|The ZIMBABWE Situation||Our
thoughts and prayers are with Zimbabwe |
- may peace, truth and justice prevail.
Health Minister Timothy Stamps said there were 100,000 Aids-related deaths in the country last year alone.
Aids was robbing the nation of skilled and productive young people, he told state television.
Zimbabwe has one of the highest rates of HIV infection in the world, with one in four people believed to be living with the virus.
At least 2,000 people die per week from Aids-related illnesses, according to official statistics.
Mr Stamps' announcement coincides with the first national Aids awareness campaign to be launched in more than a decade in the United States.
Next week marks the first public mention of the Aids virus, which appeared in June 1981 in an American medical journal.
Throughout the world, some 21 million people have died of Aids in the last 20 years and 36 million are currently infected.
From News24 (SA), 4 June
Zim war veteran Hitler Hunzvi dies
Harare - Zimbabwe's controversial war veterans leader and one of President Robert Mugabe's staunchest supporters, Chenjerai Hitler Hunzvi, died on Monday morning at a hospital in the capital, state radio reported. The condition of Chenjerai Hitler Hunzvi, 51, Zimbabwe's war veterans' leader and member of parliament, deteriorated to the point where he was placed on a life-support system in the Coronary Care Unit (CCU) at Harare's Parirenyatwa Hospital. The CCU is a special unit for critically ill patients who need life support.
Hunzvi, one of President Robert Mugabe's staunchest supporters, was admitted into the hospital on Wednesday - a day after he was released from the same institution. Last week Hunzvi collapsed and spent several days in hospital in the city of Bulawayo, reportedly suffering from cerebral malaria. Medical sources dismissed the malaria claims, saying Hunzvi has a history of ailments linked to a "lesion on the lung and insufficient bone marrow activity", both of which are usually Aids-related. "While it is normally in bad taste to discuss the medical records of our patients, Hunzvi's case is different. He was a public figure, a very public figure. People need to know about the nature of his illness," said a doctor close to his medical team.
Hunzvi's illness comes as a major blow to the ruling Zanu PF party's campaign programme for the Presidential election next year. It is a week after the death of another Zanu-PF stalwart, defence minister Moven Mahachi. Mahachi was killed less than a month after gender and employment minister Border Gezi. Both died in car crashes. The party seems to believe that it is facing a fresh, unnatural crisis arising from a myth among the ageing Mugabe followers that their opponents were using black magic to attack them. Emmerson Mnangagwa, the Speaker of Parliament and an unwavering Mugabe loyalist, appeared on national television visibly shaken by the recent spate of misfortunes. "We don't know what is hitting us," he said. "It's not natural. Something else must be happening."
On Friday, Hunzvi's relatives were said to have called his lawyer, Aston Musunga of Musunga and Associates to draft a will, but the lawyer refused to confirm this. On the same day, top politicians, including the two vice-presidents Simon Muzenda, Joseph Msika and top officers in the army, visited Hunzvi in his private ward.
Hunzvi, the MP for Chikomba, was the chairman of a faction of the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans' Association. Last year, he led the ex-combatants and Zanu PF supporters in seizing mainly white-owned commercial farms for resettlement. Thirty-five people - mainly opposition supporters - died in the campaign. Zanu PF won 62 seats, most of them in the rural areas. It lost 58 seats to the opposition, most of them urban constituencies. Two weeks ago, Hunzvi collapsed at a Bulawayo hotel and was rushed to a clinic in the city. Hunzvi was discharged from Parirenyatwa Hospital on Tuesday, only to be re-admitted the following day.
From BBC News, 4 June
Mugabe henchman dies
The leader of Zimbabwe's self-styled war veterans, Chenjerai Hunzvi, has died in in hospital in the capital, Harare. The controversial MP, who spearheaded the invasion of white-owned farms last year, was a staunch supporter of President Robert Mugabe. State media confirmed his death a few hours ago following days of rumours, but did not say what he died from. The 51-year-old collapsed last month in a hotel in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe's second city. Since then self-styled war veterans had stood guard outside his hospital room. Zimbabwe's leading independent newspaper said that he was suffering from "suspected cerebral malaria". The AP news agency said that in recent weeks, Mr Hunzvi, a Polish-trained medical doctor, had shown signs disorientation and rapid weight loss.
Correspondents say his death is a severe blow to President Mugabe's ruling party. The government is already reeling from the recent deaths of two ministers in separate car crashes. Employment Minister Border Gezi and Defence Minister Moven Mahachi, one of the president's most loyal aides, were both declared national heroes and buried with full military honours. Mr Hunzvi led militant ruling party supporters in the invasion of more than 1,700 farms, accusing white farmers of supporting the opposition Movement for Democratic Change. He was elected as an MP last year, following a violent election campaign in which more than 30 opposition supporters died. Since then the War Veterans Association switched its attention to urban businesses, demanding money off employers, under the guise of trying to settle labour disputes.
|MDC chairman’s son abducted|
6/4/01 12:13:22 PM (GMT +2)
THE whereabouts of Tichafa, 30, the son of Rosie Chinyemba, the MDC chairperson for Mazowe district, were still unknown at the weekend after the police launched a manhunt for him last Monday.
Saul, Tichafa’s young
brother, said yesterday he had not seen him since
Monday, after 10 heavily armed policemen went to his house in Chinyemba village near Howard Mission School in Chiweshe.
The police were looking for Tichafa in connection with clashes between MDC and Zanu PF supporters in Glendale the previous day.
Saul said the police had shut down the Chinyemba family business, Mutekedza Supermarket, at Nyachuru business centre, and locked Tichafa’s car.
Efforts to get a comment from the police failed yesterday.
Saul said trouble started on 19 May when he and Martin, his twin brother, accompanied Tichafa to Glendale service station to fill up his car, a Mazda 626.
A group of about 30 Zanu PF supporters and war veterans, armed with whips, allegedly attacked them and attempted to burn the car, saying Glendale was a Zanu PF area.
They managed to flee, but not before they had sustained injuries, with Martin receiving seven stitches on the forehead and Tichafa sustaining head injuries.
They reported the matter at Glendale police base.
04 June 2001
On the run
IN a country where there have been very few certainties for the last 18 months, Zimbabweans can at least be certain that ZANU - PF is in disarray. True, the party may rally. It will certainly attempt to, but it is weaker now that it has ever been.
And Zimbabweans can largely dismiss those foolish enough to proclaim that this is when the ruling party is at its most dangerous. It is cornered, they say, and lashing out like a wounded buffalo. A lovely analogy, and accurate enough for the first part, though entirely wrong for the second. Like a punch drunk boxer reeling and losing, any punches ZANU-PF throws at the moment are as likely to miss as they are to hit - and anything that does severe damage will be by virtue of luck, not judgement.
Besides, just what is ZANU- PF today? For the purposes of argument, it has to be the Mugabe faction. Seriously divided, the party is bickering and fighting with itself. It will deny this, pointlessly, for the entire nation now talks of this faction against that faction. The clever Mr Eddison Zvobgo pitted against Mr Simon Muzenda; Dr Nkosana Moyo legging it over the hills to resign from somewhere slightly safer than the city of Harare, the old liberal guard of ZAPU against the militants in ZANU. These divisions last week led to rampant rumour mongering when a second of Mugabe's most loyal lieutenants died in a motor vehicle accident. He was murdered, the people say, but by whom?
Perhaps he was and perhaps he wasn't. The same goes for the largely unlamented Mr Border Gezi. Still more rumours did the rounds, perhaps in less spectacular circumstances. It was interesting to hear that home affairs minister John Nkomo called off the business invasions after telling Mr Mugabe that if the instructions were countermanded by the president's office he, Nkomo, would leave the ruling party and take Matabeleland with him. Plausible enough, especially with repetition, except that the people of that province would rather vote for a donkey than anyone connected with ZANU-PF - as was pointed out by a ruling party candidate in last year's election. He lost, incidentally, though not to a donkey.
If in business, location is everything, in politics it is timing that's critical. With ZANU - PF on the ropes, it is tempting to put the boot in. That is not what Zimbabwe needs. While a change of government would be pleasantly refreshing, no one should change one de facto one party state for another. A revolution is needed, but within the ranks of the present ruling party, not in Zimbabwe.
The problem is complex. The current reign of terror and lawlessness afflicting Zimbabwe stems not from fatuous rhetorical nonsense about colonialism and land hunger; it stems from a desire to remain in power. It also began before last year's constitutional referendum, at a time when Mugabe and his secret policemen realised that the tide of popular opinion was turning. The perceived solution was war veterans and anarchy, a totalitarian "final solution" that might well impoverish Zimbabwe (though who cares?) but would swing support back to ZANU -PF.
The June parliamentary election proved that the policy was a spectacular failure, a fact that angered the Mugabe faction.
But it also cost the ruling party the one caucus it had that might rein in the hot-headed militants who have since done so much damage. ZANU - PF simply disappeared off the map in Matabeleland, a province dominated by moderates from the old ZAPU party. Those same moderates now have no constituency, either in parliament or the party. A population greedy for change effectively sidelined them.
And yes, it's true that people like Dumiso Dabengwa failed to stop the party's excesses before the election. But it's also true to say that there is no way of knowing whether they'd have been more successful after it. Too many factors come into play to predict accurately what might have been, not least their closer relationship with the ANC in South Africa.
Still, everything that has been during the last 18 months of madness has to be background to what is today. The "is" of today is a very much weakened ruling party, damaged by death, division and desertion. And that gets us back to the imperative of timing.
For democracy to succeed, and don't forget that it's an essential ingredient for long-term prosperity, then anarchy must fail. Anything that is done that might give the forces of anarchy an opportunity to rally their numbers, to get up off their knees, is bad for Zimbabwe.
The mood of farmers is critical. By and large, there's still a lot of fight left in people, though a combination of crazy economics, threatened viability and illegal, threatening invasions has left people wondering about the future. It has to be hoped, because it may well be essential to success, that farmers and their workers still have more fight in them than the architects of anarchy who're doing their best to destroy the country. Some time ago, this magazine predicted that this was a waiting game. That is still true, and if farmers (and everyone else being terrorised) can hold on for a while longer, then right will prevail over wrong - though compromise will only lengthen the process.
And don't listen to those foolish individuals who say they know more about what is going on than you do, or that this is a "man's game" played by the "big boys". That's rubbish, even a baboon could work out who is doing what to whom in Zimbabwe - though only a baboon would claim proprietorial rights over solving the problem. Anyone could do it (and everyone must); but it takes patience, perseverance and backbone.
Editor- The Farmer
Farmers come in droves for cattleman's field
MDC MPs warn of intimidating tactics
CPA boss warns of threat
Minimum standards for workers' facilities on farms
Switching off the light
Farmers come in droves for cattleman's field day
ZIMBABWE'S cattleman of the year, Mr Roy Lilford, held a field day on his Wicklow Estates farm last week, to mark the winning of the prestigious award. About 250 farmers and people from the cattle industry attended the field day in a show of immense solidarity at a time when farmers are suffering immense hardship.
Wicklow Estates in Selous, where Lilford was born, runs six herds on 4630 hectares, with 1852ha under grazing and the rest arable. The rotational grazing system is made up of 27 paddocks. "Veld reinforced pastures and crop residues are totally complimentary. All my tobacco lands are now planted to legumes and we're developing smaller paddocks which are entirely dryland pastures. The legume pastures are utlised in late summer, April, May or early summer and September, October when cattle find them more palatable," said Mr Lilford. The main legumes used on Wicklow are Siratro, Cassia Wyn and Wild Sunhemp, while grasses are Katombora Rhodes Grass and Giant Rhodes Grass.
His six herds are divided into first calvers (bulling heifers), second calvers, third calvers, the first main herd, second main herd and replacement heifers.
Lilford says he keeps his management principles simple. "We use Sussex, Saler, Saler x Sussex bulls and Mashona bulls in a very simple system. Sussex, Saler x Sussex to Brahman and indigenous type cows and Mashona bulls to Sussex Saler type cows. We don't have a third cross terminal herd," he said.
MDC MPs warn of intimidating tactics
MOVEMENT for Democratic Change (MDC) parliamentarians have condemned intimidation in Zimbabwe by ZANU-PF, claiming that prominent commercial farmers and top business people have been party to intimidation.
Speaking at a meeting in Borrowdale last week the MDC's shadow legal affairs minister, Mr David Coltart said intimidation came in the form of invasions of farms and businesses as well as violence. Speaking to about 600 people, Coltart said there were top businessmen and farmers using intimidatory language in support of ZANU- PF.
"There are certain farmers and a top MD of a bank going around farms telling farmers that the whether Zimbabweans like it or not, Mugabe and ZANU-PF are going to win the next presidential elections," said Mr Coltart.
He said some privileged Harare business people, black and white, are also saying that Mugabe will win - and that it will be good for the country.
"Those people are out of touch with the majority of this country. They are advocating this because of their corrupt deeds with ZANU-PF," said Mr Coltart.
He said such people know that if ZANU - PF is exposed they will also be exposed.
"ZANU - PF and these people should be made to know that evil will not be rewarded. When the international community says the rule of law should be observed, they do not only refer to farms but also to murders and persecutions in the whole country. We have 10 months left before the presidential elections and I have no doubt that ZANU-PF will use whatever means to secure victory. We have to be courageous. Those in the high density areas have been the most courageous. Let those of us who are privileged not let them down," said Mr Coltart.
Mr Roy Bennett, another MDC MP, said all Zimbabweans have a role to play in the country but the ruling party has indoctrinated people into believing that whites don't have a role to play in politics.
"In my constituency there are few white people and the people who voted for me are from poor rural background who stood up to violence and intimidation from the ruling party. The current government will not spare anyone with its evil, from the richest to the poorest," said Bennett.
Bennett urged people, urban and rural alike, to stand up against intimidation in the run-up to next year's presidential election, saying that if the poor could do it, then so could the wealthy.
CPA boss warns of threat
Speaking to hundreds of farmers at a Cattle Producers' Association field day in Selous, chairman of the association Mr Tim Reynolds warned that time was running out for Zimbabwe's veterinary department. He said the department had until the end of June to satisfy the European Union that Zimbabwe should be allowed to continue with beef exports to the lucrative European market.
But Reynolds warned that the department, under the directorship of Dr Stuart Hargreaves, faced massive problems. Illegal occupiers had moved into Zimbabwe's famous Gonarezhou National Park, taking cattle into an area where buffalo are found in abundance. Meanwhile, trouble in the Save Conservancy Area, where farmers and wildlife producers have suffered months of intimidation at the hands of self-styled war veterans and ZANU-PF supporters, continues unabated, despite lobbying from both the agricultural and tourism sectors.
And as if the threat of a Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) outbreak wasn't serious enough, the veterinary department is suffering from a chronic staff shortage. Mr Reynolds claimed that there were currently about 800 vacancies in the department. "We're on very, very thin ground right now," warned the CPA chairman.
He said that FMD's high profile after the UK outbreak meant Zimbabwe was getting poor publicity because the disease is endemic to the region. He said that though the trade liked Zimbabwean beef, there was resistance. "It's not really wanted right now," Reynolds told farmers.
A recent FMD outbreak in Uruguay saw imports of that country's beef closed down in under 24 hours and Mr Reynolds warned farmers that an outbreak in Zimbabwe would see the same thing happen. He said that the veterinary department would ban all movement of cattle immediately if there was an outbreak.
Minimum standards for workers' facilities on farms
ZIMBABWE'S government should create an enabling environment for commercial farmers so they can provide better living standards for farm workers, while minimum standards should be put in place so that farmers know what they are supposed to do to improve the quality of life for their workers.
In an interview with The Farmer this week, Farm Community Trust of Zimbabwe (FTCZ) deputy director, Mrs Kaday Sibanda said farm workers have been made vulnerable by Zimbabwe's land reform programme.
She said the FTCZ has been lobbying government to set minimum standards for facilities farmers provide for their workers - and to give incentives for those farmers who provide such facilities. But so far they have not achieved any success.
Mrs Sibanda said, "It's easy for government to say farmers are not doing this and that for farm workers but government has no minimum standards to say this is what the farmer should provide. If there are minimum standards in place, farmers will know what is expected."
The government introduced a rebate system for farmers who would provide acceptable basic infrastructure facilities for the workers but it takes four years to get the rebate from government.
"There are no incentives for farmers to make welfare of workers a priority," said Mrs Sibanda.
She said it takes only a year for a farmer to get a rebate for equipment bought to improve production but it takes at least four years for farmers to get rebates for money spent on improving facilities for farm workers.
Mrs Sibanda said her organisation which is 100% reliant on donor funding has initiated programmes which have been well received by both farmers and farm workers. She said schools, health facilities and HIV home-based care units have been built with a lot of help from farmers, most of whom provided building material.
One well-received initiative from FTCZ as the introduction of "Early Childhood Education and Care Centres.
"A lot of mothers on farms work and manage to take children to the tobacco barns but it harms the child's health," said Mrs Sibanda.
In these care centres on the farm children are left to play and get education while their mother are working.
Mrs Sibanda said they provide training to farm schoolteachers. She said FTCZ also work through government ministries to provide training in various areas and provide government extension officers with motorbikes. This, she said, is because government already has established structures, which helps them to access the farms.
The uncertainty surrounding the land issue have also discouraged farmers from continuing with improvements on farms.
The FTCZ have been doing most of its work in Mashonaland provinces and has plans to go to other provinces.
The FTCZ approaches to government to recognise farm workers in the land reform programme have not yielded results. Mrs Sibanda said there is no consistent answer from government officials over the issue of those being displaced by the land reform exercise. She said some officials tell them that they will be allocated land while others say they don't qualify to be resettled.
According to the surveys by the FCTZ only 7% of the workers on acquired farms have been resettled. The remainder, she said, were still on living on these farms but with no land allocated to them. As a result there have no source of income and in trying to find alternative sources of income some were now practising illegal gold panning which is an environmental and health hazard.
She warned of large numbers of squatters in the near future if the problem of displaced farm workers is not rectified.
Due to the political situation in the country a lot of donors have withdrawn. Although donors have not deserted FCTZ they have adopted a new approach to funding their activities. Mrs Sibanda said some of the donors were now reluctant to have long-term commitment. "This has affected our plans but we are lucky because no one has pulled out. They are concerned about the violence perpetrated against farm workers and the farmers," she said.
Switching off the light
ZIMBABWE hasn't seen a total solar eclipse since 1886, though two will be seen in southern Africa in the very near future, the first on 21 June and another 18 months late on 4 December. Thousands of foreign visitors are expected to visit the country - and the region - to witness the event. The best place to view the June eclipse in Zimbabwe will be north of the line between Mutoko and Makuti; in this zone the phenomenon will last for about three minutes, starting at about 1.45PM.
In fact, solar eclipses happen slightly more often than lunar eclipses, though fewer people witness them. That's because lunar eclipses can be seen from an entire hemisphere, while their solar cousins can be seen only from a narrow band that's rarely more than 200 km wide. Thus the eclipse of 23 November 2003 will be visible only from Antarctica.
All solar eclipses begin in the west and move eastwards at the speed of the moon's shadow, about 1700 km/h. A solar eclipse won't last more than seven and a half minutes at the most - and usually between two and five minutes is the norm. Lunar eclipses, though, can last for up to two and a half hours. Generally, every location on earth will witness a total solar eclipse every 375 years and a lunar eclipse, on average, every second year.
Solar eclipses are not very exciting unless there is an eclipse magnitude of 90% or more because our eyes compensate for the shadow passing over the sun. Still, in southern Africa, the eclipses of 2001 and 2002 will be easily visible and reasonably accessible. The next opportunity to witness this magnificent phenomenon in Africa south of the equator will be in 2030, while there will be a spectacular eclipse in Mutare on 4 October 2070.
Safety specs - safe viewing
It is dangerous to look at the eclipse with the naked eye. The best way to view it is through special solar eclipse viewers or a number 14 welding glass. Alternatively, cover a mirror with cardboard, leaving a space less than 2cm across and project an image of the sun onto a shaded wall or a darkened room.
Do not attempt to look at the eclipse through binoculars or a telescope. For the best advice on how to view the event, if you're unable to get the special viewers, contact the Astronomical Society.
(With thanks to Dr Francis Podmore, Department of Physics, University of Zimbabwe.
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org). For further information visit the Society's website at http://www.geocities.com/zimastro.
Harare - Zimbabwe's largest car assembly plant, Willowvale Mazda Motor Industries, has been closed indefinitely, the state-owned Herald reported Monday.
The plant, which specialises in assemblying Japanese
vehicles, has given in to persistent and critical shortages of foreign exchange
in Zimbabwe necessary for the importation of assembly kits, the report said.
The firm's more than 300 workers turned up for work Friday after a
month-long involuntary holiday and found the gates locked, according to the
Workers will, however, continue to receive salaries for the next five
months, when some car kits from Japan are expected to arrive.
Zimbabwe's economic crisis - marked by among other things high inflation
and acute shortages of foreign currency - has seen levels of production drop by
The paper said the workers were told of the closure by the firm's
chairman Mike Ndudzo. Ndudzo was not immediately available for comment.
At least 400 Zimbabwean manufacturing firms closed shop last year while a
total of 750 companies laid off nearly 10 000 workers, according to a recent
study by the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries (CZI).
The shortage of foreign capital has been exacerbated by a suspension by
the International Monetary Fund of loans to the southern African country since
The invasion last year of hundreds of white-owned farms by veterans of
the country's liberation war and a subsequent violent electoral campaign saw the
country's international standing deteriorate, worsening the economic crisis.