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SADC urged to push Harare to end abuses

by Cuthbert Nzou and Nokuthula Sibanda Tuesday 01 September 2009

HARARE - Southern African leaders should pressure Zimbabwe's power-sharing
government to end ongoing human rights violations, Human Rights Watch (HRW)
said in a new report released ahead of a key regional summit next week that
will discuss the six-month old Harare administration.

Heads of state and government from the 14-nation Southern African
Development Community (SADC) will hold their annual summit meeting in
Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo, on September 7 and 8.

The 20-page HRW report, "False Dawn: The Zimbabwe Power-Sharing Government's
Failure to Deliver Human Rights Improvements," highlights the transitional
government's lack of progress in rights reforms in the six months since it
was created.

President Robert Mugabe's ZANU PF party has demonstrated a lack of political
will to effect change and wields more power than the two Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) formations headed by Prime Minister Morgan
Tsvangirai and his deputy Arthur Mutambara, the report said.

Police, state prosecutors, and court officials aligned to ZANU PF conduct
politically motivated prosecutions of MDC legislators and activists, and
fail to ensure justice for victims of abuses or to hold perpetrators of
human rights violations to account.

"Southern African leaders should stop looking at Zimbabwe through
rose-colored glasses," said Georgette Gagnon, Africa director of HRW. "The
region's leaders need to press Zimbabwe openly and publicly for human rights
reforms to prevent the country from backsliding into state-sponsored
violence and chaos."

At the summit meeting, heads of state are also expected to assess Zimbabwe's
compliance with a number of rulings by the SADC Tribunal on illegal land
seizures in Zimbabwe.

President Jacob Zuma of South Africa, the organisation's current chairman,
is also expected to brief leaders on the progress made by Zimbabwe's
power-sharing government, which has been in place since February.

The government was created by a SADC-brokered September 2008 agreement,
which followed a period when ZANU PF and its allies unleashed a campaign of
violence to prevent an MDC electoral win.

The HRW urged regional leaders to extract concrete commitments on human
rights from the government of Zimbabwe and to tie them to specific
benchmarks for progress within a clear time frame.

The leaders were also urged to raise concerns about Zimbabwe's failure to
enact basic institutional and legislative reforms that would guarantee the
rule of law as well as fundamental rights for Zimbabweans.

"SADC leaders should stand with the people of Zimbabwe by calling for urgent
reforms to address the country's political and human rights crisis," said
Gagnon. "Without these necessary changes, Zimbabwe's inclusive government
will continue to be built on sand."

Meanwhile South Africa's Foreign Affairs department said on Monday that
Pretoria was "encouraged" by the improving human rights situation in its
northern neighbour and urged Zimbabwe's leaders to stick to commitments made
under their power-sharing agreement.

"We are encouraged that by all accounts the human rights situation has
improved," Foreign Affairs director general Ayanda Ntsaluba said. "Instead
of Zimbabwe being on a downward spiral we believe it is at the start of a

Ntsaluba said it was important for Mugabe and Tsvangirai to sort out their
differences in order to encourage international investment   - ZimOnline

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Zuma satisfied with Zimbabwe progress

August 31, 2009

By Ntando Ncube

JOHANNESBURG - South Africa Foreign affairs department on Monday said South
Africa is satisfied by improving human rights situation in Zimbabwe.

Foreign affairs director general Ayanda Ntsaluba said the government would
continue to encourage Zimbabwe's leaders, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai
and President Robert Mugabe, to stick to their power sharing agreement made
in February.

"We are encouraged that by all accounts the human rights situation has
improved. Instead of Zimbabwe being on a downward spiral we believe it is at
the start of a recovery." he said.

President Jacob Zuma met with Zimbabwe's leaders at the weekend.

Ntsaluba said President Zuma was "encouraged" by what he had seen.

Zuma said the country's leaders had agreed that differences needed to be
resolved speedily to "help restore confidence in the country and the

Foreign Affairs said it was important for Mugabe and Tsvangirai to sort out
their differences as they needed to encourage international investment.

"The president had the chance of listening to all parties. We are encouraged
that there has been some sort of recovery in Zimbabwe. The inclusive
government is still holding." Ntsaluba said

He said there were still "issues" in Zimbabwe - about land invasions,
parliamentarians being arrested and the failure to install a deputy minister
of agriculture.

Some sort of progress review of the situation would be expected at a
Southern African Development Community heads of state meeting in Kinshasa
later in September.

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MISA seeks update on media reform

by Cuthbert Nzou Tuesday 01 September 2009

HARARE - The Zimbabwe chapter of the Media Institute of Southern Africa
(MISA-Zimbabwe) has written to Information Minister Webster Shamu asking for
an update on progress towards the implementation of media reforms, one of
the core tasks of the unity government.

MISA-Zimbabwe chairperson Loughty Dube's letter dated August 20 came on the
backdrop of an all-stakeholders' media conference the Information Ministry
hosted in the resort town of Kariba in May to discuss the country's
restrictive media policies as the unity government prepares to reform tough
press laws and open up the media environment.

The Media Alliance of Zimbabwe (MAZ) which brings together the Zimbabwe
Union of Journalists (ZUJ), Media Monitoring Project of Zimbabwe (MMPZ) and
MISA-Zimbabwe also made submissions on media reform to the ministry.

"MISA-Zimbabwe is of the well-considered view that as a follow up to the
Kariba media stakeholders conference, and given the lack of acknowledgement
of the written input of those that were unable to attend it, there should be
a mechanism through which your good office can facilitate further debate on
various issues about democratic media reform in the country before
considering these resolutions final," Dube said.

Noting that haphazard reforms were inimical to the advancement of freedom of
expression, access to information as well as press freedom, Dube said it was
important that input from the media stakeholders be debated and refined.

He said this would assist in determining whether the MAZ submissions, Kariba
recommendations and current efforts by parliament to establish the statutory
Zimbabwe Media Commission and the Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe were
complementary or contradictory.

"The request for a mechanism to dialogue further on the proposed
recommendations is made in the spirit and letter of the principle of a
consultative follow up on the recommendations before they are considered to
be final," Dube said.

"It is best practice, the world over and especially in democratic societies,
that where a policy reform conference has occurred, the final report and
recommendation of such said conference, be considered by the relevant
stakeholders. This is in order to maintain the spirit of inclusiveness and
participatory decision making in as pragmatic a manner possible."

The letter was also copied to Shamu's deputy Jameson Timba, chairperson of
the parliamentary portfolio committee on media, information and
communication technologies Gift Chimanikire and Media, Information and
Publicity permanent secretary George Charamba.

Shamu was by yesterday yet to reply to the letter.

Former opposition leader and now Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and
President Robert Mugabe who formed a power sharing government in February
agreed last September on the need for media reform to create a free and
diverse media environment.

The southern African country has in the past been listed among the toughest
places in the world for journalists to work because of its tough laws
designed to stifle dissent and criticism of Mugabe and his ZANU PF party who
are blamed for ruining the once prosperous nation.

At least four privately owned newspapers, including what was the country's
largest circulating daily, The Daily News, were shut down over the past five
years for violating the government's tough Access to Information and
Protection of Privacy Act.

Over 100 journalists have also been arrested and arraigned before the courts
for violating the country's media laws while scores of other journalists
have been hounded out of the country for daring to criticise the
government. - ZimOnline

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Vacancies Accumulate in Zimbabwe Parliament Amid Uncertainty How to Fill Them

By Patience Rusere
31 August 2009

Zimbabwe Electoral Commission Chairman George Chiweshe said in an interview
published on Monday by the state-run Herald newspaper that his panel was not
in a position to organize by-elections to fill parliamentary vacancies
because it lacks the funds to do so.

But observers noted that it is not clear whether Chiweshe's commission is
even authorized to oversee elections, as it is to be superseded by a new
electoral body yet to be appointed.

Chiweshe said his commission has been informed of eight vacancies in the
House of Assembly and four in the Senate due to deaths or party disciplinary

VOA was unable to reach Chiweshe for further comment. His panel was widely
considered to have discredited itself in conducting March 2008 elections,
when parliamentary results were slowly eked out and presidential first-round
results took more than a month to be announced amid suspicion they had been
tampered with to force a June presidential runoff.

President Robert Mugabe claimed re-election in that runoff after
then-opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai, now prime minister, withdrew to
protest post-election violence.

The vacancies raise a number of thorny issues. For one thing, the parties to
the September 2008 Global Political Agreement stipulated that they would not
contest seats vacated during the first year of the agreement - but
non-signing parties are not bound by the clause thus independent candidates
could insist on a by-election and challenge the incumbent party.

That clause expires Sept. 15, the one-year anniversary of the GPA's
signature, but there is said to be discussion among the governing partners
of extending that standstill pact.

With respect to Chiweshe's panel, some express doubt whether his electoral
commission has any authority as a reformed commission authorized by
Amendment 19 to the constitution of Zimbabwe is overdue to be established
through the appointment of its members.

Senate seats to be filled include Gokwe South, vacated when Jaison Machaya
was appointed governor and resident minister of Midlands Province. The
Chiredzi seat is also vacant due to the appointment of Titus Maluleke as
governor of eastern Masvingo Province.

The Bindura North and Mutare North seats in the House were left empty by the
deaths of ZANU-PF members Elliot Manyika and Charles Pemhenayi,

And the Movement for Democratic Change formation led by Deputy Prime
Minister Arthur Mutambara has expelled several of its lawmakers for
breaching party discipline.

National Director Rindai Chipfunde-Vava of the Zimbabwe Election Support
Network told reporter Patience Rusere of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that
elections must be held soon because the non-representation of constituencies
tends to undermine democracy.

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Top-Level Zimbabwe Talks Put Off As President Mugabe Heads to African Summit

By Ntungamili Nkomo
31 August 2009

A meeting of the senior figures in Zimbabwe's national unity government to
seek resolution of divisive outstanding issues, urged by South African
President Jacob Zuma during his two-day flying mediation visit last week,
failed to take place on Monday because President Robert Mugabe had left the
country for an African Union summit in Tripoli, Libya.

Mr. Zuma, set to relinquish his position as chairman of the Southern African
Development Community at a SADC summit next week in the Democratic Republic
of Congo, told President Mugabe, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and Deputy
Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara that they could resolve the issues troubling
their government if they put their minds to it.

If they could not resolve those issues on their own, Mr. Zuma said, they
would be referred to the regional heads of state. SADC is a guarantor of the
power-sharing pact.

Political sources told VOA that the three principals will meet later this
week, but voiced doubts whether President Mugabe would finally agree to name
a new Reserve Bank governor and attorney general the Movement for Democratic
Change has been demanding.

The sources said ZANU-PF was digging in as well on the swearing-in of
provincial governors, ambassadors and other officials nominated some time
ago by the MDC.

Political analyst John Makumbe, a professor at the University of Zimbabwe,
told reporter Ntungamili Nkomo of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that despite
the push from Mr. Zuma he does not expect the principals to agree before the
Sept. 7-8 SADC summit.

Elsewhere, the international advocacy group Human Rights Watch accused
ZANU-PF of failing to adhere to commitments made under the September 2008
Global Political Agreement - a power-sharing pact which underpins the
national unity government.

Titled "False Dawn: The Zimbabwe Power Sharing Government's Failure to
Deliver Human Rights Improvement," the 20-page report urges SADC leaders to
press Mr. Mugabe and the rest of the government to respect human rights and
fulfill the terms of the GPA.

Human Rights Watch Senior Researcher Tiseke Kasambala said her organization
is concerned about ongoing human rights violations in Zimbabwe.

With the anniversary of the global political agreement coming up in
mid-september, many Zimbabweans are frustrated by the seeming lack of will
by the country's leadership to deal with the still-sensitive issue of
national healing, reported correspondent Safari Njema.

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Female politician on ZANU PF chairperson hopefuls list

by Clifford Nyathi Tuesday 01 September 2009

BULAWAYO - Senior leaders of President Robert Mugabe's ZANU PF party from
the southern Matabeleland provinces have endorsed top female politician
Angeline Masuku to takeover as chairman of the party at a congress scheduled
for December, sources told ZimOnline.

Masuku joins a growing list of other names including Zimbabwe's ambassador
to South Africa, Simon Khaya Moyo and Home Affairs Minister Kembo Mohadi who
have been tipped for the post that is currently occupied by top Mugabe
loyalist John Nkomo.

Nkomo is widely expected to be elevated to second vice-president of ZANU PF
and Zimbabwe following the death of Joseph Msika in August.

Our sources said ZANU PF politiburo members from Matabeleland met two weeks
ago and agreed that Nkomo should succeed Msika while Masuku should become
national chairperson.

"There were sharp disagreements over Masuku. Some of the politburo members
namely Sikhanyiso Ndlovu and Absolom Sikhosana prefer Naison Ndlovu for the
post but due to the gender issue, which the party has committed itself to,
everybody ended up settling for Masuku," said a party source on Monday.

Masuku declined to comment on the matter. "I am not the party spokesman,
contact the relevant office for a comment," she said.

An official at the ZANU PF offices in Bulawayo Michael Sikhosana confirmed
that Matabeleland had a meeting where it was decided that they would come up
with a candidate. He however declined to say who it was.

"We had a meeting and I can say that we agreed on one candidate whose name
we will forward (to congress)," said Sikhosana

The two posts of chairman and vice-president are open to members of the
former PF-ZAPU party that merged with ZANU PF in 1987. Although PF-ZAPU had
national support, the party had its strongest support base in Matabeleland
and endorsement from the region is key to anyone wishing to anyone of the
two posts.

According to our sources, ZANU PF leaders in Matabeleland were now
canvassing other party provinces to back Masuku and Nkomo for chairman and

The election of a new party vice-president and chairman is not expected to
have any meaningful impact on Mugabe's continued tenure as president with
all party structures already in a stampede to endorse the 85-year old leader
to continue at the helm. - ZimOnline

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Rural Zimbabwe fights to survive on foreign currency

By Reagan Mashavave (AFP) - 3 hours ago

MUDZI, Zimbabwe - Nyoko Nyazvigo counts out her slim earnings in this remote
Zimbabwean village, neatly arranging her few US dollars, South African rands
and Mozambican meticais.

The 43-year-old widow fetches water from wells, cleans houses across the
nearby Mozambican border and tends her arid fields of groundnuts, sorghum
and maize in her struggle to earn foreign currency -- the only money now
accepted in Zimbabwe.

Despite the hardship, she says she does not regret the government's decision
to scrap the Zimbabwe dollar, which had been left worthless after years of

"With the Zimbabwean dollar, prices changed almost every day -- and
sometimes every hour," Nyazvigo said.

"With the US dollar and rands, even with the few meticais I get, I know I
can save for a week and buy something," she told AFP.

On a good day Nyazvigo earns about 30 rands (about four US dollars), which
she saves to send her four children to school.

Even that meagre income puts her among the more fortunate Zimbabweans. The
government estimates that 65 percent of the country's 12 million people live
in the rural areas and survive on less than one US dollar a day.

The dollarisation of the economy has resulted in stable prices, allowing
shopkeepers to restock their once-empty stalls as the unity government of
long-ruling President Robert Mugabe and new Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai
tries to rebuild the economy from collapse.

But Nyazvigo's struggles in Mudzi, 260 kilometres (160 miles) northeast of
the capital, typify the plight of rural Zimbabweans who have little access
to the foreign currency now needed to pay for everything from food to
medicine to school fees.

Her village benefits from its proximity to the Nyamapanda border post, a key
link in southern Africa's highway system.

Unemployed young men in the area work as baggage carriers for traders
travelling to Mozambique.

Young women sometimes turn to prostitution at the border post, where truck
drivers from across the region spend about three days for customs and
immigration clearance.

But peasant farmers who depend on their crops for their income are
struggling to find buyers because most people simply have no money to pay
for them, said local councillor Fungai Mahachi.

"It was a good move for us to use the US dollar but people here are poor.
They don't have access to that money. We don't have industry or companies to
employ people," Mahachi said.

"We are failing to sell the little harvest we have because there are no
buyers," he added.

Many people are being forced to barter for goods and services, such as
having their maize ground into the flour used to make the staple food sadza.

"People are resorting to paying two tins of maize to have their maize ground
at the grinding mill," said Newturn Kachepa, a lawmaker who represents this

"The community just doesn't have the US dollars."

Bartering food for services means that many people could run out of food
stocks long before the next harvest in May, said Oxfam Zimbabwe director
Peter Mutoredzanwa.

The United Nations estimates that 2.8 million Zimbabweans will need food aid
before the next harvest -- an improvement from the nearly seven million who
needed aid to survive until the just-ended harvest.

"Because of lack of access to foreign currency, especially in rural areas
most people are being forced to barter their harvests to pay for basic goods
and services," Mutoredzanwa said.

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Stolen cattle stamped with top official's brand

September 1, 2009

By Vusisizwe Mkhwananzi

GWANDA - When six out of ten cattle stolen from a deceased MDC official in
West Nicholson were recovered, they bore the newly branded marks of the
permanent secretary in the Ministry of Transport and Communication, George

Mlilo's son, Innocent, and two other men appeared before a Gwanda magistrate
last week facing charges of stock theft and were remanded to tomorrow,
Wednesday, for trial on US$200 bail each.

Allegations against the trio are that they connived to steal the beasts
which belonged to the late MDC official Glory Makwati.

The case came to light after six of the stolen cattle found their way back
to Makwati's farm in West Nicholson

Aaron Ndlovu, one of the other two accused men, is alleged to have stolen
the cattle which he then sold to Innocent Mlilo. The state will seek to
prove that Mlilo bought the animals knowing quite well they had been stolen
as he never sought police clearance as is normal procedure.

He then used his father's brand marks to erase the original identification
marks on the cattle which also wore his father's ear tags by the time they
reappeared at Makwati's farm leading to the arrest of Mlilo and the two
other men.

Makwati's son Garfield will be called to testify as a state witness when the
trial commences today, Tuesday.

George Mlilo accompanied his son to court seeking to exonerate him from any
wrong doing.

Stock theft cases have been on the increase in Matabeleland South and in
most cases high profile members of society and police officers been

Villagers in the Ngoma area of Gwanda South have publicly alleged that Home
Affairs Minister Kembo Mohadi has been behind the theft of their cattle.

Three months ago Mohadi's workers are alleged to have raided the area and
seized over a hundred cattle, claiming they had been stolen from the
minister's farm.

The workers have since been arrested and are on trial in Beitbridge.

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Obama's pledge to the people of Zim

    September 01 2009 at 07:24AM

By Angela Quintal

US President Barack Obama says he is willing to help Zimbabwe's
long-suffering people, but not by empowering "the forces of repression" in
that country.

Obama, who continues to be one of President Robert Mugabe's staunchest
critics, was personally replying to selected questions from readers of The
Star as part of a joint initiative with the US embassy.

On his country's rich melting pot of cultures and religions, he noted
that American citizens had roots in various regions of the world and that
the future of American politics would reflect that diversity.

"I believe our best days have yet to come."

Several questions posed by readers were about Zimbabwe.

The US president said he was deeply concerned about Zimbabwe's people,
"who have suffered for far too long".

Direct assistance to Zimbabweans, including hundreds of millions of
dollars in food aid, would continue.

While these measures could provide some relief, development depended
ultimately on good governance that served the needs of the people.

"That was the ingredient which has been missing under President
Mugabe," Obama said.

He had pledged $73-million (R565m) in additional support for
Zimbabwe's people after meeting Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai in June,
and the US would continue to explore ways to help further "without
empowering the forces of repression".

Asked what he thought of African leaders who wanted to change their
country's constitution to remain president for longer, Obama echoed what he
had told the Ghanaian parliament in July: "Africa doesn't need strongmen; it
needs strong institutions."

Third-term bids that involved tampering with the constitution or worse
"were steps in the wrong direction".

"Citizens have a responsibility to resist these efforts, regional
leaders have a responsibility to speak out against them, and friends of
Africa, like the United States, have a responsibility to discourage them as

Asked by pupils from St Peter's College in Joburg whether he believed
America was ready for a Hispanic or Asian president, he said "absolutely".

On what he had hoped to become while growing up, Obama said: "I hoped
to make a difference."

This article was originally published on page 1 of The Star on
September 01, 2009

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Another Zimbabwe Teacher Strike Looming As Talks Fail to Materialize

By Jonga Kandemiiri
31 August 2009

A meeting between Zimbabwean teachers and government officials proposed by
the Ministry of Education in hopes of heading off a strike threatened by
representatives of teachers over compensation failed to take place on
Monday, two days before schools are to re-open.

Education Minister David Coltart told VOA said his ministry could not reach
senior officials of the Zimbabwe Teachers Association in time to invite them
to the proposed meeting.

Coltart said he met Monday with Finance Minister Tendai Biti seeking a
solution, adding that he hoped Biti would be present if and when he meets
with teachers on Tuesday.

The Zimbabwe Teachers Association has called a strike Wednesday to enforce
demands for higher pay. The Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe is
holding internal consultations.

ZIMTA President Tendai Chikowore told reporter Jonga Kandemiiri of VOA's
Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that her members will go ahead with the announced
strike as her organization had so far received no official government
communication on negotiations.

Zimbabwe's six-month-old national unity government is under pressure from
all categories of public workers for pay increases, but says it cannot
afford to meet demands. Teachers and most other state employees are being
paid less than US$200 a month

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INTERVIEW: 'We're shocked that a rights lawyer can fan violence'

Tuesday 01 September 2009

Lance Guma: Hello Zimbabwe and welcome to Rules for our Rulers. This
week we are focusing on the infighting within the Zimbabwe National Students
Union otherwise known as ZINASU. Now I have with me, I don't know whether to
say the current or the former President Mr Clever Bere and I also have
Brilliant Dube, who according to what is being reported is the new president
of the students union. So I've basically got both sides, Clever Bere and
Brilliant Dube onto the programme. Right, let me start with you Brilliant,
there was this move to remove Mr Bere. Can you just maybe summarise for our
listeners what has just happened?

Brilliant Dube: Thank you very much. I really don't know whether to
call it a move to remove Mr Bere but there was an extra-ordinary general
council that was held on the 22nd of August, whereby 36 institutions out of
the 43 that ZINASU represents attended and the General Council actually
decided to recall the President Clever Bere. That is what happened over the
weekend on the 22nd of August.

Guma: Now in terms of recalling Mr Bere what were the reasons
motivating his being recalled?

Dube: The general councillors were citing a lot of reasons amongst
them that of late Clever Bere has been acting on his own personal opinions
and purporting that, that's what the general councillors want. And the other
reasons the general councillors were also purporting was that Clever Bere
was actually taking positions, fighting the Take Charge Campaign, that,
that's what they want. So they actually felt that of late Clever Bere has
been acting in his own capacity and using the ZINASU mandate. They were also
pointing out that comrade Clever Bere even went on to appoint a certain
board without prior consultation with general councilors. And the general
councillors were citing that they were not happy at all with what President
Clever Bere has been doing of late.

Guma: Right, now we've got Mr Clever Bere also on the line as I
pointed out at the beginning of the programme. Mr Bere how do you respond?

Clever Bere: Well I think, let me start by thanking SW Radio Africa
and yourself for affording us this opportunity to discuss these issues and
try to be able to clarify matters to the public and the people of Zimbabwe.
Well first and foremost what is being viewed as a meeting carrying the
ZINASU banner on its own is actually a process where one flouted the union's
position and constitution. The President of ZINASU has the sole
responsibility and mandate to convene a general council and not any other
person like Arnold Tsunga coming to the student's council saying you have to
convene a student's general council meeting to discuss these matters. He
ceased to be a student in 1989. He ceased to be involved in student affairs
some three months ago when the National Executive Council of ZINASU met and
relieved him of his duties as a board member of ZINASU.

So from our position as the National Executive and I have been in
touch with the legitimate general councillors of ZINASU, they are actually
shocked with what my colleague Brilliant Dube is saying. It's something that
is getting them by surprise. The students union still remains very clear
that it's still under the able leadership of myself and my entire leadership
which comprises Secretary General Freeman Bhoso, Spokesman Blessing Vava and
the other national executive council members. We are not aware of any
processes that led to the recalling of anyone. And by the way are you in
government where one has to be recalled? Who deployed me to be in the
students union, probably if it was the students union at NUST or the
University at NUST which had recalled me back to my university then I think
it could make sense. The word recall is not to be abused and over-abused by
people. When President Mbeki was recalled . . .

Guma: Okay let's do it this way, we get the point. You are likening
that to (former) President Mbeki and the ANC but let me come to Brilliant.
There is a report in the weekly Standard newspaper saying students have had
a serious fall out over the ongoing constitution making process and are said
to be keen on controlling the union to advance parallel agendas. Now the
groups clashed at a Harare lodge where the faction led by Lovemore
Chinoputsa who was ousted as secretary general had organized a congress to
pass a vote of no confidence on ZINASU President Clever Bere. So now we
hearing that this matter is about who is supporting the constitution making
process and who is not. Is this true?

Dube: Let me say that is not true at all because Zimbabwe National
Students Union does not actually focus on the constitutional reform process.
As much as the students actually agree that the constitutional reform
process is very important, that is not our core mandate or core business.
Our core business is to defend academic freedoms. And therefore for someone
to actually report that the student's movement is being divided because of
the issue of the constitutional reform process, those allegations are
actually unfounded. I'm not sure which article you are referring to. But if
you are referring to the article in the Standard, that is a one side story
that does not actually have both sides, it is biased and according to me
Lovemore Chinoputsa is still the Secretary General of the Zimbabwe National
Students Union and the fact that Lovemore Chinoputsa was actually ousted
because of a general council that was purported to be held on the 20th of
June 2009 that . . . had general councillors who are not even bonafide.

Guma: Let me just ask you one more point raised by Mr Bere, Brilliant.
He is saying as President he has the sole mandate to call for a general
council meeting. Is that a valid point? Is that in the constitution?

Dube: I'm not sure where he is coming from but the general council
that was held on the 22nd was an extraordinary general council that was
actually called to make sure that internal problems and internal fights that
have actually hindered ZINASU should actually be corrected. I also have to
quote section 9c of the constitution which provides for an extraordinary
general council to be called when the circumstances require such action. And
that is actually referring to that part of the constitution of the Zimbabwe
National Students Union that is why the extraordinary general council was
actually called.

Guma: Okay Mr Bere she is quoting a section in the constitution that
gives them the mandate to do so. What's your response?

Bere: Well the most important thing I think which you need to capture
there is a word 'general council' whether its extraordinary or an ordinary
council meeting it remains the prerogative of the President in consultation
with the National Executive to convene a general council. So I think on that
it still goes back to the point that, that meeting was illegal, that meeting
was an illegitimate meeting and that meeting cannot be referred to as a
ZINASU general council meeting.

Guma: Okay let me slot in one quick question. It does look like there
is a lot of boardroom infighting here. I've just received one e-mail saying
there are two boards, one that has Jacob Mafume, Arnold Tsunga and another
board which is led by Takura Zhangazha. Is this true Mr Bere?

Bere: Well we actually have one board the board that is led by Mr
Takura Zhangazha which was appointed by the National Executive Council,
beginning the first week of July. That is the position that we have as the
National Executive Council. We met to discuss who should be the people meant
to give us advice. By the way the ZINASU board is advisory, yes it's a board
of trustees, but its main role is to provide advice to the student's union
and the Executive so it fit to bring in on board the former President of
ZINASU Hopewell Gumbo as the Vice Chairperson, Takura Zhangazha the former
Vice President of ZINASU and the other board members include Madock Chivasa
who is a former student leader. So basically this is the board that we have
in the students union and this is the board that is clearly giving the much
valued and needed advice to the student's movement and this important and
critical time in the country's history.

Guma: Brilliant Dube is there an admission on your part or do you
sense or pick what I'm trying to put forward here that it does not look like
the students themselves are fighting but at board level there seems to be a
power struggle going on?

Dube: I am not sure about the power struggles at board level because
according to me and the bonafide general councillors I don't know of a board
that is actually chaired by Takura Zhangazha. I know of a board that is
chaired by Arnold Tsunga and the Vice, there is Gorden Moyo, there is even
Takura Zhangazha in that same board and the fact that Clever Bere is
purporting that Takura Zhangazha is the board chair after the national
executive appointed of which by then I was also part of the national
executive. I don't even know of any meeting of that sort that actually
appointed that other new as it is purported board. And I am not very sure
where this e-mail that you received is coming from but according to me there
is only one board that is being chaired by comrade Arnold Tsunga and the
other one Clever Bere is purporting that is in existence I am not very sure
of that board. I don't even know there is such a board that exists all I
know is that there is a board that is actually chaired by Arnold Tsunga.

Guma: Okay there is a further allegation here about the congress that
was held, that it barred certain members from attending. I have here, 'The
credibility of the congress was brought into question as students from the
rival camp were prevented from taking part, and some of them were beaten up.
And the report is also quoting spokesperson Blessing Vava saying it was a
non-event because of that. Is it true that certain students or members were
barred from attending this meeting?

Dube: I don't remember any person who was actually barred from
attending that extraordinary general council and the fact that the spokesman
of the Zimbabwe National Students Union Blessing Vava is actually reporting
that some people were actually beaten up I don't know of that. There was no
fighting whatsoever that actually took place, that extra-ordinary general
council. Because my understating is that if there was any fighting as they
are purporting why they didn't follow the procedure of reporting that matter
to the police because there was no one who was barred from attending that
extraordinary general council. All students were there, President and
Secretary General, from 36 institutions out of the 43 institutions that the
Zimbabwe National Students Union represents.

Guma: Hmm Mr Bere?

Bere: Well we actually got reports from the media and later we
verified those reports well. There are 5 students who were seriously injured
and these students are actually claiming they were beaten in front of Arnold
Tsunga who was actually witnessing and they are actually claiming that Mr
Tsunga was actually . . . the students were actually clapping and ululating
upon the arrival of Mr Tsunga whom they were celebrating saying that now Mr
Tsunga is there, the money has now come, the man with the purse has now
arrived. So it seems there were some people who were there who were promised
money upon the arrival of Mr Tsunga and when the students who wanted to
attend this meeting who were perceived to be supporting myself were then
barred and then went on to be beaten. I have on record Archford Mudzengi who
had 15 stitches on his leg who was beaten. I have the NUST SRC President
Comrade Kurayi Hoyi who also sustained serious injuries and 3 other general
councillors. So we are actually surprised to hear that there are people who
are claiming these people were not beaten when we have them and have them on
record as evidence that they were beaten. And beyond that some of the
journalists (attending) had to call me, Mr Bere we are being beaten at your
meeting, I was not aware of any meeting, so clearly people must stop lying.
There were thugs who were hired, who were paid by Arnold Tsunga and we are
shocked that a prominent human rights lawyer can go to an extent of
financing political violence of any sort.

Guma: What would Mr Tsunga's motivations be Mr Bere if you are making
such serious allegations?

Dube: Yes, thank you.

Bere: Well I don't know exactly what would be the reasons but what we
know for sure probably is that Mr Tsunga wanted to remain in the ZINASU
board. Mr Tsunga has been in the board of ZINASU from 2003 until in July
when the students union realised that Mr Tsunga had served more than
necessary in the student's union board so probably Mr Tsunga never thought
it would come a time were the students union would say, chief you have
served the students union, it is now time where we need to bring in new
people with new ideas. Surely every generation cannot continue to have
advice from one person. The context is changing, the political situation is
changing and further to that Mr Tsunga is now based in Switzerland. How can
he be the chairperson of the ZINASU advisory board when he is based in
Geneva when the students of Zimbabwe are suffering on the ground? We need
someone who is on the ground who can continuously provide much needed
counsel for the students union to continuously articulate the positions and
aspirations of the students of this country and comrade Takura Zhangazha the
chairperson of the board has been able to do that at the level that we can
actually applaud and to levels which have been satisfactory to ourselves and
the national executive and the entire students population of Zimbabwe.

Guma: Okay let me take this thing back to the constitution making
process because maybe in Shona 'tiri kurova imbwa tichiviga mupini'.
Brilliant there is a report that is talking about two factions one sponsored
by the Tsvangirai MDC who want the students to participate in the
constitution making process and Bere's faction who are alleged to be aligned
to the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions and the National Constitutional
Assembly who are opposed to the current constitution making process. Is this
a true reflection of the situation on the ground? Are the factions divided
over their support for the constitution making process?

Dube: I think before I answer that question, I need to respond to what
Clever Bere was saying with regards to general councillors who were actually
beaten up at the extraordinary general council. I want to respond to what
Bere was actually saying about Arnold Tsunga. I think Clever Bere is just
trying to bring Arnold Tsunga's name into the mud for no apparent reason
because that he was saying is not true and those allegations are unfounded
but just some with scores to settle for himself and not in the interests of
the union. There is no reason whatsoever that a credible man like Arnold
Tsunga should be seen sponsoring violence and there is no reason why Arnold
Tsunga would want to remain on the ZINASU board because the ZINASU board is
the steward and guardian of ZINASU and it actually overseas, it plays an
advisory role. He does not get any incentive or salary whatsoever. And there
is no need for someone like Arnold Tsunga to be seen sponsoring violence.
All that he is saying is actually not true and I don't know where those guys
were actually beaten if ever they were beaten but surely it was not at the
extraordinary general council.

Guma: Okay and then my question.

Dube: Okay let me actually respond to the question that you had said.
No one is actually sponsoring ZINASU with regard to maybe the constitutional
reform process like you said the other faction is actually sponsored by
MDC-T. MDC-T is actually not sponsoring anyone but it is anyone's democratic
right either to take part or to take charge. No one is actually going to
force someone to take part or to take charge. It is anybody's democratic
right to take part or to take charge. And those allegations that MDC-T is
actually sponsoring factionalism in ZINASU that is not true. And if ever
these factions that are coming out of ZINASU, the major reason why we are
having these factions is because of late Clever Bere as acted as a dictator
to the students movement and the students movement is saying no we can not
actually have a dictator if you say we are fighting Mugabe. We cannot the
same person we are all facing and that is the major reason why we are having
these divisions in the Zimbabwe National Students Union. Not because of the
taking part or the taking charge, no that is not the main reason, it might
be one of the reasons that is exacerbating the factionalism in the Zimbabwe
National Students Union but surely that is not the reason why we have that

Guma: Okay let me take it to Mr Bere. Mr Bere you are being accused of
being a dictator, making unilateral decisions, how do you respond to that?

Bere: . . . ha ha ha (laughing) well its something that actually
deserves a laugh really. Probably I need to know the reasons why she is
referring to as a dictator but if it is in the context of constitutional
reform there is no way that one can actually claim that I am being a
dictator. We are guided by the historical processes and we are equally
guided by our congress mandate. Surely as a student's movement everyone is
allowed to express their democratic right. For a movement you allow people
to do that but also need to make collective positions where you need
everyone else to come together to see if we can come with a consolidated
position as a movement where everyone is bound by that decision. And for us
we are bounded by the congress resolution of 19 January 2008 at Eastlea
where we were elected and we resolved that writing of the people's
constitution must be driven by an independent commission which comprises of
all stakeholders. This is a position that has been historical. Even the
congress of the 3rd to the 4th of May in 2006 which was held at MTB in
Harare resolved on constitutional reform that the constitution of this
country be written by a commission of independent people appointed outside a
partisan system and not appointed by the President. This is the same
resolution that was made in 2001 in Mutare, the ZINASU congress and on the
29th of March in 2003 in Njube Bulawayo again at the ZINASU congress. This
is a position that we have been consistent in articulating. So on
constitutional reform there is no debate. The students union can never
support a flawed process.

And also just to get back to some of the resolutions that the Zimbabwe
National Students Union has participated. The resolutions of the Working
Peoples Convention and I quote, "The writing of a people's constitution be
initiated with immediate effect through a constitutional commission not
based on presidential partisan appointments but defined and accountable to a
conference of representatives of elected civil and other social groups. This
was made in February 99 and you know students participated in that process
very actively and you know the leadership of the students union that time,
Nelson Chamisa, Learnmore Jongwe and other student leaders of that
generation made that declaration together with the working class people,
together with the peasants and other interested parties. And just recently
on the 9th of February 2008 you know the people of Zimbabwe in their civil
society organisations met in Harare at HICC to discuss and deliberate on a
number of issues and at the end of that convention the people of Zimbabwe
adopted what is called the Zimbabwe People's Charter and on constitutional
reform it says and I quote, 'The collection of the views of the people and
their compilation into a draft constitution that shall be undertaken by an
all-stakeholders commission composed of representatives of government,
parliament, political parties, civil society, labour, business, church and
with gender and minority balance. A transparent process of appointing an all
stakeholders commission members as well as their terms of reference." This
is something that we made collectively as Zimbabwean civil society on the
9th of February 2008.

Guma: Okay I will have to stop you there Mr Bere because of time
constraints. Brilliant what's going to be the stance of the ZINASU faction
that you are leading towards the constitution?

Dube: I am not leading any faction, I am leading the union and for
someone to say I am leading a faction I think it is an insult.

Guma: Well the thing is we cant take a side, so I will have to try and
be as neutral as possible.

Dube: Well I'm speaking on my part. Before I actually answer that
question, when you asked me that, is ZINASU divided over the constitutional
process, I actually said no. I don't think that is the reason why ZINASU is
actually divided. So for Clever Bere to actually put words in my mouth and
say that we are defecting basing on the constitutional reform I think it
clearly shows that he actually pre-conceived that I was actually going to
speak on the issues of the constitution. And now getting into your question,
what is our position? The general council debated the constitution making
process and actually noted that education as a parliamentary human right is
not contained in the constitution. Therefore they have decided to take part
and in the event that education is not included as a basic human right
that's when they can actually vote no in the referendum. This is what the
general councillors want and not what I want but this is what the general
councillors want.

Guma: Okay Brilliant if I may interject when I started the programme
this is what I pointed out that this is what the reports are saying. It's
very clear from what you are saying that Bere and his group are opposed to
the constitution making process and are taking the same stance as the ZCTU
and the NCA. You and your group are taking the complete opposite and are
favouring participation. So is not very clear that this is the division line
here between the two groups. I will start with you Brilliant.

Dube: It's not at all the issue of the constitution but like I said
there are other power hungry leaders in the civic society who want to use
the students union as a battling ground for this constitutional reform
process or this constitutional making process or whatever term it is. But
that is not the issue why we are divided but some people are just taking
advantage of this change that we are currently having in Zimbabwe to
actually further their own interests. That surely is not the reason why the
students union is divided.

Guma: Mr Bere in 20 seconds we running out of time, your comment on
that, are you divided, is this division line or the fault line here based on
the constitution making process?

Bere: Well it's actually shocking that comrade Brilliant Dube is
saying this. Actually you are aware Saturday before this one we had a
meeting with the leadership of the MDC where we were clear and also in her
presence we told the MDC leadership that were against the constitution
making process and you agreed to that. We actually had another committee
where I and her participated in creating a dossier that the Prime Minister
was supposed to take to government. So on constitutional reforms I think she
is having double standards probably because of other agendas but Brilliant
is clear that she was with us at that meeting and agreed with the
resolutions of that meeting and agreed that the MDC must come back to the
people. So I'm actually shocked that she is saying that she went to another
process. Why was she part of a process that made such a position and engaged
the MDC on the constitution making process? And then tomorrow she gets back
and vacillates.

Guma: Okay I will have to stop the programme there, many thanks for
your time Brilliant Dube and Clever Bere on Rules for our Rulers. Thank you
very much for your time. - ZimOnline

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In Zimbabwean town of Victoria Falls, tourism begins to revive

       Posted : Tue, 01 Sep 2009 02:11:42 GMT Author : DPA

Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe - Zimbabwe has new hope these days. After a
decade of stark economic decline, it is palpable in the town of Victoria
Falls, a short stroll from the spectacular waterfall of the same name.
Tourists are gradually returning. "Life isn't easy in Zimbabwe, but it's
getting better," said Nicholas Ndlovu, a hotel employee in the
long-suffering resort.

Most tourists currently prefer to view the world's largest curtain of
falling water, which stretches 1.6 kilometres and drops nearly 130 metres on
the Zambezi River between Zambia and Zimbabwe, from Zambia, which has
invested heavily in tourism in recent years.

Numerous hotels have opened around the town of Livingstone, on the
Zambian side of the falls. The Zambian government has also spent 11 million
dollars to modernize Livingstone's airport.

In the town centre of Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe, meanwhile,
souvenir-shop owners and tour operators wait largely in vain for customers.
The windows of a fast-food restaurant are covered with yellowed newspapers
and the shopping centre stands abandoned except for an internet cafe on the
second floor. There you can surf the web for one US dollar an hour - that
is, if the electricity does not fail.

Adolescent street vendors loiter around, looking bored. As soon as
they see a white face, they spring into action and try to exchange
necklaces, carvings and worthless Zimbabwean dollars for greenbacks. The
vendors are adept at making tourists feel guilty: "You come here on holiday
but don't want to support us? That's not fair!" they say.

It is possible, in fact, to holiday again in Victoria Falls - if you
are able to overlook the poverty and suffering. Luxury hotels offer almost
every service a tourist desires. Tour operators organize safaris, rafting
and canoeing trips, helicopter flights and boat rides.

Zimbabweans are clearly trying to make a new start. This spring,
representatives of the governments of Zimbabwe and South Africa met in
Victoria Falls to discuss rebuilding Zimbabwe's devastated economy. South
Africa pledged financial aid and trade facilitation as well as cooperation
in electricity generation and -- looking ahead to the 2010 football World
Cup in South Africa - tourism.

After a 10-year power struggle and severe economic difficulties,
Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe now governs the African nation in a
coalition with former opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai. US dollars and
South African rand have supplanted Zimbabwean dollars ravaged by

Since the foreign currencies have been legalized, tinned foods, rice
and other non-perishables have reappeared at the local supermarket. There
are no fruits or vegetables, though. The sole functioning freezer cabinet
contains a little meat.

Money remains a major problem for tourists. Few hotels accept credit
cards. Tourists not carrying an ample supply of US dollars have to go to an
exchange office on the Zambian side of the bridge spanning the Zambezi
River. Zimbabwean hotel staff gladly accompany guests there who find they
are unable to pay.

Zambia capitalizes on the situation, charging 50 US dollars for a
single entry or 20 US dollars for day-trippers. It does not issue a formal
visa. Every border-crossing must be paid for anew and border guards are
implacable in demanding the fees.

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Zim faces critical shortage of ARVs

by Nokuthula Sibanda Tuesday 01 September 2009

HARARE - Zimbabwe is facing shortage of anti-retroviral drugs (ARVs) with
authorities saying they hoped to put only another 60 000 new patients on ARV
treatment this year.

With more than 170 000 people already on ARV treatment this would bring the
number of people receiving the life-prolonging drugs to more than 230 000
out of 300 000 people living with HIV/AIDS and requiring treatment, the
National Aids Council (NAC) said on Monday.

The government-run NAC said although Anti-Retroviral Therapy (ART) centres
have increased to 290 from two in 2004, it is failing to meet the demand for

"There are some indications that at least 60 000 patients will have
commenced on ART in 2009 alone," NAC said. "As we speak Zimbabwe is
maintaining upwards of 170 000 patients on ARVs out of the 300 000 who
urgently require them," the organisation said in a statement.

Since the inception of ARV therapy in 2004, Zimbabwe has faced serious
shortages of foreign currency as donors witheld the much needed funding as a
result of diplomatic impasse between Harare and many Western countries.

Zimbabwe is one of the few countries in the world to have recorded a sharp
decline in the HIV prevelance rate over the years. In 1999, an estimated 33
percent of Zimbabweans were affected by the HIV/AIDS virus, but according to
latest estimates the infection rates have declined to 15.6 percent.

"The decline in the HIV prevelance has taken place in very constrained
environment with limited resources," NAC said.  - ZimOnline

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Zimbabwean music - The next generation

By Paul Anthony Greene


African music has over the years grown into one of the most influential art forms in the world. It has produced some of the most poignant and memorable music moments in history and off its back many of the modern music genres so well known today have been spawned. From Hip Hop to Rock and Roll to House to Electro to Reggae to Soul, modern music owes a lot to the talking drum whose rhythm has taken the whole world and made it dance to a very African sound track.


Zimbabwe has played its part in this with many an artist travelling far and wide from the townships of Harare, Bulawayo and lesser know cities like Gweru in Zimbabwe's midlands and the beautiful valley city of Mutare in the country’s eastern highlands. As with every country there are tales told of young men and women leaving home with nothing but a guitar, a drum, mbira or sometimes just their voice and a few songs, wide eyed and ready to take on the world. Of course, some do this from home but the process is the same and the results vary from seminal success, to perhaps just great stories that can be told over and over again, to the utter devastation of shattered dreams.


Dorothy Masuku, Stella Chiweshe, Oliver Mtukudzi , Thomas Mapfumo, Steve Dyer, Andy Brown, The Bhundu Boys, Ilanga, Lovemore Majaivana, David Scobie, Rozalla Miller, The Rusike Brothers, Luck Street Blues, Paul Lunga and Jazz Impacto. The list is long and these glittering lights of Zimbabwean music have carried the light of Zimbabwean music for decades. But as the country moves into a new era and towards a new dispensation with a much more clearly defined global footprint, a new generation of Zimbabweans have emerged to carry on this music tradition.


Artists and groups like Chiwoniso, Netsayi, Thabani, Mann Friday, Harare, Metaphysics, DKR, Jusa Damentor, Tribe Afrika, Bkay N Kazz and Vusa Mkhaya have all made in-roads and have staked their claim to be part of the next generation of Zimbabwean musicians to fly the flag. In many ways these artists are symbolic of the rich diversity of Zimbabwe’s people and her music. Others like Shingi Shoniwa have been embraced by the indie scene as lead singer of British band the Noisettes.


Many an argument has been had over just which Zimbabwean act has been the standard bearer. Oliver Mtukudzi's name often emerges, but as prolific as he has been, he does not have the political impetus of Thomas Mapfumo nor has he had the global hit that Rozalla Miller had with "Everybody's Free". Rozalla has not been as prolific and Mapfumo is often noted for being a touch too radical. The Bhundu boys a bit too pop, Lovemore Majaivana overshadowed the giants of South Africa who share his language and cultural narrative and then there was Ilanga; immensely talented with the likes of Don Gumbo, Andy Brown and Busi Ncube in their ranks, but ultimately and sadly fatally flawed.


For this generation to make its mark on the world’s scene someone will have to find their voice and take the industry by the scruff of the neck. It is a little bit more difficult as many of these acts are thrust into the global scene without the solid base of a stable home to build upon but where there is adversity there is always opportunity. The global dispersal of the Zimbabwean community has opened new doors or many that may not have opened before. The information highway means that songs recorded today can be in the hands of a fan in Japan in hours and rocking the favelas in Brazil the next day.


Another opportunity that has presented itself to this new generation of Zimbabwean acts is the remarkable growth of a once small festival held annually  in London. The festival has since become a solid fixture in the city’s calendar and on to having a global footprint with events in South Africa, Australia and in Zimbabwe with more venues and dates to be added. Zimfest presents the perfect opportunity for these acts to perform in front of an audience that knows and understands where they are coming from while, through its growth, introduces them to a wider audience around the world.


As Zimbabwe struggles to find its feet, music will as always play its part in providing a voice for the voiceless as well as emotional sustenance for a people that have been dispersed around the world. Success on the global stage and the ability to cross historical boundaries will also prove inspirational for the Zimbabweans in Zimbabwe. These artists carry the responsibility of a nation’s hopes with them and their unifying power at events like Zimfest are almost a platform for civil disobedience bringing the troubled people of Zimbabwe together despite all the efforts that have gone into tearing them apart.



Rozalla Miller, Mann Friday, Harare, DKR and Vusa Mkhaya are some of the artists performing at Zimfest London this year. Zimfest happens in London and Perth on September 5th 2009, Cape Town in November and Bulawayo Zimbabwe in December for details go to

Sylvester Mutsigwa

Development House
56-64 Leonard Street


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