The ZIMBABWE Situation Our thoughts and prayers are with Zimbabwe
- may peace, truth and justice prevail.

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Zim Online

Sat 2 October 2004

      HARARE - Senior ruling ZANU PF party politicians have snatched up most
of the 40 farms seized by the government from agro-firms, estate and
plantation companies in the last month.

      The government took the land saying it wanted to allocate it to black
commercial farmers under its A2 resettlement scheme. It also said some of
the farms closer to cities would be handed over to municipalities for
residential purposes.

      An investigation this week by ZimOnline established that at least 21
of the farms allocated so far had been given to ZANU PF officials or their
private companies.

      Some of the firms given the farms for free are involved in housing
development. Under normal circumstances, the firms must pay for land
acquired for property development.

      The probe established that Divine Homes, a company jointly-owned by
deputy Finance Minister David Chapfika and another investor was allocated
Lot 18 of Glen Forest, which is part of Borrowdale Estates, just outside

      The property measures 12 368 hectares.

      The same company was also in the last four weeks given Lot 9 Block S
of Hatfiled Estate just outside Harare. The farm is 140 380 hectares.

      ZANU PF stalwart, Chester Mhende, through his company, Shelter
Zimbabwe, snatched up Lyndhurst farm. The size of the farm could not be
immediately established.

      Mhende already owns another 119-hectare farm near Norton town about 40
kilometres west of Harare. He grabbed the Norton property last year from
white farmer Joe Whaley.

      Another company, Amalish Investments, which is owned by one R
Musarurwa, who is an official in ZANU PF's Harare provincial executive,
grabbed Chizororo and Stonerigde farms. The two properties, all located
along the Harare-Chitungwiza highway, measure more than 300 000 hectares in

      Sally Mugabe Housing Cooperative, named after the late wife of
President Robert Mugabe and led by prominent war veteran Daniel Mawaka,
received three of the farms taken from corporate firms by the government in
the last four weeks.

      The co-operative took over Gletwyn farm, measuring 750 000 hectares
and Arcon Estates, measuring 57 124 hectares.

      The 130 000 hectare Saturday Retreat, seized from Crest Breeders
International went to Simon Muzenda Housing Co-operative run by
pro-government war veterans.

      Reverend Obadiah Musindo, who is widely perceived to be pro-ZANU PF,
last week told his congregation that his Destiny of Afrika co-operative
society had been allocated five farms near Harare and planned to develop
five thousand units to be offered to ZANU PF
      supporters only.

      Several other ZANU PF officials especially members of the women's
league and the Zimbabwe National War Veterans Association were also given
the farms.

      This is not the first time that ZANU PF has allocated land to its
supporters and top official ahead of ordinary Zimbabweans.

      A special report prepared by Minister for Special Affairs Responsible
for Lands, Land Reform and Resettlement, John Nkomo, which was leaked to the
Press last year said that senior government and ruling party politicians had
kept most of the best land seized from white farmers.

      Many had as much as five farms each according to the report. The ZANU
PF politicians have so far ignored calls by Mugabe to surrender the extra
farms in line with the government's stated one-man-one-farm policy.

      Nkomo yesterday said he was still to receive a full report from his
officials about how the farms acquired by the government in the last month
had been distributed.

      He said: "It could have happened but I cannot comment any further as I
am yet to receive a full report. We will institute investigations if
necessary." - ZimOnline
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Zim Online

Lawyer attacks Jonathan Moyo
Sat 2 October 2004

      HARARE - Top Harare lawyer, Edith Mushore, yesterday took a swipe at
Information and Publicity Minister Jonathan Moyo during the trial of four
journalists charged with criminal defamation over a story alleging that
President Robert Mugabe had grabbed an Air
      Zimbabwe plane for a private holiday in the Far East.

      The Zimbabwe Independent journalists, former editor Iden Wetherell,
former news editor Vincent Kahiya, and reporters Dumisani Muleya and Itai
Dzamara, are facing charges of criminal defamation. The state argues that
the story portrayed Mugabe as reckless and was therefore defamatory.

      Mushore attacked Moyo during the hearing of the application for
discharge by the journalists. The journalists have been out on bail since

      Mushore said: "The overzealous junior Minister of Information
confirmed in the statements carried out by the Herald of January 10 that the
story was true and that he had established that it been sourced from Air

      "He says in the Herald story that there are criminals at Air Zimbabwe
working with these British stoogies by giving them information. And he said
time was up for these so-called criminals at Air Zimbabwe. But the junior
minister had alleged in the earlier paragraphs that the story was a
mischievous fabrication," Mushowe said.

      Mushore told the magistrate that the court had to discharge the
accused because the state had failed to prove beyond Moyo's "outrageous
allegations" that the story in question was defamatory.

      "In fact, it is my respectful submission that instead, the overzealous
junior minister is the one who has defamed these journalists who had simply
discharged their duty of informing the public. Their story was true as
clearly shown," she said.

      The journalists were arrested in January following the publication of
the story and were detained for more than 48 hours.

      More than 100 journalists, the majority from the private media have
been arrested under the draconian Access to Information and Protection of
Privacy Act.

      The magistrate is expected to rule on the application for discharge
next month. - ZimOnline
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Zim Online

Desperation drives thousands onto the streets in Bulawyo
Sat 2 October 2004

      BULAWAYO - Each day Vusa Mkandla commutes to the city centre to do
business. He carries with him a torn but durable shopping bag commonly known
as "Renkini" after the city's main rural bus terminus where such bags are a
common piece of luggage among rural bound travellers.

      Inside the bag is an assortment of sweets, biscuits and snacks packed
in a small sturdy cardboard box that serves as Vusi's display unit.  Vusi is
one of hundreds of both licensed and unlicensed vendors operating in
Bulawayo's Central Business District.

      The vendors sell a wide range of products that include light bulbs,
face creams, scouring powder, imported chicory, soap, tinned foods, fruits
and vegetables and trinkets bought cheaply from Chinese wholesalers.

      Most of the vendors are unemployed youths or retrenched workers trying
desperately to earn a living without resorting to crime. The councillor for
Ward 1 under which the city centre falls, Phil Lamola says poverty has
forced many residents to turn to street vending for survival.

      "All these people on the streets selling stuff are trying to survive.
Some have been retrenched and the only thing that they can think of is
buying vegetables, stand at a street corner and sell," notes Cllr Lamola.

      When Bulawayo City Council permitted vending in the city centre, the
target beneficiaries were vulnerable groups such as unemployed women who
were allocated bays at designated points to sell fruits and vegetables.

      According to the city's by-laws, vending bays are allocated to
individuals to sell specific goods. The bays should be manned by the person
who is registered with council or a close relative.

      But, desperation is forcing other groups of residents on the streets
especially unemployed youths and retrenched workers to hawk. Some workers
are also hiring youths to sell goods for them to try and supplement their
meagre incomes.

      The influx of vendors is however, creating numerous problems for the
local authority. Cllr Lamola accuses the vendors of breaking city by-laws by
operating from undesignated areas and littering. "The problem is that these
vendors are breaking the by-laws and end up
      playing hide and seek with our security officers."

      Dumisani Mpofu is an unlicensed vendor who sells watches and watch
batteries from his pockets. He recounts the numerous dramatic escapes he has
made from municipal police when they swoop down on the vendors and
confiscate their wares. Sometimes he is
      caught but he considers it part of the job.

      "I lose goods sometimes but that's the price I pay for doing this kind
of business," he explains while at the same time trying to sell a watch to a

      Cllr Lamola says the vendors can reclaim their goods after paying
fines. But most vendors say it is a waste of time as there are no records of
what goods are taken form individual vendors.

      Cllr Lamola acknowledges that the system of confiscating goods from
vendors is flawed because no records are made of what is taken from
individual vendors.

      Dumisani says he has not bothered to register with council because he
would be allocated a bay that is far away from his customers. Dumisani and
other vendors who spoke to ZimOnline are all not proud to be on the streets
but say they are doing it for the
      money. On average, the vendors make about $40 000 on a good day.

      One vendor who declined to be named said: "I used to be a general hand
in the industries there until I was retrenched two years ago. I had to find
something to do or else my family would have starved to death."

      Additionally, the vendors are blamed for blocking city pavements thus
making it difficult for shoppers to move freely and window shop.

      Cllr Lamola says it would not be prudent for council to build
additional vending bays as the number of vendors is bound to fall once the
economy picks up.

      In any case, he points out that the municipality is already
cash-strapped and would have problems raising money to build the stalls.
      "The situation on the streets is reflecting the true political and
economic dynamics of the country once the economy picks up and there is
employment creation, then we will have fewer vendors on our streets," he

      Until then, it's business as usual on the streets of Bulawayo where
residents can buy almost all their basic provisions from street vendors. -
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Zim Online

Zimbabwean artists battle not to offend political gods
Sat 2 October 2004

      BULAWAYO - The country's second largest city was once known as
Zimbabwe's cultural capital. Considered an urban arts hub, Bulawayo drew
actors, musicians, writers and directors all seemingly bent on outdoing each
other in producing the most provocative and
      challenging works ever.

      But things have changed. Government censorship and financial
constraints are slowly tightening the noose, dampening artists' creativity
while making it increasingly difficult for them to survive financially.

      Actor Stynx Mhlanga says the reason Zimbabwean theatre is "inactive",
is because experienced theatre artists are accepting government-commissioned
television work in order to feed their families. This, Mhlanga says, leaves
them with little time to help stage independent

      Several local performers, including groups like the Makokoba-based
Siyaya Performing Arts, seldom entertain Zimbabwean audiences because they
sign-up for international festivals, where earnings are higher.

      Mhlanga is critical of fellow artists who accept commissioned work. He
accuses them of "playing it safe". As a result, they fail to express
themselves honestly, and freely.

      "It becomes really difficult for poets, or actors, to portray what is
happening in their societies, to mirror what is going on, without ruffling
feathers here and there. With the censorship board around, you know you're
being watched," says Mhlanga.

      "Many are writing because someone is funding them. So they end up
writing what the sponsor wants to hear," says Mhlanga.

      Former Daily News Arts and Entertainment editor Maxwell Sibanda, says
the current crisis in the arts is purely by design. In an essay entitled
"Politics and Music in Zimbabwe" he argues that government first bans songs
and artworks deemed critical of its policies.

      This stance has seen the banning from the airwaves works by Thomas
Mapfumo, Leonard Zhakata and Raymond Majongwe. Earlier this year the board
also banned the staging of the play "Super Patriots and Morons", as it was
deemed too critical of government.

      Sibanda says the government's second tactic is to replace banned items
with its own commissioned music, jingles and videos, all of which are played
incessantly by the state broadcaster.

      Although the tactic has been successful in forcing artists to either
toe the line, or force them off the airwaves, Sibanda says that this
approach is not sustainable in the long run.

      Musician, Joshua Khulekani, admits he has to avoid certain topics to
ensure his compositions are played on national radio and television.

      He said: "When I compose a song I have to revise that song over and
over again to make sure that there is nothing that will put me in trouble."

      A producer with Ingwe Studio, a Bulawayo recording house, says a
growing number of performers are "singing for their supper" to ensure
survival. Zenzele Ndebele said musicians are exercising self-censorship to
remain afloat, thus ensuring continued airplay of their music which (they
hope) will boost sales.

      "They are now supposed to sing about unity, the land and glorifying
other people. But this limits the artists because they are not allowed to
sing about anything else. They certainly cannot criticise the government,"
he says.

      Ndebele says musicians are surviving on money earned through
participating in state-sponsored galas.

      The few artists who have chosen to "remain true" to their artistic
values are finding the going tough.

      Mhlanga, an accomplished playwright and producer, is struggling to
gather enough resources to stage his next play, entitled "Fresh from the
Chapel". He says he is still looking for funds to stage the play.

      Mhlanga says Zimbabwean artists are battling to find a voice that will
not offend the political and censorship gods, but at the same time
championing the people's struggle for peace, freedom and justice. -
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The Herald

      Saturday, 2 October 2004
      Fuel queues resurface

      Herald Reporters
      Fuel queues resurfaced in Harare yesterday, a situation which industry
sources blamed on temporary disruptions in the fuel transport chain and
panic buying.

      Oil companies said fuel was being pumped from Beira to Msasa and two
trains would soon be in Beitbridge. Deliveries to service stations should
start this weekend.

      Corporate bulk customers have been told privately by their suppliers
that their orders will be fulfilled early next week.

      The chairman of the Petroleum Marketers' Association of Zimbabwe, Mr
Masimba Kambarami, said there was no need to panic over the fuel situation
because supplies were being pumped to Msasa depot from Beira. "We also have
two trains coming from Beitbridge carrying fuel and these will be able to
cater for areas in the south of the country.

      "I would like to urge people to avoid hoarding fuel as this will
create problems when the situation is about to normalise owing to the
supplies that are coming into the country from Beira and Beitbridge," he

      Mr Kambarami said the fuel that was coming into the country was
ordered two weeks ago but there had been problems with its transportation.

      "It was a question of logistics and transportation, but that has since
been sorted out and motorists should expect an improvement of the situation
over the weekend. We have four million litres of diesel and four million
litres of petrol destined for Msasa depot," he said.

      The fuel shortages come at a time when the central bank has moved into
the National Oil Company of Zimbabwe to investigate the procurement and
distribution of fuel in the wake of allegations of massive corruption at the
national fuel procurer.

      It also comes on the expiry of the deadline given to 24 fuel importers
by the Government to submit documents relating to fuel importation, failing
which they would be de-registered and handed over to the police.

      As a result of the fuel shortages, thousands of commuters were
stranded last night as there were no buses to take them home. Most commuter
omnibuses were queueing for fuel.

      There were long and winding queues of commuters at Market Square,
Fourth Street and Speke Avenue bus terminuses.

      Among the few service stations where fuel was available, there was
chaos with private motorists jostling with commuter omnibus drivers to be
the first to reach the pump.

      The erratic fuel supplies seem to have hit commuter omnibus operators
hardest with drivers saying they were now spending more time in fuel queues
than on the road. Others have withdrawn their services altogether to press
for higher fares.

      One pirate taxi driver who plies the City-Avondale route said: "I have
not worked since morning because I am trying to get just a few litres of
petrol to get back on the road."

      A motorist who had spent two hours queueing for petrol said the
prevailing situation tempted people to hoard fuel, which would result in
artificial shortages.

      "Some of the petrol attendants are selling the fuel to people who come
with containers while we are out here waiting in the queue," said Mr
Talkmore Chisesu.

      At a service station along Mbuya Nehanda Street, fuel was being sold
to drivers with containers while commuter omnibuses blocked streets after a
commotion broke out.

      The Minister of Energy and Power Development, Cde July Moyo, said it
was too early to say whether the Friday deadline his ministry had given to
24 fuel importers to submit documents relating to fuel importation had been

      "We will wait and see when the deadline passes, otherwise we will send
the wrong signals," said Cde Moyo.

      Cde Moyo early this week warned fuel importers that they risked being
deregistered and prosecuted if they did not submit their fuel importation
documents by yesterday.
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Mail and Guardian

Most women protestors freed in Zimbabwe


      02 October 2004 08:53

A Zimbabwe court on Friday ordered the release without charge of 46 women
who were arrested earlier this week for staging a protest march between the
second city of Bulawayo and Harare, a lawyer said.

Seven others, including prominent activist Jenni Williams, who were arrested
on Wednesday in Harare, have yet to make a court appearance.

"They have been released. The magistrate ruled that there was no basis for
them to answer those charges," lawyer Chipo Hama said by phone from Chegutu,
the small town where the women were arrested on Tuesday.

The women staged a march of more than 400km to protest a proposed law on
banning foreign human rights group and cutting off funding to groups
promoting rights and democracy.

Police arrested the 46 women on Tuesday in Chegutu, about 100km southwest of
the capital, for violating the tough security laws, notably "disturbing the
peace, security or order of the public".

Their colleagues, who pressed on to the capital, were arrested on arrival.

Police said the protesters had failed to obtain permission for the protest
march as required under the country's security laws. - Sapa-AFP
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Dispatch online

'SA land problem 10 times worse than Zim'
By Eric Naki, Political Editor
ALICE - The issue of land in South Africa and the problems surrounding it
are 10 times greater than that of Zimbabwe.

This is according to SACP secretary-general Dr Blade Nzimande, who delivered
the inaugural Joe Slovo Memorial Lecture at the University of Fort Hare
yesterday. Nzimande said that in the party's "Red October campaign" that was
launched yesterday, people would be mobilised to "go into the streets to
demand land".

The process of accumulating agricultural land had not fundamentally changed
in the past 10 years and agrarian reform was moving too slowly.

Some of the worst features of the political economy and agriculture that had
existed under apartheid still existed.

Farm workers were continuing to suffer as government's post 1994 economic
policies had strengthened rather than transformed land accumulation in the

Nzimande said the "willing buyer, willing seller" market- based model had
not worked and alternative models should be developed urgently.

As it stood the policy was a major obstacle to accelerating land reform.

The most critical challenge for the second decade of democracy was to
"change the lives of millions of the poor of our country".

"The transformation of the countryside is an absolute priority in this
regard," Nzimande said.

At the current slow pace, land reform in South Africa would take up to 200
years to achieve the targeted 30 percent transfer to Africans.

Speaking on the theme: Back to Entabeni - Accelerating land and agrarian
transformation in South Africa, Nzimande said the country's agricultural
economy was dominated by large agri-businesses.

Purchasing farms was almost impossible because white farmers had inflated
land prices to the extent that they were out of reach for black people.

"There is widespread evidence of inflation of land prices by white farmers,"
he said.

Agriculture in general, and small and medium farmers in particular,
represented "some of the most backward sections of capital in South Africa,
and the one most strenuously resisting transformation", Nzimande said.

Black farm workers still suffered under poor working conditions and low

"Not only are these workers being paid starvation wages, but they are in
many instances, together with their families, daily subjected to all forms
of abuse, including violence."

Nzimande said although 47 percent of all cattle, 12 percent of sheep and 60
percent of goats were owned by blacks, they produced only five percent of
all red meat in South Africa.

He said the draft charter for black agricultural empowerment, the "AgriBEE
draft charter" had some serious limitations.

It was silent on the role of farm workers and the poor in the development
and finalisation of the charter.

"However, significant as these reforms and interventions are, they have not
fundamentally (or even remotely) transformed the current accumulation regime
and the political economy of the countryside. Class relations still remain
the same," Nzimande said. "Perhaps the biggest weakness is absence of an
industrial strategy for agriculture."
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Daily News online edition

      High cost of not naming Mugabe's successor

      Date:2-Oct, 2004

      IF the method of choosing a successor to Robert Mugabe as president of
Zanu PF is clear-cut, there should be no fuss on the matter.

      If Mugabe were to step down suddenly, the only vice-president in the
party, Joseph Msika, would succeed him. Similarly, if fate were to suddenly
intervene and Mugabe was no longer able to continue as president, Msika
would still succeed him - until such time as a presidential election has to
be held.

      The president of Zanu PF would be the president of the republic as
well, unless the party changed its constitution.

      But the speculation continues unabated. In December, at the Zanu PF
people's congress or conference, Mugabe may or may not announce he is
stepping down. In that event, there might or might not be an election for a
new president.

      Joseph Msika says he is ready to step into Mugabe's shoes if that
happens. Some party heavyweights are saying this is not necessarily the
exact scenario they would wish for. They would prefer an election, in which
the best man or woman would win.

      This uncertainty is not politically healthy for the country. But even
more seriously, it is almost fatal for the country's enfeebled economy.

      Foreign investors are already wary of pouring money into a country
which is a virtual pariah state over its notorious record of misgovernance.

      The uncertainty over its future leadership can only raise its level of
unsuitability as an investment destination. Mugabe seems to take a certain
perverse pleasure in letting this game of guessing continue.

      At one time he says will serve his full republican presidential term
until 2008.

      At another time, he seems to prefer retirement before then. The
speculation is that he will do this at the big indaba in December.

      It would help the country tremendously if Mugabe was prepared to be
categorical in his future plans. We know he is concerned about the stability
in Zanu PF in his absence at the helm.

      This is most unfortunate, for he seems to have no faith at all in any
of the people likely to step into his shoes. He wants to hand-pick his
successor, which could be tragic for this country.

      Mugabe will most likely settle on someone almost as "Mugabe" as he is.
Many people would say one Mugabe in a generation is probably enough.

      The duty of a president who loves his country more than he loves
himself is to ensure the nation is safe after his departure.

      Mugabe can do this by stating categorically what his future plans are,
long before the December conference.

      If people in and out of Zimbabwe know for certain which way the wind
will blow, it could help the country politically and economically.

      This uncertainty may destroy whatever potential for economic recovery
has existed since Mugabe first indicated he would not serve out his full
term. - Editorial
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From The Daily Mirror, 2 October

MDC newsletter provokes uproar

The Chief Executive Officer and Editor in Chief of the Zimbabwe Mirror
Newspapers Group, Dr Ibbo Mandaza has acknowledged that the MDC insert that
appeared in the Daily Mirror yesterday had been construed as a an
advertorial flyer rather than as a newspaper it turned out to be and was
carried in the spirit in which other flyers are regularly carried in the
paper. Dr Mandaza was commenting on complaints from some sections of the
public, asserting that the MDC newsletter said that it The Changing Times-
Newsletter of the Movement for Democratic Change, was advertorial in content
and that, unlike other newsletters such as Homelink, amounted to a newspaper
publication. In a statement, Dr Ibbo Mandaza said, "It is the policy of the
Zimbabwe Newspapers Mirror Group to cater for all political advertisements
from all political parties, and other advertisers in the political arena,
and this has been done on several occasions before. Indeed, the Mirror has
done so before and will continue to do so in the future without fear or
favour and in the interests of democracy and multi-partyism in Zimbabwe.
However, the Zimbabwe Mirror Newspapers Group regrets the ANY INCONVENIENCE
CAUSED to any of our readers with respect to what appears to be an
inadvertent carriage of a purported newspaper publication on the part of a
political party."
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      Zimbabwean politician calls on US, UK to apologize for wrongs 2004-10-03 01:22:31

          HARARE, Oct. 2 (Xinhuanet) -- A Zimbabwean politician has called
on the United States and Britain to apologize for their wrongs before the
world revolts against them, according to the official New Ziana on Saturday.

          Kisinoti Mukwazhe, the aspiring Zimbabwe African National
Union-Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) candidate for Masvingo Central province,was
quoted as saying that it was time the two 'bullies' sought forgiveness from
nations they had wronged.

          "America and Britain must beg for pardon from Zimbabwe for
interfering and barring the country from accessing donor funds forthe
development of the country," he said. "They have not only sabotaged our
economic advancement, but also brought a lot of confusion on a united
nation," he added.

          Mukwazhe also warned Zimbabweans to be wary of some opposition
parties that pretend to be pan-African yet preaching the ideals ofthe white

          "We all know that the opposition Movement for Democratic
Change(MDC) is a British-sponsored party, so why vote for a party that will
protect the interests of Britain and not of Zimbabwe," he said.

          "It is encouraging that the MDC has seen its weakness, hence the
decision to withdraw from next year's elections and we also hope America and
Britain will do likewise because one of these days all countries of the
world will revolt against them," he said.

          Meanwhile, Mukwazhe has vowed to fight factionalism in
MasvingoCentral and make the place one of the most united in Zimbabwe.

          He said if elected into power, he would help the people by
upgrading roads and start income-generating projects.

          The ruling party, ZANU-PF, goes into primary elections late this
year to choose candidates for next year's parliamentary elections.

          Mukwazhe will fight it out with Eddison Zvobgo Junior and Daniel
Shumba for the Masvingo Central ticket to represent ZANU-PF.Enditem

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Trip to the doctor may cost an arm and a leg
          October 02 2004 at 01:27PM

      Harare - Doctors in Zimbabwe have doubled their consultation fees -
the second such hike in recent months. Their move puts medical care well out
of the reach of most of the population, a newspaper reported on Saturday.

      A visit to a specialist doctor could now cost four times the average
monthly salary of a domestic worker, according to the new fees published in
the state-run Herald newspaper.

      Specialist doctors will now charge up to Z$350 000 for a visit. A
domestic worker in Harare earns slightly more than Z$90 000 per month.

      A visit to a general practitioner will cost up to Z$160 000, the paper

      Zimbabwe's health system has been hard-hit by shortages of foreign
currency needed to buy medicines, as well as the country's economic decline
over the past five years which has prompted many doctors and nurses to leave
the country.

      One in every four adults among the country's 12 million people is
infected with HIV, with the epidemic claiming the lives of at least 2 000
people per week, according to official figures. - Sapa-AFP

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Tears as pet giraffe is shot and eaten
          October 02 2004 at 11:23AM

      By Peta Thornycroft

      Harare - A week before his third birthday, Sunshine, a pet giraffe,
was shot last Tuesday by a game warden, then braaied and eaten by police
officers, a headmaster and primary school children in Zimbabwe, 120km from
the South African border.

      Several parents have expressed dismay that their children, from Mabeka
Primary School in West Nicholson, were taken on an outing by their school
principal, and watched a National Parks official shoot the tame giraffe at
point-blank range.

      Thea Akeroyd, who looked after the orphaned infant giraffe after its
mother was poached in October 2001, was in tears on Friday as she recalled
the incident, which has shocked the community.

      "I was in Bulawayo at the time. When I returned home, I was told that
Sunshine had been taken away by a senior policeman, a uniformed policewoman,
the headmaster of the school, and a bunch of kids, some of them very young.

      "My husband Gary returned a couple of hours after me, and went to the
school which is next door to us to fetch Sunshine. He found them drinking
alcohol, and cooking our giraffe. They were loading some of the meat into a

      "I have reported this to the police, I have the case number, and they
are investigating. Some people from National Parks and some important people
in the district have been in contact with us and are very angry."

      Akeroyd said in June she was visited at Tods Guest House, owned by her
husband's family, by Assistant Commissioner Ephraim Katya who told her she
needed a permit to keep the giraffe as a pet.

      "He had been worrying us for a couple of years because he wanted to
take this property for a high person in government, and we didn't move.

      "I went to Bulawayo to National Parks to get a permit, but they just
laughed at me, because there is no such permit, there is no rule like that."

      Akeroyd said Sunshine was a local celebrity and would have been
domesticated if he had been able to get inside their home.

      "He used to try and come inside, but of course he couldn't, but it
made us laugh, and we kept him in a pen close to the house.

      "All the kids around here loved him. When visitors came from South
Africa they loved him. People all around were used to him because he enjoyed
human company. So when they came to take him to be killed, he just went with
them, he wasn't scared."

      She said they had witnesses who saw their long-necked pet shot at
point-blank range.

      Assistant Commissioner Katya from West Nicholson police on Friday
confirmed that Sunshine had been killed at the primary school. "He was shot
by the man from National Parks, not by the police. We did not eat his meat,"
he said.

        .. This article was originally published on page 1 of Saturday Star
on October 02, 2004
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