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Lovemore Moyo wins election as Speaker of Parliament

By Lance Guma
29 March 2011

MDC-T chairman Lovemore Moyo on Tuesday was re-elected as Speaker of
Parliament, after he polled 105 votes to ZANU PF’s candidate Simon Khaya
Moyo’s 93 votes. A total of 199 legislators showed up for the crucial vote
but one vote was disallowed and branded a ‘spoilt vote.’

Reporting from Parliament our correspondent Simon Muchemwa says co-Home
Affairs Minister Theresa Makone showed up for the vote, after being in
hiding due to threats of arrest.

Earlier in the day the MDC-T MP’s not only nominated their candidate,
Lovemore Moyo, but also ZANU PF’s Tsholotsho North MP, Jonathan Moyo. The
strategy was aimed at reducing the number of ZANU PF votes, as individuals
nominated could not vote.

Our correspondent said he over heard Vice President Joyce Mujuru and Defence
Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa discussing the fact that two of their ZANU PF MP’s
must have voted for the MDC’T’s, Lovemore Moyo.

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Jonathan Moyo accused of bribing MDC-T MP’s

By Lance Guma
29 March 2011

Tuesday started off with some high political drama, after the MDC-T convened
a press conference at which thousands of US dollars were put on display. The
party accused ZANU PF apologist Jonathan Moyo of leading a plot to bribe
MDC-T MP’s to vote for the ZANU PF candidate for Speaker of Parliament,
Simon Khaya Moyo.

MDC-T Chief Whip Innocent Gonese said five of their MPs received $5 000 each
from a coordinator of the syndicate, a Senator Gaule. The MP’s quickly
handed over the money to Gonese and fellow MP Dorcas Sibanda. “We are in
possession of $25 000 which our MPs have surrendered this morning,” Gonese

“From the evidence provided by our MPs, the people coordinating are Jonathan
Moyo, Senator Believe Gaule and Kudakwashe Bhasikiti. It is shameful and
regrettable that Jonathan Moyo, together with his colleagues, were in the
cockpit of these bribery and desperate efforts to corrupt our people,”
Gonese said.

The MDC-T said it was investigating 10 other cases of MPs who were also
approached to be part of the bribery scam. “We are aware of who they are and
are waiting for the money and other evidence as soon as possible,” Gonese
added. Five other MPs have also notified Gonese that they were promised
prime farms, choice agricultural plots and cars as a reward for voting for

The vacancy for Speaker of the House arose after the recent controversial
Supreme Court ruling that the August 2008 election of the MDC-T’s Lovemore
Moyo was not done by secret ballot. The court based its decision on the
claim that 6 MDC-T MP’s waved their ballot papers in the air, something
legal experts say could not have affected the validity of the vote.

At Tuesday’s election the tide turned again in favour of Lovemore Moyo,
after the smaller faction of the MDC led by Welshman Ncube, announced it
would support him instead of boycotting the election. MDC-N Secretary
General, Priscilla Misihairambwi Mushonga, said they were concerned with the
timing of Energy Minister Elton Mangoma's arrest, as well as threats to
arrest more MPs saying this was an attempt to rig the vote.

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Parly poll rig plot

By Reagan Mashavave and Chengetai Zvauya
Tuesday, 29 March 2011 10:57

HARARE - Zanu PF's smash and grab tactics ahead of Tuesday's Speaker of
Parliament elections could come to nought after the two Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) formations resolved yesterday to vote together.

Priscilla Misihairambwi-Mushonga, the secretary-general of the smaller MDC
faction, announced yesterday that due to the continuing arrest of MDC MPs,
as well as Zanu PF’s clear attempt to rig the Speaker’s election, her party
had decided to vote with the main MDC.

She accused Zanu PF of using police and state machinery to arrest the MPs to
unfairly reduce the MDC’s numbers to enhance the winning chances of Zanu PF.

“We have seen in particular, the re-arrest of Honourable (Elton) Mangoma.
The timing of that arrest, in our opinion, is a timing that seeks to make
sure that Zanu PF unfairly gets an advantage by using state machinery to rig
an election.

“We have therefore decided that only on that principle and that basis, we
are going to urge our members to go in and vote for the MDC- T candidate,”
she said.

Former Zimbabwean ambassador to South Africa and now chairman of Zanu PF,
Simon Khaya Moyo, will battle it out with former speaker Lovemore Moyo for
the crucial post.

The speaker’s position fell vacant after the Supreme Court nullified the
2008 elections which ushered in MDC chairman Lovemore Moyo after a challenge
Zanu-PF smash and grab ‘will come to nought’ by Member of Parliament (MP)
for Tsholotsho, Jonathan Moyo.

Zanu PF has over the last few months been accused by analysts and other
political parties of overtly abusing its monopoly of state power and
employing its infamous tactic of systematically arresting MDC MPs to reduce
their numbers in parliament ahead of today’s House elections.

Already, three MDC MPs are in police custody facing what their party says
are trumped up charges.

According to figures released by clerk of parliament Austin Zvoma yesterday,
the MDC currently has 97 MPs and Zanu PF has 96 - but if the vote of the
ever flip-flopping Jonathan Moyo is taken into account, then Zanu PF also
has 97 MPs. But the MDC has seen their MPs reduced to 94 following the
arrest of the three MPs.

The Ncube led MDC faction, which could decide the outcome of the vote has
seven MPs.

The MDC expressed fears yesterday that more of its MPs would be arrested
outside parliament today, a development it said might force the party to
boycott the elections completely.

MDC spokesperson Nelson Chamisa yesterday welcomed the support from the
Welshman Ncube-led MDC in the afternoon vote. He said the MDC believed that
all MPs should be allowed to vote in the critical ballot.

“We appreciate and thank our colleagues for the correct gesture they have
taken. That is what it should be. The election (of Speaker) is basically
darkness versus light. Light being the MDC leadership and darkness Zanu PF,”
Chamisa said.

“Arresting our MPs is trying to subvert the will of the people. We are
saying let the MPs in their totality vote.”

The attempt by Zanu PF to steal today’s elections was first publicly raised
by top human rights lawyer Beatrice Mtetwa, while representing the
incarcerated Mangoma in court last week.

“We believe that the latest arrest is meant to deliberately subvert the High
Court order with regards to bail and that the arrest is clearly politically
motivated to ensure that the accused person is unavailable for political
processes that are going on in parliament,” Mtetwa said last week.

MDC leader Morgan also told the Daily News last week that Mugabe was no
longer in control of the country as all his powers had been taken over by
the military. He said it was the military which was taking the decisions to
continuously arrest MDC MPs.

When a Zanu PF MP was contacted for comment on their chances now that the
two MDC formations were voting together he expressed shock.

“What, I can’t believe it. Then we have lost. It will now be difficult,” he

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MDC-T Minister Mangoma to remain behind bars

By Alex Bell
29 March 2011

The MDC’s Deputy Treasurer General, Elton Mangoma, will remain behind bars
for another week after the State ‘maliciously’ moved to block his release on

Mangoma, who is also Zimbabwe’s Energy Minister in the crumbling coalition
government, is facing two charges relating to alleged ‘abuse of office’. He
was originally arrested two weeks ago on charges relating to a fuel deal. He
was granted US$5 000 bail at the Harare High Court and released. But he was
rearrested last Friday and charged again, this time in connection with an
electricity tender award.

On Monday he appeared at the High Court for the start of his trial on the
original charges laid against him. He arrived at the court in leg irons,
which were only removed after the intervention of his lawyer, Beatrice

His trial for the fresh charges was set for 18 July and on Tuesday he was
back in court for another bail hearing. High Court Judge, Justice Yunus
Omerjee, granted Mangoma US$5 000 bail on this second charge, but the
Minister will remain behind bars for another week, after the State invoked a
controversial act that blocks his release.

According to the MDC, the State “resorted to its malicious actions of
invoking the draconian Section 121 sub section 3 of the Criminal Procedure
and Evidence Act,” after the judge turned down a request for Mangoma to be
barred from returning to work.

“Shocked by this judgment, the State then chose to invoke Section 121,” the
MDC said.

Last week, Mangoma’s lawyer, Mtetwa, lashed out at the police and the State
for prosecuting Mangoma “in installments.”

“We believe that the latest arrest is meant to deliberately subvert the High
Court order with regards to bail and that the arrest is clearly politically
motivated,” Mtetwa said. She referred to Tuesday’s vote in Parliament for a
new speaker, which ZANU PF has been trying to manipulate in its favour by
targeting MDC MPs with arrest.

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SADC chair says Zim unity government must stay in place

By Alex Bell
29 March 2011

The current Chair of the Southern African Development Community (SADC),
Namibian Prsident Hifikepunye Pohamba, has indicated that Zimbabwe’s unity
government must be ‘preserved’ until a credible election can take place.

Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai has this week continued with his regional
diplomatic offensive, ahead a SADC Troika meeting on Zimbabwe on Thursday.
On Monday Tsvangirai met President Pohamba at State House in Windhoek.
According to the MDC, Tsvangirai briefed the SADC chair on the deteriorating
situation in Zimbabwe, the dysfunctional government and “the violence,
repression and outright contempt by ZANU PF to its coalition partners.”

Tsvangirai told journalists after the hour-long talks in the Namibian
capital that, “President Pohamba emphasised that there is a need to preserve
Zimbabwe’s inclusive government, and I think he wishes to keep the coalition
in place until the referendum and credible elections for a new government.”

More than a week ago Tsvngairai launched his regional tour, trying to brief
as many SADC leaders as possible about the rapidly deteriorating situation
in Zimbabwe. He has already met with leaders from Swaziland, Zambia,
Mozambique and South Africa, and on Tuesday he was set to travel to the DRC
for talks with President Joseph Kabila. He will also be meeting with
President Jakaya Kikwete in Tanzania before proceeding to Zambia for the
Troika summit on Thursday.

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Rights group calls for SADC to end Mugabe crackdown

Human Rights Watch (HRW) wants SADC leaders to pressure Robert Mugabe with
renewed violence against political activists
Published: 2011/03/29 09:30:45 AM

Human Rights Watch (HRW) says the Southern Africa Development Community
(SADC) should publicly press Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe and his
party to end the harassment of civil society activists and political

"SADC leaders should not tolerate ZANU-PFs endemic abuse against civil
society," Daniel Bekele, Africa director at Human Rights Watch said in a
statement on Tuesday. "They should insist on tangible human rights
improvements in Zimbabwe before any elections are held."

HRW said that South African President Jacob Zuma is expected to report back
on the status of the power sharing government and progress by the parties to
carry out key political reforms.

"Zuma was appointed by SADC in 2009 to facilitate the agreement between
Mugabe’s party, ZANU-PF, and the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) to
create Zimbabwe’s inclusive government," the organisation.

"As Zimbabwe prepares for elections, ZANU-PF and the security forces are
again harassing human rights activists and MDC members," said Bekele. "SADC
leaders should no longer just stand by and watch as the situation in the
country deteriorates."

HRW says in recent months, Zimbabwe’s security forces have intensified
harassment and arbitrary arrests of human rights activists and MDC officials
and supporters.

"On March 15, police raided the offices of the nongovernmental organisation
Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition, allegedly in search of "subversive" material.
The organisation said that four police officers from Harare Central Police
station raided the offices and later searched the home of the coalition’s
director, Mcdonald Lewanika. Police confiscated several reports and other
materials from both places and then took Lewanika to Harare Central Police
station, where he was charged with criminal nuisance and made to pay an
admission-of-guilt fine of $20," HRW said.

"On March 10, police visited the offices of another human rights
organization, the Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum, and demanded to see Abel
Chikomo, the director, who was not there," the organisation added.

"The myriad criminal charges brought against MDC officials and activists
seem to be politically motivated," Bekele said. "They indicate that ZANU-PF
has resorted to its old campaign tactics of suppressing political opponents
by harassment and intimidation."

SADC is meeting on Friday in Livingstone, Zambia.

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‘Intimidation surges’ as Zimbabwean militias redeployed

Published: 2011/03/29 07:43:13 AM

CHURCH leaders in Zimbabwe yesterday called for an end to rising political
violence and "hate language" fuelling it as elections approach and the
nation slides deeper into a political crisis.

In a pastoral statement, the Zimbabwe Council of Churches urged political
leaders to "reflect deeply" and work to resolve outstanding issues before
holding elections.

President Robert Mugabe has called for elections this year to end a troubled
two-year coalition .

Clergy across the country reported a lack of impartiality by police and
security forces, a surge in threats and intimidation and a revival of the
deployment of militias and others that perpetrated the 2008 violence.

Roman Catholic bishops and heads of other Christian denominations criticised
politicians for what they described as "occasional denunciation" of

"We believe it must become more regular and translated into reality."

Inflammatory language reported in the state media has spurred violence and
undermined efforts toward national healing after years of political and
economic turmoil.

The churches also called for more intervention by regional leaders of the
Southern African Development Community to resolve outstanding disputes over
power-sharing before any election is held.

They proposed the eventual formation of an independent truth, justice and
reconciliation commission to deal with "truth telling, acknowledgment of
past wrongs and restorative and transitional justice issues".

Police have banned three recent "peace rallies" proposed by Prime Minister
Morgan Tsvangirai’s Movement for Democratic Change party, saying they
clashed with Mugabe party meetings nearby and raised security concerns.
Police have raided and searched Mr Tsvangirai’s party headquarters twice
this month.

The state media controlled by Mugabe loyalists reported on Sunday that state
law officers were preparing an arrest warrant for former speaker Lovemore
Moyo, Mr Tsvangirai’s party chairman, on contempt of court charges.

A vote for a new speaker is due today in the Harare parliament. Mr
Tsvangirai’s party says two of its MPs have been threatened with arrest and
nine are under police investigation on various allegations .

The party has announced it will boycott today’s vote if police action turns
out to be a deliberate ploy to disqualify MPs from casting their ballots and
help Mr Mugabe’s party to capture the post. Sapa-AP

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Bennett, party at odds over investment in Zimbabwe

Old Mutual’s Zimbabwean subsidiary receives support for its investment in
Zimbabwe from the main MDC-T opposition party.
Published: 2011/03/29 07:26:56 AM

OLD Mutual ’s Zimbabwean subsidiary yesterday received unlikely support for
its investment in Zimbabwe from the main MDC-T (Movement for Democratic
Change) opposition party.

This is after the party distanced itself from calls by one of its senior
members, Roy Bennett, who wants the insurer to disinvest from two companies
he says represent the face of alleged repression taking place in the
embattled country.

Mr Bennett, who is in self- imposed exile in SA, has mounted a campaign to
force Old Mutual to cut its ties with Zimbabwe Newspapers (Zimpapers) and
Mbada Diamonds.

The two firms are directly owned by the state. Old Mutual has an indirect
stake in Mbada Diamonds of 1,5% via its stake in New Reclamation Group. It
also owns about 18% of Zimpapers.

Mr Bennett last week accused Old Mutual in Cape Town of investing in
companies that are associated with the former Zimbabwe ruling Zanu (PF)

This is despite the fact that MDC-T is a partner with Zanu (PF) in the same
government that he is critical of . The other partner is a smaller splinter
party formed by disgruntled members from the original MDC party.

Mr Bennett wants Old Mutual to disinvest from the two firms, particularly
"its blood-stained investment" in the diamond mine. The mine has been at the
centre of controversy over allegations of rights abuses of villagers near
the mine in eastern Zimbabwe. But the global diamond trade watchdog, the
Kimberley Process , has given Zimbabwe the green light to export Chiadzwa

Mr Bennett says some of the newspapers owned by Zimpapers are "spewing hate

A spokesman for Mr Bennett’s party, Nelson Chamisa, yesterday said the
public spat between Old Mutual and Mr Bennett did not represent the party’s
official position. "That is Bennett’s view, not the position of the party,"
said Mr Chamisa, who is also minister of information and communications

Mr Bennett was unavailable for comment at the time of going to press. With
Dumisani Muleya,za

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Japanese Ambassador donated the 5, 7 million dollars

Written by The Zimbabwean
Tuesday, 29 March 2011 17:00

The Japanese Ambassador to Zimbabwe Koichi Morita has finally donated the 5,
7 million dollars which he had initially postponed citing the disastrous
developments that took place in his home country.
The money which is was donated on Tuesday is directed to the Ministry of
Health and Child welfare and United Nations Cultural and Educational Fund to
assist in the country’s realization of the Millennium Development Goals
number four and five by the year 2015.
“We hope that the grant being extended today will enable Zimbabwe to achieve
two of the Millennium Development Goals- One is MDG 4, reducing under five
mortality rate by two thirds by 2015 and the other is MDG 5, the improvement
of maternal health. We are fully committed to the attainment of these
 goals,” said Ambassador Morita.
Addressing delegates who gathered at the UNICEF offices to witness the grant
signing ceremony between Ambassador Morita and the UNICEF country
representative Peter Salama with  Dr Gerald Gwinji, the permanent secretary
for health standing in for the Health Minister Dr Henry Madzorera, Morita
said his country’s wish was to see the immunization coverage increase to
“A specific objective is to increase the immunization coverage to at least
95% at the national level by December this year,” he said. He however
thanked the sympathy and support of the people of Zimbabwe since the
occurrence of the disastrous Tsunami and the earthquake which left thousands
of people dead.

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Foreign mining firms under siege

by Tobias Manyuchi & Edward Jones     Tuesday 29 March 2011

HARARE – Zimbabwe yesterday made public radical regulations forcing foreign
mining companies to sell majority stakes to blacks by September this year,
sending shares in miners with local operations tumbling amid jitters their
businesses could be nationalized.

A government gazette, dated Friday but which was made public yesterday gave
mining companies 45 days to submit details of their indigenisation plans to
the Minister of Youth and Indigenisation Saviour Kasukuwere, failure of
which they could be prosecuted.

Aquarius Platinum Ltd that jointly owns Mimosa platinum mine with Impala
Platinum (Implats) mines, took the biggest knock in yesterday’s trade,
shedding seven percent of its value due to fears over Harare’s
indigenisation policy.

President Robert Mugabe vowed on Sunday he would press ahead with the
empowerment drive targeting foreign-owned businesses, which has rattled
foreign investors keen to exploit Zimbabwe’s huge minerals resources.

The empowerment plans are opposed by Mugabe’s coalition partner Prime
Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, who favours a gradual approach, fearing that
wholesale indigenisation could wreck a fragile economy.

Implats, which operates the largest platinum mine in Zimbabwe fell five
percent yesterday. Its Zimbabwe unit has fallen 20 percent this year in
Australia on fears of nationalisation.

Government sources say Implats has over the last two months come under a lot
of pressure to sell shares to Mugabe’s political allies but the firm has
resisted, arguing the government should honour an agreement that protects it
from the empowerment drive.

Zimplats wants to sell 15 percent of its shares to locals.

Analysts say Zimbabwe maybe putting pressure on foreign mines to pay more in

Miners may come under pressure, torn between pulling out and risk losing
rights to the massive platinum reserves and other minerals to Mugabe's
preferred investors from China or negotiate revised deals that will see the
government getting more from the country’s resources.

Zimplats has already ceded 33 percent of its platinum concessions on the
great dyke to the government, which sold these to Russian and Chinese

The resource rich southern African nation boasts the world’s second largest
reserves of platinum, has discovered alluvial diamonds which experts say
could generate $2 billion a year and has large gold, chrome and coal

The new regulations now target foreign mining companies with a value above
$1, effectively forcing all mines to be in local hands. Previously, only
companies with a net asset value of $500,000 were targeted for

The regulations said that the six-month period for compliance could be
revised only if the mining company shows good cause why the deadline should
be extended by a maximum three months.

Economic analysts said a clause which requires Kasukuwere to agree with the
foreign miners on the valuation of the business could cause friction as the
government wants valuations to “take into account the State’s sovereign
ownership of the mineral or minerals exploited or proposed to be exploited”
by the miner.

“This basically means the government does not want to pay for the shares.
The argument being that the minerals belong to the government in the same
way they refused to pay for the land,” an analyst with a Harare-based
commercial bank said.

Economist, John Robertson said the reference to the “State’s sovereign
ownership of the minerals” was a clear attempt to reduce the amount that
will have to be paid for the shares by locals.

"Finding the sums needed to pay for 51percent of the mining industry will be
quite a challenge. Not many of the mines are listed on the Zimbabwe Stock
Exchange, so a market capitalisation calculation on the quoted shares adds
up to a very small part of the answer."

ZANU-PF has put the issue of indigenisation and Western sanctions at the
heart of its election campaign, hoping to sway urban voters who have rallied
behind Tsvangirai’s Movement for Democratic Change party. -- ZimOnline

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Signposting the Anglican Way: Theological Education Group meets in Harare, Zimbabwe

Posted On : March 29, 2011 10:27 AM | Posted By : Webmaster
Related Categories: ACO - Theological

The second meeting of the Steering Group of TEAC 2 (Theological Education in
the Anglican Communion) took place in Harare, Zimbabwe, February 17 – 24
2011, at the invitation of Bishop Chad Gandiya, Anglican Bishop of Harare
and a member of the Steering Group. It was chaired by Archbishop Colin
Johnson of Toronto, Canada.

Although problems with obtaining a visa for Zimbabwe had prevented several
members of the Steering Group from getting to Harare, and their input was
missed, the fidelity and witness amidst persecution of Bishop Chad and his
clergy and people offered a vital context for TEAC’s work.

The Group offered two days of ‘Continuing Ministerial Education’ to about 80
clergy from the Diocese of Harare and other Dioceses of the Church of the
Province of Central Africa. The training developed themes explored in the
Signposts statement  which seeks to set out the essentials of the Anglican
Way, ‘Formed by Scripture’, ‘Shaped through Worship’, ‘Ordered for Communion’,
‘Directed by God’s Mission’. Members of the Steering Group gained as well as
gave, honoured to meet with the courageous clergy of the diocese and learn
of their experiences. The powerful Shona song, “Namata urinde” “Watch and
pray” (which can be heard in the audi player below) marked the beginning and
end of the teaching sessions and seemed an extraordinarily apt watchword for
these Christians standing firm in their faith in spite of difficulties and

All the members of the Steering Group were also privileged to take part in
Sunday services in the Diocese. Almost all the churches of the Diocese are
not currently accessible to the priests and people, so congregations meet in
a variety of locations, halls, schools, even a racing club! But the
harassment and persecution that has been experienced over recent years has,
if anything, made the Church even stronger, with worship locations being
packed out and over-spilling, and worship itself marked both with great
dignity and great joy.

Over the following three days  the Steering Group planned the priorities of
TEAC for the coming year. TEAC is committed both to encouraging a greater
understanding of the ‘Anglican Way’ in theological education, and to the
support and equipping of theological educators.

They agreed on the aims, programme and hoped-for outcomes for the
forthcoming consultation for Anglican theological college Principals to be
held in Canterbury, England, in May 2011.

The Group also committed itself to working throughout 2011-2012 to develop
the Signposts series of booklets (linked to the Signposts statement) of
which the first two, No 1 a general introduction to the statement and No 2
‘An Anglican theology of Mission and Evangelism’ appeared in 2008[1]. We
intendto produce four more over the coming year, on the Bible, Word and
Sacrament, the role of Bishops, and the question of culture.

There was also initial discussion of a major project to create an e-course
(online learning) on the Anglican Way that would also take its structure
from the Signposts statement. This work will begin shortly after the
Principals consultation.

The story of the encounter of Jesus with the disciples on the road to Emmaus
(Luke 24.13-35) was like a thread that ran through the meeting. This
powerful account of the resurrection experienced by disciples in the midst
of difficulty and danger spoke to the situation the Group found itself in
during their time in Harare. The biblical text also resonates deeply with
the Signposts’ themes: the disciples are ‘Formed by Scripture’ as their
hearts burn while listening to Jesus expounding ‘Moses and the prophets’;
they are ‘Shaped by worship’ as they recognise the resurrected Jesus during
the breaking of the bread; they are ‘Ordered for Communion’ as they return
to Jerusalem realising the need for engagement with the apostles; and in
their joyous sharing of what had happened on the way, they were totally
‘Directed by and for God’s Mission’.

For more information about the work of TEAC (Theological Education in the
Anglican Communion) contact its secretary Clare Amos, Director for
Theological Studies, at

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Desperate measures in times of hunger
Photo: Flickr
The staple maize
HARARE, 29 March 2011 (IRIN) - A mother of four in Zimbabwe’s rural Midlands Province gave her husband custody of her children, after divorcing him three years ago, because the failing crops on her two-acre plot meant she would be unable to feed them.

"I had no choice but to bring the children to their father [in the capital, Harare]... There is so much hunger in Shurugwi, and getting food for them is a real struggle," said Tariro Moyo, 38, who lives with her parents in the village about 85km southeast of Gweru, provincial capital of Midlands.

The father of the children, all of school-going age, has since remarried and earns a small salary as a mechanic at a struggling company in Chitungwiza, a dormitory town about 30km south of Harare, where he lives in a two-roomed cottage. His new wife is not  keen on having the children.

"I know life will be difficult for my children but they could have died if I had remained with them. The father will see what he can do to ensure that his children get food and attend school," Moyo said.

The husband's salary will not stretch to pay for school fees and the children will be expected to sell sweets and vegetables to contribute to the household income.

Moyo was allocated the two-acre plot by her father after the divorce, but a prolonged
dry spell has put paid to any maize harvest this year.

Like hundreds of others in her community, she relied on monthly supplies of barley, millet and cooking oil from an NGO, but distributions stopped in early March 2011 because the budget had been exhausted.

The US-based Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWSNET) has forecast that about 1.7 million people will need food assistance ahead of the main harvest, which usually begins in late March.

Moyo has only been able to produce a small amount of maize in the past two years and has survived on piecemeal jobs.

"Like the other villagers, I have totally become dependent on buying food from local shops because we have not been harvesting much from the fields. It is raising the money that is difficult. The lucky ones have relatives in urban areas, who are working and can send them money every month-end," she said.

The children often went to school on empty stomachs and had a single evening meal of sadza (thick porridge made from maize-meal) and some vegetables. She said most households in her area were in the same position - there was no cash, and most people survived on barter.

A joint report by UNICEF and the government, A Situational Analysis on the State of Women's and Children's Rights in Zimbabwe: 2005-2010, "indicates that between 220,000 and 250,000 rural households in Zimbabwe live in extreme poverty and are food insecure. These households include between 620,000 and 700,000 vulnerable children."

Nationwide about 3.5 million children were living below the poverty line.

A ZANU-PF card gets food

Samuel Tabvure, 52, lives in Nharira village in Chivu district, about 180km southeast of Harare, where he looks after his ailing elderly mother and a sister who was diagnosed with HIV last year.

''You have to register your name with the local village head. After that, you should show the ZANU-PF leaders your party card and wait for your turn, which for some of us seems to be taking forever because we are suspected of supporting the opposition''
"Both of them need good food but they are surviving on sadza and vegetables most of the time. Whenever I take them to the clinic, I am advised to buy them nutritious food but I am not working and can therefore not buy the required foodstuffs, not even cooking oil," he told IRIN.

The family of nine requires 50kg of maize-meal each week costing US$18, or US$72 every month.

The Grain Marketing Board (GMB), a state-run cereal distribution monopoly, has been
moving grain to the local depot and is selling maize-meal and grain more cheaply.

"The process of buying from the GMB is too long and tiresome. You have to register your name with the local village head. After that, you should show the ZANU-PF leaders your party card and wait for your turn, which for some of us seems to be taking forever because we are suspected of supporting the opposition," said Tabvure.

There have been allegations that ZANU-PF - the ruling party since independence from Britain in 1980 until a coalition government was formed in 2009 - has excluded supporters of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change from accessing maize at GMB depots, and has been hampering efforts by humanitarian organizations to provide food assistance.

"The plight of children makes my heart bleed. Their performance at school is clearly affected because they attend school hungry, and over the past four years there have not been any free food handouts in this district," Tabvure said.

"Poor harvests are bad news, particularly for rural people," Innocent Makwiramiti, a Harare-based economist and former chief executive officer of the Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce (ZNCC), told IRIN.

"Prices of maize-meal and other foodstuffs will go up," he said, 'but these people don't have dependable sources of income, yet they will not have options but to go to the shops for their food."

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

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Congratulations Mr Lovemore Moyo Thank you Welshman Ncube

By Clifford Chitupa Mashiri 29 03 11

As all democratic forces are celebrating today the defeat of Simon Khaya
Moyo of Zanu-Pf, it is a great pleasure to extend warm congratulations to
MDC Chairman the Hon Lovemore Moyo on being re-elected the Speaker of
Parliament of Zimbabwe. Well done guys.

It is also appropriate to extend thanks and appreciation to Professor
Welshman Ncube and his colleagues who voted with MDC-T to deny Zanu-pf the
prestigious post of Speaker of Parliament of Zimbabwe.

Despite the evil machinations of the forces of darkness and their thirty
pieces of silver, common sense prevailed when the MDC MPs from both
Tsvangirai’s and Ncube’s camps united to deny Zanu-pf victory where it does
not deserve it.

As we also always condemn corruption it is a great pleasure to note that
some of our parliamentarians are people of principle and would not succumb
to temptation when they handed in the alleged money for votes.

So where did the US$25,000 bait money for votes come from? Could this money
be part of the proceeds from the Chiadzwa diamond sales? Well done
Zimbabweans for exposing corruption and defeating the dark forces.

It gives every principled person pride to learn that back home, we still
have men and women of great character. I am very happy.

Clifford Chitupa Mashiri, Political Analyst, London,

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