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The Standard
Chigwedere's late arrival at Gutu function riles envoy
By Rutendo Mawere

GUTU - The Canadian Ambassador to Zimbabwe John Schram almost abandoned commissioning an educational project in Gutu in protest against delays in holding the function recently.

The function that was scheduled to commence at 10:00AM at Mushayavanhu Secondary School, about 20 km from Gutu but was delayed to around 1PM because Aeneas Chigwedere the Minister of Education, Sport and Culture had not arrived.

Schram, who had other commitments elsewhere arrived at the school at 9:20 AM and informed the organisers that he hoped to leave shortly after 1:00PM to attend to other pressing commitments.

However, school authorities insisted that he wait for Chigwedere's arrival for him to handover school equipment worth over $141 million, meant for the Mutapa cluster in Gutu district.

When he turned up in the afternoon, Chigwedere went into a meeting with the Zanu PF local leadership, Chiefs, Councillors and school heads further delaying the handing over ceremony.

Chigwedere told the people that since he had never been to the school this was their perfect opportunity to air their grievances.

"Handiti munoziva kuti handisati ndambosvika pano, saka zvandasvika nhasi mototaura zvinokunetsai."

It was only after the Canadian Ambassador threatened to leave without officially handing over the donations that Chigwedere disbanded the meeting with the local leadership.

Schram later commissioned the project, which will assist Mushayavanhu and surrounding schools.

Among the equipment donated by the Canadians were a heavy duty photocopier, computers and one printer that will benefit study groups, community members, teachers and more than 4 000 pupils in the Gutu District.

The donation was part of the Better Schools Programme started in 1992 as an initiative to support the School Development Associations (SDAs) in raising the quality and relevance of educational provisions in schools within the area.

"This Canadian contribution will give the Mupata cluster the boost it needs to make the Mushayavanhu Secondary School a centre of excellence. It is a schools programme that has already made immense strides in introducing new ideas, the challenging extra curricular activities, better education and pass rates," Schram said.

In his vote of thanks to the Embassy, Chigwedere said: "We want to thank the Ambassador because he who has helped a school has helped me and with rural electrification we hope for better results from rural schools."

Not to be outdone, Chigwedere also donated Z$10million for the roofing of Mushayavanhu's A level block. He also promised $2 million each to three different schools in the area.

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The Standard
HIV/Aids fighters honoured
By our own Staff

INDIVIDUALS, groups and organisations that contributed towards fighting HIV and Aids were honoured last week during the presentation of the Auxillia Chimusoro awards, named after the first Zimbabwean woman who openly declared her HIV positive status 15 years ago.

Auxillia Chimusoro, who throughout her illness was an outspoken advocate for the anti- HIV/Aids campaign, is widely acknowledged as a heroine in the struggle against the stigma associated with the pandemic.

The purpose of the awards is to recognise and reward individuals and organisations that have demonstrated commitment and courage in breaking the silence, reducing stigma and discrimination and caring for the infected and affected people.

The first category, the Media/Communications which honours media personnel who effectively captured the essence of a major issue around HIV and Aids sensitively as well as accurately conveying the message to a broader audience was won by Sophie Dilmitis.

Dilmitis is an advocate who disclosed her HIV status and has written a series of articles on how to cope with HIV in The Daily Mirror. She pocketed $10 million.

Mathew Takaona, the Zimbabwe Union of Journalists (ZUJ) President and former news editor for The Sunday Mail received $5 million after being specially honoured and recognised for his outstanding contribution in mobilising the media to proactively highlight issues relating to HIV/Aids.

Trevor Matambudziko, a 17-year-old orphan who has raised his brothers and sisters with dignity and courage was honoured for having the most innovative and committed intervention involving disadvantaged people in the community. His efforts earned him $10 million.

Parliamentarians in the Portfolio Committee on Health and Child Welfare, who underwent public HIV counselling and testing, emerged the best nominees in the Leadership category while Finhold was voted the best for putting in place comprehensive and effective HIV/Aids policies and programmes for their employees.

The awards were established by USAID in 2000, to honour individuals, groups or organisations that have had a major and lasting contribution in HIV/Aids prevention, care and support as well as outstanding efforts to break the silence on stigma and discrimination.

Past winners of the Auxillia Chimusoro awards include journalist Andrew Mutandwa, Southern African Dissemination Service (SAFAids), popular musician Oliver Mutukudzi and the New Start Centre.

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The Standard - letters
Incarceration of Roy Bennett is a travesty of justice

ANY true and right thinking Christian in Zimbabwe must be fully aware that the incarceration of Roy Bennett is a travesty of justice.

I am staggered at the fact that members of Cabinet who call themselves born again believers voted for this unjust action by Parliament. In this letter I am appealing to those Christians, for whom Bennett is a brother in Christ, to take heed of what they have done.

Bennett has been the victim of threats, has been beaten up and hounded off his extemely productive agricultural farm to satisfy the greed of people who probably have done little for the financial and agricultural enterprise of Zimbabwe. What has been his crime?

He is a Zimbabwean without racial prejudice and is now the victim of cruel injustice. He was judged maliciously and cruelly by the very man who provoked his response in Parliament. His mother was insulted and thereby he was deliberately provoked to respond either in verbally or physically.

I ask those born again believers, among who are the new Vice President, Mrs Joyce Mujuru, and Olivia Muchena and any other Chrisitains in Cabinet and Parliament, this question: "Had your Christian brother, Roy Bennett accused your mothers of being thieves, what would have been your response?"

I have no doubt he would have been incarcerated for a longer sentence!

Had he called Patrick Chinamasa's mother a thief, he would have attacked Bennett with impunity and the Cabinet would have applauded him. What hypocrisy! Had Bennett received even a one-day sentence it would have been unjust. Remember, my brothers and sisters in the Cabinet and Parliament, the Father has seen the injustice, the racialistic attack and the cruel nature of his incarceration. It spoke loudly of Zanu PF's revenge for his being in the MDC and greatly loved and trusted by people, both black and white.

Hear what God said to Pharoah when His people were being mistreated. For this reason He called Moses to hear His heart: "And the Lord said, I have surely seen the affliction of My people who are in Egypt, and have heard their cry because to their taskmasters and oppressors; for I know their sorrows and sufferings and trials. I have come down to deliver them out of the hand of the power of the Egyptians and to bring them to a land good and large, a land flowing with milk and honey."

I believe this incarceratrion is the equivalent of what happened to Steve Biko.

I truly fear for Bennett's life. If you regard him as a brother in Christ, remember, you are your brother's keeper and God will hold you accountable, together with all the members of Government.

Bennett apologised to Chinamasa for his reaction. That is what a Christian does. I notice that the Attorney General was not called upon to apologize for insulting Bennett. Neither was Didymus Mutasa called upon to apologise to Bennett for striking him! What hypocrisy is this?

There is no doubt that Bennett did what was necessary to clear up the issue. You will remember when Peter asked Jesus, "How many times must I forgive my brother if he sins against me, until seven times?" Jesus answered him and said, "Not seven times but seventy times seven". Bennett was the innocent party in this debacle.

If you voted for his incarceration you had not understood the meaning of that kind of forgiveness which creates an atmosphere for reconciliation. In fact, you exacerbated the problem to such a degree that you encouraged this cruel, unjust, political and racial crime. "You have treated your brother as if he were a common criminal along with thieves and murderers"

Perhaps you must hear the question that God asked of Cain, while you are in the midst of your family fesitivies: "Where is your brother, Roy?"

I appeal to you, as your brother in Christ, to stand for justice and truth and work to have this brother set free so that he can make his valuable contribution to our nation and enjoy his family as you will yours.

Rev Gary Strong


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The Standard - letters
Why Mugabe fears a Matabele take-over

FEARING that if a former Zapu official takes over as president of Zimbabwe, he/she will give in to pressure from the people of Matebeleland who want action taken against those involved in the Gukurahundi attrocities, President Robert Mugabe had already identified the next party president from the old Zanu PF camp to replace him.

As publicised by the State media, Mugabe recently advised Joyce Mujuru to "aim higher" after her elevation to the post of vice-president, and aiming higher for Mujuru means becoming the party's next president.

With Msika just as old as Mugabe, the two are likely to retire at the same time. This leaves Mujuru as the most senior person to take over as president.

This suits Mugabe because he is afraid if someone from the old Zapu takes over, he or she is likely to at least compensate the victims of the Gukurahundi attrocities committed by Mugabe and his gang of geriatrics in government.

The people of Matebeleland whose relatives, some of them sole bread winners, perished under Gukurahundi massacre have been completely ignored by Mugabe.

In identifying Mujuru as the next president, Mugabe knows very well that he has put in that position someone who has not endeared herself to the former Zapu cadres, and the people of Matebeleland at large. Zimbabweans will remember how she treated the founding father of the Zimbabwean struggle for independence, the late Vice-President Dr Joshua Nkomo for his efforts to assist Econet Wireless boss Strive Masiyiwa win the licence to operate in Zimbabwe.

Mujuru, just like Mugabe, may pretend that she likes the former Zapu comrades, but the truth, as exposed by her treatment of the late vice-president, Dr. Joshua Nkomo, and her bungling with water projects in Matebeleland, reveals otherwise.

Benjamin Chitate


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The Standard - letters
MDC, stick to your guns over poll

ALLOW me space to voice my concern with regards the participation of the MDC in general elections next year.

The MDC should simply stay away if what it has asked to be done is not fulfilled. Taking part in this race is tantamount to legitimising Robert Mugabe's brutal regime. The people who are urging the MDC to take part and risk becoming irrelevant are not being sincere because surely, there is no way MDC can win an election in the current environment.

Why is Zanu PF afraid of implementing the Sadc Mauritius agreement right to the letter? Zanu PF can not be the referee, goalkeeper, match commissioner, player and spectator at the same time and expect the opponent to score let alone win.

I don't think the Thabo Mbeki way of finding a solution to this predicament will ever see the light of day so the MDC must help the suffering masses by not taking part until the playing field has been levelled. That is the only effective weapon that we have at our disposal for the regime won't be recognised anywhere if it goes into the election all by itself.

One other thing that puzzles me is the call by President Mugabe for the MDC to campaign locally ? Since when did the MDC solicit Mugabe's advice? Let the MDC do its campaigns anywhere it feels there is an audience and do yours wherever you like, Mr President. After all you don't allow it room to hold campaigns here in Zimbabwe.

On the issue of international monitors and observers I see nothing wrong in inviting every Jack and Jill to come and witness the plebiscite for as long as they don't interfere or give directions in their conduct unless we have something to hide.

Invite even Tony Blair and George W Bush to come and monitor and see what happens. The Bushes and Blairs are not eligible to cast their votes in Zimbabwe so why worry?.

Lastly to Jonathan Moyo, I would like to ask if what happened to him is the democracy in Zanu PF that he always makes noise about. You are not allowed to make your choice in Zanu PF but to follow Sabuku's.

Mudhara we Norton


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The Standard
Stocks flat as 'strange year' closes
marketmovers with Rangarirai Mberi

SHARES will trade flat through this week as most market players begin their annual shutdown for Christmas on Saturday, brokers forecast.

Wednesday's Unity Day will also shorten a week in which no big deals are likely to be made on the market, which has been in slowdown mode for the past fortnight.

"We certainly won't be trading much this week - in fact we will shut down Tuesday and open immediately after New Year's day. Except for a few workaholics, most will be slipping out of town to spend some money," a clearly relieved fund manager told StandardBusiness Thursday.

"It has been a strange year, nothing close to the heady 2003 when you could buy and sell any junk for profit. But this month has certainly been better than the last months of last year."

However, a few players said they would keep watch over the coming week, still hunting for what one called "Christmas bargains" on what many believe to be a cheap, oversold market.

Money market rates looked set to soften last week as the deficits narrowed from around $800 billion to $300 billion, but the Christmas spirit apparently blinded traders to this, as the market continued to be led sideways.

Last week, the key industrial index opened flat, failing to hold on to the previous week's gains. Stocks across the board turned mostly lower as investors either held their positions or sold to cash out on the brief perk.

The market opened the week up 0,25%, helped up by confidence in retail counters, which are looking to roll in the cash this week as the festive season finally gets into full stride.

Financials once again came in for close inspection after financial services group CFX said in a cautionary that its commercial banking arm would report results that lag expectations. CFX said: "Shareholders are advised that the profitability of the commercial bank will be significantly below expectations. A plan has been put in place to ensure that losses will be curtailed and that the profits for the coming year will be enhanced."

The news drove CFX down $5 to $35, and returned some worry over banks, weeks ahead of the launch of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe's amalgamated bank project, the Zimbabwe Allied Banking Group (ZABG).

PG Industries was $2,90 lower at $29,90 after the country's largest maker of building materials hinted at a possible sale of a key subsidiary. PGI said, "negotiations are at an advanced stage which, if successfully concluded, will result in the restructure of a subsidiary that will have a significant effect on the company".

PGI is seeking a solution for its manufacturing arm, which bled the company to a $46,7 billion loss in the half-year to end September 30. PGI is planning a fire-sale of its assets in order to relieve debt, and is also seeking a strategic partner to help it return to profit.

Willdale opened the week down 20 cents to $6,70 after the brick manufacturer's maiden results as a separately listed firm caused no excitement on the market. Willdale's volumes were below budget, as competition from cheap imports and continued decline in the construction sector knocked profitability.

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New Zimbabwe fears for deportees
Zimbabwe Information Minister Jonathan Moyo
Moyo: Zimbabwe has a right to ask who the returnees are
Fears for the safety of Zimbabweans sent back home from the UK have risen after a minister said they could be undercover mercenaries.

Controversial Information Minister Jonathan Moyo said the UK could be sending "trained and bribed malcontents" to disrupt elections.

The UK says it will resume the repatriation of Zimbabweans who were refused political asylum.

Refugee groups say anyone deported to Zimbabwe could face persecution.

Earlier this week, another Zimbabwe minister said those sent back from the UK would be welcomed back.

Regime change

The UK authorities said they were lifting a two-year moratorium on deportations because of the numerous abuses of the asylum system by people claiming to have been persecuted by the government of President Robert Mugabe.

Many opposition activists, and even MPs, say they have been tortured for criticising the government.

Zimbabwe torture victim
The opposition complains of widespread intimidation and torture
"We have a right to ask whether these would be deportees or [UK Prime Minister Tony] Blair's mercenaries of regime change or plain law-abiding Zimbabweans returning home after having been abused and dehumanised in Britain.

"Their treatment will depend on which is which," Mr Moyo said according to the state-owned Herald newspaper.

On Wednesday, Zimbabwe's Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa said his government would unconditionally accept anyone sent back from the UK. He said that the deportations backed up the government's argument that the opposition is exaggerating claims of human rights abuses.

"The chickens are now coming home to roost. It's wrong to suggest that they went there as victims of torture, but the truth is that they were economic refugees," Mr Chinamasa said.

'Not safe'

However, Zimbabwean refugees who protested at Downing Street on Wednesday say that anyone sent back home from Britain faces reprisals from security forces.

"Britain knows the problems in Zimbabwe. They know it's not safe for those who oppose Mugabe and the government," Edward Molife, one of the organizers, told the BBC.

BBC Africa analyst Grant Ferrett says that about 10 Zimbabweans are thought to have been deported from Britain since the government changed its policy last month, although the Home Office has refused to give figures.

Mr Mugabe, the sole ruler of the country since it became independent from Britain in 1980, is accused by his critics of rigging elections and using violence against his political opponents.

Mr Mugabe denies these charges, saying that his enemies, sponsored by the UK, the former colonial power, are trying to oust him because of his programme to redistribute land from white farmers to poor black families.

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