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Mugabe visits Johannesburg hospital

Zim Online

Fri 20 January 2006

      HARARE - Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe on Thursday visited a
Johannesburg hospital, reigniting queries about his health which has been
the subject of intense speculation in recent years.

      There were conflicting statements why Mugabe visited Garden City
Clinic with some reports last night suggesting the ageing President was at
the hospital for routine medical checks at its neurological department.

      But hospital officials, who said Mugabe visited around 11 in the
morning and for about 20 minutes only, vehemently denied that he was there
for treatment or check-up, saying the Zimbabwean leader was on a personal
visit to see a sick friend admitted at the hospital.

      "He was not seen by a doctor . . . it was purely a personal visit,"
hospital assistant general manager, Linda Gnade told the Press. She added
that Mugabe had in fact never been treated at the hospital before.

      Gnade however declined to reveal the name of the patient Mugabe was
seeing for professional reasons.

      Mugabe, who turns 82 next month, looks physically fit and foreign
diplomats based in Harare who have met him recently testify that his
intellect and grip on facts remains sharp.

      But doubts about his health have remained since he collapsed in
November 2000 at a public function in Malaysia. He has been out of the
public spotlight since the beginning of the year but this was chiefly
because he was on his annual break.

      Mugabe, who is the only ruler Zimbabweans have ever known since
independence from Britain 25 years ago, is accused by the main opposition
Movement for Democratic Change party and Western governments of running down
the country's once vibrant economy through repression and wrong policies
such as his controversial farm seizures.

      He denies the charge insisting Zimbabwe's unprecedented economic
crisis is because of sabotage by Western governments opposed to his seizure
of land from whites for redistribution to landless blacks. - ZimOnline

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Family fights to block pauper burial of Zimbabwe opposition activist

Zim Online

Fri 20 January 2006

      MASVINGO - The family of a man who was murdered by militants of
President Robert Mugabe's ruling ZANU PF party about four years ago has
appealed to the High Court seeking the court to block the government from
burying the man as a pauper.

      Pauper burials, authorised by the government's social welfare
department, are reserved for destitute people who have no known relatives to
bury them.

      "We are dealing with the case which is supposed to be heard in the
High Court. The date has been provisionally set as February 25, 2006," said
Daniel Nyoni, an official of the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights that is
assisting the deceased man's family.

      The body of Petros Jeka, who was murdered during political violence in
the run-up to the  2002 presidential election, has since then lain in the
mortuary at the state-owned Masvingo General Hospital with his relatives
refusing to bury him until his murderers paid compensation for causing his

      The murderers, Wintertone Chirove and Blessing Sonono all known ZANU
PF militants, are already in jail for 18 years each for the murder and
cannot pay the Z$2 million and 40 herd of cattle that their victim's family
wants as compensation.

      The government this month intervened in the matter, directing that
Jeka be interred as a pauper if his relatives won't bury him.

      But the eldest son of the murdered man, Tafirenyika Jeka, vowed that
his family would not be bullied to bury his body without being given the
cattle and money as directed by his late father during his last hours before
he died.

      "We will not bow down to pressure . . . we are saying let the murders
pay compensation before burial. We are just following what my father said
before he died that we should not bury him unless compensation is paid,"
said Tafirenyika.

      The refusal by the Jeka family not to bury his body is drastic action
in a traditional and deeply conservative community where the dead are not
only respected but worshipped.

      Jeka was among hundreds of main opposition Movement for Democratic
Change party supporters murdered by militants of Mugabe's supporters over
the past five years as punishment for backing the opposition party. While in
Jeka's case the murderers were successfully prosecuted, in most of the other
murders the culprits have never been brought to book. - ZimOnline

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Zimbabwe, SA abort Limpopo rescue mission

Zim Online

Fri 20 January 2006

      BEITBRIDGE - Zimbabwean and South African police on Thursday called
off a search for the bodies of 11 Zimbabweans that were said to have drowned
while swimming across the flooded Limpopo river in an attempt to enter South
Africa illegally.

      Zimbabwe police commander at Beitbridge, Andrew Dzaramba, said the
salvage mission that began  earlier this week on Tuesday had to be called
off after the search parties could not pick up any evidence suggesting
anyone had drowned.

      Dzaramba said the police believed that the alleged drownings that some
South African and Zimbabwean newspapers had said had claimed as much as 60
people were a "false alarm".

      "The search for those suspected to have drowned has been called off.
Police teams and sub-aqua units from the two countries have been combing the
area for two days now but the search has not yielded any results and we
believe that this was a false alarm," Dzaramba said.

      "We are not sure now whether any people really drowned here because
there are no witnesses who have come forward to say they saw these people
drown," added the policeman.

      The police would however continue patrolling along the banks of the
Limpopo, according to Dzaramba.

      Zimbabwean and South African police, civil protection units and
soldiers launched a joint search and salvage mission after reports that
Zimbabweans attempting to cross over into South Africa had been swept away
by the river.

      Two South African Police Services helicopters were also involved in
the search operation that covered an area stretching for about 30km along
the Limpopo.

      Every year thousands of desperate Zimbabweans risk life and limb to
cross the crocodile-infested Limpopo in search of a better life in South
Africa where many stay and work illegally.

      South Africa authorities routinely round up illegal immigrants from
Zimbabwe for deportation back home, with over 97 000 Zimbabweans deported
last year alone. - ZimOnline

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Zimbabwe to pay heavily for withdrawing from Test cricket

Zim Online

Fri 20 January 2006

      HARARE - Zimbabwe's decision to give up its Test status might come at
a huge cost after indications that Pakistan wants compensation for the
massive revenue it had expected to realise from the troubled country's
scheduled tour.

      Pakistan were due to host Zimbabwe in a Test series in October while
Zimbabwe were also pencilled in to tour West  Indies earlier in the year in
April for two Tests and five one-day internationals.

      Zimbabwe this week unsurprisingly suspended its participation in Test
cricket until February 2007 following a dispute with players that has left
the country unable to raise a competitive side.

      Almost all of Zimbabwe's top players are among the over 30 cricketers
who have prematurely retired from the game since 2003 due mainly to
differences with administrators running the game.

      Pakistan cricket officials yesterday indicated they were eager to get
compensation over television revenue and other sponsorship after Zimbabwe's

      "I will be talking to ICC officials in Dubai on Saturday about this
latest development which affects us directly," Pakistan cricket board
director Saleem Altaf told Reuters yesterday.

      "We have certain contractual obligations with our television
broadcasters and . . . (they) have sold bundled sponsorship rights for a
four-year period. We want to know from the ICC if there are financial
liabilities on us, who will  fulfill them."

      The West Indies were also expected to have similar concerns. Last
week, Zimbabwe Cricket chairman Peter Chingoka had assured the Caribbean
islanders that Zimbabwe would be able to tour in April.

      However, Chingoka yesterday said he was unaware of the imminent
compensation claims. "I've not seen that, I've not heard from them,"
Chingoka was quoted as saying.

      Meanwhile, the International Cricket Council has welcomed Zimbabwe's
decision to excuse its team from their Test  obligations.

      ICC president Ehsan Mani said that Zimbabwe Cricket had made the right

      "Zimbabwe Cricket has taken a sensible step in withdrawing from its
Test cricket commitments for the coming year," Mani said in a statement

      "The Zimbabwe team has demonstrated in recent series that it is not in
a position to be competitive in Test cricket and  its decision to withdraw
from its commitments over the next 12 months helps protect the integrity of
the international game.

      "During this period we will support Zimbabwe Cricket by encouraging
other members to host and undertake tours that expose Zimbabwe's elite
cricketers to the longer form of the game.

      "We will closely monitor the performance and progress of the team and
towards the end of the year we will work with  Zimbabwe Cricket to determine
the most appropriate course of action." - ZimOnline

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Former ZANU PF official launches own party

Zim Online

Fri 20 January 2006

      HARARE - A former ruling ZANU PF provincial chairman and businessman
Daniel Shumba has launched a new political party in Zimbabwe.

      Shumba, who was suspended from ZANU PF after he attended a meeting
organized to block the ascendancy of Joyce Mujuru to the vice-presidency in
2004, said he was launching his own party called the United People's Party
(UPP) after realising that ZANU PF "was not reformable."

      Shumba told ZimOnline that frustrations at his failure to introduce
any meaningful reforms within ZANU PF had left him convinced that forming
the UPP was the only decent route to follow.

      He was not eager to disclose the names of his fellow leaders in the
new party saying this would be done at a launch press conference in three
weeks time.

      "The UPP is a party of credible people who for a long time have sought
democratic means of bringing hope to Zimbabweans," was all Shumba could say.

      He added: "I and other individuals tried to bring change through the
ZANU PF system and obviously it is impossible for   the structures of ZANU
PF to be reformed because of the policies of patronage in the party.

      "The party ignores its own constitution, the party manipulates its own
electoral processes . . . So we sought an   alternative democratic party
that will restore hope and bring prosperity to Zimbabweans."

      Shumba was axed from the ruling party as chairman of its Masvingo
provincial executive, over allegations that he allegedly sought to block
Mujuru's asendancy to the position of vice president.

      This followed a meeting he had with Jonathan Moyo and five other ZANU
PF provincial chairmen at Dinyane school in  Tsholostho.

      Shumba emphasised that his was a "completely new party" with no links
whatsoever with the United People's Movement (UPM) being formed by former
Information Minister Jonathan Moyo.

      In Zimbabwe's "deliquent political environment" Shumba said the
formation of new political parties should not surprise anyone.

      But he claimed that only those with viable policies like his party
would survive. He did not hold much hope for Moyo's UPM but wished it luck.

      A copy of the party's position paper given to ZimOnline says the UPP
is dedicated to the restoration of the rule of law, scrapping the country's
"repressive media and security laws" as well as stimulating economic growth
by promoting investor-friendly policies.

      Shumba claimed that the government's "purported withdrawal" of
TeleAccess' licence, to operate as Zimbabwe's second fixed
telecommunications firm, was linked to his latest move.

      He said he was proceeding with plans to roll our his network in the
second half of this year.

      Asked whether he was not "hallucinating" by believing that his licence
had not been cancelled and that the government would seemingly allow him to
proceed with his roll out project while running a political party, Shumba
said running a business was not a privilege but a right.

      He said foreign currency problems had stalled progress at TeleAccess
but he would be in a position to roll out telephone lines later this year
after securing agreement from equipment suppliers whom he would pay later.

      The Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe
(POTRAZ) has advertised in the Press the cancellation of Shumba's licence.
But the TeleAccess boss countered that saying the advertisements were

      On why the UPP would succeed where many other political parties have
failed, Shumba said other parties had failed because of "a lack of shared

      He claimed that his party's success lay in the fact that the party is
driven by "the people" and "the people's will". - ZimOnline

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Cholera outbreak stretches health service

[ This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations]

HARARE, 19 Jan 2006 (IRIN) - Zimbabwe's two largest infectious diseases
referral hospitals are being inundated by new cases of cholera, despite
government claims that the situation is under control.

A team of government and municipal health workers visited both the Wilkins
and Beatrice Infectious Disease Hospitals in the capital, Harare, this week
in a bid to ascertain the extent of the outbreak. Patients in three wards at
Beatrice hospital have had to be evacuated to make room for those suffering
from cholera.

"Something has to be done now or we will be swamped by cholera patients in
the next few days," a nurse told IRIN. "We are taking in new suspected
cholera cases every day, despite reports that the situation is under

Government statistics indicated that at least 14 people had succumbed to
cholera in Zimbabwe, three of them in Harare, but health practitioners told
IRIN this week that more than this number had died of the disease.

The government said 180 cases of cholera, a severe intestinal infection
caused by ingesting contaminated food or water, had been reported by health
institutions, a figure disputed by independent analysts and commentators.

Health officials at the two referral institutions said they had been told
not to divulge any details regarding admissions and deaths related to
cholera. "It was an instruction from the ministry that no hospital authority
should release any information on cholera," said an official at Wilkins

Precious Shumba, a spokesperson for the Combined Harare Residents'
Association (CHRA), said according to information they had compiled, 40
people had succumbed to cholera since the outbreak began three weeks ago.

"According to our information, the cholera-related deaths are pegged at 40 -
the authorities are just under-reporting the seriousness of the outbreak
because they are partly to blame for the outbreak," Shumba alleged.

He called for the dissolution of the Harare Commission, led by Sekesai
Makwavarara, which was appointed by government to run Harare after sacking
the popularly elected mayor, Elias Mudzuri, in early 2004.

"Cholera will continue to claim more lives in Harare because people are
exposed to unsafe drinking water, raw sewage, and live with garbage which
has not been collected for months on end," Shumba told IRIN.

The president of the Zimbabwe Medical Association (Zima), Dr Billy Rigava,
said cholera could not be controlled as long as there were mountains of
uncollected garbage in Harare and raw sewage continued to flow in
residential areas.

"It's not possible to eradicate cholera when people are still drinking
contaminated water and flies are hovering around their food daily because of
uncollected rubbish," said Rigava.

He noted that the outbreak was a clear indication of the collapse of the
country's public services, and urged the commission to provide clean running
water and collect refuse.

The Harare City Council has been battling to collect garbage and provide
clean running water, and some Harare residents have resorted to digging
wells or fetching water from unprotected and polluted streams, exposing
themselves to waterborne diseases.

Council officials have blamed shortages of fuel and foreign currency, and
outdated equipment for the current situation. At present the city has 14
refuse collection trucks in operation instead of the required 90.

According to Harare town clerk Nomutsa Chideya, "The problem is fuel - we
used to receive 30,000 litres of diesel a week but now we are only getting
10,000 litres a week to service the entire capital."

A recent council report said water being delivered to Harare homes did not
meet the specifications of the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the
Standards Association of Zimbabwe. However, Munacho Mutezo, the Minister for
Water and Infrastructure Development, maintained that the water quality was
of acceptable standard and water cuts were less frequent.

"Things are changing for the better, because residents who used to go for
weeks without water are now accessing water within two days," he commented
to IRIN. "Water released from the treatment works consistently meets WHO

Deputy Minister of Health Edwin Muguti told IRIN that his ministry was
distributing chlorine tablets to contain the disease outbreak. "Cholera is
now under control because we are not receiving any new cases," he said.

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Report says Zim detainees denied food, medicine

Mail and Guardian

      Harare, Zimbabwe

      19 January 2006 05:42

            Ten HIV-infected demonstrators and a tuberculosis sufferer were
refused food and medicine while in police cells, human rights groups said on
Thursday in a report that accuses Zimbabwe of failing to meet minimum
standards for the treatment of prisoners.

            The detainees were among 50 trade unionists and civic leaders
arrested in Harare on November 8 for participating in a banned demonstration
against soaring prices and food shortages, the Human Rights Forum said in
its year-end report. Also detained were a mother and her six-month-old baby.

            All were denied food or medicine during three days in custody,
which exceeded the 48-hour maximum allowed under Zimbabwe law before
detainees must be brought to court or released, the report said.

            The forum, an alliance of rights groups, said the case
highlighted appalling conditions in police holding cells. It said police
were in "clear violation of rights to freedom of expression, association and
movement" and also accused them of violating the United Nations standard
minimum rules for the treatment of

            Police did not immediately respond to the report.

            President Robert Mugabe's government has sought to crack down on
its critics in recent years and protests are routinely banned. The forum
recorded 522 reported cases of assault, 135 of torture, 651 of unlawful
arrest and 621 of unlawful detention between January and November 2005.

            The demonstrators arrested on November 8 were charged under
public order and security laws but released without appearing in court.

            Doctors who examined the prisoners on their release reported "a
plethora of ailments, including headaches, bloodstained and watery diarrhea,
dysentery, itchy skin, facial rash, sore throat, coughing and stomach
pains", the report said.

            Six women and four men belonging to a support group known as
People Living With HIV/Aids were taking life-prolonging anti-retroviral
medicines at the time of their arrest, it said.

            Interruption of treatment can build resistance to the medicines.

            The forum urged authorities to improve detention conditions or
shut down uninhabitable cells. - Sapa-AP

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Commission threatens one of the last independent newspapers with closure

Reporters without borders

Reporters Without Borders voiced dismay today at learning that Tafataona
Mahoso, the head of the Media and Information Commission (MIC), recently
threatened the weekly Financial Gazette (FinGaz), one of Zimbabwe's last
independent news media, with withdrawal of its licence.

The threat was made after FinGaz refused to publish a note retracting a 1
December article questioning the independence of the MIC, which was set up
to monitor and regulate the Zimbabwean media and which has proved to be
under the control of the government and the intelligence agencies.

"The MIC has closed down four newspapers in three years, and clearly takes
its order from the most senior members of the government," Reporters Without
Borders said. "Reduced to functioning as branch of the police, the MIC
continues to impose the law of silence, especially when a newspaper dares to
criticise it. As the African Union has apparently decided to try to loosen
the vice-like grip on Zimbabwe's press, it should not let one of the last
independent publications be shut by Robert Mugabe's and Mahoso's thought

FinGaz editor Sunsleey Chamunorwa and his deputy, Hama Saburi, were ordered
to report to MIC headquarters during the week of 9-13 January. The MIC is
currently carrying out its annual reexamination of newspaper licences and
journalists' accreditation, and Mahoso threatened to withdraw FinGaz's

On 8 December, the MIC had ordered FinGaz to retract a report published the
previous week that the MIC originally agreed to grant a licence to the owner
of the now closed Daily News and then changed its mind under pressure from
the Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO). In its letter to FinGaz, the
MIC said it would choose the journalist who wrote the retraction. The
newspaper refused to comply, and there was no mention of the incident in the
following issues, published on 15 December and 5 January.

These threats have come at time when information minister Tichaona Jokonya
has announced that Zimbabwe's draconian press laws are to be amended. The
decision was taken after the African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights
(ACHPR), an African Union offshoot, issued a resolution on 5 December
accusing Zimbabwe's legislation of violating basic rights and civil

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Dispute over ownership of Daily News printing press and outstanding financial packages

Sent: Friday, January 20, 2006 1:31 AM
Subject: BTH: Daily News workers bitter over 'their' idle printing press



Former Daily News Journalist and founder member of the Association Of Zimbabwe Journalists in the UK, Sandra Nyaira, has criticized her former employer for neglecting the welfare of its journalists. She said besides the issue of their pensions and other packages not being resolved, the ownership of the printing press, which she says was donated by a South African company to the workers, needs to be clarified. In the same programme the Chairman of the ANZ Professor Norman Nyazema disputes Nyaira’s claims and says the company is a business run by shareholders who have put their own money into it. He talks about the dispute over the financial packages for the journalists following the papers closure and how they have done their best under difficult conditions to look after the journalists and fight for a licence in the courts at the same time.

Lance Guma
SW Radio Africa
Behind The Headlines
Thursday 5:15 to 5:30pm (GMT) live on the internet at
Friday     5:15 to 5:30am on Medium Wave broadcasts 1197khz
Also available on internet archives after broadcasts at
SW Radio Africa is Zimbabwe's only independent radio station broadcasting from the United Kingdom. The station is staffed by exiled Zimbabwean journalists who because of harsh media laws cannot broadcast from home.
Full broadcast on Medium Wave -1197KHZ between 5-7am (Zimbabwean time) and 24 hours on the internet at


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Cricket: As Zimbabwe quits tests, returning will prove difficult

      Huw Richards International Herald Tribune

      THURSDAY, JANUARY 19, 2006

      For the second time in two years Zimbabwe has withdrawn from five-day
test cricket, and this time there must be real doubts about its ability to

      As in 2004, it has pulled out to avert the risk of action against it
by the game's ruling body, the International Cricket Council. The ICC is
fearful of the damage Zimbabwe's weakness is doing to the integrity of the
test game.

      The body's president, Ehsan Mani, and chief executive, Malcolm Speed,
met with Zimbabwean officials last week. Last month the body warned that,
having threatened to suspend Zimbabwe in 2004, it was prepared to consider
similar measures again.

      In 2004, though, Zimbabwe withdrew to avoid certain humiliation in a
scheduled series against Australia, which has humbled many stronger terms
over the past decade. It dropped out in the knowledge that it could return
with matches against Bangladesh, the other team that consistently loses in
test cricket.

      This time it is avoiding a trip to the West Indies, which ranks eighth
out of the 10 test-playing nations, just one place above Zimbabwe. If it
does not dare play West Indies, it is hard to see whom it can hope to play.
Its scheduled return, in February 2007, is against Sri Lanka - the team it
played just before the 2004 withdrawal in a series that was a
record-breaking massacre.

      The year since Zimbabwe's return has been one of unmitigated misery.
It began as victim of Bangladesh's first-ever victory and lost seven of its
eight matches - a two-day defeat by South Africa at Centurion, where it was
bowled out for 54 on the first morning and saw its opponent score 340 runs
for three wickets before the close of play in the first day - perhaps the
most uneven contest in 129 years of test cricket.

      Relations between the Zimbabwean authorities and players collapsed. At
the end of the year almost every significant player in Zimbabwe was in
dispute with the Zimbabwe Cricket Union. Most damaging was the decision of
the captain, Tatenda Taibu, to give up test cricket last November. Taibu has
been Zimbabwe's great single saving grace in recent years. He is still only
22 but, as captain, he was a role model for the majority African community
as a leader who carried the weight of hopelessly outmatched teams and by far
his nation's best player, a wicket-keeper batsman who has performed superbly
in adversity.

      He should - if the selectors had had any imagination - have been
honored with a place in the Rest of the World team that played world
champion Australia in the pioneering "Super Test" last year. If Taibu, who
said there had been politically inspired threats against him and his family,
despaired, then all hope seemed gone. It is "another step toward extinction"
in the words of the Cricinfo Web site that has chronicled Zimbabwe's
travails assiduously.

      The parallel disintegration of cricket administration in Zimbabwe was
reflected this month when the government replaced the ZCU with an interim
committee led by Peter Chingoka. Such interventions are not unknown in
cricket. Governments have at different times abolished ruling bodies in Sri
Lanka and Pakistan, and had the successor committees accepted by the
international cricket community.

      In Zimbabwe, though, it is the government that is the problem. The
player strikes that have destroyed Zimbabwe's team in the past two years
have been in protest against political interference. Cricket has become a
focus for international protests against Robert Mugabe's ZANU-PF government
in part because Mugabe has for years been patron of the ZCU. Taking away
what vestigial autonomy that body had ended up making a bad situation worse.
Mani has warned, "No one should regard the appointment of this committee as
a solution to the issues facing Zimbabwe cricket."

      Withdrawal buys Zimbabwean cricket time, but it is hard, under current
conditions, to see what solution there might be.

      The campaigners who contributed to the downfall of apartheid in South
Africa by progressively isolating it from world sport - it played no test
cricket from 1970 to 1992 - argued that normal sport was impossible in an
abnormal society. It can reasonably be argued that Zimbabwe's starvation,
economic collapse and state-sponsored violence remain all too normal in many
parts of the world, but they create a context in which international sport
becomes not merely morally questionable but pretty much impossible.

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Zimbabwe unaware of costs over test suspension


January 19, 2006, 15:30

Zimbabwe is unaware of any compensation claims that could be lodged in the
wake of the African nation's decision to suspend its test status. Zimbabwe
Cricket's (ZC) interim board decided yesterday to pull its struggling
national team out of test cricket until the scheduled tour to Sri Lanka in
February 2007.

Zimbabwe has lost seven of their last 10 tests by an innings as well as 26
of their last 28 one-day internationals. Reports from Pakistan, who were due
to host Zimbabwe in a test series in October this year, suggested the
Pakistan Cricket Board may seek compensation for the losses it will incur.

"I've not seen that, I've not heard from them," Peter Chingoka, the
chairperson of the interim committee, said from Harare today. Chingoka also
said he did not have feedback from the West Indies Cricket Board about
Zimbabwe's tour there in April being reduced to five one-day internationals.
"We work through the International Cricket Council (ICC), and I don't
normally speak on behalf of other boards," Chingoka said. "We will make
those announcements when we are ready."

Second suspension
It is the second time the country's test status has been suspended after the
ICC decided in June 2004 that Zimbabwe should not play any more tests until
the following year. That suspension followed a dispute between the Zimbabwe
Cricket Union and 15 rebel white players who quit the national team after
Heath Streak, the former captain, was sacked.

Chingoka, however, defended yesterday's decision to unilaterally suspend
Zimbabwe's test status. "We took that decision unanimously as an interim
board," he said. "We've worked out that when all is taken into consideration
that is the best thing for us to do, and we will come out of it stronger." -

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MISA: Battered journalists sell abroad or take backhanders

African News Dimension

      Thursday, 19 January 2006, 8 hours, 7 minutes and 40 seconds ago.

      By wilf mbanga

      HARARE - Increasingly repressive laws denying press freedom have
resulted in low morale among Zimbabwean journalists and the immediate future
looks bleak with scant chance of banned newspapers being allowed to publish
again, the Media Institute of Southern Africa-Zimbabwe said in its report
for 2005.

      "This has affected morale and the quality of stories with most
journalists preferring to sell their investigative pieces to foreign media
houses, or receiving 'consultancy or settlement fees' to protect certain
corrupt businesspersons from negative publicity," MISA-Zimbabwe added.

      The report did not elaborate on the number or identities of
journalists who it alleged take backhanders to suppress news. But it noted
that restrictive laws - under the latest legislation reporters now risk 20
years in jail for displeasing the regime, combined with the blatantly
partisan Media and Information Commission, poor salaries and inadequate
investment in training have worsened the plight of Zimbabwean journalists.

      ". The measures being put in place can only be indicative of worse
times ahead for media freedom and freedom of expression," said the report.
"That coupled with the state-controlled Zimbabwe Broadcasting Holdings (ZBH)
monopoly of the airwaves, adds to the skewed and fast shrinking media

      MISA-Zimbabwe noted that one result of all this is that Zimbabweans
who can tune into outside radio stations manned by exiled journalists, such
as SW Radio Africa, beaming from London, Voice of the People and Voice of
America. Online editions, including The Zimbabwean, NewZimbabwe.Com,
ZimOnline and ZimNews also seek to fill the void created by the shutting
down of privately owned publications.

      "Government's dillydallying on opening the airwaves has resulted in
many Zimbabweans wasting millions in foreign currency to connect to foreign
media outlets," MISA-Zimbabwe said.

      Deputy Information Minister Bright Matonga has acknowledged that the
broadcasting laws are restrictive, but has done nothing about it. In
addition, scores of experienced journalists and broadcasters who were laid
off in the crackdown on free speech from 2000 onward have still received no
retrenchment packages.

      Most live from hand to mouth, and some - including prominent
journalists - have left the country, mainly for South Africa, Britain or the
United States.

      "This has seen the country's sole public broadcaster being manned by
inexperienced personnel as evidenced by the poor quality of news and
programme content," said MISA-Zimbabwe. Often those still working for the
state broadcaster get paid late.

      "That alone speaks volumes on the trials and tribulations of working
for both the private and government-controlled media in Zimbabwe," the
report added. "Security of tenure is never guaranteed as one can wake up one
morning behind bars, let alone without a job, as independent newspapers are
always at risk of closure."

      MISA-Zimbabwe, along with journalists' associations in the country,
the Media Monitoring Project of Zimbabwe and National Editors Forum is
pressing for the establishment of a voluntary self-regulatory media council
as a parallel structure to the regime's Media Information Commission.

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Zimbabwe Forex Homelink scam exposed

African News Dimension

      Thursday, 19 January 2006, 8 hours, 16 minutes and 44 seconds ago.

      By wilf mbanga

      LONDON - Several Zimbabweans in the diaspora who responded to the
Reserve Bank's Home Link project to build houses back home feel they have
been cheated. They accuse the Zimbabwean businessman Masimba Msipa, the son
of the Midlands governor and resident minister Cephas Msipa, of failing to
deliver after taking their hard-earned foreign currency.

      Under the scheme, Zimbabweans in exile can send money home through the
Reserve Bank, which then releases the local equivalent to one of a number of
participating local businessmen for the construction of homes.

      According to Tendai Mauchaza, who has been sending money home under
the terms of the scheme for nine months, the plans for the Spanish villa
that was supposed to have been built for him were changed without his
knowledge or permission.  The house has not been finished. Construction
sub-standard, and neither the keys nor the title-deeds have been handed over
as promised by Msipa.

      "We were promised that the houses would be finished within six months,
that the keys and the title deeds would be handed over within that period.
Nothing of the sort has happened.  I also understand from a relative who has
been to inspect the property that the bricks used to build the house were
sub-standard, home-made bricks, which have crumbled in the rain," Mauchaza
told The Zimbabwean this week.

       He said Msipa had sub-divided his Charlottesbrooke farm near
Domboshawa into quarter-acre plots on which he had been building the houses
under the Home Link scheme.

      "We were told that the houses would be in Borrowdale Brooke - but now
I have found out that the place is actually 26km beyond Borrowdale and is,
in fact, nowhere near Borrowdale Brooke," said Mauchaza. According to him,
Msipa sold the Spanish-style villas, on quarter-acre plots, for the sum of
£23 000 each (about Z$3.4 billion) - payable over five years at £388 per
month. Buyers were promised they could take possession after six months and
continue paying off the balance.

      Another London-based Zimbabwean, who did not want to be identified,
said he had walked away from the scheme - and his money - after paying for
seven months.  He said construction of the house had not even begun.  "Every
time I phone Msipa, he switches off his mobile phone," he said.

      When The Zimbabwean repeatedly tried to contact Msipa on a mobile
phone number in Zimbabwe, the network provider's automated service informed
us that the phone was switched off and we should please try later.

      The Home Link brochure gives several mobile and landline telephone
numbers in the UK.  One of the mobile numbers is answered by a woman who
says she has nothing to do with Home Link and does not know how her number
ended up on their website. The landline numbers go unanswered.

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Police storm Mbare

Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe

The Daily Mirror Reporter
issue date :2006-Jan-19

IN a campaign code-named Operation Mutsvairo (Sweep-up), police in Harare
yesterday swooped on Matererini and Shawasha Flats, Mbare, and recovered
$3,5 billion worth of suspected stolen property.
Fifty people were also arrested in the early morning raid that took place at
around 3am.
Uniformed police and the members of the Criminal Investigations Department
(CID) descended on the flats following a tip-off from the public that stolen
property was being harboured there.
When The Daily Mirror crew arrived at Mbare Police Station, policemen were
loading the assorted loot into a truck headed for Harare Central Police
Another group of policemen was interrogating the suspects.
Harare police spokesperson Inspector Loveless Rupere said Operation
Mutsvairo would be extended to other residential areas notorious for
suspected criminal activities.
"We carried out Operation Mutsvairo in Mbare acting on information we got
from the public," Rupere said. "The operation came on the backdrop of an
increase in the numbers of robbery and housebreaking cases.
"The exercise involved different sections of the police such as CID, duty
uniform, support unit, Police Reaction Group (PRG) and the dog section. We
carried out searches in Matererini and Shawasha Flats and recovered a number
of items all worth $3,5 billion.
"We suspect the goods were stolen and the owners failed to account for them.
We will continue with the exercise in all other  areas we suspect criminal
activities to be taking place."
Among the recovered items were nine colour televisions, three car radios,
eight Hi-fis, two electric motors, seven video cassette recorders (VCRs),
three digital video decoders (DVDs), 15 loose Hi-fi speakers, a sewing
machine, a satellite dish and decoder, two mountain bicycles, 16 plastic
garden chairs, a compressor, car accessories, a fax machine, a car
windscreen, gear box and engine, 25x50 kg bags of wheat and 4x50kg bags of
Rupere advised the public who had recently lost their property to come
forward and identify them.
He urged people to desist from buying cheap but stolen products, as they
would be aiding criminal activities.
Last year, the government embarked on Operation Murambatsvina/Restore Order
to rid the cities countrywide of slums and criminal activities.
The clean-up exercise, which gave a facelift to the Central Business
District and high-density areas in the capital, was followed by Operation
Garikai/Hlalani Khule to afford decent accommodation to those affected by
Murambatsvina/Restore Order.
However, two United Nations (UN) envoys from secretary general Kofi Annan's
office who visited the country filed adverse reports about the operations.
This immediately quoted the ire of the government who in turn responded by
not recognising the contents of the reports saying they were biased.
The UN wanted to assist Zimbabwe with temporary shelter for the affected,
but the government insisted on permanent structures with secretary for
information and publicity George Charamba saying Zimbabweans were not
temporary citizens.
The local government ministry is currently on a national reconstructions
exercise to built permanent houses and market stalls for people affected the
clean up.

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IDC demands US$6m from Romania

Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe

Golden Sibanda
issue date :2006-Jan-19

THE Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) wants the Romanian government
to compensate it to the tune of over US$6 million for a failed joint venture
glass manufacturing project with the latter's former state-owned enterprise,
Initially, IDC demanded compensation from Romsit itself but all efforts were
in vain as the company, that has since been privatised, refused
responsibility to pay saying when the project failed Romsit was still
state-owned and so the Romanian government had to meet the obligations. That
Romsit had to compensate IDC for the failed glass-manufacturing project at
Kadoma National Glass Company followed a ruling by Paris-based court, the
International Court for the Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) in
ICSID had originally determined that Romsit should pay IDC US$4,2 million
with an annual interest rate of 8.5 percent for each year that passed
without the award being complied with. That, the court reasoned, being
Romsit's compensation to the IDC for being the guilty party in the failure
of the project.
Obligations to the IDC now stand at over US$6 million for the six years that
the award has not been executed. IDC general manager Mike Ndudzo expressed
hope that after years of failing to secure compensation for the failed
project, the Romanian government would comply with the International Court's
determination, as it is not contestable.
He said earlier utterances by the Romanian government's ambassador to
Zimbabwe, Luminita Florescu, that the Romanian government had no obligation
to meet the award but Romsit were "not relevant". "We are working to secure
the compensation from the Romanian government through the International
Court for the Settlement of Investment Disputes.
"The determination is not appealable (sic), after all, the company lost the
case before its own courts in Romania when it tried to contest the
international court's determination," said Ndudzo. IDC blames the failure of
the glass project on Romsit, which was the technical partner, for bringing
into the country equipment for use at the Kadoma-based company that was
faulty and which caused complications that led to the collapse of the
company. IDC has since approached government for authority to compel the
Romanian government to pay up since it (Romanian government) owned Romsit at
the time the complications arose.
"We are now dealing with the government of Romania (and not Romsit) and so
we need permission from our government. Its not like there are any
objections from government but that is just protocol we have to observe in
consideration of bilateral agreements that exist between the two countries,"
said Ndudzo.
That should also be standard procedure considering IDC itself is also 100
percent owned by the government of Zimbabwe. The Kadoma National Glass
Company has since been put under the care of IDC's Gweru-based subsidiary,
Zimglass, which is at the moment undertaking an appraisal to establish what
product or market should be pursued and at what investment cost, all in the
name of resuscitating operations at the collapsed company.

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Most traffic lights not functioning

Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe

The Daily Mirror Reporter
issue date :2006-Jan-19

OWING to an increase in vandalism and persistent power cuts, traffic lights
in and around Harare have not been functioning for the past week causing
serious traffic jams.
This has prompted the police to station its members during peak hours to
direct traffic at various intersections to avoid accidents.
A survey by The Daily Mirror yesterday showed that traffic lights at the
intersection of Samora Machel Avenue and Julius Nyerere Way were not
functioning as well as at Julius Nyerere Way and Jason Moyo Avenue, Leopold
Takawira Street and Herbert Chitepo Avenue, Enterprise Road and Glenara Road
among other intersections around the city.
City spokesperson, Madenyika Magwenjere attributed the problem to vandalism,
power cuts and shortage of spare parts.
"Most of the heads of traffic lights have been stolen. As you know the heads
of our traffic lights are made of aluminium and have ready markets with
scrap metal dealers. We have embarked on a programme to replace the
aluminium heads with polycarbonates (plastic material) that is of no
commercial value but we are being hampered by lack of resources," Magwenjere
He added: "There have also been numerous power cuts and that problem is
beyond our control while in some instances we are encountering problems in
securing parts for those that would have broken down."
A motorist, Simbarashe Chivaura, said the incessant rains had also played
their part in worsening the situation on the roads.
"Most of these traffic lights are frequently going down or are not working
at all. The situation is now dangerous on the roads in light of the rains.
The city council should do something about it," he said.
A commuter omnibus driver, Lovemore Kapunzeni, said driving had become
dangerous during the morning and evening rush hours because the propensity
of one getting into an accident was now high.
He said impatient motorists were prone to bulldoze their way through.
A pedestrian, Wadzanai Dimingo, said schoolchildren now stood at risk of
getting run over.
"Most schoolchildren are taught to cross roads at these junctions and it has
become difficult for them if the lights are not working. Something should be
done as a matter of urgency," she said.
 "There is total chaos on the roads especially during peak hours. Most
motorists have had their cars damaged at some of these intersections where
the traffic lights are not working. Besides, most of these roads are in a
poor state and we are just lucky that no major accidents have happened," he
At the beginning of last year, the city was losing close to $200 million
monthly through vandalism. At one stage, the city engaged Auto Parts
Zimbabwe to refurbish roads and the lights after realising their dilapidated
state.Magwenjere said they were engaging the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe to
secure foreign currency needed to purchase various equipment  in short

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Desperate to escape

From The Daily Telegraph (UK), 18 January

How desperate does a person have to be to try and wade across one of
Africa's major rivers in flood which is teeming with crocodiles? Very
desperate. A local newspaper, The Daily Mirror, run by Zimbabwe's Central
Intelligence Organisation, reported on Wednesday that 11 Zimbabweans drowned
on Monday trying to cross the Limpopo River which runs along part of the
border between Zimbabwe and South Africa and eventually flows into the
Indian Ocean off Mozambique. For most of the year the Limpopo is dry, and
thousands of Zimbabweans walk across the border every week using a
sophisticated network of bribed border guards from both countries, and
guides who know how to get through, or around the South African fence and
army patrols. This summer, heavy rains have turned the river into a flood
plain and the police at the Beit Bridge border post have reported efforts to
recover up to a dozen bodies from the Zimbabwe side of the river. Madzudzo
Pawadyira, dirctor of the Civil Protection Unit, reportedly told The Daily
Mirror that the young border jumpers had joined hands for the crossing but
had been unable to cope with the current. No one knows how many Zimbabweans
have border jumped into South Africa looking for work and a better life
since the political and economic crisis began six years ago, but it is at
least 1.5 million. South Africa grabs tens of thousands of them each year
and repatriates them, but within hours of being dumped back in Zimbabwe many
are trudging south, back across the sandy beaches of the Limpopo.

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