The ZIMBABWE Situation
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Grilling in Gambia

The Zimbabwean

JOHANNESBURG - The Zimbabwe government's human rights abuses are under the
spotlight in the Gambia this week.
At its 38th ordinary session, the African Commission is debating the report
by it's fact-finding mission which exposes the unwillingness of the
government and its agencies to comply with recommendations, especially on
national dialogue and reconciliation.

The report says it is manifestly evident that, instead of attempting to
implement the recommendations in order to create an environment conducive to
freedom of expression in Zimbabwe, the government has strengthened
repressive laws and taken action that has had exactly the opposite effect.

"There have been five high-profile cases in which various arms of
government, including the executive, three ministries, a statutory body,
local authorities and the police, have failed to comply with court orders,"
the report says.

These include the refusal to issue a licence to The Daily News and its
sister Sunday newspaper, the deportation of journalist Andrew Meldrum in
defiance of a court order and the rejection of an Electoral Court ruling
nullifying the results of the nomination court for the Roy Bennett
Chimanimani constituency case.

"AIPPA remains operational and continues to be implemented in a selective
manner to stifle the free dissemination of information and free speech
within Zimbabwe, especially through the private media," the report says. The
Constitutional Amendment (No 17) Act passed recently makes wide-ranging
intrusions into basic human rights guaranteed under the constitution of
Zimbabwe, as well as various international human rights instruments to which
Zimbabwe is party.

Although the commission is largely a toothless bulldog, analysts say the
fact that it is seriously debating Zimbabwe is a positive signal and will
help to raise international awareness.

Meanwhile Zimbabwe's National Association of NGOs (NANGO) has called on the
International Criminal Court (ICC) to prosecute government officials
responsible for the country's controversial urban clean-up campaign five
months ago.

UN special envoy Anna Tibaijuka, also the director of UN-HABITAT, labelled
Operation Murambatsvina a "breach of both national and international human
rights law provisions guiding evictions". NANGO wants Tibaijuka's report to
be implemented, and the perpetrators brought to book.

The ICC, unlike the International Court of Justice, can try individuals and
investigate crimes, such as drug trafficking and genocide, referred to it by
governments as well as the UN Security Council.

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Bennett predicts another Niger

The Zimbabwean

In a blatant attempt to cover up the depth of famine and suffering from
international scrutiny by the press and the UN envoy, Mugabe's forces are
once more engaged in removing innocent people from UN camps.
Famine and drought are just "the tip of the iceberg," said Roy Bennett. "I
would go as far as to predict another Niger situation here in Zimbabwe."

In Epworth, people are still sitting at the wrecked sites of their former
homesteads. Parents no longer have any income, and the children cannot go to
school. At Hopley Farms, desperate victims of Murambatsvina are without
adequate food or water. "But it's not just Harare," Bennett added.

"It's happening in Headlands. Didymus Mutusa, the man who is filled with
hatred against the people of Zimbabwe, recently moved against a refugee
settlement. The people were camped out in United Nations tents and were
being supplied food through the International Organization of Migration.
They were all translocated, moved much further away where they've got no
access to food and no way of getting back into town because they were deemed
to be opposition supporters."

UN special envoy, Jan Egeland, an Under-secretary General in charge of the
World Food Program, will scrutinize the desperate food and housing situation
on a visit scheduled for early December. If he could speak to the UN Envoy,
what would Bennett tell him about the crisis?

"There are three points that we must understand that are involved in the
situation involved in the disaster in Zimbabwe here," Bennett said.

"One: this is a manmade disaster. The government has created it. It has
nothing to do with drought. It has nothing to do with anything other than
bad governance and the total destruction of a viable farming sector here in

"While there is drought at the moment, you have dams full of water. Eighty
percent of the food produced here in Zimbabwe was produced from commercial
farms through irrigation. That irrigation is lying idle. Those dams are
full. So the fact that at the moment there is no food available is not a
result of the drought. These are the issues that are the problem and must be

"So the Envoy who is coming in must understand these three factors: that the
crisis is manmade; that Mugabe will never ever permit him to see anything;
and the fact that any independent media has been done away with - so that
there is no reporting out of Zimbabwe especially in the rural areas, which
is at the heart of the situation - so the whole lot goes unnoticed and the
Mugabe government puts on this front to say the crisis is due to sanctions,
is due to a drought, and hides the issues of the true situation under the

Why not admit that the famine is a man-made disaster? According to Bennett,
Mugabe "cannot allow the western nations or the world or the region to see
that he has totally failed with his so-called land redistribution programme.
So he will never show anybody what is happening on those farms or allow
anybody to speak to those people who are starving out there."

Lack of any meaningful action by the African Union and ongoing support by
Thabo Mbeki's regime in South Africa have covered up Mugabe's policy

"That continues to be the case and worse. There is interference by external
governments in the internal situation in Zimbabwe," Bennett accused.

"You have Mbeki and South Africa involved with Zanu (PF). They have
believed, and supported by Britain, I must add, in a government of National
Unity here in Zimbabwe and a reformed Zanu (PF). Whenever those ideas are
put to the test or put the feelers out to the people, they have been
rejected hugely. Nobody is interested in a government of National Unity and
nobody will believe in a reformed Zanu (PF).

"So they have now infiltrated the opposition. They have caused massive
in-fighting within the opposition with one goal: that is, splitting the
opposition, dividing the opposition, so that whichever faction of the
opposition is left behind will then work with the reformed Zanu (PF) to form
a government of National Unity. And all the issues that Mugabe is
accountable for for - the Matabeleland massacres, the theft and murders and
beatings - will then be swept under the table. You won't have a Truth and
Reconciliation Commission or a Truth and Justice Commission.

"You basically move on, in this wonderful government of National Unity and
this reformed ruling party. It takes the embarrassment away from the western
world; it takes all the headaches away from Mbeki of how he's going to deal
with a situation whereby there's complete change and now there has to be
accountability for that misrule and misgovernance and all the human rights
abuses that have taken place over the last twenty years."

According to Bennett, the purpose of the senate elections is to prepare the
way for this government of National Unity, and to allow the governments of
South Africa and the UK to wipe the egg off their faces.

"I honestly believe that is the purpose. Britain and South Africa are the
two key players in the Zimbabwe issue. You must understand that Britain as
the previous colonial power and South Africa as Zimbabwe's largest trading
partner and neighbour to Zimbabwe who both have had huge ties with Zimbabwe
from the colonial days have been involved right at the outset and have had
an influence on the issues that have taken place in Zimbabwe.

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Houses 'melt' in rain

The Zimbabwean

CHINHOYI - Some of the very few victims of Operation Murambatsvina to have
been provided with alternative accommodation by the government woke up last
Thursday to find their new houses destroyed by heavy rains last week.
Observers blamed poor workmanship, hasty construction using unskilled
labour, and corruption as among the reasons for the disintegration of some
20 houses, built under Operation Garikai, in the not unseasonable
cloudburst. "I am sure the proper amount of cement was not used because
there is no cement in Zimbabwe and there has not been for some time," said
one disgusted resident. "And these bricks have been made by green bomber
youth brigades who don't know the proper way of making bricks. They have
also not bee properly fired because there are not enough trees left to cut
down to fire the bricks."
The Garikai houses are being built by a combined workforce of soldiers,
prisoners and ordinary Zimbabweans. A construction expert with the Ministry
of Local Government told the press the blame should lie squarely with the
supervisors. He blamed the "Garikai" construction team for lack of "basic
building skills in mixing sand and cement". He added that such a national
project should be given "the seriousness it deserves not this kindergarten
stuff". A worker at the site was equally worried. He feared a situation
where the government would refuse to pay them, citing poor workmanship.
Paying salaries and wages to workers at "Operation Garikai" sites
countrywide has been a problem. Salaries and wages for September were only
paid last week.

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Remaining farms grabbed

The Zimbabwean

CHIPINGE - Commercial farming in Chipinge has all but come to a standstill
following the decision by the government to grab all the remaining 15 white
owned farms in the last two weeks.
Chipinge has been host to the country's best tea and coffee producing farms
over the last 50 years. In reality, this means that what took more than half
a century to build has taken less than a year to be destroyed.

At its peak, the Chipinge farming community used to produce tea and coffee
for the export market, under the Export Processing Zone deal, as well as
meeting the country's domestic needs.

MDC losing candidate for Chipinge North Mathias Mlambo admitted the farm
grabbing by Zanu (PF) officials, with 'very little' knowledge of farming
expertise, has destroyed not only the country' major suppliers of tea and
coffee, but effectively cut off foreign currency from export sales.

He added that the country should expect to run out of both tea and coffee in
the not too distant future because of the situation in Chipinge. 'It's a sad
state of affairs here. Where we used to see coffee and tea, there is only
grass and worse still, this is all what you see on all the farms that were
seized by Zanu (PF) people,' said Mlambo.

- SW Radio Africa

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Maize deliveries ahead of elections

The Zimbabwean

CHIPINGE - In one of the most blatant manifestations of political
corruption, Zanu (PF) last week delivered truckloads of maize to all the
eight wards of Chipinge North.
Officials have also opened a register at all the polling stations to take
note of all the individuals who will visit the stations to cast their vote.
It's alleged these are the only people who will be allowed to buy the maize
on Sunday, a day after the senate elections.

The maize consignment, from the local GMB was delivered right inside the
perimeters of all the eight polling stations in each ward. MDC spokesman for
Chipinge North Godfrey Nyarota said they last had maize deliveries in the
town in March, a week before the parliamentary elections.

The MDC is not fielding any candidate there because it has boycotted the
poll. Only Zanu (PF) and Zanu Ndonga have candidates vying for the
senatorial seat. People in the town have struggled for months to buy maize
anyway in the area because all the grain was either bought or confiscated by
the GMB, which has a monopoly on maize distribution in the district.

Nayrota said without maize people have been starving, while all along Zanu
(PF) has been holding on to the scarce commodity. 'We were all surprised
when we saw truckloads of maize being delivered to all the polling stations.
This is a direct case of vote buying,' said Nyarota. - SW Radio Africa

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Exiles - lily-livered or prudent?

The Zimbabwean

It is indeed legitimate to apply both the words diaspora and exile to
Zimbabweans living abroad as both terms seem to describe the reasons and
intentions of Zimbabweans outside their country of origin. More importantly,
it does not seem to matter much to me whether one is regarded as being in
the diaspora or in exile because everyone knows that since the year 2000
Zimbabwe saw an unprecedented number of its citizens leaving the country,
both for economic and political reasons.
People of all walks of life realised the erosion and blatant violation of
basic human rights, the systematic destruction of the independent media and
the downward spiralling of the economy and naturally decided to search for
security and sanctuary elsewhere. The media will, depending on its attitude
to immigration, choose whatever term suits its purposes to describe people
of foreign origin.

Some of the terms will inevitably be positive but others will be downright
derogatory depending on the type of story or article being presented. I
think the main question we should be asking ourselves is: should we be
worried about these terms at all or should we concentrate on more
substantive issues affecting both those back home and outside the country.

There is a view that those who left the country are nothing but lily-livered
cowards who are inadvertently helping to sustain one of the most cruel and
insensitive regimes of our time by sending much-needed foreign currency back
home. But there is another view - that those who left the country were wise
and prudent enough to realise that the situation in the country was going to
reach catastrophic levels and escaped. What side of the debate you take is
dependent on what side of the border you are.

The perception and stereotyping of Zimbabweans in the UK as political
refugees may be unfortunate but it is understandable given the fact that
most people, be they professionals or unskilled, would probably never have
left the country were it not for the deterioration of the political and
economic situation in the country.

Most people who have a problem with this are those who have told themselves
that they are a 'special' category of immigrant only to be disappointed when
they realise that they are regarded, by the British, as everyone else from
Zimbabwe. I believe that the terms used to describe us by the media largely
depend on the manner in which we conduct ourselves. If we are involved in
criminal or degrading activities the diction will be unpleasant but if we
are decent and hardworking even the most prejudiced sections of the media
will be forced to use kinder labels.

- Please join the debate - send your views to

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Letter from America

The Zimbabwean

WASHINGTON - The tightening of targeted sanctions by the United States
against Mugabe and top Zanu (PF) officials to include their children and
party-owned companies could force a major policy shift within this ruling
But there is a broader issue that focuses on the long-term implications of
the US policy not only on Zimbabwe but Africa as a whole.

Africa. There have been many concerns that the Bush administration is more
interested in Europe and Asia than Africa. An independent task force on the
US policy on Africa will publish its report on December 5.

A summary of the report, given last week at the conference of the African
Studies Association, recommended that the focus should be changed from
humanitarian issues to those of security, investment and energy.

The report highlighted a deepening societal engagement with Africa in the
United States on the part of public and private institutions like Human
Rights Watch, the Gates Foundation, Open Society and Amnesty International.
But in all cases, Africa was seen as a charity case, completely dependent on

Africa is thus an object rather than subject of any policy of engagement.
The time has come for Africa to be viewed as a proactive partner and subject
of such engagement.

US interests in Africa go far beyond simplistic aid and humanitarian
considerations. Africa is increasingly becoming a major supplier of energy,
both oil and gas.

Fifteen percent of US oil supplies come from Africa, especially Nigeria. New
natural gas finds in other African countries mean that US energy imports
from Africa are likely to double to about 30 percent in the next 10 to 15
years. China is increasing her investment in Africa. It owns large oil
investments in the Sudan.

The task force report also highlights terrorism, trade and conflict
resolution as other important elements that should shape US policy on
Africa. Eastern Africa, in particular, is a new base for al Qaeda
operations. While the United States has a strong military presence in
Djibouti there is no political oversight on how to counter terrorism in

On trade the report notes that while Africa's share of the world trade is
only one percent Africa has a very strong presence at the World Trade Center
where it commands 40 of the 147 votes in the WTC. Africa can now block
international trade deals - such as the ongoing negotiations on subsidies.
Here the US spends $350 billion a year in subsidies to its corporations.
Africa's strong presence at the WTC has so far managed to block US
initiatives short of outright removal of the subsidies.

The task force also views dispute resolution in Africa as important, and
calls for US policy that will engage as full partners Africa's institutions
like the African Union and its newly-created peace and security council,
SADC, ECOWAS as well as presidents of energy producing countries like

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Harvest of hunger looms

The Zimbabwean

Dear Family and Friends,

There is a massive crisis underway in Zimbabwe. History will remember
Saturday November 26 as the one on which elections for a Senate that we didn't
want and couldn't afford were being held. Ordinary people, however, will
remember this as the time when MDC leaders were tearing their party apart
and Zanu (PF) were squabbling for the last few scraps on the political bone.
This is the November when both the MDC and Zanu (PF) seem to have lost track
of the most important struggle in Zimbabwe: the one for food, food and more
The rains have begun, the soils are wet, the temperatures high and yet only
weeds are growing as each precious day ticks past. All around us peasant
farmers in the communal areas and new farmers on seized commercial land,
have still not been given seeds to plant. It is ludicrous that five years
into Zimbabwe's land take-overs, these new farmers are still unable to
plough the land they were allocated or even buy their own seed.

In a country where inflation is over 400% and great convoys of trucks stream
endlessly over our borders bringing in food in from other countries,
Zimbabwe it seems is not even going to try and save herself this year. The
question that every Zimbabwean asks their neighbour in November is how much
rain they've had and how their crop is doing.

It doesn't matter if the "crop" is a few lines of maize plants in the back
garden, seven acres in the rural village or 100 acres on a farm. This year,
the answer to the question is - "what crop." When you ask new farmers or
rural villagers how their crop is coming on, they say they haven't planted
yet and are still waiting for the government to come and give them seed. If
you comment that it's a month into the growing season and virtually too late
to plant, they sigh and shrug their shoulders and say there is "nothing to

So far, we've had six inches of rain and have the makings of a perfect
season. "It's looking good for farmers," I said to one man this week, but he
just shook his head, laughed sadly and said "But these farmers - they are
playing, just playing!"

To make this desperate crisis even worse, there continue to be seizures of
the few productive farms still operating. Every day we hear of another
farmer being evicted by some arbitrary bloke who arrives with "a letter from
the government." As it has for five years, these evictions happen just after
the farmer has planted the crop, when the fields are covered with newly
germinated seed. It is plain, outright theft of another man's
labour, seed and fertilizer and yet no one does anything because "it is
This week the former president of the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries
Kumbirai Katsande said:
"As we sit right here I do not hear any senior government official
condemning the farm invasions which are taking place across the country...It's
criminal when we do not do what we are supposed to do."
A harvest of hunger in 2006 seems inevitable and yet all our combined
leaders talk about is the Senate. Until next week, Ndini shamwari yenyu

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Open letter to collaborators

The Zimbabwean

It is so disheartening to hear that SACFA, and certain white commercial
farmers, have joined the morally corrupt and misguided league of CFU
(Commercial Farmers' Union) and JAG (Justice for Agriculture). What were
once institutions to be admired have now become ones to despise and
disregard. May those farmers and members who condone these institutions and
the individuals for their, not misguided, but deliberate, capitulation to
evil and wrong doing, have justice brought upon them.
The evidence of your nefarious activities, your unwavering compromising and
pathetic greed which has contributed to the demise of this once healthy
country and society has been documented. As the future generation of
Zimbabwe it is my duty to those that have gone before and those still to
come, to let the truth be known. You are all cowards and your children will
suffer the consequences of your moral corruption.

What could have once been excused for good willed, desperate and naļve
misguidance can no longer be. Not after five years of irrefutable evidence
from this government that there is no policy to secure the freedom of our
children. Nor the fulfillment of the ideals of the independence struggle.

What is more appalling is that as wealthy citizens of Zimbabwe (which is a
title you should not be stripped of) you deliberately choose to be cowards!
That would be excusable if you just hid or ran, however you put effort into
supporting and fund raising for the very people and organizations that
oppress your families, friends and fellow Zimbabweans.

I am a young man, too young to be a war veteran but old enough to know what
Zimbabwe can become and once was. I find it ironic that the very people left
farming and tacitly supporting Zanu (PF) to "survive" the current crisis are
the very individuals who fit Mugabe's profile of the racist colonial
plunderer. Those individuals who seek the dollar of now, rather than
fighting injustices committed against their fellow Zimbabweans. Those that
seek to take advantage of the prevailing imbalances to enrich themselves
corruptly, either morally or financially, to the detriment of all else and
making everybody suffer as a direct result of their activities.

When the reign of evil that has besieged this country comes to an end, which
it shall, I will make it a personal endeavour to have your names recorded in
the history books for what you have done. Your children can then decide
whether to make amends or continue with their parent's failings.

Whilst we are not all equal in the strength of our moral fibre, there is a
universal line drawn in the eternity of time, which at many stages in our
lives we have a choice to cross or not. Good and Evil. You have crossed that
line, may you be judged accordingly..

I will leave you with a few timeless quotes to ponder whilst you attempt to
condone your actions;

"Your commitment to action now will later be judged by your children".

"Many people fear nothing more terribly than to take a position which stands
out sharply and clearly from the prevailing opinion. The tendency of most is
to adopt a view that is so ambiguous that it will include everything and so
popular that it will include everybody"
~ Rev. Martin Luther, King, Jr. ~

"Be on guard against science without humanity, politics without principle,
knowledge without character, wealth without work, commerce without morality,
pleasure without conscience and worship without sacrifice" ~ Mahatma Gandhi

God speed
Clive Kay

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Down, but not out

The Zimbabwean

Editorial comment

Now that the party faithful geriatrics are safely ensconced in the Senate,
cushioned from the cares of ordinary Zimbabweans by Mugabe's benevolence (at
others' expense), perhaps they could take time to consider the plight of
their fellow countrymen and women? Surely that would not be too much to ask?
They are assured of medical care, employment, vehicles, fuel, shelter,
clothing, food and education for their children. Surely they now have time
and energy to think about the millions of others who have none of these

Zimbabwe needs leaders. We have been ruled for too long. I wonder if it is
too much to hope that these noble senators might turn their attention to
leading us? Zimbabwe may be a failed state, she may be a basket case instead
of a breadbasket, she may be down - but she is not out!

We just need good leaders to make the right decisions, to take care of our
wonderful nation, and we can rise up and run again. We are a resourceful
people. Most of us are well-educated - compared to many other nations around
the world. We have a fantastic country - endowed with all God's greatest
gifts: natural beauty, rivers and mountains, minerals, precious metals, good
soils, a wonderful climate, a relatively good infrastructure. But above
all - people.

We need leaders who will stop this childish insulting of the western world -
and re-engage with the international community, the World Bank, the IMF, the
governments of the West. Mugabe has had his fun - turning East, cocking a
snook at the West. And what has it gotten us? - nothing more than a few
Chinese restaurants, tons of shoddy zhing-zhong products (which we have had
to pay for) and warehouses full of weapons, ammunition, poor quality
military hardware and dubious electronic jamming and surveillance equipment.

We need real investment. We need jobs. We need trade. We need statesmen who
will engage the opposition and actively seek a positive solution to our

Surely even our honourable new Senators can see that something is rotten in
the state of Zimbabwe. The combined brain-power of all those in Zanu (PF)
has not been sufficient to solve the problems. Indeed it has created most of
them. Surely it is time to involve others now? Why do they insist ongoing it
alone and shutting everyone else out?

There is a wise old Shona proverb: Zano ndoga akapisa gumbeze (Lit: the one
who thinks alone ends up burning the blanket).

There are many patriotic Zimbabweans, both in and outside the country, who
would love to play their part in getting the country we all love back onto
the rails again. We are willing to do our national service all over again.
We are willing to give up our jobs and homes in the diaspora. We want to
come home again. Just give us a chance.

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State shows contempt for judiciary

The Zimbabwean

HARARE - The government of Zimbabwe and the City of Harare are increasingly
disregarding court orders, according to a statement by Zimbabwe Lawyers for
Human Rights (ZLHR).
"In October, ZLHR obtained a provisional order before Justice Omerjee of the
High Court of Zimbabwe at Harare which precluded the City of Harare and the
Zimbabwe Republic Police from evicting or threatening to evict the occupants
of Tsiga grounds and Ground No. 5 in Mbare. In an act exhibiting brutal
inhumanity, timed to have effects as cruel as possible, municipal police
assisted by National Youth militia pounced upon our clients at midnight of
13-14 November and spent next six hours violently carting away our clients
to Hopley Farm just outside Harare in blatant contravention of the court
order. Showing the municipal police the court order only served to earn one
individual the threat of a beating," says the statement.

"To show contempt for the judiciary in the manner that the local authority
and the state did is an act which goes to the very root of any democratic
system structured to protect even the barest of human rights. When local
government personnel and state-sanctioned actors like the National Youth
service militia choose to ignore the judgement of a court of law, they
negate this principle and take on the role of the judge and enforcer of
their own matters."

The lawyers' body has called upon the state and the City to respect court
orders and allow the law to take its course. "Further, we call upon these
actors to respect the dignity and integrity of the human person and
forthwith cease the crude use of force upon the defenceless and
disadvantaged populace of Zimbabwe. The state is also called upon to desist
from dumping people in peripheral areas where they suffer hunger and illness
and it is well nigh impossible to make a living," said the statement.

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AIDS takes toll on agriculture

The Zimbabwean

MUTARE - I have watched my three friends dying one after the other, says
Michael Kabande, a former farm labour at one of the many farms designated
for resettlement in Mutasa in Zimbabwe's Manicaland province.
Although Kabande is lucky to be alive, he is already counting his days on
mother earth, having tested HIV positive in 2002.

The HIV and AIDS scourge has left rural and farming communities entrapped in
both income and asset poverty, amid rising livelihood insecurity.

A recent survey found that agricultural output declined by 50 percent among
households affected by AIDS illness and deaths. Frequent funeral attendance
also affects land use and diminishes agricultural productivity.

Women-headed households are particularly vulnerable. When a family member
becomes ill with AIDS-related infections, it is usually the woman who cares
for the sick person.

Zimbabwe's National AIDS Council's Manicaland programme officer, Evos
Makoni, said the current rates of HIV and AIDS infections, illness and
deaths had a negative implication on sustainable agricultural output and
food security.

"It is a well-known fact that HIV and AIDS pandemic is affecting the most
active and productive segment of society, both urban and rural. In the rural
and farming set-ups, this effectively means agriculture is under threat
because when people are HIV-positive, they are not able to go to the
 fields," he said.

"A study of AIDS affected households in Makoni District in Manicaland this
year had shown that family members were spending time, which could otherwise
be invested in agriculture, caring for the sick and attending funerals and
mourning the dead."

Besides a reduction in crop reduction, adult deaths from AIDS often lead to
a loss of traditional knowledge of agricultural practices.

"Skills may not be transferred to either children or relatives, which has
negative implications for food production. When mothers die, children are
usually forced to take their place in the subsistence economy, thus
increasing child labour and lowering productivity. Over time, HIV and AIDS
can contribute to declines in land use, crop yields and crop variety," said

Another group in the fight against AIDS, Futures Group International, has
held workshops across the country highlighting the plight of farm labourers
and villagers in communal lands.

The manageress, Sarah Musungwa, said because of this fast spreading of the
disease, villagers in Gokwe had already resorted to attending funerals a few
minutes before the deceased was buried rather than spending the whole week
mourning and not tilling the land.

Some countries like Lesotho have also adopted such practices because
funerals are taking much of the farmer's time. In many cases, young girls of
school-going age were being withdrawn from school to help lighten the family
load. -CAJ News

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The Zimbabwean Letters

MDC split tragic
EDITOR - It is an irony that although the pro-Senate group concede that the
Senate elections are comical, and meaningless, they remain in favour of
participation. Their argument is not impressive. I also note, with concern,
that the rift has now taken an ugly twist towards tribal affiliation.
Surely the leaders know that the tribal game is a primitive one, only for
the most ignorant and small-minded man to play. While I would criticise
Tsvangirai for over-ruling a majority resolution, as it is undemocratic, I
somehow on the other hand believe that he acted in the best interest of the
majority of Zimbabweans.

There is no denying that the Senate is an unnecessary burden to the ordinary
folk in the streets, for whom the MDC stands, and so why would the
pro-Senate group want to waste time and energy over this, which could be
better directed at devising plans to save Zimbabwe from bleeding to death?

It would be tragic if these leaders were to detach themselves from the
communities to which they belong, and seek to enrich themselves in a manner
which is morally wrong. And it would be equally tragic for the MDC if it
were to split over such a minor issue like the Senate, especially if one has
to consider what the party has been through in its young life of six years.

It is therefore in every thoughtful person's best interest that the MDC
leadership put their differences aside, for the sake of the country, and
come to a compromise, for it is bad enough as it is that Zimbabweans are
suffering, but to have to deal with this is, to say the least, unbearable,
if not unacceptable.

F.TSHUMA, Zimbabwe
AFZ 'intact and airborne'
EDITOR - The Zimbabwean October 28 to November 03, 2005, 'Mbeki-Mugabe
military pact' portrayed the Air Force of Zimbabwe (AFZ) as a motley
collection of aircraft from the Rhodesian days. It has indeed been confirmed
that the AFZ will soon be seconding personnel to train the South African Air
Force pilots, aircraft technicians and support staff as reported. But part
of the story on the current AFZ inventory was incorrect. While it may be
true that the Zimbabwean economy is facing numerous challenges and literally
grinding to a halt, the AFZ is still intact and airborne.
Zimbabwe is not under an international arms embargo as she can still shop
for military hardware from any country, except the European Union (EU). It
is not true that the AFZ technicians have nothing to do but twiddle their
thumbs as reported by The Zimbabwean. In fact they have been busy keeping
all the aircraft in the AFZ inventory airworthy. The sheer numbers of
aircraft the AFZ flew to the Charles Prince Airport for the Air Show in
September bears testimony to that.

The participation of the BAe Hawk-60 (a plane long considered unserviceable
due to lack of spares) at The Air Show proved the unparalleled ingenuity and
innovativeness of the AFZ technicians. The AFZ does not have 'squadrons' but
a single squadron flying the Chinese-made Chengdu F-7 and Guizhou FT-7 jet
trainers - which is Squadron-5 based at Thornhill Air Base.

The AFZ does not fly any British 'Lynx' helicopters, moreover the Cougars
are made not by the British but by - Eurocopter - a Franco-German company.
The AFZ is no longer flying the British made Hawker Hunter Mk-9 as claimed
by The Zimbabwean. The Hunters were retired from service in 1993 after
having given sterling service since1962. The AFZ acquired - not a dozen -
but only six Hondu K-8 'Karakorum' advanced jet trainers from China. The
exact number of AFZ aircraft lost in the DRC has remained a closely guarded
secret, so it's rather speculative for The Zimbabwean to use the term
'several' to quantify an unknown number of aircraft.

Until recently, the AFZ flew predominantly European-made aircraft, therefore
the effects of the EU imposed arms embargo cannot be underestimated. The is
no doubt that the current economic situation has, to a great extent,
adversely affected the day to day operations of the AFZ. However, against
all these odds, the AFZ is still soaring and far from being grounded. In
fact the AFZ has excelled far beyond expectations in fulfilling its mandated
role of defending the county's airspace and sovereignty.


Thank you - we stand corrected. - Ed
Where else but here?
EDITOR - Last week I had $2 million so bought some things at one supermarket
(always scared to run out of cash!) - then counted what was left and went to
the next to buy some more essentials. Then next stop was Square Deal to get
washing powder etc.
When my purchases were tallied I was shocked, not thinking that washing
powder had gone up so much. I was literally counting out the old $100 notes
to make up the total. The man serving me gently and politely pushed my dirty
old notes towards me and said kindly, "Don't worry Mam, let me put in the
last $1000 for you, please."

I said: "You are very kind but I couldn't, there must be some change in my
car." His response: "Please Mam, I can do that for you."

May I ask where else in the world you would get this? Only in our beloved
Zimbabwe. God is watching.

KERRY KAY, Marondera

Sadza - not Senate
EDITOR - A Senate is a waste of time. What we really want is sadza on the
plate and change around ourselves. We as Zimbabweans must not allow our
lives to be determined by Empty Nesters like Mugabe and his crooks.
My major reason for dismissing the Senate is that:

1) This can be a precursor of things to come. Robert thinks he should use
his opponent to measure the mood with the voters, hence the creation of the
Senate with a view that it was going to bring divisions in the Opposition.

2) We were used during the referendum on the New Constitution and never
learned. The referendum was used as a barometer to measure the anger within
voters against Zanu (PF) and we swallowed the bait.

3) If MDC had decided to participate that vote could have been used to
measure the sentiments before the presidential election and I can strongly
advocate that the MDC's non- participation has thrown Mugabe's plans into
the thickest forest. If Tsvangirai had failed to rein in the few who think
they can participate we could have kissed change goodbye.

4) Presidential elections were to be held early whilst the opposition is
divided and Mugabe was going to win and history be rewritten. The big
question is still when can the elections be held? My view is early and MDC
has to galvanise and raise the temperature.

The pro-Senate group has amazed me. What is this they are calling 'SPACE'?

Can they ignore AIPPA and POSA enacted by these so-called Professors who
believe in thin nationalism and self-interest?

Some are now using the fact that there was Gukurahundi in Matabeleland and
therefore there is need to participate. I want to categorically dismiss this
as a ploy of a devil in the making. All Zimbabweans from the four corners of
the country should be sympathising with what happened in Matabeleland and
Midlands and demanding that the criminals be brought to book.

If Ariel Sharon and Bingu Wa Mutarika can leave their own parties then those
who feel the heat can go and form their own parties and call themselves
President and their egos will have been fulfilled.

Mliswa never at Peterhouse
EDITOR - I write in response to the letter that appeared in your newspaper
headed "Mliswa terrorised us" signed GRANNY JONES, Karoi. Peterhouse
comprises of three schools; Peterhouse- a secondary school for boys with
post 'O' level/IGCSE classes for Girls to 'A' level; Peterhouse Girls
school- a secondary school for girls and Springvale House, the Preparatory
school for Peterhouse and Peterhouse Girls.
I write to inform GRANNY JONES that Mr Themba Mliswa has never been a pupil
of any of the schools in our group. Mr Mliswa was never a pupil at

J.B CALDERWOOD, Rector, Marondera
Don't hijack MDC
EDITOR - I would like to thank you for allowing me to air my views through
your newspaper. I hope you continue to broadcast unbiased news until the
liberation of Zimbabwe is achieved.
It remains heartbreaking to know that respectable individuals like Mr Gibson
Sibanda, his spokesman (not MDC spokesman) Mr Paul Themba Nyathi, Professor
Welshman Ncube, Job Sikhala and a number of other pro-senate faction members
have decided to become enemies of the people of Zimbabwe in the same manner
as Mr Robert Mugabe and Jonathan Moyo.

Please continue to publish the truth so that MDC will not die in the same
way that UANC did. People like the above named are greedy and power hungry
people who, like Edgar Tekere and Jonathan Moyo were used by Robert Mugabe
to destroy any looming opposition.

The way they are now closely working with publications like The Herald, The
Chronicle, New and many other CIO-sponsored and villain media
is apparent proof. They are deceitful connivers who will do anything for
political power and money.

There is no point taking part in rigged senate elections. What have Ncube
and company achieved during their time in parliament? Absolutely nothing.
They only allowed Mugabe to claim to be ruling democratically and even pass
more ruthless acts.

Maybe the Tsholotsho declaration managed to work in the MDC since there was
no fear inducing leadership like that of Mugabe.

My prayer is that, men like them don't hijack the MDC, they should rather
join UPM or Zanu (PF), since they only campaign with lies and insults, not
facts. Mugabe has always managed to drastically destroy opposition parties
by infiltrating them with undercover CIO operatives during the initial
stages so that the people would learn to trust them and when the time came
they would eventually disturb and confuse the party.

I am one who is keen to see a Zimbabwe that is united amongst all tribes ,
with no citizen afraid to visit a different part of the country. That is why
as long as Mr Tsvangirai represents that cause I will continue to back him.

JONA, Zimbabwe

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