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MDC sets its sights on the UN
JASON MOYO - Nov 02 2008 06:00
Advisers to MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai want him to look past a planned SADC summit and prepare to take his stand-off with President Robert Mugabe to the African Union, and ultimately to the United Nations.

It is unlikely the summit of heads of state, called after a meeting of the SADC troika failed to end the deadlock, will bring a resolution, as the MDC appears to have adopted an ambitious strategy to "escalate this matter as far as we can", according to a senior Tsvangirai adviser.

The opposition sees this week's call for a broader regional summit as a major step towards a plan to drive the Zimbabwe crisis back on to the UN agenda, said the official.

It is unlikely, he said, that the SADC summit, planned for next week, will see a resolution to the crisis.

"We are looking beyond that. We need to take this to the AU and then to the UN, and fight there for international involvement in the crisis," said the official, who declined to be named.

This week, the MDC broadened its demands and disputed the SADC's statement that the power-sharing deal has stalled over the allocation of the home affairs portfolio.

The MDC now cites six areas it wants to discuss:

More controversy was generated after MDC secretary general Tendai Biti gave reporters a new plan which proposes to cut the rival MDC faction out of the agreement completely.

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Teachers to Boycott Marking Examinations

BULAWAYO, November 2 2008 - The Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe
(PTUZ), has instructed its members to boycott the marking of this year's
controversial examinations, which it alleges were written under
unprofessional conditions.

A PTUZ official, Themba Sithole, told RadioVOP that candidates
experienced major hiccups when they sat for their end of year examinations
under the supervision of police officers and community leaders last week.

"We hear that pupils have written examinations but the conditions were
not satidfactory. Teachers are still on strike and we are saying without
US$1 200 salaries - we are not going back to work. The government has forced
examinations down pupils and parents throats but no one is going to mark
those examination scripts," said Sithole.

He warned teachers not to mark examination scripts as they would be
aiding a system that is under collapse.

Sithole said some students also boycotted examinations in

"In Hwange - some students openly told teachers that they would not be
writing examinations as they were not ready," said Sithole.

Confusion reigned at the start of this year's public examinations with
reports of shortage of question papers and inteference from Government among
other things.

Enock Paradza, also of the Progressive Teachers Union (PTUZ), told
RadioVOP last week that students in Masvingo were being invigilated by
Central Intelligence officers and soldiers, and that most students did not
sit for their exams as they had long stopped reporting for school.

In another incident more than seven primary schools in Hwange received
Ndebele examination question papers a week later.

The Zimbabwe school Examinations Council (ZIMSEC) had also failed to
print enough examination question papers, resulting in students having to
sit for the examinations in batches and at times finishing around 7pm.

Paradza said the current confusion showed  that ZIMSEC was ill
prepared for this year's examinations.

He said the organisation's secretary general, Raymond Majongwe, was
under threat as the government was accusing him of inciting teachers to
boycott examinations.

Officials from the Presidents office were said to have visited the
PTUZ's Gokwe office and harassed an official, accusing the organisation of
destabilising the education system.

PTUZ had advised the government to cancel this year's public
examinations citing the on-going strike action by teachers this year, which
left pupils unprepared.

Teachers have been staging strikes since January, demanding pay
increases and better working conditions.

Due to massive inflation, the highest in the world at over 230 million
percent, teachers have seen their salary shrink to a pittance.

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Zimbabwean government still a long way off

By KITSEPILE NYATHI NATION Correspondent Posted Sunday, November 2 2008 at

Chances are fast diminishing that Zimbabwe will have a functional government
before the end of the year as the rivals in the political crisis still have
a long way to go before concluding a power sharing deal, analysts have

The South African Development Community is yet to set date for an emergency
summit to persuade President Robert Mugabe and Mr Morgan Tsvangirai of the
opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) to resolve the deadlock.

Analysts said if the summit succeeded in persuading the protagonists to work
together, it would take months for the new government to start doing its
work as they were still some legislative hurdles on the way.

Complicate the tasks

However, the analysts noted that the delay would further complicate the
tasks that await the new government such as reviving the economy, service
delivery and militating against looming famine as envisaged in the power
sharing pact.

President Mugabe, Mr Tsvangirai and Professor Arthur Mutambara on 15
September signed an agreement to set up an all- inclusive government to
tackle the country's mounting economic and political crisis.

But already there are fears that the deal has taken too long to implement as
Mr Mugabe and Mr Tsvangirai continue to haggle over the allocation of key
cabinet portfolios.

"So the suffering of the majority continues ¬ ordinary men and women,
children and the elderly without food and opportunity and more particularly,
without hope," said Mr Eddie Cross and MDC parliamentarian and policy

"The region has not even announced the date of the SADCsummit due in less
than 10 days."

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Fears grow that regime wants to introduce national service

Mugabe Faces Growing Pressure to Resign

Nelson G. Katsande

     Published 2008-11-02 15:52 (KST)

Zimbabwe's president Robert Mugabe faces mounting pressure to relinquish
power as the country's economic woes worsen. Mugabe, whose 28-year rule has
faced the greatest challenge from opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai, has
vowed to hang on.

Recently Mugabe and Tsvangirai signed a power sharing deal which analysts
say has collapsed due to disagreements on the allocation of ministerial
posts. Although there has been no official acknowledgement from the parties
on the collapse of the deal, there is growing evidence the deal has

Last week the regime accused Tsvangirai of holding the nation at ransom and
labelled him "Another Savimbi." Savimbi led UNITA, an anti-communist rebel
group that fought against MPLA in the Angolan civil war.

In the streets of Harare, the capital city, there is talk that the Mugabe
regime intends to introduce the compulsory national service in a bid to
suppress the growing dissent. School children would be forced to enlist for
the national service. Already, ZANU PF supporters are reported to be
visiting schools where school children are brainwashed with party

In the run up to the March presidential elections, school activities were
disrupted as teachers and pupils were coerced to attend Mugabe's campaign
rallies. At a school in Zvimba, Mugabe's home area, teachers were forced to
flee after ZANU PF supporters pounced on them accusing them of being
sympathetic to the opposition.

Tsvangirai who has refused to accept minority power in the power sharing
deal insists the ministries should be shared equally and is demanding
control of the finance and home affairs ministries, a move resisted by
Mugabe's government.

Tsvangirai won the March presidential elections but was denied outright
victory after the final results were "rigged." The government delayed
announcing the election results, fuelling claims the votes were being
tempered with to deny the opposition outright victory.

Officials within the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission who threatened to uncover
the rigging process were abducted.

Zimbabwe is experiencing its worst economic woes since independence from
Britain in 1980. Mugabe blames Britain and America for his country's woes.
He has repeatedly accused the opposition of being British puppets.

In 2000, Mugabe embarked on the land distribution programme which analysts
say is to blame for the country's problems. More than 3,000 white commercial
farmers were chased from their land by Mugabe's supporters and war veterans.

Zimbabwe is also faced with a cholera outbreak which has claimed many lives
in urban areas. Independent sources say more than 100 lives have been lost
as a result of drinking contaminated water. Councils faced with cash
shortage have been failing to purify drinking water as there is no foreign
currency to purchase chemicals. Residents have resorted to digging wells
where they are drinking untreated water.

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Opposition cries foul in Zambian poll

November 1, 2008

LUSAKA, (Reuters) - Zambia's main opposition party asked officials on
Saturday to suspend release of further election results as its candidate's
lead over acting President Rupiah Banda became slimmer.

The Patriotic Front's formal request to Zambia's electoral commission came
several hours after PF leader Michael Sata accused officials of rigging the
vote to prevent him from ruling the mineral-rich southern African nation.

"We have genuine grounds on which not to accept these results," Given
Lubinda, a PF spokesman, told reporters in Lusaka. He added that there were
discrepancies between vote tallies and the number of voters on registration

Sata, a populist with strong support among workers and the poor, has been
alleging electoral fraud since shortly after the polls closed on Thursday.
He made the same charge when he lost the 2006 presidential election to late
President Levy Mwanawasa.

Mwanawasa died in August after suffering a stroke, triggering the election.
Zambia is Africa's largest copper producer and is one of the continent's
most stable countries, politically and economically.

Earlier on Saturday, Sata stormed into the Lusaka conference hall where
results were being announced and said: "I have evidence that results are
being inflated . They cheated me in 2006 and they want to do the same."

Preliminary results released on Saturday afternoon showed Sata with 666,194
votes versus 652,354 votes for Banda. The count was based on results from
137 of 150 constituencies. Some 3.9 million Zambians were registered to vote
in the poll.

With the bulk of ballots in Lusaka, a Sata stronghold, counted, it is
possible Banda could pull ahead when more votes from pro-government rural
areas are factored into the tally. The next set of results is expected at
around 1600 GMT.

Sata, popularly known as "King Cobra" for his political manoeuvring, renewed
his fraud accusations after election officials said the counting was
proceeding slowly.

"We are slow because we have to verify all the results," said Chris Akufuna,
a spokeswoman for the electoral commission.

Independent election monitors have noted some irregularities in the poll but
have stopped short of condemning the vote.

It is unclear what Sata and his supporters will do if Banda is declared the
winner. The PF leader has suggested several times since Thursday that he
will not accept any result that allows Banda to remain in office.

Zambia's army has been put on alert to prevent unrest and its army chief has
said he will not tolerate violence.

The winner faces the formidable task of matching Mwanawasa's strong record
of fiscal discipline, praised by Western donors and investors, and cracking
down on corruption, two rare successes in Africa.

The vote also is seen as a test of Zambia's commitment to multi-party
democracy, restored in 1990 after 18 years of one-party rule under Kenneth
Kaunda, but neither Banda nor Sata is expected to reshape the political
landscape dramatically.

Banda, who leads the Movement for Multi-Party Democracy, is hoping to
benefit from Zambia's relative prosperity as well as Mwanawasa's enduring
popularity. He has pledged to maintain the government's pro-business
policies if elected.

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Rioting breaks out in Zambia over vote

From The Sydney Morning Herald, 2 November

Rioting broke out in Zambia's capital overnight after it emerged that acting
president Rupiah Banda had overturned opposition leader Michael Sata's lead
in Thursday's presidential by-election with only a few results left to
count, reports said. With just two constituencies out of 150 in the southern
African country left to be announced, Banda, 71, the candidate of the ruling
Movement for Multi-Party Democracy, was poised to become president for the
next three years, replacing ex-leader Levy Mwanawasa, who died in August.
Sata, also 71, has accused electoral authorities of rigging in Banda's
favour and gone to court to demand that the count be stopped. "We will not
recognise Banda unless a court tells us why we should," a spokesman for
Sata's Patriotic Front, Given Lubinda, told South Africa's SAfm radio,
saying the party would demand a recount. Sata has complained of numerous
alleged irregularities during the vote. He claims voting continued in some
places while the first results were being announced, SAfm reported. African
observers gave the election a clean bill of health.

SAfm reported that sporadic rioting took place overnight in some poor
neighbourhoods of Lusaka after news of Sata's electoral setback trickled
through. Zambia's capital is a Sata stronghold while Banda is more popular
in rural areas. Sata, who is on his third attempt to become president, had
looked comfortably ahead at one point, while the rural votes were still
being counted. The Zambian army has been on alert since earlier this week
amid fears of violence in the event of a disputed outcome. In 2006, Sata's
initial refusal to accept his defeat at the hands of Mwanawasa sparked days
of rioting. Zambia is Africa's largest copper producer but 65 per cent of
the population live on less than $US1 a day. The global financial crisis has
loomed large over the election as fears of a worldwide recession drag down
prices for the commodity. Banda has promised to continue Mwanawasa's legacy
of prudent economic management, while cutting taxes on food and fuel. Sata
is promising to cut taxes and give Zambians a stake in foreign-owned mines.

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Mugabe off to Banda's inauguration

November 2, 2008

By Our Correspondent

HARARE - Zimbabwe's long serving ruler, President Robert Mugabe, left Harare
for Lusaka on Sunday to attend the inauguration of the incoming Zambian
President, Rupiah Banda, government officials confirmed.

Mugabe will be among several other regional leaders including President
Kgalema Motlanthe of South Africa, the new SADC chair, who are expected to
attend the ceremony.

Zambia's ruling party candidate Banda took a narrow lead over the
opposition, with official results declaring Banda substantive president. He
will serve until 2011 - when the late Levy Mwanawasa's term would have
ended. Opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai took a narrow lead in
presidential elections held in Zimbabwe on March 29.

He and Mugabe are still engaged in a tussle for power after the elderly
leader was inaugurated following a controversial election re-run on June 27.

Banda, who has been acting president since the death of Mwanawasa in August,
beat opposition leader Michael Sata in the weekend poll. Sata has rejected
the electoral outcome, saying "a bunch of thieves" stole the election.

His party, the Patriotic Front, said it would go to court to demand a

However, monitors from neighbouring countries unanimously insist the vote
was conducted in an open and transparent manner. Banda, a 71-year-ol former
diplomat, has promised to follow in the foot-steps of the former leader, who
succumbed to a stroke.

This is in sharp contrast to Mugabe's widely condemned one-man presidential
poll which was classified as a farce, although none of SADC's 14 member
states openly declared a position on the validity of Mugabe's presidential
claim, save for Botswana.

The only African leader to endorse Mugabe's fraudulent re-election is Gabon's
President Omar Bongo, who has ruled the oil-producing state since 1967 and
is the continent's longest serving head of state.

Mugabe, 84, has been Zimbabwe's only head of state since the country won its
independence from Britain in 1980, but came off second best in presidential
elections in March.

Mugabe will be witnessing the inauguration of Zambia's fourth president
since that country's independence; whereas the ageing Zanu-PF leader is the
only president Zimbabwe has ever known since independence. His reign has
been tainted by allegations of electoral rigging, economic mismanagement,
abuse of human rights, a total breakdown of law and order and political

In fact, the few election monitors permitted to observe the presidential
run-off on June 27 roundly condemned the outbreak of brutal political
violence ahead of the poll.

The African Union (AU) and the SADC observer missions monitoring the
election both condemned the poll as fraudulent.

While Banda's inauguration will be witnessed by several heads of State,
Mugabe's own inauguration in Harare on June 29 was boycotted by all SADC
heads of State. Mugabe was sworn in for a sixth term as Zimbabwe's President
just hours after electoral officials said he won the country's widely
condemned second election.

Government and Zanu-PF officials as well as the security chiefs gathered in
a red-carpeted tent as Mugabe swore to uphold Zimbabwe's laws. It was an
exact anti-thesis of the events that surrounded Mugabe's ascend to power in

Mugabe attends the inauguration of the Zambian president amid accusations by
the Movement for Democratic Change that he is backtracking on commitments
regarding the composition of the new cabinet and the extent of power-sharing
in government position as agreed in a power-sharing deal brokered by former
South Africa President Thabo Mbeki in September.

An emergency summit of regional leaders failed last week to resolve the
stand-off over the sharing of cabinet posts. The matter was referred to a
full SADC summit - likely to be held in South Africa.

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Security forces in meltdown

Police, army and prison services hit by mass resignations

A secret internal memorandum, sent from the Central Intelligence
Organisation (CIO) and addressed to the ministers of State Security,
Defence, Home Affairs and Justice, and shown to me this week, is warning
that the normal trickle of resignations from the security forces has turned
into a torrent.

The memo, tagged "urgent", reveals that more than 3,500 security personnel
have resigned already this year, but thousands more are expected to go over
the next two months, in protest over pay and conditions.

The memo also suggests that junior army officers are leaving because they
are not happy with the way President Mugabe is "using them to cling on to
power".  It goes on: "The junior officers are complaining that they continue
to earn very little... Most have been heard complaining that they cannot
afford to buy basics, yet their superiors drive expensive cars and enjoy
various perks from the government."

A senior Harare police officer confirmed that similar problems were
increasing in the police force. The officer, who works for the discharges
section of the ZRP, said: "More than 1,000 non-commissioned officers will
leave by December 31, most of them aged under 30."

He went on: "They have complaints about their accommodation, their pay, and
even their uniforms, which come in such strange sizes that they make the
officers a laughing stock. Basically they have lost patience with the

I tried to get an official comment from Assistant Commissioner Wayne
Bvudzijene, but had no luck. "I do not know what you are talking about," he
said - and switched off his mobile phone.

Currently Zimbabwe has about 40,000 soldiers, 30,000 police officers, 20,000
prison officers and 15,000 CIO officers. In a normal country, the continued
loss of security personnel would be a cause for concern. Here, one more
resignation means one less uniformed oppressor.

Keep those resignations coming, lads!

Posted on Sunday, 02 November 2008 at 10:06

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Zimbabwe Vigil Diary - 1st November 2008

A soaking Vigil saw us crowded under the tarpaulin all afternoon, singing
and dancing to keep warm. Despite the rain, people still stopped to sign our
petitions, though with the end of British Summer Time, it was dark well
before the Vigil ended.

Vigil supporters were shocked by the murder of Osborne Kachuru of our
partner organisation Restoration of Human Rights in Zimbabwe (ROHR). He was
beaten to death at ZANU PF's offices in Fourth Street, Harare, after a
peaceful demonstration during the SADC talks on Monday. We are told that the
Zanu PF political commissar Eliot Manyika was responsible and the Vigil
swears to leave no stone unturned to make sure he eventually faces justice.

As we feared (see last diary) the SADC meeting yielded nothing.  The
deceitful SADC communiqué falsely claimed that the only point of dispute in
the power-sharing talks was who would hold the Home Affairs Ministry. It is
clear that the Troika was only interested in bullying the MDC and keeping
Mugabe in power.

The Vigil has little confidence that a SADC Summit will take a different
view even though Botswana, Zambia and Tanzania are likely to be less cowed
by Mugabe. It was thought the one ray of light from the Harare meeting was
that the new South African leadership seems to be aware of the desperate
situation in Zimbabwe.  We look to them to force Mugabe to honour the
power-sharing agreement and, if he doesn't, support the call by Botswana for
new elections.

We were sad to hear of the death of Vigil supporter Tapiwa Machemwa in a
hospital in Wolverhampton. She was only 29 and left a 4-year-old child.  We
observed a minute's silence followed by a prayer from Rugare Chifungo. We
also took a collection for funeral expenses.

Happier news came from Caroline Witts who comes to the Vigil all the way
from Devon and sells for Vigil funds eco-friendly hessian bags advertising
the Vigil.  She sent two of these to the Archbishop of York, John Sentamu,
who has show great concern for Zimbabwe. She received a letter from him
saying "The people of Zimbabwe continue to be in my prayers, and I thank you
too for all your work and concern."

The Vigil message continues to spread. A Canadian group has contacted us
with a view to working together and our attention was also drawn to a
picture of the Vigil in a Guatemalan newspaper. While we are thinking of
South America, a group of Venezuelans stopped by. They said they knew what
was happening in Zimbabwe - and complained that their President was "just
the same"!

Finally, we are pleased to announce that the new ROHR website
( is now live thanks to the hard work of David
McAllister who is also working to refresh the Vigil website.

For latest Vigil pictures check:

FOR THE RECORD: 103 signed the register.

·   Central London Zimbabwe Forum. Monday, 3rd November at 7.30 pm.
Tahera Patel, solicitor at Copperstone Solicitors, will talk about asylum
issues. Venue: Downstairs at 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.
·   Next Glasgow Vigil. Saturday, 8th November 2008, 2 - 6 pm. Venue:
Argyle Street Precinct. For more information contact: Patrick Dzimba, 07990
724 137.
·   ROHR meeting in Coventry. Saturday, 8th November 2008, 13.30 -
17.30 pm. Venue: Jassy Mood, 18 Gosford Street, Coventry, CV1 5DL. For more
information contact Nashe 07788 560 068, Sam 07861 206 785, Christine 07958
560 094 or P Mapfumo on 07932 216 070 or 07533 831 617.
·   Zimbabwe Association's Women's Weekly Drop-in Centre. Fridays
10.30 am - 4 pm. Venue: The Fire Station Community and ICT Centre, 84 Mayton
Street, London N7 6QT, Tel: 020 7607 9764. Nearest underground: Finsbury
Park. For more information contact the Zimbabwe Association 020 7549 0355
(open Tuesdays and Thursdays).

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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Sikhala Likens Mugabe To a Terrorist

HARARE, November 2 2008 - Former MDC legislator for St Mary's
constituency, Job Sikhala, has likened President Robert Mugabe to Afghan
terrorist, Osama Bin Laden.

"There is no doubt that Mugabe is a terrorist. He is like Bin Laden,"
Sikhala told a full house at a New Zimbabwe Lecture Series talk forum on
Thursday evening.

Just like the fugitive Bin Laden, Sikhala said, Mugabe uses terror to
prevail over his political rivals.

"They are both terrorists. They trust terror as an instrument of
political organization. There is no doubt in Africa that nobody can infuse
fear into people more than Robert Mugabe. The international community must
realise that there is an Osama Bin Laden in Zimbabwe in the form of Robert
Mugabe,"he said.

Sikhala, who in March lost his seat to Marvelous Khumalo of the rival
MDC faction led by Morgan Tsvangirai, said the MDC has been defeating Mugabe
and his Zanu PF since its formation in 1999 - but the 84 year old leader has
retained an iron grip on his rule through terror.

The militant former legislator has been tortured on several occasions
by security agents in Zimbabwe.

He has also escaped alleged assassination attempts by Mugabe's
supporters during campaigns to drum up support for MDC candidates in past

Mugabe, in power since independence in 1980, is accused of unleashing
his North Korean trained Fifth Brigade to massacre the then opposition
leader Dr Joshua Nkomo's supporters in the western Matebeleland provinces
during the 1980s.

More than 20 000 mostly Ndebele people are reported to have died
during the holocaust.

The Zimbabwean leader was almost pushed out of office in 2000 and 2002
when a united MDC curtailed his party's parliamentary dominance by winning
57 seats within a year of its formation.

Mugabe came under intense international censure when he unleashed
former fighters of the 1970s war of liberation to expropriate and
redistribute land, formerly owned by white farmers in a bid to win support
among Zimbabwe's rural poor.

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African problems require African solutions

November 1, 2008

By Sibangani Sibanda

TUCKED away at the end of an alleyway behind an industrial complex in the
heavy industrial sites in Harare are the offices of a small, barely known
milling company, whose main business is to mill maize into mealie-meal which
makes sadza, the staple food for probably 99 percent of Zimbabweans.

To say this company is barely known is probably not quite accurate because
over the past two weeks, the proprietors have been turning away customers,
ranging from ordinary mothers desperately seeking mealie-meal to feed their
families, to members of the Zimbabwe uniformed services looking to place
bulkier orders for both their canteens and their homes.

For the last two weeks or so, this apparently nondescript company has had to
tell the customers that they are waiting for their government allocated
supplies to be delivered - their trucks are parked at the Government-owned
Grain Marketing Board (GMB) depot, but are not being loaded.

So bad is the situation that even the employees of this company - whose
major "peck" is that they get allocations of mealie meal for their homes and
for their canteen at work - have run out. They too now have to ask their
employer every day when the next truckload of maize is due to arrive.

On the day that I visited the premises of this company, also looking for
this once-abundant commodity, a headline in The Herald (a newspaper that,
daily, makes me glad that I am not a journalist - because being a journalist
would mean that I would be bracketed in the same profession as the people
responsible for this rather sad excuse for a national newspaper) catches my
attention. Apparently, the Minister of Agriculture believes that
Non-Governmental Organizations (who, among other things, spend a lot of time
in remote areas and have intimate knowledge of the food situation in the
country) are misrepresenting the food situation in the country.

It is not as bad as they are making it out to be. Is the man blind or just
plain stupid? If anything, the endless talks about the so-called Government
of National Unity (GNU) have shifted people's focus and the calamity that
Zimbabwe is faced with is actually being understated.

The front page of the same newspaper has another interesting headline. South
Africa, having promised to supply Zimbabwe with farming inputs, had sent a
team into the country to assess the situation. I found this interesting
because it immediately suggested (to my, admittedly, rather fertile
imagination) a possible reason why the trucks were not coming out of the GMB
depot. Our government wants to show the South Africans that there is some
food in store. By not distributing food for a couple of weeks, the stock
levels will look better than they actually are when the South Africans come
calling! How callous and unfeeling can a government get? To starve its own
people so that they look good to the outside world!

A few days earlier, on a South African television program, someone suggested
that Zimbabwe was facing a famine of Ethiopian proportions. Those who
remember that famine in the 1980's (the one made famous by Bob Geldoff et
al), will recall that the Ethiopian government then had tried to hide the
enormity of their problem from the world. The result of this was that help
came too late for far too many Ethiopians, and the image of Ethiopia as a
country is etched in most people's minds as the country with the walking

Ironically, Mengistu Haile Mariam, the leader of that Ethiopian government
is enjoying hunger-free exile in Zimbabwe as we speak. Could he possibly be
advising the Zimbabwe government on how to handle such situations?

Of course the other story that is not being told is how woefully short
Zimbabwe is of the inputs required for farmers to produce this coming
season, which is now on top of us.

The scene at the small milling company is being replicated at various places
throughout the country, as farmers are looking to source fertilizer and seed
(which are now being sold in American dollars), fuel and spares for their
tractors, mealie meal for their labour and so on. I find myself constantly
asking the question, "Do African politicians ever admit failure?" Come to
think of it, do politicians anywhere in the world ever admit failure? It
seems to me that politicians always have to be dragged away kicking and
screaming (literally in some countries and figuratively in others) before
they give up what they seem to believe is their right to ruin everyone else's

This may explain why the illustrious men that lead the SADC countries are
reluctant to admit that the agreement that they witnessed so
enthusiastically in August has failed. They would much rather keep flying
all over the region to attend meaningless meetings at the expense of some of
the poorest tax payers in the world than admit that they witnessed a bad
agreement that cannot in any way be implemented.

But having told the rest of the world to butt out because this is an African
problem requiring African solutions, what other choice do they have but to
soldier on. In time they may get to understand that problems of bad
governance are not continent specific. Neither are their solutions.

I for one remain haunted by the memory of the walking skeletons of Ethiopia.
I fear that no amount of high-powered talks by not-so-high-powered leaders
will save Zimbabwe now. Our fate, as the saying goes, is sealed.

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ZCTF Report: Tatenda meets Shanu

2nd November 2008
In our September report, we mentioned that Tatenda was soon to be released into the main Imire Game Park where he was going to be introduced to Shanu, the 4 year old female rhino. We are delighted to report now that the meeting was successful. Tatenda and Shanu are very happy together.
It was with great trepidation that John and Judy Travers and the rhino handlers walked through the bush one day 3 weeks ago with Tatenda to the main game park to introduce him to Shanu. Hogwash was of course part of the entourage. Having been together from birth, Tatenda and Hogwash are inseparable.
Tatenda and Hog went into a large enclosure while the handlers went to call Shanu. It was decided that it would be safer to introduce them to each other with a fence separating them just in case something went wrong. Shanu approached the fence and Tatenda was very surprised to see her as he had never seen another rhino before. He went up to Shanu and the rhinos kissed each other through the fence. It was love at first sight!
                    FIRST TIME
Hogwash also approached the fence to see what all the excitement was about. The Travers have tried to introduce Hogwash to the other warthogs in the game park but they were not quite as enthusiastic to meet him as Shanu was to meet Tatenda.
Satisfied that the two rhinos were not going to fight, the Travers opened the gate of the enclosure so they could become better acquainted and they took to each other immediately.
                                TATENDA AND SHANU
Tatenda and Hogwash have learnt how to drink milk out of a large bowl but they still love drinking from a bottle. We compared a photo of the first time Judy and her daughter, Sam bottle-fed them to a recent photo and were amazed at how they have grown in a year.
            OCTOBER 2007                                             OCTOBER 2008
Baby rhinos drink milk from their mothers until the age of two and as Tatenda is an orphan, he still needs his special milk supply for another year so last week, I did another trip to South Africa to collect 150kg of milk powder and 500kg of game cubes. The game cubes are a very important part of his diet because they are full of vitamins and nutrients and they also help his teeth to grow properly. Thanks very much to Laureen Bertin who placed the orders so I was able to collect everything and bring it back without delay and a big thank you to Don and Felicity Hornsby who once again provided me with free accommodation.
                  OFFLOADING                                MILK AND GAME CUBES
We then went into the game park to visit Tatenda, Hog and Shanu and found them on their way down to the mud bath.
Tsotsi the little hyena is feeling a bit lost now that Tatenda and Hog have moved to the main game park - he was having so much fun terrorizing them but Judy takes him along when she goes to visit them.
     LONG TIME NO SEE                                       TATENDA IN THE MUD
Karrie Kern, Chief Executive Officer of the United States operations branch of the Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force went to a hockey match recently where the El Paso Rhinos hockey team were playing. After the match, she stopped by the team's bus, admiring the picture of a rhino on the bodywork. She struck up a conversation with the Head Coach, Cory Herman and told him about Tatenda. She jokingly suggested the El Paso Rhinos adopt Tatenda as a mascot and Cory thought it was a great idea. He promised to consult his board of directors on the subject.
We are  now very proud and delighted to announce that the El Paso Rhinos hockey team in America has very kindly offered to adopt Tatenda. This does not mean they will be physically taking him to America, but that they will be paying for his food until he is weaned and any expenses that may arise thereafter. We are extremely grateful to them for this wonderful gesture and we are very encouraged that the sporting fraternity has taken such an interest in wildlife in Zimbabwe. We will be sending regular video footage and photos of Tatenda to Cory which he will be putting on the El Paso Rhinos' websites, and so anybody who wants to see these videos and photos will soon be able to see them on these websites. We would like to wish the El Paso Rhinos the best of luck and we are sure they will be unbeatable having a mascot like Tatenda.
Our heartfelt gratitude to Jude and Kaye Price of Australia who very kindly donated a very nice digital camera to us. This has come just in time to supply the El Paso Rhinos with the photos they need for their website. Just for your information, Jude and Kaye, the photos in this report were taken with the new camera.
We would also like to express our appreciation to Anne Moore who has written a book titled "Tatenda" and offered to donate 25 UK pence towards Tatenda's upkeep for every copy of her book that is sold. The book is about her experiences during her lifetime career in Zimbabwe National Parks and co-incidentally has the same title as our rhino, Tatenda. The book is on sale in most bookshops in the UK and can also be purchased online by going into one of the following websites: or .
A big thank you to Priscilla Feratter-Mora of Philadelphia who assisted us with funds by purchasing a painting from our website and thank you to the following people who have assisted with funds and/or fuel:
John and Helen Buckle
Paula and Ernest Blomkamp
Wolfgang Jobst
Wendy Davis
Jerry and Billie Bryant
Rita Nicols
Sue Ryan
Vic Schroeder
Alan Cooper
Bev Clark
Tony and Patricia Holland
Jill Cocco
Neil Okrent
Andre Morkel
Johnny Rodrigues
Chairman for Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force
Landline:        263 4 336710
Landline/Fax: 263 4 339065
Mobile:           263 11 603 213

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