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Fresh crisis rocks MDC

Zim Standard


THE Morgan Tsvangirai-led MDC has been hit by a fresh political crisis
amid allegations that the party's top leadership disregarded the
constitution when it dissolved the powerful Women's Assembly headed by Lucia

Party insiders say the move is designed to pave the way for the
election of women who are favourable to the top leadership, ahead of the
2008 elections.

The party's standing committee has called for an extraordinary
congress next week to elect a new leadership.

However, according to the MDC constitution, it is only the National
Council or the Woman's National Council that is empowered to convene such an
extraordinary congress.

It remains to be seen if elections will be held at the special
congress to be held on October 28. The new leaders will replace the
Matibenga executive which was elected on 19 March 2006. Its term should have
ended in 2011 but was cut short after allegations that it was

Party sources however see the dissolution of the executive as part of
a grand scheme to secure positions for people who are closest to Tsvangirai.

Ian Makone's wife, Theresa, is lined to take over from Matibenga.
Theresa is said to be close to Susan Tsvangirai who, insiders say, is
determined to wield greater influence in the women's assembly.

There is speculation that Tsvangirai's wife may be fielded in the
parliamentary elections next March. She could stand in Buhera with Theresa
seeking election in a Harare constituency. Theresa's husband, Ian, is a
close friend of Tsvangirai and was his advisor.

Evelyn Masaiti, who was in the dissolved executive is tipped to be
elected into the new assembly. Masaiti who was married to MDC national
chairman Isaac Matongo, is close to both Tsvangirai and Makoni.

Party sources say Matibenga was disliked as she was said to be too
powerful for the comfort of some party leaders.

The trade union activist is the Vice President of the Zimbabwe
Congress of Trade Unions and is seen as a "pillar of strength" by women in
the party. She has been in trouble several times for her involvement in
opposition politics but has remained steadfast in the struggle.

Yesterday Matibenga confirmed receiving the letter from Tendai Biti,
MDC Secretary General, but was not prepared to speak about its contents.

Sources however indicated that she had appealed against the decision
to the party's national chairperson, Lovemore Moyo, reminding the party
leadership their decision was unconstitutional.

She cited Rules 6.2.2 which stipulated that only the National Council
or Women's National Council could make that decision.

Tsvangirai's spokesperson, William Bango said: "I have no idea of the
dynamics involved in that particular matter ( dissolution of the Women's
Assembly). Honestly I know nothing about that."

He added he did not think that Susan harboured any political

"She is the spouse of the President. If she was in the structures,
probably people could say whatever they wanted but she is not."

Party spokesperson Nelson Chamisa could not be reached for comment

However, The Standard understands that there are deep divisions
threatening the cohesion of factions.

Party sources say there is mounting concern inside the

Tsvangirai camp over failure by the leadership to adhere to the
provisions of the constitution. Tsvangirai has been accused by a rival
faction of the MDC led by Arthur Mutambara of ignoring the party's
constitution in the past.

This time, people who have stood by him as he fought the other faction
now accuse him again of violating the constitution in order to get rid of
Matibenga, one of the founding members of the MDC.

Meanwhile, the women's leadership in Chitungizwa has petitioned the
party to reverse the standing committee's decision. They said they were
informed that Tsvangirai and his wife were behind the problems rocking the
women's assembly.

They wrote: "Today you are removing pillars of the party replacing
them with newcomers, the mafikizolo. ChiZanu ichocho.(This is the Zanu PF
way of doing things)."

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Military base strikes terror among villagers

Zim Standard


FOR motorists cruising along the Gutu-Chivhu highway, a " No Through
Road" sign near the 43 km peg is just like any other road sign that signals
the end of the road in the once thriving ranching area.

Yet if you ask any of the new owners of the land, where little or no
agricultural activities takes place, the sign alone is enough to send
shivers down their spines.

Less that two kilometres from the sign, along the well maintained
gravel road, lies a small Air Force of Zimbabwe base where about 15 soldiers
guard a radar installation mounted there in the late 1990s.

Ordinarily, the presence of soldiers should be a source of joy for the
farmers who should feel "protected" from cattle rustlers wreaking havoc in
their communities.

But as our investigation reveals, the base is dreaded by the villagers
who see it as a "torture chamber'.

When we arrived at Eastdale on Monday, a number of soldiers were
seated at the entrance. They all appeared to be in state of mourning.

Two weeks ago, the deputy in command at the base only identified as
"Ranga" committed suicide in his house. A soldier identified as F.N
Mungazivei, who was said to be in command of the base, refused to disclose
why "Ranga" had committed suicide.

Police say he left a note that revealed he took his life in shame
after he instructed junior soldiers to beat up farm workers, accused of
stealing equipment from a farm, Irvin, owner by Finance minister Samuel
Mumbengegwi. One of the victims, Fibion Mafukidze (58), died after the
beatings. The minister's wife Selina had laid the complaint against
Mafukidze and two other workers.

The Standard can reveal that unlike the situation at other military
establishments, soldiers at Eastdale are not just concerned about the
security of the country: they have usurped the roles of the police and the
courts and routinely set up "kangaroo military tribunals" to settle civilian

While police take their time investigating the cases, the soldiers
allegedly beat up and torture suspects until they start "singing".

And that is the reason why the Finance minister's wife took her case
to the soldiers when her tractor disk went missing over three weeks ago.
Earlier she got "amazing results" when soldiers, using force,managed to
track down some people, blamed for the disappearance of fencing at the farm.

Mafukidze's eldest daughter Clara (48) said his father endured "seven
hours of hell" at the hands of the soldiers. They wanted him to confess that
he had stolen the missing equipment.

Another victim, Maxwell Mazambani, who was abducted from his home by
the same soldiers, was lucky to survive the beatings.

He, however, is not at his home in Gutu with his family but is
fighting for his life at the Avenues Clinic where he is on a dialysis
machine. Doctors say his kidneys are badly damaged and his relatives have
been praying for him day and night after failing to see an improvement in
his condition.

Although Mazambani was beaten after being accused of stealing fence
from Minister Mumbengegwi's farm, his sister says he was punished for his
involvement in opposition MDC politics. Mazambani wants to be a councillor
in the farming area which has traditionally been a Zanu PF stronghold.

"The soldiers told him he was the one they were looking for. They
accused him of being stubborn, a thief and wearing an MDC T-shirt," said the

They tortured him for almost six hours and later gave him sadza and
beans, which his relatives' suspect was poisoned.

After the ordeal, the soldiers abandoned him by the roadside. Unable
to walk, Mazambani had to crawl for about three kilometers to his homestead.

But these are just the tales or terror that are being told by the
villagers. There are several which indicate that the soldiers are even
presiding over domestic matters.

One man said he was heavily assaulted by the soldiers after his wife
complained that he was coming home late and drunk.

While the beatings have gone unreported, it is the death of Mafukidze
that may change the way soldiers operate at their base.

Although army officers and police chiefs are keen to sweep the case
under the carpet, human rights campaigners have taken a keen interest in the
incidents after his story was published in this paper three weeks ago

One such organisation is the Restoration for Human Rights (ROHR)

ROHR is consulting lawyers with the intention of instituting legal
proceedings that will compel the state to charge the soldiers and the
Finance minister's wife.

All the soldiers that were briefly arrested after Mafukidze's death
were released following "orders from above" . The minister's wife is also
free after pressure was exerted on Gutu and Masvingo investigators to drop
the case. One of these politicians is reported to have travelled to Gutu
Police station where he warned the investigators against pressing charges
against Mumbengegwi.

"As ROHR Zimbabwe our position is very clear, that no one is above the
law," said ROHR Vice President Sten Zvorwadza. "The minister's wife should
be held accountable for her criminal activity. Soldiers can not be allowed
to go about beating civilians and getting away with it."

Zvorwadza urged President Mugabe who is the commander of the armed
forces to confine their army to the barracks.

"Frankly it's a sad situation and we intend to make this a national
issue in naming and shaming the culprits until the law catches up with all
the people involved."

Fear-stricken villagers can only hope that such action bears fruit
before the country holds the 2008 elections.

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World Bank to refocus on agriculture

Zim Standard

  From Davison Maruziva In WAshington DC

WASHINGTON - AFTER 25 years, the World Bank is refocusing emphasis on
agriculture, arguing it is a vital development tool for achieving the
Millennium Development Goals that call for halving of people suffering from
extreme poverty and hunger by 2015.

Launching its latest World Development Report (WDR), titled
Agriculture for Development, World Bank Group President Robert Zoellick said
a greater emphasis on agriculture would help boost overall economic growth
and offer multiple pathways out of poverty.

"In Sub-Saharan Africa, home to 229 million extremely poor rural
people," Zoellick said, "agriculture is about much more than simple food

The report has been praised by the International Fund for Agricultural
Development (IFAD)and the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) but
criticised by ActionAid, a non-governmental organisation. But Zoellick's
commitment to and apparent willingness to "listen and learn" from others,
disarms many of his critics.

The WDR, Zoellick said, provides guidance to governments and the
international community on designing and implementing
agriculture-for-development agendas that can make a difference in the lives
of hundreds of millions of rural poor.

"In much of Sub-Saharan Africa," Zoellick said, "agriculture is a
strong option for spurring growth, overcoming poverty, and enhancing food
security. Agricultural productivity growth is vital for stimulating growth
in other parts of the economy."

World Bank officials said Zimbabwe would not be able to benefit
immediately since there is no lending programme because the country is in
arrears, and because of policy inconsistencies in its land reform programme,
hyper-inflation and marginalisation of smallholder farmers.

On the positive side, however, they say once the country becomes
eligible for lending the period of agricultural take off would be
significantly shorter because "you have the infrastructure, skills and the
resilience of the people".

The WDR calls for greater investment in agriculture in Africa, warning
the sector must be placed at the centre of the region's development agenda
if eradicating extreme poverty and hunger by 50% is to be attained in eight
years' time.

For its part, the World Bank says it is committed to increasing
support for agriculture and rural development.

Liberian President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, who was present at the
launch of the WDR, said agriculture was critical in the fight to reduce
poverty ."This report," she said, "provides us with some positive

IFAD said the report provides a compelling case for higher investiment
in agriculture."The report," said IFAD's President Lennart Bage, "puts
agriculture back where it belongs - right at the centre of the fight against
poverty. We urge the international development community to give the report's
findings and conclusions the utmost consideration and to act. The WDR
reinforces the case for greater investment in agriculture and makes a
compelling case between agriculture, poverty reduction and food security."

ActionAid said in its criticism of the WDR the World Bank had "a
dubious track record" in supporting reforms to food and farming systems to
combat hunger and increase food security.

"The Bank's doctrine of market-oriented solutions," said ActionAid,
"has contributed to a catastrophic widening of the gap between the rural
poor and wealthy farmers, severe degradation of the natural resource base,
and worsening hunger among the world's poorest. Rural women, in particular,
have borne the brunt."

It said while the World Bank acknowledges the critical role of a
thriving smallholder sector as an engine of domestic growth and poverty
eradication, it fails to understand that agriculture is about more than
producing commodities for the market. "It is deeply embedded in cultural and
livelihood systems and is central to the ability for households, communities
and nations to feed themselves, and therefore to fulfilling the right to

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Sibanda controversy: Msika meets war vets

Zim Standard

  By Kholwani Nyathi

BULAWAYO - Vice-President Joseph Msika yesterday met a faction of the
War Veterans Association opposed to the ongoing solidarity marches in
support of President Robert Mugabe, ahead of the ruling party's potentially
explosive politburo meeting on Wednesday.

The closed-door meeting held at the Zanu PF provincial headquarters
was called by members of the faction led by Andrew Ndlovu who was in 2004
tasked by Mugabe to re-organise the association after its leader, Jabulani
Sibanda, was expelled from the ruling party for "disrespecting" former PF
Zapu leaders.

The war veterans wrote a letter to Msika a fortnight ago complaining
about Sibanda and his lieutenant, Joseph Chinotimba.

Sibanda was suspended from the ruling party alongside five other Zanu
PF chairpersons who took part in the so-called Tsholotsho Declaration but he
has been controversially drafted into Mugabe's campaign machinery.

Sources who attended yesterday's meeting said Msika promised the war
veterans that he would take up the issue with Mugabe at the politburo
meeting, where Sibanda's case is set to dominate the agenda.

"The VP reiterated his position that Sibanda remains expelled from the
party," said a war veteran who requested anonymity. "He said we must remain
vigilant as the leadership is working hard to address the issue."

In the letter inviting Msika to intervene, the Ndlovu faction says
allowing individuals like Sibanda to spearhead Mugabe's campaign violates
Zanu PF's consititution and protocols. Sibanda has ignored criticism from
Msika and Zanu PF chairman John Nkomo and instead continued with his
"marches" throughout the country.

He says this week he will organise a "million-man" march in Harare to
drum up support for Mugabe before shifting attention to "corrupt" ministers
and those "peddling tribalist wars" in Zanu PF. This is seen in some
quarters as a veiled threat to the Zanu PF old guard in Matabeleland which
has come out strongly against the campaign.

It was not immediately possible to obtain a comment from Msika or
Ndlovu as they were still locked in the meeting late yesterday.

Sibanda has been quietly brought back into the Zanu PF fold and is
leading nationwide solidarity marches which he says are meant to drum up
support for Mugabe's endorsement at the ruling party's congress in December.

But the move is threatening to tear the ruling party apart with the
Zanu PF old guard from the region publicly voicing concern over Sibanda's
involvement, which they say is threatening the Unity Accord.

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Matabeleland moves to form new party

Zim Standard


BULAWAYO - Civic groups and opposition parties based in Matabeleland
have renewed efforts to form an alliance ahead of next year's elections, in
a development that is set to shake the politically restive region.

According to confidential documents seen by The Standard last week,
the alliance that will bring together Zapu Federal Party, the Patriotic
Union of Matabeleland and various civic organisations based in the region
will be known as the Federal Democratic Union.

This formation of the FDU coincides with deepening problems in the
ruling Zanu PF caused by the readmission of Jabulani Sibanda to the party.
Former PF Zapu leaders are threatening to pull out of the 20 year-old unity
accord after President Robert Mugabe reportedly brought Sibanda back into
the ruling party fold to spearhead his re-election bid.

It also comes barely a month after civic groups and opposition parties
dropped plans to set up a political party to rival the Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) after the country's biggest opposition party backed
the controversial Constitutional Amendment Number 18.

The 26 organisations and 930 activists that met at a Bulawayo
Agenda-organised conference agreed to give dialogue with the MDC a chance
before meeting again to chart the way forward.

"This initiative (to form an alliance) started well before
Constitutional Amendment Number 18," said a source close to the steering
committee. "We are busy on the ground and very soon there will be an
announcement concerning the setting up of the alliance."

Sources said the groundwork includes the setting up of new residents'
associations in Gwanda and Bulawayo, which will help in the setting up of
structures. The alliance will then seek a coalition with the two formations
of the MDC.

Zapu FP president, Paul Siwela, who contested the 2002 presidential
elections against Tsvangirai and Mugabe, confirmed the developments on
Friday but refused to divulge more details saying doing so will jeopardise

An initiative to forge a coalition of opposition parties under the
Save Zimbabwe Campaign fell through earlier this year after the Arthur
Mutambara formation of the MDC pulled out protesting against "lack of
seriousness" from the rival Tsvangirai group.

It has become a tradition for small parties to spring up ahead of
major elections and none of them have enjoyed a strong showing in the polls.
Former Zanu PF secretary general, Ernest Tekere's Zimbabwe Unity Movement
(ZUM) and the MDC are the only parties formed after independence that have a
serious threat to Mugabe's 27 year old grip on power.

The two MDC factions say they will enter into any alliances that will
help them topple the Mugabe regime blamed for the country's ever
deteriorating economic environment.

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Msika backs Bulawayo over Zinwa

Zim Standard

  By Kholwani Nyathi

BULAWAYO - Vice-President Joseph Msika has reportedly thrown his
weight behind Bulawayo City Council's refusal to hand over its sewerage and
water systems to the Zimbabwe National Water Authority (Zinwa) without any
guarantees that it will be compensated for its investments.

Msika met a delegation made up of Bulawayo councillors, Senators and
MPs in Harare recently to discuss the city's worsening water situation where
he insisted the troubled parastatal could only come in "to alleviate the
current challenges facing the city".

The trip to Harare by the politicians and business leaders was
sponsored by local business person, Delma Lupepe, who, together with a
consortium of companies, has made a proposal to undertake a multi-billion
project to boost the extraction of water from Insiza Dam.

Three of the city's five supply dams were decommissioned between
January and July after they ran dry and council might stop pumping water
from the fourth dam - Inyankuni - when it dries up next month.

This will leave the city with Insiza which, at current extraction
levels, can only supply a third of Bulawayo's demand of 145 000 cubic metres
a day and the proposed project would boost, the pumping capacity to
reasonable levels.

"The Vice-President showed appreciation of the water situation in
Bulawayo," said a source who attended the meeting. "Despite attempts by a
certain businessman who was part of the delegation to try and paint council
in bad light over its fight with Zinwa, Msika said his understanding was
that the takeover must be temporary."

Msika, who is a former local government minister, has in the past said
Zinwa should only intervene to solve problems facing councils in their water
reticulation systems.

Deputy Mayor, Phil Lamola, who led the councillors, confirmed the
meeting with the Vice-President but could not elaborate further on the
issues that were discussed.

After the meeting, Mayor Japhet Ndabeni-Ncube wrote to the Minister of
Local Government, Public Works and Urban Development, Ignatious Chombo,
restating council's position that it will not voluntarily hand over the

But Ncube said council will work with Zinwa to make sure that if the
forced takeover goes ahead "legal issues are reviewed and provided for
accordingly, staff matters are resolved before the formal takeover,
compensation for infrastructure and revenue loss is agreed upon and rent be
payable when applicable".

Last month, Chombo wrote a threatening letter to council warning that
Zinwa would take over the systems without council's consent if the local
authority did not change its stance.

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Students fail to sit for exams

Zim Standard


MASVINGO - More than 100 students at Masvingo Teachers' College were
unable to write their final examinations after their lecturers went on

Students who spoke to The Standard said they were due to write their
practical subjects a fortnight ago but failed because lecturers who were
supposed to invigilate stayed at home.

They said they spent the whole day around the campus believing the
lecturers would show up.

"Examinations were supposed to commence on Tuesday, with some students
writing their practical subjects but this never happened as our lecturers
are on strike," said a student, who declined to be named.

A lecturer who spoke to The Standard said they were not moved by the
plight of students because lecturers could not invigilate on empty stomachs.

"It is very difficult for us to sympathize with the students," said
the leacturer. "We know that examinations are very important for the final
years but how can we invigilate when we are hungry," he said.

Lecturers have vowed not to return to work until government meets
their demands.

Meanwhile, the Higher Education Examinations Council (HEXCO) is
reported to have postponeda indefinitely all examinations in Polytechnic and
Teachers' colleges because of shortage of stationery.

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Desperation turns poor into hide eaters

Zim Standard


TRADITIONALLY animal skins are best known for being raw materials for
leather products such as shoes and jackets.

They were also used in communal areas for the production of home-made
mats and hats by enterprising rural craftsmen who made a living, selling
these products.

But how times have changed in Zimbabwe.

Today animal skins are no longer just raw materials to many
Zimbabweans, hard hit by economic hardships. They are being consumed by
Zimbabwe's urban poor, thanks to President Robert Mugabe's ruinous economic
policies that have impoverished 80 percent of the country's population.

As poverty worsens, more people are now eating animal products that
were traditionally thrown away or sold to tanneries or manufacturers of pet

The list of these products includes cattle hides, pig skins, pig fat
and ears.

"Offals and skins are all that I can afford. If they are finished I
will go back home empty-handed," said 48-year-old Merina Dhliwayo as she
joined a queue to buy the commodities in Mufakose.

At home she will put the hide on a fire so as to remove the fur.
Thereafter, she has to boil the tough animal skin for several hours.

If she gets pig skins, she considers herself lucky. These, she says,
are easier to prepare and take less time to cook because they are softer.

Dhliwayo is not the only one who hunts for these cheap products.

Butcheries in Harare's populous and poor suburbs of Highfield,
Mufakose, Glen View, Dzivaresekwa and Budiriro now appear to have found a
niche market in offals as well as cattle, pig and chicken skins. These are
snapped up by the urban poor who cannot afford beef which remains in short

When it is available, a kilogramme of beef costs, on average, $1.5
million. Offals and hides go for less than half that price for the same

"People queue for these things every morning before we open. At times,
we give them some numbered cards to avoid a stampede," said a butcher at
Harare's Budiriro 1 Shopping Complex.

"Our political leaders have reduced us to animal skin eaters. People
never used to eat these pig ears," lamented 60-year-old Ambuya Munjoma.

It is not just the animal skins that urban dwellers are eating these

Chicken heads, gizzards and intestines are being sold in high-density

Enterprising women and children every morning troop to Irvine's Day
Old Chicks (Pvt) Limited to buy these products which were reserved for
manufacturers of pet food a few years ago.

Later in the day, they converge at shopping centres with bucketfuls of

These traders are easily identified as they constantly wave old
newspapers to swat big hungry green flies popularly known "Green Bombers".
The flies however, despite their menacing and revolting appearance, do not
seem to bother the buyers who cannot get meat anywhere else.

Most basic commodities such as maize-meal, sugar, cooking oil and beef
are not available for even those who can afford them.

But on the burgeoning black market, some of the scarce commodities can
be found but at "extortionate" prices. The more enterprising black marketers
are repacking products such as sugar, cooking oil, rice and others into
smaller packages, in some cases only enough for a single cooking.

Aid agencies warn this scenario is worsening food insecurity at
household level in urban areas.

Children are said to be most affected.

The United Nations Children Fund (Unicef) representative in Zimbabwe,
Festo Kavishe, said the organisation was "deeply concerned" about the
negative impact of the economic crisis.

"Everyday in Zimbabwe the basic elements required for a healthy and
happy childhood - affordable education, three meals per day, clothing and
shelter - are being pushed out of reach for people," Kavishe said.

The latest Zimbabwe Demographic and Health Survey (ZDHS) 2005/6 found
that 29 percent of children under five were stunted, a condition caused by
cumulative effects of chronic malnourishment.

The same report notes that one in 10 children in Harare is suffering
from kwashiorkor or malnutrition related illness.

Dhliwayo, like the majority of Zimbabweans, cherishes the day when she
will be able to buy real meat and feed her dogs with the hides. She also
hopes to be able to buy bread, milk, cooking oil and other products that are
in short supply.

That way she will be able to ensure that her children do not succumb
to malnutrition related illnesses.

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PLWAs urged to have a positive outlook

Zim Standard

  By Bertha Shoko

LAST week I attended a graduation ceremony of more than 50 people
living with HIV/Aids from the New Life Support Group at Chiedza House and
came out a new creation.

Since meeting and talking to some of the PLWAs who were fortunate
enough to graduate as community educators last week at Chiedza House, which
is situated in the Central Business District of Harare, I have new found
appreciation of what it means to be alive and healthy, HIV positive or not.

I was and still am very greatly inspired by these PLWAs who are so
full of hope, energy and strength to go on even after going through the most
unimaginable things in life.

The first testimony which touched the hearts of many people was from
37-year-old Janet Mashumba who has been living with HIV knowingly for 15

Like a "well brought up" girl Mashumba got married at the age of 21 to
a 30-year-old man. He was her true found love and she blocked her ears to
all criticism about his age and went ahead with marriage. That was in 1991
little did she know that her life was going to change dramatically.

In the first six months of marriage Mashumba says she developed a boil
in the fallopian tube and it was so bad that she had to undergo an operation
to remove it. The boil affected her appendix, which was also removed. Hardly
six months after the operation she suffered herpes, which was then
subsequently treated.

What she thought was her biggest achievement in life, settling down,
was turning into a nightmare.

Three years after her marriage she still could not to conceive and
pressure from conerned relatives was mounting. Then the big blow came in
1996, when, while seriously ill her husband confessed to her that he was HIV
positive. The next day Mashumba's husband died of

"Soon after his death I went for my first VCT to confirm my results. I
was told that I was HIV positive," she said.

"I was hurt but life had to move on. In 1997 I met someone. I fell
pregnant the first day I had sex with him but I found it very difficult to
tell him about my status because I feared rejection but I suffered
emotionally and psychologically. He married me and I carried the pregnancy
in fear of what would happen next."

Mashumba went back to the same doctor who had treated her herpes and
her husband back then and poured her heart out and the doctor told her he
would operate on her and that she must not breast feed. She was blessed with
HIV negative twins but she kept her status a secret from her husband even
the wedding in 2001. Her happiness was short-lived though, as her
husband lost his job and decided to go the United Kingdom. He never

"I waited for him for two years but what came back in 2004 were
divorce papers. He was asking to divorce me. I broke down and suffered many
opportunistic infections, including a stroke," recalls Mashumba.

"I was put on ARVs because my CD4 count was 49 and I was referred to
New Life. When I walked into the doors of New Life, I was thin and skinny
but through the counselling I received I have learnt how to manage stress
and I am beautiful once again. I have a new life and I am going to live it
to the fullest."

Mashumba's twins are nine years old now. She says she is hoping to see
her grandchildren
one of these days.

"I see myself in a few years, a good loving wife to a lucky man, a
successful and powerful woman and a grandmother. Look at me I am beautiful
and intelligent and the sky is the limit really," said Mashumba who had
everyone in stitches with her self-important and humorous mannerisms.

"I have a boyfriend, we love each other and I feel I could be a wife
again with no secrets this time," she said.

34-year-old Nixon Tauro, a former soldier, also had his story to tell.
After his first wife was taken away from him by her parents because he was
poor and they claimed he could not afford to take care of her, a pained
Tauro left on a peace
keeping mission in Afghanistan and Iraq in 2002 to try and earn more
money. He came back two years later flashing "diaspora cash" but the love of
his life had moved on.

"I remarried but I started going out with different girls because I
wanted to have a child because my wife had lost three children," says Tauro.

"On the fourth child her health deteriorated and that's when after
being tested we discovered we were HIV positive and that explained the
deaths of our three children. I have found new life here at New Life Support
and I have publicly declared my status because I want to make a difference
in the HIV

There were so many life-changing and touching testimonies that were
poured out on that day that I wish I could share with readers but because of
space constraints we cannot publish them all. My message today is that, know
your status and live positively after that, HIV positive or negative.

National Aids Council Operations director Raymond Yekeye summed it up:
"Any life is worth living and those who are already living with HIV should
continue to inspire others to realise that testing HIV positive is
not the end of the world."

New Life Support Centre is a programme under Population Services

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More trouble for Miss Rural organisers

Zim Standard


BETTY Makoni, the founder of Girl Child Network, wants to report to
the police about the abuse of rural girls at the Miss Rural pageant held in
Masvingo two weeks ago.

The revelations come at a time when a story published in The Standard
last week provoked outrage over the pageant which is being run by Sipho
Ncube Mazibuko.

The Minister of Women's Affairs, Gender and Community Development,
Oppah Muchinguri, called for an investigation into the Miss Rural pageant,
described by George Charamba, the Secretary for Information and Publicity as
a "mess".

Makoni who has always been a strong critic of the Miss Rural event
said she always suspected Mazibuko was "up to no good" and condemned the
abuse of girls in Masvingo where patrons at a local night club were allowed
to grope and caress the girls for a fee.

"We are shocked by what happened in Masvingo. We have the full details
because we had our person who was working there undercover. What Mazibuko
did was disgusting and as a girl child network we want to make a formal
report to the police. Mazibuko is committing a serious crime," she said.

Makoni revealed that one top government official who requested
anonymity called her and asked what her organization was doing about the
issue of these young girls.

"I am really angry and ashamed of what that woman is doing to those
girls. We are also going to have a meeting with some private stakeholders
and the government so that we stop the abuse of these vulnerable girls," she
said, adding: "Mazibuko was supposed to be charged for abusing girls."

Public outrage over the Miss Rural pageant was stoked on Saturday
night when a Miss Rural Nyanga contestant, only identified as Sinikiwe,
jumped on the stage when Vee, a Botswana artist, was performing.

Vee simulated a sexual act on the hapless girl as ZBC cameras were
rolling. The event was witnessed by Travel Expo visitors and beamed live on
television to millions of Zimbabweans.

Asked by The Standard at the show why she jumped on to the stage, the
girl said she never expected that the artist was up to something sinister.

Last week she claimed that Mazibuko pushed her onto the stage when the
artist called for girls to come up.

The incident left many parents wondering whether the rural girls were
safe in Mazibuko's custody.

At a press conference on Tuesday Mazibuko said she was not a prophet,
and therefore could not have foreseen what was going to happen when Miss
Rural went on stage.

"I agree that what Vee did was bad but I am not a prophet. I could not
prophesy, what was going to take place on stage," she said.

It is also alleged that after the show one of the girls went with a
man to his hotel room where they stayed together. Mazibuko refused to
respond to that allegation.

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Parirenyatwa backs down on NUST medical school

Zim Standard

heavyweights in Matabeleland have forced Health and Child Welfare Minister,
David Parirenyatwa to shelve plans to close down the ill equipped National
University of Science and Technology (NUST) medical school.

There are fears that graduates from the recently established
institution will not be allowed to practise as doctors because training
facilities fall far below standards set by the Health Professions Authority

In August, the government had indicated that the ministry will shut
down the institution as it was producing 'half-baked doctors'. Affected
students would be transferred to the University of Zimbabwe (UZ)'s School of

But The Standard has established that Parirenyatwa put the plans on
hold following a meeting with senior Zanu PF officials from the region a
fortnight ago where government was warned "in no uncertain terms that the
closure will be suicidal".

The meeting, held at the NUST campus, was attended by Zanu PF
chairman, John Nkomo, politburo members, Dumiso Dabengwa, Joshua Malinga and
Thenjiwe Lesabe as well as Zanu PF councillors and the ruling party's
provincial executive.

Parirenyatwa was reportedly told that the impending closure will
reverse the few developmental initiatives that have been brought to the
marginalized region since independence.

Government only agreed to build NUST, which became the country's
second university after UZ, following heavy lobbying by politicians from
Matabeleland, including the late Vice President Joshua Nkomo.

"The ruling party officials argued that the institution should not be
blamed for the poor educational standards since the Ministry was not funding
the training of doctors," said the source who attended the meeting.

Parirenyatwa confirmed that he met the ruling party leadership from
Matabeleland but refused to shed more light on the issues that were

"We met as the Ministry of Health and Child Welfare, NUST Medical
School staff and Zanu-PF officials to chart the way forward on the future of
the medical school," he said.

NUST took over the medical school, which was run by the UZ School of
Medicine as the Bulawayo College of Health Sciences in 2003 after the latter
relocated to Harare citing a shortage of lecturers and poor learning

Speaking at the university's graduation ceremony recently, the
university's vice chancellor, Lindela Ndlovu, said the construction of the
medical school's campus at Mpilo Hospital, which is about 95% complete, was
being delayed by lack of funding.

The institution has come under scrutiny after students petitioned
President Robert Mugabe, warning him that he was capping "half baked

In the petition, signed by NUST Student Representative Council
president, Clever Bere, the students said apart from battling high tuition
fees, they were also facing a critical shortage of accommodation and a mass
exodus of lecturers.

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MP accuses firm of locking up suspects in filthy dog kennels

Zim Standard


CRESTA Breeders International security guards are allegedly locking up
people caught poaching firewood at the company's farm in dingy dog kennels
before they pay fines, a Member of Parliament has alleged.

Glen Norah MP Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga told The Standard that
she saw about eight people locked up in dog kennels when she went there to
retrieve her vehicle that had been impounded by security personnel at the

The MP had given her vehicle to members of her constituency who wanted
to fetch firewood for a memorial service. However, the people were arrested
on accusations of buying firewood that had been stolen at Cresta Breeders
farm by people staying at Ushewokunze Housing Co-operative, which is located
next to Cresta premises 15 kilometres outside Harare.

Misihairabwi-Mushonga said: "I saw them. Most of them were women and
one of them had a small baby barely six months old. They were in dirty dog
kennels and I complained bitterly to the officials."

But Cresta Breeders managing director Chris Foto vehemently denied the
allegations saying the MP was making unfounded accusations after being
caught stealing firewood at the company.

"She is a liar. She is trying to get back at us because her people
were caught stealing firewood and she paid admission of guilt fine. We have
the receipts here," said Foto.

The Cresta breeders' boss said Mushonga's behaviour was "unlike that
of a legislator".

But an angry Mushonga said she will not let Cresta breeders get away
with such gross human rights abuse.

"Now I want to get the people who were locked in the dog kennels and
lodge a legal suit against the company for human rights abuse," she said.

Linah Marondera, who had been assisted with the car by Mushonga said:
"We were paying our fines when we saw about eight women, one of them with a
very small baby, locked up with huge dogs next to them. It was a
disheartening sight I tell you."

Some security guards at Cresta Breeders also confirmed that people who
failed to raise fines were sometimes locked up.

"This has been going on for some time now. They stopped after MP
Mushonga complained. I don't know why they do it but it's very bad," said a
guard who asked not to be named.

An Environmental Management Agency official identified only as Mrs
Tabe, who receipted the fines, denied ever seeing people locked up in dog

For the offence, Mushonga paid fines of $10 million.

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Zimbabwe, Namibia power deal in jeopardy

Zim Standard


EMBATTLED power utility, ZESA Holdings is delaying the refurbishment
of Hwange Power Station because it has failed to raise $100 billion needed,
putting under threat a joint venture involving Nampower of Namibia ahead of
the December deadline.

Under a deal sealed in March, Nampower advanced US$40 million for the
refurbishment of Hwange with ZESA expected to provide the local component of
the financing. ZESA is expected to export electricity to the Namibian power
utility starting January.

Mavis Chidzonga, (pictured below) Zimbabwe Electricity Regulatory
Commission (ZERC) commissioner general told a parliamentary portfolio
committee on Mines and Energy Thursday that ZESA was still to raise the
local currency which is delaying works at Hwange.

"We are not contributing as quickly as possible to the extent that we
are delaying the works," Chidzonga said.

"We need an injection of $100 billion so that they finish the work in

Chidzonga told the committee that ZESA will start exporting 40 MW to
Nampower in January whether the refurbishments have been completed or not.

Chidzonga said: "If we don't finish refurbishments, it means we have
to take from the electricity we generate to supply them."

She said information reaching the regulator is that the ministry of
Energy and Power Development was given the nod to borrow the money from the
domestic market.

The delay in the refurbishments at Hwange will be another blow to
households and industries which continue to experience prolonged power cuts
as the power utility fails to generate as well as import adequate supplies.

ZESA is now importing 25 percent electricity from Mozambique's
Hidroelectrica de Cahora Bassa and SNEL of the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Initially ZESA imported between 35-40 percent from the region but suppliers
have reduced supplies over a US$42 million debt.

Hwange Power Station is generating 85 MW against an installed capacity
of 670 MW due to obsolete equipment and inadequate coal supplies.

Kariba is generating 727 MW against a capacity of 750 MW. Bulawayo and
Munyati thermal stations are not running as they have not received coal
supplies for a long time. ZESA has an electricity shortfall of 858 MW, which
means that at any given time half of the country will be without

Chidzonga told the lawmakers that unless energy issues were taken
seriously turnaround programmes in mining or industrial operations will come
to a dead end.

"There will be no expansion programmes that will take off and
succeed," she said.

The ZERC boss pleaded with the committee for energy issues to be

She said regional suppliers were willing to assist but wanted ZESA to
settle their arrears.

"Once you clear arrears, they are prepared to discuss payment plans .
. . these are our friends," Chidzonga said.

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Overwhelmed NIPC sends SOS

Zim Standard


THE National Incomes and Pricing Commission (NIPC) is understaffed to
carry out surveillance and monitoring of prices and has sent an SOS to the
parent ministry for more manpower, a parliamentary portfolio heard last

Giving oral evidence to the portfolio committee on Foreign Affairs
Industry and International Trade, Rosemary Siyachitema, acting NIPC
chairperson said the low staffing levels had resulted in "the wheels turning

"We are understaffed in the area of surveillance and monitoring. We
need a strong contigent of monitors," she said.

Siyachitema said the commission was underfunded unlike the Cabinet
Taskforce on Prices Monitoring and Stabilization "which had a full machinery
that was paid to do the monitoring".

Siyachitema said as a result of the low staffing levels, the
commission had made a request to the parent ministry for 20 additional staff

Lawmakers were not convinced that the commission was in charge of the
price determination and monitoring saying the taskforce appeared to be still
in charge.

The NIPC acting chairperson said the commission had no structures in
provinces and districts and hence the Taskforce was in charge of the
provinces and districts. She was evasive on whether the Taskforce had the
supreme authority saying: "What I can say is that we are doing our work as a

Challenged by Dzivaresekwa lawmaker Edwin Mushoriwa that the Taskforce
was still determining prices Siyachitema said: "I wouldn't talk about them
being there or not . . . there are Taskforce meetings going on and we are

Siyachitema told the lawmakers that the commission took a back seat at
the time of the price blitz that led to the slashing of all prices by half.

She said the commission was advised to take a back seat "while the
Taskforce was stabilizing prices".

The NIPC started operations on 6 June and had seven commissioners up
until Wednesday when the ministry of Industry and International Trade
appointed four other commissioners - Godwills Masimirembwa, Kenzias Chibota,
Sibusisiwe Chindove and Michael Sibanda.

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Zimbabwe misses 'African cheetahs' growth forecasts

Zim Standard

  By Davison Maruziva

WASHINGTON - It used to be a compelling argument to describe
development best practices by citing Zimbabwe. Now it appears there is
overwhelming evidence to avoid mention of the country.

Discussions at the ongoing Annual Meetings of the International
Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank show attempts to do just that because
it is the one significant spoiler in the array of numerous success stories
emerging from Sub-Saharan Africa.

The Fund's World Economic Outlook forecast for Africa remains positive
in the near term with growth this year and next expected to be close to last
year's or above its 2006 pace, at 5.6%.

In fact, 2008 growth projections have been raised by a quarter of a
percentage point for Africa since July.

But such positive investment climate in Sub-Saharan Africa is not
being followed by foreign direct investment and South Africa is the only
country attracting capital flows.

"To attract direct investment," said Charles Collyns, deputy director
of the Research Department at the IMF, "I think you have to have a good
investment climate with a clear rule of law, with an appropriate taxation
system. So there is need for reforms in a number of countries to create an
investment climate that is most conducive to foreign direct investment.

"Certainly South Africa is a country that is well placed to receive
foreign direct investment. We would expect that it will continue to receive
substantial amounts of foreign direct investment.

And Zimbabwe?

"I am not an expert in the situation on Zimbabwe," Collyns said, "but
our experience has clearly demonstrated that countries that follow sound
macro-economic policies are able to control inflation, bringing it down to
low levels. So I think what is required in Zimbabwe is putting in place a
prudent set of macro-economic policies, and that will bring inflation down."

For outgoing IMF Managing Director, Rodrigo de Rato, if you take out
Zimbabwe, economic growth in Sub-Saharan Africa during 2007 and 2008 should
be 7%.

"Those are very impressive numbers for Sub-Saharan Africa, and we
believe that they show that countries are changing, they are implementing
new and more effective economic policies."

And excluding Zimbabwe, the new President of the World Bank Group,
Robert Zoellick, who has just completed his first100 days in office,says the
last decade has witnessed the emergence of 17 Sub-Saharan countries whose
consistent growth has seen them being referred to as the "African Cheetahs",
like the "Asian Tigers".

Unfortunately Zimbabwe is not one of these, completing a new emerging
picture of exclusion, amid concerns that the country's rapid decline as well
as repeated failure to attract investment now pose a threat to the stability
of the region.

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Falling direct investment a wake-up call, say analysts

Zim Standard


THE falling of foreign direct investment inflows into Zimbabwe by more
than half is a wake-up call for the country to create a conducive
environment, analysts said last week.

A World Investment Report assessment released by the United Nations
Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) showed that FDI inflows into
the country had plunged to US$40 million in 2006 from US$103 million in

The UNCTAD report which comes hard on the heels of a World Bank report
on the ease of doing business, will pile pressure on the embattled southern
African nation that has railroaded plans to acquire foreign owned firms
under an indigenisation law.

The Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Bill, which passed through
Parliament and Senate now awaits the assent of President Robert Mugabe to
become law.

The Bill states that 51% stake in foreign owned companies operating in
Zimbabwe should be reserved for locals.

Analysts say the dwindling FDI inflows is a wake-up call for the
government to mend its ways.

"It's a wake-up call," said economic commentator, Dr Daniel Ndlela,
"the first signal for us is to respect laws that give confidence to domestic

He added: "You start by making domestic investors confident, if you
are to attract foreign investors."

Independent economic analyst John Robertson said FDI inflows were set
to fall further unless there is a major policy shift on the part of

"We are going to see negative figures as investment out of the country
unless they (government) change their policies," Robertson said referring to
the indigenisation law.

Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment minister Paul Mangwana
recently told a portfolio committee that foreign owned banks unhappy with
the new law should "pack and go". This attracted a rejoinder from central
bank chief Gideon Gono who said those interested in indigenisation should
keep their hands off the delicate area of banking.

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Newspaper project shelved

Zim Standard


BULAWAYO - The Arthur Mutambara led Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC) has shelved plans to run a monthly newsletter that could have
culminated in the launch of its own official newspaper before next year's

The faction published a newsletter in August to counter state
propaganda and had planned to follow it up with a regular newspaper.

But The Standard established last week that the newspaper project had
since been shelved due to lack of financial resources. If the newspaper had
been allowed to publish under the country's tough media laws, it would have
added a new voice to the shrinking newspaper industry.

"The most unfortunate thing is that we are failing to find sponsorship
for the project," MDC's deputy spokesman, Abedinico Bhebhe said.

"The newsletter and the newspaper were part of the MDC plans to
articulate the party's policies among other things."

The country's media laws, particularly the Access to Information and
Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA) are considered among the harshest in the
world. Under Aippa journalists can be imprisoned for up to two years for
practicing without a licence from the state Media and Information

AIPPA has already been used to close down private newspapers among
them, The Daily News and The Daily News on Sunday.

The ruling Zanu-PF has its own official newspaper called The Voice.

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History set to repeat itself as war veterans again enjoy free reign

Zim Standard


THE authority behind the current war veterans' campaign and what
happened during the run-up to the 2000 parliamentary elections show striking
similarities. Those protesting demonstrate incapacity to learn from history.

Politicians, who make up the so-called Bulawayo heavies, are upset
that Jabulani Sibanda - dismissed for "disrespecting" his seniors in the
province - has been resurrected and now leads former freedom fighters and
their allies in drumming up support for President Robert Mugabe's
re-election campaign.

What the Bulawayo protesters forget so easily is that history shows
they chose not to side with the people. Unfortunately they will be ignored.
It happened before. Their protest has no mandate from the people of
Bulawayo. It is a protest that solely seeks to serve their own selfish

During the past month, Sibanda like a vulture, has been circling over
Bulawayo. He led the war veterans in Harare, Mutare, Masvingo, Chinhoyi,
Gwanda, before defiantly entering the City of Kings. Mashonaland Central,
the Midlands and Matabeleland North can be expected to join Sibanda's

Clearly what the Bulawayo heavies have not learnt is that Sibanda and
his allies derive their authority from somewhere much more powerful. That is
why the law enforcement agents will not touch them and that is also why they
have so much resources to enable them to traverse the country, when everyone
else faces harships in accessing fuel.

During the run up to the 2000 polls, the late Chenjerai "Hitler"
Hunzvi, had both the latitude and resources to spearhead his jambanja
(campaign of chaos) with impunity - such impunity he could lead war veterans
into the highest courts in the land and make an absolute mockery of the

Vice-President Joseph Msika ordered Sibanda to stop his marches. He
was publicly embarrased when Sibanda and company entered Bulawayo. The
Vice-President could only watch. Just as he did after his directive on
Kondozi and just as the minister responsible for lands doled out more farms
despite Msika's protestations.

If history teaches us anything, it is that war veterans can become
violent and they will get away with murder - demonstrating there is one law
for Zanu PF veterans, women and the youth league, and another for the rest
of society!

Sibanda is not yet finished with Bulawayo. He will make a grand entry
and savour his political resurrection. Zanu PF has never allowed anything to
get in the way in its quest for power. History is replete with precedents.

The Bulwayo heavies might detest what is happening, unfortunately they
are beneficiaries of a system that ignored, victimised and violated the
rights of the people in that part of the country. It is precisely for that
reason that few will support them in their fight against Sibanda. They are
just the grass that will suffer as a result of conflict between warring

These heavies stood by while Bulawayo de-industrialised. They are
doing nothing while the region runs dangerously low on grain stocks and they
have done nothing during the current water crisis that has led to the
closure of factories, to children and vulnerable groups dying and families
reduced to two days of water supply a week. Why would anyone support them
just because suddenly they feel threatened?

The reason why Sibanda's campaign for Mugabe can brazenly challenge
them is because everyone knows - just as the political heavies are aware -
they have no support and are dependent on the generosity of Sibanda's

Sibanda's defiant marches demonstrate the irrelevance of the political
heavies to and their indebtedness to Zanu PF. They are reaping the

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I too have my own hit list

Zim Standard

  sundayopinion by Bill Saidi

IN most countries where democracy is not defined or refined as being
related to the will of the people, there are hit lists.

Hit lists originated with gangs - the Cosa Nostra, The Yakuza - not
with governments.

Hit lists contain the names of people to be liquidated or "wasted".

To rate a place in this document you have to constitute a real and
present threat to the security of the government or the gang, until it is
decided to silence you for good.

In a word, they will bump you off in the middle of night or while you
dine with your loved one in some exclusive restaurant where entrance is
barred to people carrying knuckle-dusters or .45 revolvers.

Yet because the people behind these assassinations have unlimited
resources, gaining entry is child's play for them.

A government could possess its own hit list, enemies of the state,
people against whom the evidence is fairly solid that, given a chance, they
could blow up the government.

In most countries journalists are rarely accorded this distinction;
their only weapon is the pen.

Only in countries frightened of exposure as dishonest, corrupt and
evil regimes do you find journalists listed as primary targets of state
agents licensed to kill.

Rumours have proliferated recently that the government of President
Robert Mugabe has a hit list of journalists.

Most critics would hesitate to accept these reports at their face
value. But there is evidence that Mugabe is not entirely satisfied
withjournalists in general, except for a few in the state media. Most from
the independent media he would prefer to be "bashed".

He may not personally have authored the document, but may have nodded
after an MIDG (Man In Dark Glasses) mentioned the list.

The latest list, in which I was mentioned, was publicly repudiated by
the Minister of Information and Publicity, Sikhanyiso Ndlovu.

Nobody disclosed the authorship; so Ndlovu might not know about it,
not because he doesn't have his ear to the ground. It could simply be that
in such hush-hush matters, he might be one of many people with "no need to
know", as they say in the spook business.

In other words, Ndlovu may be accurate in his assertion that as far as
he is concerned no such document exists, which would immediately beg the
question: "So who killed Edward Chikomba?"

What may need to be explained to the uninitiated public is that
journalists always have a list of their own, perhaps not a "hit" one but a
list nevertheless.

Ordinarily, this list includes all who are corrupt, dictatorial in
their conduct of any government or private business, all who take advantage
of their position of power to prey on the weak, whether they are girls,
women, boys or men, the young and elderly alike.

Throughout history, the role of the media has been as a watchdog of
the government. Its primary function is to ensure that the government
conducts itself with the best interests of the governed.

On the journalists' lists is the politician and civil servant who is
so glib of tongue he can charm the birds off the trees with his smooth

The journalist's mission is to have this person exposed for what they
are - charlatans. The governed must be made aware that this person is not to
be trusted - on the basis of their past record.

In most developing countries, a majority of the people are not
entirely familiar with their rights.

In most such countries, but particularly in Africa, unscrupulous
leaders have often taken advantage of the people's lack of understanding of
their rights -fleecing them of everything they own, levying heavy taxes on
the very poor, so that in the end, they are beholden to the leaders for the
rest of their lives.

The argument has been advanced that one reason most African leaders
practically hate a free press is the likelihood that journalists might
reveal the truth to the masses - that, in the general scheme of governance,
the people have much more clout than the leaders have led them to believe.

This is the primary reason for the pathetic state of the media in
Africa. In Zimbabwe, the flirtation with Marxism-Leninism at independence
meant that an entirely free media was a "luxury" the new government could
ill afford.

But with the introduction of the Access to Information and Protection
of Privacy Act, the government probably thought it had solved the problem of
a media obsessed with exposing all that the government wished kept under

But it had not. The creation of a hit list for journalists seemed the
logical conclusion of frustrated bureaucrats at their wit's end: if you can't
scare them, kill them.

Yet other regimes have tried and failed to silence the media, largely
because it would mean silencing the majority - as in North Korea, China and

It does seem as if most people would rather have a free media, even
without a government, than a government without a free media.

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A country totally different from the Harare we knew...'

Zim Standard

  sundayview by
Judith Todd

NKALA said the documents suggested that the government was a
government of scoundrels with no feeling, sitting in their offices planning
activities against members of their own population. Names of highly placed
people had been mentioned in the reports, linking them with activities such
as murder. Government had investigated the allegations and they were lies.

It was true that Zimbabwe had some problems, like the dissidents who
were murdering, maiming and raping. "But we will not fold our hands and sit
back and let them take over, come heaven and, come hell, come Amnesty
International, come the Lawyers' Committee."

He said that once Amnesty International received information, it was
circulated to members throughout the world, and in the process seemed to
assume some kind of authenticity. So someone might be detained for a couple
of days and then released and demands would come from Amnesty, demanding
that person's release. Who then should be released?

According to Nkala, there was a man from Beitbridge, a madman, a
member of parliament who had been assisting dissidents, and so had been
taken in for a few days for questioning. He alleged that he had been
tortured but there were no marks on him. It appeared from the newspapers as
though he had won a case against torture, but this was only by default, as
government hadn't known he was going to court.

The dissidents and their sponsors, Nkala said, had certain objectives
to achieve and it was known who and what party supported them. They were
financed entirely from within the country, and the organisations that
sponsored them were wholly Zimbabwean. "One or two or three of you have
taken it upon yourselves to champion the discrediting of government. We have
an abhorrence of the activities of some of you. We can do without you, all
of you, but we don't want to do that. We simply want to say let us move in
step. If there is anything wrong, tell us. Don't run to Amnesty

Nkala further said that all NGOs would now have to register with the
Ministry of Local Government, in addition to the Ministry of Labour and
Social Services, already a requirement, and report all projects in all
areas. "If you want to spend money, you must first explain to the district
administrator. Any one of you found in the rural areas without the knowledge
of officials in the Ministry of Local Government will be reported to me and
we will react. Those who are not Zimbabweans, we will deport. Those of you
who are Zimbabweans know how we will act."

. . .Comrade Mugabe told a press conference at his residence in August
that the unity talks between Zanu PF and PF Zapu had reached a sufficiently
advanced stage to allow the Attorney-General to withdraw treason charges
against 10 men.

He said he had informed the Attorney-General, Godfrey Chidyausiku, of
the "critical stage" the talks had reached, and the latter had decided it
would not be in the national interest to proceed with the case.

Mugabe emphasised that the release of the 10 men was the decision of
the Attorney-General, "acting within the exclusive discretion conferred upon
him by the constitution". But, he said, the government was not obliged to
retain those who had been involved and who were in the army, and they were
not going to do so.

Of the men concerned, Charles Grey, Kindness Ndlovu and Tshila Nleya
were all army brigadiers, Joseph Z Dube and Eddie Sigogo were colonels,
Brian Siziba a corporal and Leon Khumalo a captain. William Kona was Zapu's
national chairman, Sydney Malunga a Zapu MP for Mpopoma and Edward Ndlovu a
Zapu MP for Gwanda.

A few days after this press conference I was at the airport, waiting
for the flight to Bulawayo, when I was approached by the Attorney-General.
He was very friendly, and I responded, saying I was glad to see him and that
he must now be the most popular man in Zimbabwe. Godfrey looked pleased but
mystified. I reminded him that the prime minister, in announcing the
dropping of treason charges against 10 men, had said it was Chidyausiku's
decision, not his, and that the Attorney-General had the constitutional
power to release anyone. It was all nonsense, of course. The men were about
to go to court, where it would have been revealed that most of them had been
tortured, and government wanted to conceal this fact.

I said I hadn't known of Godfrey's power until I had read the prime
minister's statement. "And now," I said, "how about Dumiso Dabengwa? If you
have the power to release anyone, how can we get Dumiso out? If I send you a
bowl of red roses every day . . .?"

He grinned and said: "You don't waste time talking shop, do you?"

. . .Since Minister Nkala had ordered us at the NGO meeting to report
anything amiss to government and not to Amnesty International, I had written
a number of letters that had gone unanswered. Recently released detainees
had come to see me, complaining of being beaten and, in one case, being
given electric shocks. I had reason to believe that one of them was a plant,
and sure enough, the doctor who had examined him told me privately that he
had found nothing to suggest the man had been abused.

So I wrote post haste to Minister Mnangagwa, saying I was sorry to
bother him during NAM (the summit of the Non-Aligned Movement), but,
following instructions received, I felt I should let him know that a Comrade
X was complaining about electric shocks during his detention and, if
government wanted to investigate, he could let me know and I would forward
the complainant's name and address.


. . .We tended to regard beautiful Harare with its towering golden
Sheraton Hotel and conference centre as a symbol of the state of the country
as a whole. There had been dramatic improvements in many areas like health,
water, roads and education since independence, but for too many, life
remained a grinding misery of just eking out an existence.

Driving one day along the Botswana border with Godwin Matatu of the
Observer and Albert Ngwenya from the Zimbabwe Project, we passed two
schools, about 15 miles apart, partially destroyed by "dissidents" in one
night. They were self-help schools, the bricks moulded and the buildings
erected by the local community. I became suspicious. For people to have
wreaked such havoc in one night they could either fly from place to place
like Batman, or they had transport. The Batman hypothesis was as unlikely as
the possibility that "dissidents" had transport. This came at a time when
the unity talks were said to be going well.

We delivered maize-meal to a man who was too weak from hunger to work.
There we met a businessman who was recently crippled. He had been forced to
stand in boiling water by Zanu PF youths because they opposed the party he
belonged to, PF Zapu.

Overall, the impression was that we were in a country totally
different to what we in Harare knew. There was no grass. Cattle staggered
around like hairy skeletons. People spent much of their energy collecting
water from far-off places. There were so many who were barely getting by in
appalling circumstances. But had Lancaster House conference leading to our
independence not worked, maybe many of them would already be dead.

On Friday 5 December 1986, Dumiso Dabengwa and others were at last
released from Chikurubi Maximum Security Prison after all the cruel years of
detention. Bryant Elliot took them to the Brickhills' house, and some
friends were rustled up for an impromptu party at 4PM. Dumiso was surprised
to hear that he looked well. People were pretty demanding, and some babies
born in his absence were presented to him. Dumiso had a wonderful gift of
appearing to be intensely interested in everything...

* Excerpt from Judith Todd's latest book; Through the Darkness; A Life
in Zimbabwe, available from

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Time to speak out against Mugabe's kleptocracy

Zim Standard

  sundayview by Pius Wakatama

ZIMBABWE has now reached a cross-roads where the direction and
decisions made by its leaders will either lead to peace and prosperity or to
"everlasting doom" as Christian preachers would say.

It is so refreshing and hope-inspiring to note that some key leaders
in the ruling party, Zanu PF's politburo namely retired army generals
Vitalis Zvinavashe and Solomon Mujuru have realised the fact that the
country is now at a critical stage. Both men spoke boldly at a ruling party
politburo meeting on 5 September about the real causes of the national
crisis and the way out of it.

The Zimbabwe Independent of 28 September reported that Zvinavashe
openly accused Zanu PF and government leaders of lying about political and
economic developments in the country. He said Zimbabwe was not going to come
out of the woods if its rulers continue to be dishonest. "Zimbabwe's
greatest undoing is that its untruthful leaders now believe their own lies,"
he said.

Zvinavashe, who is also a ruling party senator, accused Zanu PF and
the government of lying that the current political and economic crisis was a
result of undeclared sanctions by the United States, Britain and its allies
in the European Union. He reportedly said it was also a lie by the
government that the opposition MDC was a stooge of the West. He said
Zimbabwe's problems were a result of lying, poor planning and implementation
of unsound policies by government. He blasted government and party leaders
over the July price blitz which forced wholesalers and retailers to reduce
prices by half. This resulted in the acute shortages of basic commodities
that the country is facing today.

Mujuru, also a member of the politburo, chaired by President Robert
Mugabe, said the president was surrounded by people who lie to him.

Here, it is significant to note that the lies that all our problems
are caused by the West and that the opposition MDC is a stooge of the West
are none other than Mugabe's oft repeated excuses of our economic and
political woes. He is, in fact, the originator and author of this belief
which is now the official Zanu PF doctrine and mantra.

It is good that these admissions are coming from Zanu PF chefs. Some
of us mere mortals including yours truly were harassed, arrested and
tortured in police cells for saying exactly the same thing. It is indeed
true that you can fool some of the people some of the time but you can't
fool all the people all the time. Some Zanu PF leaders are saying enough is
enough. Zvinavashe and Mujuru by their statements have indirectly
discredited Mugabe and his surrogates in government who have ruined the
country and are desperately trying to cling on to power by lies, deceit and

In the same vein of telling the truth and shunning lies, Reserve Bank
Governor, Gideon Gono, in his mid-year monetary policy statement said many
of the nation's economic difficulties were self-inflicted by poor policies
including the price cuts and the programme to seize control of white and
foreign owned businesses.

Ironically, as soon as he arrived from his trip to the US from the
United Nations General Assembly, where he, as usual, blamed the West for
Zimbabwe's problems, Mugabe totally contradicted Gono's sentiments.

He applauded the Indigenisation and Empowerment Bill which he said
would ensure that the mineral wealth is exploited for the benefit of
Zimbabweans who should own at least 51% of any white or foreign owned

The president's comments show that he is out of touch with the reality
of our situation. Zimbabwe does not have the capital or capability to take
over all foreign and white-owned businesses. Those campaigning forthis to
happen do not have Zimbabwe at heart. They are vultures waiting to benefit
from the takeovers like they did with the farms which they looted and are
now derelict. This will effectively put the final nail on the coffin of
Zimbabwe's economy. Not even a fool would dream of investing in Zimbabwe.
Gono's efforts are honourable but a waste of time as long as he works under
his present bosses. He should get out before he goes mad.

Many in government and Zanu PF are privately saying that the
government has failed and Mugabe must not be allowed to continue leading the
country into the wilderness. It is also an open secret that he is now
fighting a fierce battle for political survival. His battle is not against
the West and the opposition MDC as he claims.

It is against his own comrades in government and in Zanu PF. In order
to survive he is now calling upon the dregs of our society, some who are
semi-literate pimps, tsotsis, thugs and murderers. His fight is now led by
characters like Joseph Chinotimba of farm-invasions fame, whose war record
is questioned by most war-veterans and Jabulani Sibanda, the discredited
former war-veteran leader who John Nkomo, chairman of Zanu PF says is no
longer a member of the party having been fired over the Tsholotsho debacle.

Instead of speaking in private and secretly plotting for Mugabe's
ouster from power in what is called "the succession battle". Right thinking
men and women of integrity need to come out in the open and call a spade a
spade as was done by senator Zvinavashe and Mujuru. They should publicly
tell the truth and shame the devil. They will thus absolve themselves from
being part and parcel of those who are accountable for the suffering
Zimbabweans have gone through and are still going through. At this critical
juncture they need to stand up and be counted for change is indeed coming
with or without their support.

At this time it is obvious that the Zanu PF is in a corner. The
economy is in shambles and they are under pressure from SADC and the
international community to make an about turn. This is why they are now
talking to the MDC which they used to insult and vilify as traitors and
stooges of the West. This is now time for the Zimbabwean population to
deliver the coup de grace. We should shed our fear and publicly denounce and
act against this dictatorship which has looted our beautiful country.

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Zim Standard Letters

 MDC lacks the strategies to unseat foxy Mugabe

AS the clock steadily ticks on towards the 2008 plebiscite, some of us
who feel "non-aligned" to Zimbabwe's power game, wish to remind the
politicians of what we expect as citizens.

Whoever is to win next year needs to be reminded that we prefer
servant rulers as opposed to master rulers. We want rulers who are prepared
to be grilled by citizens for their actions. We want rulers who voluntarily
resign when they fail to discharge their duties. We want morally upright
people. We want nation builders not partisan bootlickers or populists.

We want rulers who care about a people's health, welfare and
individual rights. We want rulers who care about the environment, not out of
selfish motives but a desire to see our heritage preserved. We want rulers
who will respect our laws, not manipulators. The list is long.

Having said that, let me hasten to add that I am very skeptical about
the opposition MDCs' capacity to dislodge Zanu PF from power. My observation
is that the opposition lacks the innovative strategies needed to both
discredit and dislodge the ruling party. Zanu PF is a monolithic party and
its leader a political grandmaster. There is absolutely nothing on the
ground right now to suggest that either of the two MDCs have a master-stroke
card to remove President Mugabe.

Love him or hate him, Gushungo has proved that he is at his best
political acumen when faced by seemingly insurmountable political obstacles.

Many incidents have occurred since the inception of the MDCs that
appeared as God-given chances for it to fully exploit and inevitably
dislodge Zanu PF. They don't seem to learn these guys. Their only hope is
that the masses will finally say enough is enough. They have enough
ammunition to sell to the people about Zanu PF's inadequacies but inherently
they don't have incisive strategies to reach the hearts of people in rural
areas. Their current membership is not directly a result of their ability to
dismantle Zanu PFs previously unchallenged grip of power; a big no. Why,
because consequentially citizens have lived far too long a time seeing their
leaders disregard with contempt their views and wishes. For instance, the
fallen living standards in the country would be an opportunity to bag some
votes for any serious political party, but MDC seems incapable of deriving
political capital from this beyond the usual whining from the wings.

Admittedly the ruling party has a plethora of state machinery at its
disposal but so had Muzorewa in 1980. Another glaring example is the current
food shortages; can we honestly say the opposition is exploiting this for
next year? They don't appear to have a credible think-tank of strategists
while, already, the Zanu PF juggernaut is at full throttle.

Minimizing voter registration points in itself is a telling blow to
the MDC's urban constituencies. Given our numbers in towns, I have not seen
anything extraordinary to suggest urbanites bothered to go and register.
Events seem to be unfolding with the MDCs apparently unprepared to counter
them. That's a sign of being novitiate in the game of politics. No-one will
get power from Zanu PF on a silver platter. These guys are just awesome and
they are survivors. I can go on and begin to sound as though I am
worshipping Zanu PF. Nothing could be further from the truth, but that is
the reality those who hope to unseat the party must contend with.

The South African media is so obsessed with this man called Robert
Mugabe. No one seems to understand him. Even those in his own party appear
glaringly incapacitated by him. We all face hardships, but look at the war
veterans and their solidarity marches; it's incredible that they love and
worship Mugabe. They seem mesmerized by him.

The person of Robert Mugabe will no doubt leave an indelible mark on
Zimbabwe and Africa's political landscape. Good or bad, the man is something

Odrix Mhiji

Mbare, Harare

 Understanding the value of money

FOR one to understand the causes of inflation and its effects, one
must first of all understand the origins of paper money and its relationship
to value and/or wealth.

When you mobilize resources and knowledge and convert them into
something that satisfies other people's needs you would have created value.
Wealth is the accumulation of such value.

You can exchange your value for other people's value which they would
have created elsewhere. That is the basis of fair trade and commerce

With the advancement of civilisation and expansion of markets,
spatially and temporally, it became increasingly difficult to trade by
barter. People began to look for something portable, durable, divisible, and
with all the other attributes of a good medium of exchange that one can
think of.

History is replete with all sorts of things which were tried, from
coffee beans, beads, precious stones, sea shells, and finally to silver and
gold. Silver was finally beaten by gold. Those who could amass and/or
produce - create value in large quantities soon found it difficult to
securely keep their large amounts of gold. This created a new breed of
business people called gold keepers who would charge some scrapings or few
ounces of gold as a return on their investments in the form of vaults,
safes, and strong rooms.

The gold keepers would issue the gold owners certificates stating the
amounts of gold deposited with them. With time, people began to accept the
certificates from trusted keepers as legal tender confident that the
certificates were redeemable whenever real solid gold was required.

In time such certificates were issued without names and their
authenticity was based on the goodwill of the issuers. When it became
fashionable to break down the certificates into various sizes of
denominations for convenience of trade, paper money was born.

Governments soon realised that in large economies, if they owned and
controlled a central reserve bank which controls the issuance of the
certificates which we now call money, they can possibly issue themselves
"money" when they do not have gold-value-wealth deposited with that bank.

As long as you do not appreciate or understand how printing causes
inflation, printing forces you to print more, and more printing compels you
to print big time causing hyperinflation. Those chosen few who are blessed
with the revelation know that the only way out of the spiralling vicious
cycle is through sacrifice. You have to stop printing gradually or abruptly
and strategically.

What has made me believe strongly that many people do not understand
politics and economics, and the fruits from their relationships, is the
apparent absence of protest that should come from the instinct of self
preservation given the prevalent hyperinflationary environment.

Devaluation, overvaluation, for convenience issuance of bigger
denominations - very soon we will be using the 1 million or 10 million
bearer cheques - itsself a de-facto and subtle way of admitting that the
monetary value of our currency has collapsed.

The obvious question one must ask is: are all the people not supposed
to know? Is it a crime if they know? Shouldn't they be empowered with this

Isn't it critically important that as citizens, we all share this
liberating knowledge?

Boas Pondayi Magoronga


 Civic bodies not to be trusted

CIVIC groups in Zimbabwe have never been sincere or aligned to any
political party such as the MDC as some sections of the media would want us
to believe.

Some civic groups or their leaders have been aligned to Morgan
Tsvangirai as individuals not political groups. The NCA, Crisis Coalition
and the Save Zimbabwe campaign are serving the interests of the Anti-senate
MDC and Tsvangirai and not the interests of Zimbabweans.

The hijacking of trade unions and civic coalitions by Tsvangirai has
paralysed their operations. Organisations like the ZCTU failed to mobilize
the workers for a collective job action because of their allegiance to the
Tsvangirai faction.

As MDC members we do not need Madhuku, Tsunga or Makumbe to tell us
what we should do or who to follow. Some of us have abandoned the Save
Zimbabwe Campaign because we have lost confidence in the leaders of the
group. The idea is noble but it is in the hands selfish individuals who have
a history of looting and inefficiency.

It is unfortunate that these organisations have not been active on the
ground except the issuance of useless press statements on useless issues
such as the exhausted constitution issue.

Chief Bere


 Expertise first not tractors

THE term professional is ordinarily understood to mean persons of
advanced knowledge and experience in their respective fields.

Therefore giving an individual a stethoscope does not make him a
doctor. Any amount of spanners and spare parts will not turn one into a

Under the same principle, when we refer to a successful commercial
farmer, we understand this to mean a professional farmer. One whose entire
time is devoted to his profession; one who understands that the most
important requirements to a viable and successful agricultural venture are;
a) land, b) light, c) moisture, d) professional conduct, e) the wish to

With the absence of any one of the above, any amount of free tractors
and cheap fertilizers will be in vain. As occurred in our Parliament, the
sooner we find an acceptable proposal to all involved the better.



 Beer price hike ill-advised

BY sanctioning massive price increases on beer
and other alcoholic beverages, Reserve Bank Governor, Gideon Gono might have
unwittingly condemned many poor families to starvation as some men will
simply adjust their family budgets to reflect increased spending on alcohol.

While Gono probably considers beer a luxury that most people can do
without, many beer drinkers will disagree. Try closing down all the pubs and
beerhalls and see what will happen.

Committed Boozer


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