Mail and Guardian
15 November 2005 05:03
A total of 33 firms, or about a fifth of Zimbabwe's export
companies, have closed shop during the first six months of the year due to
the economic crisis and land seizures, according to a government agency.
Of the 33, 12 agricultural firms stopped operating after
their farms were acquired by the government under the land reform programme,
the Export Processing Zone Authority of Zimbabwe (EPZ) said in a report
obtained by Agence France Presse on Tuesday.
"A total of 33 companies have ceased operations... due to
a humber of factors, among them, the impact of the land reform programme and
the general macro-economic environment," the EPZ report said.
"Twelve companies stopped operations after the farms they
were operating on were taken for redistribution.
"An additional 12 companies have closed shop, citing
inter-alia, unfavourable foreign exchange rate and loss of international
markets as Zimbabwe is considered a risk country to do business with," said
Zimbabwe's land reforms, launched in 2000, have seen about
4 000 white farmers lose their properties as part of a policy that President
Robert Mugabe maintains will correct imbalances created under British
Fewer than 500 white farmers still own land in Zimbabwe
although the government has vowed to take action against them.
Zimbabwe is also reeling from hyperinflation, high
unemployment and fuel and food shortages that have brought living conditions
The company closures resulted in a loss of export revenue
totalling about $17,6-million (?15-million) in the cash-strapped southern
African country, according to the report.
Close to 7 000 jobs were lost due to the closures in the
export sector, which employs 26 000 people.
There were 183 companies licenced for export in Zimbabwe
at the start of the year. Earnings from these firms totalled $220-million in
EPZ chief Walter Chidakwa nevertheless expressed optimism
that the relaxation of foreign exchange regulations last month would allow
some firms that put their operations on hold to resume business.
"Our expectations are that following the introduction of
the new interbank foreign exchange management system, companies that had
closed or suspended operations will now resume as many had cited viability
issues as the reasons for closures or suspension," Chidakwa said in an
EPZ said companies operating on farmlands still face
uncertainities due to the land reforms and urged relevant authorities to
ensure that the environment was conducive to long term planning.
"Companies still operating on farms continue to receive
threats, which make their operation difficult and thus inhibiting expansion
and reinvestment as they are faced with an uncertain future," said EPZ.
Central bank chief Gideon Gono last month deplored the
continued invasion of farms describing it as "economic sabotage".
He said "tolerance of such retrogressive acts only go to
condemn and limit our capacity to attract investment". - Sapa-AFP
November 15 2005 at 04:13AM
Harare - An opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) official
lost an eye at the weekend and more than 20 party supporters were arrested
after intra-party clashes.
Bekhitemba Nyathi, an MDC youth official in Bulawayo, lost the eye and
was recovering in Richard Morris Hospital on Monday evening after he and
other party youths were attacked by members of a pro-senate faction.
The attackers had allegedly plotted to disrupt a rally by MDC leader
Morgan Tsvangirai at White City Stadium on Sunday, police said.
Tsvangirai is criss-crossing the country urging party supporters to
boycott senate elections on November 26. He has expelled 26 candidates who
defied his boycott call and registered to contest the senate elections.
A pro-senate faction, led by secretary-general Welshman Ncube, is
holding separate campaign rallies for the 26 candidates and has dismissed
their expulsion as "null and void".
About 24 MDC supporters, including the deputy executive mayor of
Bulawayo, Albert Mhlanga, who tried to block Tsvangirai from addressing the
weekend rally were still in police custody last night. - Independent Foreign
This article was originally published on page 5 of Daily News on
November 15, 2005
15 Nov 2005 09:53:00 GMT
Source: NGO latest
By Tapiwa Gomo, Bindura, Zimbabwe
International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) -
Three years ago, she lost her husband. The following year, she tested HIV
positive and was bedridden for sometime. All her four children rely on her
for survival. Worse still, just recently she lost her cabin in which she has
been staying for many years due to the "operation clean up".
That briefly describes the life of Neneyi Bezhami, 40, of Chipadze, north
east of Harare.
"We used to stay at a farm before my husband passed away, but when he died
we moved to stay in a sister's house in an informal settlement here in
Bindura," she explains. "But we had problems with some relatives so I
decided to move out and built my own hut in the settlement."
After building a cabin for her and the four children, Neneyi thought all her
accommodation problems were over until June this when she was caught up with
the "clean up" exercise.
'Operation clean up' was an exercise that was carried out by the government
of Zimbabwe to rid of illegal structures from the urban centers. "The clean
up is aimed at getting rid of some criminal elements and activities that
were rife within these communities," Dr Chombo, Minister of local
government, rural and urban development told the Red Cross officials in June
on their visit to assess the situation in Zimbabwe.
"Since June when the operation started, I and my children had no other but
to stay in the open. My health deteriorated owing to the conditions in which
I was living. It was winter during that time and I didn't have a comfortable
place to rest."
Her only source of hope was the Red Cross care facilitators who continued
visiting all the affected clients in the area.
"It was a difficult time for me and my family. I was always praying that one
day I would get accommodation for my family. I really need a better so that
I can look for a better place for my children who by then had stopped going
SOS Zimbabwe, another charity organization operating in the area came to
Neneyi's rescue when they looked for a one roomed place in which she is now
staying in with her four children today.
"I have been staying in this room for about a month now and I am happy that
Red Cross home care facilitators continued to be part of my family."
Apart from giving counseling, through the home based care programme, the
Zimbabwe Red Cross Society also provides a monthly food basket for people
like Neneyi and her children. "The Red Cross provides us with mealie meal,
cooking oil, blankets, soap and other items. These items help us a lot
because without that support, I do not know what could have become of
children. I love them so much and I do not want them to be destitute."
Recently the Zimbabwe Red Cross society surprised Neneyi and many others who
were affected by the operation when they donated maize seed and fertilizers
to prepare for the forthcoming farming season. Each family received ten
kilograms of maize seed and fertilizer which will cover an acre. In good
seasons, a family can harvest enough to take a family for the whole year.
"I am used to work for myself and I am happy that I got the most important
inputs especially towards the rain season. I feel relieved that at least I
can start my life and start from the beginning," said Neneyi. "Farming is
the only source of food and money for school fees and other household
requirement. If my health does not deteriorate, I hope I will be able."
Although Neneyi is among the twelve million people in southern Africa whose
lives are threatened by severe food crisis in the region, this donation will
help her regain her livelihood. The region, with the highest HIV and AIDS
prevalence, is currently faced with one of the worst food crisis in a
The International Federation recently launched a food security appeal which
seeks to meet the immediate food needs of 1.5 million people, like Neneyi
and her family, until the harvest of 2006, set up food-for-work projects,
restore self-reliance in agriculture, ensure access to safe water, and
improve Red Cross staff on livelihood and food security. The food security
operation will target people living with HIV and AIDS, households with
orphans, female-headed households, people with disabilities and households
headed by older people. For Neneyi, the little that she has got has enabled
her to start preparing her field in anticipation of good rains. "I have
already sown some of the seeds hoping it is going to rain this month."
As she is preparing land for her crops, her long term hope is to have a
house of her own especially for her children, but the Zimbabwe Red Cross
society is currently supporting the construction of houses only for children
"We have already started supporting building of houses for orphans and other
child headed families in the affected areas," said Mr. Abel Augustinio, the
Relief Coordinator for Zimbabwe Red Cross society. The relief operation aims
to assist people affected by the clean up operation especially, people
living with HIV and AIDS, orphans and childheaded families. The Zimbabwe Red
Cross hopes to complete 20 two-bed roomed houses by December.
November 15 2005 at 11:07AM
Harare - Zimbabwe's government has decided to accept a United Nations
offer to build emergency shelter for victims of its demolitions campaign,
scrapping its previous refusal of the aid, a UN official said on Tuesday.
"We received a letter which conveys the wish of the government for the
UN to proceed with phase one of the shelter programme," the official, who
asked not to be named, told reporters.
Under the first phase, the United Nations is to build 2 500 units for
Zimbabweans left homeless after their shacks were destroyed in the campaign
from May to July.
The United Nations had offered the aid, fearing that the plight of the
homeless would worsen with the onset of the rainy season.
But UN Secretary General Kofi Annan in late October expressed dismay
after Zimbabwe turned down the UN offer to help build temporary shelter for
victims of the demolition blitz, saying it preferred help to build permanent
The overall UN aid offer would involve the construction of 20 000
temporary housing units at a cost of about $18-million, according to the
Zimbabwe on May 18 launched what it called an urban renewal campaign,
razing shacks, homes, small businesses and market stalls in shantytowns and
other poor urban areas amid severe food and fuel shortages.
A UN report said the demolitions had left 700 000 people homeless or
without sources of income, or both, in cities and towns across the country
while a further 2.4-million were affected in varying degrees.
But Zimbabwean authorities blasted the UN report saying it was biased
against the government and exaggerated the number of people affected.
Protests have secured the release of 120 activists arrested last week, and
the agitation for change is far from finished, write ISO Zimbabwe members
President Mugabe's security forces swooped on Tuesday of last week after the
Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) and its allies called a day of
action against poverty.
The protesters called for food, water, jobs and the right to strike, for no
more debt repayments to the International Monetary Fund, the right for
informal traders to operate and other demands.
They were met by armed riot police and soldiers. The march was declared
illegal. But the repression has not stopped the movement.
Conditions were tough in the cells where those arrested were taken. There
were 30 people to a room and it was "standing room only". But in those cells
was forged the beginning of the united front that can overthrow president
Robert Mugabe's regime.
The police treated us very carefully and with respect. At one point we were
singing revolutionary songs and were told this would mean we wouldn't get
food. Then the riot cops intervened to say we must be fed, that we should be
treated decently. This should worry Mugabe. The police are not sure who will
be in charge soon! The cells were alive with debate. We were united on the
streets, and united in jail.
Among those seized were Wellington Chibele, secretary general of the ZCTU,
and Lovemore Matombo, president of the ZCTU.
As well as ZCTU officials, leading figures in the International Socialist
Organisation (ISO), were arrested. These include Munyaradzi Gwisai, John
Bomba and Aaron Dhliwayo.
Lovemore Madhuku, a veteran civil rights leader was also arrested. Police
carted six student leaders away from the University of Zimbabwe the next
Charges were laid under the infamous Public Order and Security Act.
Fortunately, hundreds of people in Zimbabwe and from across the world phoned
police stations and jails, protested to Zimbabwean offices abroad and passed
messages through trade union organisations.
This helped step up the pressure on Mugabe and on Friday of last week all of
those arrested were released-although they may be taken back to court soon.
Faced with a worsening economic and political environment the government is
desperate to crush any resistance. Inflation is now 411 percent a year, and
basic goods are in short supply.
The protest comes as the main opposition force, the Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC), is split. One section believes that the present MDC leader
Morgan Tsvangirai is too "rough" and unwilling to compromise.
This faction believes that a more sophisticated strategy could win over
disaffected members of Mugabe's party and achieve a change of government
without disorder in the streets.
Tsvangirai, who has shown himself only too ready to make concessions to
business and Western governments in the past, has tired of these false
He has argued for a partial return to the tactics of militant organisation
and reliance on working class organisation which marked the birth of the
The flashpoint between the two groups is the senate elections scheduled for
Tsvangirai has called for a boycott, while his rival Welshman Ncube urged
participation. The party's executive split down the middle, with the petty
bourgeois forces backing Ncube and the militant sections, the youth and the
women behind Tsvangirai.
In this context, the ZCTU's call for street protests won wide support in the
capital, Harare. Thousands joined the march, even though it was illegal.
We are arguing for a return to the streets. One option being considered is 1
December, budget day. We hope that can be a day of international solidarity.
To help with the ISO's legal costs and campaigns make payments to ISO Zim
Solidarity, Unity Trust Bank, Birmingham, sort code 08-60-01, account
20136938. To set up a standing order e-mail email@example.com
© Copyright Socialist Worker (unless otherwise stated). You may republish if
you include an active link to the original and leave this notice in place.
By Tererai Karimakwenda
15 November 2005
A fresh round of hunger strikes has been reported at a detention
centre in the UK. Seven Zimbabweans are currently in detention at Yarl's
Wood centre, and four of them are participating. The hunger strike is to
protest the length of time they have been held in detention. Sarah Harland
of The Zimbabwe Association told us the lengthy detentions are because they
have South African passports. The longest has been held for 7 months now.
The good news is that two of the hunger strikers had a hearing on
Tuesday, one will be in court very soon and the fourth might be released
this week after proving she is Zimbabwean.
The hunger strikers began their campaign on November 1 st. One of them
is 28-year old Thando Mpofu, who is reported to have said she would rather
die of starvation than be returned to Zimbabwe. She had not eaten for 11
days as of Tuesday and she believes they all faced torture or even death if
they are forced to return home.
There are not supposed to be any Zimbabweans in detention since a
tribunal ruled it is not safe to return failed asylum seekers home. But
those being held travelled on foreign passports and need to prove they are
indeed from Zimbabwe.
The Zimbabwe Association helps with asylum issues, and is always up to
date with the latest information. Sarah Harland also talked about the issue
of Malawi passports. Zimbabweans who travelled on Malawi passports can be
deported because if it is a legitimate one, the UK officials then assume it
is safe to send you back there. Sarah said The Association has been working
with some NGOs in Malawi and have made progress in trying to find a solution
to this Malawi dilemma faced by Zimbabweans.
SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news
Zimbabwe's leading players have settled a contract dispute with their
employers Zimbabwe Cricket, thereby averting the possibility of a strike.
Players representative Clive Field met ZC bosses on Tuesday and is
said to have secured improved contract terms, according to Associated Press.
"The threat seems to have done the trick in getting contracts sorted
out at long last," said Field said.
"We had intensive talks yesterday and at last we can move on."
A total of 37 players were awarded contracts. Two were given
"international" contracts, 14 signed "senior" deals and 21 penned "junior"
Zimbabwe Cricket also agreed to pay overdue match fees for Tests and
one-day internationals against New Zealand in August, and India in
Zimbabwe's next tour - to West Indies next May - is now set to go
The country's provincial chairmen had demanded Zimbabwe Cricket
chairman Peter Chingoka resign and managing director Osias Bvute be
There was no announcement on the fate of the pair.
Zimbabwe captain Tatenda Taibu has returned home after several days in
hiding after he received a phone call threatening violence.
Taibu was not available for comment and none was available from
police, to whom the incident was reported.
Field also said he had been threatened in a telephone call, but
decided not to take any action.
November 15, 2005
Tatenda Taibu has spoken of the threats made against him and his family last
Thursday which made him leave his home and go into hiding.
Taibu, who earlier that day had fronted a press conference where the
Zimbabwe players lambasted the performance of the board, explained that he
was in a meeting with representatives of the Sports and Recreation
Commission at a hotel in Harare when he was called by Themba Mliswa. Mliswa
is well known in Zimbabwe as a Zanu-PF activist, and he has recently
surfaced as chairman of the newly-created Mashonaland West province.
Mliswa introduced himself and asked whether Taibu knew who he was - Taibu
replied that he had only heard about him. Mliswa then told Taibu he was
"only a black boy being used" at which point Taibu reminded him that he was
no longer a boy. Mliswa went on to say: "I know where you live and I will
come there and beat you up." At that, Taibu hung up.
Mliswa called back soon after, but as Taibu was on another call, the phone
diverted to his wife, who was in the car outside the hotel waiting for her
husband. Mliswa, Taibu explained, immediately started shouting at his wife.
When he returned to the car, Taibu called someone a contact in the state
security who advised him to go and report the matter to the police, which he
did. The individual from state security then called Mliswa and warned him
not to call again.
Given that Mliswa was arrested and charged with assault in 2003, the
decision was reached to take the threats seriously, and Taibu, his wife and
his three-week old baby were taken to a nearby hotel for the night. Although
Taibu has since returned home, his wife remains scared and is staying with
Asked about a column in yesterday's Herald in which Mliswa launched a bitter
attack on him, Taibu said that the truth had not been printed by the local
media which had given Mliswa free rein to criticise him. He added that his
view, and that of the other players, remained the same - namely that Peter
Chingoka, Ozias Bvute and people like Mliswa were not good for the game, and
while they remained, the players would seriously consider a strike.
"There is no worse thing as captain than going to practice and issues being
discussed by the players have got nothing to do about the game but are all
about governance issues," he said. "It just shows that the players are not
November 15, 2005
The row engulfing Zimbabwe cricket continued to rumble on, with reports that
the authorities had raided the offices of Zimbabwe Cricket at the national
academy and that Peter Chingoka, the board chairman, and Ozias Bvute, the
managing director, continued to help the police with their investigations.
The police are remaining tight-lipped about the line of their enquiries, but
sources inside Zimbabwe suggest they are probing a number of the claims made
in the dossier compiled by the provincial chairmen.
There was some progress yesterday, however, with the announcement that the
board had concluded negotiations with the players over contracts and other
outstanding issues. "It was a positive meeting," Wilfred Mukondiwa, ZC's
human resources manager, said. "We were in agreement as far as those were
While that would seem to remove one of the grievances aired by the players
last week, it seems unlikely that the threat made by them to strike will be
withdrawn as long as Chingoka and Bvute remain at the helm. The players made
it clear that they were not prepared to play while the pair remained in
And while Tatenda Taibu remains in hiding after receiving threatening
telephone calls after the players made their statement last Thursday, the
fiercely pro-government Herald newspaper, which totally ignored all last
week's events, launched a savage attack on him.
In an interview with Themba Mliswa, the chairman of Mashonaland West, one of
the new provinces critics claim have been created to give the ZC board
enough votes to survive the rebellion by the established provincial set-ups,
Taibu is accused of selling out.
"It is quite disturbing that Taibu and some of his charges are now engaged
in a dirty war, emanating from petty racial wars fomented by a known clique
of the Asian and white groups in Zimbabwean cricket," said Mliswa. "I have
also realised that his (Taibu's) game has deteriorated for a captain and he
has abandoned the game of rules for the one with unwritten rules, which is
Mliswa, who has had no involvement in cricket until recent weeks, said that
he supported the investigations into the board's activities. "If there are
any violations, we humbly submit that the probe must go on, but the
investigations must cover the entire ZC board and management.
Accountability, transparency and honesty are key values or cornerstones of
any organisation's success, ZC included."
Those comments would be of interest to the Zimbabweans who claim they were
duped by Mliswa in a scheme he ran to bring them into the UK which left many
being deported on arrival. The venture was eventually cited by the UK
authorities as the reason for Mliswa himself being deported in 2002.
Sent: Tuesday, November 15, 2005 7:39 PM
Subject: Getting our priorities right!!!
Hi Everyone, something to think about for those of us still here....and for
those who are not, we miss you all....
AN INSPIRATIONAL STORY FROM A TRUE ZIMBABWEAN
Having just returned from attending a weeklong sports medicine conference in
"Joezies", the extent of both the economic and emotional "meltdown" in less
than seven days is very obvious! Prices soaring, fuel still an even rarer
luxury, add to this the alarming rate at which our hard-earned cash seems to
vanish on a pitiful bag or two of basic groceries.... it's a battle both out
there as well as here in our heads, to desperately try to keep calm!! We all
do what needs to be done to feed, clothe and school the children, work
harder to attempt to keep up with the
weekly inflation of bills, but catching ourselves at odd moments in the day
wondering where it will all end and what the future holds?
This is "survival mode". This is where we get to stare at our own fear in
the face and tread where we've never been before. We make a plan for fuel,
another to buy rare luxuries such as sugar or cooking oil and yet another to
stretch the dollars until the end of the month. We have learned to say "no"
to many things, which we want to ensure that we can say, "yes" to the things
that we or our family need. Normal everyday "basic" commodities and actions
in another place and time have become a treat for us, something to fully
appreciate, to savour and to draw out the pleasure with which it comes! This
can be a glass of imported wine, a take-away pizza for the kids, an imported
deodorant, or even a bottle of hair conditioner!!??#*!
Many, many ex zimbos and people living outside, simply cannot understand why
we're still here!!! Incredulous stares when one describes the plan of action
for water shortages, fuel saving and sourcing, and daily adjustments on
every level to rising costs and inefficiencies in just about every sector of
business, municipality or service industries! Empathy runs high amongst
those on the outside who understand why we are still here. So many have
openly encouraged us to stand our ground, to hang in and to throw ourselves
at making it "work out", to do whatever it takes to build upon the
foundation of who and what we are. These very same people are the ones who
tell us about the despair, the longing, the loneliness and the yearning for
parts of our beloved land. The wide-open spaces, the people and friendships,
the Kariba sunsets, the laughter around a braai, the community in "making a
plan". The "drop in for tea" attitude so prevalent amongst all Zimbabweans
regardless of race, colour, tribe or background. The "we're all in it"
under-current that brings us together in fuel queues, financial disasters,
Our mountains are huge, yet sitting in that auditorium listening to the
shift in some of the best researchers and practitioners from sports medicine
and the field of excellence in both physical and mental endeavour towards
prevention and treatment of "chronic diseases", I found myself counting
blessing after blessing for living in Zim!!!! Here are just a few of the
* 60% of men and 50% of women are overweight in Oz. Could say the same for
UK and USA. South Africa not far behind.
* Inactivity has become a number one killer risk factor for heart disease...
on a par with smoking. In fact, being inactive is the same as smoking 20 a
* Countries all over the world are engaging in huge, multi billion dollar
health warnings and promotions. Get moving, eat less junk, get away from the
T.V., eat less junk, get off the couch and turn off the tv ... don't use the
remote, eat less junk, get moving!!!!!!
* Clogged and diseased heart arteries has just become the biggest killer in
* It has become a crisis of such huge proportions to just get people to do
enough movement to shunt blood through their blood vessels to literally slow
down the rate at which bodies are rotting from disuse, from stress and from
almost 100% diseases caused by LIFESTYLE!!!!!!!!
So, my dear friends and countrymen, compare that to our verrrry junk food
depleted daily diet (due to being too expensive or not available), our lack
of super-duper-high-speed-high-performance technology which means that we
have to actually get off our butts and DO something with muscles somewhat
larger than those in our index fingers, our problem of kids having half of
most days doing school sports, our awful transport system so we walk, cycle
or run from A to B. We don't run the risk of our kids hanging out at malls
at every free moment.... there aren't any at which to hang out!!
Most of our kids don't get access to T.V. games, to the latest cell phones
and ipods.... because we simply can't afford them. Even DSTV is a treat in
increasingly more households.... so what's a poor, deprived Zim kid to
do???? Well, they swim, run, cycle, and play all manner of school and social
activities. Triathlon, swimming, cycling, dancing (all kinds!), run around
playing in the garden and occasionally they have a small relative break in
their weekly activity mileage to watch a movie, listen to some music or
chill at home or a mate's house for a few hours. Our challenge is not to
stop them eating, but to ensure that they eat enough for their needs!!!
Ok, ok. Yes, I am biased. But do me a favour and compare the average one-way
hour commute in Jo'burg / Cape Town / Durbs traffic with the 6 minute trip
we have to make all the way from my front door to work / school.
Cycling in Durbs or Joezies is like having your dearest death wish come
true. Doing what you love, whilst playing with the grim reaper every time a
vehicle passes.. which is around 5 million a minute. In Zim, the driving's
not too great but hey, not too much of a hassle considering that 20 minutes
on a bike in any direction out of town gets you into some exquisite
countryside and all the wide open space in the world and a fraction of the
traffic with which to contend!
No trip to Joezies is complete without a trip to Pick n' Pay supermarket -
which was heaven as always; I tried not to let the morbid, stressed,
depressed local shoppers get me down as they went about their daily / weekly
million-choice-product shopping burdensome routine. I skipped out of there
with my bag of treasures (sunlight soap, Charlie Gold deo, meusli, oats and
a whole bottle of chocolate sauce for kids' twice a week ice-cream treat)
and went back to the lectures on averting the biggest ever, world lifestyle
disease disaster, smiling secretly to myself as more and more "evidence"
was given by some of the best experts in the world as to why we are still
In conclusion, I don't dispute the fact that we are being faced with a
mountain of struggles, but from the bottom of my heart I want you to
consider the daily effect on our own health, sense of community spirit, and
most importantly, the impact on that of our children!!! Every day that we
are here, someone out there is being admitted to coronary care, another
child is diagnosed with type II diabetes, billions is being spent on drugs
to treat obesity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, depression.
Whilst the angels in our midst are desperately fighting to treat, uplift and
feed the starving and fatally ill, in the first world there are
incomprehensible measures and expenses taken to prevent the over-fed from
We get to spend daylight hours with those we love in many an impromptu
gathering - each one an opportunity to laugh, really laugh. To cry, really
cry. And to know the caring and genuine bonds that nourish our souls, feed
our resolve to lift our chin and square our shoulders. These are the things
worth struggling for, this is why we're still here. Let us look to our
challenges always with the knowledge that the flip side of that hardship
coin holds many, many personal and nation-building attributes!! By the grace
of God we will look back on this time and feel the warmth of all those in
our lives who held our hand and walked with us physically, mentally and
spiritually. Every day that we are here is a blessing not a curse, and don't
ever think that it's a breeze outside of these borders.
Enough said, I just wanted to share these thoughts with you and to tell you
that we are in this together and we will make it together, our attitude and
direction is the same ... "Our Zimbabwe". Let's do it, together.
Always, and always,
The Herald (Harare)
November 15, 2005
Posted to the web November 15, 2005
NATIONAL carrier Air Zimbabwe should come out into the open and fully
explain the discrepancies in its new fares.
As we reported on Saturday, the airline is cheating passengers on its new
fares by using different exchange rates and is charging almost double what
its competitors are charging.
Not only is the airline charging more in United States dollars for regional
and international flights than the airlines it shares routes with, but it is
using exchange rates that vary arbitrarily between $70 000 and $100 000 to
the US dollar when quoting in Zimbabwe dollars. The interbank exchange rate,
after the introduction of the Trada-ble Foreign Currency Balances System by
the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) last month, is hovering around $61 000 to
the US dollar.
It is, therefore, puzzling how a parastatal such as Air Zimbabwe, should be
using black market exchange rates, especially at a time the central bank has
been making strenuous efforts to stabilise the exchange rate.
Air Zimbabwe has every right to increase its fares in line with inflationary
trends and to break even, but this should be done in a proper way. It should
not take advantage of the chaos in the foreign exchange market that RBZ
Governor Dr Gideon Gono has been fighting and seems to be winning, given the
We are not saying Air Zimbabwe should not have increased its fares. No.
Passengers will pay the new fares with no heavy hearts as long as it is
fully explained to them how they were worked out. In the absence of that,
they pay with a heavy heart and feel cheated.
The conspiracy of silence by management at the national airline, where
officials seem unwilling to come out in the open and explain their position,
is equally puzzling.
For how long shall the national airline keep grabbing the headlines for the
negative? Since the beginning of the year, there have been flight delays and
cancellations, and in most cases passengers only learn of the delay or
cancellation when they are about to check in.
A few months ago, we called upon the airline to act as a commercial airline
and to be efficient in its turnaround programme so that it gets back to a
sound financial base.
We repeat that call here, but add that this should not be done by taking
passengers for a ride and ripping them off.
In any case, are the new fares justifiable in terms of the services the
passengers get on board?
Air Zimbabwe has all it takes to come out of the woods and become one of
Africa's most successful carriers, but this can only be done when it sorts
out its management and planning problems.
For now, the nation awaits official explanation on the discrepancies in the
new fares by the airline.
Tuesday, November 15, 2005
This Travel Warning is being issued to remind American citizens of the
continuing political, economic and humanitarian instability in Zimbabwe.
This supersedes the Travel Warning of March 16, 2005.
Washington, D.C. - infoZine - The Department of State cautions U.S. citizens
of the risks of travel to Zimbabwe, a country in the midst of political and
economic turmoil. All U.S. citizens in Zimbabwe are advised to take those
measures they deem appropriate to ensure their personal safety.
Zimbabwe's economy is in a protracted state of decline, with extremely high
rates of unemployment and inflation. Shortages of staple foods are a
persistent problem. Deteriorating economic conditions have led to a
significant increase in crime, including violent crime. A nationwide fuel
shortage makes internal travel difficult and unreliable, and severely
restricts the response capability of police and other emergency services.
All Americans who travel to or reside in Zimbabwe are urged to register and
obtain updated information on travel and security in Zimbabwe with the U.S.
Embassy in Harare or on the State Department's travel registration website
at travelregistration.state.gov/ibrs/. The U.S. Embassy in Harare is located
at 172 Herbert Chitepo Avenue and can be contacted by phone at (263)
Updated information on travel and security in Zimbabwe may be obtained from
the Department of State by calling 1-888-407-4747, or from overseas
1-202-501-4444. For further information, please consult the Consular
Information Sheet for Zimbabwe, and the current World Wide Caution Public
Announcement, which are located on the Bureau of Consular Affairs Internet
website at travel.state.gov.
Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe
The Daily Mirror Reporter
issue date :2005-Nov-16
CHITUNGWIZA mayor, Misheck Shoko yesterday vowed to defy a government
directive to work with District Administrator (DA) Godfrey Tanyanyiwa to
normalise service delivery in the sprawling dormitory town.
The MDC mayor alleged that the Minister of Local Government, Public Works
and Urban Development, Ignatius Chombo, seconded Tanyanyiwa to Chitungwiza
Municipality to ensure his (mayor's) ouster from office.
Shoko said he would not budge and co-operate with Tanyanyiwa - appointed
last week after residents of the town demonstrated against alleged poor
"We do not talk and we will not talk. I am a politician, so there is no
reason for me to interact with him (Tanyanyiwa). I cannot report to him and
I don't expect him to report to me," the mayor said.
"When he was appointed, the reason was that he would help in establishing
government presence in the council and I understand that also includes
getting me out of the office," he added.
Shoko also declared that he would not even bother to meet the DA, who
reports to Harare Metropolitan Governor, David Karimanzira.
Said the defiant mayor: "I have not met him (Tanyanyiwa), and if he is to
come here he would deal with the managers and other members of staff."
Shoko was elected into office in 2002 on an MDC ticket and since then,
residents protesting against water shortages, blocked sewers and uncollected
refuse, among other ills, have staged numerous demonstrations in the town.
But the mayor insisted that Tanyanyiwa's appointment and recent
demonstrations against his administration by residents were politically
Acting Chitungwiza town clerk, Amos Matanhike yesterday said Tanyanyiwa was
yet to report for duty as directed by the minister.
"He is not yet here, but you can contact the government for details
regarding that issue," was all that Matanhike could say.
Karimanzira yesterday denied insinuations that the government intended to
fire Shoko. But the Resident Minister declined to answer further questions,
and instead referred them to Chombo.
"There is nothing like that, but try to talk to Minister Chombo," he said.
The local government minister could not be reached for comment at the time
of going to press last night.
But Chombo recently told The Daily Mirror that if Shoko refused to
co-operate with Tanyanyiwa, he would be left with no alternative but to
fire him and appoint a commission to run the town's affairs.
Shoko's allegations of a plot against him are coming hard on the heels of a
visit to the town by Karimanzira today.
The governor is expected to monitor progress so far made in resolving the
problems affecting the town situated about 25 km outside the capital.
Chitungwiza has been experiencing water shortages for the past two months
due to rationing of the commodity by the Zimbabwe National Water Authority
(Zinwa), while refuse is piling as a result of the current fuel crisis in
Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe
issue date :2005-Nov-16
HARARE businessman Takesure Mbano yesterday appeared before magistrate Rodin
Mzeyce on allegations of unlawfully buying over 1 200 tonnes of maize valued
at $5,4 billion from the Grain Marketing Board (GMB).
The allegations are that Mbano, who is also a prominent music promoter,
purported that he wanted to mill the maize, which he later sold to
Agrifoods, a local stock feed manufacturing company.
Mbano, together with co-director at Mwenda Millers (Pvt) Limited Kezias
Serengwe, were yesterday granted $200 million and $150 million bail each by
Mzeyce who then ordered them to surrender their travel documents to the
Clerk of court, reside at their Ruwa homes until the matter is finalised and
to report to the police once weekly.
The duo was not asked to plead to the charge of fraud or alternatively
breaching the GMB Act. They allegedly bought the said maize at the
subsidised price of $600 000 per tonne and later sold it to Agrifoods at an
inflated $9 million a tonne.
Prosecutor Blessing Mhande alleged that between July and October this year,
Mbano and Serengwe bought 1 244,364 tonnes of maize from the GMB Aspindale
depot at a subsidised rate. They intended to mill it at their company based
along the Harare/Mutare Road.
Instead of producing mealie-meal as claimed, the pair allegedly diverted the
maize to Agrifoods, Mbare depot and sold it for $9 million a tonne.
The State contends that, had the duo not lied to GMB that the maize was for
milling, the parastatal would have sold it for $5 million per tonne.
By that misrepresentation, the GMB allegedly lost $5 473 201 600,00 of
which nothing was recovered.
Serengwe appeared in court on Monday and spent the night in remand prison
after the magistrate said he would rule on his bail application yesterday.
Advocate Metha Deepak represented Mbano, while Derek Sigauke is defending
Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe
issue date :2005-Nov-16
COTTON production declined from 331 000 tonnes achieved last year to 198 000
tonnes in 2005, the Cotton Company of Zimbabwe (Cottco) has said.
The drop represents 133 000 tonnes.
Increasingly known as 'white gold', cotton has emerged as the country's
second largest export earner after the golden leaf, tobacco.
Cottco said the decline witnessed this year was largely attributable to the
drought that hit the country in the period.
"The national crop slumped to 198 000 tonnes this year from 331 000 tonnes
in the previous year due to the effects of the drought," Cottco said in a
statement accompanying unaudited financial results for the six months ended
September 30 2005.
The company said the hyperinflationary economic environment continued to
pose challenges for business operations that will continue to move in line
But the company said despite the growing inflationary pressures, the
relaxation of the exchange rate was a welcome relief for exporting
"However, the relaxation of the exchange rate should narrow the gap between
the rate of increase in costs and that of revenue."
In spite of this year's significant decline, Cottco remained upbeat that the
coming season would produce better yields compared to 2005.
"Inputs disbursements for the new season are underway and planting seed
sales to date indicate a good crop size in the coming season, assuming an
average to above average rainfall season as indicated in the latest weather
The company said expectations for the coming season had improved, buttressed
by a new resolve by the industry players to distribute seed in time for the
In the period under review, Cottco's group turnover increased by 92 percent
to $810 billion in historical cost terms while net profit totalled $122
billion compared to $35 billion last year.
Cottco said the outlook for international cotton prices was relatively
stable, mainly due to China's lint import demand and were expected to remain
so despite signs of more supply than demand outside China.
Meanwhile an agro-based non-governmental organisation (NGO), Cotrade, has
invested more than $20 billion geared towards increasing cotton production
in a project first mooted by the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and
run jointly by the country's major farmer unions.
The Zimbabwe Farmers Union (ZFU), the Commercial Farmers Union (CFU), the
Zimbabwe Commercial Farmers Union (ZCFU) and FAO administer the project.
ZFU director Dzarira Kwenda, who is directly involved in the administration
of the programme, yesterday confirmed that Cotrade had come on board to
assist small-scale cotton producers to maximise cotton production.
"Cotrade has come into partnership with farmer unions in a FAO project that
is expected to assist smallholder farmers to become more viable," Dzarira
"In fact FAO last year came up with the project, which at the time of its
inception was focused mainly on a limited number of farmers. The project
attracted 150 farmers last year, but is now expanding."
At the beginning of this month, Cotrade provided the funds that have since
been used in procuring inputs such as working capital, fertilisers,
chemicals and tillage.
Participants shall also access the funds to meet transport costs when
delivering their produce to selected cotton depots after harvest.
Dzarira said part of the money had been set aside to support a secretariat
put in place to administer and supervise the day to day running of the
project to ensure that it succeeds. The project has a technical section
that ensures that production targets are met.
Dzarira said the section would be expected to ensure that farmers produced
the crop in a scientific and systematic manner.
This season, the project has engaged a total of 1 500 participants from
Zhombe in Kwekwe, Makoni in Manicaland, Mutoko in Mashonaland East and
Centenary in Mashonaland Central.
Individual farmers are expected to produce not less than 3 000 kg of cotton
This translates to an income of US$1 500 (about Z$90 million) per ha.
"Individual participants are expected to access enough money to support
cotton production on 2 hectares," Kwenda said, adding that individual
farmers are expected to produce not less than 3 000 kg of cotton per
Cotrade is a former CFU cotton commodity association that formerly assisted
white large-scale commercial farmers who have since lost land, to produce
Cotrade has business contacts with most international cotton traders.
Since the fast-track land reform, Cotrade has focused its attention mainly
on small-scale cotton producers. Participants have benefited as their crop
fetched better returns than what local traders offered.
Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe
The Daily Mirror Reporter
issue date :2005-Nov-16
THE Combined Harare Residents Association (CHRA) says the problems
bedevilling the capital reflect the general challenges facing the country
and would only be solved if those difficulties were adequately addressed.
CHRA chairperson, Mike Davies said: "The problems of Harare should be taken
in the context of the problems affecting the country politically and
economically. Unless those are addressed, the principal problems would
Davies noted that while CHRA had suggested to petition the commission
administering Harare on the supplementary budget adopted last month, they
had since reversed that decision.
"We decided that the process of raising the objections was so flawed that it
would be a waste of time raising them," the CHRA boss
"The commissioners that are supposed to hear them are the same ones who came
up with the budget without consultations and it's unlikely the objections
would change anything," he added.
City of Harare spokesperson, Leslie Gwindi then reiterated that most
problems afflicting the capital were cash flow related forcing council to
fail to meet its obligations to residents.
"We have been saying all along that we are facing financial problems, and
compounded by other shortages of fuel and foreign currency, it becomes
difficult to function normally," he said.
Gwindi also said that the water problems gripping the city and its dormitory
town of Chitungwiza, 25 km away, were due to a water management programme
meant to meet demand.
"We have embarked on a water-demand management programme since last month,
and that's why there are cuts in all
suburbs at different times," he explained.
Westlea residents had dirty water coming out of their tapes at the weekend a
scenario Gwindi said could have been due to low water levels in the
Chitungwiza mayor Misheck Shoko also said the water problems were there
because the precious liquid was being pumped at a low rate into the town's
reservoirs. Before the local authority was allocated 5 000 litres of diesel
last week, the town had gone for close to two months without the commodity,
the mayor said.
"Things have been well since we got that diesel, but I am afraid life will
return to what it was before at the end of this week because that diesel is
running out fast," Shoko said.
"The $5 billion that we were promised is yet to come, and if it does, it
would go a long way in improving the sewer system because the pumps at St
Mary's station have broken and
that has created the backflow
of raw sewage into the streets," he added.
The mayor also said that if given enough resources and manpower, his
municipality would be able to provide reliable service delivery to
ratepayers of Zimbabwe's third largest urban settlement.
Local government minister Ignatius Chombo could not be reached for comment
Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe
The Daily Mirror Reporter
issue date :2005-Nov-16
Mirror Reporter STAKEHOLDERS in the health and water sectors yesterday
convened an urgent meeting to address the outbreak of dysentery that has
rocked Harare and Chitungwiza due to an acute shortage of safe drinking
Addressing the press after the meeting, the Minister of Health and Child
Welfare, David Parirenyatwa, said piped water in Harare and Chitungwiza was
safe for consumption.
He also allayed fears that the quality of water supplies in the two
mega-urban centres was directly connected to the dysentery outbreak that
rocked them recently.
"Our water both in Harare and Chitungwiza is safe for human consumption,"
the minister said. He, however, admitted that the shortages had precipitated
water consumption from unprotected sources, he blamed for the dysentery
"Some areas have gone without water for a long time. People store water in
containers and that water is not safe for consumption. It should be boiled
and used immediately before the bacteria re-emerges," the health minister
He pointed out that an ad-hoc committee would be set up in two days to
monitor the situation in affected areas as well as advising the Ministry of
Health and Child Welfare and other ministries on the best way forward.
A team would also visit Chitungwiza to examine the sewerage system and to
educate the public on the dangers of drinking water from unprotected
Parirenyatwa also noted that reported cases of dysentery had since
decreased, saying only four cases had been diagnosed this month compared to
40 last month, 25 in September and August (five).
The minister said 95 percent of dysentery cases, a diarrhoeal disease caused
by the Salmonela bacteria, were HIV and Aids related.
"In most of these cases, the affected are children under five years of age
who are immune-compromised.
" Diarrhoea kills, but in cases when it is coupled with meningitis or
pneumonia, it is difficult to determine the cause of deaths," Parirenyatwa
The stakeholders meeting, attended by Harare and Chitungwiza hospitals
officials, ministry of Health and Child Welfare and the Zimbabwe National
Water Authority (Zinwa), also discussed the possibility of invoking the
Public Health Act to ensure people consume safe water.
Harare, Chitungwiza and Bulawayo have all been hit by severe water shortages
with some residents going dry for long periods.
This has forced desperate people to dig up wells, compromising public health
conditions. In some cases, people buy water for $1 000 a litre, which is a
prohibitive luxury for the majority.
Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe
The Daily Mirror Reporter
issue date :2005-Nov-16
POLICE have barred Chegutu residents from demonstrating against the
reinstatement of nine Zanu PF councillors whose suspensions were recently
The councillors had been suspended on allegations of mismanagement and
Clever Paradzai Kunonga, the secretary-general of the Chegutu Residents and
Ratepayers Association, said the police argued that the demonstration was
ill-timed because the focus was now on maintaining stability before, during
and after the senatorial polls slated for November 26.
"The police turned down our request saying we are in an election period. As
residents, we are not happy about the decision to bring the councillors
back. We want the decision to be rescinded," said Kunonga.
Mashonaland West police spokesperson Inspector Paul Nyathi said he needed
more time to verify facts.
However, Kunonga said residents were dismayed that the councillors'
suspensions were lifted despite recommendations of dismissals by a
government audit team and a report by the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee
on Local Government.
The auditors unearthed rampant corruption including the siphoning of council
funds before labelling the municipality "a hunting ground for thieves."The
Minister of Local Government Public Works and National Housing, Ignatius
Chombo, recently lifted the suspensions on the grounds that despite the
lapse of time, no criminal charges had been preferred against them by the
Chombo could not be reached for comment yesterday.
Agencia de Informacao de Mocambique (Maputo)
November 15, 2005
Posted to the web November 15, 2005
The governments of Mozambique, South Africa, and Zimbabwe have decided to
officially inaugurate the Greater Limpopo Cross-Frontier Park in the first
quarter of 2006.
The park, that covers about 4.4 million square kilometres, is the result of
merging the South African Kruger National Park, Zimbabwe's Gonarezhou Park,
and Mozambique's Limpopo National Park, in order to create a vast area of
ecotourism and of forest and wildlife conservation.
Speaking to reporters on Tuesday, Mozambican Tourism Minister Fernando
Sumbana said that the heads of state of the three countries are coordinating
their agendas for the first few months of 2006.
The inauguration had been initially scheduled for 18 November this year but,
because of the agenda of South African President Thabo Mbeki, it was
postponed to a date yet to be fixed, but not later than the first quarter of
"All conditions have been created for the park to start receiving some
tourists", said Sumbana, adding that the technical commission for the
implementation of the park has proposed that tourists might be allowed in as
Acknowledging that the trans-frontier park has not yet reached the level of
some others that are part of the national ecotourism programme, Sumbana
said, however, that he has been working with national tourism operators to
encourage them to invest in the project.
He explained that some of the work already completed includes the new border
post between South Africa and Mozambique at Giriyondo, the accommodation for
park employees, and also the tourism development plan.
The Herald (Harare)
November 15, 2005
Posted to the web November 15, 2005
THE Inter-Ministerial Taskforce on fuel and power import substitution
recently launched the biodiesel feedstock production project in Mudzi,
Uzumba-Maramba-Pfungwe and Murehwa districts.
Production of biodiesel from jatropha curcas (mujiramono) that is found in
abundance in these areas is being viewed as an alternative to fossil fuels
whose prices keep sky-rocketing, posing major challenges to oil importing
The taskforce is made up of civil servants from the Ministries of Energy and
Power Development, Science and Technology, Local Government, Youth
Development and Employment Creation, Agriculture and Rural Development,
Higher Education, and Industry and International Trade.
Mr Lovemore Hakuna, an energy development officer with the Ministry of
Energy and Power Development highlighted the importance of developing
capacity to produce liquid fuel using jatropha, a hard bush whose seed is
crushed to produce vegetable oil that is refined into biodiesel.
"Jatropha carcus can be grown in semi-arid or degraded areas and does not
compete for prime land with other crop production. It is easy to grow, does
not require much management, and yields about 350 litres of oil for every
tonne of seed," said Mr Hakuna.
He pointed out that jatropha is a potential cash crop for farmers,
particularly those in drought prone areas who stand to harvest for up to 50
years while locally produced biodiesel is set to offer employment
opportunities in research, plantation development, fuel processing and
Mr Hakuna, however, conceded that there are few feedstock sources in
Zimbabwe emphasising the need for a national feedstock production programme
for jatropha. The Government has responded to this by zoning the country
into 3 areas. Zone one, which has extensive jatropha plants and farmers
experienced in growing the plant includes Mutoko, Mudzi, UMP, Murehwa,
Nyanga, Bindura, Rushinga, and Shamva. Zone two, which has some scattered
jatropha plants, covers Masvingo and Matabeleland provinces, while zone
three covers the rest of the country with very little, if any, jatropha.
It is envisaged that when fully implemented, the biodiesel programme will
contribute about 10 percent of Zimbabwe's fossil diesel consumption per
year, which is equivalent to 300 000 litres per day, leading to a direct
saving of at least US$100 million per annum.
The Herald (Harare)
November 15, 2005
Posted to the web November 15, 2005
GOVERNMENT plans to bail out more than 50 companies which are threatened
with collapse to save thousands of jobs through an industrial rescue
facility, the Minister of Industry and International Trade, Cde Obert Mpofu,
Cde Mpofu said his ministry had a list of companies that were seeking
assistance to sustain production.
He said the Government would not allow companies to collapse.
"Government will never let any company to close. This is why we are
strategising possible remedies to ensure their continued existence. This
will also avert job losses."
A research conducted by the ministry showed that more than 50 firms in
various sectors of the economy were facing viability constraints owing to an
unstable economic climate.
Cde Mpofu said his ministry was consulting the private sector about problems
affecting the companies.
"We have been told that the acute shortages of foreign currency had resulted
in difficult operating conditions for many firms and our research shows that
about 50 companies are facing production constraints and something is being
done to address the problem," he said.
Some companies have threatened to close shop, arguing that they were
operating below profit targets due to limited foreign currency and a
"We are aware of viability problems facing companies and solutions are still
being gathered," said the minister.
Cde Mpofu said his ministry had deployed inspectors to assess productivity
in agriculture, manufacturing, construction, tourism and other strategic
sectors of the economy.
"We will use findings from the inspectors to assist us in the implementation
of the rescue strategy," he said.
Companies were failing to access cheap loans from banks following the
termination of the Productive Sector Facility in June this year.
Borrowings from the financial institutions have dropped due to soaring
lending rates, now ranging between 300 and 400 percent.
The situation has resulted in local firms failing to clear outstanding debts
and expand operations.
Cde Mpofu said his ministry had submitted proposals to the Ministry of
Finance about a possible financial rescue scheme to bail out troubled firms.
"My ministry is also doing its best about the need to introduce a financial
rescue scheme for those companies facing capital constraints," he said.
Company representative bodies such as the Zimbabwe National Chamber of
Commerce and the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries are understood to be
working with the Government on the issue.
Cde Mpofu said that the strategy to save firms from collapse would be
unveiled before the end of the year.
"The scheme will definitely be made public anytime this year to ensure that
all the companies would reopen for business in January next year after the
festive season," he said.
The Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce president, Mr Luxon Zembe,
welcomed Cde Mpofu's sentiments, saying it was important for Government to
ensure the survival of companies.
"There is the need to ensure that all the companies survive in spite of the
economic hardships facing the nation," he said.
An official of the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries said the rescue
strategy should focus on helping companies increase production.
"We hope that the Government will implement a rescue plan that will be
favourable towards continued operations of companies," the official said.
"Help change despair to hope and send an Amnesty card. You can make a
difference" - Terry Waite
Amnesty International has launched its annual 'greetings card' campaign
which encourages people in the UK to send messages of hope and solidarity to
people around the world facing persecution, torture and other human rights
The annual campaign asks people in the UK to send cards to those under
threat around the world - those imprisoned solely for their beliefs, those
under sentence of death, those held without charge or due process and others
at risk of human rights abuse.
Running until 31 January 2006, the campaign is expected to generate
thousands of messages of hope for the 29 cases included.
People featured in the campaign range from those like Sumi Khan in
Bangladesh, an investigative journalist who has been attacked and has
received death threats to prisoners of conscience, like Helen Berhane - a
Christian gospel singer from Eritrea who was arrested for refusing to
renounce her faith and is believed to be imprisoned in a metal shipping
Previous greetings card campaigns have been extremely successful.
Of the 32 cases featured in last year's campaign, twelve individuals have
been released and six have seen their circumstances improve, and many others
have also reported being deeply appreciative of the support they were shown.
Amnesty International UK Director Kate Allen said:
"Sending these cards is a simple yet effective way of offering a great sense
of hope and solidarity to many people at risk around the world."
"During a season when so many of us are sending messages of goodwill to
friends and family, we're asking people to add an extra card to their list
and really make a difference for people under threat."
Samuel Morales, a Colombian trade union activist featured in this year's
campaign said: "Knowing that the international community is watching over us
is one of the few things that dissuades them from attacking us. It protects
Speaking of the campaign, Terry Waite, CBE, the former hostage in Lebanon
said: "Help change despair to hope and send an Amnesty card. You can make a
This year the campaign is focusing on 29 cases, including:
a.. Sanjiv Kumar Karna, a 24-year-old student in Nepal, who has not been
heard from following his arrest in October 2003 by the army and police.
Sanjiv's arrest is believed to be linked to his involvement in student
b.. Bilqis Yakoob Rasool, a human rights defender from India who survived
the massacre of her family in which her daughter was killed and she was gang
raped. Bilqis' brave fight for justice has since encouraged other women to
c.. The family of Florentín Gudiel in Guatemala: well known in his
community for carrying out strong human rights work, Florentín Gudiel was
murdered in December 2004. Following his death, Florentín Gudiel's family
has received numerous death threats.
d.. The grassroots activist group Women of Zimbabwe Arise, who have been
repeatedly arrested for engaging in peaceful demonstrations against the
worsening economic, social and human rights situation in Zimbabwe.
Good news from last year's campaign includes:
a.. The Bashirs, a Palestinian family from Gaza, who had been living for
several years with their house occupied by Israeli soldiers, received more
than 15,000 cards and letters last year.
They believe that this helped protect their family. Following the Gaza
disengagement plan - the removal of Israeli settlements and troops from the
Gaza strip - the Bashir family has now regained full possession of their
b.. Ignatius Mahendra Kusuma Wardhana, a student leader and Yoyok Eko
Widodo, a musician's union member, were serving prison sentences for
"insulting the President or Vice-president."
They received hundreds of cards as a result of last year's greeting card
campaign. In 2005 both Mahendra and Yoyok were released from prison.
c.. Over 11,500 cards were sent to the families of eight men from the UK
detained at Guantánamo Bay. Four of these - British nationals Moazzam Begg,
Feroz Abbasi, Richard Belmar and Martin Mubanga - have since been released.
At least six UK residents - Bisher al-Rawi, Jamil al-Banna, Jamal
Abdullah, Shaker Abdur-Raheem Aamer, Omar Deghayes and Benyam Mohamed al
Habashi - are among the more than 500 men of around 35 nationalities who
remain held at Guantánamo Bay and Amnesty International continues to
campaign for fair trials or release.
The Herald (Harare)
November 15, 2005
Posted to the web November 15, 2005
GOVERNMENT plans to formulate an Energy Efficient Policy that will allow for
the reduction of energy intensity of production in all sectors of the
Reducing energy intensities would decrease the pressure exerted on the
energy sector and also enhance cost competitiveness of Zimbabwean products
The benefits of improved energy efficiency and conservation include reduced
costs to energy users, enhanced industrial competitiveness, deferred
investment requirements for the energy sector, and savings in energy imports
and foreign exchange.
Speaking at a two-day Zesa Holdings Demand Side Management(DSM) symposium,
the Minister of Energy and Power Development Retired Lieutenant-General Mike
Nyambuya said that energy efficiency needed not be considered only in times
of energy supply bottlenecks, but as a permanent feature in the nation's
"My ministry believes that a clear policy and good strategies are a
prerequisite to a good energy efficiency agenda.
"Studies have shown that there is substantial energy savings potential in
Zimbabwe but efforts to harness the identified potential are hampered by a
number of barriers which include poor energy management skills, restricted
access to finance and lack of interaction among stakeholders.
"As a way of addressing these barriers, a study was carried out so that
current case study material in the area of energy efficiency could be
obtained for use in the formulation of an energy efficiency policy," said
DSM refers to the interventions or measures taken by utilities to influence
and contain the pattern of energy use that require education, understanding
and co-operation between the utility and consumers.
The ministry is seriously considering setting up an energy management body
that will be tasked with minimising energy demand, mitigating environmental
damage, strengthening the competitiveness of the industrial sector, reduce
the need for foreign exchange and positively impact on other macro-economic
The body is expected to relate directly to other agencies and stakeholders
with a role in energy efficient improvement.
Consultations with stakeholders revealed that the current blanket subsidies
as well as bill estimation coupled with limited access to affordable
financing have discouraged industry from investing in energy efficient
A number of energy efficiency programmes, such as the Sadc Industrial Energy
Management Project, the Zimbabwe Energy Efficiency Project (ZEEP) and the
National Energy Efficiency Improvement Programme (NEEIP) have been
impelemented over the years.
But Minister Nyambuya said despite all these initiatives, energy efficiency
activities were still lagging in Zimbabwe. The energy management body would
facilitate the implementation of energy programmes.
"The need for autonomy and flexibility when dealing with the productive
private sector as well as access to resources to finance and administer
these require that an agency be established and funded to the right levels
to facilitate implementation of energy efficiency improvements," he said.
The renewed call for the country to improve its energy management programmes
comes against the backdrop of electricity shortages that are expected to hit
the Sadc region come 2007.
The proposed body is expected to protect the interests of members and
beneficiaries, define the code of conduct as well as assist in accreditation
of players within their areas of speciality.
The DSM symposium was organised by Zesa Holdings and is being sponsored by a
number of companies active in the electricity sector such as Powertel, ABB,
Cafca, Frog Cables and Art Corporation, among other corporates.