely comply
with Zimbabwe's stringent rules. He said journalists need to get
accreditation from both the Zimbabwean government and the Zimbabwe Cricket
Union. "The government accreditation alone costs $600," he said. Vice
arrived in Zimbabwe on Monday, and without hope of his getting
accreditation, it was "suggested" that he leave the country. "It was quite a
tense climate. The thing with Zimbabwe is that everything is politicised. It
felt like South Africa in the 1980s," he said. Daily Telegraph cricket
writer Mihir Bose was deported from Zimbabwe on Tuesday after his
application for accreditation also arrived late.
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The Age
Streak may shift to Sydney
By David Sygall
April 25, 2004

Heath Streak has written to his Australia-based sponsor expressing interest
in coming to live in Sydney. But the sacked Zimbabwe captain maintains hope
for a resolution to the cricket crisis in his homeland.
An agent acting for several Zimbabwean players recently contacted cricket
figures in Sydney to determine the possibility of the deposed players moving
here if they left Zimbabwe.

If any did relocate to Australia, as Andy Flower did after last year's World
Cup, it would not be for several months.

However, the email Streak sent to Sydney cricketer Robin Younan, the
director of bat maker Impala Sports, stated his desire to keep the Australia
option open, while still working towards a resolution to the rebel players'
dispute with the Zimbabwe Cricket Union.

"It has been a tough few weeks, but it was necessary to make known the state
in which cricket is administered and run in Zimbabwe," Streak wrote.

"You would not believe this is a multimillion-dollar multinational company
that employs 300 people . . . I may have people interested (in coming to
Australia) for next season if things fall through here. For the sake of
Zimbabwe . . . I hope for a quick resolution to the problem.

"Maybe by (the Australian team's arrival) we will be playing again (could be
too much of an optimist!) . . . Kind regards, Heath."

Impala sponsors six Zimbabwe players: Streak, Vusi Sibanda, Stuart Carlisle,
Stuart Matsikenyeri, Dion Ebrahim and Ray Price.

It is believed Sean Ervine has inquired about playing in Perth. His partner
is the daughter of Zimbabwe's coach, West Australian Geoff Marsh.

The players Streak refers to in his email, according to Younan, are from the
group that has been sacked by the board for supporting Streak, who was fired
as captain for requesting cricket experts fill the national selection panel
positions rather than political appointments.

"Heath's been the backbone of Zimbabwe cricket for 10 years and if you knew
him you'd understand why the players are backing him up," Younan said. "He's
one of the most honourable people I've ever met. The Zimbabwe players want
the situation to be publicised. They want the ICC to know what's going on

Cricket NSW chief executive David Gilbert confirmed he had had unofficial
talks about the possibility of Streak coming to NSW.

Meanwhile Australian captain Ricky Ponting admitted he hadn't known Stuart
MacGill was going to pull out of the tour of Zimbabwe, but expected no more

"Being the leader of the side, I'm probably in the position where I would
know if anyone else was thinking about those things," he said yesterday.
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Human Rights Commission Losing Credibility, NGOs Warn
Lisa Schlein
24 Apr 2004, 13:18 UTC

As the U.N. Human Rights Commission concluded its annual six-week session,
representatives of several non-governmental organizations said they are
disappointed at this year's proceedings. The organizations accuse member
governments of undermining the work of the Commission.
Non-governmental organizations acknowledge that some progress was made at
this year's commission meetings. In particular, they welcome the naming of
Special Investigators to monitor the human rights situations in North Korea
and Belarus. They note that a chairperson's statement on Nepal finally
brings what they term the "human rights crisis" there into the Commission's

But they say the failure to pass resolutions condemning the situations in
the Russian Republic of Chechnya or China or Zimbabwe constitute a defeat.
As the Executive Director of the International Commission of Jurists,
Nicholas Howen put it, it is discouraging to see how some member states use
every possible tactic to undermine the commission by blocking debate on
important issues.

"So what do we find? We find 'no-action' motions suddenly turning from
something which was rare and only used in the case of China, to being almost
routine," said NicholasHowen. "Where Zimbabwe and China, and almost Belarus
could escape from scrutiny because of a procedural motion to even block, to
cut off, to silence debate at the commission. We find the African group
being complicit by building a fortress around the continent and voting in a
bloc to prevent action on Zimbabwe and softening approaches to countries
like Burundi."

The president of the commission, Australian Ambassador, Mike Smith, says it
is the job of non-governmental organizations to criticize. But, he does not
agree that the body is losing its credibility. He says the commission is a
forum of states and that immediately makes it a political body.

"Therefore, there are always trades and compromises that are made," he said.
"But, the strength of it is that when you get a consensus agreement among
the membership, it represents a true international consensus on addressing
certain issues, which is one of the reasons countries go to great lengths to
try and get consensus documents because it does carry a lot of power. But,
in that process, of course there are a lot of compromises."

Mr. Smith says this year's commission was successful in passing resolutions
which strengthen the ability of the U.N. to monitor violations in countries
such as Sudan, Colombia and Nepal. He says he is particularly pleased that
the commission strongly supported national human rights institutions. He
says they, more than anyone, protect and promote human rights in their own
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The Herald

RBZ, Farmec hands over farm equipment to Arda

Herald Reporter
AT LEAST 110 tractors and an assortment of farming equipment were handed
over to the Agricultural Research and Development Agency (ARDA) by the
Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe and Farmec yesterday.

The tractors, disc harrows, ploughs and other farming equipment will be used
in the tillage and preparation of a targeted 100 000 hectares for wheat
production during this winter season in different parts of the country.

The scheme, which is mopping up idle equipment from commercial farms and
refurbishing it, targets to acquire 350 tractors this year.

So far, the central bank has saved at least US $20 million through the
import substitution scheme, which is expected to reduce and eventually stop
the importation of wheat.

"This is in line with the central bank's efforts to boost production and
create employment," said RBZ Head of Premises and Maintenance department, Mr
Elias Musakwa.

He said more than 300 tractor and combine harvester drivers had already been
employed under the scheme.

Speaking after the handover of the tractors, Minister of Agriculture, Land
and Rural Resettlement, Dr Joseph Made said the equipment would be put to
intensive use under the supervision of Arda and other relevant institutions.

"This equipment will go to those farmers that already have the capacity to
produce and will carry out complete single operations for farmers to ensure
maximum production," he said.

He said although the tractors were a pittance compared to the country's
total mechanical requirements, which stand at about 35 000 tractors, they
signalled the beginning of the complete mechanisation of the agricultural
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The Zambezi River.

It starts in northern Zambia, a small stream, fed by the rains and it
slowly develops as it runs it course into the southern Congo. In the vast
rain forests of the Congo it picks up momentum and then turns again back to

Inside western Zambia the river settles down and runs in a fairly direct
route to the edge of the Caprivi Strip. There it encounters a shelf of
black basalt rock laid down thousands of years ago by a deep upthrust of
volcanic lava. Foiled for a short time by the rock, the river backs up and
is navigable for nearly 200 kilometers above the Caprivi.

At this time of the year when we are nearing then end of our wet season,
the river floods both banks - creating a vast inland swamp, which inundates
hundreds of square kilometers of land. This is the land of the Bamamgwato
who are famous for their canoes and drumming.

In the Caprivi, the river waters spread out over the land on the west bank
of the river and slowly make their way through reed mats so thick that even
the water is impeded. Eventually, about April and May each year these
waters reach the Chobe river where they then drain back into the Zambezi
river just above the Victoria Falls.

Across the Falls it is over 1,6 kilometers wide and at this time of the
year millions of tonnes of water rush over the edge of the falls and into
one of the great river gorges of the world. Not a grand canyon, but in its
own way just as spectacular. Hundreds of feet below the edge of the black
basalt over lay, the river wins its way through a gorge that is so wild and
rough that it has become a Mecca for "white water" rafters from all over
the world.

On its banks are some of the really great wild life areas left in the world
- the Chobe in Botswana, Hwange in Zimbabwe, Mana Pools on the lower
Zambezi. It is also the basin for two of the world's great dams and inland
lakes - Kariba and Cahora Bassa. Both are hydroelectric facilities but also
create an inland lake playground that is home to hundreds of boats and
provides both recreation and a living for many thousands of people.

Kariba is also host to the largest game fishing competition in the world
where each year hundreds of teams gather to fish the waters for the much
valued "Tiger". The main river itself is also one of the greatest river
systems in the world for fishing - from the great Vundo to the tiny Kapenta
with everything in between.

Right now a rescue operation is underway in the Caprivi where unusually
heavy rains have given rise to floods in Zambia and in the Caprivi. We
understand the whole river system is bracing itself for record water levels
this year as a result.

Des> the Barotse plains are apparently badly flooded.

Why do I remind you of this great river - well perhaps because I also need
to remind myself, that the "Old Man River, just keep on rolling" and pays
little head to the pathetic activities on man on its banks. I have just
been to South Africa to give two short talks on the situation in Zimbabwe.
It is a long time since I was last in Pretoria for any period of time and
it was interesting to observe South Africa at its heart, after 10 years of
democracy and ANC government.

I am always struck on these occasions by the fact that everything has
changed and yet nothing has changed. Pretoria looks much as it always did -
a few more hobo's, fewer whites on the streets. But it was the sameness of
everything that struck me. It takes a lot of effort and a lot of time to
change a society and what is also amazing is how much of the culture of the
departing elite is adopted by the incoming power brokers. A black South
Africa civil servant looks and sounds much like his predecessor.

Those of us who live in Zimbabwe and must cope with the emerging crisis in
all spheres of our lives, see much the same phenomena at work - somehow the
old man river rolls on! We sit on our stoep and eat our braai and pap,
watch the sun go down in a blaze of glory to be followed by a warm white or
yellow ball coming up over the eastern horizon.

When I was on the banks of the Zambezi a few weeks ago, I walked down to
the river and a rough grunt from a lion nearby sent me back to the safety
of my lodge. On the plane coming home from Johannesburg an elderly woman
came up to me and said, "hey, it is good to be going home". I felt the

My generation has some idea of what it was like to go through one of the
worldwide wars of the 20th Century. We grew up on the periphery of the
crisis it created and of all the stains it imposed on the entire world. Yet
today, hardly a sign of the wars and their aftermath exists. Those who gave
their lives for the defense of freedom in Europe are hardly remembered. But
without their sacrifice our lives would be very different.

Soon Mugabe and his henchmen will be gone - blown away by the winds of time
and change. Nothing ever stays the same and when they are gone, the Zambezi
will still be here - and if you want to see it you will have to come to
Africa to do so, it will not disappoint. When you do, you will not see much
evidence of our struggle to restore our democracy or to protect the rights
of our people. You will take the free press and the rich wild life of our
country as just another of the features of life in a "normal" world.

What we want you to remember - just as we do when we stop to ponder at the
memorials to those who gave their lives in the world wars of the 20th
century, are those who gave their lives so that those they left behind
might have a better life.

Jesus said "no man, can do more than to lay down his life for others". It
is the greatest form of love and it is the only force in the world that can
really transform a society. Without it there can be no change - we are all
part of the process either as those who make the sacrifice or those who
enjoy its consequences.

Eddie Cross

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Sent: Saturday, April 24, 2004 6:26 PM
Subject: Banging the same old drum

Dear Family and Friends,
A couple of years ago when there was still a daily independent newspaper and
was privileged to be able to write a weekly column for that paper, I wrote
times about the destruction of agriculture and the inevitable effects that
would have on Zimbabwe. I wrote about the illegalities of farm seizures, the
disregard for legal and constitutional rights, the horrific violence being
inflicted on farm workers, the shortages of food and spiralling inflation,
massive assaults on the opposition and the impact I could see all these
having on every aspect of life in Zimbabwe. One night a friend told me to
banging on the same tired old drum and lately his words have kept coming
back to
me. I wonder how often people who receive my letter think "Oh God, another
horror story from cathy!" I wonder if my letters about events in Zimbabwe
become just an annoying tired old drum beat in the background. A rhythm
never changes, telling a story which never varies.

I must admit to finding it increasingly difficult to find or see any hope in
Zimbabwe's situation. I know I am not alone in these thoughts. Our
party seem to be paralysed into a state of inaction. Protests, mass action
demonstrations have stopped, the violence, torture and terror to their
and supporters seems to have crippled them. Our regional neighbours, like
continue to just bang the same tired old drum. They say that the only way
forward is through talks, talks about talks and quiet diplomacy. The outside
world say the only way it can get involved is when Zimbabweans rise up and
back and so the vicious circle goes round and round, throbbing to the same
drum beat.

This week I could write about the farmer who was "roughed up" in my home
or about thousands of farm workers living in the bush after being violently
evicted from Kondozi Farm in Odzi. I could also write about the violent
that took place at the University of Zimbabwe but there are just no words
to describe these horrors. Instead I sit here on a Saturday morning
listening to
the music of Oliver Mutukudzi and my eyes are filled with tears. "Do you
have to
die to be a Hero?" he sings. It is a gentle, incredibly moving song which,
strangely enough, has no drumming in it at all and ends with the words: "
does it take to be a Hero? Can anyone answer my question?" Until next week,
love, cathy.Copyright cathy buckle  24th April 2004.
My books on the Zimbabwean crisis, "African Tears" and "Beyond Tears" are
available outside Africa  from: ; ; ;  in Australia and New Zealand: ;  Africa:
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The Age

Streak digs in heels
April 24, 2004 - 8:05AM

Former captain Heath Streak and batsman Grant Flower, the two most senior
rebelling Zimbabwe white cricketers, have rejected a latest effort at
conciliation by the Zimbabwe Cricket Union.

The ZCU made an offer Thursday of a "mediation mechanism" that might resolve
a strike which is causing immense damage to the sport and to racial harmony
within it.

The ZCU suggested independent arbitration and mentioned a prominent Zimbabwe
businessman Much Masunda as mediator. Masunda runs an organisation set up
for such purposes.

In return the players were expected to turn out for practice and to make
themselves available for selection to the national side that will play Sri
Lanka in the third of five international matches at Harare Sports Club on
Sunday while the arbitration process is set up.

Streak and Flower turned down the proposal outright according to a source
close to the ZCU. They agreed, however, to speak to colleagues. But by late
Thursday they had made no further contact with the Union.

Efforts to reach the players' lawyer-representative Chris Venturas were
unsuccessful. He is said to be in South Africa and not reachable.

Other players are holidaying in various parts of the country.

A frustrated ZCU executive consequently does not expect any of them to show
up prior to the scheduled selection panel meeting Saturday morning to choose
the next team.

The strike of white players began three weeks ago when they saw the removal
of captain Heath Streak as a sacking by the board. They also claimed that
some selections to recent Zimbabwe teams as racially motivated and part of a
"quota" system to bring in more black players.

The ZCU refused to budge over what they called Streak's resignation,
resulting in the impasse.

Under a previous instruction, the 15 whites were ordered "as employees" to
report for practice and make themselves available, or face suspension and
possible dismissal.

The deadline is May 7, the second day of the first Test match against Sri
Lanka at Harare Sports Club here.
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Please send any material for publication in the Open Letter Forum to with "For Open Letter Forum" in the subject line.

That state is best ordered when the wicked have no command, and the good
  -- Pittacus
Letter 1 Subject Washing Bodies
Dear Sir,

It has been reported that Zimbabwe's leadership has somewhat scornfully
referred to patriots - possibly as many as 3,5 million of them - for being
out of His country. It has been contended that "traditional medicine could
be used to deal with the crisis." Further, that "some of our people are
running away to wash the bodies of the elderly people in England."

It would appear that "traditional medicine" was used in Matabeleland the
1980's when the bodies of thousands of Matabele people, and others were
actually washed in their own blood. This same "traditional medicine" is
still in use today and people are still being washed in their own blood -
particularly if these people are not of the 'Zanu blue blood.'

The scornful reference to the care of the elderly is of considerable
significance. As far as I am aware, care of the elderly is an honourable
privilege in both Matabele and Mashona culture from the past. The care of
the aged in England is also of immense significance, because there will be
few really senior citizens in the UK who were not part of the demise of
Hitler in some way or another.

Had it not been for the sacrifices of these "now elderly" people with many
of their colleagues killed - only blue eyed and blonde haired blue blooded
people of Germanic extraction would remain. By simple deduction it would
seem that not even 'the Zanu blue blooded' would have qualified for
admission to that Germanic Club. (Even Rommel was eliminated) However,
Leadership has chosen to translate the manuscript of 1939-1945 Tragedy
into Shona and run the production for an unprecedented twenty four years.
Ironically, the world has watched and has still failed to realise that this
is not a Dress Rehearsal for Cricket, or Bat and Ball, but a Live Show with
real knives, knobkerries, spears, guns, torture, torment, blood and lives.
I no longer believe that Britain and America, or even the UN have the
inclination, never mind the power, to shout "Curtains," but I hope that
they can prove me wrong.

I wonder who washes the bodies of Elderly Politicians?

Bloody Minded.

All letters published on the open Letter Forum are the views and opinions
of the submitters, and do not represent the official viewpoint of Justice
for Agriculture.

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The Herald

Hard drugs present challenges to police

By Tsitsi Matope
WHEN a Nigerian national collapsed on a Harare-bound Kenyan flight and died
later at Harare's Parirenyatwa Hospital a decade ago, in a rare case of hard
drug abuse, police had by chance actually stumbled upon a vein of an
emerging illicit drug trafficking network in Southern Africa.

Disturbed by the results of the post-mortem, police in Harare carried out
further investigations at his residence in a local hotel where a number of
documents linking the deceased to some criminal activities that included
networking with drug dealers were found.

Also discovered in his room was a 500g tin of powdered milk that was stashed
under some clothes.

"It was a strange discovery, because we wondered what a tin of powdered milk
was doing amongst his clothes.

"We then took it to our forensic science laboratories for further
investigations," officer commanding CID drugs, superintendent Andrew
Kadungure said in a recent interview.

It turned out that the powder was not at all powdered milk but the addictive
cocaine drug.

Law enforcement agents in Harare had suddenly been hooked onto an intricate
web of international illicit drug traffickers who had for some time used
Zimbabwe as a convenient conduit.

Two Zimbabwean women who claimed that foreign nationals had recruited them
to either sell or ship cocaine to other destinations as far as United States
of America were nabbed a few weeks after the Nigerian's death.

"They had been introduced to cocaine and were addicted.

"The problem was that they could not afford any of the hard drugs since they
are expensive, so they were sent to America with forged Swaziland passports
in return for a few doses," Supt Kadungure said.

Several cases of Zimbabwean hard drug abuse have been reported since the
1970s and police have once in a while been lucky to stumble upon major
shipments of the drugs.

In 1991, Supt Kadungure said, police seized a tonne of mandrax drugs, which
were in granular, tablet and powdery forms worth over $40 million.

In the late 90s police also confiscated four kilogrammes of cocaine from a
Kenyan woman who had been sent by some Nigerian men to collect the
consignment from Brazil.

Supt Kadungure said they were currently investigating some foreign nationals
believed to be giving the drug to Zimbabweans, who are later lured into

To fight the institutionalisation of hard drugs in the country, police have
set up a task force meant to control all dangerous and hard drugs that are
smuggled into the country.

The task force would involve all stakeholders such as pharmaceutical
companies and hospitals.

Although further investigations indicate that hard drugs like cocaine heroin
had not really penetrated places like Mbare and other high-density suburbs
where mbanje was sold openly in these areas, the potential for them to
penetrate these areas was high.

While prohibitive costs have been a contributory factor to the slow spread
of the drugs in Zimbabwe, the drugs have however, long-penetrated the homes
of the affluent.

Some of the drugs that are slowly finding their way into the country include
mandrax, ecstacy and lysergic acid diethylamide or simply known as LSDs and
mira or khat.

Usually associated with the youth, some of the drugs like LSDs are now very
common in the country.

"These are associated with rave parties and they can kill because the abuser
can dance the night away without getting tired. As a result, a person can
become dehydrated before collapsing," supt Kadungure said.

A few years ago, police assisted a 13-year-old girl who had become so
addicted to LSDs that she had become a living terror.

Addiction is when someone becomes abnormally dependent on something that is
psychologically or physically habit-forming, especially alcohol or narcotic

Narcotic drugs are substances taken that produce numbness or stupor; often
taken for pleasure or to reduce pain.

Extensive use can lead to addiction in drugs.

"After probing the girl we discovered she was lured into a drug syndicate
involving other teenagers from surrounding areas."

Only last week, a man from Borrowdale collapsed and died at his home after
battling with the cocaine addiction for many years.

The man, who is of mixed race, is alleged to have hid in the ceiling when he
saw his family come to his house.

"We have many deaths and other unclear cases of accidents that occur due to
effects of drug abuse," said Supt Kadungure.

Unconfirmed reports indicate that most young people who are in hospital for
drug addiction actually come from affluent families who live in the leafy
suburbs of Harare.

A 26-year-old Mt Pleasant man who had been in a private hospital for over
six months admitted to this writer that he had been hooked to cocaine for
over three years.

"My dad is a businessman and I ran one of his fleet of trucks which smuggled
the stuff from East Africa. I had turned into a zombie as I could not
function without cocaine," he said.

Despite this emerging problem, Supt Kadungure said the medical fraternity
has been unco-operative with the police as no cases of such a nature were
being reported.

"They argue that the patient-to-doctor confidentiality does not oblige them
to divulge the nature of illness of their patients.

"They could not reveal the number of addicts they dealt with on a daily

International illicit drug trafficking is lucrative business that involves
billions of dollars with cocaine and heroin selling for $540 000 and $250
000 a gramme, respectively.

"This is the most profitable crime above arms trafficking," Supt Kadungure

Cocaine, one of the most powerful stimulants and associated with the
affluent societies was discovered as far back as 8000-5000 BC.

It is grown as coca in countries like Brazil, Equido, Peru, Colombia and
Mexico where some red Indians used it for traditional purposes.

Its refinement began around 1805 with the production of analgesics mainly
used in surgeries in 1805 and later into cocaine in 1859.

Although it is illegal to grow the plant, some peasant farmers in the high
altitude countries like Colombia get their family incomes through extensive
coca farming.

Investigations into the effects of cocaine revealed that it made a person
'so high' and distorted reality of the world around the drug user.

The drug becomes fatal owing to its overly negative excitement that inflicts
the body system that eventually fails to cope with the effects.

Heroin production on the other hand began in 1898 after the plant opium had
been growing for over a century in countries like Mexico, Vietnam,
Afghanistan, Thailand, China, India, Pakistan, Colombia and some Middle East

The drug, which is found in forms of whitish to a tar black powder depending
on its origin, is also a source of livelihood for many families in countries
were it is grown.

Afghanistan is arguably the major producer of the heroin in its provinces of
Herat, Badakshan and Jalalabad.

Because heroin is usually injected, it also spreads the HIV, the virus that
causes Aids, as one syringe can be used by three people.

People addicted to heroin are weaned off with methadone, a drug that shares
more or less the same properties with heroin but is however less addictive.

The relatively obscure drug mira or khat was also being smuggled openly into
the country owing to ignorance on the part of Customs officials.

The United Nations Office for Drug Control and Crime Prevention has listed
the drug as a dangerous drug.

Although the Police have stepped up efforts to fight drug abuse and
trafficking, they are still battling to rid the streets of cannabis

Supt Kadungure said Zimbabwe was not a major producer of cannabis but a good
number of people were abusing the drug.

About 80 percent of the drugs found in this country originate from Malawi
and Mozambique. Cannabis is broken into smaller packages wrapped in khakhi
paper commonly known as 'twists'.

A twist of cannabis sells for anything between $2 000 and $5 000.

Last year alone, police seized over 200kg of cannabis from areas like
Epworth and Mufakose in Harare, whilst 55 people were arrested for growing
the drug.

There are some areas that are known for peddling the drug such as Cherima
(literally meaning darkness or places where power has been cut) which are
existent in many high-density suburbs in Harare.

Zororo in Highfield, Harare is also one suburb that is notorious for
peddling this drug.
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From SW Radio Africa, 23 April

Social activist brutalised

Yesterday activist Tinashe Lukas Chimedza brutally assaulted and arrested by
the police in Harare. The former student leader had been invited to speak at
an Education Rights Forum in his capacity as the Zimbabwe nominee to the
International Youth Parliament. Apparently organisers had notified the
police of the intention to hold the Forum as a belated independence gala.
But before the meeting even started, heavily armed policemen with dogs
surrounded the hall. Witnesses say they dragged Tinashe to a separate room,
where they beat him up with booted feet and open fists. Human rights lawyer
Otto Saki pleaded with the police to take Tinashe to the hospital instead of
arresting him without treatment. Tinashe Chimedza was discharged from the
hospital today but it will take some time for him to recover. Preliminary
checks at Avenues Clinic showed that he was heavily bruised all over the
body, his lips were burst, some of his front teeth retreated beyond the jaw
line, and one front tooth was broken. The Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights
stated an intention to sue the police for the harassment of both Tinashe and
Advocate Bhatasara.
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      'Mercenaries' allowed food from outside prison

      April 24, 2004, 19:32

      The 70 suspected mercenaries held in Zimbabwe for allegedly plotting
to topple the government of Equatorial Guinea will once again be allowed to
receive food from outside prison. A Zimbabwean court made the ruling
following complaints by the men.

      Many family members still believe there is no case against them. They
are also charged with violating the immigration act and purchasing arms of
war. The men are being denied access to food from relatives and friends.

      There are also allegations that they are being beaten by prison
authorities. This as the defense has stitched together a defense declaring
that Zimbabwe has no jurisdiction to try the accused.

      Relatives and friends of the suspected mercenaries are in the country.
Ken Pain, a pilot, never said much when he left South Africa on March 7 to
pilot a Boeing 727 carrying 70 suspected mercenaries. Marge has been married
to Ken for the last 22 years. She says her husband only said he was going to
Bujumbura on the fateful day. She says her husband feels the case is taking
too long.

      Yesterday was a day of complaints in court. Shackled and in handcuffs,
the 70 said they were being denied food from outside and were talking to
strangers in the absence of their lawyers. The lawyers have now stitched
together what they describe as a water-tight defence.

      Equatorial Guinea wants to have the 70 extradited to that country to
face trial. Something Zimbabwean authorities are saying no to, before
conviction. In Guinea they could be hanged if found guilty.

      The defence said the accused had no intention of coming to Zimbabwe or
doing anything in that country. They say the country has no jurisdiction to
try the accused. However, the state insists it wants to prove whether the
accused are miners, missionaries or mercenaries.
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