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Little sign of electoral life

Mail and Guardian

      Percy Zvomuya

      21 November 2005 09:57

            With just more than a week to the controversial Senate elections
in Zimbabwe, there is little sign of campaigning or of the traditional
acrimonious exchange that normally occurs between the ruling Zanu-PF and the
opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).

            In previous times Harare would have been decked out in colourful
party posters of rival candidates, but this time round the only posters
adorning the lamp posts are of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission encouraging
people to make their mark on November 26.

            Two weeks ago, Minister of Justice Patrick Chinamasa confessed
to Parliament that he wasn't sure if the Foreign Affairs Ministry had sent
out invitations to observer missions -- another bone of contention in the
highly charged elections.

            Usually the MDC would feistily contest electoral violations, but
this time rival factions in the party trade blows over who speaks for the
party. All the while the rift, over whether it should participate in the
poll widens, and violent clashes between opposing youth blocs has cost one
man an eye, while 18 other people have been arrested.

            Zanu-PF, it appears, has not felt the need to unleash its war
veterans in the run-up to the ballot, in which analysts have predicted a
poor turnout.

            Electoral Commission chairperson George Chiweshe on Thursday
told the Mail & Guardian that it was "100% ready". But why would it not be,
with little more than half (31 out of 50) of the seats being contested.

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Foreign firms seek Zimbabwe uranium rights - chamber


      Mon Nov 21, 2005 5:00 PM GMT

By Stella Mapenzauswa

HARARE (Reuters) - Foreign companies have approached Zimbabwe's government
for mining rights to exploit uranium deposits that were found two decades
ago, a senior industry official said on Monday.

In remarks broadcast on state television at the weekend, President Robert
Mugabe said Zimbabwe had discovered deposits of the mineral "recently" but
intended to mine it only to generate electricity, not for use in making
nuclear weapons.

Government officials were not available on Monday to comment on the size of
the uranium deposits, or the firms trying to secure mining rights.

On Monday Chamber of Mines Chief Executive David Murangari said uranium
exploration had been carried out in the Zambezi valley two decades ago and
that a deposit had been found.

"Yes there is some uranium in Zimbabwe, the size I do not know," Murangari
told Reuters.

"I guess at that time (1980s) the price of uranium was not good (but) I
believe there are some companies that have approached the Ministry of Mines
about rights. I think there was one Australian company."

In 2000, media in Zimbabwe and Argentina reported that the two countries
were exploring cooperation between the two countries in developing a nuclear
programme in Zimbabwe, including the construction of a nuclear power plant.

But engineers were quoted at the time as saying landlocked and drought-prone
Zimbabwe did not have the vast amounts of water, nor the expertise, for such
a project.

In his remarks on Sunday, Mugabe said: "We have found uranium, which is used
to make electricity (and) the bombs that you hear about ... but when we mine
it we would not want it to be used in bomb making ... We would use it to
give us electricity."

The broadcaster said the president spoke at a function at a plant owned by
state power utility Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority.

Enriched uranium can be used to fuel nuclear power plants or, in a more
enriched state, to produce a nuclear weapon.

Mugabe's government, in an increasingly bitter stand-off with the West over
its seizure of white-owned farms, is drawing closer to other countries
including Iran and North Korea, both of which are at loggerheads with the
international community over their nuclear programmes.

Zimbabwe imports 35 percent of its electricity from South Africa,
Mozambique, Zambia and Democratic Republic of Congo to augment domestic
supplies, but ZESA has fought for imports in recent years as a result of
biting foreign currency shortages.

The crunch has resulted in frequent power cuts that have disrupted
industrial production as the southern African country battles its worst
economic crisis in decades.

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Mugabe courts Chinese to mine uranium

Zim Online

Tue 22 November 2005

      HARARE - Zimbabwe is courting China to help mine significant deposits
of uranium discovered in the north-east of the southern African country,
ZimOnline has learnt.

      Authoritative sources on Monday said that a Chinese delegation was
expected in Zimbabwe before the end of the year for talks with the
government's Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation to map out how Beijing
and Harare could work together to extract the uranium.

      The deal to mine uranium will also involve the Chinese helping
Zimbabwe revive the giant but now defunct Kamativi tin mine in the south of
the country.

      "Chinese investors are expected in the country before the end of the
year to conclude deals for the mining of uranium and tin," said a mining
industry executive, who preferred not to be named. He added: "China will
take a large chunk and the government of Zimbabwe will also hold a stake in
a government-to-government joint venture."

      Mines Minister Amos Midzi last night said preliminary assessments of
the uranium deposits had been completed and said the ZMDC was working with
counterparts from China.

      But Midzi stopped short of confirming the Asian giant would help
Zimbabwe extract the strategic mineral saying it was still too early to
divulge identities of foreign partners being roped in to help mine uranium.

      He said: "Uranium has been discovered in the north-east of the country
and preliminary assessments have been carried out. We are working on the
actual volumes of the deposits and we believe they are viable and

      "The ZMDC is working with their counterparts in China but we have not
reached the stage of divulging the actual identities of the investors."

      President Robert Mugabe told supporters of his ruling ZANU PF party
last Sunday that his government would not allow uranium mined from Zimbabwe
to be used to make bombs. The mineral that is used to generate electricity
can also be used to produce nuclear bombs.

      Mugabe, who hinted that the Chinese might help Zimbabwe mine uranium,
said the country could use the mineral to produce electricity.

      Zimbabwe is grappling a severe shortage of electricity chiefly because
it does not have hard cash required to expand generation capacity at its
main Kariba and Hwange power stations.

      The country imports almost 40 percent of its energy requirements from
South Africa, Zambia, Mozambique and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

      China is heavily investing in Zimbabwe's rich mining sector taking
advantage of Mugabe's 'Look-East' policy under which he hopes to establish
more and stronger economic ties with East-Asian countries after his fall-out
with traditional trading partners in the West. - ZimOnline

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Zimbabwe says will accept IMF bankrolled reforms

Zim Online

Tue 22 November 2005

      HARARE - Zimbabwe Finance Herbert Murerwa on Monday said Harare has
told the International Monetary Fund (IMF) that it is willing to implement
economic reforms if the Bretton Woods institution is prepared to financially
support such reforms.

      The Finance Minister also agreed with the IMF and independent economic
analysts on the need to restore stability in crisis-hit Zimbabwe before the
country could expect any significant inflows of foreign investment - vital
to any efforts to revive the southern African nation's comatose economy.

      Murerwa, who shall lead Zimbabwe in routine consultative talks with
the IMF scheduled for next February, told ZimOnline: "We will engage them
(IMF) and we will talk to them but we already have told them that we cannot
do some of the programmes without their support."

      He did not say what the response of the IMF has been. But the Bretton
Woods institution has in the past publicly stated that President Robert
Mugabe's government must first implement comprehensive structural and
economic reforms before it could hope to get financial help.

      The IMF also wants Mugabe's government to uphold human and property
rights and to restore the rule of law in Zimbabwe before it could resume
balance-of-payments support withdrawn six years ago.

      In a rare admission of the chaos and uncertainty, critics say Mugabe's
controversial polices have wrought on Zimbabwe's once vibrant economy,
Murerwa said the government was working to "create a sound climate on the
ground (because) investors will only come when there is stability . . .
when there is certainty."

      The IMF - which last week predicted Zimbabwe's Gross Domestic Product
to fall by 7.2 percent this year - has urged Harare to exercise fiscal
restraint and implement widespread economic reforms, key among them,
reducing the bloated public sector wage bill and providing safety nets for
vulnerable groups hit hard by food shortages and HIV/AIDS.

      The Bretton Woods institution also called on the Zimbabwe government
to liberalise the exchange rate as part of several other measures to allow
market forces to determine economic activity in the troubled southern
African country.

      Mugabe is one of the harshest critics of the IMF which he says is used
by the United States and its Western allies to punish poor nations seen as
not toeing the line of the richer nations. The Zimbabwean leader has in the
past claimed  his country could find its way out of its unprecedented
economic meltdown without IMF assistance.

      But Murerwa, Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe governor Gideon Gono and other
senior members of Mugabe's government do not appear to share his view that
Zimbabwe can go it alone.

      Harare insiders say it was primarily because of Murerwa and Gono's
efforts that Zimbabwe was able to make surprise loan repayments to the IMF
totalling US$135 million between August and September. The payments saved
Zimbabwe from possible expulsion from the Fund for non-payment of debt.

      Zimbabwe is grappling an acute economic crisis that has manifested
itself in high inflation of beyond 400 percent, shortages of food, fuel,
electricity, essential medical drugs and most other basic survival
commodities. - ZimOnline

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SA opposition party scoffs at government plans to hire Zimbabwean flying instructors

Zim Online

Tue 22 November 2005

      CAPE TOWN - South Africa's main opposition Democratic Alliance (DA)
party on Monday criticised as "severely  flawed" moves by Pretoria to hire
Zimbabwean instructors to train South African air force pilots.

      Rafeek Shah of the DA said the proposal to hire the Zimbabweans was
"severely flawed" because the Zimbabweans did not have sufficient knowledge
with South African fighter aircraft.

      "Given that there are not even enough trained South African personnel
to train pilots on the forthcoming Hawks, it is highly unlikely the
Zimbabweans will be able to offer training assistance on these aircraft, let
alone the even-more-sophisticated Gripen fighter jets.

      "For example, they (Zimbabweans) have no experience of our most-basic
trainer aircraft, the Astra Pilatus," he said.

      The South Africa government last week signed a military agreement with
Harare under which Zimbabwean instructors would train South African airforce

      South Africa has maintained close ties with President Robert Mugabe's
government dating back to the liberation struggle. Pretoria  has also
fearlessly defended Mugabe, accused of human rights abuses by his critics,
from international censure.

      The DA legislator also criticised the plans saying the Zimbabwean
military have "an appalling human rights record."

      "It is truly bizarre that instead of sending a clear message that
human rights abuses will not be tolerated, we have  instead chosen to enter
even closer co-operation."

      South Africa, which has pursued a policy of "quiet diplomacy" towards
Harare over the past five years, has refused to openly criticise Mugabe who
is accused of perpetrating serious human rights abuses against his
opponents.  -  ZimOnline

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SADC team due in Zimbabwe to evaluate land reform

      By Tererai Karimakwenda
      21 November 2005

      There are reports that a team of regional ministers from the 14-nation
Southern African Development Community (SADC) was due in Zimbabwe Monday on
an invitation by the government to audit the land reform programme. Robert
Mugabe is alleged to have consented to a six-member team that would assess
the results of what he called his ''highly successful'' land programme.
According to reports, the team will stay for two days! It is difficult to
imagine how such a vast countrywide undertaking could be evaluated in just
two days, but Zimbabweans on the ground, farmers' organisations and civic
groups operating in the country say this year will be worst agricultural
season ever. Their description of the situation paints a bleak picture of a
country whose farms are laying idle while the people starve. In 2 days only,
this SADC team will not be able to travel much, and will most likely be
shown government reports about improved production on one hand, while the
same government begs the United Nations for food. Farmer Eric Harrison has
seen many farms around the country this year. He told us that the rains have
come and for the most part the ground has not yet been prepared. He said
inputs like fertiliser and seeds are not affordable, and that is when you
find them. There is no diesel or any fuel to drive tractors and irrigation
pumps. Harrison said there are people occupying these farms who are
inexperienced. Asked what this SADC team would see should they be allowed to
roam around freely, Harrison said there is very little to show. He believes
they might see an odd farm here and there where the original commercial
farmer is still producing. We were not able to find anyone who knew which
SADC ministers had been invited and exactly what they were going to be
shown. The lack of such basic information has also raised suspicions that
the whole trip has been planned to show Mugabe's land reform in a good
light. But Zimbabweans will not forget that several white farmers were
killed and hundreds of thousands of black farm workers were displaced. It is
not known whether the SADC ministers will publish a report of their
findings.One report said the Movement for Democratic Change was sceptical
that the SADC visit would change anything. It quoted MDC presidential
spokesman William bango saying: ''Whatever observations SADC will have, it
will have little impact on the ground. It's given that Mugabe is sticking to
his guns, but all pressure will be good.''

      SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news

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The reality of zanu-pf lawmaking in Zimbabwe's rural areas

Sokwanele - Enough is Enough - Zimbabwe

Sokwanele Comment : 21 November 2005

Accompany me if you will to a meeting convened by District Administrator (DA) Chimedza of the Zaka District, in the lowveld region, south-east of Masvingo. The meeting took place on 22nd October and to it were summoned the local Chiefs from Jerera, Manjirenji and Zaka, together with the new settlers from the area. A few members of the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) were also present.

Now listen with me to the instructions given to the settlers by DA Chimedza, the local ZANU PF bigwig, who swaggers a little under the weight of his own sense of self-importance. It is no little honour of course to represent the party of the supreme dictator of Zimbabwe, or to feel the thrill of that sense of power over people that goes with the job. What the DA says quite simply is the law so far as the assembled group is concerned. That Chimedza has no inkling of either the constitution of Zimbabwe or the laws passed by the legislature; that he has never been elected to any office in the land and owes his senior position to Mugabe patronage alone, scarcely matters. The fact is that this man is the face of the government and the law within his Zaka fiefdom.

Once the opening formalities are out of the way DA Chimedza stands to deliver a speech. The relaxed style belies the reality which is that the DA is handing out orders to ZANU PF cadres who are expected to obey, on pain of losing whatever employment, status or material rewards the party has graciously bestowed on each.

To the settlers there is a clear instruction that they are to repair their huts, plough their lands and plant seed ahead of the rains expected to begin within the next few weeks. Otherwise they will be booted off the land just as their unfortunate predecessors in title were. There is nothing to discuss here, is there ? Never mind that the settlers have no seed to plant and precious little draught power to prepare the fields. Presumably it has at last dawned upon the DA's superiors that there will be no manna from heaven this year, so any food required to feed the nation must be grown by the new settlers. Let them do it - or else!

Then an instruction about the schools and clinics which someone (presumably high in the corridors of ZANU PF power) must have noticed, have disappeared along with commercial farmers, agriculturalists, teachers and other professionals who used to manage them until they were chased off the land. The word here is that any vacant houses found may be converted to use as a school or clinic. DA Chimedza does not mention that there are no nurses or medicines left, nor any teachers or school equipment. A mere detail which no one else dares to mention either.

A question is raised from the respectful audience. Translated out of ZANU PF double-speak the question is simply this - are the houses of two local families (Sebenani and Dawlish) fair game for the settlers ? Certainly not, replies Chimedza hurriedly. For reasons he cannot disclose to his audience these two homes still enjoy official protection from the party. The properties are therefore out of bounds to any settlers and woe betide any who interfere with the white occupants. For the humble, subservient settlers "theirs is not to reason why".

Another question is raised: what are the new farmers to do about the wild animals which are entering their fields and ruining their crops. Significantly the questioner fails to mention to which fields he is referring. (Our informant does a quick re-take to see if he can recall seeing a single field now occupied by the new settlers with a standing crop upon it … He cannot). And no mention is made either of the fact that many of the new farmers are occupying land formerly falling within major conservancies in the area, in which the objective was to sustain a viable wildlife population. (Needless to say the once thriving wildlife has since been decimated by the chaotic farm and conservancy invasions).

DA Chimedza has a simple solution to the farmer's problem. He should kill any game unfortunate enough to stray onto his field.

At this point in the proceedings some of the ZRP members hitherto listening quietly, display a certain unease. One is brave enough to put his thoughts into words. (No doubt he soon enough wished he had not). The policeman pointed out to the gathered assembly that if any poaching of wild life took place the culprits would be arrested and charged. (After all that used to be the law, pre ZANU PF "make-it-up-as-you-go-along" days).

Not so, declared Chimedza emphatically. And to put the point beyond any doubt he warned that if any police officer was foolish enough to arrest a settler for killing game he, the police officer, could be beaten up by the settlers. (Fair game, you could say). The ZRP members present looked on incredulously while the man bold enough to make the point about what the law used to be studied the back of his hands for a very long time.

A dramatic pause to underline his authority, and then Chiemdza went on. An afterthought perhaps or a sop to the dented egos of the ZRP contingent: "If an elephant is killed the carcass must not be touched. You must call the police and they will first remove certain parts (our emphasis) of the elephant before the people can enjoy the meat."

Herewith but a glimpse of the terrifying reality of ZANU PF power at village level as it is exercised today: the law, whatever the local ZANU PF chef says it is; the police and traditional leaders, now totally subservient to their new political masters; Instant mob justice, the order of the day; wildlife conservation, a dead letter…

Yes, supreme dictator, this is the legacy you are leaving to the people of this land. Robert Mugabe, this is your Zimbabwe !

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Food shortages force traditions to change

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

HARARE, 21 Nov 2005 (IRIN) - A small column of women trudges along the path
to a funeral in Mufiri, in Zimbabwe's eastern Masvingo district,
occasionally tilting their heads to glance grudgingly at the clear sky

Discussion among the women braving the searing heat revolves around the
spectre of yet another dry season, if the cloudless skies are anything to go
by. "If it does not rain soon, we will all starve to death," said
50-year-old Dorica Zenera, at the head of the column. The other women chorus
in agreement.

Meteorologists forecast that the wet season would start at the beginning of
October, but three weeks into November only intermittent drizzle has fallen
in drought-prone Masvingo, rather than the downpours the farmers need.

"We would not be walking empty-handed if things were normal," one of the
women in the single file commented. "Surely the gods have cursed us."

Severe food shortages in rural Zimbabwe are eroding a revered, age-old
custom relating to death in rural communities: bereaved families can no
longer afford to provide food for mourners who attend funeral vigils.

In normal circumstances women like Zenera and her companions would make
their contribution, carrying small reed baskets or plastic bowls filled with
mealie-meal or small bundles of vegetables.

But that has changed.

"At times you feel inclined not to attend a funeral out of discomfort for
being unable to help out the bereaved, but absence gives you a lingering
sense of guilt," said Zenera.

She explained that funeral wakes had always been a community responsibility.
"Now you feel like you are letting your neighbours down; you feel helpless."

A Zimbabwe Rural Food Security and Vulnerability Assessment (ZimVAC) report,
completed in June but only publicly released last week, estimated that 36
percent of the rural population would be unable to meet household food
requirements until the next harvest.

It forecast that 2.3 million people would be food-short between now and the
end of December this year, with the figure expected to rise to 2.9 million
between January and March next year.

Food security analysts point out that the ZimVac figures were based on a
maize price of Zim $1,300 (US 2 cents) a kilo, but the going market rate is
now closer to Zim $10,000 (US 16 cents). As a result, the real numbers of
food insecure is likely to be over four million.

The food crisis is a combination of successive poor rains, the impact of
HIV/AIDS, and a deepening economic crisis that followed the government's
fast-track land reform programme in 2000.

The June ZimVac report said food-short households were already adopting
negative coping mechanisms, such as reducing the number of daily meals and
cutting expenditure on education, health and agricultural inputs.

"In the past, friends, relatives and some neighbours encamped at the
bereaved family home, offering condolences and helping with day-to-day
chores to allow a family that had lost a member time to come to terms with
the bereavement," said village head Mika Maketo.

It was traditional to slaughter an animal to feed mourners. "People seem to
have accepted the reality of the times - they don't expect much from the
bereaved family."

Maketo said he had often reminded villagers to maintain the tradition of
attending funerals in their neighbourhood but had cautioned mourners not to
expect to be fed. "Those times are long gone if one considers the number of
deaths that occur these days, and the cost of food these days."

Government promises of providing subsidised food to rural areas through the
state-run Grain Marketing Board have been largely unmet. Most villagers who
expected assistance were still waiting to be fed, and deliveries were few
and far between. When food assistance was delivered, villagers were unsure
when they would get the next consignment.

"It is erratic - the last time we received grain from the government was
five months ago," said Maketo. "We used to receive food from donor agencies
but I am not sure what happened. The villagers cannot sacrifice the little
they have for mourners."

Rural communities were also bearing the extra burden of hosting the funerals
of relatives who died in urban areas but could afford to be buried there
because costs of burial plots has soared astronomically.

Next year is likely to be even worse, aid workers warn. A lack of fuel and
spare parts has reduced the number of tractors available for land
preparation, while the cost of fertiliser is well beyond the reach of many
in the rural areas.

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A Tidal Wave of Destruction and Misery

When operation "Murambatsvina" was at its height, I was walking through a
bus depot in a small regional town looking at the devastation - about 2000
small businesses had been destroyed that morning and behind me was the
astonishing sight of police, assisted by home owners, destroying
accommodation. As I walked back to where my vehicle was parked two young men
spoke to me from the side of the road "this is a Zanu Tsunami" they said in

A Zanu PF Tsunami! Looking back on the past 6 years, we could say that about
the whole sorry story of Zimbabwe. After 20 years of independence and many
decades of promise, the leaders who have controlled this country since 1980
have simply destroyed not only what they achieved in the first decade of
their government but at least 30 to 40 years of hard work before they took
over. The achievements of the past are still there - monuments to what sort
of people our forefathers were, modern cities, tall buildings, a national
network of infrastructure that would do a more developed State proud. But
inside this historical façade, the factories are silent and many people dead
or absent.

What is more astonishing is that this whole sorry tale was a deliberate and
planned exercise in self destruction, carried out with savage efficiency and
determination by educated and sophisticated men and women. One could say the
same thing about the "Great Leap Forward" in China under Mao, or the
globally destructive swathe of German aggression in the 30's and 40's. Today
is the 60th anniversary of the Nuremberg trials at which the Nazi leaders,
responsible for the physical destruction of Europe and perhaps 60 million
deaths - the deaths of a whole generation of young men in the Soviet Union,
central Europe and millions of others from other continents. Looking at that
row of men in an Allied Court it was difficult to understand how such men
could have done such things to their own people and to others. But they did.

Under the leadership of Robert Mugabe, a team of men and women, many of them
holding PhD's from reputable Universities in the West, have almost wiped out
commercial agriculture, created near perfect conditions for the spread of
HIV/Aids, destroyed much of the medical and educational system that at one
stage delivered the best social services of this kind in Africa. They have
overseen the largest and most continuous fall in national economic output in
any country in the world, they have reduced exports to the stage where we
can no longer sustain our economy or pay our bills.

In social terms we now have one of the highest rates of maternal and child
mortality in the world. This means that if you were born in this country
today - your mother would have a 1 in 7 chance of dying in the process of
giving you birth and then you would face a new world where your own chances
of survival were 50/50. We have seen the flight of millions of our people to
other countries, airlines fly full every day from Harare airport and return
half empty. The Limpopo River has become a broad road to Egoli and a
desperate life in the slums of South Africa.

Our children attend school hungry and when they are there they try to learn
in classrooms without windows, sometimes even roofs, no school books, no
chalk, with teachers so badly paid and poorly motivated that they do not
give a damn if the kids pass or fail. Children are sitting exams after 14
years of schooling and achieving pass rates of 2 or 3 percent at some High
Schools. We note in business, a rapid decline in the standard of education
in the average school leaver. Neither functionally literate nor numerate,
many school leavers are little use in a factory or retail environment.

We are a nation of professional mourners - we attend the funerals of family
and friends every week. Sometimes the stories are just devastating - this
past week I know of one young man whose wife was discharged by a District
Hospital with cancer of the stomach. The hospital could do nothing for her
and told the young husband to take her home to die. He carried her from the
hospital to the nearby roadside and begged a lift in a long haul truck, and
then he carried her from the road to his rural home some 15 kilometers off
the main road. It was over 40 Celsius in the shade at the time; the wife has
two children. To hire a car to take her 200 kilometers to her home would
have cost the young man Z$9 million. An impossible sum for them today.

Over 80 per cent of our basic foods are now imported, half our population
requires food aid and tens of thousands are sick with tuberculosis, malaria
and other Aids related diseases. With prices doubling ever three months and
incomes shrinking in line with the economy and the declining value of the
money we earn, life has become a nightmare for the average person here. We
cannot feed our babies with the food they need, our children go to school
hungry or hang around the homestead because we cannot pay the school fees
and our hospitals are mortuaries where underpaid nurses and doctors struggle
with few drugs and little else.

And then, because Zanu PF perceived that the urban poor in the informal
sector were a continuing threat, they launched operation Murambatsvina -
during which they destroyed a million small businesses, perhaps 300 000
homes and displaced a third of the total urban population who are now
homeless, destitute and even more desperate. And when the American
Ambassador gets his staff to prepare a detailed stark summary of all this
destruction, he is vilified in the press, told to "go to hell" and
threatened with expulsion - pure political intimidation. But he was right to
speak out and we ask, "Where are the others".

Instead of threatening Mugabe and his cronies with another Nuremberg trial
for their gross violations of our human and political rights, the UN pleads
with these thugs for permission to feed our people and house our displaced.
It's an absolute disgrace and a complete travesty of everything the UN
stands for in the world today. All those associated with this sham and
abdication of responsibility should be ashamed of themselves.

After 1945, we never thought the United Nations would allow it to happen
again - but we did not understand, the determination of those in charge
there only applies to their own essential interests and not those of the
poor in places like Zimbabwe.

Eddie Cross
Bulawayo, 20th November 2005

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Trucking fleets under pressure to deliver food aid

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

JOHANNESBURG, 21 Nov 2005 (IRIN) - South African trucking fleets are
experiencing difficulties in meeting the demand to supply food aid to
drought-affected countries in the region, particularly Zimbabwe, according
to logistics experts.

Massive orders to ferry fertiliser to Malawi ahead of the planting rains
have put trucking fleets under tremendous pressure, said Charles Nicolle of
Cargo Africa, a logistics company.

"Many countries have left their maize orders for too long: most trucks have
been booked to transport fertiliser - about 60,000 mt - to Malawi through to
December," he explained.

An estimated 12 million people in six countries - Lesotho, Malawi,
Swaziland, Mozambique, Zambia and Zimbabwe - will face food shortages until
early next year.

Malawi, one of the countries worst affected by the regional drought, is
trying to pump in 146,000 mt of subsidised fertiliser before the planting
season starts next month.

A reduction in fleet sizes as a direct result of the fall in commercial
trade with Zimbabwe, previously South Africa's largest trading partner, is
compounding the problem.

According to the Federation of East and Southern African Road Transport
Associations, Zimbabwe's long-standing economic crisis has caused trade
between the two countries to slump.

Zimbabwean authorities have so far refused to appeal for international aid
to stave off widespread hunger, insisting instead that the government has
the capacity to import the 1.2 million mt it estimates it needs to bridge
the food gap.

Aid workers, however, estimate that more than four million people will go
hungry until next year's harvest in April/May.

"Now it looks like they will need food aid - we have received orders through
to next June. We are overstretched a bit at the moment," said a trucking
company representative.

The UN's World Food Programme (WFP) has estimated that its US $100 million
operation to feed 9.7 million people in the region will require 400 trucks
or rail wagons per week to meet its commitment.

"Trucks fleets traditionally come under stress at this time of year, as
there are many competing demands to move goods around southern Africa ahead
of the Christmas period," said Mike Huggins, WFP spokesman for southern

"WFP has just signed long-term agreements with most of our transporters to
continue working through December to ensure food deliveries reach the
hungriest people in time," said Huggins.

"So, provided we receive financial support from the international community
to buy urgently needed supplies, the region's most vulnerable should receive
rations on time," he added.


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Chitungwiza Ordered to Clear Health Hazards

The Herald (Harare)

November 19, 2005
Posted to the web November 21, 2005


THE Ministry of Health and Child Welfare will invoke the Public Health Act
against Chitungwiza and punish town council officials unless obvious health
hazards are cleared up within two weeks.

The Minister, Dr David Parirenyatwa, gave the deadline yesterday after
touring the Zengeza Treatment Plant, St Mary's and other trouble spots where
raw sewage is flowing.

The Minister said it was obvious the situation in the town was deplorable.

"The situation is totally unacceptable and my coming here today with these
officials from my Ministry as well as those from the Zimbabwe National Water
Authority (Zinwa) is to see how best we can work together.

"The Minister of Local Government, Public Works and Urban Development Cde
Ignatius Chombo as well as the Resident Minister for Harare Cde David
Karirmanzira are also involved in this project and the Mayor, who is the one
really on the ground. Together we want to see what we can do because there
is no way we can allow this to continue," he said.

If the Minister invokes the Public Health Act, Government will take over the
running of Chitungwiza Town and the Minister can also decide what kind of
punishment to mete on the responsible local authority for failing to ensure
adequate health standards for the residents of Chitungwiza.

Dr Parirenyatwa said he was ready to invoke the Act to ensure that the
responsible authorities did their part because he could not allow public
health to continue deteriorating.

Refuse has been going uncollected for months in many parts of Chitungwiza
allowing rodents to breed.

Water shortages that have besieged the town have also seen residents
resorting to fetching water from unprotected wells, at times close to where
raw sewage will be flowing.

In parts of St Mary's residents have gone for long periods using the bush
for a toilets.

Dr Parirenyatwa was quick to point out that his visit had been prompted by
concern for the health of the town's residents and was not meant to tarnish
or blame anyone.

Chitungwiza Mayor Councilor Misheck Shoko said he was willing to work with
other authorities to see the situation in the town improving.

He blamed the collapse of the town's affairs on the old pipes and pumping
system saying his council did not have the foreign currency to fix them.

"Pipes have broken down and they need to be fixed. The foreign currency
required is something we do not have because the Reserve Bank last gave us
some in March, which is understandable considering the problems we are in.

"The Central Bank has told us that if we fix out things they will look into
our situation again and that is what I would like to see happening."

Mr Shoko said of the $400 million collected in rates a day, the bulk went
towards serving the water bill to Harare City Council where the town used to
get its water.

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Christian Perspective on the Senate and its Aftermath


We, Christians Together for Justice and Peace, write to express our deep
concern at the confusion that abounds and the extent of the polarisation
among Zimbabweans concerning the Senate Elections.  This issue is not only
dividing the nation into antagonistic camps for and against participation
but has also created unprecedented confusion in the minds of many ordinary
citizens whose one over-riding desire is simply to cleanse the nation of
corrupt rule and to make a new start under a radically new servant
leadership of real integrity.  The words of Scripture come to mind; "When he
(Jesus) saw the crowds he had compassion on them, because they were harassed
and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd."  (Matthew 9/36)   Truly our
people are without a wise and caring shepherd today, and this is evidenced
in the divided state of the nation and the prevailing confusion, as well as
in the intensity of suffering which is being continually ratcheted up.

We share the view of very many Zimbabweans that this is not the time to
introduce a Senate.  We are appalled at the way it has been imposed upon a
reluctant nation without any proper consultation or debate.  We understand
that it serves the narrow sectional interests of some of the ruling elite,
and no other purpose. Clearly it will not put one loaf of bread on the table
of a destitute family, nor one shelter for a homeless couple, nor provide
medical relief for one single HIV sufferer among the millions afflicted.
Indeed the misuse of the country's few remaining resources for this
elaborate irrelevance is in our view a scandal in the eyes of the Sovereign
God of justice and mercy.  What he requires of us is plainly set out in

"Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of
injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and
break every yoke ?  Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to
provide the poor wanderer with shelter - when you see the naked to clothe
him and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood ?"   (Isaiah 58/6-7)

Just as plainly we see the present corrupt rulers of this nation rejecting
the word of God and trampling upon the poor.

If that was all there was to say about the Senate Election then clearly we
would be urging our fellow Christians to boycott the Poll on November 26.
But we have to acknowledge that some of those who share our desire for
freedom under the rule of law in Zimbabwe, have advanced some good,
strategic reasons for participating. We respect their integrity and their
right to make their own judgment in a complex, almost no-win situation.
Sadly also we are bound to take note that the President of the MDC who
advocates a boycott has himself muddied the waters by acting in an
unconstitutional manner so far as his own party's rules are concerned, and
by tolerating a certain level of violence among his supporters.  We are
concerned that he demonstrates at the same time an unacceptable tolerance of
violence and an alarming intolerance of views contrary to his own.
Effectively it has become impossible to advocate for a boycott of the Senate
Election without being seen to condone this unacceptable behaviour.   Our
counsel therefore is that Christians should humbly and sincerely seek the
guidance of the all-wise, all-loving God on this issue and then either vote
or not vote as the Spirit leads them, while at the same time showing respect
for and tolerance of those fellow Christians who may come to the opposite

In any case as we have said, the introduction of a Senate will change
nothing so far as the suffering millions are concerned.  Therefore we urge
the Church to look beyond November 26 to the huge unresolved problems of
poverty, homelessness, unemployment and famine that threaten the nation, and
that must be tackled urgently if a humanitarian disaster of catastrophic
proportions is to be avoided.   As an urgent necessity we urge the Church in
Zimbabwe to unite now as never before in critical solidarity with the poor
and the victims of political abuse. To assist in this task we put forward
the following priorities for consideration by the wider Church:

Pursuant to the United Nations Special Envoy, Anna Tibaijuka's report on
Operation Murambatsvina, and the regime's recent, belated acceptance of the
UN's long-standing offer of assistance to provide temporary shelter for some
of the victims of that crime against humanity, that we urge the UN Secretary
General to undertake an urgent assessment of the needs of Zimbabweans for
food, shelter and other humanitarian relief;

Pursuant to the findings and recommendations of the Africa Commission on
Human and Peoples' Rights in the report of its 2002 fact-finding mission to
Zimbabwe, and the continuing and intensifying abuse of human rights in this
country, that we give our full support to the urgent request made by a
number of NGOs, human rights and other civic groups that the African Union
should call publicly for the implementation of the recommendations of the
African Commission;

That, acting as one and in the name of the Sovereign Lord who has a special
compassion for the victims of oppression and abuse, the Church should demand
that henceforth this regime ceases its policy of denial and deceit on the
issue of food security, and removes the obstacles in the way of the Church
and other relief agencies importing and distributing essential food supplies
as they are able.  Specifically the Church calls upon the State to permit
the United Nations to supervise the importation and distribution of food
supplied by the donor nations.

There are no doubt many other things the Church might usefully do and say to
alleviate the intolerable level of suffering among our people.  We are fully
aware that much else needs to be done for the healing and transformation of
our abused and shamelessly exploited nation.  Nevertheless it is our belief
that if the Church would just come together around a few  urgent priorities
such as these we might see the beginning of the realization of the divine
promise which follows on immediately from the passage of Scripture quoted

"Then your light will break forth like the dawn, and your healing will
quickly appear; then your righteousness will go before you, and the glory of
the Lord will be your rearguard. Then you will call, and the Lord will
answer; you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I."    (Isaiah

Christians Together for Justice and Peace, Bulawayo - 18 November, 2005

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Zimbabwe: An Undeliverable Atomic Promise


November 21, 2005 19 20  GMT


Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe said Nov. 19 that his nation would use
newly discovered uranium deposits to produce nuclear power, adding that the
government has no intention of producing nuclear weapons. While Mugabe
likely meant to stir nationalist sentiment with his announcement, as well as
gain some international attention, Zimbabwe lacks the technology needed for
the uranium discovery to change its political or economic situation.


Zimbabwe will use its newly discovered deposits of uranium to produce
nuclear energy to meet its energy shortfall, Zimbabwean President Robert
Mugabe told state radio Nov. 19. Small deposits of uranium are known to
exist in northern Zimbabwe, though the deposits are not thought large enough
to sustain profitable mining operations.

Mugabe's announcement represents little more than an attempt to rally his
people around the idea that their country is significant enough to join the
ranks of nations possessing nuclear power. Mugabe can thereby foment a sense
of nationalism while projecting the image that Zimbabwe's economic and
energy problems represent short-term issues with impending solutions. The
prerequisites for nuclear energy, however, indicate that Zimbabwe will not
possess nuclear power -- or weapons -- any time soon.

Energy supply constitutes a growing concern for Zimbabweans given the
southern African nation's economic environment. The lack of a stable energy
infrastructure in rural areas also represents a continuing concern. Zimbabwe
requires just over 2,100 megawatts of power but currently falls between 400
and 500 megawatts short of that requirement, leading to almost-daily
shortages and blackouts in many areas of the country. Moreover, rampant
hyperinflation -- standing at 411 percent in October -- and a dearth of
incoming foreign currency has meant Zimbabwe does not have the currency to
pay South Africa, Mozambique and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) for
the power it consumes, creating more instability for Mugabe and his ruling
Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front.

A small nuclear reactor could produce more than enough energy for Zimbabwe's
energy needs, but near-term nuclear power production in Zimbabwe is not
possible, even though the specifics of Mugabe's nuclear energy plan remain
unclear. Nuclear energy production requires several key components: The
first is a supply of nuclear material, such as uranium. This may prove to be
the easiest requirement to meet, since Zimbabwe has plenty of unemployed
laborers available to extract the materials. On the other hand, this
extraction may not prove economical, depending upon the amount of uranium in
the mines.

The second requirement is nuclear reactor technology. While Harare maintains
good relations with several countries possessing a nuclear capability, the
transfer of that technology would prove very difficult. The United States,
European Union and others would strongly oppose any such deal, and would
exert significant political and economic pressure to dissuade any nation
from making such a transfer. Mugabe's long track record of seeking nuclear
materials, both for power production and nuclear weapons, will make other
nations more wary of allowing Mugabe to obtain any type of nuclear
technology. Rumors have circulated since the mid-1990s that Mugabe sought
nuclear weapons technology from North Korea. Later, Mugabe sent troops into
the DRC in support of former President Laurent Kabila and, in exchange,
sought to obtain uranium from the DRC's Shinkolobwe mine. As recently as
early 2000, the Zimbabwean government engaged in talks for the acquisition
of a nuclear reactor from Argentina for the production of electricity.

Third, even if Harare were able to acquire the necessary technological
expertise, it would still need the capital to actualize its plan.
Zimbabwe -- already in a financial mess of gigantic proportions -- has
proved itself a less-than-worthy borrower, and thus likely would not be able
to obtain the funds needed for the construction of nuclear facilities.

The production of energy also requires initial energy inputs, with nuclear
energy in particular involving a power-intensive process for the conversion
and enrichment of raw uranium into a form usable in a power reactor. For a
country already experiencing power shortages, a new nuclear reactor hardly
seems feasible.

As Zimbabwe's economy continues to deteriorate to an almost medieval
level -- and with current policies not offering much hope of halting the
decline -- Mugabe is grabbing at straws to maintain some level of legitimacy
with the people. While the idea of Zimbabwean nuclear energy or weapons will
surely grab attention both domestically and abroad, Zimbabwe will eventually
find himself forced to face the consequences of yet another failed promise.

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African Union land seminar recommends security of tenure

      By Tererai Karimakwenda
      21 November 2005

      The African Union organised a seminar in Kenya last week titled
"African Commodities- Problems and Strategic Options", to work out a plan as
to how the continent should move forward in order to maximise its resources
and achieve food security. Problems with land in Zimbabwe and the land
crisis developing in South Africa were cited as examples of what hinders
production. Delegates made recommendations that were submitted to heads of
state who started their seminar on African Commodities in Tanzania Monday.
The seminar in Kenya was attended by delegates from 27 countries, 9 producer
organisations and NGOs such as the World Food Programme and The United
Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO). There
were also representatives from the SADC region and the Economic Community of
West African States (ECOWAS). The purpose of the seminar was to discuss
access to land for all, access to security of tenure, and access to
structured financing. Trevor Gifford of The Commercial Farmers Union, who
just returned from the seminar, said the delegates agreed it is difficult to
produce food for internal consumption and for export without these 3
elements. They also stressed that it was time for African governments to
stop talking about these issues and start implementing sound programmes to
bring progress.Gifford said because it was a continental seminar not limited
to the problems in any one country, the lack of security of land tenure in
Zimbabwe was briefly discussed. The other countries acknowledged the
Zimbabwe land crisis as a good example of what is keeping the continent from
developing, and hoped that the heads of state would take up the issue.
Gifford said the African continent has been looking at the external
international community as its biggest market, not realising it is actually
Africa itself.

      SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news

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Tsvangirai 'begged' Mugabe for VP's post

New Zimbabwe

By Lebo Nkatazo
Last updated: 11/22/2005 01:54:29
ZIMBABWE'S main opposition leader on Sunday faced damaging allegations that
he misled the public over his views on a government of national unity, as it
emerged that he had unsuccessfully tried to convince President Robert Mugabe
to make him his deputy.

The Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) has split into two factions, one
led by party leader Morgan Tsvangirai and another led by Professor Welshman
Ncube, the party's secretary general.

Tsvangirai clashed with his senior colleagues in October after rejecting a
vote of the party's national council supporting participation in senate
elections next weekend.

Tsvangirai stance, while popular on the ground, has created a constitutional
crisis for the MDC. His colleagues now openly accuse him of being a
"dictator in the making", and have vowed to haul him before the party's
disciplinary committee after the senate elections.

Addressing his supporters earlier this month, Tsvangirai claimed that Ncube's
camp in fact wanted a unity government with Mugabe's Zanu PF.

"The MDC," Tsvangirai said, "has never sought to partner Zanu PF in
government. We seek no such partnership."

The Ncube camp made a forceful rebuttal of Tsvangirai's claims at a weekend
rally in the MDC stronghold of Bulawayo. St Mary's MP, Job Sikhala, revealed
that Tsvangirai had begged regional leaders and top army generals to
convince Mugabe to take him as his deputy.

Sikhala said Tsvangirai had deployed him, then Zengeza MP Tafadzwa Musekiwa
and the deputy secretary general Gift Chimanikire to meet the Commander of
the Air Force of Zimbabwe, Air Marshal Perence Shiri in 2001, just months
before the 2002 Presidential elections.

"I went there at the behest of my president and Shiri prepared us a very big
fish," Sikhala told thousands of supporters. "Shiri said Vice Presidents
(Simon) Muzenda and (Joseph) Msika were still alive and there was therefore
no way that Tsvangirai could be accommodated.

"When we told him (Tsvangirai) this, he told us to go back to Shiri and tell
him that he would talk to his MPs so that constitutional changes could be
made so that the country could have three Vice Presidents."

Sikhala, a maverick former university student activist, also revealed that
Tsvangirai held meetings with President Thabo Mbeki of South Africa and
Nigeria's Olusegun Obasanjo "begging" them to "pressure" Mugabe into making
him Vice President.

"We must be careful with this man, if we are stupid he will auction us like
second hand clothing, for his benefit," Sikhala said to rapturous laughter.

Musekiwa, once Zimbabwe's youngest MP, confirmed to New on
Monday that he indeed met Air Marshal Shiri with Sikhala, but declined to
give details.

"I did many things in an unofficial capacity, some for the party and others
for the president of the MDC and I believe it is not wise to discuss those
issues now," said Musekiwa from his new base in the United Kingdom where he
is studying.

In further evidence of the deep divisions, Sikhala compared Tsvangirai to
Idi Amin, the notorious former Ugandan dictator.

Sikhala said: "The national council met at Harvest House, on the sixth
floor, from 8am to 4:30pm to discuss this issue of the Senate elections.
There was a deadlock and in the end we went for a vote. The majority voted
in favour of taking part in the elections but after that your leader said he
did not recognise the vote and declared that if the MDC is to split, let it
split. He then took his jacket and walked away.

".If you are a democratic leader, can you tell people that if you lock the
door, no one enters? The only other person I know to have said that is Idi
Amin who said, in 1976; 'I am Uganda, without me there is no Uganda.' If a
person shows qualities of an international dictator how can we win the war
against Zanu PF with him as our leader?"

Paul Themba Nyathi, an independence war veteran and the MDC's national
spokesman took a similar line, hammering at Tsvangirai's decision to
override the national council - the MDC supreme decision making body.

"What is surprising is that Tsvangirai is the one who stood up and declared
that there was a stalemate. He then suggested that the matter be put to a
vote and some of the members of the national council told him that a vote
was not the best way to deal with the problem, but he insisted that the
matter be put to a vote," said Themba Nyathi.

"He said the outcome of the vote should be respected and be binding on all
of us who were there. He was the first person to be given the paper and he
was also the first one to give his paper to the chairperson, but after the
counting, he declared that 'I don't care whether you call me a dictator; the
party will not participate in the election'. He then stood up, took his
jacket and disappeared."

Chimanikire said Tsvangirai would be hauled before the party's disciplinary
committee after the November 26 senate elections.

Chimanikire said: "Some among you have been asking why we haven't taken
disciplinary action on Tsvangirai. But Tsvangirai himself has been saying,
nyaya hayiwori (justice will catch up with you). We are still campaigning.
We will come back and tell you how dictator riya tariita sei (how the
dictator had been dealt with)."

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The President Who Stole Christmas

Zimbabwe Standard (Harare)

November 20, 2005
Posted to the web November 21, 2005

IT will be the bleakest Christmas for millions of Zimbabweans. For the first
time since independence from Britain in 1980, very few Zimbabweans will be
able to go kumusha or to enjoy the traditional treat in the communal lands
of chicken and rice.

There will be no "Sun" jam and gallons of fizzy drinks to share around.
Neither will there be the customary dozens of loaves of bread for everyone
to feed like crazy. For many families, there will not even be a full meal to
talk about. They will sleep on empty stomachs on Xmas.

Many will not be able to visit relatives and families because bus fares have
shot through the roof. The so-called "middle class" cannot even zoom to the
rural areas to impress relatives and friends with their latest acquisitions
because there is no fuel. The country has run dry and the only fuel
available is on the black market.

There will be no trinkets and toys for many Zimbabwean children. Instead,
the most likely scenario is that there will be lots of tears: tears shed
because there is no food to eat, tears shed because one or both parents
succumbed to HIV and Aids during the year, and tears shed because they know
they are most likely going to drop out of school next year. Their parents or
guardians can no longer afford the ever-rising school fees.

Of course the newly rich and those on the Zanu PF gravy train will fly to
Victoria Falls, Kariba and other nearby destinations with their families and
sometimes, "small houses". They will hire boats and cruise on the Zambezi at
sunset and pat each other on the back and say: indeed we have now finally
got our land back isn't it nice that Zimbabwe will never be a colony again?

They will watch the golden sun go down on the mighty Zambezi and say (to
no-one in particular): isn't this such a lovely country with great

They will wait until the clock strikes that magic second on New Year's Day
and send sms messages to their children, friends or relatives in South
Africa, Australia, the US, UK and other countries abroad on their latest
"Bluetooth" cell-phones wishing each other a "more prosperous New Year".

2005 was indeed a "prosperous" year for many of them. They closed deals on
the grain market, they exported roses they found on the farms they
expropriated; they clinched contracts for life with government departments
to supply whatever at whatever cost and - most of all - they know that they
belong to the ruling class of Zimbabwe. As long as the "Old Man" is alive
and ensconced at State House, life is a bed of roses.

But to the majority of Zimbabweans who were forced to scrounge throughout
2005, there will be bitterness. They will be bitter that the bread winner
lost that precious job after the employer closed shop because of rising
costs and the effects of run-away inflation.

They will be bitter that the bread winner succumbed to HIV and Aids and died
of opportunistic infections that could easily have been cured were there
affordable medicines in the clinics and the hospitals.

They will be bitter that they are now sleeping in the open, or in abandoned
cars, because their "illegal" shelters were razed to the ground during
"Operation Murambatsvina" after senior government officials declared them an

They will be bitter that they cannot buy food or Christmas presents for
their loved ones because their musika was also razed down to the ground
during "Operation Murambatsvina" and now they have no other source of

And to these families, and to many others in the small mining towns, the
former farming villages and the rural areas affected by the economic
downturn, they will say someone stole their Christmas. If you move closer
and listen attentively as they murmur to themselves, you shall hear the name
of the man who stole their christmas.

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Africa must focus on prevention in AIDS fight - UN


      Mon Nov 21, 2005 4:50 PM GMT

By Andrew Quinn

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - Africa is making little headway against AIDS
despite wider availability of life-prolonging drugs and must focus on
stopping new infections to head off a bigger catastrophe, the United Nations
said on Monday.

Data from Kenya, Uganda and Zimbabwe show African infection rates can be
cut, but only if funders devote the same resources to fighting the spread of
HIV as they do to treating HIV illness, the U.N. AIDS body UNAIDS said in
its annual report.

Sub-Saharan Africa is the region worst hit by the global AIDS pandemic, home
to almost 26 million of the estimated 40 million people infected with HIV

Of the almost 5 million new HIV infections recorded in 2005, 3.2 million
were in Africa.

UNAIDS said a drive to bring AIDS-fighting anti-retroviral (ARV) drugs to
Africa had scored successes with major distributions under way in countries
ranging from Uganda and Botswana to Cameroon, Malawi and Ivory Coast.

Altogether, some 700,000 people in the region are now receiving ARV
treatment -- triple the number in 2001, but only about 10 percent of those
needing the drugs.

High rates of new infection mean that Africa's beleaguered health networks
still face a relentless increase in new patients, making preventing new
cases key to winning Africa's AIDS war, UNAIDS said.

"Unless we can get ahead of the epidemic and drop incidence rates, we are
not going to have an impact," Mark Stirling of UNAIDS' regional support team
for Eastern and Southern Africa told a news conference.


UNAIDS said adult HIV prevalence appeared to be declining in Kenya, Uganda
and Zimbabwe -- providing a sign of hope the epidemic could be brought under

Uganda, an early leader in AIDS prevention, saw adult prevalence fall to an
estimated 7 percent from 15 percent in the early 1990s thanks in part to
campaigns that stressed the importance of using condoms and reducing the
number of sexual partners.

Data from Kenya also shows prevalence down from about 10 percent in the late
1990s to 7 percent in 2003. The fall was even steeper in urban areas, where
adult prevalence rates fell from as high as 28 percent to about 9 percent,
UNAIDS said.

Zimbabwe has produced studies showing a reduction in HIV prevalence among
pregnant women -- a key marker for the broader population -- to 21 percent
in 2004 from 26 percent in 2002.

Innocent Ntaganira, a World Health Organisation official specialising in
Africa, said the examples proved that AIDS education can bring about the
changes in behaviour but that too often the message was lost in the rush to
provide drugs for the sick.

"The same sense of urgency has to be brought to prevention efforts as has
been brought to treatment," Ntaganira said.

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