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Zimbabwe accuses UK of plotting to kill Mugabe


Sun Nov 18, 2007 12:00pm GMT

HARARE (Reuters) - Zimbabwe's government on Sunday accused Britain of
plotting to invade the southern African state and to kill President Robert
Mugabe and some of his associates.
Mugabe's spokesman, George Charamba, told the official Sunday Mail that
Harare was "well aware" that former prime minister Tony Blair had considered
plans for a military invasion of Zimbabwe, struggling with a deep crisis
many blame on Mugabe's policies.

Reacting to a report in the Independent last week that Blair had discussed
the plan with former British armed forces chief General Lord Charles
Guthrie, Charamba told the Sunday Mail that "the idea had not been

"The (Zimbabwe) government was aware of the plans and the president made
reference to the British's sinister motives on several occasions," he said.

"A defence plan had been operationalised and, in fact, it is still in

"We were also aware that short of a full-fledged invasion, the British were
and are still contemplating the elimination of our political leadership
through a number of assassinations," Charamba added.

Charamba was not available for further comment on Sunday.

In the article entitled "Zim prepared for British invasion," the Sunday Mail
quoted Charamba as saying that Blair was forced to shelve the invasion plan
on the advice of former members of the British Military Advisory Training
Team who worked in Zimbabwe in the 1980s and 1990s and said Mugabe had "a
very capable army".

Charamba also suggested that Blair abandoned the plan after failing to win
unequivocal support from the United States, although Britain feels a
historical obligation to protect the interests of Zimbabwean whites, who are
mostly of British origin.

"The invasion of Zimbabwe without concrete U.S. support was unthinkable for
Britain," he said.

London has repeatedly rejected accusations that it is interfering in
Zimbabwean politics and wants to overthrow the 83-year-old Mugabe over his
seizure and redistribution of white-owned farms to blacks.

But Britain and other Western powers say Mugabe is guilty of gross human
rights abuses and of running down one of Africa's most promising economies.

In turn, Mugabe -- in power since independence in 1980 -- blames the
collapse of Zimbabwe's once thriving economy on Western sabotage.

(Reporting by Cris Chinaka; Editing by Giles Elgood)

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Mugabe should be president for life, says his deputy

Monsters and Critics

Nov 18, 2007, 12:15 GMT

Johannesburg/Harare(dpa) - The practice of limiting presidents to a couple
of terms in office is 'a luxury' and President Robert Mugabe should continue
to rule until he dies, according to Zimbabwe's vice- president.

Joseph Msika, 84, one of two vice-presidents of both the ruling party and
the government, was quoted in the state-controlled Sunday Mail as he backed
the 83-year-old leader as the party's sole candidate for presidential
elections expected in March 2008.

The ruling party is due to hold an extraordinary congress in December at
which the only topic of significance is the ratification of Mugabe's
candidature and prevent any others from standing. The national constitution
has not limited periods in office since an executive presidency was passed
in 1987.

Mugabe has been in power continuously for 27 years, since independence from
British colonial rule in 1980.

'We do not change leaders as fast we change our shirts,' Msika said. 'In
Zimbabwe we do not accept that. So the issue of changing a leader after a
specified period is out of the question. It is a luxury we cannot afford. If
they are still serving the people, then they should stay on or even die

Zimbabwe is in the throes of dramatic economic decline, with gdp having
shrunk 40 per cent in the last seven years, inflation at 15,000 per cent and
the currency, which was at parity with British Sterling at independence, now
worth 0000003 Pounds Sterling.

Famine has set in for the fifth consecutive year in the west of the country,
the supply of goods to shops and supermarkets has almost totally dried up,
fuel is critically scarce and businesses, farmers and private homes suffer
from continual power and water cuts as infrastructure in what was Africa's
second most highly developed country, crumbles.

The collapse is blamed on continuous misrule and reckless economic
decisions, from the lawless seizure of productive white-owned farmland from
2000, to price controls decreed in June that forced retailers to sell their
goods at prices far lower than the wholesale prices.

Mugabe blames the situation on an alleged plot by Western governments to
overthrow him.

Msika said Zimbabwe had 'continued to excel under Comrade Mugabe's
leadership.' Last week Mugabe declared that the country 'will not collapse,
now or in future.'

Msika's remarks are expected to raise eyebrows amongst regional Southern
African leaders who are shepherding talks between Mugabe's ruling ZANU(PF)
party and the opposition Movement for Democratic Change, with major
democratic reforms on the agenda, including the limiting of presidential
terms of office.

© 2007 dpa - Deutsche Presse-Agentur

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Roaches and dinner by torchlight on the night train from Harare

Ndaba Sithole
Sunday November 18, 2007
The Observer

When you need to travel by train in Zimbabwe these days, the overnight
services are an unsettling experience. It is not only the stations along the
way that are in darkness, you cannot count on much illumination inside the
carriage either.
Most travellers on the poorly maintained inter-city trains bring a torch.
Being a regular user of the train between the capital, Harare, and the
second largest city, Bulawayo, 480km by rail, I have witnessed the alarming
deterioration of the rail system in recent years.

To begin with, because the rail fares are lower than those for road and air
travel - made worse by erratic fuel availability and prices - the demand is
very high and getting a ticket is a nightmare.
The less fortunate spend two or three days trying to purchase a ticket. Some
sleep at the station to increase their chances.

There have also been allegations that National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ)
employees work with outsiders to resell tickets at exorbitant rates to
desperate travellers.

'Sorry, no electricity on board,' the attendants will often tell you if you
do finally get a ticket. And if you are getting off at towns along the way,
say Kwekwe or Gweru, there are times that you find these places unlit due to
the power cuts that have hit Zimbabwe owing to electricity shortages.

The cuts have also meant that rail signals are usually down, putting
travellers' lives at risk. A number of accidents have occurred in recent
years, including one in which 13 people were killed in Dzivaresekwa, a
suburb of Harare this year. Ageing equipment, including the railway line
itself, has also been responsible for some of the accidents.

But even if you are not involved in an accident, you are likely to be
subjected to a long and boring journey.

Travelling between Harare and Bulawayo, you might spend up to 20 hours on
board, on a trip that not long ago would have lasted only about 10 hours.
The video sets installed a few years ago no longer work and all you can do
now is just fiddle with your phone all the way.

More often than not, water is also not available but passengers continue to
use the toilets, creating a pungent smell. Cockroaches and mosquitoes are
also regulars on board.

But for Josphat Karimazondo, a regular train user, it's more a matter of
saving his hard-earned cash than travelling in elegance.

'The situation is deplorable but we don't have much of a choice really
because the train is cheaper. I paid Z$1.3m [£22] for a standard class seat
from Harare to Bulawayo but if I had to board a bus, I would have paid in
the region of Z$5m. At times we just have to worry about saving a few
dollars because things are tough and we need every cent that we can save,'
says Karimazondo.

'A few years ago travelling by train was such a pleasure. But again you
really cannot blame NRZ alone for all this. Which sector of this economy is
still functioning normally? These days it's just a question of survival.'

But for Martha Nyathi, who used the light from her mobile phone to serve her
husband supper, the experience was too much to bear.

'This is unacceptable. I don't think we will ever use a train again if this
is what we have to put up with,' she fumes. 'It's better to use buses even
though they are expensive. At least you won't have to eat in the dark, spend
so much time travelling and arrive at your destination exhausted.'

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Thousands of teachers abandon Zimbabwe

The Telegraph

By Stephen Bevan in Zimbabwe and special correspondents
Last Updated: 1:25am GMT 18/11/2007

Zimbabwe's education system, once regarded as among the best in
Africa, is in crisis because of the country's economic meltdown. Almost a
quarter of the teachers have quit the country, absenteeism is high,
buildings are crumbling and standards plummeting.

In one of the most shocking examples of the Dickensian conditions, a
reporter witnessed hundreds of children at Hatcliffe Extension Primary
School in Epworth, 12 miles west of Harare, writing in the dust on the floor
because they had no exercise books or pencils.

The makeshift huts they use as classrooms are filthy and swarming with
insects. Instead of chairs, the children sit on mud bricks which leave red
stains on their tattered khaki uniforms. Similar scenes can be found across
the country.

"Starting this term, we are supposed to buy our own teaching
mat-erials," said a teacher at Warren Park 1 Primary in Harare. "With our
paltry salaries I don't see it working. We will just sit in the classes."

At Insimbi Primary School in Gwanda, south-east of Bulawayo, there is
one textbook for a class and only half the children have exercise books. The
others cannot afford them.

Absenteeism is rife. Concern Mkhwananzi, 42, who left three weeks ago
to seek work in South Africa, said almost a quarter of his class of 45
pupils had dropped out. "They were coming to school with empty stomachs
because there was no food at home," he said. "Then they would faint, so they
preferred to stay at home."

Conditions at the universities and colleges are just as bad. Fees have
skyrocketed, student grants are almost worthless and teaching is almost at a
halt. At the University of Zimbabwe in Harare, disused offices and
storerooms have been turned into makeshift brothels by students and staff
who have turned to prostitution to make ends meet. "What would you do if you
were given a paltry Z$2 million (£1.20 at the black market exchange rate)
per semester?" said one female student.

During a recent visit to the university, several students showed signs
of malnutrition, and conditions in their hostel were squalid. Lavatories
were blocked, water flowed down unlit corridors and dustbins overflowed.

"The situation is terrible," said Tendai Mbera, a second-year history
student. "There is no food, and most of us have been forced to commute
daily, only to find there are no lecturers." Half the university's 1,200
lecturers have left this year, joining an accelerating exodus of teaching

According to one of the main teachers' unions, the PTUZ, 25,000
teachers - almost a quarter of the workforce - have gone abroad since
January - 10,000 of them in the past three months. Most moved to South
Africa, Botswana or Namibia.

Progressive Teachers of Zimbabwe, an organisation that assists
immigrants in South Africa, estimates that 20,000 Zimbabwean teachers now
live in South Africa - many working in unskilled security or construction
industry jobs.

Among them is Charles Khumalo, 43, who resigned his post at a primary
school in Matobo, Matabele South province, 18 months ago. Despite 17 years'
teaching experience, he has managed to find only casual work as a security
guard and then as a plant superviser. "I came here legally and I've done
everything to get work as a teacher but without a South African identity
card it's very difficult," he said.

Meanwhile, Zimbabwe's schools are hiring unqualified teachers. At
Mawani Primary School near Mnene, 300 miles south of Harare, the teachers'
homes are deserted at weekends when most "temporary" teachers go panning for

The government is so alarmed that Aeneas Chigwedere, the education
minister, has urged neighbouring countries to cease taking Zimbab-we's
teachers. But that did not stop Sithokozile Ngwenya, 28, quitting as
geography teacher at a Bulawayo primary school last week to go to Namibia.
"There is nothing to stay for in Zimbabwe," she said. "My salary is not
enough. I had to leave as I have to fend for my two children."

Until August, state school teachers were paid Z$2 million a month,
enough to buy four loaves of bread. After a strike last month, President
Robert Mugabe raised this to Z$17 million but with inflation at 14,840 per
cent, most teachers are still below the poverty line.

The exam system, too, is in chaos. Examiners refused to mark scripts
when they were offered just Z$79 a paper, enough to buy three small sweets.
Suspected corruption might have been why in January thousands of pupils
received no marks for subjects they had entered, while others were deemed
"excellent" in subjects they had not sat.

The tragedy is that the education system had been one of the few
achievements of which Mr Mugabe could be proud. After independence from
Britain in 1980, the government invested heavily in education and raised the
literacy rate to 80 per cent, one of the highest in Africa.

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SW Radio Africa transcript - Peta Thornycroft


Violet Gonda speaks to foreign correspondent Peta Thornycroft. In this, the first of a two part program, she talks about her award and her concerns on the way the Zimbabwean media has been covering the crisis in the country.

Broadcast 6 November 2007

VIOLET GONDA:  My guest on the programme Hot Seat this week is veteran journalist Peta Thornycroft, who has just won a Lifetime Achievement Award from the International Women’s Media Foundation, the IWMF. Peta is a foreign correspondent for the UK Daily Telegraph and Voice of America. Congratulations on the Award Peta.

PETA THORNYCROFT:  Thank you. I also work for Independent Newspapers in South Africa, in fact I probably do more for them now than for other papers because the stories, the story on Zimbabwe has really gone off the boil. Thank you very much.

VIOLET:  And I know you have plenty to say about the crisis in Zimbabwe especially looking at the opposition and the media. But could you tell us first a bit about your award, how did it come about?

THORNYCROFT:  I got an email from a South African colleague in March this year. Somebody I’ve worked with Maureen Isaacson I’ve worked with for many years and of course I’ve worked much longer in South Africa than I ever have in Zimbabwe. I have no idea, I still have no idea why, I think she might be a member of this organisation or she knows of it and she was determined and so were some of her colleagues, her colleagues in the South African press, determined to put my name forward for this Lifetime achievement award.

So they did and they emailed me and I was in Harare and it was at the time when Morgan Tsvangirai was being tortured. I was just so busy, I could barely keep up with my work at that stage in fact I couldn’t keep up with it and I just was telling her all the time, I haven’t got time for this, I don’t keep any cuttings, I haven’t got anything I’ve ever done, this is a load of rubbish, I’m not going do this and she just persisted. I didn’t actually, I think I sent her an elderly CV because it was old, its one I’ve had lying around in my laptop for ages and I did send it to her. She then did it all and the next thing is I got an email saying I’d won. In fact when I was in Washington I discovered that it is quite a lengthy process, they get these nominations from all sorts of people around the world and it’s not for one.

So in other words this award was not for reporting on Zimbabwe per say it was reporting for 25years. Tremendously interesting periods of time both in South Africa at the height of apartheid and in the dying days of apartheid and also as we led up to democratic elections in 1994 which was tumultuous. Those were extremely tumultuous days  for journalists. So it was broader than just Zimbabwe although I noticed in the promotional material that they put out, that the International Women’s Media Foundation mostly focused on Zimbabwe, but certainly in my CV and the material I sent to them I certainly sent them more of my earlier life as a journalist in South Africa.

VIOLET:  Right and what did they actually want to know about Zimbabwe when you were in America, to receive the award.

THORNYCROFT:  Well the IWMF produced promotional materials so I did write them some stuff and sent them some copy and struggled to get back copies of things, struggled terribly cause if you didn’t keep your work before the internet you really struggled. And so I told them quite a lot about Zimbabwe since I went up there in 2001. This period, of course I’ve worked in Zimbabwe in previous periods.   I told them quite a lot and then I was a member of panels in Washington, New York and Los Angeles. I was on various panels where I was interviewed. Can’t even remember how many times I was interviewed by quite a number of news organisations.

Perhaps the most, the longest and most comprehensive interview was that for National Public Radio in Washington and it went out on a programme called Fresh Air. It was an hour long interview and it dealt with Zimbabwe, and I was able to dispel a lot of myths, particularly myths like trying to equate Zimbabwe with North Korea. It seems to be in people’s minds that Zimbabwe is like North Korea and so I tried to tell the story of what it was like and a very, very different  situation from some of the winners of the courage awards by the IWMF who are working for the McClatchy Bureau an American news bureau working in Baghdad (IRAQ). I mean their stories are how they cope everyday and the bombs, the bombs which not only kill people in the war but have killed their own families, including their children as they try and struggle to get the translations done, get their copies out and they do run a most effective blog out of McClatchy. It was so extraordinary meeting them.

And then Lydia Cacho whose a journalist from Mexico who’s been hunting down these pedophiles in Mexico and she gave us the statistics of journalists killed, arrested etc in Mexico. Mexico is worse than almost any country in Africa for the way it treats journalists. Lydia is constantly under the watch of state guards. I mean in New York, Washington and Los Angeles. In New York it was the NYPD who looked after her, she had to be provided with two permanent bodyguards because she is under such threat in Mexico she can’t even walk down the streets there without protection and she has nailed a whole lot of politicians. She’s the first journalist to have taken the government to court, to the Supreme Court.

So I mean with these journalist who’ve lived these extraordinary lives I have to say in comparison Zimbabwe seemed very tame when one saw what they are going through. And therefore I had to describe how it’s a very different kind of war in Zimbabwe, it’s the lack of certainty, it’s sometimes just a lack of a story. If you actually think of what’s going on in Zimbabwe today you have to be extremely creative to find a new angle about what’s going on in Zimbabwe today and that’s what I try to tell people and it was against a background I’d used in my speech. The background I’d used in my speech was that women’s life expectancy is 34 to 38 years and of course the highest inflation rate in the world at over 8000%. And so those were the bench marks I used to show that Zimbabwe, why Zimbabwe has become a world story because there is this feeling sometimes that Zimbabwe is kind of an obsession of the British press.

Certainly the American press knows very, very little about us. There’s the occasional story maybe once a month down a page in the features section in the New York Times. There’s the occasional story on National Public Radio actually normally when I’ve done it, there’s very, very little about Zimbabwe. They barely know the name and I’m talking about well read people who read two or three newspapers a day and listen to radio stations they know very little about Zimbabwe. And unless the story gets a bit busier I suspect they’re not going to know, ever know very much. And so I was really one of the first journalists able to be, to address an enormously influential and powerful group of people in all three states, in Washington DC, New York and Los Angeles about the situation in Zimbabwe.

VIOLET:  I actually understand you met some Hollywood celebrities like Angelina Jolie when you were in Los Angeles?

THORNYCROFT: Oh I did, I had dinner with Angelina Jolie and we shared jokes and she’s terribly intelligent and my god she was well briefed on Zimbabwe. She really had done her homework before I met her and she had done her homework on me which is all a bit embarrassing. I thought it was a bit overblown and basically I’ve never been a journalist who kind of goes for the limelight or you know in that celebrity sphere that is very American and very different from the upbringing I’ve had in journalism.

Nevertheless, nevertheless it was good to meet her, she’s just done this extraordinary film about Daniel Pearl the Wall Street journalist who was killed in Pakistan. She plays Daniel Pearl’s wife.  Her husband Brad Pitt, the night she came to give me my award, was babysitting the kids. He was one of the producers of that film. So a) she had become interested in journalism, b) she has a particular interest in Africa as she has two children with strong African connections. Hers and Brad’s baby was born in Namibia and they’ve adopted an Ethiopian Child. So they are very, very interested in Africa and she’s terribly nice. I mean she’s just so ordinary. But my god you see the Hollywood press flashing away with their flashes and it’s a totally different world!

I mean Christiana Amanpour the chief correspondent of CNN who is a working professional working Journalist turning stuff out day by day, she’s a superstar in Washington and she told me that she really is a superstar I mean in Los Angeles but whereas in London she can walk around and nobody notices her - that nobody has any idea who she is. It’s only really in America where American anchors are superstars and she’s not the anchor she’s the chief correspondent she’s a working daily journalist. It’s a very different pace of life and different exposure and different resources. Of course the stories in the American press are so much longer. Very long stories, I was amazed by that and very little foreign news in the electronic media. It’s a very different CNN that we in Zimbabwe see if you are lucky enough to have DSTV and ZESA, very different CNN to the one Americans see.    

VIOLET:  I was also surprised at the lack of international coverage or coverage of international issues in the American media, I’m here in America at school, and there’s nothing, absolutely nothing about what’s happening in many countries especially in Africa and I find that quite disturbing.

THORNYCROFT:  Yah in fact the major story is of course Iraq and now Iran and they do, I mean I did see in the New York Times and LA Times, everyday there are two, three or four stories on Iraq because of course they’ve got soldiers there who are dying, American soldiers there. But there’s very little on Africa and as for Zimbabwe there’s absolutely nothing.  And there has been stuff on Darfur because it’s a UN issue but it’s a very low priority story in America which is quite nice because people didn’t know anything and they became quite curious about it.

VIOLET:  And you know Peta over 30years of covering the situation in South Africa and in Zimbabwe, now what was the role of journalists during Apartheid in South Africa and how different is it now with the way the crisis in Zimbabwe has been covered by the Media.

VIOLET: Well, just to go back to the International Women’s Media Foundation they had of course honored Namibian journalist Gwen Lister and on their board is Ferriel Hafegee (sp) who is the editor of the Mail And Guardian on their board, so there is an African flavor to IWMF and they have done training programmes in Africa for women journalists especially the most recent one being how to report HIV/ AIDS which they did last year and I know they are anxious to do very more in Africa and you certainly are going to be seeing them around Southern Africa I’m sure next year.

I mean the difference in reporting South Africa and Zimbabwe from my point of view and the various times that I’ve been there is that leading up to the end of apartheid it was real hard news and it was shooting in the streets and it was everyday. I mean between 1991 and 1994 and the elections, more people were killed in civil society in that four year period than in the whole of all the previous years of apartheid put together. I mean it was between a 150 and 300 killed a month and then one looks at Zimbabwe’s statistics in over seven years its about 350 to 400 deaths that have been attributed to political strife in that period so it’s an entirely different scale to what happened in South Africa, it’s an entirely different kind of war.

There were many press in South Africa, those were the freest years that South African press has ever had between 1991 and 1994. There was easy access to everyone because everyone wanted to be elected, everyone wanted to put their points over. But then as a background to that of course you had the constitutional negotiations which went on at CODESA forever and ever and ever. The most boring stories for those poor daily reporters that they had to do. That’s why these particular negotiations going on now between the MDC and ZANU PF - when I knew that that was coming, I knew I also had to find something else to do to cheer my daily diary up because I know about constitutional negotiations and reporting them. They are difficult, everyone is doing deals in secret. Even if CODESA was done in public, it wasn’t really, they all went off in secret to go and knock out a deal on one of the weekend retreats and we are going through the same thing on a much smaller scale in Zimbabwe and its extremely boring stuff to report. But back in South Africa as they were negotiating the constitution there was of course this appalling violence, I mean it was appalling. This isn’t happening to any kind of the same extent in Zimbabwe. I mean of course it’s a different kind of story - violence in Zimbabwe seems to me to be the dismantling of an entire economy, which is violence isn’t it? It’s making it impossible for people to feed themselves.  That is extreme violence.

VIOLET: You’ve been particularly concerned with the way the domestic media has been covering the crisis in Zimbabwe. Can you tell us more about this?

THORNYCROFT: Domestic media I think here let’s define this we mean Zimbabwean journalists basically writing for Zimbabwean audiences whether they be inside the country or outside the country is that correct?

VIOLET:  That’s right.

THORNYCROFT: Ok, in other words I as a foreign journalist I have a very different audience. I have an audience in the UK which is a very different audience from the one in South Africa, which is a very different audience to the African Service of VOA. I’m doing three different audiences more or less whenever I do a story. But I think the domestic media first of all the state stopped the Daily News, I mean the state has stopped newspapers from telling that story, and so if one looks back at the Daily News with hindsight being the perfect science and I don’t think we realized it at the time, but I think the Daily News if I look back now, it was an MDC supporting newspaper. Just as the Daily telegraph which I work for in the UK is a Tory supporting newspaper. I think we didn’t say it at the time frankly, and maybe it wasn’t important but the Daily News supported the MDC.

And since its demise and naturally because of its demise a whole lot of other publications have arisen on the internet, you yourselves in London have emerged as a result of the repression, the failure of people to be able to get news from home so people like you and studio 7, ZimDaily, Zimonline, The Zimbabwean and Nyarota’s one - The Times of Times of Zimbabwe I think it is, Naturally those would emerge because it’s so hard to get information from Zimbabwe apart from the Herald and then once a week The Independent and The Standard level of news. And then of course The Financial Gazette which there is a question mark over whether it is in fact owned  by people who are aligned to the government or not . So I’ve been very disappointed with lots of the external media. ZimDaily I suppose I now view ZimDaily as an essential part of my life in covering Zimbabwe because it makes me laugh and the way they…

VIOLET:  (interjects) It makes you laugh?

THORNYCROFT: Yah makes me laugh, I have shrieked with laughter at some of its stories and the way they have been hounding the Chefs’ children - who are in universities and colleges overseas - and some of the comments that followed on their website made me scream with laughter. So I do not take it seriously as a news outlet, its kind of a sideline.

When this really became quite difficult was when the MDC broke into two factions in October 2005 and with the exception of and I would say SWRadio Africa mostly – although there were individual people at SWRadio Africa who seemed to choose one faction over the other - but what was distressing was that all of those publications chose to  support the Tsvangirai faction, which there’s nothing wrong with that except in that they weren’t therefore giving the other faction’s point of view and for any comment that was going on whether it was on the economy, farming etcetera nearly all of  that media (independent) would always quote from the Tsvangirai faction.

So they could not call themselves independent because if they had been monitored as independent publications, say they were funded by public funds, they wouldn’t have been allowed to do that. BBC could never have done that because it’s funded, it gets public funds. So it was a pity that people when their emotions were high they couldn’t get good coverage on a daily basis inside the country. Remembering that the Independent and the Standard newspapers actually got a very small population inside Harare basically and a small urban population.

The combination of the external media reached quite a high proportion of Zimbabweans that are either living in South Africa in exile or the UK, some inside the country but the message got around, so I think it was very sad that message that got around at that time. New Zimbabwe.Com as I saw them, tried very hard to source things with named sources or else one suspected that the sources that they didn’t name were real people. I used to wonder sometimes with some of the other publications where on earth they got their stories from. And I think the foreign press just ignored it. We ignored the stories I think we hardly ever picked up a story from those outlets and quoted from them without doing work ourselves and checking if they were true. And often when I checked the stories out they weren’t true.

VIOLET: But have things changed now? Do you think the media coverage is better now, it’s more balanced?

THORNYCROFT: Yes, as I said something like ZimDaily I take just as an essential part of the light heartedness one of the few light hearted things about Zimbabwe, I love ZimDaily. Its not news, it’s something else, it’s an aberration but it’s an amusing aberration. Zimonline has tried to be, to do better sourcing recently. And I think Zimonline has often tried to be good but I’ve never used them as basis for a story nor have I used actually any of the alternative publications – there is an old fashioned word we used to use in South Africa, as a basis for a story ever, because I’m always worried about the sourcing. Except I have used the New because they very often have named sources. There are far too many stories on Zimbabwe that go out without named sources.

And so one gets this extraordinary exaggeration. And The Zimbabwean newspaper which is mostly run by very experienced journalists who have had a lot of advantages in their lives, I’m quite shocked really at the standard of some of the reporting that goes out on The Zimbabwean - that it just doesn’t fill the basics on the hard news pages. Their stories often do not have the basic requirements needed for a news story and it’s the type of paper which really looks very nice and useful to people living in the UK – I haven’t often found that some of the sensational front page stories stood up to any kind of professional scrutiny. And I think that’s a pity.

I think we need really good media, I think we need really good and accurate sources and we’ve all made mistakes and it’s so easy to make a mistake because we work in a hideous situation where we can’t get statistics, we can’t get comments from the government, we can’t trust any of the statistics. We have a hideously partisan state press in the Herald and the ZBC and you can’t use them as a resource. It’s very hard to balance our stories in the way we’ve all been taught to balance our stories - that there are always two sides to the story.  How easy is it to get a quote from ZANU PF? It’s damn nigh impossible!

 So there are great hazards in it but I do think it is recently been getting better. Maybe people have got more resources, maybe the story has changed maybe its because the MDC faction loyal to founding president  Morgan Tsvangirai is going through such trauma itself that some of his most loyal journalists in these various organizations, like Studio 7, etcetera who’ve always been very loyal to him are beginning to question their loyalty. I don’t know, I don’t know if that’s the answer but it does seem to be getting a bit better maybe there are more resources as well.

VIOLET:  Now Peta let me pause here because we’ve run out of time but we are going to continue with this discussion next week and I’d like to hear your thoughts on the turmoil you made reference to that’s in the MDC, and also to hear your thoughts about the third way and ZANU PF. Thank you very much for the time being.

THORNYCROFT: Oh not at all. Thank You.

Comments and feedback can be emailed to


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Mbeki must push Mugabe to end violence, says Tsvangirai

Zim Online

by Batsirayi Muranje  Monday 19 November 2007

HARARE – Zimbabwe’s main opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai at the weekend
urged South Africa to pressure President Robert Mugabe to end political
violence and repeal tough security and press laws, according to sources.

South Africa’s President Thabo Mbeki is mediating in talks between Mugabe’s
governing ZANU PF party and the main opposition Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC) party aimed at finding a solution to Zimbabwe’s long running
political and economic crisis.

A key objective of the talks is to ensure Zimbabwe’s presidential and
parliamentary elections next year are free and fair. Analysts say truly
democratic polls are vital to any initiative to pluck the once prosperous
country out of the mire.

Sources said Mbeki met Tsvangirai, head of the main faction of the divided
MDC, on Friday before meeting Arthur Mutambara, who leads the smaller
faction of the opposition party yesterday to brief the opposition leaders on
progress on the talks that are backed by the Southern African Development
Community (SADC).

According to a source close to Tsvangirai, the MDC leader told Mbeki that
Mugabe had to act to end “violence against the opposition and civic groups,
allow the MDC access to the public media and reconstitute the Zimbabwe
Electoral Commission (ZEC) or the talks would become irrelevant.’

The two MDC formations have appointed a joint-delegation to negotiate with

Tsvangirai's spokesman William Bango confirmed the MDC leader visited South
Africa at the weekend but said he was not aware if he met Mbeki.

Gabriel Chaibva, spokesman for the Mutambara-led MDC, said he was unable to
“comment directly or indirectly on matters relating to the negotiating
process,” because parties to the talks are sworn to total secrecy.

Tsvangirai wants a reconstituted ZEC to undertake a fresh voter registration
exercise and demarcation of constituencies for next year’s polls, according
to sources.

The MDC has in the past accused the government of taking advantage of a
chaotic voters’ roll to rig polls and of gerrymandering constituencies to
ensure it wins. The government denies rigging elections.

Tsvangirai, who nearly unseated Mugabe in a presidential poll in 2002, is
said to have also told Mbeki that Mugabe and ZANU PF should bring back
banned independent newspapers as a confidence-building measure and called
for the SADC, African Union and the United Nations to observe polls next

Zimbabwe is in the grip of a debilitating economic crisis that is
highlighted by hyperinflation, a rapidly contracting GDP, the fastest for a
country not at war according to the World Bank and shortages of foreign
currency, food and fuel.

Mbeki, who is expected to take up the MDC’s concerns with Mugabe and ZANU
PF, insists talks will deliver truly democratic elections in Zimbabwe next
year and set the once prosperous country on a path to recovery. - ZimOnline

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Mugabe's election regalia to gobble $4.4 trillion

Zim Online

by Prince Nyathi Monday 19 November 2007

HARARE - The ruling ZANU PF party has set aside Z$4.4 trillion (US$367
million on the parallel market), enough to meet the country's fuel needs for
a month, for the printing of election campaign material for President Robert
Mugabe, ZimOnline has learnt.

Sources within ZANU PF told ZimOnline at the weekend that the party's
finance committee chaired by David Karimanzira had already approved the
budget that will see the party's regalia being distributed across the

Mugabe, who is set to be endorsed as ZANU PF's election candidate at the
party's December special congress in Harare, faces a tricky election next
March that political analysts say he could lose because of an unprecedented
economic crisis affecting the southern African country.

Of the $4.4 million, $1 trillion had been allocated to the ZANU PF Women's
League that has rallied behind Mugabe amid discontent within the party over
the Zimbabwean leader's candidature during the elections.

 "The department has come up with a $4.4 trillion budget for printing
T-shirts with the president's portrait, party flags and bandanas to be
distributed to people. The finance department has already approved the
budget," said the source.

The source said ZANU PF had also prepared separate budgets for the senate,
house of assembly and local government elections all set for early next

The source added that the campaign material, with Mugabe's portrait and
printed "Presidential elections 2008" below, was already being distributed
to the party's 10 provinces across the country.

Karimanzira refused to discuss the matter when approached for comment at the
weekend saying he does not discuss party matters with outsiders.

"What benefit will the party get by discussing the issue with you? I don't
discuss party issues with outsiders," he said.

ZANU PF is scheduled to hold its special congress next month that is set to
endorse Mugabe as the party's election candidate for the polls next March.

Zimbabwe is in the grip of a severe economic crisis that has manifested
itself in the world's highest inflation rate of nearly 8 000 percent,
unemployment and shortages of almost every basic survival commodity.

The main opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party and major
Western governments blame the economic crisis on mismanagement and
repression by Mugabe, in power since Zimbabwe's independence from Britain 27
years ago. Mugabe denies the charge. - ZimOnline

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War veterans' "million man" march set for month-end

Zim Online

by Hendricks Chizhanje Monday 19 November 2007

HARARE - Veterans of Zimbabwe's 1970s liberation war say the long-delayed
Harare "million men" march in support of President Robert Mugabe's
candidature for next year's presidential polls will now take place at the
end of this month in Highfield suburb.

Highfield is seen as the cradle of Zimbabwe's liberation war, being the
suburb where founding nationalists met in the 1960s to plot the liberation
of the then Rhodesia.

The Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association (ZNLWVA) announced
at the weekend that the 30 November march would start and end at Zimbabwe
Grounds in the suburb where Mugabe would address the marchers.

The march would take the former freedom fighters through the Old Highfield
where Mugabe and the late Vice President Joshua Nkomo lived before
independence and Mushandirapamwe Hotel where the leaders of the ruling ZANU
PF party held political meetings in the 1960s.

ZNLWVA chairman Jabulani Sibanda said the freedom fighters would use the
march to show support for Mugabe's stance against Britain and other Western

"We are also supporting his stand against oppression applied by bigger
nations to smaller nations," said Sibanda who was quietly brought back into
ZANU PF after being suspended from the ruling party.

The veterans of Zimbabwe's 1970s war of independence wield immense influence
in ZANU PF after waging violence and terror against the opposition at every
major election since 2000 to ensure victory for the ruling party.

Mugabe is patron of the ZNLWVA and has often used war veterans to intimidate
opponents to his rule and they were at the vanguard of farm occupations
during his controversial land reform programme which began seven years ago.

The veterans have in recent weeks held marches across the country to show
support for Mugabe who they say is the only one fit to rule Zimbabwe,
despite a worsening economic crisis and food shortages.

Zimbabwe holds presidential and parliamentary elections next year.

Mugabe, who earlier this year said there was no vacancy for his position,
has said he will stand for re-election next year to take his rule to more
than three decades.

ZNLWVA vice chairman Joseph Chinotimba said the association was mobilising
other people for the march, which has been on the cards since August.

"We don't have one million war veterans but every Zimbabwean is invited. We
need one million men and women even you and your wife," Chinotimba told

He said they chose Highfield because it was the suburb where Zimbabwean
nationalism started in the 1960s.

"The patron of the war veterans, who is also the president and who will
automatically win next year's presidential elections, will address the
people," Chinotimba said.

Other marches have been held in Zimbabwe's 10 provinces to show support for
President Mugabe who the liberation war fighters say is the only one fit to
rule Zimbabwe.

The marches are timed to silence dissenting voices within ZANU PF who want
Mugabe to retire and make way for a new leader.

Mugabe is under pressure to step down from rival factions within ZANU PF
linked to former army commander Solomon Mujuru and Rural Housing Minister
Emmerson Mnangagwa.

There has been growing speculation that a faction within ZANU PF led by
former army commander Solomon Mujuru could spring a surprise at the party's
December congress by nominating a challenger to Mugabe.

The Mujuru faction is said to be mobilising behind the scenes to push former
finance minister Simba Makoni or Vice-President Joice Mujuru to take a
strike at Mugabe's job.

Political analysts say the message coming out of the solidarity marches
illustrate growing opposition to Mugabe's leadership within ZANU PF as shown
by the incorporation of war veterans to silence dissenting lieutenants in
the party.

Already leaders and members of the women's assembly and the youth wing are
currently holding meetings and marches in the country's provinces to back
President Mugabe's candidature in next year's elections. - ZimOnline

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Jumbos mourn black rhino killed by poachers


     November 18 2007 at 09:27AM

By Myrtle Ryan and Peta Thornycroft

This week three Zimbabwean elephants proved that rhinos and elephants
can form close bonds, and that elephants do mourn.

Gruesome pictures flashed around the world this week of the three
black rhinos shot by members of the Zimbabwe Army, dressed in camouflage
uniforms and carrying AK-47 rifles. Each rhino had had a guard, but they
were assaulted during the attack at Imire Safari Ranch in Wedza last week.

When elephants Mundebvu, Makavusi and Toto were taken to where their
former rhino companions Amber, DJ and Sprinter were buried, they reacted in
almost human fashion, touching and supporting each other and showing obvious
grief. While elephants have been known to behave in such a fashion around
remains of their own kind, people might be surprised to find them behaving
in the same way around rhinos, which are sometimes treated with animosity.

According to Johnny Rodrigues, the chairman of the Zimbabwe
Conservation Task Force, since the attack, money has been pouring into a
special fund set up by the Travers family - the owners of Imire.

Rodrigues said: "Four armed poachers dressed in camouflage uniform
assaulted and tied up the rhino guards and opened fire on the three adult
rhino in their pens."

All three were killed.

Imire is one of the few privately owned conservancies left in Zimbabwe
and its rhino breeding programme has attracted international donor support.

Rodrigues expressed "utter shock, horror and disbelief" at the
killings. He said over the past 20 years the Travers family "have lovingly
reared and bred these animals", successfully releasing 13 black rhino back
into Matusadona National Park.

"The three rhino were dehorned six weeks ago to make them less
attractive to poachers. Nevertheless, the poachers tried to hack out the few
centimetres of new horn growth from one of the rhinos before being
frightened off."

John and Judy Travers appealed for funding for a reward to anyone
giving information leading to the capture and conviction of those who had
slaughtered the rhinos.

DJ, Sprinter and Amber were used in a breeding programme to
successfully reintroduce endangered black rhino to the Zambezi valley. All
were brutally killed, leaving a seven-week-old calf, Tatenda. Amber was due
to give birth to her calf this week.

Speaking about the relationship between the animals, Nicola Roche, a
family member, said the elephants and rhinos often walked around together.
At night the rhinos were kept in the boma while the elephants slept outside.
"They [the elephants] must have been very aware of the shots and screams [of
the rhinos]," said Roche.

She said Judy had told her how the elephants had reacted when taken to
the rhinos' burial spot two days after the incident.

"Something like this affects everyone and everything," said Roche.
"The elephants were passing sticks to each other and Judy said you could see
their tears running down their faces."

She said Amber and her foetus were buried under a beautiful msassa
tree - where she was born.

On reaching this spot Mundebvu (who is herself in calf) dug down for
about one metre to try to reach her former companion, constantly letting out
screams and shrieks as the other two elephants supported her.

This article was originally published on page 1 of Sunday Independent
on November 18, 2007

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Rules, lines for food grow longer as hard times strike Zimbabwe

Boston Globe

By Robyn Dixon
Los Angeles Times / November 18, 2007
HARARE, Zimbabwe - People have been waiting for bread for nearly two hours
in a trash-strewn lane behind a supermarket. It is midmorning, the sun
blazing down on the 50 or so people in line, when three police officers
stroll to the front.

A rumble of discontent rolls along the line like a thunderstorm.
Then a stranger named David Kaodza appears out of nowhere. "I was right
behind you, remember?" Kaodza says. "You saw me before."

He has a ready smile and the ingratiating patter of someone jumping ahead in

In Zimbabwe, where runaway hyperinflation has reached 7,900 percent and
people have used their entire savings just buying food, life has been
reduced to this: the line. Go to any Zimbabwean town these days, and you'll
find lines everywhere.

Kaodza, a hustler in a country where the flour has all but run out and bread
has become a luxury, gives a quick tutorial on how to get ahead in a queue.
You don't just line up and wait to buy. There is an unspoken etiquette with
subtle rules. Only those in a police or army uniform get to ignore the queue

According to local etiquette, you can leave the line, but never for long. To
rejoin, you need the recognition of the person you made an agreement with.
But if you neglect to pay the guard in charge of the line, you still won't
be able to creep back to your place, Kaodza says.

Misleading newcomers about the length of the wait, and even what the line is
for, is a common ploy to minimize the competition, Kaodza says.

Not everyone in line is as lucky or pushy as he is. Many are hungry, tired,
desperate to get food for their family, and spend their days waiting.

"That woman behind you, she came a long way," Kaodza says. "She was dirty,
that woman, because where she comes from there is no electricity and water's
a problem. . . . She wakes up very early, and by the time she's walked to
town she is all dusty."

He says some people collapse while waiting, but others are afraid to help
for fear of losing their place.

"It's better not to be a witness for anyone who's sick in line because if
they die, the police will take you away to the next of kin and you will have
to explain what happened," Kaodza says.

Women wearing the uniforms of city street cleaners trawl by, proclaiming
that they should join the front of the line because they have to work all
day. At first, people guffaw at their clumsy attempts to jump ahead of
others. But when the smell of freshly baked bread wafts out the doorway,
there are shouts of indignation. The women squeeze inside the door as the
first loaves are handed over.

The first batch runs out. The doors close. "People are prepared to fight in
the queue," Kaodza says.

Kaodza usually gets six to eight twist loaves, each of which he cuts in half
and adds a smudge of margarine and a couple of slivers of sausage to sell at
a profit. He makes up to 3 million Zimbabwean dollars, or $6, a day on
sandwiches and in five days earns more than teachers did in a month before
their raise.

The main bread factory ran out of flour weeks ago: Now the only bread is
found at small bakeries in supermarkets. As shortages bite deeper, the
International Crisis Group warned in a September report that Zimbabwe was
"closer than ever to complete collapse."

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Gvt hoodwinking local and international community on The Daily News matter

17th Nov 2007 22:32 GMT

By Nyasha Nyakunu

THE appointment of a Committee to re-look into the Associated Newspapers of
Zimbabwe (ANZ) application for an operating license raises more questions
than answers on the process and individuals selected by the Minister of
Information and Publicity, and the lack of a clear mandate on how this will
be accomplished.

The Committee was appointed on 14 November 2007. The ANZ are the publishers
of The Daily News and The Daily News on Sunday, two of the four newspapers
banned by the Zimbabwe government through the Media and Information
Commission since 2003.

MISA-Zimbabwe notes with concern that while the appointment of the committee
seem to be complying with court rulings on the need for the Media and
Information Commission (MIC) Chairperson, Dr Tafataona Mahoso, to recuse
himself from the ANZ matter, the appointed individuals are still MIC members
who, at the end of the day, are accountable to the Executive Chairperson, Dr
Mahoso and the Minister of Information and Publicity Dr Sikhanysio Ndlovu.

The individuals selected are questionable if one goes by their personal and
institutional views on the political, economic and social situation in

The Chairperson of the Committee, Chinondidyachii Mararike is a prominent
state media columnist who has written widely on the political and social
situation in Zimbabwe in The Herald.  MISA-Zimbabwe investigations also
reveal that Charity Moyo once/or is still working in the External Affairs
section of the ruling party, ZANU PF.

MISA-Zimbabwe notes that the personal views and political affiliations of
the committee chairperson and its members on the political situation in
Zimbabwe , which they are entitled to, are the same issues that the Zimbabwe
government accused The Daily News and The Daily News on Sunday of

Such accusations and a tag of war on the role of The Daily News and its
sister paper, resulted in the arrests, beatings and harassment of the
newspaper's workers on several occasions since 2000. The hatred directed at
the ANZ resulted in the publishing entity being bombed three times and
finally silenced under the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy
Act (AIPPA) in September 2003. It is important, therefore, to take note of
this political context to understand why the new committee constituted of
persons of a particular political view is not in a position to deal with
this matter partially. In this case justice should not only be done, but
should be seen to be done.

While the Minister of Information and Publicity says the committee was put
in place "in the true spirit to demonstrate a democratic and liberalised
media", MISA-Zimbabwe contends that the true spirit of democracy will be to
repeal AIPPA and all undemocratic media laws that put shackles on the
operations of the media and enjoyment of freedom of expression rights in
Zimbabwe. In the same vein the Minister should order the police to return
ANZ equipment seized in 2004 and ensure the pursuance of criminal elements
that bombed the ANZ printing press in 2001. That, we believe will be a
demonstration of the true spirit of democracy.

MISA-Zimbabwe further notes that even if the ANZ is licensed, the publishing
house still has to contend with restrictions placed on the work of media
workers through AIPPA, Public Order and Security Act (POSA) among other
laws.  MISA-Zimbabwe also argues that the mere fact that the media operates
at the benevolence and whims of committees appointed by a government
Minister is the truest demonstration of an undemocratic government that is
averse to different and critical views.

This ANZ issue, coming as it does, against a background of the arrests of
The Financial Gazette, Jacob Chisese and Hama Saburi and The Zimbabwe
Independent, Raphael Khumalo on 9 November 2007, demonstrates a government
still determined to repress independent media voices. The Incomes and
Pricing Commission arrested the managers of the two newspapers for
increasing the prices of their publications.

The newspapers hitherto priced at ZWD$600 000   (approximately USD66 cents)
have been reduced to ZWD 150 000 (USD15 cents). These arrests and arguments
in support if this action fail to account for the production costs of the
newspapers and that in a normal economic environment newspapers would, in
fact, want and drive to be read by as many people as possible hence the
pricing of newspapers is not driven by any intention to cut out anyone from
reading the newspapers but make ends meet.

The state media on the other hand receives state support in the form of
subsidised newsprint and fuel among other material and financial; support.
This, contrary to Minister Ndlovu will not create a diverse and plural media
but a dominance of one political view, that of the government and ZANU PF.
It is in this environment that the ANZ might be licensed back by the
committee, knowing very well that the economy itself and the new tactics by
the Incomes and Pricing Commission might as well maintain the ANZ off the
news stands.

It is in light of this that the latest developments have to be seen in the
broader context of the political, economic and social situation in Zimbabwe
and not in isolation. MISA-Zimbabwe dismisses the latest developments as a
mirage to hoodwink the local and international community and raise, the
waning democratic credentials of the government and its sub organs as the
MIC. MISA-Zimbabwe believes that the ANZ and many other newspapers can exist
better in an environment where there is no AIPPA and POSA.

Nyasha Nyakunu is MISA_Zimbabwe's Information Officer.

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A chance for Portugal to outclass Gordon Brown over Mugabe

Mmegi, Botswana
 Friday, 16 November 2007


Dear Anibal Cavaco Silva, President of Portugal, Your Excellency,

I hope you are ready for the Zimbabwean entourage that you invited to your
country against all common sense. The invitees are singing a song called
'Portugal, here we come.'

Sir, your country, Portugal, the worst of all colonisers, has always behaved
in very awkward ways in and outside 'its territories.'

Today in 2007, you are at it again and causing confusion within your
so-called 'European Union.' In terms of democracy, your history, along with
a country called Germany, does not show on the radar screen. You should
welcome Angela Merkel because her country, as a nation called Namibia can
testify, was as much a disaster in Africa as you were. Incidentally, Merkel,
like you, is campaigning to welcome dictators to your dining table.

They are on their way.
Cavaco Silva, I wonder why you want to harass even your own European Union.
Salazar is never going to come back nor will you ever see Lourenco Marques
again; it's called Maputo now and it is a permanent name.

I find it really pathetic that Portugal is today attempting to cause a split
within the ranks of your fledgling European Union. When did Portugal start
loving Africa that much? If you love Africa, why not love the people not the
dictators who are killing Africa and the Africans?

Granted, the world never expected democracy or common sense from Portugal. I
do not know how you are faring against the former 'East block countries' but
you are shamelessly keeping up your notorious tradition.

Through that invitation to violate European Union sanctions, Portugal
pleased one Robert 'Pol Pot' Mugabe and his fellow assassins. They are
already buying foreign currency on the black market in preparation for next
month's summit in your country to which you invited them. I am dismayed that
they are buying US dollars and British pounds, currency from countries they
denounce every time they see desperate reactionaries like you with your ears
to the radio.

But first, let me tell you that you made a very silly decision. Portugal was
a bumbling coloniser that did not get along with Portuguese representatives
running the colonies. It is good you lost the war and left. Even the manner
in which you left shows how much of a poor coloniser you were.

You see, Mr Silva, when Ian Smith left Rhodesia, we had one of two of the
best hospitals in Africa and a university to match. Our tobacco, gold,
industrial products and other minerals and agricultural products were sought
after world wide.

And tell you what, Smith was so confident of himself and his 'achievements'
that he did not run away like the Portuguese did. He remained in the country
with the rest of us. At that time, there were no 'war veterans' because
there was enough for everybody. We were all enjoying Ian Smith's economic
fall-out. The infrastructure for everything was in place and Rhodesia was
self sufficient even though it was under an economic embargo.

Actually, Rhodesia exported products world wide while it was under
sanctions. But South Africa and Portugal were Smith's friends, offering him
a lifeline. Portugal and South Africa loved the Rhodesian dictator. Today,
it is again Portugal and South Africa who are sympathetic to the Zimbabwean

But when the Portuguese realised that the game was up in Mozambique, which
you shamelessly called Portuguese East Africa, you ripped out toilet bowls,
cisterns and water taps and actually shipped them to Lisbon before blowing
up the toilets! We remember you very well because we, Zimbabweans, knocked
off a couple of your racists when we fought alongside FRELIMO.

So, here we are again with Portugal playing the idiot of the world. Only
last week did the government of Mozambique announce that they were on a
massive national campaign to teach their people English. Just what did
Portugal do in Africa?

Be that as it may, Portugal has decided to cause anxious moments within the
EU thereby showing the world that the EU is not ever united at all. Why
should the EU not take a common stand on issues that affect the Union as a
whole? Do member states of the EU have differing opinions on murderous
dictators? Or is it nostalgia?

Your Portugal, Mr Silva, for the second time in a decade, is, once again,
causing anxiety within the union. And this really is an indication of
Portugal's delinquency and moronic attitude towards the world, human rights
and common decency.

However, now that Portugal has gone against 'common sense' and invited an
unrepentant murderer and dictator to a summit in its capital and against the
EU's ban on Mugabe, the honour is on Portugal to engage Mugabe in what must
amount to an acrimonious engagement at that summit and it is Portugal that
must lead the onslaught so as to redeem itself.

A fellow head of state, Gordon Brown, notified Portugal, the host country,
that he would not attend the summit if dictator Mugabe attended. You went on
to issue an invitation to Mugabe in a slight of your fellow EU member. Very
well then, Portugal must now justify its invitation of Mugabe and must not
pretend to talk about aid to deserving countries when it knows that there is
a serious problem in Zimbabwe. Portugal has to show that there is a better
and effective way of dealing with Mugabe other than isolating him. Or is
Portugal just being a spoil spot as always?

Mr Silva, shame Gordon Brown and show the world that you and your country
are not just cuddling an aged but dangerous dictator but know what you are
doing. You disgraced your country in colonial times; you are now
embarrassing better countries in Europe that have embraced you as an equal.

I am hoping that you invite that dictator and mass murderer to your home so
you can publicly rebuke him. Offer him asylum if you want but I don't think
he will take it for you are not that glamorous a country.

Portugal has a bad history of irregularities, laziness and stinginess.
Portugal is proving to the world that it is not worth our trust. It,
therefore, stands to reason that Portugal demands an agenda on Zimbabwe.
Portugal must put Zimbabwe on the menu and make sure Robert 'Pol Pot' Mugabe
is confronted and forced to conform to international standards on human
rights and good governance; he must be given stern warnings which should be
upheld by everybody in attendance, especially the so-called EU which is
showing us how disunited they are. As for the African presidents, well, how
can they reform or be forced to reform when renegade countries like your
Portugal easily succumb to meaningless blackmail?

Portugal must justify its embrace of a dictator. Portugal must talk and warn
dictator Mugabe about his abuses of humanity and must make noise. One day
Portugal will find its nationals in the wrong hands and it will seek help
and leverage from the same countries that it is embarrassing in the EU. It
happens all the time.

It is time for Portugal to redeem itself and show the world that it has come
a long and better way since Columbus mistook America for India causing an
upheaval in both geography and history.

And I can see that, even now, Portugal has not gotten its bearings right.
Portugal should at least try to catch up with current world events since it
still can't keep up with Africa.
*Tanonoka Joseph Whande is a Botswana-based Zimbabwean writer.

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Spotlight back on Zimbabwe

The Telegraph

By David Owen
Last Updated: 12:46am GMT 18/11/2007

The Government are reviewing sporting links with Zimbabwe in a sign that
they may finally be prepared to take decisive action on an issue that has
plagued international cricket since 2003.

With Robert Mugabe's regime facing growing international pressure over the
African country's economic collapse, the Government have seized on the
opportunity afforded by new Cabinet ministers -David Miliband and James
Purnell -at both the Foreign Office and the Department for Culture, Media
and Sport to re-examine the subject.

Ministers had insisted in the past that the Government had no powers to
prevent cricketers from travelling to Zimbabwe -a stance that left the
English game vulnerable to possible International Cricket Council sanctions
should fixtures be called off.

Now, though, amid suggestions of a hardening of attitudes since Prime
Minister Gordon Brown took over at No?10, the Government are looking again
at legal options.
Under the ICC's future tours programme, Zimbabwe are due to visit England in
2009 to play two Tests and three one-day internationals.

They would also be expected to enter a side in the next ICC World Twenty20
event, to be hosted by England, also in 2009. The year happens to be the
ICC's centenary.

The next scheduled England tour of Zimbabwe is not until 2012.

Zimbabwe are presently on self-imposed suspension from Test cricket and have
not played a Test since 2005, when India inflicted a 2-0 series defeat. The
African country continue to play one-day internationals, however, and
participated in this year's World Cup in the Caribbean.

They last clashed with England as recently as September, losing a World
Twenty20 match in Cape Town.

Accountancy firm KPMG are engaged on what the ICC have termed a "forensic
audit" of Zimbabwe Cricket.

News of the review breaks with England having just arrived in Sri Lanka for
a three-Test series and less than two months after Bill Morris, the former
trade union leader and present England and Wales Cricket Board director,
called for a review of English cricket's stance on the Zimbabwe issue.

In an interview with The Daily Telegraph, Lord Morris said: "The Prime
Minister is on the record saying in blunt terms that he doesn't want to be
in the same room as Robert Mugabe. That raises the whole question of 2009,
when Zimbabwe are due to share the tour with Australia.

"If the PM doesn't want to be in the same room as Mugabe, how fair is it to
ask sportsmen and women to be on the same field of play with representatives
from the regime?

"It will become more and more political as the regime becomes more and more
oppressive and this will be one of the things the board will have to grapple
with and the chairman will have to show leadership on."

Ever since the 2003 World Cup, when England's players refused to travel to
Harare for their group match against Zimbabwe because of security concerns,
the ECB and the Government have failed to get to grips with the political

The issue flared up most damagingly ahead of England's tour to Zimbabwe in
late-2004. Ministers' stance then was that they would not instruct the ECB
to boycott the country, with Jack Straw, then Foreign Secretary, telling a
news conference in May: "The British Government has no such power to
instruct people not to leave the country to play sport."

David Morgan, the then ECB chairman who is now president-elect of the ICC,
said that while touring Zimbabwe would be "unacceptable to the majority of
the British public", refusing to tour would produce "the real threat of very
severe sanctions which could have a devastating impact on the well-being of
our game".

In March 2004, the ICC's executive board agreed that touring teams failing
to fulfil obligations could face suspension, a potential penalty costing as
much as £50?million.

With Zimbabwe out of Test cricket, the threat of sanctions arising from the
long-form game has clearly, for now, disappeared. Even so, compensation is
thought to be among the points that the Government are considering.

Should the Government decide on a blanket ban on all sporting links with
Zimbabwe, it is possible the effects might be felt beyond cricket. Such a
move might raise questions, for example, over Zimbabwean participation in
the 2012 London Olympics.

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Global Fund's latest Zimbabwe snub: Body blow for health efforts

18th Nov 2007 16:40 GMT

By Masimba Biriwasha

THE shock decision this week by the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis
and Malaria to (GFATM) to reject another request from Zimbabwe for funds
deals a critical setback to efforts aimed at addressing major health issues
in the country.

The Global Fund has now turned down Zimbabwean proposals in five of its
seven funding rounds to date, each time citing technical shortcomings of
proposals as the reason.

Zimbabwe's failure to secure backing in this latest round of funding
seriously undermines the country's struggle to build its capacity to
effectively respond to the three epidemics.

"Proposals submitted by Zimbabwe sought a total of US$48.5 million to
address malaria and US$25.5 million to tackle tuberculosis over a five-year
period," according to a Voice of America interview with Nicolas Demey, of
the GFATM. Demey was quoted as stating that the proposals were turned down
for "technical weaknesses".

"The limited funding that is finding its way to Zimbabwe is specifically for
AIDS programmes. Sources of support for civil society to undertake TB
activities, particularly for community-based interventions, are
non-existent," said Lindiwe Chaza-Jangira, Executive Director of the
Zimbabwe AIDS Network (ZAN). "Movement of people within SADC further
threatens to increase MDR and XDR-TB in the region, and for Zimbabwe this is
made worse by a weakened health system."

"We therefore feel this news is a terrible blow and will continue to
advocate for resources to support the work of NGOs in response to this dual
TB/HIV epidemic," she added.

The GFATM proposal could not have been declined because of inadequate need.

Among all nations, Zimbabwe is one of those most heavily affected by
tuberculosis (TB). The 2007 Global Tuberculosis Control Report from the
World Health Organization (WHO) ranks Zimbabwe among the 22 countries with
the highest TB burden.

For the past 20 years, Zimbabwe has fought TB fairly successfully, providing
free access to WHO-recommended treatments. But in the past few years, TB
disease has re-emerged as a leading killer, especially among people living
with HIV (PLHIV). An estimated two-thirds of Zimbabweans with TB are also
infected with HIV.

At the epicentre of the HIV epidemic, Zimbabwe now has a staggering six
times more TB cases than it did two decades ago.

Funding, laboratory and diagnostic systems and technical support need to be
directed towards fighting TB in the country to prevent the epidemic
worsening even further.

Zimbabwe currently also has access to very limited resources to tackle other
mounting humanitarian health disasters.

For example, the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) estimates average
international HIV spending in southern Africa is about US$74 per PLHIV per
year. In Zimbabwe, that figure is a paltry US$4.

Without essential international support, the deadly combination of TB and
HIV epidemics is likely igniting a silent and uncontrollable epidemic of
drug-resistant TB that could negate previous national health gains.

Malaria is also a serious health threat in Zimbabwe.

"After HIV and AIDS, it is the biggest killer of children under five in
Zimbabwe," says UNICEF. "The estimated one million cases of malaria each
year in Zimbabwe are also a serious threat to pregnant women and newborns,
the leading cause of work-absence due to illness, and a severe brake on
economic growth."

Combined with a high prevalence of HIV infection, the overall immunity
against TB and malaria is considerably reduced, making mortality rates in
the country very high.

"There is an immense need for the funds to address TB and Malaria which are
compounding the nation's response to HIV," said Sara Page, Deputy Director
of Southern Africa AIDS Information Dissemination Services (SAfAIDS), a
non-governmental organization based in Zimbabwe.

"Zimbabwe has demonstrated exceptional efforts and commitment to HIV
prevention and behaviour change, which has translated into a substantial
reduction in HIV prevalence and incidence," she added. "However, there is an
ongoing need to strengthen and support national efforts in care and
treatment of HIV and TB."

There can be no question that the longer the delay in funding responses to
the three major epidemics in Zimbabwe, the greater the cost will be in terms
of human suffering and loss of life, but also in future economic terms as
the cost of medical care and support also escalates.

Despite these numerous challenges, real progress has been made in addressing
health issues.

Zimbabwe is the first country in the southern Africa region to record a
decline in levels of HIV. The country has seen a steady decline in HIV
prevalence rates, from over 26 percent of the population in 2001 to around
15 percent in 2006, according to recent reports from the United Nations
Joint Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS).

In light of country's achievements, and the scale and intensity of its
people's need, the Global Fund has moral and humanitarian responsibility to
reconsider its decision to reject Zimbabwe's latest request for support to
tackle TB and malaria.

According to its own reports, the Global Fund was created to "finance a
dramatic turn-around in the fight against AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria."
In the five years since it was created, the fund has awarded over US$8
billion in grants to recipient countries. In that period, the fund has
committed US$85 million to Zimbabwe - around US$6.5 per citizen. About 40%
of the committed funding has actually been received by Harare.

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Zimbabweans at the margins of the ghetto

Mmegi, Botswana

 Friday, 16 November 2007

Mmegi correspondent GALE NGAKANE finds Zimbabweans consigned to the margins
trying to eke out a living.

FRANCISTOWN: They swarm the streets of Francistown like bees on their way to
their beehives and if you were to be put to a bet, odds are that every time
you blink your eyes, there will be a Zimbabwean in front of you.

Like a policeman on a march, just come to attention anywhere in one of the
streets of Francistown's main mall. Turn right. Turn left, take a step
backward, do a forward match.

Four out of five times there will be a Zimbabwean.

The nectar along Haskins and Blue Jacket Streets and of course Nswazi Mall
at the station, is usually the Chinese shops where you will find the
Zimbabweans of all shapes and gender perambulating along the cheap clothing
racks and electronic gadgets.

Go to the suburbs, eastwards towards Donga, southwards towards Somerset East
or West, westward towards Riverside, Area W, Blue Town and Aerodrome. If you
are on foot, there is 85 percent chance, there will be a Zimbabwean keeping
you company.

Many of these Zimbabweans have actually entered the country through gazetted
points, especially at the Ramokgwebana border post. Aletha* and Patience*
are two of such people and when I enquired as to how they made it into
Botswana, they confidently whipped out their passports, which showed they
entered the country on October 28.

They are to be in Botswana for the next 90 days.
The duo, from Gweru and Masvingo and aged 24 and 23 respectively had each a
half-eaten loaf of bread by their side and a Sprite cool drink.

"We are here to look for jobs. Aletha plaits hair while I can do any job
that is available, especially washing clothes," said an extroverted

They told Mmegi that though they know of illegal immigrants, they are never
going to be caught entering the country through un-gazetted points.

"We are always going to come into this country legally.
This is my third time to be in Botswana. Every time my days elapse, I either
extend them or go back home. I do not want any hassle with the police and
immigration officials," Patience said as Aletha nodded in agreement.

A young man who gave his name as Alex* sat with a group of other newly
arrived Zimbabweans on the benches opposite Chinese shops on Haskins street.

He said though he has never jumped the border, there was a possibility of
him becoming an illegal immigrant while still in the country.

"Sometimes our days elapse while you are still here may be waiting to be
paid by someone who owes you. What do you do? You try to stick around until
you get your money.

"There have been instances where immigration people in Francistown have
refused to extend our days and we end up being illegal immigrants," he said,
adding that his only problem was the attitude of Batswana towards

"Just today I witnessed a very unpleasant incident at the Ramokgwebana
border. Drivers of buses that ferry us into town were competing to have us
in their buses. One of them just pulled out a sjambok and started whipping

"It was only after we started protesting and reporting him to the police
that he stopped.

The police in fact confiscated his whip," said Alex.

At the waiting room at the station, another young man sat covering his face
with a newspaper, but because he was unmistakably a Zimbabwean, I took a
cautious chance to approach him.

And after I showed him my press card, he actually loosened up and started
telling me how he arrived in Francistown.

He admitted to being an illegal immigrant and that he had successfully
evaded arrest by security officials who, the previous week, were out in
force sweeping the streets of aliens.

He said he had been in the country for over a month now. "I sleep where I
can. I eat anything. Sometimes I eat leftovers here at the station. I also
do piece jobs. I do not engage in crime though because I am a law-abiding
person," he said.

He said it was not an easy decision he took when he crossed the border into
Botswana through a hole in the border fence at Matsiloje.

"Firstly, I do not have a passport. I used to have one, but it expired
recently. Nowadays, it is not easy to obtain a passport in Zimbabwe.

I think it is actually impossible to get one.
"The situation at home had gotten so desperate (that) I had to do something.
For days on end there was nothing in the house.

It got to a point where I thought my children were going to die. This
desperation made me decide to come here.

"Please tell the authorities that some of us are not here to engage in
criminal activities.

We just want to make an honest living," he said, as tears started cascading
down his cheeks.

* names with-held for safety reasons.

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How can a Zimbabwean get respect in Botswana?

Mmegi, Botswana

 Friday, 16 November 2007


Mmegi correspondent GALE NGAKANE meets three Zimbabweans to mull the
question of Batswana's respect for the migrants.

FRANCISTOWN: Every morning he opens the door of the office he shares with
the school's coordinator, KTM College Headmaster for Primary Department,
Jonathan Nyanungo sighs with relief.

Locals no longer treat him with scant regard, which they used to do when he
first came to Botswana. Because he is now a professional who holds a
respectable post of headmaster at a reputable private school, Batswana,
notorious for their disdainful attitudes towards foreigners, especially
Zimbabweans, are treating him with a lot of respect. When the father of
three daughters first came to Botswana, a citizen of this country gave him a
taste of the bitter pill of intolerance.

Nyanungo a motor mechanic by training and a teacher by profession, after
arriving in Botswana in September 2006, sustained himself with piece jobs
like fellow Zimbabweans coming to Botswana for the first time. So, when he
was in Tutume, it happened that he was engaged by someone to fix his car.
They had agreed on a price of P400. After finishing the assignment, his
customer would not pay up.

"Instead, he went to report me to the police saying I was an illegal

Fortunately, I had all my documents with me. The police ordered the man to
pay me," said Nyanungo.

Nyanungo adds, "There is a perception that everything bad has to be done by
a foreigner especially a Zimbabwean. Then there is this issue of
name-calling where we are referred to as 'Makwerekwere'".

"I do not think I like that. Generally, when you are identified as a
professional things change. They (locals) look at you differently. In short
they give you a lot of respect."

Nyanungo thinks the reason why Batswana exhibit such a high degree of
intolerance towards foreigners is that they have not travelled
internationally. They believe stories from the television and newspapers, he
said, adding that because of that, Batswana's attitudes towards them
(Zimbabweans) will take time to change. There are 12 Zimbabweans in a staff
compliment of 24 at KTM College and Nyanongu said his compatriots have also
adapted well to Botswana. Opposite Meriting Spar, Winston Mbewe, a
pharmacist runs his own practice called Living Waters. He has been in
Botswana since 2002. Regarding intolerance, Mbewe said it varies from
individual to individual. There are some people in Botswana who are
intolerant and there are those who are not, he said.

"Generally, I think Batswana's attitudes are changing Zimbabweans. There was
a time when negative sentiments were the order of the day. But not now.
Batswana are getting used to seeing Zimbabweans around," he said.

But another Zimbabwean who did not want to identify himself did not agree
with Mbewe.

He told Mmegi that Batswana still exhibit a great deal of intolerance."I was
travelling on the train the other day. There was a man stretching on the
train's three-seater couch and two elderly Zimbabwean women were trying to
plead with him to give them space so that they too could sit, but he
refused. "He was telling them that if they need to be comfortable they
should take a hike on a Zimbabwe Railways train. That made me angry, but
there was nothing that I could do about it. "Just a few days ago at the
Ramokgwebana border post, I saw a bus conductor whipping my compatriots
forcing them to board his bus. Fortunately, they protested and the police

"The police confiscated the man's sjambok. But it goes to show how some
Batswana can be intolerant towards Zimbabweans. They treat them as nothing
but trash," said the fellow who was getting heated by the minute.

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Zimbabwe Vigil Diary - 17th November 2007

There were so many of us at the Vigil that when it began to drizzle there
was not enough space for everyone under our tarpaulin.  Fortunately the rain
didn't last long. We are building a stock of umbrellas in case we have a

We were joined this week by the Restoration of Human Rights in Zimbabwe
(ROHRZim) activist, Stendrick Zvorwadza, who gave us an update on the
situation at home.  We know what we are fighting for but sometimes it seems
so remote in our comfort zone in the UK.  So having Stendrick telling us
about people being beaten to death by agents of the Mugabe regime produced a
hushed silence.  He said it was important to challenge the authorities on
their obligation to observe human rights and said that RORH is pursuing the
wife of Zimbabwe Finance Minister Samuel Mumbengegwi, who instructed
soldiers who beat a man to death. Another is fighting for his life in

Vigil co-ordinator Rose Benton said that the Vigil co-ordinating team had
been considering how we could further support ROHR.  ROHR's remit was in
accord with the Vigil's mission statement in that we were both fighting to
establish a democratic space where people could exercise their rights
without fear.  She advocated a formal partnership between ROHR and the Vigil
under which they could co-operate on initiatives to establish an environment
leading to truly free and fair elections.  She asked supporters to let the
Vigil team know how they felt about this.  There were no dissenting voices
so the Vigil team will meet with ROHR to map the way forward.

We are making good progress with our plans to barrack Mugabe in Lisbon.
Seven people are already booked to go and we have strong indications of more
funding for others to join them.  We have made contact with a human rights
organisation in Lisbon (Associacao de Defesas dos Direitos Humanos [ADDHU])
who have invited us to join them in a demonstration during the first day of
the summit (Saturday, 8th December) at a venue close to where the summit is
being held.  It is really helpful to have local people to get the necessary
permission from the authorities.  They have even agreed to lend us a drum
and help us with translating our publicity material into Portuguese.   We
are pleased to hear we are being joined by friends in Germany from the
Harare- Munich Municipal Partnership.  Last year the Vigil sent a team to
liaise with this group and we are glad to have a continuing contact with
them in Lisbon.

We were happy to be joined by Sybilla Claus, Africa Editor of the Dutch
daily newspaper 'Trouw'. She was researching a story about how Zimbabweans
live in the Diaspora and interviewed several of our supporters.  Also with
us today was Susan Pietrzyk, an American PhD candidate who was researching a
project on HIV.  She has been a welcome visitor for several weeks and says
she has found her association with us useful for her research.

Dorcas Nkomo who got her papers about 6 months ago brought her three
children recently arrived from Zimbabwe.  It was great to welcome them to
the UK. We celebrated the birthday of Jenatry Muranganwa whose dancing seems
to improve each passing year.

For this week's Vigil pictures:

FOR THE RECORD: 151 signed the register (of whom 39 people came for the
first time). Supporters from Banbury, Becontree, Birmingham, Bournemouth,
Brighton, Chatham, Coventry, Dagenham, Derby, Dudley Port, Feltham,
Guildford, Hatfield, Huddersfield, Ilford, Leeds, Leicester, Liverpool,
Luton, Manchester, Milton Keynes, Newcastle, Northampton, Nottingham,
Oxford, Reading, Romford, Sheffield, Sittingbourne, Southampton, Southend,
Tunbridge Wells, Walsall, Wolverhampton and many from London and environs.

FOR YOUR DIARY:  Monday, 19th November 2007, 7.30 pm. Central London
Zimbabwe Forum. "Zimbabwe - a sinking Titanic" - Stendrick Zvorwadza of ROHR
will speak about its work in Zimbabwe: their attempts to mobilize people to
confront the repressive regime and empower them to claim their rights.
Venue: downstairs function room of the Bell and Compass, 9-11 Villiers
Street, London, WC2N 6NA, next to Charing Cross Station at the corner of
Villiers Street and John Adam Street.

Vigil co-ordinators

The Vigil, outside the Zimbabwe Embassy, 429 Strand, London, takes place
every Saturday from 14.00 to 18.00 to protest against gross violations of
human rights by the current regime in Zimbabwe. The Vigil which started in
October 2002 will continue until internationally-monitored, free and fair
elections are held in Zimbabwe.

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In honour of Grace Kwinjeh's determination for a new Zimbabwe

17th Nov 2007 22:38 GMT

By Fungai Chuma

THE recent unwarranted arrest of 200 women belonging to Woman Of Zimbabwe
Arise (WOZA) on the 15th of October 2007 as they marched peacefully to
Parliament to protest against police brutality and mounting hardships smacks
of double standards in the application of the law in Zimbabwe by law
enforcement agents.

While these peace loving women were arrested and barred from presenting a
petition to the Speaker of Parliament John Nkomo under the repressive Public
Order and Security Act (POSA) that outlaws public demonstrations, the same
cannot be said about the way the police in Bulawayo treated war veterans who
successfully took to the streets in their thousands in a pro-Mugabe demo the
previous week.

It is this discrimination in the application of the law which saw the police
beating the day-lights out of an executive member of the MDC and female
activist Grace Kwinjeh on the 11th of March 2007.

Kwinjeh's only "crime" in the eyes of the politicized Zimbabwean police
force was that of merely trying to attend a prayer meeting organized by
local churches which the police somehow saw as a threat to "State security".

So bad was the assault such that Kwinjeh had to seek medication outside
Zimbabwe since there is hardly any medicine to talk about in Zimbabwe's
health institutions caused by a coterie of Zanu (PF) fat cats who have grown
rich on the proceeds of power while relegating everybody to a life of

It befuddles the mind just why strong and well fed police officers would
heavily descend on an unsuspecting and defenseless woman as Grace was on
this fateful day. Doesn't this say a lot about how the vulnerable and weak
are treated in present day Zimbabwe? Is our police force by any chance
sensitive to gender issues?

The ill-treatment that Zimbabwean women have endured at the hands of the
police ever since the 2002 Presidential elections has still not been lost in
our memories. For example WOZA has it on record that ever since the year
2002, 86 women have been stripped to their underwear by the police, tortured
in custody and sexually abused.

To you my big sister Grace I say forward ever and backwards never. Your
torment at the hands of insensitive State thugs will forever be a source of
inspiration to some of us. And as for Bob, let him be reminded that the
chickens are finally coming home to roost; the push is coming to shove.
Aluta Continua!!

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Zim students on International Students Day

17th Nov 2007 23:18 GMT

By Student Solidarity Trust

Students Solidarity Trust (SST) on International Students Day

The Students Solidarity Trust (SST) joins the Zimbabwe National Students
Union (ZINASU).Students Christian Movement of Zimbabwe (SCMZ), National
Movement of Catholic Students (NMCS) and the International Student Community
at large in commemorating the International Students day.

While other students in other country are able to commemorate this day
amidst pomp and fanfare, it is unfortunate that this day, and the objective
conditions for students in Zimbabwe, demand that this be a day of critical
reflection by the students movement on the state of our nation and the
education sector which is now a far cry from what it used to be in post
independent Zimbabwe up to the late 90's.

In the spirit of the founding commemoration of International Students Day in
1941, which marked the anniversary of the 1939 Nazi storming of the
University of Prague after demonstrations against the killing of Jan Opletal
and the occupation of Czechoslovakia, and the execution of nine student
leaders, together with over 1200 students sent to concentration camps, and
the closing of all Czechoslovakian universities and colleges, this years
commemoration also marks the abuse and victimization of student activists to
similarly shocking proportions, with over 1487 student activists having been
either unjustly arrested or detained, suspended or expelled this year alone.

The day also allows us to remember the brutal murders of Batanai Hadzidzi on
the 9th of April 2001; Lameck Chemvura on the 24th of November the same
year, and the hundreds of students who have lost their academic lives
because of their pursuit and dedication to the respect of students and
academic rights, the right to education and the existence of a just and fair
society in Zimbabwe.

The Student Solidarity Trust cherishes a free state where academic freedoms
are not only recognized but respected, and urges the government of Zimbabwe
to begin appreciating the empowering right that education is and make it a
central component of our countries developmental drive.

In the same vein the SST urges the government and Tertiary education
authorities to desist from unwarranted victimization of student's activists,
keeping in mind that there cannot be wholesale enjoyment of the right to
education without the appreciation and respect of students and academic

Viva the Right to Education!
Viva students and academic rights!
Aluta Continua!
Struggle is our birthright!

1. To implement Support programs for students victims of human rights abuses
2. Monitoring and Reporting on Human Rights Abuses in the Students Movement.
3. Promoting popular participation and social dialogue.

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