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Lake Chibero boat tragedy claims 11 lives

26/12/2011 00:00:00

POLICE said Monday 11 people -- including five children -- drowned when
their boat capsized in strong winds at Lake Chivero on Christmas day

"We have just finished retrieving all the 11 bodies," Andrew Phiri, police
spokesman told CNN.

"The boat capsized after it was hit by a wave as these people were enjoying
the Christmas Day."

Phiri said eight people including three crew members managed to swim to the
shores of the crocodile infested Lake Chivero about 20 km southwest of
Harare and alerted authorities about the incident.

"The police sub-aqua unit immediately started the rescue mission, but we
only finished retrieving the bodies this morning since the boat capsized
when it was dark," he added.

Meanwhile, Phiri said, a game ranger at the same lake drowned on Saturday
night after a boat he was in capsized.

The identities of the dead and further details about the incident were not
"The two incidents are unrelated, only that waves are the common cause of
the incidents," Phiri added.

Lake Chivero is now one of the favorite spots for tourists in Zimbabwe as
the country's tourism has started recovering over the past two years.

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Ailing Mugabe rushed to Asia for treatment
December 26, 2011 1:57 pm

HARARE – President Robert Mugabe has used his annual leave to skip out of the country for more extensive medical treatment in Asia, amid reports that his condition deteriorated after a busy schedule at the Zanu PF Congress in Bulawayo.

Mugabe’s ailments include periodic convulsions and stroke like episodes (perhaps eschemia) brought on by diabetes and a lipid disorder which affects the covering of the brain

Mugabe’s ailments include periodic convulsions and stroke like episodes (perhaps eschemia) brought on by diabetes and a lipid disorder which affects the covering of the brain

The state media official line is that Mugabe has started his annual leave which will run up to the end of January next year. Robert Mugabe has been to Singapore seeking treatment for what has been described as a serious ailment which requires constant monitoring by specialists in Asia.

He has travelled to Singapore more than 10 times this year for what his officials described as routine check-ups following an operation to correct a cataract problem. In a statement, his spokesperson, George Charamba said the President will spend part of his leave in the Far East together with his family.

A source in the President’s office confirmed to the Zimbabwe Mail that Mugabe, who normally takes his leave in January, will take part in a series of medical treatments for as many weeks. Meanwhile, Vice President Joice Mujuru is the Acting President.

Confidential cables leaked by the whistle-blowing website Wikileaks suggest that Zimbabwean leader Robert Mugabe is gravely ill with prostate cancer. Extracts from the leaked cables were published by numerous Zimbabwe news outlets.

Robert Mugabe's ailing health has seen him become the Commander in Slip. The 87 year old dictator now requires help to walk.

Robert Mugabe's ailing health has seen him become the Commander in Slip. The 87 year old dictator now requires help to walk.

“According to Gono, Mugabe’s doctor had recommended he cut back on his activities. (NOTE: Gono told us last year that Mugabe was ill and that his doctor had urged him to step down immediately. Mugabe had told his doctor, according to Gono, that he would leave office after the election),” continued the leaked document.

Wikileaks claimed that Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Governor Gideon Gono told then-US Ambassador James Mcgee that Mugabe had prostate cancer that had spread to other parts of his body. The cable says the growth “will cause his death in three to five years”.

Grace Mugabe, the leader’s wife, also told Gono that her spouse was “out of it about 75% of the time”, according to one cable. “The governor confided that Mugabe appeared to be deteriorating mentally and losing his capacity to balance factional interests,” wrote the ambassador. “She wanted him to step down.”

Eddie Cross of the opposition party Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) described Mugabe’s illness as an “open secret”.

In another cable, Botswana President Ian Khama was quoted as telling US officials that Mugabe fell asleep in meetings, but was always quick to respond when asked questions.

An analyst for a South African democracy institute warned that there would be “no successor with the necessary clout” to win a majority, should Mugabe become gravely ill. He noted: “Mugabe might be incapacitated soon. And without him, there is no chance in hell that ZANU-PF [Mugabe's party] has national standing.”

A spokesman for Zanu-PF has in the past responded to the allegations. “If he was that ill, how come he is still going strong?” questioned Rugare Gumbo. “I have seen him for a long time and even last week, he has no health problems. There is a lot of things that are not true in that.” Zimbabwe Mail

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Farm Workers Celebrate Christmas Without Salaries

Temgwe, December 26, 2011- Christmas celebrations were dampened by lack of
money for most farm workers who went for several months without salaries.

Although Tengwe business centre situated about 50 kilometers east of Karoi
used to be abuzz with farm
labourers from surrounding farms before the land reform in 2000, it looked
deserted during this year Christmas  celebrations.

Few farm workers came were ferried by tractors while other came by foot to
spend the day at the popular business centre.

Rodgers Phiri aged 38 years who works at Madzimoyo farm 10 kilometers away
says they have been battling to get salaries for the past six months.

"Our boss is no longer coming here from Harare saying he is waiting for bank
loans for our salaries. We are going through Xmas without any money at all"
says Phiri.

He adds that he came at Tengwe business centre to kill time with those that
are being paid their salaries.

A frail looking 65 year old Tom Banda complains that most farm workers did
not get bonuses let alone salaries.

''Christmas for us is meaningless as our employer can not afford to pay
required salaries. Some claim the dry spell has affected their plans
financially but it is now normal to go for months without salaries here".

Farm workers' required minimum wage is $44 per month.

The surrounding farms here have been hit hard by the current dry spell
affecting mostly tobacco with some being forced to replant.

Former Zanu-PF MP for Kariba Isaac Mackenzi resettled at Mpofu river farm,
40 kilometers north of Karoi town, admits that most farmers are failing to
pay salaries as they did not get loans from banks.

''It is becoming tough for us to get salaries for workers as we are going
through hard times financially. I failed to raise salaries for 50 of my
workers and they have to understand that there is cash crisis".

Although some people afforded new furniture, clothes and other goodies
during this festive season, it has remained a pipeline dream for farm
workers here to get their wages and spoil their families at least once a
year during this year's Christmas.

Tough times lay ahead of the New Year celebrations for Phiri, Banda among
others around Tengwe farms and those throughout Zimbabwe whose economic
pillar is agro based.

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Police Disburse Villagers Celebrating Christmas Day

Chitindiva, December 26, 2011-Police on Christmas day closed all shops at
around 1800 hours and disbursed thousands of villagers celebrating Christmas
accusing them of illegally gathering at the shopping centre.

Ant-riot police drove from Karoi to the North Eastern busy shopping centre
of Karoi town where they ordered all shop owners to close their shops.

The police accused shop owners of selling alcohol without liquor licenses
while accusing thousands of people enjoying their Christmas day of illegally
gathering at the place for the purposes of conducting a possible political

Radio VOP arrived at the shopping centre at the time the police was manning
the place while people had been disbursed.

Some of the residents who were still at the place when Radio VOP arrived
said senior police officers from Karoi disbursed them saying they fore-saw a
an unsanctioned  political meeting  happening hence the disruption.

Police use Public Order and Security Act to drive away any gathering which
they suspect of trying to conduct a meeting which is not organised by

“The anti-riot police was being headed by Karoi DISPO addressed us here and
told us that there was likely to be an MDC meeting and ordered us to vacate.

“This is surprising given that today is a Christmas day and we have never
heard of any political rally being held on this day, neither was there an
intention by any political party to hold a rally here, “said one villager
who identified himself as Gaure.

“It’s unfair for the police to order the disbursement of residents from
celebrating Christmas .If they have any issues with shop owners they should
deal with them and that should not affect villagers who are meeting their
friends and relatives”, said another villager who was marching away from the
shopping centre.

Shop owners had no kind words for the police whom they accused of demanding
kick backs from them.

“We know the reason for the disruption. The police are always here demanding
bribes from us.

“They have been threatening to close our shops and we are tired of giving
them bribes. Today they have done this deliberately so that we lose
business. We always sell beer here and this has not been a problem, “a shop
owner who refused to be named said.

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