The ZIMBABWE Situation Our thoughts and prayers are with Zimbabwe
- may peace, truth and justice prevail.

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Zimbabwe to draft street children into youth militia
Tue 14 June 2005
  HARARE - The Zimbabwe government plans to conscript thousands of street
children into its controversial national youth service training programme
blamed for converting youths into violently zealous defenders of President
Robert Mugabe and his ruling ZANU PF party.

      Well-placed sources told ZimOnline yesterday that the plan to press
gang the street children into joining the government youth training
programme was drawn up by a task force comprising police commanders and
senior government officials, who justified the plan as a way to rehabilitate
the children.

      Mugabe and his Cabinet approved the plan in March but it could not
take off because there was no money for the unbudgeted conscription
programme, the sources said.

      Secretary to the President and Cabinet, Misheck Sibanda, could not be
reached for comment on the matter yesterday.

      Both Home Affairs Minister Kembo Mohadi and his Small and Medium
Enterprises counterpart, Sithembiso Nyoni, however confirmed the existence
of the plan to force street children to join the government youth militia
programme and said it would be implemented once resources were available.

      Nyoni, whose ministry is pencilled in under the plan to help the
street children set up self-help projects and small businesses once they
have undergone training at the more than 10 youth camps across the country,
insisted that the plan was still on the cards.

      "It is still on the cards. My ministry would make sure that once they
graduate, we help them find their feet in industry," she said.

      Mohadi said the scheme to train the youths was part of wider efforts
by the government to remove street children and other people from the
streets and rehabilitate them.

      Mohadi said: "Yes there is a plan to ensure that we rid our streets of
these kids, some of whom are now adults. They have to be rehabilitated and
the facilities and resources (to train and rehabilitate them) will be

      Under the plan, the police will round up all youths from the streets
and take them to holding centres to be set up in every city and town. For
example, in Harare, three holding centres are planned to be set up at City
Sports Centre just outside the capital's central business district and at
Mai Musodzi and Stodart halls in the city's oldest suburb of Mbare.

      Social Welfare officers from the government's Department of Social
Welfare would then vet the street children with those with traceable
families taken back to their parents or relatives and the rest forcibly
enrolled at the youth training camps.

      "The vetting would ensure that only those whose families could not be
traced would join the training centres. The rest would be taken back to
their homes, rural or urban," said one government official, who did not want
to be named.

      The official said the government had also hoped resource-rich
non-governmental organisations would support the programme to train the
street children but he added that all of the NGOs sounded out by the
government so far had refused to help.

      Street children routinely harass city residents, robbing, molesting
and in some cases raping women moving around unaccompanied.

      But it is not clear how the street children will benefit from the
government's youth training programme with the youth militias churned out
under the state programme accused by church and human rights groups of
hunting down government opponents raping, torturing or murdering them.

      The government denies that graduates of its youth training programme
persecute its political opponents and instead insists the controversial
youth programme inculcates discipline and patriotism in young Zimbabweans. -

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Zim Online

Civic alliance threatens street protests
Tue 14 June 2005
  BULAWAYO - The organisers of last week's failed mass work boycott
yesterday threatened more radical protests including street demonstrations
but the police immediately vowed to crush such action, warning Zimbabweans
that it would be "suicidal" to take to the streets.

      Police spokesman Wayne Bvudzijena claimed that street demonstrations
were illegal in Zimbabwe and that the law enforcement agency would use all
means to crush any anti-government protests called by the main opposition
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party and its civic and labour union

      Bvudzijena said: "Demonstrations are outlawed in this country, and
engaging in such kind of action (street protest) will be suicidal for the

      The government's draconian Public Order and Security Act sets strict
conditions under which Zimbabweans can hold public demonstrations including
political meetings, one of which is that organisers of such action must
first seek permission from the police before calling for meetings, public
marches or protests.

      Spokesman of the civic and opposition alliance Lovemore Madhuku was
however not swayed by the police threats and said the coalition would
sometime next week announce the dates for nationwide street demonstrations.

      He said: "We certainly can't just stand and watch while tyranny
entrenches itself in our midst. The protests are a struggle and next week
there will be nationwide street demonstrations which are a follow-up on last
week's stay away. We are however, going to announce the exact day sometime
this week, but meanwhile, people should be prepared for the action."

      Madhuku said many workers had not heeded the call to stay at home last
Thursday and Friday to protest against worsening economic hardships and a
government crackdown on informal traders and homeless people because many
feared losing their jobs in an economy with 70 percent unemployment.

      There have been varying explanations as to why a visibly larger
majority of workers ignored the coalition's job boycott call.

      But most political analysts interviewed by ZimOnline last week said
the mass protest flopped because Zimbabweans were too weary after six years
of severe political and economic crisis and required more visionary and
stronger leadership to be inspired into any mass action, which they said the
coalition terribly failed to provide. - ZimOnline
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Zim Online

Zimdollar now worth 90 percent less
Tue 14 June 2005
  HARARE - Zimbabwe's ever depreciating dollar has to date shed off more
than about 90 percent of its value 10 years ago, according to a study
carried out by the country's main labour body, the Zimbabwe Congress of
Trade Unions (ZCTU).

      The union said a study it carried out to gauge the real value of the
local currency ahead of salary and wage negotiations beginning this month
showed that the Zimbabwe dollar had by April 2005 wilted down to about $0.1
compared to its value in 1995 and could by now probably only purchase what
half a cent could in 1995.

      The dramatic fall in the value of the local currency, which many blame
on economic mismanagement and corruption by President Robert Mugabe and his
government, had hit hardest those on basic wages or on fixed income such as
pensioners, the ZCTU said.

      "Clearly the real value of the Zimbabwe dollar had wilted down to $0.1
by April 2005, implying that what less than half a cent could buy in 1995 is
what a dollar buys at current prices," the ZCTU said in a position paper
ahead of the wage talks.

      The labour body said while year-on-year inflation had tumbled from a
record 622.8 percent high in January to 129.1 percent by April 2005, prices
have continued ballooning fuelled by acute shortages of food and nearly
every other basic commodity in the country.

      It was not possible to get comment from the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe
on the findings of the ZCTU study. But Harare-based independent economic
analyst John Robertson agreed with the labour union's findings.

      Robertson said: "The figures are more than correct. In fact, the
authorities have reduced us to worse than the laughing stock of the world .
. . our currency has a higher face value than it is really worth."

      The ZCTU said Zimbabweans, who once boasted of one of Africa's most
vibrant economies, had lost virtually all basic socio-economic rights such
as the right to food, health, education, shelter, affordable transport,
employment and income security among others.

      The Zimbabwe dollar never recovered after a dramatic collapse in
November 1997 triggered off by Mugabe himself after he ordered Treasury to
pay out an unbudgeted Z$50 billion to thousands of former guerrillas during
the country's 1970s independence war.

      The International Monetary Fund's withdrawal of balance-of-payments
support to Harare two years later only helped compound problems for the
local currency and economy.

      But many analysts say Zimbabwe could have avoided unmitigated economic
meltdown even without IMF support had Mugabe not launched in 2000 his
chaotic and often violent farm seizure programme that destroyed the
agricultural sector - the mainstay of the economy.

      Zimbabwe's economy has contracted by about 30 percent since 2000 and
the southern African nation has virtually survived on food handouts from the
international community for the last five years with an estimated four
million people or about a quarter of the country's population facing
starvation this year unless donors chip in with food aid.

      Mugabe denies mismanaging the economy and instead blames Western
government of sabotaging Zimbabwe's economy to punish his government for
seizing farmland from whites and giving it to blacks. - ZimOnline

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Zim Online

Trial of Zimbabwean journalists postponed
Tue 14 June 2005
  HARARE - Zimbabwe prosecution authorities yesterday postponed to October
12 the trial of 21 journalists of the banned Daily Newspaper citing a busy
schedule at the courts for the delay.

      A total of 45 journalists, who worked for the banned paper and its
sister publication, Daily News on Sunday, were charged by the state last
year for practising without a licence from the government's Media and
Information Commission.

      But only 21 were summonsed at the weekend to appear for trial in a
case in which they face up to two years in jail if convicted.

      Police officers handling the matter indicated the journalists would be
tried in batches and the lot remanded to October yesterday is the first
batch to be summoned to court.

      "You now have to come back on October 12 for the trial," a police
officer, who only identified himself as detective inspector Mukunge, told
the journalists as they waited outside the Harare Magistrates' court
building. He added: "I am not sure when they (the remaining 23 journalists)
are going to be served with their summons . . . I am only dealing with this
batch of 21 journalists."

      In a case that illustrates concerted efforts by President Robert
Mugabe and his government to muzzle the Press, the state accuses the
journalists of violating its registration laws when they worked for the two
newspapers before they were forcibly shut down by the police in 2003.

      The police closed the two papers owned by local publishing company,
Associated Newspapers of Zimbabwe (ANZ), after the Supreme Court ruled that
they were operating illegally because they were not registered.

      Under the government's draconian Access to Information and Protection
of Privacy Act, both journalists and newspaper companies must register with
the government media commission to operate in Zimbabwe.

      Although the ANZ journalists had applied in 2002 to the commission for
registration, the state media watchdog refused to register them saying it
could not do so because the two newspapers they worked for were not

      The Supreme Court in March this year ordered the media commission to
review its 2003 decision not to register the ANZ papers. The commission has
not yet given the newspaper company permission to publish saying it is still
examining an application for registration resubmitted by the company
following the court order.

      Four newspapers have been forcibly shut down while more than a hundred
journalists have been arrested by the government since 2002 for breaching
various clauses of the tough Press Act. None have been convicted to date.

      At the time of its closure, the Daily News was Zimbabwe's largest
circulating non-government-owned daily.

      Apart from the strict registration laws, journalists in Zimbabwe can
also be jailed for criticizing President Robert Mugabe.

      World press rights watchdog, the Committee to Protect Journalists
rates Zimbabwe among the three most dangerous countries in the world for
journalists to work in. The other two are Iran and the former Soviet Union
republic of Uzbekistan. - ZimOnline

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Another side to a sad story

There is another side to the story of the evictions of low-income tenants of 'squatter settlements' in Zimbabwe and the destruction of informal markets, named "Operation
Murambatsvina" (drive out rubbish). I write it not because I support President Robert Mugabe or the Nazi-styled Zanu PF  party he leads. Far from it. I have no time for either and for those who know me and know something of my background, that will be sufficient reassurance. For those who don't, please take my word for it.
How did this current madness start?
If we go back to the 1980s we would be returning to a Zanu PF-encouraged mass movement of people from their rural areas to the then cities. Concurrently and consequently  we would be witnessing the wholesale destruction of trees and vegetation for miles around the new Harare. With hillsides stripped bare of any living material, ruling party spokesmen became accustomed to defending the issue by saying people needed wood for  building, warmth and cooking.
In their ignorance they were being complicit in creating what were to become the slums and squatter settlements of Harare.
We would also be returning to well supported political rallies, which occurred not only at weekends, but throughout the week - disrupting work schedules and resulting in significant production losses. Woe betide the employer who attempted to prevent or dissuade his labour force from attending. Their partisan report backs took care of him.
Woe betide anyone with guts enough to stand up and publicly condemn the practice. I did, under my own name, in the press. Replies and threats followed for months afterwards. They were obviously orchestrated, with various pseudonyms employing identical prose being used. They were received with the contempt they deserved.
We would also be returning to a great deal of change, much of which was designed to either disrupt or disturb the pattern of governance and norms of behaviour established over a long time. Reform was obviously necessary but the deliberate sabotage and destruction of a working infrastructure, was not.
In all of this, just about one hundred percent of the black population joined, mindlessly and enthusiastically - including those who are now reaping what they wantonly sowed. The whites who had remained in the country, stood aside. For the most part they stood aside mute.
Mute or not, we all watched the new government establishing sprawling high density townships cheek by jowl with the derisively referred to 'leafy' low density suburbs. In particular, we noted with a great deal of concern that an already stretched municipal infrastructure was being strained beyond its capacity by tens of thousands of 'immigrants' - for want of a better word.
Not one additional water storage dam was constructed apart from what was already in existence and the existing sewerage ponds were left to cope with an increasingly unmanageable burden.. They were left to cope not only with the human waste for which they had been designed, but with just about everything else you could think of, including some of the discarded human foetuses being produced by the ton between willing schoolgirls and the new arrivals on the market,  the Mercedes borne 'sugar daddies'.
The foundations for future ramshackle structures and shanty towns were also laid in the early 1980s. It was when bye-laws were altered to permit previously banned (sub-standard) building materials to be employed in the construction of human habitation. Subsequently, everything from sun-baked mud bricks to corrugated iron, plastic and plywood was employed in building structures that passed the scrutiny of the building inspectors just as fast as money changed hands in easing the process.
The demands of the traditional extended family led to other breakdowns. In the high density areas, relatively tiny stands began to accommodate additional 'rooms' in the form of fire-prone cabins, many of which were further sub-divided room by room and separated only by hanging clothing, a blanket or, at best a piece of plastic sheeting.
In the low density areas other blatant abuses were taking place and these have continued to this very day, despite legislation that decrees otherwise. In most of these particular areas title deeds include provisions as to the keeping of animals and the numbers of people expected to be accommodated. For example, most title deeds stipulate that a single dwelling house  will occupy a given stand - and that it will house but a single family.
This stricture used to be rigidly enforced - even shortly after independence. An acquaintance of mine built a house with two lounges, four bedrooms and twin kitchens, one gas run and one equipped for electricity. He ended up having to demolish part of it before a certificate of occupancy was granted - on the grounds that it was a dwelling designed for two families.
Meanwhile, in Borrowdale and various other 'leafy suburbs,' houses were either being purchased and 'renovated' or built from scratch on virgin land. Today I could show anyone interested at least one hundred monstrosities built within a radius of three kilometres of Sam Levy's Village - all of which are very clearly designed to accommodate between two and three substantial families. You only have to count the number of garages, entrances, chimneys, piping clusters and differing configurations to confirm this. Where are the inspectors? We all know where the bulldozers are.
Now the point of all this is not to carp, but to give readers an idea of the further extent that these abuses are affecting well out of date and overburdened municipal services ranging from the provision of water to the disposal of sewage and common household waste. In short, given the proliferation of obviously illegal structures and their tenants, given the existence of ill-disguised multi-households and their occupants, there are probably four or five people using and over-stretching basic facilities designed for one. It is why septic tanks overflow, sewage pipes burst and water supplies are reduced to a trickle.
If anything, rather than create employment in the rural areas, the ill-conceived and violently executed farm seizures of the new millennium, exacerbated these problems. The displaced and all too often expelled farm labourers, together with their usually large families, moved to where they could see the only opportunity to continue with their existence.
This was to the cities, now nominally expanded to include former small towns. Of course, the pack of cards principle had by then begun to take effect and city-based businesses which had traditionally relied on the commercial farming community for their very existence - collapsed. The anticipated employment opportunities were therefore either not there, or were fast closing.
And so the so-called informal sector, ever encouraged by government, grew. It grew alarmingly - well beyond the flea markets with which it had started. With more and more desperate people peddling more and more of the same variety of tomato, rape and sweet potato along any road you chose to walk or drive along, diversification entered the picture. In times of shortages, which have become as endemic as AIDS, anything from sugar to edible oil to fuel and foreign currency has been traded at these 'outlets'.
Cross-border trading, encouraged rather than discouraged, fuelled the parallel market and by its very nature created both a demand for forex and a shortage of it at anything but a high premium.
The sycophantic toadying by the disillusioned masses of Zanu PF and Mugabe has long gone. Successive voting patterns in a variety of elections  have made that clear. Yet many of these people who were until very recently sprawled across the cities  must have been the same people who in the 1980s destroyed woodlots wholesale  and  trees by the million. They were the blind following the myopic.
I have seen them to be the same people who for a quarter of a century now have illegally cultivated streambanks - even directly under 'No Cultivation' signs.
Three years ago I watched as a Landrover from Borrowdale police station made it's way into the heart of illegally cultivated maizelands alongside a streambed. When it re-emerged it was loaded to capacity with maize cobs. I guessed at the time that the uniformed and clearly corrupt passengers had collected their tithe.
In  such manner we approached a much lauded 'twenty-five years of independence and democracy' - trumpeted ad nauseum throughout each and every day by the ZBC. The hyperbole started months before the March 2005 elections and, par for the course,  even beyond them.
Despite the drama of having a daily countdown it  turned out to be a somewhat tarnished silver jubilee for one reason and another, but  it is now both a consequence and a matter of history  that Zanu PF obtained a disputed majority in the election process. During the course of this it was noted that the disloyal flotsam and jetsam of the clearly identifiable informal settlements had either voted against the party or had abstained from voting at all.
This disloyalty occurred despite the fact that all sorts of past manoeuvrings had been employed to allow anyone in the deliberately created cheek by jowl constituencies to vote (for Zanu PF) regardless of whether they were a property owner, a domestic worker or a 'squatter'. In this manner it was hoped that traditionally entrenched strongholds likely to support the opposition, would be neutralised. But, horror of horrors, it was not to be. And so  "Operation Murambatsvina" (drive out rubbish) was conceived. It was the same rubbish of course - just a little bit older. None the wiser though; its mistake had been to change  loyalties.
Over last weekend a spokesman for Zanu PF, Nathan Shamuyarira, said he had no doubts whatsoever that Zanu PF would emerge from Operation Murambatsvina with more support than ever. He was stating the obvious, of course. Already those being 'screened' en situ and identified as being of the ruling party, are being re-allocated space. The rest will be shipped off to the rural areas where they will be re-educated as to which political party they need to support if they and their families are to survive.
Finally, in the 'leafy suburb' of Borrowdale where I have lived for the past thirty odd years, there has been a remarkable change in atmosphere.
The cheek by jowl Hatcliffe extension created by an irresponsible government without thought to health or other consequences is no more; the plastic shacks in the nearby vlei have gone. Their occupants are nowhere to be seen. The masses of humanity flogging anything from stone carvings to US dollars are conspicuous by their collective absence.
The streets and the drains used as rubbish receptacles and toilets appear to be cleaner with every day that passes. Recent strong winds have assisted the process.
Police foot patrols have reappeared on the streets after an absence of years, albeit for all the wrong reasons. I think they must be around at nights too because for the past week or so I have not been able to sleep that well. I keep waking up. What wakes me? It is the absolute silence.
I have become used to co-existing throughout the night with a good deal of background sound. It is no longer there. There is no sound from transient pedestrians at all, so presumably there are no transient pedestrians.
Because of the ongoing fuel shortage there are few cars to disturb the night, so there is no hooting either. A criminal element had operated with impunity in and around the suburb for some considerable time. As in all other suburbs, if reports are to be believed.
Our neighbours on both sides have suffered burglaries; on the one side  our aged neighbours were robbed with violence, threatened with death and tied up at knife and gunpoint. These people, who were in their eighties  lost everything they had material in the world. The beaten up man died shortly after and probably as a consequence.
Up and down the road the picture has been much the same, with daily reports coming in. We always knew when the next day would bring certain news of further intrusions because on those particular nights the sound of house and perimeter alarms would be more frequent than usual, while dogs dispersed over a widely contiguous area would signal their own alarm. Once or twice a week we would be woken by the sound of gunshots in the immediate vicinity. Usually two or three, followed by quiet. Now there is nothing. No alarms. No dogs. No gunshots. I have to put this down to Operation Murambatsvina. There can be no other explanation.
So, that is the other side of the story. It is one that the ever-present do gooders might take note of, although they are unlikely to. In a way they would be right, because it is the inhumane manner in which government has undertaken this exercise, which rankles any right minded person. It is also the timing of it, given the bitter winter weather we are experiencing. Above all though it is because for twenty-five years the very same government that we continue to be cursed with has encouraged and indeed created the conditions it now professes it wants to remedy. Needless to say, it either cannot, or won't, explain its rationale.  
I conclude with a quote attributed to Eric Hoffer:
"People who bite the hand that feeds them usually lick the boot that kicks them."
This is exactly how Mugabe sees it,  for the rag-tag informal element, who are now being kicked, have in the not so distant past been quite happy with the patronage of Zanu-PF in despoiling other peoples' lives and living space. Now that their usefulness as a means to an end is over they are getting the boot. Mugabe  has the parliamentary majority he has so long craved and can act with even greater impunity in his own space. And he will.
The povo are being returned to their often-quoted  roots. Let us hope they can find enough edible ones in the ravished countryside sufficient for them to chew on and contemplate this turn of events. For the rest of us, who knows?
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Battle to survive
Written by 7DAYS  |  Tuesday, 14 June 2005

Zimbabwean doctors condemned a government campaign to clear shacks from the
cities, saying as many as one million people might have been made homeless
and expressing particular concern about AIDS victims among those affected.
"The campaign has targeted the poorest members of our community ... simply
trying to survive," said yesterday's statement from the 300-member Zimbabwe
Doctors for Human Rights, adding its voice to an outpouring of international
and domestic outcry over what the government calls an urban cleanup

The UN estimates at least 200,000 people have been left homeless by police
who have burned or demolished their shacks. At least 30,000 street vendors
have been arrested and their kiosks destroyed in a simultaneous campaign
against the traders the government calls economic saboteurs.

Zimbabwe Doctors for Human Rights said up to one million people might be
"sleeping in the open air among the ruins of their homes ... as they have
nowhere else to go." State radio said yesterday the demolition campaign,
which began May 19, continued in Harare and Bulawayo. Police urged residents
not to resist as bulldozers and paramilitary police armed with assault
rifles moved to destroy their homes.

"This brutal action has precipitated a humanitarian crisis against a
backdrop of severe food shortages and 70 per cent unemployment levels. In
addition, approximately 25 per cent of the sexually active population is
infected with HIV," the doctors said. The doctors group said 760,000
Zimbabwean children had been orphaned by AIDS and many of these were now
victims of Mugabe's Operation Murambatsvina or "Drive out Trash."

The doctors said those forced from their homes included families headed by
children or grandparents because of AIDS deaths. In one northern Harare
neighbourhood, it said, those evicted included 103 HIV-positive adults who
had been receiving medication at a clinic that had been forced to close. The
main opposition Movement for Democratic Change party and other critics
allege the campaign is aimed at punishing the urban poor for supporting the
opposition and at forcing them to move to rural areas dominated by the
ruling party so they might be more easily controlled.

7DAYS has been sent this cry for help, which was written in the last few
days by Sister Patricia Walsh of the Dominican Order of the Catholic Church
in Zimbabwe.

"Family and friends thank you for your telephone calls, your e-mails And all
your support and encouragement in these dreadful days and hours - it is a
great help. The International Press says that the police are destroying
"illegal structures" in Zimbabwe. Let me share with you a little of what is
very legal but has been destroyed. In 1992 many thousands of people were put
into a holding camp at a place called Hatcliffe Extension.

They were not allowed to build permanent structures because this was going
to be temporary. In 1995 one of our student Sisters, Tarisai Zata was a
student at the School of Social Work and was doing some studies for her
degree. One evening she came back Home and said: "We must do something to
help these people to live like human beings" and that was the beginning of
the Dominican Missionary Sisters involvement in Hatcliffe.

We have worked with the people there for the past ten years, peoples of all
religions and none, people of all political persuasions and none. Over the
years through the generosity of you all we were able to sink eight
boreholes, help to feed thousands of people, build and run a crèche for AIDS
orphans  - 180 of them.

We visited once a week and two of our nursing Sisters, Gaudiosa and Carina
treated people, helped to get about 100 People on to an anti-retroviral
medicine programmes etc do home based care, took people to hospitals etc.
The people of Hatcliffe have become friends and family of us the Dominican

Yes, some people had moved in illegally, but the majority were there because
they were put there and were repeatedly told that they would be moved to a
better place at some time. On Friday morning last week I got a call that the
riot police had come into a section of the area and demolished everything -
most of the wooden shacks are just broken to pieces.

I went out on Friday and Saturday - people were sleeping out in the open,
many of them sick, cold and hungry. On Saturday I visited again some had
managed to leave (those who have Z$500 000 - and have some relatives in
"legal" places").

On Sunday morning I got a call that the police had given instructions that
all structures in the original section have to be demolished within 24
hours, including the crèche, clinic and other structures which we had built
with and for the people. Where do I get people on Sunday to come and
dismantle all the buildings? I decided to wait until Monday.

On Sunday evening I received one phone call after another saying "come quick
They are going to kill us" - others would say "don't come you might be
killed". Early on Monday morning I drove out to Hatcliffe. Already in the
distance I could only see smoke rising up - nothing else. I arrived, I wept,
Sister Carina was with me, she wept.

The people tried to console us - they were ALL outside in the midst of their
broken houses, furniture and goods all over the place, children screaming,
sick people In agony. Some of the people who are on ARV drugs came to us and
said "We are phoning Sister Gaudiosa (Sister is doing the ARV programme) but
she is not answering us, we are going to die".

We explained that Sister was on home leave but that we would help in
whatever way we could. It was a heartbreaking situation. The structures that
we the Dominican Sisters were working from were left untouched but had to be
dismantled immediately otherwise they too would be destroyed. Sister Balbina
from the House of Adoration came with carpenters and other staff members and
started dismantling the structures.

We are distributing all of them to people who have nothing, they will be OK
if we leave them lying on the ground. Some friends arranged for a crane to
come in to lift out two containers where we had medicine and food stored -
it was one of the saddest days of my life. How does one say that Peter aged
ten and his little brother (John) aged four (not their real names) are

We had provided them with a wooden hut when their mother was dying. These
two little people had their little home destroyed in the middle of the
night. When we get there they are sitting crying in the rubbish (that was
their home until Sunday) - what do we do with them? They are only one
example of the many vulnerable orphans whose little lives are destroyed.

Veronica (not her real name) is an elderly widow who is chronically ill
herself, she has three young grandchildren from her dead daughter - her home
is destroyed. She is wearing a Rosary beads around her neck, an apron with
the picture of the Sacred Heart and a tee shirt with President Mugabe's
photo - she has tried all means to survive!

Some people came and said: "Sister there are two people who are dying.
Please come." One of them Mary (not her real name) who is out in the open
all night lying on an old damp mattress can't move with pain, she has
shingles, which is open and bleeding. What is worse her tears or her
bleeding wounds?

I felt/feel paralysed. Anne (not her real name) delivered a baby a week ago,
she is critically ill and is on the verge of death. What do we do with her?
We give her pain killers, we give her blankets, we give her food (which she
is unable to eat) - what is going to happen to her baby?

Some of you have asked if I am safe, don't worry we are well "protected" by
the riot police who are cruising around this disaster area all day. I was so
relieved to see them eating sugar cane which means that they are not hungry
and will have the strength to "protect us". I don't for a minute believe
that they accepted this sugar cane from "illegal people" on an "illegal

A grandmother asks - "Sister why has God abandoned us?

I do not try to answer. People call out "Sisters pray for us". An emergency
taxi (mini bus) stands in the middle of this "war zone" with the words "God
is Faithful" written on it! Just now we are going back there with food,
clothing, medicine and cash, we can only try. I am NOT cold, I am NOT hungry
but I am very ANGRY. I pray that this will pass.

We stand in shock and cry with the people but we also have to try to keep
them alive. When will sanity prevail. Where is the outside world? Busy
talking about a "NO vote by France." How can the "little ones of this world
be brutalised in this way" - their only crime - they are poor, they are
helpless and they happen to live In the wrong part of town and in a country
that does not have oil and is not very important to the West.

PRAY FOR US. God bless and reward you for your concern."
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Opposing Mugabe 'no easy task'
John Simpson
By John Simpson
BBC world affairs editor

It seemed almost inevitable that last week's strike in protest against the bulldozing of illegal housing in Harare and elsewhere would be a flop.

Opposing President Robert Mugabe is not easy.

Group protesting against Zimbabwe government
Protesting against the government requires a lot of courage

The media in Zimbabwe, now entirely under the strictest of controls, carried no mention of the strikes.

The main opposition party, the Movement for Democratic Change, joined in only the day before they were due to take place.

The police warned that they would attack any street protests ruthlessly.

That meant they would shoot people down in the streets if necessary.

So coming out in protest required serious courage. And in any society - let alone a quiet, essentially gentle one like Zimbabwe - not many people are prepared to become martyrs.

Even those who are, know that their efforts will often be vitiated.

President Mugabe's men have infiltrated every opposition group inside Zimbabwe.

The police know what they are planning as soon as they have reached agreement.

This infiltration has now spread to Britain, where government supporters appear at opposition meetings and sometimes openly threaten the people there.

Mr Mugabe, sensing his opponents' weakness, attacked them last week in the only places where they matter: the capital, Harare, and two or three other centres of population.

By bulldozing the ramshackle huts which illegal street-traders have built for themselves, he was striking a blow at the people who hate him most.

The police forced some people at gunpoint to pull down their own houses.

Market traders

Thirty thousand people are thought to have been arrested.

The traders have often drifted to the cities because of the collapse of the rural economy.

They deal in black market goods, especially sugar, and act as illegal money-changers, where people can turn the rands and pounds and dollars which their friends abroad send them into Zimbabwean currency.

And they usually provide the foot-soldiers for any anti-government demonstrations which may be going.

Now, they have to live rough in the cold of the southern hemisphere winter.

Eventually, many will start drifting back home.

It is another victory for Mr Mugabe.

As ever, he has an impressive explanation: "The current chaotic state of affairs where small- to medium-scale enterprises operated outside the regulatory framework and in undesignated and crime-ridden areas could not be countenanced much longer," he declared.

I have met and interviewed Robert Mugabe on various occasions over the years.

He likes giving his opinions, but you sense as he listens to your questions that he has little but contempt for you.

The outside world shows little serious interest in Zimbabwe, beyond indulging in occasional ritual condemnation of him

He is used to feeling cleverer and more articulate than anyone he comes into contact with - and he despises those he thinks are less intelligent than he is.

Which happens to be most people.

As a result he has done as he likes with Zimbabwe, wrecking the lives of most of its inhabitants.

So far he has got away with it.

His ministers and his security chiefs are not necessarily evil people, though many of them have become corrupt through serving him.

If it were not for him, most would probably be reasonable enough public servants.

He dominates them utterly. They find themselves, one of his former ministers told me, tongue-tied and stupid in his presence.

It is impossible to argue with him, even if anyone dared to do so.

Free society

So what can the outside world do about a man who ruins his own country and murders his own people, yet cannot apparently be dislodged from within?

No-one is going to invade Zimbabwe, that is for sure. After all, it does not possess oil. South Africa, which could bring down Mr Mugabe through economic pressure if it chose, has clearly decided to do nothing of the sort.

In any decent, free society, the Mugabe government's actions would be regarded as a serious crime against human rights.

The entire resources of a once wealthy state have been used to enslave it and make it destitute.

Robert Mugabe has not done all this on his own. Without his ministers, his civil servants, his policemen and soldiers, his regime would collapse.

Police officers in Zimbabwe patrolling on a farm
Many 'illegal' street traders have come from rural areas

The outside world shows little serious interest in Zimbabwe, beyond indulging in occasional ritual condemnation of him.

France has moderately friendly relations with him still.

And although the Catholic hierarchy in Zimbabwe has been among his bravest opponents, the Vatican still managed to give him international recognition by inviting him to the funeral of Pope John Paul II.

If the international community cared about Zimbabwe, it would try the president and his senior officials in absentia for their crimes.

This would be a salutary reminder that serving an octogenarian with no clear successor is a short-term and dangerous thing to do. The day of reckoning is coming closer.

There would be no shortage of evidence, from President Mugabe's appalling massacres in Matabeleland in the 1980s right down to the present day.

Short of a national uprising, there is probably no stopping Robert Mugabe, who has slaughtered so many of his people and ruined the lives of the rest.

But if his closest supporters understood that they would have to pay the price for his crimes, they might be less willing to serve him so slavishly.

If you would like to comment on John Simpson's article, please send us your views using the form below.

Your comments:

There is a major problem in that there is no viable and strong opposition in Zimbabwe. The MDC is opposition of sorts, but to many, the party is neither ready nor fit to govern. Maybe, better the devil you know. The last elections have cemented the fact that Mugabe will have a grip on Zimbabwe until the day he dies, even if he does retire in 2008! The scariest bit is that even those who wish to replace him from within his party do not come across as being the sort of people who will make a change for Zimbabwe. The people of Zimbabwe are a gentle and hardworking people as can be seen in the many NHS hospitals in this country. If they weren't, Ian Smith may not have lasted as long as he did! Like a lot of other African countries, Zimbabwe is going to have to hit rock bottom before it has a chance to bounce back and that will be when a new community minded and honest group (probably presently unknown) win control. After Zimbabwe, watch out for Namibia and South Africa ! to have their growing pains.
Benjamin, Birmingham, UK (previously Harare, Zimbabwe)

What utter propaganda from John Simpson! This is the same kind of rhetoric and demonizing that got the US into trouble in Iraq. The people of Zimbabwe are not stupid, nor weaklings. They in their majority have accepted and voted for their government, warts and all. Those who complain are mostly disgruntled 'Rhodie' whites, misinformed foreigners and general malcontents with power-hunger ambitions. All this because Mugabe had the courage to take back land that was stolen from the people of Zimbabwe. Let us not ignore the psychological impact of that on Africans. Do you not wonder why he gets a standing ovation wherever he goes in Africa? You cannot orchestrate that kind of reaction. All this comes down to is Western fury at the loss of white privilege and the subversive example that creates.
George Dash, Canada

I'm afraid that my respect for Nelson Mandela has fallen enormously as a result of his inactivity over Zimbabwe. No one in the South African government can seriously believe that Mugabe rules through the democratic will of the people. They can do something about it (any intervention by the UK would be dismissed as racist, of course). And the fact that they haven't is a very sad indictment. After so many years of the wrongs of the empire and UDI, you can understand why some think that any form of self rule is better than what preceded it, but, in this case, that is clearly not true.
Richard Morris, UK

John Simpson is an astute and analytical observer. It is a pity though that even though he recognizes the problem of the generality of Zimbabweans, he can not pass any policy on how outside governments can bail out the masses. A number of Western countries are not able at all to confront the Zimbabwean situation because they have nothing to gain. If there was oil in Zimbabwe, or any other interests of the Western world, we would have seen an immediate intervention long time ago. Zimbabwe today is a sad state. It is shameful for anyone to identify himself/herself as Zimbabwean as this would automatically render feelings of resentment and abhorrence. How long will the whole world watch from a distance without taking steps to make sure that such dictatorship is not allowed to prevail?
Sikhulile Nyathi, United Kingdom

Mr Simpson is right in saying the Zimbabweans are a quite and gentle group and it is for that very reason that they need the help of the outside, more able world to help them through this catastrophe. The world has watched for far too long as the independent press has been shut down, a lot of people have moved out and I hope it will not take another 'Sudan' for the world to help out. I'm sure with the help of BBC and the likes of Mr Simpson we will get that help soon
Roberto Chirasha, Washington DC, USA ex Harare

As a Zimbabwean in the 'diaspora', John Simpson's article hit the nail on the head. The world is indeed in a sorry state when a man like Mugabe is allowed to continue his dictatorial oppression unabated - simply because the country does not possess anything of 'value' to the international community. Well, here's a different example: how about the thousands upon thousands of wild animals, supposedly protected and most of them endangered, that have been slaughtered as a direct result of Mugabe's land-grab policies. Were those not worth saving?
Justin Marabini, London, UK

Mugabe should realise that 1980 was light years ago, and despite his academic intelligence, none of his policies have been implemented in reality with any dialogue, sensitivity, scale or appropriateness. He has perfected partisan self-exculpation and morbid self-justification to a fine level. Zimbabwe will probably undergo a second Chimurenga revolution between the state beneficiaries and the dispossessed. South Africa is seeing the crystal ball; the honeymoon is over.
DJ, Kingston, Canada

John Simpson's article is the most informed and insightful of any I have read about Zimbabwe. We who live here, long for change and to be part of the world again. It seems it is not ever going to happen.
Susan, Harare, Zimbabwe

This is true about Mugabe. He has a low regard of anyone especially if you are not a member of his tribe as shown by his previous statements that in a certain suburb of Harare that resides totem less people (in reference to citizens of Malawian origin). If he is that clever, have we ever heard the history of his father. Let us have it.
EJ, Harare, Zimbabwe

Illegal housing? Imagine the police with guns and dogs raiding the back gardens of houses in the Home Counties in England and burning all the garden sheds and glass houses. The purpose is fear and intimidation of those struggling to survive. To remind them that any uprising would be stopped with unlimited force. Mugabe's failed his people, his country...
Sisi, UK

In addition to Simpson's observations, it is important to note that Mugabe has been nourished on a political diet of flattery, sycophancy and shameless praise-singing. He now thinks he is a demigod beyond human error. Mugabe is impervious to any reason from any quota. His case is typical of all dictators - militarising the state, abuse of the police, lavishly rewarding his cronies, intimidating the population using the cruel Central Intelligence Organisation, and also personalising the presidency. Because of his greed for power and wealth, when he dies, his sycophants are going to go for each other's throats, creating more confusion.
Chenjerai Hove, Stavanger, Norway

Because you are unable to control Zimbabwe like a stooge, you call him all names. How was Zimbabwe, then Rhodesia, governed under Ian Smith? Blacks were killed everyday or doesn't that matter. I wish we in Africa had lots of Robert Mugabes. Stooges like Morgan Tsvangirai are a disgrace to Africa.
Kwasi Pabi, Accra, Ghana

The Simpson article, like most compiled by members of the western media about African leaders can best be described by just one word, nonsense. We Africans appreciate the concern of the outside world regarding issues in Africa but don't like people calling our leaders murderers. President Mugabe is a true African patriot and people hate him because he is not afraid to speak his mind.
Philip Buchanan, Morrisville, PA, USA

Thank you for this report. It's true. Mr Simpson you are the only one out there who cares for us Zimbabweans today. My friends and church mates will be sleeping outside because the destroyers are in my area. My question is: Where is the organisation called the United Nations if it's also for us. If possible tell its officials that they don't care. Shame on them. Maybe America might come to our help. But most of all we still have hope in God. May the world pray for us. Mr Simpson may God bless you.
Anonymous, Harare

I think there is another element that Mr Simpson did not mention: Any action by the western world to rectify this issue would be seen by sub-Sahara Africa as potentially racialist. After all, very few nations other than the United Kingdom give any coverage to the mismanagement of Zimbabwe.
John Cole, USA

John Simpson's report does not have anything new, which has not been said before. In a recent African poll Robert Mugabe came third in the greatest African ever because taking the land from the white minority was one of the greatest acts of the 20th century by an African. Greater than Mandela being made president.
Derrick Kerr, London, England

John Simpson is right - Zimbabwe has no oil or significant mineral wealth so is of no interest to the First world. However, I don't understand why full sanctions were imposed on the Ian Smith government for lesser crimes than Mr Mugabe is committing, come on the First world you have to put a stop to his nonsense!
Samantha Smit, Lusaka, Zambia

I just cannot understand why countries of the civilised world stand by and let his tyrant rule, we go into Iraq, Afghanistan, why not Zimbabwe?
Alan Bailey, New Mills, UK

Mr John Simpson's article about Zimbabwe is journalism at its best. He told the truth that the conventional press hides. My best wishes for Mr John Simpson.
Roberto Alvarez, Miami, Florida

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Mail and Guardian

            Out in the cold

            Haru Mutasa | Harare

            13 June 2005 09:00

                  It's 10am and Chengetayi* removes the metal teapot from
the fire under the winter sky. It is chilly and her two youngest boys are
still lying on an old mattress, bundled under blankets. "For a week it has
been like this," says their mother. "Thank God it is not raining yet. It was
very cold last night."

                  Ten days ago, the mother of four watched her life crumble
as bull-dozers grazed on her prized possession in her family home. It may
have been just a one-roomed shack loosely put together with home-made bricks
and scrap metal, but it was her home.

                  She was given 24-hours' notice to evacuate her home in
terms of Zanu-PF's Operation Marambatsvina (drive out rubbish).

                  At first she did not believe it. Reality hit when she
heard the howls of her women neighbours, as their dwellings were ripped
apart by the metal-mouthed machines. She managed to haul most of her
belongings outside before the bulldozer arrived at her door. Those who were
out at work had their homes and everything they possessed crushed to a pulp.
Some residents opted to tear down their own homes so that their precious
building material was not damaged.

                  Until they can find somewhere else to go, Chengetayi's
family sleeps out in the open. Her eyes are bloodshot from lack of sleep.
She stays awake at night, keeping an eye on her children and their
belongings. Three single beds, a chest of drawers, an old TV set and an even
older gramophone line the road where their house used to stand.

                  "My husband wasn't here last night," she says with
irritation. "He said he went to look for a place for us to stay, but he
probably went off to that bar up the road. I was afraid to fall asleep by
myself. People have no hearts here and would easily steal my food and the
few belongings I have. They might even rape my two eldest daughters."

                  The once vibrant, sprawling township of Mbare is now
barren and desolate. Desperate parents try to palm their children off on
relatives until a solution is found. For many, the only option is to return
to the rural areas and try and eke out a living from subsistence farming.
But, with the country in the grip of drought and a food shortage looming,
this seems optimistic.

                  Chengetayi has no choice but to move her family to Mutoko,
the rural home of her husband's family. She cannot afford to hire a truck to
transport her belongings and her only hope is that she will find other
families travelling in the same direction so they can split the cost.

                  She knows there are no jobs where she plans to go. Her
children will have to be taken out of their school and there is no guarantee
they will get a place at the school in Mutoko.

                  "We have always been poor but at least I knew my family
had a house to come back to at the end of the day. I thought we were settled
in Harare," she weeps. "Now we are starting all over again. Had it been my
husband and I it would not have been so bad, but it's unfair on my children.
They do not deserve this."

                  The Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) believes the
operation is a ploy by the ruling Zanu-PF to punish urban residents for
voting for the opposition party in the recent parliamentary elections where
the ruling party was decisively trounced in the cities. "Overnight, Zimbabwe
has a massive internal refugee population in its urban areas," says MDC
leader Morgan Tsvangirai.

                  The International Crisis Group (ICG), an NGO involved in
conflict resolution, estimates that 30 000 people have been arrested in the
current crackdown and 200 000 have been displaced.

                  Sydney Masamvu, of the ICG, says that the operation is
also about the "politics of demographics". He says the aim is to depopulate
urban constituencies ahead of the 2008 elections and recreate a rural
peasantry in which voters are brought under the control of chiefs and

                  Added to the approximate one million farm workers
displaced during farm invasions, Zimbabwe's internal refugee population is
now between four million and five million.

                  * Not her real name

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Mail and Guardian

      Zim's dodgy forex

      Godwin Gandu | Harare

      13 June 2005 09:00

            The Zimbabwe government sourced foreign currency on the black
market to fund "sensitive" projects to do with "national security" even as
it clamped down on the private sector for doing so, a Mail & Guardian
investigation has revealed. President Robert Mugabe's presidential trips
abroad, the procurement of indelible ink from Switzerland prior to the
disputed 2002 presidential poll and cash-strapped parastatals benefited from
this practice.

            "The Central Bank was dry and the only source of income were
local banks, which even ended up paying the salaries of diplomats," a
government source told the M&G.

            The man who engineered the scheme is the Central Bank Governor
Gideon Gono, who was the CE of the Commercial Bank of Zimbabwe (CBZ) at the

            This came to light in court last week at the high-profile trial
of former finance minister Chris Kuruneri, who is facing seven charges of
externalising foreign currency.

            Gono, who was testifying for the state told the Harare High
Court last Friday: "The bank that I was involved with was at the centre of
rescue missions for this country."

            He had arranged for Kuruneri to provide US$500 000 of his
personal funds to the CBZ in February 2002. Other commercial banks and
influential individuals in the government and the private sector -
identities known to the M&G - were allegedly also tapped to raise
much-needed foreign exchange.

            Kuruneri was the Zanu-PF MP for Mazowe. He was arrested at the
residence of Police Commissioner Augustine Chihuri last year.

            Gono refused to divulge how Kuruneri's money was used stating
that such information was "protected under the Official Secrets Act", but
conveyed that he was "grateful" for his assistance.

            According to Gono's testimony, it "saved the country from a
potential national catastrophe".

            Kuruneri was "given back his money in another form" four months
later and deposited it in an Absa account in South Africa, the court heard.
He used it to finance a R5-million house in Cape Town .

            Kuruneri's defence advocate, Jonathan Samkange, upped the stakes
last week when he applied to the court for CBZ to produce foreign currency
suspense accounts, individual inward foreign currency accounts, outward
foreign currency ledger books and foreign currency account ledger books for

            "If the CBZ had produced the documents," an M&G source said, "it
would have exposed how CBZ partici-pated on the illegal parallel market."

            "Gono would have had to explain deposits and several prominent
individuals would have been implicated."

            Officials from the President's Office, Zimbabwe Electricity
Supply Authority and the National Oil Company of Zimbabwe would have been
called to explain "questionable foreign currency transactions", the source

            But hours after Samkange lodged the application last week,
Kuruneri was taken from the Harare Central Prison to a meeting at an
undisclosed venue. A senior intelligence official, the M&G is reliably
informed, told Vice-President Joyce Mujuru of the developments and she
personally "advised Kuruneri of the repercussions of having the documents
his lawyer had applied for released".

            That same evening Samkange was summonsed to court where, in the
company of three prison officials and three intelligence officials, he was
instructed by Kuruneri to drop the application. Samkange duly complied.

            The M&G has learnt that Gono was also under investigation but
had "explained himself to the president". On June 3 he told the court
"extraordinary circumstances sometimes demand extraordinary dealings."

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Zim Standard

Child killed in clean-up
By Bertha Shoko and Linda Tetsere

THE government's controversial clean-up operation took an ugly turn last
week when a child died in Tafara after a wall, that police had partially
destroyed, collapsed on her, while in another case, police ordered mourners
to take a corpse out of a house in Bindura before it was razed to the

Two-year-old Charmaine Nyika died on Wednesday in Old Tafara the day police
stormed the high-density suburb ordering residents to destroy illegal
cottages and tuck shops.
Charmaine's mother, Lavender Nyika, is distraught.

"I did not imagine this operation reaching the extent of taking away my
daughter's life. It really pains me to keep on remembering that she is no
more just because of the ill-planned operation," sobbed the grief stricken

The clean-up operation code-named Murambatsvina has also spread to
peri-urban and rural areas.

Last week the government rolled out the clean-up operation, destroying
property and "illegal" structures in Murehwa, Nyazura, Makoni, Seke and
parts of Mashonaland Central and West provinces.

In Bindura's Kitsiyatota mining compound a family, that requested anonymity
for fear of further victimisation, said they were mourning their dead
relative when police ordered them to take body out of the house before
torching the building.

"They told us to remove the body and threatened to burn it (the body) if we
did not comply," said one family at Shanai Compound.

At Chimoio, another compound at Kitsiyatota, police allegedly almost burnt
terminally ill Chawaira Mbadzo, who was bedridden in one of the houses
(picture on page 2).

His mother, Delia Mbadzo, was away at the time of the demolitions but
noticed thick smoke coming from her kitchen. Delia said: "Smoke was coming
out of the house so I ran towards it. I knew I had left Chawaira sleeping in
there. I managed to drag him out, because I could not lift him, before the
fire spread to the rest of the house." She lost all her belongings during
the demolitions.

Chawaira, who has been ill for nearly a year, was due for a review on the
day disaster struck.

In the pandemonium, Charity Mutasa, from the same compound, went into
premature labour and gave birth to a baby girl. She said: "I have never
slept in the open all my life and I was so depressed on that day that I went
into labour. I haven't had time to even think of a name for her."

The displaced families have been sleeping in the open for the past week at
Kitsiyatota mining compound on the outskirts of Bindura town in Mashonaland

Distraught evictees, mostly descendants of emigrants from Malawi and
Mozambique who survive mostly on illegal gold panning in a nearby disused
mine, told The Standard the police action was "insensitive and brutal".

The evictees said police gave them less than four hours to remove their
belongings before their houses were torched and razed to the ground.

There are fears of disease outbreak in areas where people are staying in the
open and are using the bush for ablutions.

Meanwhile the situation at Caledonia Farm, a holding camp for those
displaced in Harare,has been described as "pathetic". The families are
overcrowded and there are no health facilities.

The operation has left vulnerable groups more exposed and confronting death
from starvation and disease, triggering outrage from various human rights
organisations and the international community.

The Zimbabwe Catholic Bishops' Conference (ZCBC) said it found it hard that
government could "unleash such violence" on innocent civilians.

The Zimbabwe Association of Doctors for Human Rights (ZADHR) said it
deplored in the "strongest possible terms" the ongoing operation that has
displaced thousands of families.
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Zim Standard

Alliance plans street demos
By Foster Dongozi

THE convenor and spokesperson of the Broad Alliance, which called for last
week's two-day stayaway, Lovemore Madhuku, yesterday suggested more active
campaigns against the government in order to force it to stop demolishing
people's homes and market stalls.

In an interview with The Standard, Madhuku said contrary to reports, last
Thursday and Friday's stay away had been successful.
Madhuku said: "The stay away was largely successful, especially on Thursday
because the people heeded our call not to go to work. This was all despite
the fact that there was a lot of State intimidation."

He said although the people stayed away, businesses had been arm-twisted
into opening to give the impression that all was well.

The Broad Alliance is a coalition comprising the opposition Movement for
Democratic Change, the National Constitutional Assembly, Crisis Coalition,
the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions and other pro-democracy groups opposed
to the government's combined Operation Restore Order/Murambatsvina, which
they say is a form of punishment against urban residents after they
overwhelmingly voted for the MDC during the 31 March general elections.

"It is time that more robust but peaceful means of demonstrating our disgust
at the government's insensitivity to the people were adapted to the
situation prevailing on the ground."

Yesterday, members of the Broad Alliance were locked up in a day-long
meeting to analyse the effect of the stay away and to plot a way forward.

Meanwhile, Madhuku said six members of the NCA leadership in Bulawayo were
arrested and detained by police on Friday, while their offices were
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Zim Standard

More MDC supporters barred from buying maize
By our own staff

SUPPORTERS of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) in Insiza,
Matabeleland South province and in Zaka West in Masvingo province, are being
denied access to buy maize meal by ruling Zanu-PF party officials in the
district, the party alleges.

The opposition party said last week that about 250 MDC supporters were
prevented from buying food by Zanu PF officials at the Avoca Grain
Marketiang Board (GMB) depot in Insiza.
The MDC told The Standard that the officials were led by former Radio
Zimbabwe presenter, Malaki Nkomo, who had taken over the sale of the
commodity at the GMB Avoca depot where maize was being sold to the
residents, some of whom had come from as far a field as Mberengwa.

It was not immediately possible to reach Nkomo for a comment over the past
few days.

The MDC said its councillor for Ward 7, Matilda Dube, who was supposed to be
part of the team that was responsible for the food distribution was left
out, without a valid explanation.

When she protested why only Zanu PF supporters were being allowed to buy
maize, Nkomo allegedly threatened her, the MDC said.

"In the end all known MDC supporters went away empty-handed as they were not
allowed to purchase the grain," according to the MDC.

However, senior ruling party officials in Matabeleland said they were not
aware of the developments.

"I have not yet received a report to that effect, you can check with my
other colleagues," said Sikhanyiso Ndlovu, Zanu-PF's secretary for
education. Former home affairs minister, Dumiso Dabengwa, also said he had
not yet received reports to that effect, and referred reporters to Naison
Khutshwekhaya Ndlovu, a Central Committee member in Insiza.

Ndlovu was not immediately available for comment.

In Zaka West, the MDC supporters alleged that after getting the maize from
GMB, ruling party officials would in turn resell it to opposition party
supporters at exorbitant prices.

The partisan distribution of maize in Masvingo province also affects people
who were attached to the Zimbabwe Election Support Network (Zesn) as
observers during the 31 March parliamentary elections.

MDC supporters and Zesn local observers, who spoke to The Standard said they
were buying a 50kg bag of maize for $200 000 from Zanu officials in Zaka
West's Ward 17.

A 50kg bag of maize sells for $ 100 000.

Hilda Machipisa, a known MDC activist, said: "At first they barred us from
buying grain from GMB but now they have realised that we are desperately in
need of food because of the poor harvest, the officials (Zanu PF) are
exploiting us by selling maize, which they buy cheaply, at high price. Some
of us can not afford the price."

Abraham Matimbe, who was a Zesn observer in the March elections, said he
bought the maize because his family was on the verge of starvation.

Another observer, Miriam Bangure said: "This is not only to fix suspected
MDC supporters but reflects high levels of corruption in Zanu PF ranks."

Zesn national director, Rindai Chipfunde-Vava, confirmed that their members
were constantly being harassed for having observed the elections.

Chipfunde-Vava said: "We have received reports not only from Masvingo but
also from Manicaland and Mashonaland East. Most of the people say they are
always questioned why they observed the election and whether they are not
members of the opposition party whenever they are about to receive food

She said the organisation condemned the harassment of its members, adding
that people should just tolerate each regardless of political affiliation.

But Masvingo provincial administrator, Felix Chikovo, dismissed the

He said: "We have not received such reports yet, but I don't think it is
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Zim Standard

Warrant of arrest for minister
By Foster Dongozi

THE Deputy Minister of Economic Development, Samuel Undenge, faces arrest
after the magistrate's court in Harare issued a warrant of arrest after he
failed to pay maintenance for his two children with his estranged wife,

The warrant of arrest was issued on Wednesday after Undenge allegedly failed
to pay a cumulative bill of $36 million for the maintenance of his children
back-dated to March.
However, police had not arrested the minister by Friday afternoon.

Through his lawyers, Muzangaza, Mandaza and Tomana, Undenge made a payment
of $10 500 000.00 on Friday as part payment.

"Our client paid $2 million in March 2005, and a similar amount in April
2005, which leaves the sum of $14 million as due at the end of May 2005. Of
this, $6 million is for May 2005 while $8 million is arrears. Our client
proposes to settle the arrears in instalments of $2 million in May, $3
million in June 2005 and $3 million in July 2005," reads part of a letter
written to Lewis Uriri, Mrs Undenge's lawyer at Honey and Blanckenberg

Meanwhile, Undenge has apologised to the Maintenance Court after he gave
misleading statements in his ongoing maintenance and divorce case.

On 18 May, Undenge told the maintenance court that other than his official
wife, Angeline, and their two children, he had no other dependants.

However, the following day, he filed an affidavit with the court, reversing
his earlier statements made under oath.

"On the 18th May 2005 in court and under oath, I am advised that I stated
that I did not have any dependants besides the two children with the
applicant (Angeline).

"This is not the position for I do have two other minor children. My answers
in court may have been caused by the confusion with answering questions
about whether I had re-married, which I have not."

In his apology, Undenge said when he gave inaccurate statements, he did not
want to mislead the court.

"I wish to apologise profusely to this Honourable Court, and to state that
the omission and or misstatement about my children was not a result of any
desire to mislead the court, as, in fact, no benefit would accrue to me by
such misstatement."

Undenge also availed a copy of his payslip to the court which indicates that
he takes home $16 459 194.90.

The court ordered him to pay maintenance of $6 million every month.

He was also ordered to contribute to the school fees of his two children
with his official wife, Angeline.
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Zim Standard

2 500 cattle at risk after farm raid
By our own correspondent

MASVINGO - War veterans in Mwenezi, allegedly on the instigation of the
local Member of Parliament, Isaiah Shumba, last week invaded Cawood Cattle
and Wildlife Ranch, putting about 2 500 cattle at risk.

The farm, Lot 21A, is owned by Brian Cawood, who is resisting the invasion.
The invasion come at a time government is reportedly making efforts to
recall white commercial farmers, who fled the country during the height of
the chaotic land reform programme, to boost agricultural production.

Commercial Farmers' Union (CFU) regional spokesperson, Mike Clark, said a
group of war veterans led by one Muzorori besieged Cawood farm using a
government vehicle and ordered workers out of the farm.

Muzorori is believed to be Shumba's right hand person in Mwenezi.

Clark said: "Invaders are terrorising Zimbabwean farm workers on an arid
cattle and wildlife ranch in Mwenezi, putting at risk more than 2 500
valuable beef cattle and threatening the survival of the only wildlife herd
left in the area."

More than 100 farm workers have fled the farm and the war veterans have
moved into their houses.

Clark said: "After they had been rounded up and forced to flee into the
bush, the safari camp staff is now holed up at the main house with South
Africa-born farm owner, who Muzorori is trying to force off his ranch.

"Contact has been lost with some workers and it is impossible to ascertain
if any have been injured or killed."

Speaking from his farmhouse, Cawood expressed deep concern for his farm
workers, who have been forced to abandon their homes, without food, warm
clothing or their property.

Cawood said: "These men are peaceful and kind; good cattle men are not
aggressive. They do not deserve to be constantly threatened and terrorised
by thugs.

"My cattle do not go purely for beef, but for cattle breeding purposes,
especially the breeding of bulls. You must understand that Zimbabwe has lost
so many genetically valuable breeding herds during the height of invasions
some four years ago. I am doing my utmost in reviving the cattle herd, yet
some people are busy destroying those aspirations."

Shumba, who is the deputy minister of Education, Sport and Culture, defended
the invaders saying they were allocated plots by the government.

"Cawood is stupid. He is resisting the government's land reform programme.
Those people were allocated plots on that farm and he should allow them to
settle and after all who is he to resist the land reform?" fumed Shumba, who
however denied instigating the war veterans.

Veterinary Services Provincial Officer, Dr Ernest Dzimwasha, refused to
delve into more details about problems affecting Lot 21A safari in Mwenezi,
arguing that it was a political issue.

Dzimwasha said: "I can not comment on this issue because it's sensitive. All
I know is that part of the land has been designated for A1, and we don't
interfere with the land issue.

Arid Mwenezi district is not suitable for farming but war veterans have
continued to invade the ranches, where they try to grow crops.
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Zim Standard

Chinotimba underpaying his workers
By Theodisa Mbengano

VICE-PRESIDENT of the government-sponsored Zimbabwe Federation of Trade
Union (ZFTU), Joseph Chinotimba, is paying his workers $750 000 a month -
well below the gazetted minimum wage of $1.1 million, The Standard has

Chinotimba, who owns Edlan Security (Pvt) Limited, is head of security at
the Harare City Council.
Chinotimba's security guards, who spoke to The Standard last week, said they
were leading miserable lives despite generating a lot of money for the
self-styled leader of 2000 farm invasions.

A guard, who requested anonymity for fear of victimisation, said: "I am a
family man, I can't survive on $750 000. He is being insensitive to our

The guard said their salaries were increased to $750 000 a month in April,
up from $450 000.

According to Statutory Instrument 12 of 2005 [Private investigators and
Security Guards (General) (Amendment)], a security company is supposed to
charge $2 750 000 a month for 24-hour security coverage daily.

Chinotimba confirmed last week that he was paying his workers $750 000 a
month. He said he could not pay his workers the gazetted amount because he
had not yet seen the Statutory Instrument directing him to do so.

"If I give them the gazetted amount how much will the company get?" asked

Edlan Security provides security to parastatals such as the Grain Marketing
Board (GMB), the Cold Storage Company (CSC) and the Zimbabwe United
Passenger Company (Zupco).

Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) deputy secretary-general, Collin
Gwiyo, said it was illegal for Chinotimba to pay his workers well below the
minimum wage.

Chinotimba's workers, said Gwiyo, were earning far less than domestic
workers, whose monthly wages are between $850 000 and $1 200 000.
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Zim Standard

'Pathetic' services at a Guruve clinic
By our own staff

GURUVE - A critical shortage of health personnel, drugs and equipment has
crippled smooth operations at Masomo Clinic in Guruve North District in
Mashonaland Central province.

The rural clinic attends to more than 800 patients a month, but it has only
two qualified nurses and two nurse aides.
Nurse-in-charge at the clinic, Claudius Chitsungo, told The Standard during
a recent visit to the area that the situation was "pathetic."

He said: "The clinic is understaffed and we only stay here because the
community is supportive and it is easier to work with them.

"There is no electricity at the clinic and nurses use candles at night to
attend to patients. The clinic used to have a solar panel but this is no
longer functional because of poor servicing and general neglect.

"It is now difficult to store vaccines because the refrigerator is out of

Male and female patients admitted at the clinic share one room, which has
only three beds. Other patients sleep on the floor.

Nurses walk about 500 metres to fetch water from a borehole for use at both
the clinic and their homes. The water problem began in 1991 but had received
"little attention" from the government.

Chitsungo said the non-availability of water was a major problem, especially
at a clinic, where an average of four babies are delivered every week.

One villager from the nearby community, who only identified herself as Mai
Tendai, urged the government to treat the water crisis at the clinic as a
matter of urgency.
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Zim Standard


Govt actions worsening hunger

IN Operation Murambatsvina/Restore Order the government has created its own
Darfur Crisis, cleansing cities of their populations and driving them into
rural areas, where some are being chased away because they are not welcome.

The Sudanese government is accused of supporting the Janjaweed militia that
has escalated tension between Arab ethnic groups and African ethnic groups,
that successive governments have done nothing or little to prevent or
contain attacks by Arab militias against non-Arabs. The ethnic cleansing by
the Janjaweed has displaced more than one million people internally with an
equal number killed by the Janjaweed - the same figures of the estimated
victims of the clean up operation in Harare alone.
The combined operation has created internal refugees at a time when the
government, by its own admission does not have adequate resources to feed
Zimbabweans because of a grain deficit - thanks to a cruel combination of
the government's chaotic fast-tracked agrarian revolution and drought.

James Morris, the United Nations (UN) World Food Programme's executive
director, was in Zimbabwe a fortnight ago to assess the food requirements of
the government and how the United Nations could assist. That was before the
destructive combined operation was unleashed. Now the number of those
requiring humanitarian assistance will have to be revised upwards.

The government has created a desperate situation, with the result that
malnutrition will reach unprecedented levels unless action is taken urgently
to avert an imminent disaster.

Conditions among the internally displaced in the rural areas could worsen
because over the recent past there has been evidence of attempts to restrict
movement of people who do not reside in the rural areas, with some
suggestions that this is part of a grand ploy to ensure that the silent
tragedy in the rural areas does not come to the attention of many people,
especially the international community.

Elsewhere in this newspaper we report on villagers in Masvingo province's
Mwenezi district and Matabeleland South province's Insiza district where
allegations of people being denied food because they are simply suspected of
supporting the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) have been
raised. Left unchecked, the situation in the rural areas could leave many
people in a vulnerable position.

Restricting access to rural areas would produce tragic results, especially
in the wake of Operation Restore Order/Murambatsvina and the general
inadequacy of food supplies in the rural areas because more than ever
before, relief aid organisations need to be allowed greater latitude so that
they can assist in making food available to those in need and at great risk.

Conditions could also deteriorate because even during a good agricultural
year, the second half of the year experiences a drop in food availability.
The condition of displaced people will worsen unless urgent appropriately
needed assistance reaches them in time.

Yet, with more political will Zimbabwe need not be in the position it finds
itself today. Zimbabwe deserves a chance and there is an urgent need for it
to delink from the traumatic experience of the past five years of its recent
history in order to move forward.

There were elements of promises of this shift in President Robert Mugabe's
pronouncements, before during and after last Thursday's opening of the first
session of the Sixth Parliament, when he said the government would be
addressing the issue of properties falling under Bilateral Investment
Protection Agreements. This is a critical factor in changing the world's
perception of Zimbabwe as an investment destination.

Support for such a shift came from the chairman of the Development Bank of
Southern Africa, Jay Naidoo, who was in Harare last Thursday for the launch
of The Zimbabwe Independent Quoted Companies 2005 Survey awards

A former Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) General Secretary
and former minister under President Nelson Mandela, Naidoo said: "There is
growing evidence that we are in the midst of a significant transformation in
Africa, one that is changing not only the way we do things in the political
and economic spheres, but also the way we relate to the rest of the world."

The observation could not have been more appropriate. A delegation from the
International Monetary Fund is due to visit Zimbabwe shortly. The
discussions with the international financial institution should provide a
propitious platform for demonstrating Zimbabwe's desire and willingness to
begin a new chapter with the international investor community. What such a
scenario presupposes is first a commitment to correct a number of issues
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Zim Standard

State targets Jetmaster farm
By our own staff

THE government is after acquiring engineering concern Jetmaster (Pvt) Ltd's
farm in Chitungwiza, where the company operates a foundry. Nyanguru Estate
was served with a Section 7 notice a fortnight ago.

According to Section 7, the owner of the place must lodge objections within
five days after the publication of the notice failure of which the matter
shall be set down unopposed without any further notice.
If the notice is unopposed Section 8 will be issued. This gives the owner 45
days in which to vacate the farm in question.

Jetmaster operates a thriving foundry plant that produces cast iron
products, ventilation ducting and tobacco barn flue piping.

The Estate measures 193, 5064 hectares.

Jetmaster was incorporated in Zimbabwe in 1968 after taking over the
operations of Carnie & Maddocks (Pvt). Carnie & Maddocks had been in
operation since 1935.

Jetmaster is a manufacturer of engineering products for both the domestic
and export markets.

It exports cast iron tobacco barn furnace equipment, tobacco barn flue
piping and tobacco plant processing machinery to Zambia and Malawi.

The company exports fireplace units and built in braais to the UK, South
Africa, Malawi, Botswana and Zambia, fireplace units, steel and cast iron
accessories and stainless steel chimney flues to Australia.

Jetmaster sells mine ventilation ducting to Botswana, while locally it
supplies products for domestic heating.

Managing director, Ramon Lalloo, said he had seen the notice in the
newspapers and the general manager who manages the operations on the farm
would respond to the notice.

Lalloo said there were people living on the farm since the beginning of farm
invasions in 2000 but had not tampered with operations at the foundry.

It was not immediately possible to establish the number of workers employed
at the foundry and the value of the annual export orders Jetmaster
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Zim Standard

Mugabe regime beyond caring
sundayopinion By Marko Phiri

TWO 60- year-old women exchange poignant stories about how it has
increasingly become difficult for them to go about their everyday business.

"Today I paid $10 000 for a trip to town," one of them says. "I walked to
town in the morning after waiting for transport for more than an hour," the
other responds with her own ordeal about how it has increasingly become
difficult to get transport into town.
In Bulawayo, Zimbabwe's second largest city, public transport to town under
the government-gazetted fares is $2 500, but operators here, citing scarce
fuel - which is still found in abundance in the flourishing parallel
market - have quadrupled their fares.

The two old women survive on selling vegetables, and for the past two
decades they say, they have been selling vegetables which helped them send
their children to school. They wake up in the early hours of the morning and
have become part of the melee alongside formally employed people, jostling
to catch transport to the market about 5 km away, where they buy farm
produce for resale in their neighbourhood.

MaSibanda, a woman approaching her fifties, also sells vegetables outside a
beer hall alongside the two other women. She said she walked from town on
Monday this week after failing to get transport to ferry her wares home. "I
had to hire a man with a pushcart to get my goods home," she said. She paid
him $20 000.

These women have become victims of fuel shortages that have grounded whole
fleets of public transport. At a fuel filling station early this week, I
counted at least 150 kombis. The queue turned the street into gridlock
blocking traffic, creating the ideal conditions for road rage. And tempers
have indeed flared. At a fuel queue in one of the high density suburbs that
litter Bulawayo's western areas, a lone cop was reportedly beaten up
recently while attempting to maintain order where some motorists said they
had been waiting for deliveries for three days.

In downtown Bulawayo where old women had found life as vendors, the place
looks as if it has been hit by a hurricane, and wise cracks have already
called the aftermath of Operation Murambatsvina, the Zimbabwean Tsunami.

The city celebrated for its wide roads and clean streets despite the many
street vendors, has its vegetable markets turned into eyesores, and people
are still searching for answers why and what inspired this organised
violence against them. You have to see the old women now ever on their feet
worrying about when the police will descend on them.

It is from these old people that one gets insights of how difficult life has
become as they experienced the transition from a white government to black
majority rule. They have seen both worlds, and therefore have informed
opinions when they juxtapose the two regimes. It is sad then when they are
heard yearning for the era under white rule. That's how bad this regime has

It has failed not only to vindicate itself to the world, but more
importantly to the very people who gave their sons and daughters to the
revolution that gave birth to a new nation some 25 years ago. But today,
they have launched the epitome of the 21st century revolution that not only
ate its sons and daughters, but gave them out to unknown world to look after
strangers not people who raised them.

It is that same toil which this government seeks to have a share of through
the appeal for them overseas to repatriate their earnings and augment the
regime's efforts (if any) to boost foreign currency reserves!

An elderly woman, who says she has given up on listening to local news, but
has resorted to short wave radio stations for updates on local events
complained that this is the government that told people there were no jobs
thus the unemployed had to depend on self-help projects to put bread on the
table and send children to school. "Now our children are fleeing the country
and I hear them speak on these (short wave) radio stations talking about how
much they miss their parents," she complained. It is true then when people
say Zimbabweans are being ruled from a distance by their very indifferent
leaders. This is given weight by developments here in the past not only
three weeks, but two decades, that have led not only the old people but
every one else to believe that this government is beyond caring.
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Zim Standard

Our bungling govt does it again
Sundaytalk with Pius Wakatama

FOR a whole two weeks, I was a prisoner at my own home. I could not go
anywhere because of transportation problems. My spouse, Winnie, who now
proudly answers to the title Gogo (grandmother), takes our old jalopy to

I cannot go with her into town and spend the day visiting relatives, friends
and the few business contacts I still have left because there is no petrol
for that kind of thing anymore.
We have to be careful how we use the little petrol we can afford on the
expensive parallel market. Also, as a retiree, I see no reason to wake up
that early in the morning and miss listening to real factual news on
international broadcasts instead of the amateurish and nauseating propaganda
churned out by our inept government media.

In the past I would listen to the news, work in the garden and, after lunch,
catch a kombi into town. After doing some chores and visiting friends, I
would come back, after 5PM with Gogo.

With the lack of petrol and the police blitz on public transport, I cannot
do that anymore. After waiting for a lift into town, in the blistering sun,
for more than an hour, I decided that staying at home was best.

I now spend time pottering in the garden and coaxing my spinach, lettuce and
covo to grow so that I can sell and make some money to supplement my
unstretching meagre earnings. With our mega-inflation and useless bearer
cheques, I wonder how those who are not poor millionaires are making it.

Two Mondays ago, Gogo brought me the day's newspapers which I, as usual
immediately sit down and read. Upon first reading of "Operation
Murambatsvina" and "Operation Restore Order" in Mbare, (formerly called
Harare township when the capital was called Salisbury), I congratulated the
government for this rather belated action. "It's better late than never," I
said to myself.

For a long time those of us who grew up in Mbare, Harare then, and know of
its glorious past during colonial days, oppressive as they were, were
embarrassed and chagrined at what our old home had now become. It was now a
congested and filthy ghetto without social cohesion, law or order.

We have a nostalgic close affinity to it because of good childhood memories
and the fact that our brothers, sisters, friends and relatives still live

Just the other day, fellow Mbarean, Leonard Tsumba, former governor of the
Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe said to me: "Pius, what can we do to save our old
home, Mbare?"

I frankly told him that as long as the present indifferent government was in
power, there was absolutely nothing that we could do. I am of the opinion
that since most of those in our government are from a rural background, they
despise township residents. As I grew up, those from the rural areas used to
regard us as stupid and derisively called us "Vana vemapiritsi (Children
born through the use of medical tablets)". Even President Robert Mugabe once
scornfully referred to Mbare residents as "totemless people".

In the nineties, some successful former residents of Mbare, including
myself, formed the Mbare Development Association in order to seek ways and
means of rehabilitating the now decrepit township. They did not go far
because Zanu PF leaders made it clear to us that unless our association was
part and parcel of the ruling party, we would go nowhere.

We tried to explain to them that we were of different political persuasions
and that the association was a civic organisation. It was all in vain. We
therefore decided to disband than court the wrath of the ruling party, which
brooks no opposition or criticism.

Now that at last something positive was being done for Mbare, I was
grateful. However, as events unfolded I became rather anxious about the
so-called "clean up" of Mbare since it was being conducted by anti-riot

One morning I received a call from an energetic daughter of Mbare, Joyce
Jenje Makwenda. She has written an enthralling book on township music and
wanted to give me a complimentary copy. The book was edited by an
illustrious son of Mbare, Dr Gibson Mandishona, and the foreword was written
by another Mbarean, Dr Herbert Murerwa, then Minister of Higher and Tertiary

As we discussed her book, I mentioned about the clean up going on in Mbare.
She said she was glad that something was being done at last but had
reservations about how it was being done. "You must go and see for yourself,
Mukoma Pius," she said.

So it was that I woke up early and went into town with Gogo. I was astounded
when we entered town. The place had changed so much for the better. The
multitudes of vendors and their unsightly stalls were gone.

I left Gogo at her workplace and headed for Mbare. I was so astounded I
found it difficult to believe my eyes. Police were destroying people's
homes, tuck shops and vegetable stalls with sledge hammers while armed
para-military police stood by.

Desperate families were frantically salvaging what they could of their
precious goods and carrying them on their heads and on carts. It looked like
those pictures, we see on television, of refugees fleeing war-torn African
countries. What they could not take, the police set on fire. Firm brick
buildings were being torn down by a bulldozer. Flames, smoke and dust
billowed all over the place.

A woman with a baby on her back, a blanket load on her head and a small boy
in tow passed by my car. She was crying. "Where do I go now?" she asked
nobody in particular. I could not help but shed tears myself.

An anti-riot police officer looked at me and said: "Old man, go away. You
have no business here. We are only carrying out orders."

I almost told him that this is one order he and his colleagues should have
disobeyed but I thought the better of it and left. As I headed for my
beloved childhood home on Pazarangu Avenue, someone running after the car
was calling my name. I stopped. It was one of the local political chefs of
Zanu PF who had often berated me for daring to criticise the government and
the ruling party in my articles.

"Muzukuru, I must apologise for all I said to you in the past. These people
are heartless," he said. "This is madness. I will have nothing to do with
this merciless party anymore."

I wanted to really rub it in as revenge but restrained myself. Instead, I
said: "I am glad you have now seen the light."

As I drove away from the devastated Mbare, I thought about our government.
They are well-educated and intelligent, but they bungle and destroy
everything they touch. They constantly talk about how they intend to make
our lives better but what they have achieved is to turn us into the most
wretched of the earth.

At first it was the land reform programme, if anyone can call the whole
fiasco a programme. All Zimbabweans supported land reform including village

Since our government is full of people with doctorates in almost every
discipline we thought a thorough study of the situation would be made, needs
assessed, strategies formulated, a plan put into place and humanely
implemented. This would have left productive farmers, irregardless of race,
with enough land to continue producing for the nation and new farmers
equipped with the knowledge and wherewithal to go into productive farming.

But, No. The whole exercise was politicised. It became punishment for white
commercial farmers because they supported the opposition party. It became a
violent and ruthless racial vendetta.

Where did that land us? From being the prosperous breadbasket of the region
we are now abject beggars.

At first we put up a brave face and told donors to go away with their food
because we had enough. As if to spite our false bravado God decided to send
us a crippling drought and we are now facing virtual starvation.

Thank God our President has come to his senses and accepted help from the
World Food Programme - albeit with "no political strings attached".

Since when did a United Nations sponsored body such as the WFP impose
political conditions on any member nation requesting humanitarian help?
Anyway, can a beggar lay any conditions before accepting help?

All sane Zimbabweans support urban renewal and the establishment of law and
order. However, the way it is being done is questionable. Today our economy
is in tatters. Corruption, lack of good governance and bankrupt economic
policies based on political expediency, rather than good economic sense made
sure of that. When government enunciated the indigenous empowerment policy
of supporting the non-formal sector, we applauded. After all formal commerce
and industry is no more and unemployment is hovering around 80 percent. Our
economy is now dependent on the non-formal sector. Now that we are
destroying it in favour of the Chinese and their Zhing Zhongs, where are we
going to end up?

It is also clear that the present destruction of the townships and the
inhuman displacement of over a million people have nothing to do with urban
renewal or law and order. It is punishment being meted out to those "without
totems" for voting for the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC)
during the last general election.

At first council gave people of the townships three months to regularise
their illegal dwellings or to destroy them. Before three weeks were over,
their dwellings and livelihoods were destroyed. Where are justice, mercy and
respect for basic human rights?

He, who has dears to hear, let him hear.
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Zim Standard

State brutality causes untold suffering
By Sister Patricia Walsh

THE International Press says that the police are destroying "illegal
structures" in Zimbabwe. Let me share with you a little of what is very
legal but has been destroyed.

In 1992 many thousands of people were put into a Holding Camp at Hatcliffe
Extension. They were not allowed to build permanent structures because this
was going to be temporary.
One of our student Sisters, Tarisai Zata, who was a student at the School of
Social Work and was pursuing her degree studies, one evening in 1995 came
back home and said: "We must do something to help these people to live like
human beings." That was the beginning of the Dominican Missionary Sisters
involvement in Hatcliffe.

We have worked with the people there for the past 10 years, people of all
religions and political persuasions.

Over the years through the generosity of all people we were able to sink
eight boreholes; help to feed thousands of people; build and run a crèche
for 180 AIDS orphans. We visited once a week and two of our nursing Sisters,
Gaudiosa and Carina, treated people and helped to get about 100 people on to
an Anti-Retroviral programme as well as undertaking home based care. They
also took people to hospital.

The people of Hatcliffe have become friends and family of the Dominican

It is true that some people moved in illegally, but the majority were there
because they were put there and were repeatedly told that they would be
moved to a better place at some point. Most paid their monthly "rent" for
the little square patch.

On Friday morning two week ago I received a call that anti-riot police had
come into a section of the area and demolished everything. Most of the
wooden shacks were smashed to pieces. I went out on Friday and Saturday.
People were sleeping out in the open, many of them sick, cold and hungry.

On Saturday I visited again and some had left (those with $500 000 and have
relatives in "legal places". I got a call on Sunday morning that the police
had given instructions that all structures in the original section be
demolished within 24 hours, including the crèche, clinic and other
structures we had built with and for the people.

Where do I get people on Sunday to come and dismantle all the buildings? I
decided to wait until Monday. On Sunday evening I received one phone call
after another saying: "Come quickly, they are going to kill us." Others
said: "Don't come you might be killed."

Early on Monday morning I drove to Hatcliffe. In the distant I could only
see smoke rising up.

I wept, when I arrived. Sister Carina was with me. She, too, wept.

The people tried to console us. They were all outside in the midst of the
wreckage of their former homes, furniture and goods all over the place.
Children were screaming. Sick people were in agony. Some of the people who
are on ARV treatment came to us and said they were phoning Sister Gaudiosa,
who runs the ARV programme, but she was not answering and they were afraid
they were going to die.

We explained that Sister Gaudiosa was on home leave but that we would help
in whatever way we could. It was a heartbreaking situation.

The structures that the Dominican Sisters worked from were left untouched,
but had to be dismantled immediately otherwise they too would be destroyed.
Sister Balbina from the House of Adoration came with carpenters and other
staff members and started dismantling the structures.

We are distributing all of them to people who have nothing. Some friends
arranged for a crane to come in to lift out two containers where we had
medicines and food stored. It was one of the saddest days of my life.

How can one say that Peter aged 10 and his little brother (John) aged four
(not their real names) are illegal. We had provided them with a wooden hut
when their mother was dying. In the meantime, these two little people had
their little home destroyed in the middle of the night.

When we got there, they were sitting, crying in the rubble that was their
home until Sunday. What do we do with them? They are only one example of the
many vulnerable orphans whose little lives were destroyed.

Veronica (not her real name) is an elderly widow who is chronically ill. She
has three young grandchildren from her dead daughter. Her home was
destroyed. She is wearing Rosary beads around her neck, an apron with the
picture of the Sacred Heart and a T-shirt with President Robert Mugabe's
picture. She has tried all means to survive.

Some people came and said: "Sister there are two people who are dying.
Please come." One of them Mary (not her real name) who was out in the open
all night was lying on an old damp mattress and couldn't move with pain. She
has shingles, which is open and bleeding. What is worse, her tears or her
bleeding wounds? I felt paralyzed.

Anne (not her real name) delivered a baby a week ago. She is critically ill
and is on the verge of death. What do we do with her? We give her pain
killers. We give her blankets. We give her food (which she in unable to
eat). What is going to happen to her baby?

Some of you have asked if I am safe. Don't worry we are well "protected" by
the anti-riot police who are cruising around this disaster area all day. I
was so relieved to see them eating sugar cane which means that they are not
hungry and will have the strength to "protect us". I didn't for a minute
believe that they accepted this sugar cane from "illegal people" on an
"illegal settlement".

A grandmother asks: "Sister, why has God abandoned us?" I do not try to
answer. People call out: "Sisters pray for us." An emergency taxi (mini bus)
stands in the middle of this "war zone" with the words "God is Faithful"
written on it!

Soon we were going back there with food, clothing, medicine and cash. We
could only try.

I am not cold, I am not hungry. I am very angry. I pray that this will pass.
We stand in shock and cry with the people, but we also have to try to keep
them alive.

When will sanity prevail? Where is the outside world? Busy talking about a
"No vote by France".

How can the little ones of this world be brutalized in this way? Their only
crime is that they are poor, they are helpless and they happen to live in
the wrong part of town and in a country that does not have oil and is not
very important to the West.

One bystander told me that he had phoned the Red Cross asking for help but
was informed: "It is not a war situation, so there is nothing we can do!"
Pray for us.

God bless and reward you for your concern.

(Sister Patricia Walsh is with The Dominican Order of the Catholic Church in
Zimbabwe, Hatcliffe Extension).
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Zim Standard

Africa's 'dependency syndrome'
sundayopinion with Tajudeen Abdul-Raheem

BRITAIN has adopted Africa as a centrepiece of its Foreign Policy this year.

In his usual missionary approach the British Prime Minister, Tony Blair, has
rebranded himself from being the Secretary of State for America into Prime
Minister for Africa. It was in this Africa mode that he went to America,
earlier last week, to try to exact some concessions from his buddy,
President George W Bush.
Blair's mission was to persuade Bush to buy into his three-pronged Africa
programme: More aid, Debt cancellation and international trade reforms. He
arrived back in Britain on Wednesday with a few million dollars in pledges
from the Americans towards drought relief in the horn of Africa. There was
also a promise to consider 100% debt cancellation for some 32 countries in

British non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and antipoverty campaigners
have already condemned Bush's crumbs to Blair as miserly and far below the
multi billion aid begging bowl Blair is expecting the rest of the richer
countries to contribute to before their Rich men's club meeting in
Gleneagles next month.

Bush defended himself by drawing attention to the fact that he had trebled
aid to Africa already and given US$15 billion towards HIV and Aids in

Of course, what he did not say is that even more dubious than under the cold
war, American aid is now more tied to compliant regimes in Africa no matter
how unpopular they are with their peoples for as long as they are on the
side of his war without end in the name of international terrorism.

Before countries with oil (especially now that the Americans are trying to
find alternative to their dependence and vulnerability to Arab oil supplies)
get a huge discount on other conditionalities slapped against regimes
currently unfavoured by Washington, most of his anti-AIDS money will
actually be beneficial to American pharmaceutical companies and their very
expensive medicines because the Americans are opposed to cheaper derivative
drugs from India, Brazil, China or South Africa.

The US administration also believes only in abstinence campaigns and it is
prisoner to faith-based (meaning Christian fundamentalist) groups and
lobbies. This means that what Bush gives with one hand is immediately taken
with the other through his big business and religious sponsors.

As a Bush-Blair cynic, I am not really surprised at the games being played
by these global con men but unfortunately there are still too many people
both in Britain and outside who still believe that Blair means well and
somehow he can persuade Bush and the rest of the world to do right for
Africa. My position is that instead of Blair preaching to the rest of the
world about Africa let British government challenge other Western and richer
countries by showing good example through confession and remorse and then
tangible concrete action that proves that it has its mouth where its money

Even if he has now succeeded in getting Bush to use nearly the same language
on debt cancellation this is where it stops. The devil, as they say, is in
the details. The Bush people want debt cancellation to be paid for by the
lending multilateral institutions such as the IMF and the World Bank. This
may mean that money pledged for relief of poverty will be diverted to debt
cancellation. In plain language: No new monies on the table just a recycling
of what is already available. In biblical terms it means robbing Peter to
pay Paul.

So where does this leave Blair and his big plans for Africa? Nowhere really.
While he has put high premiums on persuading Americans, the truth is that
other G8 countries are not really singing their hymns from the same book.
Germany, France and Japan have their own priorities and would not be
lectured to by a British Prime Minister on his way out of No 10 Downing

Blair may be seeking his international legacy via Africa, but both the
German Chancellor and the French President are also seeking their own
legacies too, and Africa may not play big in their calculations.

This premium on Washington ignores other multilateral creditors to Africa
such as the Africa Development Bank which in many cases, is a bigger lender
of Development loans to many African countries. African countries still hold
majority stake in the bank.

Why is Blair not canvassing them for support on his debt write off? It must
be his assumption that once Europe and America agree which African dares

Two weeks ago Blair's people made a big play on the EU countries agreeing to
double Aid to Africa as yet another major breakthrough. This will be done by
2008. But the same EU was already committed to making aid 0.7% of GNP for
thirty years and renewed this pledge 5 years ago through the Millennium
development goals of the UN. Are we to celebrate the promise to reach 0.50%
when they promised 0.70% 30 years ago?

My concern is that this Blair focus on Africa is going to be yet another
Shakespearean tale, "told by an idiot, full of sound and fury signifying

Africans must stop looking outside for our progress. Our salvation is within
us. We are our own liberators.

Does that mean there is nothing outsiders can do to help us? No, there is a
role for others but we cannot adequately take advantage of other peoples'
help if we have not decided what we want to do for ourselves and how we want
to go about it.

When Bob Geldof was challenged why he is organising a concert for Africa 21
years after his first one and there are no African Musicians apart from Yous
of N'dour. The pathetic response from one of his spokesperson was that he
did not have African Musicians in his address book. This from a man who is
regarded as Mr Africa globally merely shows how Westerners regard Africans
as objects of their sympathy rather than agents of changing their own

We have to summon the courage to stand up to these new missionaries in
Africa represented by western humanitarian NGOs and politicians like Blair
and Globatricians like Geldof. Their 'good' intentions must match our
aspirations. We should do it together where possible, do it alone where
necessary but at every stage we should have the veto.We cannot outsource our
progress and development.

To borrow a phrase recently used by my good Ndugu, Firoze Manji, Editor of
Pambazuka News: "Nothing About Us without Us."
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Zim Standard

Freedonia's unsolved mystery
By Dumisani Mpofu

THERE were many developments that left the majority of Freedonians
dumbfounded. One of them happened just outside Freedonia's capital, Free

Right in the middle of Freedonia's main agricultural heartland; lay an
expansive water mass - a lake that was used to prop up the super
high-yielding agro-industrial ventures that made the country the envy of its
neighbours in the region. People tend to take things for granted when all is
going well.
One season, however, something inexplicable happened. The rains pounded the
country for the latter part of the season with the result we feared a repeat
of the great Biblical Flood. There was water everywhere.

However, when the rainy season came to an end, there was astonishment
because the vast lake near Free City remained dangerously low. It was as if
someone was siphoning the water from the lake as fast as it filled up. The
most surprising thing was that it never spilled.

Hordes of scientists and conspiracy theorists made the lake a centre of
attraction as they sought to unravel the mystery. Had the enemies of
Freedonia drilled an underground tunnel that was used to drain almost all of
the lake's water? Had there been high evaporation rates? Were the
surrounding communities covertly redirecting or stealing the water under
cover of darkness? No one, not even the most prominent of Freedonia's
scientists and investigators had an answer. To this day, it remains an
unsolved mystery.

Some among us were concerned and disturbed. At about the same time, there
were unexplained disappearances from the face Freedonia of some of the most
prominent of its intellectuals. Their houses would be found empty. All their
workers could say was that they had gone away. Where in particular, they
knew not. There just was no communication from them. This was no simple
matter of international migration of professionals.

We laughed off hysterically a suggestion that the international space
station had become a transit point to a new planet. But it was an unsettling
laugh, partly because it seemed weird, but also partly because if true, they
were running away from something they could have foreseen, which meant we
were sitting ducks. awaiting the inevitable.

It was trying to figure out what the inevitable was which was most
exasperating. Frightening is perhaps closer to what we felt. Could there
really be a new planet out there? Why would people slip out quietly and
severe all contacts with their relatives and seemingly abandon all the
property they toiled a lifetime to amass?

The worst thing in life is being confronted with things one cannot and does
not comprehend.

We were wrestling with answers to these many questions when something
unexpected struck Freedonia. Free City was exactly what it meant. Everyone
was free to do their own thing. That was until one day, many years after the

For a month we did not know which to be more afraid of: the mysterious
disappearances of water from the major lake near Free City; the apparent
disappearances of the top minds in the land; or this.

What Freedonians described as "this", was a hurricane that swept across this
country, once the land of the free and brave. It was a man-made whirlwind
which swept everything in its path. It left a trail of destruction in cities
and the countryside.

Who is giving these orders? was the question that everyone asked. To this
day, Freedonians still ask the same question.
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Fuel Scam Unearthed

The Herald (Harare)

June 11, 2005
Posted to the web June 13, 2005


A SCAM involving some service stations that clandestinely sold fuel
allocated to them by the National Oil Company of Zimbabwe (Noczim) to
cross-border traders for resale in neighbouring countries has been exposed.

More than 2 000 litres of diesel worth $7,46 million was intercepted near
Mutoko in transit to Malawi yesterday amid reports that earlier in the day
over 8 000 litres of diesel had already been transported to that country

The recovery could be an indication that this is just a tip of the iceberg
as underhand dealings in fuel are reported to be rampant at most service
stations in Harare and along major routes to Zimbabwe's border towns.

In Malawi, Zambia, Botswana and other neighbouring countries, the fuel is
allegedly resold in foreign currency.

Service station operators are said to have worked in cahoots with
cross-border traders and long distance truck drivers in the scam.

The unearthing of the large-scale swindle and the chain of people involved
could unlock the puzzle of continued fuel shortages besetting the country
over the past few months despite the multi-sectoral importation of the
commodity which was envisaged to result in adequate supplies.

The recovered fuel could fill up more than 40 vehicles with 60-litre tanks.

The discovery comes at a time the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) has been
making spirited efforts to alleviate the shortages through foreign currency
allocations to fuel importers.

The central bank last month released US$18,5 million to Noczim for the
procurement of fuel as the RBZ and the Ministry of Energy and Power
Development stepped up efforts to alleviate the fuel crisis, which has
seriously crippled transport services.

Deliveries to most service stations in the country have considerably reduced
the impact of the shortages although transport was still a problem.

Secretary for Energy and Power Development Mr Justin Mupamhanga recently
said he was optimistic that the supply situation would soon improve.

"We are working hand in glove with the RBZ. It's not just about the money,
but also the logistics in the supply chain. The process is a bit long, but
efforts are being made to plug all the gaps," Mr Mupamhanga said.

Zimbabwe has the cheapest pump price for diesel in the region. As a result,
the commodity smuggled from Zimbabwe is reported to be selling fast in
foreign markets.

It appears trading in diesel sourced clandestinely from Zimbabwe -- 
particularly in Malawi, Zambia and Botswana, among other neighbouring
states -- is rife and cross-border traders are raking in millions of dollars
in foreign currency.

The illicit trade has compounded the shortage of diesel and petrol in the

In yesterday's case, members of the public tipped off security authorities
of the underhand activities carried out at a service station (name supplied)
in Harare.

When security details inquired from the service station authorities, they
sent the security details on a wild goose chase along Lomagundi Road and
again along Arcturus Road, where they claimed the truck with the 2 000
litres of diesel had gone for a business delivery.

However, it later emerged that at that time the truck was cruising towards
Nyamapanda Border Post.

A concerned member of the public tipped off the security authorities that
they had been misled. Using that information, they tracked the vehicle (name
of company supplied) along Nyamapanda Road.

Despite repeated orders to the Malawian driver to stop the vehicle along the
Harare-Nyamapanda highway, he resisted. The security details finally blocked
his way near Mutoko after several attempts.

When he eventually stopped, he allegedly jumped off his truck and bolted
into the bush.

He was, however, caught and arrested following a chase. The truck has since
been detained at the Vehicle Inspection Depot in Eastlea.

Following the driver's arrest, it emerged that there was a cartel of
cross-border traders at Juru Growth Point who hired long distance truck
drivers to transport their illicit loot to Malawi and elsewhere.

The cross-border traders worked in connivance with some service stations to
starve the local market of diesel and petrol for resale in neighbouring
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This is Derbyshire



09:30 - 13 June 2005
With every day that passes, the political and social turmoil of Zimbabwe is pushing the African nation deeper into crisis.

A downward spiral of events has escalated since the country's recent general election but in the days after journalists were banished, an iron curtain enclosed Zimbabwe, leaving a starving nation cut off from civilisation.

Posing as a tourist, Derby Methodist minister Martine Stemerick has returned from a three-week mission to discover the plight of almost half the 12.9 million population whom she believes are being "starved to death". Reporter Katie Sandall followed her epic trip.

It is not sadness but anger that fills Martine Stemerick's heart as she learns the news that yet another child's life has been lost in Zimbabwe.

The Derby Methodist minister had clothed tiny two-year-old Chantal in a new hand-knitted jumper and watched her tiny face smile.

But this was not enough to save the beautiful baby girl from the deadly AIDS virus and just hours later she was buried wearing the very same jumper.

"I'm appalled and angry at the fate that affects so many children," said Martine, speaking frankly about just one of the heart-wrenching stories she encountered on her recent visit to Zimbabwe. "Angry at the lack of compassion that allows 30,000 Zimbabweans to die each week of HIV and AIDS."

Zimbabwe has one of the highest AIDS and HIV rates in the world.

The country is doing nothing to stem the enormous spread of the disease which is leaving thousands of youngsters orphaned.

Among those infected are women who are raped, often by the militia, who then pass on the disease to their off-spring through breast-feeding.

In some ways Chantal was fortunate - she had her own mother to weep for her at a funeral and clothing on her back.

For many, the picture is even more bleak and the reality of life in Zimbabwe offers little hope.

More commonly, parents in Zimbabwe will die before their children, either through the vicious fighting, starvation or the AIDS and HIV disease.

Many of the orphaned youngsters do not have a penny to their name and are facing a life expectancy of months, if not days.

In May last year, Martine, a Methodist minister in Alvaston, journeyed to the African country to "provide a voice for the voiceless".

But in the year which has passed, the country has taken a downward spiral which has had dire consequences for the Zimbabwean people.

In April, the polls were opened in what was presented as a democratic vote for a new leader.

The result, recognised as being 'flawed to the core' by the British Government, went as predicted in favour of Robert Mugabe, who retained his leadership with the Zimbabwe African National Union Patriotic Front (ZANU PF) party for a third successive term.

Martine said: "Mugabe lost a constitutional vote in 2000, which irritated him so much that he waged a brutal campaign in 2002, having his war veterans and youth militia, like Hitler's youth guard, beat up, torture, and kill some opposition candidates and supporters.

"This year, on the other hand, Mugabe limited most of the repression to closing down newspapers, jamming the award-winning SWRadioAfrica, which broadcasts what's really happening in the country. The jamming equipment was provided by the Chinese, who also supplied 12 new fighter jets.

"Think Tiananmen Square: that's the level of repression which is going on right now with these attacks on the masses who voted for the opposition party - Movement for Democratic Change (MDC)."

On Thursday and Friday, a two-day national strike took place to protest against a Government demolition campaign that has left at least 200,000 urban poor homeless. The Government said the campaign is aimed at cleaning up cities, but the opposition says the crackdown is meant to punish its supporters.

Many people, including Martine, passionately maintain that if this year's poll had been democratic Mugabe would never have been returned to power.

On April 27 this year, Martine returned to Zimbabwe, flying from Birmingham, via Amsterdam, into Johannesburg, South Africa.

She was determined to reveal to the people of Derby and the UK the truth about what is really happening behind the smokescreen.

But, sadly, what she bore witness too was even worse than she had imagined.

Martine's trip led her to witness the tragedy which has befallen this "beautiful" country of "loving and peaceful" people.

"You have to travel to Zimbabwe as a tourist and apply for a tourist visa at the airport. Journalists are not allowed into the country," said Martine.

"Legislation which was passed in the months prior to the elections makes it a criminal offence to 'practice journalism' without a licence. The penalty is up to two years in prison.

"The idea, of course, was to scare the spit out of anyone coming into the country and recording what's going on."

For these very security reasons, the Evening Telegraph will not reveal any of the names of people Martine stayed with.

She added: "Anyone speaking anything detrimental about the President can be imprisoned for up to three years under the same piece of legislation. Recording photos and digital interviews was very dangerous. I risked my life to go.

"But, as soon as the cameras left after the elections and the journalists went on to the next 'hot spot', Mugabe started waging war on the people."

"He knows exactly which way people voted and is now targeting those who voted for the opposition, cutting off all food sources and destroying everything they own.

"Now, Mugabe can oppress the people knowing that no-one is left to see and report it. But the people are crying out for help."

The first leg of Martine's epic humanitarian visit took her to Bulawayo where she met up for a fourth time with Archbishop Pius Ncube, one of the few religious opponents willing to speak against Mugabe.

On her way, she witnessed a land which is at the mercy of a relentless drought where the ground is scorched dry.

"Even goats were reduced to eating thorns," she said.

"Cattle graze among dead stalks.

"Some people are boiling weeds as a broth for food. The poor are starving in the countryside and in the towns."

In a meeting with Archbishop Ncube at his offices in Bulawayo, he told Martine the extent to how bad things in Zimbabwe have got.

The Archbishop, who believes his high profile will protect him, said: "Food is being politicised in areas. You do not get food without a ZANU party ticket and MDC areas like Bulawayo are being punished.

"There's food in warehouses but the poor go hungry."

Martine also explains that the country has suffered a crippling 600 per cent inflation rate in the last year.

She said on her last visit £1 was the equivalent of Z 25,000, now £1 = Z40,000.

Last year, an egg cost Z 1,000, 11 months later an egg costs Z2,500 and a loaf of bread is Z5,000.

The average daily income is just Z6,000.

Last year, sugar and maize were both widely available, this year there was none.

Martine said: "In May this year, the queue for petrol went once around the block and people waited all night. By June, the queue stretched three times around the block and people were waiting three days for fuel."

Fights are common in a bid to get a small amount of fuel.

She added: "On April 13, two weeks after stealing the elections, Mugabe purchased six K-8 Chinese fighter jets, costing 20m each. A month later, he bought six more.

"Meanwhile, the UN and Amnesty International estimates that 5.5 million, one half of Zimbabwe's people, are at risk of starvation. The money spent on fighter jets would have fed the hungry poor."

One person Martine met on her visit told her in secret: "In the countryside, some still have hope that one of these days, God will intervene with one of his miracles. And Zanu-PF will try to rig the vote, and God will surprise them!"

And Archbishop Ncube has promised: "One day I'll write a book about all the awful crooked things which many Zimbabweans don't even know entitled 1001 Crooked Things Zanu-PF has done."

He added: "There's no way Zanu-PF would have allowed the democratic forces to win.

"But even prophets did not foresee the horror that was to come once the foreign observers had left Zimbabwe."

Flawed election results
For more than two decades, the fortunes of Zimbabwe have been in the hands of President Robert Mugabe, who presides over the country's political and social strife and its economy which is in tatters.

For years it has been a major tobacco producer but the seizure of almost all white-owned commercial agricultural land, with the aim of benefiting black farmers, led to sharp falls in production.

Formerly Southern Rhodesia, the country gained independence as Zimbabwe on April 18, 1980, but maintained its ties with Britain through the Commonwealth. It withdrew from the organisation in 2003.

Robert Mugabe, the nation's first prime minister, has been the country's only ruler, as president since 1987, and he and his Zanu-PF party have dominated the country's political system.

Mugabe was declared the winner of the 2002 presidential elections, considered seriously flawed by foreign observers.

He received a boost last year when Zanu-PF won more than two-thirds of the votes in parliamentary elections, again said to be fraudulent.

Killer virus with whole country in a deadly grip
Zimbabwe has one of the world's worst Aids rates.

Life expectancy is just 34 years for men and 33 years for women, with more than 30 per cent of the 12.9 million population now infected with the Aids virus.

In 2001, it was estimated that 1.8 million people were living in the country with HIV or Aids and, in 2003, 170,000 died from the disease.

Aids stands for Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome.

Acquired means a human can get infected with illness; immune deficiency means a weakness in the body's system that fights diseases; and syndrome means a group of health problems that make up a disease.

Aids is caused by a virus called HIV, the human immunodeficiency virus.

If the body is infected with HIV, the body will try to fight the infection. It will make antibodies, special molecules that are supposed to fight HIV.

When a blood test for HIV is done, the test looks for these antibodies. If they are found in the blood, it means that the body has the HIV infection.

People who have the HIV antibodies are called HIV-positive.

Being HIV-positive is not the same as having Aids.

Many people are HIV-positive but do not get sick for many years.

As the HIV disease continues, it slowly wears down the immune system. Viruses, parasites, fungi and bacteria that usually do not cause problems can make a person very ill if the immune system is damaged. These are known as opportunistic infections.

The HIV disease becomes Aids when the immune system is seriously damaged or if an opportunistic infection is contracted.

Without treatment, these infections can kill.

Aids is different in every infected person. Some people die soon after getting infected, while others live fairly normal lives for many years, even after they have Aids.

There is no cure for Aids. There are drugs that can slow down the HIV virus and slow down the damage to an immune system. But there is no way to get all the HIV out of the body.
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This is Derbyshire



      09:30 - 13 June 2005
      A minister from Alvaston is appealing to the people of Derby to help
the starving millions of an African nation.

      The Rev Dr Martine Stemerick, of Shardlow Road, has returned from a
three-week "underground" trip to Zimbabwe and hopes to provide "a voice for
the voiceless".

      The "devastating" scenes that unfolded before her eyes have made her
more determined to help a country where she "knows 5.5 million people are
being starved to death".

      Dr Stemerick, minister at Alvaston Methodist Church, London Road, is
sending out a rallying call to the people of Derby and Derbyshire to raise
as much money as possible for the people of Zimbabwe.

      She said: "I'm angry at the waste and the lack of compassion that
allows 30,000 Zimbabweans to die each week of HIV and Aids. People are

      Through her contacts in Zimbabwe she is helping orphaned children and
communities "left with nothing after president Robert Mugabe's militia
destroyed all they own".

      The Zanu-PF leader is currently carrying out "a vigorous clean-up
campaign to restore sanity" in Zimbabwe's cities but thousands of people are
being left homeless and penniless in its wake.

      Dr Stemerick has been raising funds for months but cannot disclose the
amounts of money which have been taken into the country for security
reasons. She works though secret sources where she knows that "every penny"
goes directly to the most needy.

      "Foreign money to help these dying children is illegal," she said.
"People who have foreign goods in shops are removing them from shelves
because the police are entering the shops, confiscating the goods and asking
the people where they got the foreign currency to buy the goods."

      She added: "Every penny helps and, for every pound, we can buy 13
exercise books for schoolchildren and help get hundreds of youngsters to
school. So little can do so much.

      "This is war, an undeclared war against innocent people whose only
'crime' was to have been born in Zimbabwe and to be unable to flee. We must
not let it go on."

      Dr Stemerick's humanitarian work has been supported by Alvaston
Methodist Church through various events.

      Church member Sandra Noon, of Allestree Close, Alvaston, said:
"Because she's been and told us about everything going on there, the church
wanted to support her. If all the Evening Telegraph readers put in £1 it
would help so much."

      Donations can be made by post to Alvaston Methodist Church - Zimbabwe
Fund, 137 Shardlow Road, Alvaston, Derby, DE24 0JR.
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'Tsunami' Hits Music Stables

Zimbabwe Standard (Harare)

June 13, 2005
Posted to the web June 13, 2005

Vusumuzi Sifile

AS the joint police and local authorities clampdown on illegal structures
continues, the future of musicians and some musical companies now hangs in
the balance.

Barely two weeks after the widely criticised "Operation Restore Order" was
initiated, music companies have already recorded huge losses, bringing a
cloud of uncertainty on the plight of the companies and the artistes they
deal with.

Investigations by Standardplus revealed that most music companies depended
on flea markets for the distribution of their products. Their closure under
the current clampdown has led to an instant decline in the business of music

Alfred Ncube, the director of Bulawayo based Kwakalulwama Music Company
revealed that the operation is a huge blow to music companies, especially
budding ones. In the process, musicians and their families are the worst
affected as they are left without alternative sources of revenue.

"There has been a huge decline in music sales following the closure of flea
markets, which formed the bulk of our distribution channel. The future of
most musical companies is currently uncertain and this subsequently impacts
on the welfare of artistes," said Ncube.

He added that most buyers bought cassettes at flea markets, and have an
apathy towards formal distribution channels like Spinalong, Sounds Power,
Express Music, Edgars and Kingstons, among others.

Alexio Murombo, the Commercial Director for Gramma records and Zimbabwe
Music Corporation (ZMC), echoed the same sentiments. He noted that the
clampdown on flea markets had a direct impact on the operations of music

"The current developments have had a sad impact on the music industry. We
are currently going through a sad chapter, but I am optimistic things will
soon normalise, as we are going through a major shift in business from the
informal to the formal sector.

"Music distribution is done through a two-tier system, that is the formal
and informal sector. Presently, most of our distribution was through the
informal sector and the closure of flea markets has nullified the role of
this sector in music distribution. This means a huge gap has been created,
but we hope the situation will soon normalise," said Murombo.

He said it was unfortunate that some legal music distributors were caught up
in the fiasco, as this could have been avoided.

"On numerous occasions, I encouraged some of the flea market operators to
establish properly registered music distribution outlets. This would have
saved them from the blitz, as they would have had all their papers in place.
We hope all stakeholders will work together towards the normalisation of
this situation," he added.

However, with the manner in which the clampdown was administered, it is
unlikely that the police would have spared the informal players in the music
industry as most of the flea markets that were destroyed were properly
registered with the relevant authorities.

Another music distributor who preferred anonymity described the closure of
flea markets as a threat to the livelihoods of musicians and their families
who have no other means of subsistence.

"While we appreciate the authorities' efforts to keep our environment clean,
we should also seriously consider the plight of those who depend on these
'illegal structures' for a livelihood. The closure of the flea markets is a
threat to the livelihoods of musicians, most of whom depend on royalties for
a living," he noted.

One of the leading music distributors in Harare, Metro Studios, experienced
a 70% nosedive in its operations. According to the company's production
supervisor Simbarashe Sibindi, a huge chunk of the market has been blown
away in the blitz, and the situation is likely to take time to normalise.

"Most flea markets were strategically placed for our target audience and
they made our marketing and distribution easier. Their closure has caused
problems not only to the market, but to the buyers as well who now have to
look for new places to buy our products," he said.

"Our sales declined by between 60 and 70%. The trend is likely to continue
depending on how long it will take for the informal traders to be
relocated," he said.

Although no comments could be obtained from music stables such as Ingwe,
True Jit, TMC, Ngaavongwe, Ziyakhupha, Moonlight, RTP, Gospel Train, Corner
Studios and others, it is understood they also experienced a nosedive in
their sales.
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