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Roy Bennett indicted and sent to prison

By Violet Gonda
14 October 2009

Once again MDC official Roy Bennett has been placed in the firing line,
further testing the validity of the Zimbabwe justice system under the power
sharing government. On Wednesday Mutare Provincial Magistrate Lucy Mungwari
delivered a judgment against the MDC Deputy Minister for Agriculture
designate, committing him to prison pending trial in the High Court. The MDC
official's trial is expected to start in Mutare on Monday where the High
Court will be conducting its Circuit Court.

Many friends and supporters had said he should flee the country, and now the
former commercial farmer has been indicted on the highly spurious grounds
and he finds himself back in prison. Many are now looking to see what the
MDC reaction will be.

A human rights lawyer, who was at the magistrates court in Mutare said:
"Clearly there is a lot of fear and there is a lot of pressure that has been
brought to bear on Magistrate Mungwari. The previous Magistrate who ruled in
favour of Bennett in the same matter was committed to prison and arrested at
some point. So we believe there is a lot of fear and clearly political
interference. This really was a kangaroo court, and also the MDC remains
powerless to deal with these issues."

The MDC Treasurer General was also committed to prison even though the State's
papers were not in order and the defence team had not been furnished with
the indictment papers. Observers in the courtroom said it was also
unfortunate that Bennett's lead counsel, Beatrice Mtetwa was not in court on
Wednesday. The feisty lawyer was tied up with another case back in Harare -
defending human rights lawyer Alex Muchadehama, who is facing dubious
charges of contempt of court in a separate case concerning a group of MDC
officials who were abducted by the State last year.

Bennett's other lawyer Trust Maanda raised the issue of not being served
with the indictment papers but the magistrate said she could not look into
that because she had 'neither the capacity nor the authority.' The
Magistrate instructed Maanda to raise the issue in the High Court. Analysts
say this demonstrates that ZANU PF is not serious about restoring the rule
of law, and the justice system.

After the verdict Bennett told family and friends that he was greatly
disappointed and that his party is a 'let down because they have no power.'
He said this was because 'those who are ruling' are the ones who have
committed him to prison on fabricated charges.

The list of abuses inflicted on the one time commercial farmer is extensive.
His problems started when he became the first white opposition MP for the
former ZANU PF stronghold of Chimanimani in 2000. He has had his Charleswood
Estate farm seized and property destroyed by war veterans, soldiers and ZANU
PF zealots. Some of his farm workers have been killed, raped and displaced.
His wife, Heather, suffered a miscarriage because of the immense stress
resulting from the disturbances and violations.

In June 2005, Bennett was released from Chikurubi Maximum Security Prison
after spending nearly a year there for pushing a ZANU PF minister in
parliament. In prison he was subjected to inhuman and degrading treatment,
including standing naked in front of prison guards and being made to wear a
prison uniform covered with human excrement.

In 2006 Bennett was accused of plotting to kill Robert Mugabe, he fled the
country to South Africa where he was granted refugee status. The MDC
official returned to Zimbabwe when the coalition government was formed in
2008, after he had been given assurances by senior officials in the South
African government that it was safe for him to return to Zimbabwe. But the
MDC Deputy Minister for Agriculture designate was arrested shortly after his
return to Zimbabwe in February and on the day the new government was sworn

Meanwhile Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and Finance Minister Tendai Biti
are expected to address a press conference on Thursday to address various
issues including the latest developments involving Bennett.

A statement sent by the party late afternoon said Bennett's imprisonment was
'provocative and unacceptable,' and is yet another serious attack on the
credibility of the inclusive government.

"As a party, we know that Bennett is innocent. The banditry charges are
trumped-up, and they poison the letter and spirit of the inclusive
government and the Global Political Agreement. This latest action is
deliberately provocative, unnecessary and motivated by hatred of a
personality. The MDC takes this matter as a serious attack on the integrity
and honesty of the party; it is not acceptable and will not be taken
lightly," said the MDC statement.

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Muchadehama's trial opens in Harare

By Tichaona Sibanda
14 October 2009

Prominent human rights lawyer Alec Muchadehama pleaded not guilty to charges
of contempt of court on the first day of his trial in Harare.

The state case against Muchadehama is that he allegedly connived with
Constance Gambara, a clerk to High Court Judge Chinembiri Bhunu to
'unlawfully release' on bail political detainees from police custody.

Muchadehama, who has been handling high profile political cases, denies the
charges and describes them as an attempt by the state to stop him defending
human rights.

"It's a price I'm paying for defending human rights abuses in the country,"
said Muchadehama, adding; "I'm here today (Wednesday) but I should have been
in Murehwa defending a victim of abuse by ZANU PF."

The state alleges that in April this year, Muchadehama unlawfully
facilitated 'the improper release' of three political detainees, Andrison
Manyere from Chikurubi Maximum Prison, as well as Gandhi Mudzingwa and
Kisimusi Dhlamini who were under hospital detention at the Avenues Clinic.

Mudzingwa is a former aide to Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and Chris
Dhlamini is the Director of Security for the MDC, whilst Manyere is a
freelance journalist. Prior to this, the trio had been in police custody
since 2008 following their abduction by state security agents.

Muchadehama, who is being represented by another leading human rights lawyer
Beatrice Mtetwa has won several international awards for his work in
defending and promoting human rights in Zimbabwe.

"They just want me here (court) on trumped up charges to make sure I'm not
representing people. This is a false accusation which my defence team will
crush in court," he said.

The state has lined up eight witnesses to give evidence against Muchadehama.
Only one witness, a law officer from the Attorney-General's office gave
evidence before the trial was adjourned and postponed to next week Thursday.

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The state will continue to line up witnesses for Alec Muchadehama

Written by Privilege Musvanhiri
Wednesday, 14 October 2009 17:39
Harare.The trial of human rights lawyer Alec Muchadehama  will proceed
next week with the state expected to line up more witnesses.

The case was adjourned Monday after a brief hearing at the Harare
magistrate court.
Lawyer representing Muchadehama Denford Halimani of told journalists
that the matter has been adjourned to October 22.
"The state will continue to line up witnesses. They are a number of
witnesses to be lined up maybe five or seven.  We still have a long way to
go before the case is finalised. We hope some of the witnesses will not have
much to say if we are to go by the statements we have," Halimani said.
Halimani said, "There is a difference of opinion. The state thinks
that seven days is seven straight days including public holidays and
weekends. The basis of the state is that my client facilitated the release
of the people before the expiry of seven working days."
He added that it is defence's opinion that the state does not have a
good case.
"People cannot be detained for a long time because of a technicality
of public holidays," he said.
Muchadehama is accused of having secured, in collusion with Constance
Gambara, the Clerk of the High Court Judge Justice Chinembiri Bhunu, the
"unlawful release" on bail of freelance photo-journalist Andrison Manyere,
and two MDC-T members on April 17 last year, detained following their
abduction by state security agents in 2008.
The state alleges that Muchadehama "unlawfully and intentionally
impaired the dignity, reputation or authority of a court or realising that
there was real risk or possibility of impairing the dignity, reputation or
authority of a court" by causing the release of the three abductees while he
was aware of Justice Bhunu's judgment in which he granted the state leave to
appeal against an earlier bail order by Justice Charles Hungwe.
Muchadehama was arrested last April by Law and Order police officers
at the Rotten Row Magistrates Court on allegations of obstructing the course
of justice.
In July state prosecutors failed to nail Muchadehama on the contempt
of court charges after Harare Magistrate Munamato Mutevedzi described the
performance of prosecutors as "nonsense and ineptitude of the worst type".
Muchadehama was arrested last April by Law and Order police officers at
the Rotten Row Magistrates Court on allegations of obstructing the course of
In July state prosecutors failed to nail Muchadehama on the contempt
of court charges after Harare Magistrate Munamato Mutevedzi described the
performance of prosecutors as "nonsense and ineptitude of the worst type".

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Court hearing of Williams and Mahlangu postponed to 15 October 2009

Written by The Zimbabwean
Wednesday, 14 October 2009 17:45
Press statement from Women of Zimbabwe Arise 14th October 2009 Court
hearing of Williams and Mahlangu postponed to 15 October 2009
WOZA leaders, Jenni Williams and Magodonga Mahlangu, were due to
appear in Bulawayo Magistrate's Court this morning for the ongoing saga of
their arrest on 16 October 2008.

The matter has been postponed until tomorrow, 15 October, however as
the clerk of the court who is holding their file was not available. Their
file is considered to be too sensitive to be held with other court documents
and is apparently being kept by a senior clerk of the court who has it
locked away.
Although their case was due to be heard at 8.30 this morning, the
clerk was not available to present the file.

The full panel of Supreme Court judges had met to consider the case on
4th June and had given a verbal ruling before they reserved judgement that
the two women had been unlawfully arrested and that they should be looking
to indict the arresting officers. The state had conceded in their response
that the arrest on 16th October 2008 had indeed been unlawful. Judge
Chidyausiku undertook to provide the written ruling before 7th July. Despite
the fact that several requests have been made to the Supreme Court
requesting the ruling, the written ruling has not yet been received.

Magodonga Mahlangu and WOZA are the recipients of the 2009 Robert F.
Kennedy Human Rights Award. The Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Award
was established in 1984 to honour courageous and innovative human rights
defenders throughout the world who stand up against injustice.

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Fort Hare Uni says axed students engaged in politics

By Lance Guma
14 October 2009

A spokesman for Fort Hare University in South Africa has confirmed that
around 12 Zimbabwean students were removed from Mugabe's Presidential
Scholarship programme because they engaged in politics. Minenzima Vusani
claimed the programme had a clause barring students from being involved in
any political activity in a foreign country.

"This condition, among others, is a cornerstone of the programme since 1995
when it began at the university and it has been emphasised to new and old
students to maintain cohesion and oneness among beneficiaries and to protect
the image and integrity of our institution," he told the ZimOnline website.

MDC SA spokesman Sibanengi Dube however told Newsreel on Wednesday there was
no such clause in the contract signed by the students. He accused Abyssinia
Mushunje, a Zimbabwean lecturer at the university tasked with running the
programme on the ground, of being behind the victimisation of pro-MDC
students. Mushunje for example wrote a letter to the mother of one of the
axed students, Blessing Tsiga. In it he complained that 'your daughter is
one of the ring leaders of the MDC grouping and yet ZANU PF gave her the
scholarship to study in South Africa.'

Dube meanwhile told us the university is already demanding R51 000 from each
student for the semester even though they have evidence the scholarship fund
had already paid for the entire year. On Monday the university sent letters
to the students telling them of the withdrawal of funding and demanded
payment of fees by the 13th of October.

Student leaders say there are over 1000 students from Zimbabwe on the
Presidential Scholarship scheme. A recent MDC rally at the university
attracted around 600 scholarship students, and there are worries they too
might be targeted for attending.

Dube said they had exchanged communications over the matter with Fort Hare
University Vice Chancellor Dr. Tom Vuyo but he insisted there was nothing
the university could do since the scholarship fund is the one that made the
decision to withdraw funding and not the university. Meanwhile the axed
students have had their meal cards cancelled and accommodation withdrawn.
Dube expressed disappointment with local NGO's for not being active in

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Lawlessness rife as military shoots at police during football match

Spokesperson defends the lawless soldiers
 Wednesday 14 October 2009 / by Alice Chimora

Zimbabwean soldiers upped their lawlessness after seven soldiers led by a
lieutenant armed with assault rifles stormed a soccer pitch and shot a
policeman who they accused of snatching their colleagues girlfriend. The
incident took place on Sunday at Dingumuzi Stadium in Plumtree, south of
Witnesses said the police officer, who is now fighting for dear life at
Plumtree Hospital, was caught in a cross-fire. The soldiers, reportedly,
from the 1.3 Infantry Battalion, situated in Plumtree town are still
carrying on with business as usual as none of them had been arrested Tuesday

The region's police spokesman, Assistant Inspector Trust Ndlovu confirmed
the incident but refused to release more information. However, witnesses
said the seven soldiers entered the stadium, as the referee was about to
start the second half in a match between Border Kings and a police outfit,
Red Swallows.

"The soldiers told the referee that they wanted to deal with a player from
Border Kings whom they accused of beating up their colleague in a fight over
a girlfriend. However, the members of the police playing for Red Swallows
blocked the soldiers from taking the man with them and they went away," said
a witness.

But the match proceeded to full time and just as the players were changing
from their kits soldiers invaded the pitch. "Some of them used the gate to
the stadium while others jumped over the fence. Sensing danger the man that
the soldiers were looking for ran towards the police team to get
protection," said the witness.

The soldiers who were initially led by a lieutenant assaulted the referee
with a belt before proceeding to surround the police football team while
pointing cocked guns at them. "The lieutenant was armed with a CZ pistol
while the others pointed AK rifles to the team members. They demanded that
the police team hand over the person they had come for but the police told
them that they had the constitutional right to arrest the person if he had
committed any crime," said the witness.

At that point the lieutenant reportedly got furious and fired a shot in the
air while three other soldiers fired on the ground. "It is after the
shooting that they realised that one of the officers had been hit with a
bullet. This did not deter them as they threatened to shoot if the police
made any attempt to arrest any of them," said the witness.

He also added that the officer who was shot had just come out of the field
and was seated on the ground, removing his boots. When the shots were fired,
the soccer players and supporters scurried for cover. The soldiers are
however said to have fled when angry members of the public regained their
composure and confronted them over the shooting.

One Brigade public relations officer, Lieutenant Richard Mhizha confirmed
the incident but denied that the soldiers were on a mission to shoot and
kill. "It is not true that the soldiers had intentions of killing. It was an
accidental discharge, a ricochet like," said Lt Mhizha. "If it was an aimed
shot as some people are alleging then we could be talking of something else.
I also want to make it clear that there is no bad blood between the soldiers
and the police. Our relations are excellent."

Zimbabwe soldiers are notorious of ganging up on civilian's every time any
of their colleagues are involved in quarrels in the suburbs.

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Setback for Ordinary Level Students

14 October 2009

Harare - Prospective Ordinary Level students who wanted to sit for practical
examinations this year might have to wait until next year after they failed
to register on time.

Other candidates have already sat for practical subjects such as fashion and
fabrics, woodwork, food and nutrition and building.

Yesterday, a Zimbabwe School Examinations Council official said despite the
extended registration deadline, those who wanted to sit for practical exams
might have to wait until next year because their colleagues had already been

Education, Sport, Arts and Culture Minister David Coltart could not comment
on what would happen to the students but instead referred the question to
Zimsec management.

He said as far as he was concerned, public exams had not yet commenced.

"As far as I know public examinations are yet to start because the
candidates are still registering. If they have written you can get in touch
with Zimsec who are the administering body of these examinations," he said.

A Zimsec source said Government had not given any directive stopping the
practical exams and hence they had gone ahead.

He said it would cost the exams body "a lot of money and time" to re-do the
exams for those who had not yet registered.

Practical subjects are traditionally written earlier than the theory papers.

Few candidates paid their exam fees on time, with some schools recording
less than three candidates for the examinable practical subjects on offer.

Zimsec spokesperson Mr Ezekiel Pasipamire confirmed that some students had
sat for the practicals but referred all other questions to his director, Mr
Happy Ndanga. Repeated calls to Mr Ndanga went unanswered yesterday.

Government earlier announced an extension on registration to Ocotber 16 and
said parents could pay exam fees in instalments.

This was after teachers' unions had said about 70 percent of students had
failed to register for the public exams.

Minister Coltart put the ministry's estimate at "slightly over 50 percent".

Yesterday Zimsec officials said the pace of registration was still slow
though they would only have substantive statistics next week.

One school in Matabeleland had recorded zero percent O-Level registration
two weeks ago.

Unconfirmed statistics show that practical subjects had the lowest
registration levels this year.

This year's examination fees have been pegged at US$20 and US$10 per subject
for A-Level and O-Level papers respectively.
Parents and guardians have said the figures are beyond their reach.

The most affected are students in the rural areas whose parents struggle to
make ends meet.

On average O-Level candidates sit for eight subjects with A-Level
examination candidates taking three.

Lack of clear communication from the ministry and Zimsec has seen some
teachers in high-density suburbs of Harare and surrounding areas such as
Goromonzi, Seke, Norton and Beatrice expressing ignorance of the latest
directive by Government on exam registration.

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International intervention critical to save Zim agriculture: Ben Freeth

By Alex Bell
14 October 2009

Beleaguered Chegutu farmer Ben Freeth on Wednesday said the intervention of
international nations, such as the United States is now critical to save the
future of Zimbabwean agriculture.

Freeth travelled to Washington last week to appeal in person to the Barack
Obama administration, to pressure the Zimbabwe government to stop the
ongoing seizures of commercial land. Speaking from New York on Wednesday he
explained that he has been left with no choice but to take his fight
overseas, 'where people still believe in respect for the rule of law.'

Freeth has written four times to Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai pleading
for him to intervene in the wave of farm invasions that have in the past
year resulted in the forced seizure of more than 80 farms. The farm attacks
have left tens of thousands of farm workers without jobs and homes, while at
the same time absolutely no food is being produced, despite the country
still facing a critical food crisis. But Freeth's pleas have fallen on deaf
ears and Tsvangirai has done nothing to intervene despite the worsening
situation on farms across the country. Freeth insists that, "Tsvangirai
could at least be calling for action. He doesn't seem interested in doing
anything to get the rule of law respected".

In desperation he decided to take his case to Washington, where he spent
last Friday on Capitol Hill telling his story to legislators. He has also
met with key NGOs in both Washington and New York, trying to spread the word
that the crisis in Zimbabwe is far from over. He expressed frustration that
so many people in the US still believe that the crisis in the country is
under control because of Prime Minister Tsvangirai's induction in
government, but he said awareness about the true situation is growing.

Freeth has come under severe intimidation and attack for remaining on his
Mount Carmel farm, and most recently his home, his parents-in-law's home and
the homes of his workers, were burned down in a suspected arson attack.
Freeth and his father-in-law Mike Campbell were then threatened with arrest
in connection with weapons stockpiling charges, after explosions were heard
on the Mount Carmel property the week following the devastating fires. All
this has formed part of the ongoing offensive against Freeth and his family
to force them off the farm, but Freeth has remained resilient.

Last year, Freeth and his parents-in-law were abducted and severely beaten
on the day that Robert Mugabe was announced the winner of the farcical
one-man Presidential run-off election in June. Freeth, his family and his
workers have since endured months of intimidation and harassment by farm
invaders, working for ZANU PF top official Nathan Shamuyarira. The
intimidation continued, regardless of the formation of the unity government
in February. In April some of Freeth's staff were arrested and severely
beaten when they tried to defend the farm against the land invaders. His
in-laws, Mike and Angela Campbell also fled the farm months ago because of
the constant stress of the harassment by the land invaders.

The invaders meanwhile have completely taken over the farm, destroying and
looting property and plundering the farm produce for personal gain. All the
attacks have been reported to the Chegutu police who have repeatedly refused
to aid Freeth and his family. Freeth has also written urgent letters to
Prime Minister Tsvangirai pleading for the unity government's intervention,
but the pleas have apparently fallen on deaf ears.

Despite promises by the unity government to encourage food production on
farms, there still has been no effort to stop the attacks that have left the
community reeling. The government has instead been at pains to dismiss the
farm invasions as isolated 'disturbances,' which Tsvangirai said were blown
out of proportion by the media.

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ZBC Female Journalists Labelled Prostitutes

Harare, October 14, 2009 - Zimbabwe Broadcasting Holdings Chief
Executive Officer Happison Muchechetere has branded his female journalists
who are complaining to have been sexually abused by senior managers as

Muchechetere said in a telephone interview with Radio VOP that the
allegations by ZBC female employees alleging to have been sexually abused
were unfounded and malicious.

"...those ladies who are telling you those stories are prostitutes and
they are here for that business. I do not care. If  they were genuinely
sexually abused they should  have approached the Public Relations  and Human
Resources Departments that  handles complaints before talking to the  media.
We have proper channels of dealing with such issues," he said. "I am not
interested in commenting onrumours you can write that to your rumour
mongering publications, which want to disturb our digitisation programme"
said Muchechetere.

The ZBC chief recently barred female employees from wearing
miniskirts, a move meant to reduce the risk of sexual abuse by their male

Although Muchechetere was trying to protect his senior managers,
sources within the station's Human Resources Department said a board of
enquiry had been set to probe the allegations.

Tarzan Mandizvidza, News and Current Affairs Manager and O'Brian
Rwafa( Reporters manager) were said to be some  of the many managers under
investigation by the Broadcasting  station's Human Resources Department
headed byBenania Shumba, over sex  scandals.

 Rwafa is accused of impregnating a student intern, while several
complaints have also been raised against Mandizvidza who  two years ago
divorced his wife in order to co-habitate with his then current affairs
production assistant.

Last week the Federation of African Media Women Zimbabwe (FAMZ) called
for the setting up of an independent commission of enquiry to investigate
the alleged sex scandals at ZBC, saying the organisation which represents
female media workers in the country, had received numerous reports of cases
of sexual abuse at ZBC.

Meanwhile Zimbabwe Tourism Authority boss and former top ranking
military officer, Karikoga Kaseke on Tuesday threatened a journalist with
unspecified action before chasing him out of the press conference he was
addressing for asking him what the country was doing to woo the British
tourists back into the country.

Freelance journalist John Chimunhu had to leave the press conference
early as Kaseke had made it clear that he could pounce on the journalist.

"I begin to question your level of education for asking that question,
you cannot win a war against me simply because you are a journalist. If you
start a war with me you will not win it for I will be the winner," said the
fuming Kaseke who also branded Chimunhu a British journalist.

Chimunhu had asked why Britain which contributed 48.5 percent of
tourists coming to Zimbabwe, had been accorded only 27 of the 155 free
tickets to theShanyai tourism showcase. The specially invited buyers are
expected to bring direct business to the country through firm bookings for
the Christmas season while they are in Zimbabwe.

ZTA chairman Shingi Munyeza said recently that despite the poor
relations that existed before, Zimbabwe had to move forward and embrace the
Europeans as they contributed significantly to the country's tourism.

Kaseke is not new to verbal assaulting journalists as he early this
year called a Standard Newspaper female  reporter "a whore"after she  asked
him critical questions.

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Divisions Over Western Sanctions Within Party of Zimbabwe PM Tsvangirai

By Studio 7 Staff
13 October 2009

Signs are emerging of divisions within the formation of Zimbabwe's Movement
for Democratic Change led by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai over whether
the party should be calling on the West to lift targeted sanctions - or urge
their extension to motivate President Robert Mugabe and his ZANU-PF to be
more cooperative in their unity government.

Addressing party activists in the Masvingo province constituencies of Bikita
West, Zaka East and Chivi Central on Sunday, MDC Chairwoman Theresa Makone
said removing the restrictive measures on Mr. Mugabe and his inner circle
could derail real change in Zimbabwe.

Makone was accompanied by legislators and senior party officials including
MDC Secretary General and Finance Minister Tendai Biti. He said the unity
government was not functioning well because the MDC's counterparts within
Mr. Mugabe's ZANU-PF party have not fully cooperated in particular on
implementing the 2008 Global Political Agreement.

But Makone's statements were at variance with those of Prime Minister
Tsvangirai who on Sunday, returning to Harare from Spain, called on the West
to expand developmental aid and ease restrictions, Studio 7 correspondent
Irwin Chifera reported.

The MDC formations undertook to campaign for the lifting of the targeted
sanctions together with ZANU-PF when its two leaders - Tsvangirai and Deputy
Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara - signed the GPA paving the way for
formation of the unity government in February.

Tsvangirai MDC spokesman Nelson Chamisa told reporter Ntungamili Nkomo of
VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that the party's position has not changed - i.e.
that the removal of sanctions is contingent on ZANU-PF's compliance with and
fulfillment of the GPA.

London-based political analyst Pedzisai Ruhanya said the contradicting
statements from the Tsvangirai MDC reveal divisions on how to handle this
sensitive issue.

Elsewhere, ZANU-PF's provincial organizations in Matebeleland North and
Matabeleland South have thrown the party into turmoil by defying a directive
from its top governing bodies to nominate a candidate to fill the vice
presidential post vacated when Joseph Msika died.

The Bulawayo metropolitan province has nominated party chairman John Nkomo
to fill the post, but the other two have taken no action. Representatives of
the three provinces met in Bulawayo last week and referred the question of
the vice presidential nomination back to the ZANU-PF politburo saying that
it was a national party issue not a regional one.

ZANU-PF National Secretary for Administration Didymus Mutasa said the
deadline stood - but added that the politburo would select a candidate if
the provinces could not agree on one.

Zenzo Ncube, chairman of ZANU-PF's Matebelaland Province, told the Herald
newspaper that Mutasa cannot impose a deadline on the provinces. Sources
said Ncube has since been suspended from the party for his defiance.

The party leadership is believed to want to raise Nkomo to the vice
presidency, but there is said to be much lobbying by other candidates
including Ambassador to South Africa Simon Khaya Moyo, Bulawayo Governor
Cain Mathema and Mines Minister Obert Mpofu.

Political analyst Charles Mangongera told reporter Blessing Zulu of VOA's
Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that defiance by the Matebeleland provinces exposes
ZANU-PF's fundamentally undemocratic method of filling top positions.

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Zimbabwean exMP: Czechs should not pull out of Zimbabwe

Naďa Straková22:10 | 13.10.2009Naďa Strakovátisknidiskutujpošlisdílej

Prague - Closing down the Czech embassy in Zimbabwe is illogical and immoral just when Zimbabwe has started to move forward, says a Zimbabwean politician Trudy Stevenson who attended this year's Forum 2000 conference in Prague.

Founding member of Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) of Zimbabwe and the first white woman to have been voted to the Zimbabwean parliament, Stevenson has been freshly nominated for a post of an ambassadoress to Senegal. Although she is no longer an MP, she has not quit politics because it is like a drug to her, as she says. 

Aktuálně.cz: Recently there has been much talk about the EU sanctions. Should they be cancelled or should the EU wait a bit longer?

Trudy Stevenson: It is very difficult to say. The sanctions have not achieved a lot. The regime has continued, the violence has continued. In my personal view I would say get rid of the sanctions because then Mugabe does not have anything to beat the EU with. He uses the sanctions as an excuse for everything. 

Is it safe for European investors to enter the Zimbabwean market and donors to give aid or is it still shaky?

It is safer than the European market! Look what happened to the European and American markets. Investment is worth a risk. The stock market is actually doing well, so it is a good time. If you are trying to send a signal and support the inclusive government, which in my point of view is the only solution we can have in Zimbabwe, the only thing that can take us out, then you need to support it not only morally but financially.

Mugabe v New Yorku

větší obrázekZdroj: Reuters

In my view careful investment, particularly companies which have good governance policies, which support openness and transparency, would give a signal to Zimbabweans to also have confidence in our own economy and investment. Of course, we know Zimbabweans should lead in the investment field but we actually don't have any money to invest because we are all broke.

What about the controversial figure Gideon Gono whom the MDC blames for failing the economy and hyperinflation. Should he stay or should he go?

It would be better if there was somebody else appointed. It was supposed to be agreed between all three parties as who would be the next governor of the reserve bank. Robert Mugabe went ahead and appointed him without consulting the other two. So that process has to be reviewed again. Gideon Gono is a capable person himself. It may be all three would agree he should remain but at least they should be consulted.

Zimbabwe used to be called the breadbasket of the region and since 2000, Mugabe's controversial land reform program has driven more than 4,000 commercial farmers off their land, destroying Zimbabwe's once prosperous agricultural sector. Now there are only 400.  Some of the farmers say things are even worse today than they used to be back then. Do you agree with them?

The top leadership in ZANU-PF sees the end of the goodies for the boys coming and want to quickly grab what is left before the end comes. But there are black farmers also targeted. There is violence and because it is nearly the end, the ones who have not got anything yet are trying to grab something quickly before the end comes.

While international media are no longer banned in the country and can actually report on anything, the local media still feel oppressed. In general, it seems like nothing has changed. Is that really so?

Yes, media people face the same situation and it is very disappointing. If there anybody wants to launch a new paper, Mugabe people threathen him. Not much has changed in that.

Shouldn't the EU use pressure here?

Pressure is always good but it is better if the EU uses the pressure on our neighbors, particularly SADC. But our bigger problem now is we don't actually have the funds to do anything much.

At the moment there is not much that actually can change things every much. You can buy things in the shop, yes but you need US dollars and quite a lot of them. And people in the countryside cannot afford that anyway. We still don't have electricity, we don't have water, and infrastructure is very poor. As we are approaching the rainy season, we may have another cholera outbreak. The whole sewage system is not working properly. We are in a dangerous position, when we could have a backward slide any time.

What is your experience as a white woman and an opposition politician working in Zimbabwe?

It has been a bit lonely, I must say. As you know, I was beaten up (in 2006 until now by unknown perpetrators) but I would have been beaten up whatever my color was. To some extent being white protects me. Because I am more visible. I am certainly more protected than a black woman. Male politicians respect me perhaps a bit more. Because they don't know how to deal with me. They deal very roughly with a black woman politician in their traditional way where the black women are down. I love politics and it is a like a drug - once you have been bitten by the drug politics, you cannot let go.

The Czech embassy may close soon because of savings. have you heard about it? If yes, what was your reaction.

I was horrified when I heard about this. Any embassy, particularly Western democratic embassy to pull out now when we are just starting to move forward gives us a very bad impression. It removes a bit of our courage. It makes us a bit nervous: Have we done something wrong?

The presence of the country like the Czech Republic when you yourselves have overthrown an authoritarian regime and succeeded is what gives us courage. It seems illogical and to me immoral for the Czech Republic to abandon us particularly as Myanmar is going to set up an embassy and the Czechs are pulling out. This is bizarre.


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Property rights fears scare investors: Analysts

by Cuthbert Nzou Wednesday 14 October 2009

HARARE - A controversial probe into one of the country's biggest
conglomerates that has raised fears the firm could be nationalised and a
temporary freeze of bank accounts of another private firm appeared to
quickly backfire on Zimbabwe's new government after a leading South African
retailer walked away from a proposed investment deal.

Shoprite, the largest food retailer in Africa's largest economy, announced
this week that it was halting plans to buy controlling stake in Zimbabwe's
leading supermarket chain, OK Zimbabwe, citing "socio-economic and political

The South African food giant that had been in negotiations with OK Zimbabwe
for the past two months was expected to pay over US$20 million for the
Zimbabwean retailer.

But it said it was putting on hold any plans to invest in Zimbabwe: "Due to
the current socio-economic and political uncertainty in Zimbabwe, Shoprite
has decided not to engage in further investment opportunities in that
country in the short to medium term."

Analysts saw the move by Shoprite as a reaction to Harare's decision to
order an investigation into financial dealings at Kingdom Meikles Africa
Limited (KMAL), a firm with interests spanning several important sectors of
Zimbabwe's economy but is accused of illegally siphoning foreign currency
out of the country.

The investigation has ignited fresh fears over property rights and safety of
foreign investments especially because Harare has used similar accusations
of illegal foreign currency dealings to seize private firms, while powerful
politicians linked to President Robert Mugabe's ZANU PF party have also
taken advantage to pillage firms placed under investigation.

Harare-based economist Collin Magura said the KMAL probe plus last week's
decision by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe to temporarily freeze the accounts
of Nestle Zimbabwe after the company announced it would no longer buy milk
from a farm owned by Mugabe's family were likely to have played a bigger in
role to convince Shoprite to stay away from Zimbabwe.

"KMAL and Nestle` could have influenced Shoprite's decision," said Magura.
"The issue of property rights is of utmost importance. Failure to guarantee
the rights we will not attract investors. What happened in the business
sector over the past three weeks had been a tragedy as far as investment is

University of Zimbabwe political scientist Eldred Masunungure concurred with
Magura, saying efforts by the unity government of Mugabe and Prime Minister
Morgan Tsvangirai to attract new investment to bolster economic recovery
would come to nought for as long as there was no corresponding effort to
uphold private property rights.

He said: "As long as we have no respect for property rights, we must kiss
goodbye to investments. Who wants to invest in a country where government
will one day just wake up and say it has nationalised your company and
assets?" - ZimOnline

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Journo charged for trespassing onto diamond field

by Patricia Mpofu Wednesday 14 October 2009

HARARE - Zimbabwean photojournalist Annie Mpalume returns to court in two
weeks' time to face charges of breaching the Protected Areas Act after she
allegedly entered the notorious Chiadzwa diamond field without official

Mpalume, who was arrested at Chiadzwa last Thursday and spent five days in
custody before she was released on US$30 bail, faces up to two years
imprisonment if convicted.

"She is out on bail of US$30 and will appear in court in two weeks (October
26)," the journalist's lawyer Chris Ndlovu told ZimOnline.

Zimbabwe's government has restricted access to Chiadzwa, also known as
Marange, since reports began surfacing last year of gross human rights
abuses including murder allegedly committed by soldiers and police sent to
the diamond field to evict illegal miners and dealers.

A team from the Kimberley Process Certification System (KPCS) - the world
diamond industry watchdog - that visited Zimbabwe last June issued an
interim report calling for a temporary ban on diamonds from Chiadzwa until
Harare withdraws the military from the diamond field and acts to end rights
abuses and other illegal activities there.

Human rights groups say police and soldiers sent to protect Chiadzwa used
excessive and brutal force to take control of the diamond field and later
forced villagers to illegally mine the diamonds for sale on the black market
for precious minerals.

The army and police have refused to leave Chiadzwa, while Harare denies
allegations of human rights abuses and says calls to ban diamonds from the
controversial diamond field were unjustified because Zimbabwe was not
involved in a war or armed conflict. - ZimOnline

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Students lose funding for backing MDC

by Own Correspondent Wednesday 14 October 2009

JOHANNESBURG - Zimbabwean students studying at a South African university
claim that Zimbabwe secret service agents are harassing and victimising
students aligned to Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai's MDC party.

The students, who came to Fort Hare University (FHU) on a scholarship fund
started by President Robert Mugabe a few years ago, claim that a number of
them have been stripped of the scholarships because of their affiliation to
the MDC, the former main opposition that formed a coalition government with
Mugabe's ZANU PF party last February.

They allege that some students have received death threats and the
intimidation intensified after MDC branches were launched at the FHU's East
London and Alice campuses last month.

MDC secretary-general at the Alice campus Vitalis Mubayira said a dozen
students have so far lost their scholarships as punishment for being members
of the MDC.

"We have been political victims since we made our position clear by
supporting the MDC. The situation got worse when we officially launched the
MDC branch in September," Mubayira said, adding: "There is not a single ZANU
PF aligned student that has lost their scholarship."

The students blame the pro-Mugabe Zimbabwe spy Central Intelligence
Organisation (CIO) and a Zimbabwean lecturer teaching at FHU for informing
Harare about their political activities.

But FHU spokesperson Minenzima Vusani denied that the students lost their
scholarships because of their political affiliation, saying the affected
students had violated a clause in the scholarship programme which specifies
that they should "not be involved in any political activity in a foreign

Vusani said the condition applied to any political activism whether
involving South African politics or not.

"This condition, among others, is a cornerstone of the programme since 1995
when it began at the university and it has been emphasised to new and old
students to maintain cohesion and oneness among beneficiaries and to protect
the image and integrity of our institution," he said.

The FHU spokesperson said the Zimbabwean government was responsible for the
termination of scholarships.

"They were given the scholarship by ZANU PF under the name of Mugabe and
recruited under the banner of ZANU PF," said Vusani.

The Fort Hare Presidential Scholarship Fund, launched with the help of FHU,
is in honour of the Zimbabwean President, who studied at the famous South
African university. - ZimOnline

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Bulawayo war veterans reject Nkomo

October 14, 2009

By Our Correspondent

BULAWAYO - War veterans in Bulawayo have rejected the nomination of Zanu-PF
national chairman John Nkomo for the post of vice president of Zimbabwe.

Nkomo has of late been touted around the country as the next possible vice
president, replacing the late Joseph Msika.

Amid confusion on the nomination of the candidate for the vice presidency,
the Zanu-PF politburo set Wednesday as the date for the close of nominations
for the post.

The leadership of the three political provinces in Matabeleland region had
earlier endorsed Nkomo's nomination for the vice president's post.

But pressure from the Zanu-PF grassroots, coupled with murmurs of
discontentment from other sections of the party on his nomination, pushed
the politburo into reversing his nomination.

At a press conference in Bulawayo Tuesday, members of the Zimbabwe National
Liberation War Veterans Association (ZNLWVA), the Zimbabwe Liberation War
Collaborators Association (ZILWACO), and the Zimbabwe Ex-political
Prisoners, Detainees, and Restrictees' Association (ZIPEDRA) outrightly
rejected Nkomo's nomination.

The former freedom fighters claimed Nkomo did not represent a national
outlook to hold the post of vice president. They also claimed Nkomo was
powerless to challenge Zanu-PF if the need arose within the party.

Bulawayo war veterans' leader Themba Ncube said the earlier decision to
nominate Nkomo for the post was not made freely by the party's Bulawayo

He said the provincial leadership of Zanu-PF and the war veterans did not
make a unanimous decision but were forced to endorse Nkomo's nomination.

Said Ncube: "We were forced into making that decision (to endorse Nkomo). It
was not a people's decision. It was made because there are some who believe
they are powerful and they could force people into making decisions out of
their own choice."

He highlighted that the generality of the Zanu-PF membership felt the party's
politburo was now regionalization of the vice presidency debate, portending
an outcome that did not reflect the national picture.

"The question that we ask is - why should the three provinces of
Matabeleland be the ones to be forced to select a national leader? We want
the entirety of the Zanu-PF membership to have a say on who should be the
vice president," Ncube said.

Asked to choose names of best-placed candidates, the former liberation
fighters said they favoured three candidates for the job.

These include Senate deputy president Naison Khutshwekhaya Ndlovu, Zimbabwe's
Ambassador to South Africa, Simon Khaya Moyo and retired army official,
Brigadier Ambrose Mutinhiri.

Zanu-PF members say although Mutinhiri lives in Harare, his roots can be
easily traced back to Zapu as he played a crucial role in the Zimbabwe
People's Revolutionary Army (ZIPRA).

The former combatants said they would push for a meeting where the issue of
the vice presidency would be discussed.

They also said should the politburo go ahead and impose a candidate on them,
they would campaign for the rejection of the candidate at the party's
congress in December.

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Mwana pours first gold at Zimbabwe's Freda mine

By: Shannon De Ryhove
14th October 2009

JOHANNESBURG ( - Multicommodity resources company Mwana
Africa on Tuesday announced the first pour of 180 oz of gold following the
completion of Phase 1 of its refurbishment programme at the Freda Rebecca
gold mine, near Bindura, in Zimbabwe.

"The first gold pour marks a significant milestone in the redevelopment of
our assets in Zimbabwe," Mwana CEO Kalaa Mpinga said.

Production rates from Phase 1 were forecast to increase to 30 000 oz/y of
gold by the end of 2009.

Planning for Phase 2 of the refurbishment programme, which is expected to
increase output to more than 50 000 oz/y of gold, was "well advanced". This
would involve the rehabilitation of the second milling circuit and an
increase in the capacity of underground mining equipment.

The London-listed Mwana acquired Freda Rebecca from South African gold major
AngloGold Ashanti in 2005.

Freda Rebecca achieved production of 98 000 oz of gold in 2002, however, as
a result of the social and economic difficulties in Zimbabwe, output from
the mine declined sharply and the operation was placed on
care-and-maintenance in 2007.

Following the announcement in February 2009 of revised export procedures for
gold produced in Zimbabwe, together with the termination of the requirement
to submit a proportion of foreign currency earnings to the Reserve Bank of
Zimbabwe for conversion to Zimbabwe dollars, Mwana Africa announced in March
its intention to restart gold production at the Freda Rebecca mine.

A revised mine plan is being developed, based on the optimisation of the
resource model at prevailing prices. Mwana Africa believes that potential
for expansion of the operation exists through further exploratory and
confirmatory drilling at, and in the vicinity of, the existing mines.

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Communities Point says Bennett case shows selective application of law

14th Oct 2009 18:45 GMT

By Julius Sai Mutyambizi-Dewa

COMMUNITIES Point is completely discouraged by the continuing selective
application of the law in Zimbabwe.

In the same week when Major General Rugeje is accused of having threatened
MDC MP Chiminya with murder and went ahead to prove his intentions by
pointing a loaded pistol but still managed to retain his freedom, the
continuing denial of freedom to Senator Bennett is clearly for the sole
purpose of persecution.

One of the weaknesses of Zimbabwe's judiciary has been the selective
application of the law and many Zimbabweans have always hoped that at some
stage this very evil tradition will come to pass.

Since 1980 negative sanctions have always been used against opponents of
ZANU PF and this is true of the disproportionate nature of the punishment
meted on the likes of Dumiso Dabengwa, the late Lookout Masuku and many of
the current opponents of the ZANU PF Government.

It had been hoped that with the advent of the Government of National Unity,
common sense will prevail to the extent that the good of the nation will
override actions that stem from pure emotion.

Roy Bennett is a victim of ZANU PF's retribution because in 2000 he decided
to abandon the Party he had flirted with for a very long time and joined the
Movement for Democratic Change.

ZANU PF must come clean and rebut this presumption; otherwise all the
machinations against Roy Bennett from whichever court will simply be seen as
retributive justice by a political party that is simply using the advantages
of incumbency.

The State seems to have completely failed to prove the nexus between Roy
Bennett's donation to Hitschmann and the alleged procurement of weapons by
the later.

It is Roy Bennett's right to choose who to give his money but in the absence
of specific, conclusive instructions to Hitschmann that he purchases the
so-called weapons, the State can not convince Zimbabweans that Roy's
conviction is safe.

Having donated the gift of money to a troubled and desperate friend, who
according to the State might have thought 12 rifles and grenades, could buy
him freedom in a state that had decided human rights did not matter anymore,
Senator Bennett can not be held responsible for what the donee used his
donation. He can not be arrested for giving money to Hitschmann.

In any case the State must also take full responsibility for its own earlier
actions because it will be too much to demand from the Zimbabwe public if
they expected them to keep quiet when their homes were being destroyed by
Operation Murambatsvina, they were being murdered for having different
political opinions, they were having their crops and acreage taken and
equipment looted because of their race and they were losing their jobs and
dignity in a Government sanctioned raid on the people's rights to dignified

There comes a time when the Government of Zimbabwe, then led by ZANU PF,
should say to the people of Zimbabwe, "Sorry we offended you, it was  that
time but may we now move on!" That Zimbabweans did not resort to full-scale
armed conflict against them remains the Greatest Miracle of our time!

We demand the immediate release of Senator Bennett and all the other
political detainees and a complete end top victimisation.


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Courts overflow with political fights

Having just completed my daily posting on my main page, "The Bearded Man", I
was struck by the number of cases before the courts in Zimbabwe that have
political connotations.

As a former police public prosecutor in the Zimbabwe Republic Police, I take
a special interest in the courts in Zimbabwe, but find that the criminal
hearings are pushed to the back of the queue - unless it involves a senior
public figure, almost invariably a politician.

Today, headlines were all about the Roy Bennett case that was due to kick
off in Mutare yesterday. Reports had indicated that the State was looking at
handing the indictment to Bennett and applying for his case to be
transferred to the High Court in Harare, which would have required his being
held in custody until sometime in February next year.

We all waited for the news to come out of Zimbabwe, and, as we expected, it
was something different.

The prosecutor didn't pitch up for seven hours! This sort of contempt should
really be punished, but, as per most things political in Zimbabwe, nothing

The court in Mutare is due to make a ruling on the State application today.

Another case that has been making the headlines is the trial of yet another
MDC deputy minister who is alleged to have stolen a cell phone (we call them
'mobiles' here in the UK) from the self-styled war veterans' leader, Joseph

"Since the day I was arrested up to today, I am sure you have noticed how my
case has divided the nation because of the politics and lies that have been
peddled by the complainant (Cde Chinotimba).

"This court has been turned into a Harvest House (MDC-T headquarters) or
ZANU PF Headquarters for a mere case of a cellphone theft.

"Despite all the efforts that are being done by our President and the other
principals to heal this country, I have noticed through what has been said
by the complainant that there are some people who do not want to see the
inclusive Government work," said Thamsanqa Mahlangu.

The handset in question is probably worth less than US$50 on the open
market, but Chinotimba has lodged a civil suit against Mahlangu for a loss
of earnings whilst the mobile was out of his possession - valued at US$19.5

Another case that is before the courts shortly, is the civil claim by
Jestina Mukoko and others for the imprisonment and torture by the police for
months on end - and during that time, the State and the ZRP continually
defied court orders to produce the claimants.

Once again, the State's case is brimming with conspiracy theories,
supposition, assumption and unsubstantiated allegations. After almost a year
of legal wrangles, the court finally ordered a stay of prosecution -
although this did not stop the State from failing to return her bail money -
paid in foreign currency, so no doubt 'absorbed' by the system.

The courts are also continually having to make rulings about land seizures.
Instead of dealing with your standard criminal fraternity, the courts are
hearing cases about farmers remaining on their land 'illegally'. (As an
aside, what can be illegal about remaining on land - especially when, in
some cases, the land was purchased since 1980 after Mugabe's government
declared 'no interest' in the land?)

Surely someone should realign the courts so that political cases do not take
precedence over other cases. Criminal cases that involve normal people are
no less important than those involving politicians.

It should be remembered that politicians are servants of the people - not
the other way round.

Robb WJ Ellis
The Bearded Man

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Letter from Zimbabwe: Burying differences: will the media change their ways?

Published on : 14 October 2009 - 12:01pm | By John Masuku

When George Charamba, President Robert Mugabe's spokesman and permanent
secretary of the information ministry, addressed a rare meeting of editors
from state-owned and private media last Thursday, I expected his usual
vitriol against non-state players.

I thought Mr Charamba's official address would be a venomous attack on local
weeklies, online publications and radio stations like the exiled VOA-Studio
7 (Voice of America), Radio VOP (Voice of the People) and SWRA (Radio
Africa), which are very wrongly perceived by government to be
western-sponsored "pirate radio stations" with a regime-change agenda.

Building bridges, closing gaps
The UNESCO-organised meeting, aptly billed "Building bridges and closing the
gaps: an editors dialogue towards establishing common ground" was historic.
Its objective was to end the deep polarisation between Zimbabwe's media
organisations. It was the first time this had ever happened in a decade that
witnessed the arrest of several journalists and editors, and the bombing of
private media organisations like Daily News and Radio VOP.

The private media have always known that Mr Charamba's ministry was the
mastermind behind their persecution over the years. Government newspapers
like The Herald and Chronicle, and broadcaster ZBC brutally attack private
and online media with impunity, accusing them of being an extension of the
opposition parties and describing them as "MDC mouthpieces" and
"Western-sponsored". Meanwhile, the private media regularly stoop to name
calling too, using terms like "state-controlled", "pro-Mugabe" and "ZANU

Afraid to return
Although UNESCO invited most editors - whether based inside or outside the
country - assuring them of immunity from arrest, most did not dare to take
the risk. However, Geoff Nyarota - award-winning former editor of the banned
Daily News and now editor-in-chief of the US-based online publication
Zimbabwe Times - did have the courage to turn up and did not regret it.

"I am so glad to be back home after almost seven years. I thank all those
who invited me and ensured my safe return. I now plan to come back home for
good and help rebuild my beautiful country and also urge others to do the
same," said an extremely excited Nyarota.

It was refreshing to hear Mr Charamba in an unusual conciliatory mood:
"Polarisation is real. We in the ministry acknowledge it. The operating
environment has been very harsh. We need to regain peace, don't we, dear

Yes, we agree, George. In fact editors and journalists understand each other's
One 'state' editor confided: "We in the public media have had no choice but
to toe the ZANU (PF) line lest we get kicked out of our jobs for siding with
the opposition party. There are spies planted among us just to check on us
as editors. Please accept us when we get sacked".

Despite the absence of a new regulatory body for the press, Mr Charamba,
employing his usual intimidating tactics, directly threatened the
editor-designate of the upcoming paper Newsday:  "Barnabas, if you start
publishing without our registration, you will be in breach of the law. We
will go to the police and say there is a foreigner on the street, can you
get his credentials."

RIP media polarisation
Once media polarisation is dead and buried, The Herald, Zimbabwean, The
Independent, Financial Gazette and Chronicle will still remain separate
entities. However, they could become good neighbours. If the politicians can
bury their differences and form a unity government, there is nothing to stop
journalists doing the same.

And no more police raids please, we aren't foreigners, George!

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An Action Plan For Zimbabwe

Article Date: 14 Oct 2009 - 0:00 PDT

Zimbabwe's once proud achievements in health have been undermined over the
past 20 years by increasing poverty, bad governance, poor economic policies,
widespread HIV/AIDS, and a weakened health system. A Viewpoint published
Online First and an upcoming edition of The Lancet states the priorities
that the country must address to improve its currently horrendous health
indicators. The Viewpoint is written by group of doctors with expert
knowledge of Zimbabwe, led by Dr Charles Todd, former chairman, University
of Zimbabwe School of Medicine, and Westongrove Partnership, Wendover Health
Centre, Aylesbury, UK, and colleagues.

Zimbabwe's Government of National Unity (GNU), established on Feb 13, 2009,
has instigated at 100-day recovery plan, which has seen the country's health
sector gradually begin operating again, with doctors and nurses returning to
posts and health centres once again operational. The decline in health
indicators over the past three decades has been immense. Between 1990 and
2006, life expectancy at birth plummeted from 62 to 43 years, mostly from
increased young adult mortality from HIV-related conditions. Mortality rates
of children younger than 5 years and infants rose from 77 and 53 per 1000
livebirths in 1992 to 82 and 60 in 2003, respectively. Maternal mortality
rose from 168 per 100 000 births in 199014 to 725 per 100 000 in 2007.
Tuberculosis incidence increased from 136 per 100 000 in 1990 to 557 per 100
000 in 2006.These indicators are related to the high prevalence of HIV/
AIDS, which was estimated at 26% in 2000 in adults aged 15-45 years but
declined to 15.3% by 2007. In 1994, 80.1% of children aged 12-23 months had
received all basic vaccines compared with 74.8% in 1999 and only 52.6% in
2006-07.By early 2009, hospitals in the country were hardly operating, with
massive shortages of essential medicines and supplies. Although most
hospitals are now functioning again, shortages are still commonplace and
patients usually need to buy medicines, intravenous fluids, and other

The authors believe priority must now go to the re-establishment of
essential services such as effective emergency obstetric care in all
districts. This challenge will mean refocusing the work of central and
provincial hospitals to providing secondary health care. Furthermore, they
suggest the following priorities for restoring Zimbabwe's health service and
health training institutions:

- The Ministry of Health, together with leading civil society groups, UN
agencies, and donors, should evaluate implementation of the 100-day action
plan and craft a budgeted, medium-term health-care recovery plan including
priority actions to tackle Zimbabwe's major health issues.

- The Health Services Fund-originally established in the 1990s to retain
user fees at local level and later used for increased donor support to
district health services-should be resuscitated. This would provide directly
accessible funds for district health teams to maintain effective health

- The training of specialist mid-level workers (ie, clinical officers and
nurse anaesthetists) should be rapidly restored and expanded, taking the
lead from Malawi and Mozambique where such workers perform key frontline
health functions. The existing health workforce cannot meet Zimbabwe's needs
so any resistance to specialist mid-level workers from professional
associations must be overcome.

- The return of health professionals to Zimbabwe should be encouraged, but
without disadvantaging those who have remained.

- The Ministry of Health should continue to promote an inclusive and
cooperative ethos. Voluntary organisations and missions should be further
supported. Civil society organisations involved in health should be formally
recognised, and their advocacy of human rights and monitoring of donor funds

- The political will to tackle the deep-rooted culture of violence and
impunity should be nurtured and translated into legislation, including the
establishment of a Healing and Reconciliation Commission and permitting
human rights' organisations to run programmes for community-based mental
health care of survivors of organised violence.

The authors conclude: "Success in the 1980s was built on widespread
community mobilisation accompanying a protracted struggle for human rights.
Since then, Zimbabweans have been systematically deprived of these rights,
including the right to health. A new opportunity now exists to rebuild the
health-care system; its success will be contingent on firmly re-establishing
the principles of social justice, equity, and public participation."

The Lancet

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