The ZIMBABWE Situation
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5 000 Zimbabwe teachers vote with their feet

Zim Online

Tue 24 January 2006

  BULAWAYO - At least 5 000 Zimbabwean teachers deserted the country in the
past 12 months because of worsening economic hardships, according to the
Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ).

The PTUZ, one of two unions representing Zimbabwe's about 112 000 teachers,
said preliminary findings of a survey it is carrying out, showed that the
majority of the country's teachers had left for better paying jobs in
countries such as Swaziland, Lesotho, South Africa and New Zealand.

"The majority of teachers left for Swaziland and Lesotho because the two
countries were advertising for mathematics and science teachers in local
(Zimbabwean) newspapers . . . (while) some of the teachers moved to South
Africa and New Zealand," PTUZ secretary general Raymond Majongwe told

Majongwe said there was also a smaller number of teachers who quit but chose
to remain in the country working in other sectors of the economy where
salaries and working conditions are comparatively better.

He said: "Teachers in this country are poorly paid and despite the 231
percent salary increment awarded by government this year, teacher's salaries
remain the lowest and teachers have no option but to leave the profession
and so far about 5 000 of them have left."

Education Minister Aeneas Chigwedere, who is in Egypt for the African Cup of
Nations soccer tournament, could not be reached there by telephone for
comment on the matter.

But the Harare administration has in the past said it was planning to widen
its bonding system to include other professionals such as teachers, lawyers
or engineers trained at state institutions in order to stem a massive brain
drain that has seen the country losing some of its best skilled manpower to
neighbours and countries further abroad.

Zimbabwe already bonds nurses and doctors although it has continued to lose
health staff to other countries where conditions and salaries are better.
The exodus of skilled staff has been massive in other sectors such as
education where trainees are not bonded on completing their courses.
Many of Zimbabwe's university-trained lawyers, engineers or accountants have
ended up taking menial jobs such as waiters and waitresses in restaurants in
London and other Western cities after fleeing home because of hunger, poor
pay and in some cases political violence.

Zimbabwe is in the grip of a severe economic crisis that critics blame on
repression and wrong policies by President Robert Mugabe. The crisis has
manifested itself through shortages of food, fuel, electricity, essential
medical drugs and other basic commodities while inflation stands at 585.8

Mugabe denies mismanaging Zimbabwe and instead claims the country's problems
are because of sabotage by Western countries out to fix his government for
seizing land from whites and redistributing it to landless blacks. -

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Zimbabwe bank governor's options get thinner and thinner

Zim Online

Tue 24 January 2006

      HARARE - Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe governor Gideon Gono today presents
the much-awaited 2005 fourth quarter monetary policy review amid indications
that his options are narrowing and that the economy is heading deeper into
muddy waters.

      The review comes at a time Zimbabwe's six-year economic crisis appears
to be escalating and when the country's circle of friends is thinning.

      There are increasing signs that even fellow African countries that
have sided by Zimbabwe throughout the six years since its political and
economic crisis started in 2000 may now be beginning to distance themselves
from President Robert Mugabe's government.

      Political analysts say an unusually tough report by the African
Commission on Human and People's Rights that was released earlier this month
condemning human rights abuses by the Harare government may be proof that
the continent was finally waking up to the excesses of Mugabe and his ruling
ZANU PF party.

      The increasing isolation of Zimbabwe by the international community
poses serious challenges for Gono as he presents his review statement this
afternoon, according to analysts.

      "One thing that Gono will try to take into account during his
presentation is that even those we used to take as our friends are getting
fed up with our situation and that this has ramifications on our ability to
survive as an economy," said an economist with a Harare commercial bank.

      The economist, whose name and the name of his bank cannot be revealed
for professional reasons, said the central bank chief has his work cut out
today as he reviews the performance of the economy and comes up with a new
economic package to appease a restive nation eager to know what strategies
he has to ease their plight.

      Chief among the many pressing issues Gono is expected to tackle are,
rising inflation, a weakening local currency, and boosting the productive
capacity of industry.

      Zimbabwe's annual inflation ended 2005 pegged at more than 585

      At his appointment two years ago, Gono identified tackling inflation
as his number one priority, declaring that "failure was not an option" in
his mission to tame the key rate.

      Gono anticipated that by this time, inflation would have been brought
to single digit levels, the Zimbabwe dollar would have gained lost glamour
to trade at single and market prescribed rate against the world's major

      These self-set targets have not been achieved.

      Instead, the RBZ chief has consistently found scapegoats in almost all
his presentations at business and political platforms.

      First, it was the financial sector that he so ravaged to the extent
that more than seven financial institutions were shut down in one year and
about five bank executives had to leave the country unceremoniously. He said
then that bankers were engaging in financial prostitution.

      Then it was the platinum producers who were subsequently ordered to
close offshore bank accounts and open local accounts from which he could
access the currency at will.

      Some reports have suggested that Gono accessed millions of hard
currency from these accounts to pay the International Monetary Fund which
was threatening to expel Zimbabwe from the Fund last year.

      In the third quarter policy statement, Gono shifted blame to farmers
whom he said were not utilising land. He also blamed farm invasions for
retarding economic growth.

      "He is not likely to depart from the policy of scapegoatting that
characterises most official presentations," said James Jowa, an economist
with a local financial institution.

      "He will find some sector to attack most likely exporters although the
problem is not of their own making," said Jowa, adding that exporters have
failed to generate more hard cash receipts because like every sector of the
economy they were operating in an environment that is not conducive for

      Jowa expected Gono to come up with sectoral measures to try and
address the monetary rot but ruled out any new and robust measures by the
governor to tackle the underlying causes of Zimbabwe's economic problems.

      "He could come up with more sectoral measures but it is difficult to
find anything new," he said.

      Jowa added that Gono's liberalisation of the foreign exchange market
had allowed some stability in the rate of exchange but predicted more
problems for the local dollar which he said was shedding off value every

      "There has been some stability in the exchange rate due to the
liberalisation but the gap between interbank rate and parallel rates has
widened again," he said.

      Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce president Luxon Zembe concurred
saying Gono was likely to focus his policy statement on exchange rate

      "I see him reinforcing the liberalisation of the exchange market so
that exporters' viability can be enhanced," said Zembe.

      The Zimbabwe dollar is currently trading at about $120 000 per United
States unit on the parallel market compared to the interbank rate of about
$96 000 per unit.

      A British pound sterling unit is fetching about $160 000 compared to
about $147 000 on the interbank rate.

      "I expect him to narrow the gap between the parallel market rate and
the interbank rate," Zembe added.

      But Jowa said wiping off the foreign currency black market completely
would remain a mirage until Zimbabwe is able to get vital support from the
international community to help stabilise the local currency.

      "We need to address the supply side of the economy and solicit for
support from outside to ensure consistent availability of foreign currency,"
Jowa said.

      Gono is not likely to dole out funds to parastatals like in the past
as he is reported to have told President Robert Mugabe that parastatals were
Zimbabwe's Achilles heel.

      He is also not likely to dish out money to the agricultural sector
like he did in the past two years after he revealed that most farmers had
not put the money to its intended purpose, the analysts said.

      Zimbabwe is grappling a severe economic crisis described by the World
Bank as unseen in a country not at war. - ZimOnline

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UNICEF: End the Abuse in Zimbabwe

UNICEF "greatly disturbed" about increasing numbers of reported child sexual
abuse cases. Urges communities to be more vigilant and break the culture of

HARARE 23 January 2006 - In the wake of a worsening orphan crisis and
accusations this week against a headmaster who allegedly raped six primary
school pupils, the United Nations Children's Fund today repeated its call
for communities to speak out against all forms of child abuse.

UNICEF said it was horrified at the continued sexual abuse of children, most
of them primary school pupils, and by those in trusted positions. Anecdotal
evidence from local NGOs and clinics around Harare show child sexual abuse
is rampant. Last year alone, a local NGO recorded 4146 cases of sexual abuse
against children in its area of operation alone.

"This is an utterly intolerable violation of children's rights," said UNICEF's
Representative in Zimbabwe, Dr Festo Kavishe. "At a time when Zimbabweans
are making phenomenal efforts to absorb more than one million orphans, there
appears a small number who prey on the most vulnerable of children. It seems
that every day there are fresh reports in the local media about children
being abused, sometimes at their schools, other times by family members, but
mostly by figures of authority, trusted figures. Community leaders need to
be explicit in their condemnation of such abuse."

Despite growing public concern against child sexual abuse, together with a
child friendly judiciary system in Zimbabwe, reported cases continue to
rise.  Recently, school staff members were charged with abusing 52 girls
from one boarding primary school near Marondera (just outside the capital),
while in Harare 14 primary school girls were also allegedly abused by staff

UNICEF, in partnership with Government ministries and several NGOs supports
a national campaign on 'Zero Tolerance Against Child Abuse'. "Zero tolerance
means ending all forms of abuse against children," said Dr Kavishe. "It
means stamping out every horrible facet of child abuse and exploitation."

As part of the campaign, UNICEF supports the training of trainers' workshops
and community-based education. Participants include government officials,
NGOs, journalists, police and teachers.  The children's agency says it is
currently stepping up its work with communities, seeking to further educate
them to spot the signs of child abuse and to tenaciously protect their
children by establishing and supporting functional child protection
committees, where children themselves are represented.

"Community leaders, teachers, mums and dads - these people are the front
line in the fight against child abuse," said UNICEF's head of child
protection, Jose Bergua. "If perpetrators are going to be stopped, if
children are going to have the confidence to speak out against these evils,
then authority figures need to make it patently clear that child abuse in
their communities will not be stomached. Silence on this issue shelters the
perpetrators and is a crime against children."

UNICEF says it remains necessary in Zimbabwe to create a culture of
prevention of child abuse, to mobilise public opinion and action, to
continue to disseminate prevention programs, and to encourage the
denunciation of abuse.

UNICEF also says that children who are raped are the most vulnerable to
contracting HIV/AIDS and the organisation called on all Zimbabweans to
vigorously protect these "invisible children".

"For those children who suffer abuse, the impact can last a lifetime," added
Dr Kavishe.

For further information, please contact:

James Elder, UNICEF Zimbabwe Communication Officer, Tel +263 (0)91 276120,

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Five AU states to try to break presidency stalemate


      Mon Jan 23, 2006 12:45 PM ET

KHARTOUM (Reuters) - Five African states will propose who should be the next
head of the 53-nation African Union and present their choice to a summit to
end a stalemate over Sudan's bid for the post, an AU official said on

The official, who asked not to be named, said the five countries are Egypt,
Gabon, Zimbabwe, Djibouti and Burkina Faso, each representing one of the
five main regions of Africa. Their choice would go before the summit on
Tuesday, he said.

Sudan, under fire for rights abuses, nominated itself to chair the AU, based
on a tradition that the summit host becomes the organization's next leader.
Sudan wants to succeed Nigeria, which has held the post for nearly two

Sudan's leadership bid sparked criticism from rights groups that say a
Sudanese presidency would hurt AU efforts to improve Africa's record on
democracy and human rights. Several African regional blocs also oppose it.

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Transport problems may limit ability to address food deficit

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

JOHANNESBURG, 23 Jan 2006 (IRIN) - Zimbabwe's precarious food security
situation could improve if imports continue to close the gap between
national production and consumption requirements, but transport bottlenecks
may prevent many communities from accessing staple commodities.

The Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWS NET) noted in its latest
report that the government had made considerable progress in procuring maize
from outside the country to address the food deficit.

"If the annual deficit was spread evenly throughout the marketing year, it
would average about 92,000 mt per month. The current maize importation rate
of about 80,000 mt per month is making up a considerable proportion of that
monthly gap," FEWS NET commented.

The remaining gap could be closed by other food imports via aid agencies,
but FEWS NET said it was worrying that the "rather comfortable national
maize availability picture is not reflected at sub-national levels".

Maize grain and maize-meal were rarely available in both urban and rural
markets. "In each district the availability of maize is lowest in the remote
parts, furthest from markets. This scenario suggests serious in-country
maize distribution bottlenecks," the report added.

Aid workers estimated that up to 5 million people were going need food aid
from mid-2005 until about April this year, following last year's failed

A humanitarian official in Zimbabwe told IRIN that it was difficult to
ascertain to what extent the food deficit has been cut.

"We rely on information from the South African side, in terms of how much
Zimbabwe has bought from South Africa, but the issue is whether maize is
available to Zimbabweans, and how much is available," the aid worker said.
"We are in the depths of the hunger period, between now and April, and where
the government's imported food is going is something we are unable to

The aid official pointed out that the disparity between official import
figures and the availability of food on the ground could be linked to the
ongoing critical shortage of foreign currency in Zimbabwe, which has
resulted in a scarcity of imported fuel and hampered the transportation of
food to areas in need.

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Cricket - Zimbabwe players issue ultimatum


      Zimbabwe's professional cricketers will not begin contract talks until
outstanding wages have been paid.
      Match fees dating back to August, four months back pay and transport
costs are being sought by 35 players.

      "A meeting was held to discuss some Zimbabwe Cricket ideas for making
progress on negotiations," players' representative Clive Field said.

      "But they have dug their heels in and are all adamant there will be no
talks until payments have been fully made."

      It is the latest problem for Peter Chingoka, who retained his position
as head of an interim board when the Zimbabwean government took control of
the board at the beginning of the year.

      A deadline of 31 January has been set by the government's Sports and
Recreation Commission for the interim committee to resolve all player

      Last week the government-appointed committee governing cricket in
Zimbabwe decided to suspend the team's Test status for the remainder of the

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Forex crunch paralyses cattle dipping operations

      By Lance Guma
      23 January 2006

      An acute foreign currency shortage is said to be seriously affecting
the dipping of cattle in most rural areas in Zimbabwe. A visit to the
Masvosva area of Rusape by our correspondent Lionel Saungweme has revealed
that cattle have not been dipped for 3 months. Particularly worrying is that
during the rainy season cattle should be dipped weekly, as the tall grass
means ticks are most prevalent at that time.

      The headman in the area was quick to deny accusations coming from the
villagers that government was neglecting the welfare of their cattle. He
said it was the fault of the villagers for not paying up their
subscriptions, which in turn are used to finance the cattle dipping. The
villagers responded by taking out their payment books to show that they were
indeed fully paid up.
      Some people who are slightly well off or have relatives abroad are
importing their own chemicals and spraying their cattle using water guns
      Further investigations by our correspondent show that locally based
companies involved in making these chemicals are struggling with foreign
currency shortages and cannot get all the inputs needed for production.

      It's obviously much cheaper to dip cattle than suffer the economic
disaster of allowing them to die of preventable diseases, but with no forex
and no inputs people are put in an impossible situation. Experts predict
that due to the disastrous land reform program alone it will take a hundred
years for the beef herd to return to the level it was once at. This new
crisis just adds to an already critical situation.

      SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news

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Bulawayo Agenda organises crucial Matabeleland Water Conference

      By Tererai Karimakwenda
      23 January 2006

      As the most arid region in the country Matabeleland province has
suffered from water shortages for as long as many Zimbabweans can remember
and nothing has been done. The situation continues to deteriorate and some
areas of Bulawayo have now gone without water for 6 months. The NGO Bulawayo
Agenda say enough is enough. They have organised an all-stakeholders water
conference this coming weekend, and invited the City Council, civic society,
The Zimbabwe National Water Authority (ZINWA), the Bulawayo Residents
Association (BURA), the Matabeleland Zambezi Water Trust and The
Matabeleland Zambezi Water Project. Bulawayo Agenda director Gordon Moyo
told us this is a very serious matter that lies at the heart of basic human
rights and they hope to get commitments from all responsible parties as to
the way forward.

      Moyo said the Bulawayo areas of Entumbane, Magwegwe and Cowdry Park
have had no running water for 6 months now and this cannot be allowed. He
said every time there are elections, the Matabeleland Zambezi Water Project,
headed by Dumiso Dabengwa, makes promises to rejuvenate activities and
resolve the water crisis. But nothing ever happens after the elections. Moyo
said they decided to have this conference now when there are no elections
and they have decent rainfall. He said this will bring about real debate
about the issues and give the public a chance to grill those responsible.
Bulawayo governor Cain Mathema has also been invited. Moyo said: "We don't
want cheap electioneering or politicking, just real practical solutions."

      To illustrate how much the water crisis in Matabeleland has been
ignored Moyo explained that The Matabeleland Zambezi Water Project was
conceived back in 1912 and to this day no real progress has been made. He
believes the government has not been committed, and this violates the rights
of those people who have gone without water for extended periods. He said:
"This is so serious it goes all the way up to the United Nations level and
the African Union level".

      An activist once walked from Victoria Falls to Harare with a
wheelbarrow to bring attention to Matabeleland's water problems, and it is
hoped some resolutions will be made as well as commitments that will bring
results. Moyo said the response from government officials has been positive
so far. It remains to be seen whether they will actually show up and
participate in a meaningful way at the conference, then take the resolutions
and implement policies that will bring tangible results to the residents of

      SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news

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Protesters embarrass Mugabe at South African clinic

      By Lance Guma
      23 January 2006

      A group of Zimbabweans under the banner of Concerned Zimbabweans
Abroad (CZA) based in South Africa held a successful picket at a local
clinic Robert Mugabe and his wife Grace visited. According to the
coordinator Jay Jay Sibanda, they received information from a Zimbabwean
working at the Garden City Clinic in Johannesburg that Mugabe was due to see
a neurologist last week. The group took the opportunity to register their
displeasure with the hospital for accommodating someone who had destroyed
the health care system in his own country and was now seeking treatment

      The demonstration started around 14:00 hours on Saturday and Sibanda
says they gave their petition to the Clinic Manager after about 30 minutes.
Despite harassment from Hospital security that wanted to move them from the
front of the hospital, the group resisted and stood their ground. Although
they did not see Mugabe himself, his wife Grace drove by the demonstration
and Sibanda's group was barred by security details from handing her the
petition. The security guards advised them they could only do so under
police escort.

      The protesters waved placards urging Mugabe to go back to Zimbabwe and
get treated by witch doctors since he had destroyed the health system. Other
placards read, 'Garden City, why accept blood money' with some even urging
him to go under a treatment regime of one aspirin a month just like
Zimbabweans are having to do in their hospitals. Garden City Clinic
meanwhile are disputing that Mugabe came in for treatment.

      In a press release forwarded to us by Sibanda himself, Leoni Beaurain,
General Manager of the Clinic confirmed that President Robert Mugabe and his
wife Grace had visited the hospital on Thursday and Friday to see a family
member of Mrs Grace Mugabe who is a patient in the hospital. Beaurain
stressed that Mugabe himself is not a patient or receiving any treatment at
the hospital.

      Robert Mugabe rated 4th on list of world's worst dictators

      By Violet Gonda
      23 January 2006

      Zimbabwe has again hit international headlines and sadly all for the
wrong reasons. Robert Mugabe seems to be climbing rapidly up the ladder of
the world's worst dictators. The Zimbabwean dictator who turns 82 in
February has been named again as one of the top 10 world's worst dictators
by US-based news magazine Parade, published on January 22nd.

      The publication, which gets distributed with every newspaper in the
US, ranked Mugabe 4th in its list of dictators. Last year the magazine had
ranked Mugabe 9th. The publication defined a "dictator" as a head of state
who exercises arbitrary authority over the lives of his citizens and who
cannot be removed from power through legal means.

      The Top-10 list is headed by Omar al-Bashir of Sudan, followed by Kim
Jong-Il of North Korea, Than Shwe of Burma, Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe. He is
ahead of the presidents of Uzbekistan, China, Saudi Arabia, Turkmenistan,
Iran and old friend Teodoro Obiang Nguema of Equatorial Guinea, who holds
onto 10th position.

      The heads of states are accused of terrorizing and abusing the rights
of their own people.

      Mugabe's repressive regime has over the years successfully trampled
human rights and crippled the opposition in Zimbabwe. There is no rule of
law in the country and for the last 6 years elections have been a farce.
There is no press freedom and freedom of expression is but a dream in
Zimbabwe, with the latest assault being the confiscation of passports
belonging to perceived government critics.

      Last year some 700,000 people were made homeless after Mugabe
sanctioned his so called "clean up exercise" Operation Murambatsvina. The
United Nations described this operation a disastrous venture that affected
the lives of at least 2.1 million people.

      The Parade publication said, " Life in Zimbabwe has gone from bad to
worse: It has the world's highest inflation rate, 80% unemployment and an
HIV/AIDS rate of more than 20%. Life expectancy has declined since 1988 from
62 to 38 years. Farming has collapsed since 2000 when Mugabe began seizing
white-owned farms, giving most of them to political allies with no
background in agriculture."

      Meanwhile it seems pressure is mounting from all sides against the
octogenarian. The tide seems to be changing in terms of how African states
view the crisis in Zimbabwe. Last month in an unprecedented move, the
African Union Commission on Human and People's Rights issued a report
criticizing the regime's appalling human rights record.

      This week the African leaders meet in Khartoum Sudan for the 2 day
African Union summit and observers say some of the newly elected African
leaders are not going to give Mugabe such an easy ride flouting
international law. One source said, "Although not much may be said publicly,
the room is going to get hot for the old man."

      The irony of the AU summit is that this year it's being held in a
country where the leader Omar al-Bashir of Sudan is top of the list of the
world's worst dictators. Al Bashir is reported to have killed at least
180,000 civilians in Darfur in western Sudan and driven 2 million people
from their homes. He has recently stopped burning villages in the region,
although this is said to be because there are no more villages left to burn.

      It's reported that five African leaders have asked Sudan to withdraw
its bid to head the AU because the appointment could sink Darfur peace talks
and dent the group's credibility. Sudan has nominated itself to chair the
53-member AU, based on a tradition that the host of its summit becomes next
head. Human rights groups say a Sudanese presidency would damage AU efforts
to improve the continent's record on democracy and human rights

      SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news

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Banned Skin Lightners, Bleaching Pills Flood Zim

The Herald (Harare)

January 21, 2006
Posted to the web January 23, 2006

Tawanda Kanhema

MANY young black Zimbabwean women and some men go to extremes in their quest
for beauty.

For the generality of young black Zimbabwean women, beauty lies, not in the
eyes of the beholder as many would want them to believe, but on the lighter
end of the complexion scale, and are prepared to break the law to pursue
their desires.

And indeed, an increasing number of women and some men are spending a
fortune on banned skin lighteners and skin bleaching pills to lighten their

A fresh and deep market for skin lightening cosmetics illegally imported
from China, Zambia and the Democratic Republic of Congo, where the use of
these cosmetics is allowed, has resurfaced in the country's towns and

It is no farce, as some women are paying dearly to alter their complexion.

"I have always heard Congolese and Zambian women saying beauty comes from
within, and I thought they were right, until I understood that they meant
from within bottles, jars and tubes," remarked an official at Chirundu after
Zimra officials at the border post early this month had seized a 30-tonne
truck loaded with contraband of skin lighteners suspected to have been
destined for Zimbabwe.

Like any smuggled commodities, skin lighteners have become overnight
money-spinners as Zimbabwean cross border traders are bringing in these
creams and cosmetics through Chirundu and Kariba.

Cross-border traders, fearing detection from officials at the border, simply
remove the packs and stuff the lotion tubes into other goods before
smuggling them into the country.

Despite the euphoria that the skin lighteners have created, most users are
not aware of the dangers of using these products.

Skin lightening cosmetics like Movate, Diproson, Bu-tone, Ambi and Top
Lemon, some of which contain high levels of skin damaging substances like
hydroquinone and mercury were banned in Zimbabwe, and are classified as
dangerous drugs for external use.

Their side effects are usually seen after four years of use. Due to their
adverse side effects, these photo-sensitive cosmetics were banned under the
Dangerous Drugs Act.

Most of the creams sold in Zimbabwe are either labelled in Chinese, which
locals cannot read or not labelled at all, resulting in skin damage among
unknowing consumers.

One of the popular skin lighteners being used in the country, Top Lemon
Complexion Cream, has no labels showing its skin lightening ingredients.
Most creams contain hydroquinone, kojic acid, azelaic acid and arbutin.

Skin lighteners containing these ingredients were banned after they had been
found to cause skin irritation, nail discolouration, and hyper-pigmentation,
a situation where patients ended up with dark and discoloured facial skin.

Posters showing the banned brands of skin lighteners have been pasted on
notice boards on Zimbabwe's borders with Zambia, and health inspectors were
deployed to search travellers and make sure that they don't bring these
drugs into the country.

Despite the ban on these skin damaging cosmetics, which have also been
outlawed in South Africa, Kenya and Tanzania, their use has become
widespread, due to the prevailing belief among women that a lighter
complexion is more attractive and is associated with better hygiene.

Salons and flea markets in Harare, Kariba, Bulawayo and other towns are
making brisk business selling these cosmetics, which are being smuggled into
the country by cross-border traders. Some Chinese retail shops are also
bringing in some skin lightening creams.

"I prefer skin lighteners because they remove blemishes and make my skin
clear," said a Harare woman who uses skin lighteners, "I have not had any
side effects since I started using them."

She, however, professed ignorance on the dangers of using the creams, saying
she had been using them for over five years.

A snap survey showed that men generally prefer lighter women, and women
themselves look up to their lighter counterparts as more attractive.

This has led to the perception that people who are lighter in complexion are
more beautiful, and many have tried to alter their complexion with
disastrous consequences.

"Most women seem to mistakenly associate a light complexion with beauty, and
this is a tragic stereotype for our sisters, because these skin lightening
creams have chemicals that damage the skin over a period of time," said Miss
Fortune Mhlanga, a science student at Bindura University. She said skin
lightening creams containing mercury and hydroquinone lighten the skin by
interrupting the production of melanin and therefore reduce pigmentation.

"The ingredients in skin lighteners interrupt the production of melanin in
order to reduce tanning and pigmentation of the skin. This often results in
skin cancer later in life due to the exposure of skin cells to ultra violet
(UV) radiation," she said, adding,

"Various ingredients use various methods, but the end result is that they
either deactivate or damage melanin producing cells, or interrupt the
production of tyrosine, a chemical that is needed to produce melanin, which
protects skin cells from UV radiation."

Countries like Japan, South Africa and parts of Europe banned the use of the
most popular skin lightener, hydroquinone, after it was universally rejected
by dermatologists due to its damaging properties and it's toxic side

Research into the properties of this drug showed that prolonged use of high
concentrations may result in serious side effects. Exposure to sun after the
use of skin lighteners containing hydroquinone reverses its effects and
causes re-pigmentation.

In South Africa, skin lighteners were banned in 1987 after community
organisations and skin doctors pushed for a law against the sale and use of
skin lighteners. Only limited amounts of the drug are permitted in hair dyes
because it has been shown to cause irreversible skin damage.

A tube of Diproson in Zimbabwe currently costs anything between $300 000 and
$500 000 in salons and flea markets in Harare, Bulawayo and Kariba, and
according to vendors, the market is growing, especially in Harare.

"Women of all ages, come here looking for Diproson, Top Lemon Complexion
Cream. We sometimes run out of stocks because the demand is high," said a
receptionist at a salon in town.

The use of skin lightening creams was rampant throughout Africa from the
1930's to the late 1970s, when many governments took a stance against all
cosmetics containing high levels of hydroquinone and mercury, which have
serious side effects.

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The Nation and Tribe: separating fact from myth

New Zimbabwe

By Silence Chihuri
Last updated: 01/24/2006 01:42:24
IN THE heat of debate, people sometimes miss the bigger picture about issues
or worse still, sacrifice integral aspects of that given situation leading
to piece meal perceptions that have a tendency to spell disaster at a future

This has been a consequence to Zimbabwean politics where certain wrong
things have been done but allowed to filter through the political mill
because it was convenient at the time or maybe it was just less
controversial to cover up.

It is hard sometimes to address a situation without invoking either sad
feelings or inflicting pain or hard feelings, but this can be necessary at
times because it is the only way long lasting solutions can be found.

Sometimes it has to appear even personal because personal tendencies affect
national interests (especially in politics and government), and these two
can hardly be separated.

One or two things have been mentioned lately that need to be closely
analysed and even though these are predominantly minority views, these could
be potentially poisonous and could distort constructive engagement and
therefore they should be erased without trace from the political picture.
Someone mentioned about something to the effect that a few Ndebele people
were trying to hijack the MDC Party or that Welshman Ncube was using a few
Shona people to advance a Ndebele agenda.

The foregoing is not only a sad conviction but it does point to a much more
serious and deep seated problem of failing to realize that Zimbabwean
politics can only be workable with the full participation of not just Shonas
and Ndebeles, but all the other tribal components of our country, including
white Zimbabweans as well.

Let us say we were all that mean, and we supposed for example, that the
Ndebeles succeeded with "running away" with the MDC, (whatever that means),
or that they successfully "hijacked" the party (using whatever means),
surely their first port of call would be at the Shonas and any of the other
tribes so as to complete the political equation. The same thing would apply
to the Shonas (or any other tribe for that matter), because in the event
that the Shonas successfully managed to hold on to "their MDC", then they
would still need the requisite Ndebele (or other), content to ensure tribal
balance was achieved so as to come up with a workable political arrangement.

Such is the natural aspect of the national politics of our country that
anyone who thinks that they can ignore it either in the heat of debate, or
in a moment of weakness (better known as madness), would only do so at their
own demise. Shonas may constitute the biggest tribe in Zimbabwe but they
will never be "big enough" to wantonly stampede upon the other smaller
tribes because the proportion of Shonas is only relative to the other
demographic components of our country. The same is with regards to the
Ndebeles. Therefore any notion about anybody trying to steal any political
mileage using anyone is utter nonsense that must be dismissed with the
commensurate contempt.

Another equally warped view that surfaced was that politics is a voluntary
game and that who ever was in it was in there of their own personal
volition, meaning such people should not be criticised or else they would
withdraw their "free" services to the public. I personally do not see
anything voluntary about politics because this is arguably one of the
largest industries in the world in which some of the largest sums of money
do the rounds. Of course there seems to be this voluntary lack of
accountability and scruples that follow politics but that should never be
mistaken to mean that the field was some kind of charitable arrangement for
the benefit of the citizens. In fact political careers can be some of the
most rewarding occupations if properly and scrupulously pursued.

However, the fact that taxpayer's money is usually (quite controversially,
if not extortionately) obtained so as to fund the grandiose bandwagon that
is politics and government especially in Africa, then this would surely call
for even more scrutiny of the sector. Such scrutiny should start right from
those in opposition because they should be fully aware that they are not
simply replacing one bad state of affairs with another. Opposition parties
(the MDC in our case) also take a considerable chunk of taxpayers money and
they should rightfully account for such money no matter how little it can
seem to be.

There is a lot of self-help and self access to national capital (better
known as plunder) that African politicians exercise while in their
influential positions and this is what usually gives them an edge over their
people. The idea is to keep the generality of the people greatly
impoverished and dependent rather than independent, thereby creating a
submissive lot who can only voice their hunger and not anger. Criticism is
usually far and between because most of our people have to literally sing
for their supper. As long as everything that helps our case is perceived as
taboo, then it will be very difficult for us to effectively put our
political leadership to task because they will continue to get away with
crimes of humanity just because criticising them is more crime than the way
they exploit us.
Silence Chihuri is a regular opinion writer on New and can be
contacted at

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Non resident Zimbabweans part of the solution, too!

New Zimbabwe

By Tendai Padenga
Last updated: 01/24/2006 01:49:07
THE Zimbabwe government needs to wake up to realise the inherent power that
lies within the Non Resident Zimbabweans (those in the Diaspora) and set up
a powerful roadmap for engaging them into business in Zimbabwe for the
economic growth and development of the country.

The Ministries of Industry and Finance should set ground breaking rules and
conditions that make it more comfortable for the non-resident Zimbabweans to
engage in value addition business in Zimbabwe as the government cannot in
any way do it on its own, at all.

Here I am referring to special tax concessions and security for the
non-resident Zimbabweans' investment as much as industrial land acquisition
facilities to be set in place, instead of the government merely encouraging
the non-resident Zimbabweans to just send money to their relatives.

On the other hand, the non-resident Zimbabwean communities also need to
realise that they hold the key to the scientific and industrial revolution
for the economic development of Zimbabwe. They should start maximising on
global intellect by simply identifying small ideas with great potential for
the scientific and industrial revolutionirisation of Zimbabwe.

Why I am persuaded to believe so, is mainly because the Indian Scientific
and Industrial revolution was achieved through, to some extent, the Non
Resident Indians (NRI). Soon after India's independence the then Indian
Prime Minister, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, realised that the Indian Scientific
and Industrial development revolution could not in anyway be achieved in its
totality without the inclusion of NRI.

Consequently, a more economic friendly industrial policy was put in place in
favour of the NRI and they were constantly involved and encouraged to
participate at all levels in the same, and a more clearer and road worthy
policy was finally arrived at and the Indian vehicle for Scientific and
industrial Revolution took off slowly. To date, these Policies are still in
place and witnessing the Global recognition of India as a global technology
giant. By the early 80's people like Dhirubhai Ambani, the Tatas, Mahindra
and Mahindra, Narayana Murthy, Azim Premji (these are now USD Billion dollar
companies) had already put the proper focus of the Indian scientific and
industrial revolution in place, and the road ahead was now clear.

When the late Indian Prime Minister, Rajiv Gandhi, came into power he
managed by the late 80's to improve and add much value to the initial road
map and the government had also realised it could also benefit from the same
and was also setting up subsidiaries (which were autonomous and had the full
power to appoint their own Chairman, board of directors and CEO based on
internationally acceptable management competencies) hence BSNL with
subsidiaries like MTNL began to take more defined shapes. When Prof.
Manmohan Singh was the Finance Minister in Narasimha Rao's government of the
90's, he introduced the most recognised Indian landmark economic reforms
which liberalised the economy and opened more doors for NRI by increasing
the tax free bands for a formative period thus allowing NRI to grow their
companies by involving or sourcing funds from their colleagues abroad. A new
breed of NRI entrepreneurs was born, marking the entry of NRI in the airline
industry (the likes of Subrata Roy's Air Sahara). Today the NRI plays a
powerful part in the Indian economy and is acknowledged by the government of
India. Most of these NRI ventured into technology partnerships with either
workmates, neighbours, friends or still other NRI and came back to India in
splendour and glory, yet they had left in shackles and chains of

Should we then become Indians, you might want to ask? No, not in a million
years, what I am simply highlighting is NRZ holds the much needed key to the
scientific and industrial revolution of Zimbabwe. How? The governement
cannot initiate this, given our current situation which is totally different
from the Indian one, the NRZ needs to come up and draft a document
requesting the governement to consider them and above all acknowledge that,
yes, they are part of the solution to the economic revival. The NRZ, thus,
needs to be more organized and adopt a systematic approach to these issues
and highlight exactly how they want to be incorporated into the economic
revival strategy.

After that, an NRZ delegation should be dispatched to go and meet with the
respective Ministries (Higher Education and Technology, Science and
Technology, Industry and Commerce, Manpower, Finance etc) and discuss in
great depth the logistics they need covered and clarify with great detail to
some amendments to the Zimbabwe Companies Act and the waiver of unnecessary
bureaucratic communication protocol and serious waiver of duty on all
industrial equipment and inputs not locally available, earmarked for NRZ
Industrial Parks. Once it has been agreed and the NRZ community is satisfied
with the documents and or contracts, then technology transfer partnerships
can be initiated with the government playing a central role and the NRZ
professional task force participating at all levels.

Which areas should the NRZ engage themselves in, then? I would want to
highlight just a few cases amongst a wider spectrum of others. There are a
lot of Zimbabwean pharmacists and those in the area of bioinformatics the
world over. If they make a call to start up a contract bulk drug
manufacturing company in Zimbabwe and convince their workmates and
neighbours that this is what they have come up with and clearly register the
company and go into technology transfer with countries like India to
manufacture the bulk drugs in Zimbabwe on contract basis, under established
conditions with the parent holding companies, we surely will create more
jobs for our friends back home and most importantly bring down the prices of
bulk drugs like the TB drugs, anti retroviral drugs etc. This way, we can as
well start manufacturing for our neighbours and exporting to regional
countries, without such capabilities, and who knows if we meet the
international cost and competence requirements, we might even start
participating in global contracts for bulk drug manufacturing and earn the
much needed forex.

Also to consider is the software industry, which I feel does not require
much capital provided the government works very hard on waivering the duty
and taxes on computer components as a sure way to not only increasing PC
penetration, but also encourage NRZ or local business community wishing to
engage in software development and call centers to do so without any
unnecessary obstacles.

The information security and business continuity is a significant emerging
global business opportunity, one that I feel Zimbabwe needs to address
properly. I would like to give credit to Afrosoft
( for their biometric application security
product, which shows how possible it is to develop world class security
oriented software in Zimbabwe, all we need is to be more focused and attack
with great might and to do this, we desperately need the government and NRZ
to participate sincerely.

Which areas then should Zimbabwe participate in with respect to tapping this
hot segment? Zimbabwean companies, with the much needed participation of NRZ
and government of Zimbabwe, can participate in the information security
market by offering products for the following segments:

1. Authentication: there is a great need for Industry standard
authentication solutions to protect the mission-critical data assets for
companies and help them harness the power of e-business.

2. Web access management: Web access management solutions enable companies
to improve relationships, generate revenue and reduce costs by providing
secure access to Web-based applications and services. Zimbabwean companies
can look at providing software that protects access to mission-critical Web
applications and resources on intranets, extranets and portals. Solutions
that provide a central point of management and enforcement while enhancing
end user experience through single sign-on functionality for Web
applications that are required by global customers today.

3. Developer solutions: e-security tool kits that help lower the cost of
software development, shorten time-to-market for new products and increase
revenue with new market opportunities, also represent a major opportunity
for Zimbabwean Software Companies. Using these, customers can quickly and
cost effectively build state-of-the-art encryption and digital signing
technology into business applications and Web services, including browsers,
wireless devices, e-commerce servers, e-mail systems and VPN products

These are just a few of the many possible areas NRZ can engage to kick-start
the economic recovery and creation of employment in Zimbabwe. I should point
out, there is nothing extra-ordinary about Indians, it's just that they are
highly organised and have the much needed desire to see India become a
global giant and bring back the World Trade Center again to 'Patna'. If we
agree totally, that this is what we want our children to inherit, a global
culture of business excellence, locally, then they will surely inherit that.

"All that I have written is not the solution in its own, look in the mirror,
Yes, there is the solution" the late Stanley Tookie Williams

Tendai Padenga is a Zimbabwean studying for Master of Computer Applications
with electives in Artificial Intelligence and Neural Networks at Jamia
Millia Islamia University in New Delhi. He can be contacted at:

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Early departures: The emigration potential of Zimbabwean students


Southern African Migration Project (SAMP)
Extracted from Migration Policy Series No. 39

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- Acrobat PDF version (118
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Executive summary
Zimbabwe is experiencing a crippling flight of professional and skilled people that has escalated to levels that have serious implications for economic growth and development. Previous studies have discovered extremely high levels of dissatisfaction amongst professionals with the cost of living, taxation, availability of goods, and salaries. Unhappiness goes deeper than economic circumstances to include housing, medical services, education and a viable future for children. There is an urgent need for policies to curb the massive brain drain and offer incentives to make staying and working in the country attractive for professionals and skilled people. Policy-makers also need to be able to predict the size and direction of future flows of professional and skilled emigrants.

In an effort to try and understand the future course of the brain drain, the Southern African Migration Project (SAMP) carried out a survey of final-year college and university students in Zimbabwe. The survey aimed to obtain information on the demographic profile of the student body; their attitudes towards national issues and government policies; satisfaction and expectations about economic conditions and about the future; likelihood of leaving after graduation; reasons for moving; most likely destinations; perceived conditions in the most likely destination; and length of stay in the most likely destination. Answers to questions were analysed by gender, age, rural/urban background and other variables.

The university students were from faculties of Law, Science, Engineering, Commerce, Medicine/Pharmacy and Arts/Humanities. The colleges included technical, commercial and teacher training institutions located in several urban centres. A total of 1,192 questionnaires were administered in Harare, Bulawayo, Gweru or Masvingo. The students came from all over the country including some of the more remote rural areas.

The survey first looked at student attitudes towards Zimbabwe and found that:

  • Almost 60% of the students said they were proud to be called Zimbabweans; a high proportion but lower than in every other SADC country tested. A similar number agreed that being a citizen of Zimbabwe was a very important part of how they see themselves (high but again low in the regional context). There is also a strong desire among students to help build their nation. As many as 78% of the students felt it was their ‘duty’ to contribute their talents and skills to the growth of their country.
  • Levels of student dissatisfaction about economic conditions are higher than in any other SADC country surveyed. Only 3% were satisfied with their personal economic conditions and less than 35% were optimistic that things would improve in the next five years. Less than one per cent were satisfied with current national economic conditions and only 20% expected to see any improvement five years hence. Only 20% were optimistic that the cost of living would be better in the future. Just 25% felt that their incomes would improve in the future. Only 20% felt that they would be able to get the job they want, while just 21% were optimistic that job security would improve in the future. The prospects for professional advancement were seen as slim and the hopes for fair taxation low. Very few felt government was doing enough to create employment opportunities for graduates.
  • Perceptions of other quality of life measures were similarly negative. Only 14% said their ability to find the house they wanted would improve in the future; only 19% thought medical services would get better and only 21% were optimistic about their ability to find a good school for their children. A mere 18% felt that their personal and family’s safety would improve in the future and just 19% were optimistic that the future of children would get better. Very few of the students expected the quality upkeep of public amenities, the availability of quality affordable products and customer care to improve. Only 11% felt that the HIV/AIDS situation would improve.

Given the prevailing pessimism, it is not surprising that leaving the countr y after graduation is at the forefront of many student minds. Nearly three quarters of the students indicated that they had given the matter of leaving a great deal of consideration. Gender, age and socioeconomic status made little dif ference to the answer. Only 6% of the students had not considered moving abroad. Just over half (56%) said that they were likely to emigrate within six months of graduating. Some 70% said it was likely they would have left the country within two years. Over a quarter of students had already applied for or were in the process of applying for a work permit in another country. Around 15% had applied for or were in the process of applying for permanent residence in another country. A similar proportion were seeking citizenship of another country.

Southern Africa is the preferred destination for 36% of the students, followed by Europe (29%), and North America (24%). Less than one per cent listed the rest of Africa as their preferred destination. Students are relatively confident of their ability to end up in their preferred destination. Nearly 40% felt it likely they would move within Southern Africa, while 28% and 22% said it was likely they would end up in Europe and North America respectively.

To what extent do family ties and obligations act as brakes on emigration? In many countries, they probably would. Not in contemporary Zimbabwe. An astonishing 77% of students said that they were being encouraged or strongly encouraged to leave the country by their families. Why are families so eager for their offspring to leave? The answer surely lies in the fact that many families need household members to leave and r emit funds, just for survival. Several subsidiary questions therefore arise. Will those who leave do so permanently or on a temporary basis? Once gone will they continue to maintain links with Zimbabwe? And, in particular, will they remit funds once they have left? The survey found the following:

  • In contrast to many students in Southern Africa, Zimbabweans are more inter ested in long-term migration. Around 60% have a great desire to leave for more than two years and 46% said it was very likely that they would do so. Only 12% indicated a preferred stay of less than two years in their most likely destination. As many as half the students said they would stay away for longer than five years, an alarmingly high percentage.
  • Although many of the students said they would want to be permanent residents (60%) and citizens (57%) of their most desirable destination, fewer said they would want to retire there (37%) and fewer still to be buried there (18%). Clearly, although many students would like to leave the country, most see themselves eventually returning home.
  • A large proportion of potential emigrants (83%) anticipatedmaintaining links with Zimbabwe once they had left. Fifty-six percent indicated that they intended to visit either once every few months or yearly, while only 11% said that they would never return. Almost half (46%) would send money home once every month and 16% would send money home a few times a year. Less than 2% would never send money home. A quarter of the students would send money home more than once a month.
  • In terms of maintaining links with home, only 29% of students said they would be willing or very willing to give up their homes in Zimbabwe and a quarter would be willing or very willing to take all their savings out of Zimbabwe. In terms of assets, 24% would want to take all their assets out of the county. Only 26% said they would be willing or very willing to give up their Zimbabwean citizenship. On all four of the measures, more women than men were willing to cut their ties with Zimbabwe.

Students have strong opinions on government policies to stop or control the brain drain. Overwhelmingly, they feel that political measures targeted at individuals will be ineffectual and that government should concentrate instead on fostering economic development and growth. While it is obviously not possible to prevent people from migrating to developed countries for better prospects in this era of globalisation, the adverse impact of such movements on economic development merit urgent attention. The survey showed that a coercive approach to the brain drain would only intensify the level of discontent and for most of the students would make absolutely no difference to their emigration intentions. The best way to curb the high rates of skilled labour migration lies in addressing the economic fundamentals of the country in a way that will ultimately improve living standards.

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Zim vendors, farmers in bitter turf war

Mail and Guardian

      Harare, Zimbabwe

      23 January 2006 02:39

            Farmers and vegetable vendors in the Zimbabwean capital Harare
are locked in a bitter turf war after the authorities closed down the city's
main outdoor market to stop the spread of cholera, local reports said on

            Thousands of small-scale farmers were left stranded earlier this
month after they arrived at the popular Mbare Msika market to sell their
fresh produce, only to find the city authorities had closed it down citing
fears of cholera.

            Cholera has already killed 14 Zimbabweans, three of them from

            When some of the farmers tried to sell their produce at a
smaller market in the eastern township of Mabvuku, they were chased away by
street vendors who accused them of charging lower prices and pinching their
customers, the state-controlled Herald newspaper reported.

            "We don't want to see these people here because they are
stealing our customers," one unnamed female vendor told the Herald.

            Vendors are struggling to eke out a living following a
controversial clean-up campaign in the middle of last year.

            Thousands of vendors were arrested and hundreds of flea market
stalls demolished. The traders are now supposed to operate only from
designated areas.

            But the farmers -- many of whom live in outlying rural areas -- 
also appear desperate to maintain their trade in Zimbabwe's highly
inflationary environment.

            "There is no need for farmers and vendors from this suburb to
fight for customers. We are also in business and we should be allowed to
sell," farmer Nicholas Mazambani told the paper.

            The Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights group meanwhile lays the
blame for Harare's public health crisis squarely with the authorities, who
they said had failed to organise proper waste disposal. - Sapa-DPA

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Rats to sniff out Moz mines


MAPUTO, January 23 -- The much-maligned rat is soon to become a hero in
Mozambique as rats have been trained to sniff out landmines as part of the
country's mine-clearance programme.

"In November 2003 (during a test exercise), the animals found nine mines in
one day along the Limpopo railway," said Bart Weetjens, director of APOPO,
the Belgian research company that trains the rodents in Tanzania.

As part of the trial, the rodents found 20 mines and other explosives along
the line in Gaza province. The line runs between Maputo port and southern

The rats didn't miss one explosive.

"The success of the Limpopo trials was a strong motivation for the whole
team," said Weetjens.

Now 16 rodents are set to tackle southern Mozambique, starting in March.

Vast areas of Mozambique are still littered with anti-personnel landmines
that were used during the 16-year civil war that followed independence from
Portuguese rule.

Better than dogs Dogs were used in 1994 to de-mine large tracts of land when
the civil war ended, but the African Giant Pouch Rat (Cricetomys gambianus)
has been found to be more effective because they're cheaper to train and
easier to maintain and transport.

It costs about $2 000 to train a rat, while it can cost over $10 000 to
train a dog. The rats' training starts when they're five weeks old.

They are trained to walk on a leash and will stop once their sensitive noses
pick up the TNT that is in the buried explosive.

APOPO also plans to use the rats in other landmine hotspots, which include
Angola, Sudan, and Cambodia.

Meanwhile, researchers at the University of Montana in the US are using
honeybees to screen large areas of unexploded bombs.

According to the Landmine Survivors Network in Washington DC, which is an
organisation that provides counselling services to mine victims throughout
the world, an estimated 80 million mines lay buried in more than 60

Each day 50 people, many of them children, are killed or maimed worldwide. -

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Unique farming method helps needy Zimbabwean families


By: Linda van der Westhuizen

Sixty needy Zimbabwean families were helped to survive by a generous
donation from the pastors' fraternity in Makhado (Louis Trichardt).

"You should see the joy on their faces when they receive one 'baked beans'
tin of maize seed," says Mr Pierre de Jager, formerly from Louis Trichardt.
The donation of R1 000 covered maize seed and fertilizer, enough to save 60
families from starvation.

Pierre says that one tin of maize seed enables each of the 60 families to
plant a small (10m x 10m) garden that will yield a crop of 100 to 120kg of
maize to prevent starvation. This can only be done if a unique and specific
farming method is used accurately.

"The aim is to help each family to eventually plant a 50m x 50m maize field
that is a quarter hectare. With this farming method they will be able to
harvest three tons from a quarter hectare. The first ton could be for food,
the second ton could be used to pay the children's education and the third
ton could be profit," says Pierre. He was appalled when he realized that
many parents could no longer afford education for their children and that
teenagers were illiterate and could not speak English. Even worse than the
illiteracy is the poverty and even starvation.

While Pierre was conducting a training session on this unique farming
method, one of his trainees reported the death of a fellow villager. He had
died from hunger.

"They told me that the giant they face is not poverty, it is hunger," Pierre
said. In the Matopo Hills area all crops have failed totally for the past
eight years.

The method Pierre teaches is called Farming God's Way. With this method, a
hectare will yield a crop of ten tons. A normal crop is six to seven tons
per hectare. Currently, the national average produced is not even one ton
per hectare but 300kg. The most successful crop by Brian Oldrieve from
Zimbabwe, who developed this method, was a record of 16 tons per hectare.

In the Matopo area, a couple of groups have undergone the Farming God's Way
training with Pierre and his interpreter and are now growing their own
maize. People who come for training range from 80-year-old grannies to very
young boys and girls.

Those who want to support Farming God's Way or Pierre and Rentia de Jager or
need more information can contact Hannetjie Boshoff on (015) 516 4145.
Pierre's email is

Pierre and Rentia thank the pastors fraterityl for the financial donation as
well as an independent home church group for their support, including a very
welcome laptop computer and generator.

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