|The ZIMBABWE Situation||Our
thoughts and prayers are with Zimbabwe |
- may peace, truth and justice prevail.
January, 2003, 13:09 GMT
Zimbabweans talk food not cricket
The row over whether England plays a World Cup cricket match in Harare is lost on the many Zimbabweans who are struggling to survive, as Luis Clemens from the World Food Programme reports.
The distribution of relief food takes place on a field the size of a cricket pitch.
Food, not sport, dominates the conversations here in Makoni District, Zimbabwe.
There is also talk of fertilizer, seed and rain.
These are routine topics in any rural community, but of particular relevance to the 879 households receiving relief food for the first time.
The distribution takes place against a backdrop formed by mountains laden with meaning for the assembled villagers.
Maunga is where elderly women go to pray to their ancestors for rain.
Younger women go to the base of Chimauzvare to drink water when they wish to become pregnant.
Over 1500 people assemble to receive their first-ever monthly ration of maize and beans provided by the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP).
This batch of food was donated by the EU, Germany and the US to WFP and is distributed in this district by Goal, an Irish NGO.
It is Goal's first distribution in Zimbabwe.
They hope to distribute food provided by donors to some 120,000 people in Makoni District who have no other way of feeding themselves before the next harvest in March.
Goal has gone from a staff of one to 110 in a matter of months.
Their aim is to link emergency relief with long-term agricultural rehabilitation.
"The overall picture is bleak," says Poul Brandrup, Goal country director for Zimbabwe.
Much less of the staple maize crop has been planted this year than last and the prospect of rain is uncertain.
Alice Mashonjowa is one of those receiving food aid for the first time.
At 17, she cares for six brothers and sisters ranging in age from six to 16.
There is no food left from the last crop so they rely on wild vegetables and whatever maize they can afford.
'$1 a month'
Her 15-year-old brother works as an errand boy and earns the equivalent of $1 a month.
That is the family's only steady income.
They are able to purchase food sporadically, but they have had to use part of the money destined for school fees.
Four of the children are in school, but Alice has not attended since her parents died.
But they planted late in the rainy season because they had to borrow the village head's draught animals to plough their field.
It comes as little surprise that there were no Christmas gifts or a big holiday meal at the Mashonjowa household this year.
When asked her expectations for the New Year, Alice looks downwards and responds, "at least not to be hungry".
From The Herald, 31 December
Graffiti against Registrar General blasted
Harare - The Registrar General's Office yesterday expressed concern at the graffiti against the person of the Registrar General, Mr Tobaiwa Mudede, written on pre-cast walls along Leopold Takawira and Harare streets. A central registry spokesman said there were strong indications that the denigrating remarks were by unscrupulous tricksters and conmen who had been cheating applicants of passports, birth certificates and other documents of their hard earned money. "Those responsible for this misbehaving are warned that the matter is being fully investigated and stern measures will be taken against the perpetrators," he said. The graffiti was written after the central registry took decisive steps to deal with conmen and tricksters and reduce congestion in queues. The department was mounting daily security checks as to the genuineness of applicants. It was also maintaining all time presence of security details, carrying out effective investigations and prosecutions of suspected perpetrators of fraud and extortion. All extortion activities by tricksters and conmen to the unsuspecting public were being revealed through television and the print media programmes. "Let it be known that the said derogatory statements and graffiti against the person of the Registrar General and the department will not deter the management from taking sterner measures to effectively deal with any attempted obstruction or interference with persons wishing to apply or renew their personal documents," said the spokesman.