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

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      AU Appointment of Chissano as Zimbabwe Mediator Seen as Blow for Mbeki
      By Raymond Thibodeaux
      10 August 2005

The African Union named Mozambique's former President Joachim Chissano to
mediate the political standoff in Zimbabwe that has alarmed human rights
advocates and plunged the economy into crisis. The choice of Mr. Chissano
follows President Robert Mugabe's rejection of efforts by South African
President Thabo Mbeki to resolve the crisis.

The appointment by the African Union of the former president of Mozambique,
Joachim Chissano, as the new mediator for Zimbabwe is seen by some African
analysts as a blow to South Africa's president, Thabo Mbeki, who has been
acting as the regional power broker.

As the leader of one of Africa's economic powerhouses, Mr. Mbeki has been
able to pursue a strong foreign affairs agenda, often holding his country up
as a model for other African nations in terms of democracy, progressive
economics and racial unity.

That seems to be changing.

Earlier this week, Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe publicly rejected
South Africa's appeal to resume a political dialogue with the opposition.

Also this week, rebels who control northern Ivory Coast rejected mediation
efforts by Mr. Mbeki, accusing his government of siding with Ivorian
President Laurent Gbagbo and his backers.

Last week, in what is widely perceived as major setback for President Mbeki,
African Union leaders blocked his compromise that would have given Africa at
least two non-veto-wielding seats on the U.N. Security Council. It turns
out, most African leaders prefer veto-power wielding seats on the Security

President Mbeki's political activism, some experts say, puts him out of step
with other African leaders. Ross Herbert, the senior analyst for the
Johannesburg-based South African Institute for International Affairs, is one
of them. He says Mr. Mbeki's push for the New Partnership for Africa's
Development, known as NEPAD, is making many African leaders suspicious.

"The activism, his fiscal conservatism are not necessarily hugely popular in
Africa. People kind of assent to the vision of NEPAD, but they are quite
suspicious in Africa that NEPAD is some kind of undertaking by South Africa
to become president of Africa or solidify its position. Instead of saying
Mbeki pushes NEPAD because he believes in it, they say that he's out to gain
something, that he has some ulterior motive," he said.

But Desmond Orjiako, spokesman for the African Union's, cautions not much
should be read into Mr. Mbeki's string of recent diplomatic failures.

"I don't even see them like setbacks because no conflict situation is
resolved by first attempt or second attempt, especially one as severe as
that of Cote d'Ivoire," said Mr. Orjiako. "He is known to have succeeded in
many places. He has succeeded in the DRC [Democratic Republic of Congo]. He
succeeded in Burundi. He's succeeded in a couple of other conflicts in
Africa. It should be the other way round. Instead of saying he is failing,
he is not failing."

Mr. Herbert says he expects Mr. Mbeki's star to rise again, if for no other
reason than Pretoria is one of the main suppliers of troops and materiel for
peacekeeping in Africa.

"Almost no country goes without diplomatic setbacks. These things are always
to and from. South Africa certainly has fewer cards to play than the EU
[European Union] or China or other players, but even those players don't get
their way all the time," he said. "There are quite clear limits to South
Africa's influence within Africa. It has a certain amount of prestige and
stature in the world, but that doesn't really take it too far in Africa. It
has leverage insofar as it's prepared to commit troops or money."

Economic incentives, such as extending Zimbabwe a loan to prevent it from
expulsion from the International Monetary Fund, analysts say, may also help
Mr. Mbeki in exerting influence over President Mugabe.
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Zimbabwe accused of blocking aid
From correspondents in Harare, Zimbabwe
August 11, 2005
From: Agence France-Presse

ZIMBABWEAN authorities are blocking aid to 2300 people resettled on a farm
outside Harare following a government demolitions campaign, rights and
church groups said today.

Living conditions at Hopley Farm, where the displaced have been living for
three weeks, were described as inhumane with no shelter, erratic water
supplies and little food.
"The people are living in the open with little food, no shelter. Access to
these people has not been easy," said Alouis Chaumba, director for the
Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace (CCJP).

"We have secured porridge and four bales of clothing and we are now waiting
for permission to gain access to the people," Mr Chaumba said.

The farm on the southern outskirts of Harare was designated by the
government as a new housing site following a 10 week campaign to demolish
shacks, homes, market stalls and other businesses.

But Mr Chaumba described the new settlement as nothing less than a transit
camp, similar to one that was closed down in late July.

"What the government has done is open a new transit camp after closing down
Caledonia," Mr Chaumba said, adding that no houses had been given to the
"There is no running water. There are erratic water supplies by the
municipality. If nothing is done about conditions at Hopley we will have an
outbreak of cholera or dysentery," he said.

Zimbabwe launched Operation Murambatsvina, which translates into Drive Out
Filth, around mid-May flattening the buildings in what the government
described as an urban cleanup campaign.

A UN report released last month said the demolitions drive left 700,000
Zimbabweans homeless and destitute and a further 2.4 million had been
affected by the blitz.

Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights said they had asked authorities to grant
permission to the church groups to provide aid and for its legal teams to
provide assistance to the displaced.

The lawyers were still waiting for a reply today, Otto Saki from ZLHR said.

"We have been trying to help churches get food to our clients at the farm
but we have been denied access," Mr Saki said.

He said an army officer in charge at Hopley said they could not enter the
farm without permission from the government of President Robert Mugabe.

The lawyers also said around 210 children were deprived of schooling and
that some babies, orphans, elderly and terminally-ill patients had "gone for
days without any medication and humanitarian assistance".

South African Anglican Archbishop Njongonkulu Ndungane separately said that
Zimbabwean authorities were blocking truckloads of food and blankets from
being delivered from its southern neighbour.

Trucks carrying blankets, maize, beans, and oil were meant to leave for
Zimbabwe last week but Zimbabwean authorities wanted certificates that the
food was not genetically modified, Archbishop Ndungane told a news
conference in Cape Town, South Africa.
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UN News Centre

UNICEF rents housing for evicted Zimbabweans with disabilities
10 August 2005 - In the wake of the housing and business evictions that have
displaced hundreds of thousands of people in Zimbabwe, the United Nations
Children's Fund (UNICEF) says it will rent housing for more than 100 evicted
families with disabled children and provide them with transportation and
business investment.

Updating its report on its work since Anna Tibaijuka, the UN Special Envoy
on the evictions who is also the UN Human Settlements Programme's
(UN-HABITAT) Executive Director, issued a report last month saying some
700,000 people had lost homes or businesses in the Government of Zimbabwe's
demolitions, UNICEF said all of the more than 100 women in the Zimbabwe
Parents of Children with Disabilities Association are receiving emergency
humanitarian assistance.

One of them, Barbara Fero, an HIV-infected widow whose home in the
working-class suburb of Mbare was demolished and whose 9-year-old daughter
is disabled, said the rented housing "is exactly what we need."

"Since the evictions I have been constantly sick," Ms. Fero says. "I do not
have a place to take a rest, I cannot afford adequate meals, I am on ARV
[anti-retroviral] treatment and I cannot afford to get my next monthly
supply. My daughter, Elaine, needs to be accompanied to her school as the
transport is no longer reliable and I do not have money."

In partnership with a local non-governmental organization (NGO), UNICEF gave
the Feros blankets against the southern hemisphere winter, as well as
cooking pots and soap.

UNICEF said it had joined the UN World Food Programme (WFP), the
International Office of Migration (IOM), the Zimbabwe Red Cross Society and
local NGOs in providing hundreds of thousands of people with blankets and
plastic sheeting for protection from the cold, along with sanitation
facilities, food and shelter. The organizations are also supplying
chronically ill people with home-based treatments.

"We have been working around the clock for the better part of three months
and are improving the situation for tens of thousands, but such is the
gravity of the situation that we are asking the international community to
support the people of Zimbabwe," UNICEF's Representative in the country
Festo Kavishe said.
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Mail and Guardian

      Land reform: SA should 'learn from Zimbabwe'

      Pretoria, South Africa

      10 August 2005 05:59

            South Africa could learn about speedy land reform from its
neighbour Zimbabwe, Deputy President Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka said on

            "We've got lessons to learn from Zimbabwe -- how to do it fast,"
she told an African distance-education conference in Pretoria.

            There is a general complaint in South Africa that land reform is
too slow, too structured and "that we need a bit of an oomph".

            "So, we might want some skills exchange between us and Zimbabwe,
to get some of their colleagues to help us here with that," the deputy
president told delegates with a smile -- to muted laughter.

            Hundreds of commercial farmers were evicted from their land
since 2000, often forcibly, in Zimbabwe's much-criticised land-reform

            Earlier this month, a conference on South Africa's land-reform
programme -- designed to correct apartheid-era wrongs -- concluded that the
willing-buyer-willing-seller principle is no longer appropriate.

            It resolved that a new mechanism be found.

            At the time, Mlambo-Ngcuka said the principle is slowing down
land reform.

            The Democratic Alliance questioned the wisdom of Mlambo-Ngcuka's
pronouncement at the education conference.

            "Surely Deputy President Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka is joking," it
said in a statement.

            "The lesson for our country lies in not following the same route
which Zimbabwe has taken. Zimbabwe offers a textbook example of ways in
which land reform should not be carried out."

            The blame for the slow pace of South Africa's land-reform
programme rests with the government, the party said.

            "The legal framework is in place and there are enough landowners
and farmers who want to be part of this process. The government is trying to
turn landowners into villains instead of recognising that they are victims
of government slackness and failure to vote the funds."

            Mlambo-Ngcuka should act in a more "balanced and responsible
manner" when making public statements, the DA said.

            The South African government wants all land-restitution claims
settled within the next three years, and 30% of agricultural land in the
hands of the previously disadvantaged by 2014.

            By December last year, 3% of commercial farm land had been
redistributed. -- Sapa

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      Zimbabwe Criticized for Planning Restrictions on Travel
      By Peta Thornycroft
      10 August 2005

Zimbabwe civil rights advocates blasted the government's proposed
constitutional amendments that would, among other things, curtail the right
of people to travel within the country and abroad. The government says the
limit on travel is in public interest.

President Robert Mugabe's government says the constitutional amendment to
restrict peoples' movements is a measure needed to combat international
terrorism and protect the country's national interests.

But to human rights organizations, which have submitted their comments on
the proposals, the measure violates a basic human right guaranteed in the
1980 constitution. They say there is no definition of "national interest" in
the government proposal, and that there are many effective antiterrorism
laws already in place.

In addition to restricting travel, the government's proposed constitutional
amendments also include changes that would affect property rights and, in
effect, create a second legislature made up of appointed, not elected

According to Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, the restriction on travel
could be used against political opponents or activists to prevent them from
speaking out against President Mugabe's policies at international forums.

David Coltart, legal secretary for the opposition Movement for Democratic
Change, called the proposed travel restrictions a "grave and sinister
assault" on another fundamental human right. He said it was intended to
prevent people from leaving the country to tell the world what was going on
in Zimbabwe.

Justice minister Patrick Chinamasa, who drafted the constitutional
amendments, has said he will not comment until he presents the legislation
to parliament next week.

The constitutional changes can be adopted by a two-third majority in the
legislature. Zimbabwe's ruling Zanu PF, which won a majority of the seats in
the last parliamentary election, can muster the two-third majority with the
help of the 30 legislators appointed by Mr. Mugabe.

Parliamentary rules have been changed to speed up the adoption of new laws.
Political observers say the constitutional amendments could be enacted
within days under the new fast-track procedure.
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Mail and Guardian

      Zim crisis: Mbeki 'trying his best'

      Ben Maclennan | Cape Town, South Africa

      10 August 2005 12:11

            President Thabo Mbeki is "trying his best" to resolve the
situation in Zimbabwe, Anglican Archbishop Njongonkulu Ndungane said in Cape
Town on Wednesday.

            He was speaking after a two-and-a-half-hour meeting in Pretoria
on Tuesday night between Mbeki and a South African Council of Churches
(SACC) delegation, of which Ndungane was a member.

            Ndungane said the fact that Deputy President Phumzile
Mlambo-Ngcuka, Minister of Finance Trevor Manuel and Minister of Agriculture
and Land Affairs Thoko Didiza were also present at the meeting is an
indication of how seriously the government views Zimbabwe.

            "He [Mbeki] is trying his best to get the situation resolved,"
he said. "This exercises the mind of our president very seriously."

            Ndungane said the delegation, led by SACC president Russell
Botman, was not made privy to the "finer details" of South African diplomacy
on Zimbabwe, and he himself is not a in a position to prescribe to the
government how it should approach the matter.

            However, there is a lot going on that people did not know about,
which is the nature of diplomacy, he said.

            Ndungane, who visited Zimbabwe as part of a fact-finding SACC
delegation last month, said the country is in a serious crisis, and this has
to be recognised by its leaders.

            "From where I sit, I think there is no time for political
posturing, no time for denial," he said.

            What is needed is "clear heads and options for a solution".

            Ndungane said South Africans have expressed concern about the
terms of a proposed multibillion-rand government loan to Zimbabwe.

            The SACC delegation was, however, assured at Tuesday's meeting
that the South African government has a good record of fiscal discipline and
is not going to enter into a loan agreement in an irresponsible way.

            "We believe those assurances and hope that they help to allay
any fears on that score," Ndungane said.

            If Zimbabwe is expelled from the International Monetary Fund -- 
which it will be if a $100-million payment is not made by the end of this
month -- it will open up a "can of worms" for the country.

            "Is it something that we all wish? I think that is where we need
responsible responses to the problems facing Zimbabwe. From where I sit, I
do not think I would like to see a meltdown of Zimbabwe."

            Ndungane said he hopes that a stalled church aid consignment to
Zimbabwe will get under way from Johannesburg on Wednesday once a
genetic-modification-free certificate is issued by the South African
Department of Agriculture and Land Affairs for the maize that makes up part
of the consignment. -- Sapa

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SA certifies food for Zimbabwe is GM-free

August 10, 2005, 21:00

Two trucks carrying 37 tons of food earmarked for destitute Zimbabweans
could leave South Africa for Harare within 24 hours, the SA Council of
Churches (SACC) says. The trucks were left stranded in Johannesburg last
week after the Zimbabwean government demanded documents confirming that
maize, which was among the food, was not genetically modified.

Today, the department of agriculture sent letters to the SACC confirming
that the maize was not genetically modified. In turn, the SACC sent the
letters to Harare.

"All that is required now from the Zimbabwean government is the necessary
clearance certificates. Once these have been supplied the trucks will
leave," Ron Steele, a spokesperson for the SACC, said.

The South African embassy in Harare had also offered assistance to
facilitate the speedy processing of the documentation. In addition to the
maize, the consignment of food contains beans and cooking oil.

Another truck, containing blankets, is also being sent to Harare. Plans to
send a second consignment of goods to Zimbabwe at the end of the month were
afoot, Steele said.

The goods will be delivered and distributed by Christian Care, an
organisation working throughout Zimbabwe distributing food to those in need.
The food is earmarked for thousands of Zimbabweans who were left destitute
by that country's clean-up campaign. - Sapa
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The state has been occupied by a ruthless clique through electoral fraud, subversion of the constitution and the use of violence. The regime viciously denigrates your property rights. The City of Harare is run by an illegitimate Commission that has no mandate from the residents. CHRA filed an urgent chamber application before the High Court on 10 June 2005; up to now, no redress has been provided. Within this context, we offer residents the following advice:

  1. The Municipality should have plans for property structures and it is their duty, and not that of the property owner, to prove the illegality of a property structure. 
  1. No law requires you to possess plans, or produce them to any one. 
  1. If the Municipality decides that any structure is illegal, it must provide written notice addressed to the owner (not newspaper publications) to desist from the illegal activities and specifying the illegality, the action it proposes to take and the relevant legislation under which such action will be effected, as well as avenues open to the affected person to seek relief or challenge the notice.
  1. When a property owner is served with notice, within 28 days after the date of service of the notice, one can appeal to the Administrative Court for relief. 
  1. The Municipality thereafter shall take no action until the Administrative Court has determined the appeal or the appeal has been withdrawn or abandoned.
  1. Thereafter the ruling of the Administrative Court shall prevail unless either party is granted leave to appeal to a Higher Court. 
  1. Failing observation of the above procedures by the Municipality, we suggest that property owners do nothing and await the arrival of building inspectors.  Domestic workers should be informed of this position also. 
  1. If the building inspectors demand to inspect your property, do not give them access until they provide positive identification, which we urge you to record; and preferably in the presence of a witness.
  1. Breaking and entering without a search warrant or proof of identification and authorisation is a crime that should be reported to the Police and if necessary a lawyer.
  1. In the event of the property owner being clearly in contravention of by- laws or any other legislation, we suggest that you take steps to correct the illegality by removing the building, ceasing the operation or applying for regularization.


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  Full statement from Archbishop Njongonkulu Ndungane On A Meeting
Between President Mbeki and Religious Leaders on Zimbabwe

      Released by the Angilican Communion New service
      10 August 2005

      Yesterday evening I and other religious leaders met with President
Mbeki on the issue of Zimbabwe.
      Also present at the meeting were Deputy President Mlambo-Ngcuka,
Finance Minister Trevor Manuel and Minister of Land Affairs Thoko Didiza.
The religious leaders included the President of the South African Council of
Churches, Professor Russel Bothman; the Vice President of the SACC; General
Secretary of the SACC, Dr Molefe Tsele; Cardinal Napier of the Catholic
Church; Dr Coenie Burger, Moderator of the NGK; Presiding Bishop of the
Methodist Church, Ivan Abrahams; Bishop Paswana of the Evangelical Lutheran
Church and Pastor Ntlha of the Evangelical Alliance.

      This meeting followed our initial meeting with the President a few
weeks ago where we reported back on our July fact-finding visit to Zimbabwe
and discussed what we, as the religious community could do to help the
situation. The President then promised to meet with us once he had read and
digested the UN report.
      Subsequent to that meeting we started an assistance fund for the
victims of Operation Murambatsvina and collected some food and blankets to
send to Zimbabwe, to be distributed by the Zimbabwe Council of Churches. You
will also be aware by now that the trucks carrying 37 tons of food and a few
thousand blankets have not been able to leave South Africa yet. This is due
to the Zimbabweans insisting on certificates from the suppliers of the food
as well as from the Ministry of Agriculture to certify that the food is not
genetically modified. We know that many countries Africa are quite sensitive
about GMO foods and want to ensure that developed world countries do not
offload these foods on our doorstep.
      On receiving the UN report, President Mbeki mentioned again that he
would be meeting with Southern African religious leaders and that is why we
were all in Pretoria yesterday.
      I think that the fact that the Deputy President, Minister of Finance
and Minister of Land Affairs were all present at this meeting is an
indication of how seriously the present situation in Zimbabwe is viewed by
our government. It is very clear to all of us that this crisis needs clear
heads and options for a solution rather than political posturing in either
South Africa or in Zimbabwe at this stage.
      Zimbabwe is in a very precarious situation. The crisis seems to be in
three major areas:
      Firstly, the humanitarian crisis exacerbated by Operation
Murambatsvina and we, as churches, are doing our best to respond to that.
Apart from the Operation there has been the question of a food shortage for
some time. We have been given the assurance that the Department of
Agriculture will be issuing a certificate (that the foods we are sending
have not been genetically modified) this morning. So we hope that our trucks
will be on their way soon.
      The second area of major concern is that Zimbabwe is in danger of
forfeiting its membership of the IMF. It owes the IMF and other institutions
a lot of money, which it is apparently unable to pay at this stage. The
consequences of Zimbabwe's expulsion from the IMF are very serious and will
lead to a far worse situation in Zimbabwe.

      I do not need to remind you that the consequences of a meltdown in
Zimbabwe will actually be disastrous for the whole of Southern Africa.
      There is another side to the IMF coin and that is that if the IMF
itself rescues Zimbabwe, the conditions it will impose on the country in
order for it to restore itself may well result in its citizens being far
worse off than they are now.
      Thirdly, and most importantly, it is felt that Zimbabweans from
government, from opposition parties, from civil society and business must
come together and be informed of the true facts of the crisis so that they
can all begin to address that crisis together. Once that is done they can
call on South Africa and other countries for the help they need.
      On the visit that I and other religious leaders made to Zimbabwe in
2003, we met with President Mugabe, the opposition and civil society leaders
and they all agreed that coming together was the only solution for their

      Concern has been expressed by South Africans about the conditions of a
possible loan by South Africa to Zimbabwe. Those present at our meeting
yesterday were given assurances that this government has a good record of
fiscal discipline and are not going to enter into any loan agreement in an
irresponsible way and that all proper processes will be followed - including
engaging with parliament. We believe those assurances and hope that they
help to allay any fears on that score.
      We South Africans need to lend our support to finding a solution in
this quagmire. This is not the time to be arguing amongst ourselves about
details. We must press for all stakeholders in Zimbabwe to come together and
work what is best for their country. Along with help in supplying short-term
humanitarian aid, that is our appeal.

      SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news
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Labour Union gets confidence boost

      By Lance Guma
      10 August 2005

      A sustained government plot to destroy the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade
Unions fell flat on its back when 30 out of 35 unions endorsed the current
leadership. In a statement issued on Wednesday the ZCTU information
department said the endorsement 'renders false and baseless, public
statements made by certain individuals that 17 affiliate unions are not
supporting the current leadership.' The executive, led by Lovemore Matombo,
was elected in 2001 succeeding opposition leaders Morgan Tsvangira and
Gibson Sibanda who left to form the MDC.

      Soon after the labour union successfully lobbied the Congress of South
African Trade Unions to picket the Zimbabwean border and embassy over human
rights abuses, a vindictive government sought to break up the leadership.
Several union members have been physical assaulted at a number of meetings
while the state media went into overdrive, pushing through damaging
propaganda about the ZCTU leadership. The latest affirmation of support by
union members will certainly not go down well with authorities in Harare. It
is alleged they have managed to bribe at least 5 union leaders who have been
behind most of the clashes.

      Interestingly the Zimbabwe Union of Journalists led by former Herald
Reporter Matthew Takaona, is among the five unions listed as not having
supported the current leadership. Takaona last month made headlines after
suggesting a self regulating code of conduct for journalists. The scheme was
then hijacked by government officials who paraded him at state functions
leading to speculation they were conniving to take away focus from the
country's harsh media laws. Mlamleli Sibanda, the spokesman for the ZCTU,
described the participation of ZUJ in the labour body as low key and that
the organization had a weak structure for its members.

      He says the ZCTU is meeting on Saturday to get final resolutions on
how to tackle the problems being heaped on them by government interference.
The vote of confidence however has allowed them to plan ahead knowing full
well the majority of members are behind them.

      SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news
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Murambatsvina victims flooding into South Africa

      By Tererai Karimakwenda
      10 August 2005

      Despite the fact that thousands more Zimbabweans have left home and
crossed the Limpopo due to Operation Murambatsvina, the South Africa
government continues to allow only 2 Zimbabweans a day to apply for legal
status. The processing office in Johannesburg has been closed for months now
so most have to make the expensive journey to Pretoria. Their lives become a
game of hide-and-seek with the police.

      Oliver Kubikwa of The Zimbabwe Political Victims Association said the
new influx of victims of Operation Murambatsvina has been quite visible. He
noticed that many had been gainfully employed individuals who lost
everything and are looking to start over, down south. But according to
Kubikwa there is no such luck in South Africa.

      To explain just how serious the situation is Kubikwa said the United
Nations High Commissioner for refugees in South Africa, Jan Groot, does not
recognise that there is a problem in Zimbabwe. He is allegedly invited to
many events that would help him understand more, but he does not attend.
Operation Murambatsvina was condemned by the United Nations envoy Anna
Tibaijuka in her report. Groot's attitude should reflect some sympathy.

      SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news
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''We Are Raising the Alarm Now'' in Southern Africa
Moyiga Nduru
Inter Press Service (IPS)
10 August 2005

      JOHANNESBURG, Aug 9 (IPS) - Images of skeletal children in Niger,
wasted away by malnutrition, have featured prominently in the media over
recent weeks. Amidst efforts to alleviate this suffering, however, there are
fears that the crisis in Niger may undermine donor willingness to tackle
problems elsewhere on the continent -- notably in Southern Africa.

      About 10 million people in this region will need food aid until the
middle of next year.

      "WFP (the United Nations World Food Programme) operates in nine
Southern African countries. Six of them have acute problems with harvests
this year: they are Mozambique, Swaziland, Zimbabwe, Malawi, Zambia and
Lesotho," Mike Huggins, a spokesman for the agency, told IPS. "In Zimbabwe
alone, 4.3 million people need food aid." (The country has a population of
about 13 million.)

      Malawi has also been hard hit. The country has reaped its smallest
maize harvest since 1992, and produced just 37 percent of the cereals needed
for national consumption during the coming year, according to a government

      The WFP estimates that almost 270 million dollars will be needed to
feed people in Southern Africa until the next harvest in April 2006. But to
date, only a few donors have made contributions, and it seems unlikely that
substantial amounts of new funding will be pledged any time soon.

      "We have got only 75 million dollars," says Huggins. "At the moment we
are not particularly optimistic. There are always other hotspots like Niger
and Darfur that need emergency aid."

      At present, 80 non-governmental organisations and 13 U.N. agencies are
active in the troubled western Sudanese region of Darfur, according to a
report issued last month by U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan. The number of
people caught up in political turmoil in the area is said to have increased
from just over one million in May 2004 to 2.9 million in June 2005.

      "This new figure includes nearly 1.9 million internally displaced
persons and over 200,000 refugees in Chad, plus drought-affected people and
nomadic communities that have been affected by the conflict but did not
begin to receive humanitarian assistance until early 2005," Annan said in
his report.

      In Niger an estimated 3.5 million people are starving and in need
emergency food aid. Drought and poverty are the main causes of the food
shortages, but over the past year the former French colony has also been
ravaged by locusts.

      While a lack of rain and money have also contributed to the food
crisis in Southern Africa, bad governance shoulders part of the blame for
shortages in this region.

      Critics of Zimbabwe's government say a round of farm seizures that got
underway in 2000 undermined agricultural production. While the occupations
were initially portrayed as an attempt by liberation war veterans to correct
racial imbalances in land ownership instituted under colonialism, certain
political observers claim they were orchestrated by government to garner
support ahead of the 2000 parliamentary poll.

      Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe accuses former colonial power
Britain of undermining his country's economy in retaliation for the fact
that land has been taken out of white hands.

      The situation in Southern Africa is further complicated by the AIDS
pandemic that has swept through the region. According to the United Nations
Food and Agriculture Organisation, "by 2020 the HIV/AIDS epidemic will claim
the lives of 20 percent or more of the population working in agriculture in
many Southern African countries."

      During a news conference last month, the Washington-based
International Food Policy Research Institute urged African countries to
embrace genetically modified (GM) foods to reduce shortages.

      However, Idah Sithole-Niang, one of the authors of a new study about
genetically modified crops, says the continent does not have systems in
place which would allow governments to take this step responsibly.

      "Unfortunately, most African countries lack the expertise, capacity
and funding to develop and comply with biosafety regulatory requirements,"
she noted during the news conference. "As a result, GM crops remain out of
the hands of farmers and their benefits go unrealised."

      Three years ago Zambia refused to accept genetically modified food aid
to alleviate food shortages that affected hundreds of thousands of people,
citing concerns about the safety of the aid.

      The WFP fears that if the food crisis in Southern Africa is neglected,
levels of malnutrition in the region could eventually resemble those in
Niger, where donors initially disregarded appeals for aid.

      "We are raising the alarm now," says Huggins.
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      'Enforce conditions or abandon'
      Aug 10 2005 05:35:53:153PM

      Cape Town - Government should either enforce the conditions it has
attached to any financial help it is considering for its bankrupt northern
neighbour, Zimbabwe, or abandon the loan altogether, says the Democratic
      DA foreign affairs spokesperson Douglas Gibson said on Wednesday:
"After President (Robert) Mugabe's apparent rejection of the South African
bailout for his country, the government must in no way bend its conditions,
or beg (Zimbabwe) to accept its offer of financial assistance."

      It now appeared President Thabo Mbeki "had been outplayed by the
cunning of Robert Mugabe, who will quite obviously not accept strict

      "Now is the time for the government to play hard ball and either
enforce these conditions, or, more appropriately, abandon the loan

      "Either way, the time has come for President Mbeki to take the nation
into his confidence about how the government is going to act," he said.

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Southern Africa fears famine, U.N. lacks funds
By Peter Apps

SONGUENE, Mozambique, Aug 10 (Reuters) - For villagers in drought-stricken
southern Mozambique, this year's food shortages are the worst many can
remember, but aid workers fear the world may not respond until it is too

Across southern Africa, the United Nations says some 10 million people -- 
many of them already battling HIV and chronic poverty -- could face serious
hunger by the end of the year.

"If the situation continues like this, we could die," says 43-year-old
mother of six Beti Samuel Gueba, pointing to her empty granary in the rural
hamlet of Songuene. "If it is like this now, what will it be like in the
coming months? I do not know."

Relief workers warn of a repeat of events in West Africa's Niger, where 3.6
million people are facing food shortages.

Donor countries have boosted aid to Niger in the past month following
increased media coverage sparked by last year's drought and locust
invasions, but experts say an earlier response could have averted the

Mozambique's drought is patchy, with some areas enjoying good rainfall or
able to use old Portuguese colonial-era irrigation schemes to boost

But in Guija district, 200 km (125 miles) north of the capital Maputo, only
two percent of April's harvest was usable.

The problem goes beyond Mozambique.

Much of neighbouring Zimbabwe, Zambia and Malawi are also facing shortages,
with many families having little or no food stocks to fall back on. AIDS has
made the situation much worse, particularly in Swaziland and Lesotho.

The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) has described the combination
of chronic poverty, food shortages and HIV infection rates of more than 20
percent in southern Africa as the world's worst humanitarian crisis.

But attempts to raise donor cash have largely failed.

"There are other crises in the world," said WFP Mozambique deputy chief
Karin Manente. "There is Niger, there is Darfur, there was the tsunami. It's
very difficult to get enough funds."

Of the $256 million the WFP says it needs to scale up feeding programmes to
deal with the crisis between now and next June, when it hopes next year's
harvest will be in, it has only managed to raise $158 million. In
Mozambique, it only has 20 percent of the money it wants, forcing difficult


"I go into a home and they tell me there are 10 children," said Sam Kaijuka,
a Ugandan aid worker with U.S. religious agency Samaritans' Purse, WFP's
partner organisation in Guija.

"There is only money from WFP to feed three. I tell them to give me the
three that are most deserving. That makes people very hostile. Sometimes we
are chased away, but we always find another community that will take the

Already, some 12 deaths have been reported from malnutrition in districts a
few hours drive from Guija, where plants have either failed to come up in
fields planted late in 2004 or are useless for harvest. Cattle graze amongst
the stunted plants.

"In one village, they noticed that all the children were falling asleep in
lessons," said Kaijuka.

"It turned out that not only were the children starving but they were being
given the local homebrew when they went to bed to ease the pain of hunger."

No one is predicting large scale starvation deaths in southern Africa, where
rural populations have proved themselves resilient in other recent

In 2002, some agencies prophesied disaster when harvests failed, but most
families got through by eating wild berries and fruit or by trading and
selling possessions to raise money.

But selling property to buy food worsens rural African poverty at a time
when the G8 rich nations have pledged to make it a thing of the past, and
some women are even said to be turning to prostitution -- adding to the AIDS
crisis that itself takes labour from the land and worsens food shortages.

Donations may flow in as shortages become acute later in the year during the
"hungry season", but by then it may be too late.

In Niger, the cost of the relief operation was trebled as agencies had to
use last-minute airlifts instead of trucks and had to give therapeutic
feeding to save malnourished children instead of simply distributing food to
vulnerable families after drought and locusts hit crops.

"We really need donations now so we can get the food in place by the hungry
season later in the year," said WFP spokesman Mike Huggins. "Last minute is
no good if we want to avoid a Niger-type situation."
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ZBH's Newsnet Staff Under Fire

The Herald (Harare)

August 10, 2005
Posted to the web August 10, 2005


The Ministry of Information and Publicity is taking measures to restore
normalcy at Newsnet, the radio and television news channel at Zimbabwe
Broadcasting Holdings (ZBH), following reports of lack of professionalism
and dedication to duty by certain staffers.

Allegations of unprofessional conduct and lack of commitment to duty have
been levelled against some staffers at Newsnet.

The Secretary for Information and Publicity, Cde George Charamba, said when
he visited Newsnet on Monday evening he observed that there was a casual
approach towards work.

He said some Newsnet staffers seemed unaware that they were working for a
national broadcaster, which the nation depended on for news and other
important programmes.

"There was confusion in the newsroom and what I saw showed there was no one
in charge and no one working.

"We are working on a programme to ensure competent hands are manning the
newsroom. There is no appreciation (by some Newsnet staffers) of the mandate
and functions of a national broadcaster," Cde Charamba said.

Cde Charamba had visited Newsnet after making numerous calls on its hotline
without getting a response.

There have also been allegations that some reporters at Newsnet do not have
the requisite journalism qualifications.

It is alleged that some of the reporters claim to have qualifications they
got from a certain private college in Harare, where it is

said students can corruptly acquire diplomas and certificates without
sitting for examinations.

Cde Charamba said in view of these allegations, the Media and Information
Commission might be called upon to investigate the journalists reported to
be working without proper qualifications.

Contacted for comment, Newsnet Editor-in-Chief Chris Chivinge confirmed
serious dereliction of duty had been unearthed in the radio newsroom.

"The hotline was not being answered and this is unacceptable. The telephone
is the main source of many news tips for any newsroom that makes
professionalism the hallmark of its operations."

Chivinge also said the storyline on radio news on Monday about President
Mugabe's address at the National Heroes Acre was weak.

He said it was devoid of the important points made, especially those
pertaining to the ruling-out of the possibility of talks with opposition MDC
leader Mr Morgan Tsvangirai and over the land issue.

"While one can defend the omission of essential facts on 'perspective', the
slow response of the team is unacceptable given that, upon my return from
the Heroes Acre and before leaving for Rufaro Stadium to finalise logistical
arrangements for the live coverage of the Defence Forces Day commemoration,
I had pointed out the same facts which should have been incorporated into
the storyline.

"These changes had not been made until my return, which coincided with that
(visit) of Cde Charamba.

"Our mandate as Newsnet is to tell the story of Zimbabwe and Africa in its
proper context and we thrive to be the first with the story of Zimbabwe and

"The demeanour of the Radio News English desk at that time is clearly not
consistent with the mission and vision of Newsnet and we will be taking real
remedial action to deal with the matter once and for all," said Chivinge.
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Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe

Zanu PF aspiring senator poisoned, dies

The Daily Mirror Reporter
issue date :2005-Aug-11

AS the race for elected seats in the proposed Senate gather momentum, a Zanu
PF aspiring candidate in Mashonaland Central, Rosemary Chitura was poisoned
and later died.
Chitura, who was also the chief nursing services officer for Premier
Services Medical Investments, a subsidiary of Premier Medical Aid Society,
was poisoned on July 23 while celebrating the victory of Mazowe West Zanu PF
legislator Sabina Zinyemba.
According to impeccable sources who had sight of the post mortem result,
Chitura died after eating food laced with poison.
"A post mortem that was handed over to the police and Zanu PF's national
political commissar (Elliot) Manyika revealed that Chitura was poisoned.
Manyika was concerned by the outcome of the post mortem. Manyika attended
the burial," the source said adding the act could have been politically
"If you get to the bottom of the whole issue, you will realise that the
matter is political."
The source added: "She was strongly tipped to become a senator in the
upcoming Senate. Her popularity could have ruffled feathers here and there."
Efforts to get hold of Manyika,  the Minister Without Portfolio in the
President's Office, were fruitless.
The MP for the constituency, Zinyemba, yesterday confirmed to The Daily
Mirror that Chitura had indeed died of food poisoning, but was quick to add
that the tragedy could have been a result of personal difference between the
perpetrator and the victim.
"We held the victory celebration party on Saturday and all had gone well
until the sad incident took place which left one woman dead," the MP said.
"I believe it was a personalised thing that out of thousands of ruling party
supporters who attended the celebrations, only one person was poisoned."
The victory celebrations in which thousands of other party workers also
attended were held at Concession in Mashonaland Central, a Zanu (PF)
Zinyemba took a swipe at the architects of the poisoning and called on
investigators to get to the bottom of the matter so that those responsible
will face the full wrath of the law.
"As the Member of Parliament for Mazowe West, I am disappointed with what
happened. Zvinogumbura izvi zvakaitika. (The act has disappointed me),"
Zinyemba said.
The MP added: "If the culprit was an enemy of the party (Zanu (PF), I say
shame on him or her. They  are cowards. We do not solve our differences by
killing each other."
Concession police confirmed the incident and said that investigations were
underway. However they  referred further questions to national spokesperson
Assistant Commissioner Wayne Bvudzijena who also confirmed Chitura's death
saying the police had arrested suspects in connection with the case.
He added that the police had extracted body tissues from the corpse for
further analysis to establish the substance in the fatal poisoning.
"We have picked up suspects, but we have to seriously look into the matter
to establish the exact cause of death," Bvudzijena said. "We have taken body
tissues from the deceased for further analysis using a government
The government has since tabled a Constitutional Amendment Bill in
Parliament to re-introduce a Senate made up of 68 members, 50 of them
directly elected from the country's 10 administrative provinces.
According to the Bill, each of the 10 administrative provinces would be
delimitated into five constituencies.
President Robert Mugabe would appoint 18 other members of the Senate from
various interest groups, like traditional chiefs, women's groups and
disabled organisations, among others.
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