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

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With great sadness we advise that Colin Anderson, founder member of the Blue Cross in Zimbabwe, has passed away following a short illness.  The Society will forever owe a debt of gratitude to Colin who has left behind such a wonderful legacy.  The challenging Blue Cross has become a favourite event for local and regional cyclists and walkers who ‘dare to care’ about the animals of Zimbabwe.


Many past participants attended Colin’s funeral service in Harare, and in a fitting tribute to Colin, wore their Blue Cross medals.


On to recent animals welfare cases here.  Starting on a positive note, having pursued their case against a Ruwa ZANU PF Councillor for assaulting two ZNSPCA Inspectors, the Councillor pleaded guilty and was fined.


Earlier this year, a couple returning to Zambia who had stopped to change a tyre near Eagle’s Nest, spotted ‘Monty’ in a field - the horse was nothing but skin and bone and they reported the pitiful sight to the ZNSPCA.  He was rescued, received veterinary treatment and has happily been found a good home - one of the few fortunate ones.** 


Monty had been left behind by a commercial farmer who was evicted from his farm during the land invasions.  The horse was left with a new farmer and for a year was severely mistreated, being ridden by all the farm workers to round up cattle.


The ZNSPCA received a tip off that Harare Municipal security dogs were starving and investigations revealed this to be true.  None of the four  Municipal security dog facilities in Harare had dog meal, and meat was only being provided when one of the municipal cattle died.  All dogs were emaciated and three had to be PTS.  Under threat of prosecution, dog meal is now being provided and all animals are gaining weight.  The situation will be closely monitored.


Dairy herds continue to have a very rough time and following another tip off, a herd in very bad condition was attended to in Beatrice.  Many of the cows were suffering from a disease called ‘Senkoba’ which results in bleeding lesions on affected animals.  The cattle belong to another ‘absentee’ farmer who has not monitored the condition of the herd or managed their feeding and welfare.  Fortunately he has responded positively to warnings.


ZNSPCA now attend monthly cattle auctions due to the manner in which cattle have been transported, loaded and off-loaded, with some buyers taking two or three days to collect animals after the sale.  Meryl reports that they have received excellent co-operation from the Auctioneers and they now read out a warning from the Inspectors before each sale.


Whilst on the road recently, the team stopped a bus from Mutare carrying 15 goats on the roof  (which is illegal).  It turned out the owner of the goats was a policeman.  Further investigations by ZNSPCA and Police Rusape revealed the goats had actually been stolen.


Mbezi Game Lodge was invaded again and ZNSPCA was called in to rescue a parrot, cat and tortoise after the owner had been violently evicted.  A day later the team supervised the loading and removal of part of the cattle herd.


ZNSPCA were also involved in the relocation of several impala and zebra from Willdale Farm, which has been designated.  Game Management Services carried out the capture and were very organized and used a helicopter very skillfully to herd the animals.  The relocation was arranged by Johnnie Rodrigues of the Zimbabwe Conservations Task Force and went very smoothly with minimum stress caused to the animals.**


The ZNSPCA team was called to attend a quite horrific stock theft case.  Several goats and weaners had been stolen and the goats had been hung upside down alive by their hind legs from trees using wire.  The cattle were immobilized by having barbed wire tied very tightly around their back legs - one animal subsequently died.**  The animals had been left like this for 3 days and nights before they were found.    The accused has been arrested and is being charged with stock theft and cruelty to animals.


We regret to report that the team have once again had to return to Charleswood Estate in Chimanimani.  The army have taken over completely, with a high ranking officer having taken up residence in the house, which still contains all of Roy Bennett’s clothing and personal belongings.


When Meryl and Simon arrived, accompanied by only one policeman, they found a boom across the entrance and army tents.   The policeman was very nervous.  The soldiers manning the boom let the team through but another soldier ran down the hill shouting “the Colonel is not here”.  The team made it on to the farm and started attending to the cattle – one calf had been axed across the head.  They found that the bull they had treated twice previously had died.  The calf which had an arrow head removed from its back on the last visit was also not doing well – workers advised that all vet meds were locked up.   An army officer informed Meryl that workers merely had to ask if they wanted anything but workers are obviously too scared to approach army details. 


One dog was recovered which had been left behind by former farm workers who had managed to sneak off the farm.  The family’s rabbits were not in their hutches – presumably eaten along with two chickens.


The phones to the farmhouse had been cut and although the team made a point of not saying much to the farm workers, as there were army details present everywhere, Simon and Meryl found them to be depressed, frightened and confused.


As they were leaving the farm, Meryl observed about 50 workers being rounded up outside the house.  We can only hope that there were no ‘repercussions’ to ZNSPCA being there.  Meryl did go to great lengths to explain to the army that they were merely there on a follow-up visit to check on the animals which had been injured previously.


On the way out the team encountered a group of ZANU PF militia at the boom who were rather less cordial than the army details. 


Best regards and appreciation




** Photos on request

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        Zimbabwean school to fight forced closure

            May 05 2004 at 06:30PM

      By Ryan Truscott

      Harare - A top school in Zimbabwe was planning court action as most
private schools in the southern African country remained closed on Wednesday
after the government ordered them to shut down for hiking tuition fees
without its permission.

      "The majority of schools are still closed," an official with the
Association of Independent Trust Schools, which represents the country's 46
private schools, told AFP.

      Around 30 000 children enrolled at private schools on Tuesday either
found their schools closed by order of the government, or were turned away
by police on what was supposed to be the first day of the mid-year term.

            'We are dealing with racist schools'
      The state accused the schools of contravening the country's laws by
hiking school fees without the authority of the government of President
Robert Mugabe, which limits increases to 10 percent a year.

      The schools, which the government describes as elitist, are attended
mainly by children of the country's middle classes, but also by the children
of government and ruling party officials.

      Private schools have cited escalating costs, mainly a result of
inflation currently estimated at more than 580 percent, as the reason for
raising fees.

      However, Education Minister Aeneas Chigwedere has condemned the fee
hikes as "racist".

      "We are dealing with racist schools. They are all former white
schools - all racist," Chigwedere told state television on Tuesday. "They
throw Africans out simply by hiking fees."

            Some schools affected by the forced closures were slashing their
      He said the schools, some of which had "trebled, quadrupled,
quintupled" fees since September last year, would remain shut until the
issue was resolved.

      The teachers and parents of one prominent primary school in Harare,
Hartmann House, were on Thursday due to go to court to try to overturn the
government's "unlawful" closure of their school.

      According to court papers obtained by AFP, the Parents and Teachers
Association (PTA) is seeking a High Court order for the school to be
reopened and the government's directive to be declared "null and void".

      Part of the application argues that Chigwedere's use of police to
close the school was illegal.

      The official with the independent schools trust could not say whether
other schools were considering legal action, but acknowledged "considerable
activity on several fronts" aimed at reopening the schools.

      The state-run Herald newspaper reported that some schools affected by
the forced closures were slashing their fees to comply with government
regulations, and would open later this week or early next week.

      The International Monetary Fund said in a report on the country's
economy in March that many low-income parents could not afford school fees,
and that school enrolment stood at 65 percent in 2003.

      The main labour movement, the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions
(ZCTU), said it disapproved of the closures.

      "While the ZCTU condemns the exorbitant fees charged by these schools,
there was no point for the ministry of education to punish students," the
union's secretary general, Wellington Chibebe, said in a statement.

      "The ZCTU would like to urge the government to immediately open these
schools and allow students to proceed with their work," he added.


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Zimbabwe's Private Schools Protest Tuition Hikes
Peta Thornycroft
05 May 2004, 15:11 UTC

Zimbabwe's private schools have launched an action in the High Court,
claiming that it was illegal for the government to close them down Tuesday
because they had increased their fees. The case by the Association of Trust
Schools of Zimbabwe is to be heard on Friday.
Lawyer Richard Moyo-Majwabu said he was disappointed that the court had
postponed the schools' urgent application until Friday.

He has filed papers claiming there is no provision in the Education Act
empowering the goverment to close schools for raising fees. Mr. Moyo-Majwabu
says he appealed to the judge assigned to the case, asking for it to be
heard as soon as possible. The lawyer also says legal papers related to the
case have been served on the minister of education, his officials and the

More than 20,000 schoolchildren, mainly black, go to Zimbabwe's
approximately 40 non-profit private schools. Most are children of Zimbabwe's
dwindling number of professionals and business executives.

Almost all schools in Zimbabwe are run by parents through governing bodies
that have the authority to set fees. Both private and state schools have
massively increased fees since inflation began rising to its present level
of about 600 percent per year.

But the government says these private schools should have gotten permission
before increasing the fees. The principal of one private school says the
parents' committees regularly apply to the Department of Education for
approval of new school fees, but seldom receive replies.

Zimbabwe's state education system, until a few years ago the best in Africa,
has deteriorated along with the economy in recent years. Many teachers from
state and private schools have left the profession, and some have left the
country, because of the rising cost of living and low salaries.

Teachers from several unions say they are the worst paid in Southern Africa.

Among the worst hit in the present closure are boarding schools. At one
school about 50 kilometers outside of Bulawayo, police warned they will take
action if the children, who arrived from their distant homes last Sunday, do
not leave immediately.

Lawyers intervened, and police said they will give the school time to get
fuel for buses to take the children to other locations.

The principal of a private school on the southern edges of Harare says it
has reduced its fees to their previous level, but will no longer be able to
fill teacher vacancies, and has had to cut down on food for the children.
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ZIMBABWE: Staple foods increasingly inaccessible as prices rise
JOHANNESBURG, 5 May 2004 (IRIN) - A 150 percent hike in the maize producer
price as well as a 50 percent increase in bread prices, brought on by a
shortage of flour, is going to make staple foods inaccessible for ordinary
Zimbabweans, say NGOs.

"Most Zimbabweans cannot afford mealie [maize] meal - which costs more than
Zim $20,000 (US $9.48) for a 10 kg bag - when it is available in the retail
outlets," said a representative of a food security monitoring agency.

Annual inflation in Zimbabwe stood at 583.7 percent last month. For the past
few years the country has been ravaged by food shortages and an average
monthly food basket now costs at least Zim $500,000 (US $94.85). The average
salary of a worker is about Zim $80,000 (US $15.77) a month.

The government announced that the maize producer price for this year's
marketing season would rise to Zim $750,000 (US $142.58) per mt, an increase
of 150 percent from last year's price of Zim $300,000 (US $56.91) per mt,
the official Herald newspaper reported on Wednesday.

Zimbabwean Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Joseph Made said in
a statement that the new price "will enhance maize producer viability, by
ensuring that farmers get a positive return", which he expected would be at
least 26 percent.

Economist John Robertson commented that "the price of mealie meal sold in
retail outlets will increase by as much" following the announcement. He
pointed out that maize was "already being sold at as much as Zim $1 million
(US $227.66) a tonne, and [the higher price] will have no affect in terms of
encouraging growers".

Minister Made said the Grain Marketing Board would continue to sell maize to
millers at Zim $400,000 (US $75.89) per tonne in areas where food relief was
being distributed by the government.

The official media reported on Wednesday that the price of bread had gone up
by 50 percent. A monitoring coordinator of an NGO observed: "Bread was being
sold at Zim $2,100 (US $0.39) per loaf - it is now available in urban areas
at prices ranging between Zim $2,800 and $3,000 (US $0.53 to $0.56) per
loaf, while it is far more expensive in the rural areas."

"There has been a shortage of maize in the market," Robertson added. "The
situation might improve when the new crop hits the market."
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Zesa to Bill Exporting Firms in Local Currency

The Herald (Harare)

May 5, 2004
Posted to the web May 5, 2004


In a move that is set to further enhance the viability of exporters, the
Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority will, from now onwards, bill exporters
in local currency and not in foreign currency as has been happening.

In a letter to the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries recently, Zesa
announced that the new development was with effect from April.

"I am pleased once more to advise that the Reserve Bank governor positively
responded by introducing a scheme through which Zesa will, from May 2004, be
able to access foreign currency directly from the Reserve Bank," said the
Zesa official letter to the CZI.

"The good news is that all exporting customers, partial and 100 percent
exporters, will, from now onwards, be billed in local currency and would pay
in Zimbabwean dollars.

"This means that the May bill, which covers April consumption, will be
denominated and payable in local currency."

Zesa has consequently implored customers with outstanding bills in foreign
currency to settle them to avoid balances being brought forward.

The power utility said this would also provide Zesa with the capacity to
meet the prepayment commitments and arrears on power imports.

"We view this development as an opportunity for a more conducive business
environment for both our valued customers and ourselves, for which
Government and the Reserve Bank should be highly commended," Zesa said.

The power utility issued a directive at the beginning of this year requiring
all exporters to pay their electricity bills in foreign currency.

Zesa said the move was intended to help it settle the debts of power imports
from the region, since the country was facing foreign currency shortages to
meet its own import requirements.

Meanwhile, the Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce on Sunday welcomed the
move by Zesa.

"It's a positive development because it allows companies to continue with
business with the little foreign currency that they have," said ZNCC
president Mr Luxon Zembe.

Exporters in the country have for years been facing viability problems
caused by the shortage of foreign currency and unattractive exchange rates,
among other problems - New Ziana.
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Public Statement

AI Index: AFR 46/013/2004 (Public)
News Service No: 114
5 May 2004

Zimbabwe: Police place human rights under siege
Amnesty International is gravely concerned by the conduct of the Zimbabwe
police, who continue to illegally and arbitrarily arrest, harass and
ill-treat Zimbabwean citizens as part of a systematic clampdown on freedom
of expression, freedom of association and assembly.

"Repressive legislation and partisan policing are combining to seriously
undermine basic rights in Zimbabwe. Law enforcement officers, who should
safeguard the rights of all Zimbabweans, are instead placing those rights
under siege," Amnesty International said today.

On 28 April several members of the National Constitutional Assembly (NCA), a
civil society group, were allegedly assaulted by police when they attempted
to hold a peaceful demonstration in Harare. The protest was deemed unlawful
under repressive legislation enacted in 2002.

On the same day in Bulawayo the Deputy National Chairperson of the Zimbabwe
Human Rights Association, Mrs. Sheba Phiri, and some NCA activists, were
arrested and detained at Bulawayo Central Police station for several hours.
They were not charged but told they could be called to answer charges at a
later date.

Police also reportedly detained several young people at Mutare railway
station, apparently in an effort to prevent them from travelling to Harare
to join the demonstration. They were later released without charge.

On 22 April police in Harare brutally assaulted youth activist Tinashe
Chimedza. Tinashe, who had been due to speak at a youth forum at Mount
Pleasant Hall, Harare, was detained by police officers at the venue. The
police reportedly assaulted him with batons, booted feet and open fists. A
lawyer called to the scene was initially refused access to Tinashe Chimedza.
Tinashe was then arrested, charged with assaulting a police officer, and
taken to Marlborough police station. At the police station lawyers
representing Tinashe were verbally abused by the police and one lawyer was
briefly detained, without charge. Tinashe was later taken to hospital for
treatment. He remained in hospital for almost a week.

This is not the first time Tinashe has been assaulted by the police. In 2002
Amnesty International reported on the assault of Tinashe Chimedza by police
at Harare Central police station. Since 2001, Tinashe has been arrested at
least eight times in his capacity as a student and youth activist.

Amnesty is calling on the Zimbabwe authorities to end the political misuse
of the police and ensure that policing in Zimbabwe is professional,
impartial and upholds the human rights of all Zimbabweans. "All allegations
of human rights violation by police must be investigated and those
responsible brought to justice," the organization said.

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Sunday Times (SA)

Bread prices up 50% in Zimbabwe

Wednesday May 05, 2004 14:38 - (SA)

HARARE - The price of bread in economically ravaged Zimbabwe has rocketed by
up to 50% due to a shortage of flour, state media said.

Bread is now selling at most shops for between 2,800 and 3,000 Zimbabwe
dollars (53 and 57 US cents) per loaf, state radio said.

Standard bread prices were previously set around 2,000 Zimbabwe dollars (38

"The wholesale price of bread is now 2,500 Zimbabwe dollars, while the
retail price is pegged at 2,900 a loaf," Armitage Chikwavira, chairman of
the Bakers' Association of Zimbabwe told the state-run Herald newspaper.

The Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation said retailers were blaming the price
hikes on the shortages of maize meal and wheat flour.

Aid agencies estimate that Zimbabwe will this year face shortages of up to
800,000 tonnes of maize meal, a national staple.

Some of the agencies blame the country's controversial land reform
programme, which saw the seizure of white-owned farms for redistribution to
new black farmers, for cutting maize production.

Annual inflation last month stood at 583.7%.

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Blair slams ICC over Zimbabwe stand-off
Wed 5 May, 2004 20:53

By Mike Peacock

LONDON (Reuters) - Prime Minister Tony Blair has pointed the finger of blame
at the International Cricket Council (ICC) in the stand-off over whether
England should tour Zimbabwe later this year.

The England and Wales cricket board (ECB) has been embroiled in a political
battle with the government and the ICC over October's tour.

"We would prefer them not to go but there is a difference between doing that
and ordering them not to go, which I think would step over the proper line,"
Blair told parliament on Wednesday.

"I think many people, however, believe rightly that the problem actually
resides with the ICC," he said.

The ICC, the sport's governing body, said in March any country refusing to
fulfil its tour obligations for anything other than security reasons or
governmental direction would face a minimum $2 million (1.1 million pounds)
penalty and possible suspension.

Foreign Secretary Jack Straw will meet chiefs from the ECB on Thursday but
Blair indicated they would not get what they most want -- a government
instruction not to tour, which would allow them to escape ICC sanctions.


The British government has said it has serious concerns about the human
rights record of President Robert Mugabe's government, but that it is down
to the ECB to make the decision whether to tour.

Ministers say they have no authority to ban the tour, citing the 1980 Moscow
Olympics when British athletes ignored the wishes of Margaret Thatcher's
government and competed.

Zimbabwe cricket chiefs have consistently argued there is no sound reason to
cancel. The England team refused to play there in the 2003 World Cup because
of security concerns.

Straw wrote to the ECB earlier this year, saying the security situation in
Zimbabwe had worsened, not improved, since then.

Leading England players like Graham Thorpe and Mark Butcher have already
voiced their doubts about playing in Zimbabwe.

Australia bowler Stuart MacGill made himself unavailable for the world
champions' tour of Zimbabwe later this month because of moral concerns.

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From The Times (UK), 5 May, 2004

Zimbabwe facing total split along racial lines

By Owen Slot, Chief Sports Reporter

Zimbabwean cricket moved a step closer to a complete split along lines of
colour yesterday. In the morning, Heath Streak and three other rebel white
cricketers were named in the squad for the first Test against Sri Lanka
starting in Harare tomorrow, and, by the afternoon, they were busy declaring
themselves unavailable for work. Their decision to strike became official in
mid- afternoon at the deadline time given for the Zimbabwe Cricket Union
(ZCU) to respond to the 15 rebel players' demand for an arbitration body to
be used to settle the dispute. The ZCU instead replied with a letter from
its lawyers in which it referred to arbitration and stated: "Our client does
not see why it is necessary." The letter also threatened legal action
against players who had contravened paragraph 4.1.13 of their contracts, "by
making public statements without prior consent". The ZCU has asked for a
response by noon today. It will therefore receive written confirmation that
the two sides are as far apart in this dispute as ever. "We believe," one
senior player said, "that they will now either fire us, which is probably
what a lot of the guys are hoping for, or issue us with another legal
document giving us another 21 days to sort ourselves out." Another 21 days
would mean the ZCU having to pay them for a further month. But the players
believe that they have played their last card and are now simply stuck in a
waiting game until the ZCU board implodes. "We really feel that these ZCU
guys are so thick-skinned that they will self-destruct," the player said.
"We'll just have to wait for that to happen. Maybe it will mean the ICC, or
an international body, sorting it out. We'll come back the moment that
happens." In their favour is the fact that the Test series against Sri Lanka
should provide further evidence of how disastrous the ZCU's policy has been.
The rebel players also say that they believe that there may soon be further
defectors from the team playing for their country in their absence.

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