The ZIMBABWE Situation Our thoughts and prayers are with Zimbabwe
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ZIMBABWE: Villagers respond to AIDS orphans crisis

[ This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations]

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A child dies of an HIV/AIDS- related illness every 15 minutes in Zimbabwe

BEITBRIDGE, 5 Sep 2005 (IRIN) - Five years ago, the residents of Majini village, about 90 km from the southern border town of Beitbridge, Zimbabwe, were reluctant to talk about HIV/AIDS - now they are planning a vegetable garden to support AIDS orphans and other families affected by the disease.

"The growing number of AIDS orphans in the area made the villagers sit up and look for solutions," said Reverend Musa Makulubane at the local church, which has been proactive in trying to get residents to adopt a more responsive stance to HIV/AIDS.

In a village with a population of just over 5,000 there are about 50 AIDS orphans that the local clinic is aware of, said Tiwejuliet Mpofu, a nurse who helps run the HIV/AIDS unit. But according to villagers, the number of children affected by the disease runs into at least a thousand.

"You can see it in the school and the churches - there are many, many children living by themselves. Some of them have old grandparents, but many are by themselves," said Cynthia Gwamure, a resident who helps families affected by HIV/AIDS.

"Every week we bury someone we know - the disease is clearly among us," said Peter Sithole, whose friend died of an AIDS-related illness last month.

Another villager, Joyce Ndou, commented, "Things changed when all of us realised all us of knew someone who had the illness."

Zimbabwe has the world's fourth highest rate of HIV infection, and the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) estimates that a child dies of an AIDS-related illness every 15 minutes.

The church, supported by the Lutheran Mission, has been training volunteer home-based caregivers in the village and also tries to raise funds to provide food, clothing and other support to families made vulnerable by HIV/AIDS.

"The villagers are poor themselves, but they try to help however they can. They always want to know about new ways to help families living with HIV/AIDS. We make collections at the church every week - it is not a lot, but people will still give," said Makulubane. Most of the residents in arid Majini are small-scale ranchers, while a few are employed on commercial farms in the neighbourhood.

Most households have a kitchen garden, which ensures that people have access to well-balanced meals, and the villagers had planned a larger garden to support at least 100 families in the area. "We have the land - we have even got a pump to draw the water out of a borehole because there is no water, but we cannot afford fuel," explained Makulubane.

The only river near the village has dried up, so people have to rely on taps or boreholes for water.

Zimbabwe is going through a severe economic crisis with serious fuel and food shortages due to recurring droughts and the government's fast-track land redistribution programme, which have disrupted agricultural production and slashed export earnings.

Comfort, 14, lost his parents about three years ago, after they had been ill for a long time. His grandmother now looks after him and his two siblings, and earns a living from her few chickens and selling vegetables from her garden when she can.

"Now they don't let her sell anymore," said Comfort, referring to the Zimbabwean government's clampdown on informal trade - part of a national cleanup campaign that began on 19 May. Since then she has tried to sell vegetables or fruits to passers-by on the highway - some 10 km from their house.

"The villagers try to help us," he added, acknowledging their support.

Because most people in the area are ranchers, their homes are far apart, which often proves problematic for home-based caregivers. "At times it takes us days to hear [that someone needs assistance]. We wish we had a vehicle, but then, maybe not," said Makulubane, remembering that although he has a motorcycle, the costs of keeping it operational are prohibitive.

Instead, the villagers make do with donkey carts and lifts from passers-by to access more remote households.

Majini has seen "tremendous change," in the past few years, said a relief worker with a local NGO working in the Beitbridge district in Matabeleland South Province.

"Their attitude towards HIV/AIDS is exceptional in the area. They always want more information on the illness; about programmes they can get involved in. Unfortunately most of the villagers do not have access to free antiretroviral therapy. There is little we can do there."


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ZIMBABWE: Govt extends deadline for floundering reconstruction programme

[ This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations]

JOHANNESBURG, 5 Sep 2005 (IRIN) - The Zimbabwe government has extended the deadline for the completion of its Operation Garikai/Hlalani Kuhle (Stay Well) housing programme to December, due to the slow pace of construction.

Acting information minister Chen Chimutengwende told IRIN the extension beyond the original 31 August deadline had been necessitated by building delays due to shortages of fuel and construction materials.

"Government has extended the programme to ensure that all work is done by the end of the year. We cannot fail to meet the new target," said Chimutengwende.

In July the government announced it had allocated Zim $3 trillion (US $120 million) to the reconstruction programme, the successor to Operation Murambatsvina ('Drive out Filth'), a slum demolition drive the United Nations estimated had affected over 700,000 people.

In a mid-term policy review statement in August, Finance Minister Herbert Murerwa cut the government's commitment to $1 trillion ($40 million) for housing construction and assisting small- and medium-scale enterprises - half of which would be raised through the financial market.

But, Chimutengwende insisted, "Enough money has been allocated to keep the programme running, even with problems like the shortage of fuel and building materials."

Progress has been painfully slow across the country, with reports that only 97 of the 10,000 housing units planned for the Whitecliffe settlement in the capital, Harare, have been built.

Less than 400 housing units were under construction in the Harare suburb of Hatcliffe, where a total of 15,000 units are planned. In Manicaland province in the east, less than 100 houses have been completed out of the 960 earmarked for the current construction phase. The programme was reportedly inching along in Bulawayo and Gwanda in the south, and Victoria Falls in the west of the country.

Besides the delays it has emerged that the majority of people affected by the demolition programme may not meet the criteria for ownership of the new houses.

Gwanda mayor Thandeko Mnkandla said the programme was no longer specific to the poor and vulnerable, who make up the majority of the squatters evicted by Operation Murambatsvina.

"The government has effectively handed over the allocation of the stands to municipal authorities. To qualify, one has to earn above a specified salary category, be on the municipal [housing] waiting list and be able to afford the deposit and monthly installments," Mnkandla told IRIN.

"Many people who were affected are squatters who have never been employed - they cannot afford any of the requirements. The houses will only be available to the gainfully employed, and one has to be well paid to afford the installments," he explained.

Chimutengwende countered that it was up to the responsible authorities to define the allocation criteria.

"To require that people meet certain criteria does not necessarily mean they remain out," he maintained. "Government knows those who were affected and will help them accordingly, in conjunction with local authorities. This programme was planned two years ago, and it is people-specific."


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G8 leaders must help African science help itself
*Research to improve water quality is high on Africa's development agenda
John Mugabe
1 July 2005

Many African leaders now accept that science and technology have key roles to play in achieving their development goals. The industrialised world must support their efforts to translate this insight into action, says John Mugabe.

Africa entered the new millennium with renewed determination to secure its sustainable development. After many decades of economic marginalisation, political instability, and overdependence on the rest of the world for knowledge and finance, the continent and its people are now determined to eradicate poverty and become fully integrated into the global knowledge economy.

To achieve this, African leaders and their people have committed themselves to a set of ambitious but realisable goals. Many of these are embodied in the new socio-economic development framework of the African Union (AU), known as the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD).

The creation and evolution of NEPAD demonstrates the determination of African leaders to institute measures designed to meet the needs of the continent. These include efforts to increase agricultural production and food security, to stem environmental degradation, to improve infrastructure and communications, to combat diseases such as malaria, tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS, to end conflicts and wars, and to increase industrial production.

In other words, NEPAD is Africa's framework of programmes for achieving its human development goals. In addition, African countries have drawn up Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers (PRPs), and committed themselves to the United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

In doing so, it has become clear that achieving the objectives of NEPAD, the PRPs and the MDGs will require increased national, continental and international support for Africa's capacity to harness, develop and apply science and technology for development.

At present, the continent's scientific and technological base is too weak to stimulate and sustain economic change and sustainable development. It is characterised by low public expenditure on research and development (R&D), weak links between research institutions and industry, low (and falling) enrolment in science and engineering courses at tertiary education levels, and outdated science and technology policies and institutions.

Addressing these shortcomings requires leadership and commitment at the highest political levels in Africa. It also needs concerted international support.

Commitments and actions by Africa

Many African leaders have already recognised explicitly that their countries must build a strong science and technology base — both collectively and individually — if they are to achieve the objectives of NEPAD, as well as the MDGs. This recognition is expressed in the NEPAD framework documents, as well as in the decisions — and actions — that the countries have taken over the past few years.

Specific African commitments and actions include:

1. African Ministerial Council on Science and Technology (AMCOST)

This is a high-level political and policy platform for science and technology set up to provide leadership in agreeing and implementing specific research and technology development projects.

The council, which is made up of ministers responsible for science and technology in all African countries, held its first meeting in Pretoria, South Africa, in November 2003, when it adopted 12 specific flagship programmes for science and technology.

Supported by a technical steering committee and advisory panels on specific policy and technical issues, the council acts as a high-level forum that has already begun to stimulate both a critical examination and active dialogue on emerging science and technology questions, and their implications for Africa's sustainable development.

2. Networks of centres of excellence

NEPAD has been actively engaged in establishing of networks of 'centres of excellence' dedicated to the development and application of science and technology to address specific food production, human health and environmental challenges.

The NEPAD Biosciences Network has four 'hubs' consisting of leading laboratories in Egypt, Kenya, South Africa and Senegal. African countries have also adopted a strategic framework for establishing regional centres for water sciences and technology development. These will be similar hubs intended to produce and apply scientific as well as technical skills.

3. A commitment to policy and institutional reforms

NEPAD has been supporting the efforts of a growing number of African countries that are currently redesigning their science and technology policies, and reforming their science and technology institutions.

Botswana, Democratic Republic of Congo, Kenya, Nigeria, Rwanda and Uganda are examples of countries with ongoing efforts to review their science and technology systems.

In addition, Egypt has just adopted a comprehensive plan for developing science and technology. South Africa adopted its science and technology strategy in 2002 and is making the necessary institutional reforms.

4, A commitment to solicit and institutionalise science policy advice

African leaders have recognised the importance of ensuring that their policies and political statements on science and technology matters are well informed. To achieve this, specialised advisory panels are being set up on specific issues.

Two such mechanisms have been created. One is high-level panel of eminent persons, set up jointly by NEPAD and the AU, to advise on issues related to biotechnology. The second is an experts' working group on science, technology and innovation indicators.

The above commitments and actions are already being taken to ensure that African countries develop sound foundations for their science and technology. But there is much more that these countries need to do.

With this in mind, the ministerial council is currently drawing up a long-term plan for science and technology. As a result, a comprehensive NEPAD/AU strategic plan for science and technology will be proposed at its second meeting, which takes place in Dakar, Senegal in September 2005.

Future actions are likely to include the setting up by the AU of a 'presidential forum' on science and technology, as well as the creation of regional financial mechanisms for R&D.

The G8 and Commission for Africa

The support of the international community is likely to be a key factor in determining the success of the activities described above. In this context, leaders of the G8 nations, as well as the recent report of the Commission for Africa, have each outlined commitments and actions that the international community — particularly the industrialised countries — should take to support Africa's efforts to achieve scientific and technological development.

Three years ago, for example, the G8 summit held in Kananaskis, Canada, adopted an Africa Action Plan that focused on supporting the implementation of NEPAD. The action plan contains commitments on promoting peace and security; strengthening institutions and governance; fostering trade, economic growth and sustainable development; implementing debt relief; expanding knowledge; improving health and confronting HIV/AIDS; increasing agricultural productivity; and improving water resource management. 

There is growing awareness that most of these commitments cannot be realised without the application of science and technology. It was with this in mind that at the following year's summit meeting, held in Evian, France, that the G8 countries endorsed a new action plan concerned with science and technology for sustainable development. This contains specific commitments to help developing countries — particularly in Africa — strengthen their capacities for scientific research and technological innovation.

The same themes have emerged in the report published earlier this year by the Commission for Africa. Set up by British prime minister Tony Blair, this acknowledges that Africa's economic transformation and sustainable development cannot be achieved without the development and application of science and technology

The report contains a number of recommendations on ways of unlocking Africa's potential for generating and applying the science and related technological innovations needed to reduce poverty, accelerate economic growth, and enter the global economy.

In particular, the Commission for Africa proposes that rich countries should agree to provide a total of US$500 million a year over a ten-year period to strengthen African universities, and US$3 billion over ten years to develop centres of excellence in science and technology. Identifying specific research priorities for — and mechanisms of — establishing such centres would, the commission suggests, be carried out by NEPAD and the AU, in collaboration with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

As indicated above, African countries have already started to develop research and innovation programmes based on specific common priorities. They are also creating networks of centres of excellence in specific research areas.

Translating the recommendations of the Commission for Africa into concrete actions — and in particular ensuring that the necessary financial resources are allocated and utilised efficiently to strengthen Africa's science and technology base — will go a long way towards enabling the continent both to attain the MDGs, and integrate itself into the global knowledge economy.

Both steps will provide a stronger foundation for the international community's efforts to end conflict, eradicate corruption and promote democracy in Africa.

Pulling together for our common future

But all of this will only work if Africa provides overall leadership for the implementation of the science and technology programmes that it is designing under NEPAD and the AU.

To do this, its heads of state and government need to continue to demonstrate that they are prepared to increase their efforts to move from statements of intent to concrete actions. In particular, they need to help generate international support for well-designed programmes for building science institutions and skills in the region.

Such programmes should be developed by African themselves, and be based on existing capabilities, in particular existing infrastructure, human resources and experiences. They do not need to involve creating new institutes for science and technology; much can be achieved by mobilising and transforming those that already exist.

Above all, the recommendations of the Commission for Africa should be adopted both by the G8 at its summit meeting in Gleneagles later this week, and by the United Nations General Assembly, when it meets in New York in September to address progress towards achieving the MDGS.

The international community now needs to take bold steps to support Africa's own efforts to create a continent-wide programme for building science and technology capacity.

The author is advisor on science and technology to the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD), and helped to set up its Forum on Science and Technology for Development.

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Mail & Guardian
Former Zim finance minister's trial resumes
The high-profile trial of Zimbabwe's former finance minister Chris Kuruneri for allegedly smuggling money abroad resumed on Monday with his lawyers asking for the judge to be changed.

"The view of the public is that there has been bias in this trial and the court cannot ignore this," Kuruneri's lawyer Jonathan Samkange told High Court Judge Susan Mavangira.

"This bias has been expressed by various people through the media, including the public media, and in conversations, the ordinary man is saying Kuruneri will not have a fair trial if the case is presided over by you.

"It's for that reason that I humbly ask your ladyship to recuse yourself from these proceedings."

Kuruneri was arrested in April last year at the height of the Zimbabwean government's anti-graft crusade, becoming the most senior official to face charges of corruption.

His trial opened in May with the ex-minister denying charges of funnelling foreign currency to South Africa to buy a mansion in an upscale Cape Town suburb and a luxury car.

Samkange said the judge showed bias from the onset of the trial when she threw out an application by Kuruneri for a day's postponement while awaiting the arrival of one of his lawyers who was in Namibia.

"The refusal showed bias against the accused and was designed to frustrate him from having a lawyer of his choice and coming prepared for his trial," the lawyer told the court.

Samkange said Mavangira "stepped into the shoes of the prosecution" by altering the charge sheet after defence lawyers pointed out that the charges stated in the prosecution's papers did not disclose an offence.

"The difficulty is that the accused has been handicapped because he will not be able to challenge the amendments because they were done by you," Samkange said.

"With these prejudices there is only one assured finality. The accused has shown there is bias and any reasonable person going through the case will see there is bias here."

Kuruneri was released from remand prison in July after more than a year in remand prison and 10 appeals for bail.

He faces seven counts of breaching Zimbabwe's exchange-control laws by allegedly transferring $500 000, £37 000, €30 000 and R1,2-million to buy and renovate an eight-bedroom mansion.

Mavangira convicted Kuruneri on charges of breaching the citizenship laws after he confessed to holding a Canadian passport in addition to a Zimbabwean diplomatic passport.

Zimbabwean law does not allow dual citizenship.

His trial continues on Tuesday. -- Sapa-AFP
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VOA news
Top Zimbabwe Official Sues Colleague over Land Use

05 September 2005

One of President Robert Mugabe's closest aides has gone to court against a more junior political colleague in what has become a front-page legal brawl over the use of land expropriated from white farmers. The case is symptomatic of increasing arguments over land tenure.

John Nkomo is national chairman of ruling ZANU-PF party. He is also speaker of parliament, and is tipped by many to become a vice president. In a headline-making move last Friday, he sued a fellow ruling party member for squatting on land the state expropriated from a white owner and Mr. Nkomo awarded to himself. Mr. Nkomo is claiming damages for his rival's use of the land and a safari lodge built on it.

When he was minister of lands, Mr. Nkomo allocated himself some 6,000 hectares of land in a wildlife conservation area in southern Zimbabwe. The property belonged to a white farmer, who was forced off the land three years ago.

Almost 11 million hectares of land have been expropriated by the government from white farmers over the past six years. Only members of the ruling ZANU-PF party have been given the land. Agricultural analysts say Zimbabwe's land reform program has thrown land ownership into chaos, sparking disputes over vast tracts of land. The spokesman for the independent lobby group, Justice for Agriculture, John Worswick, said the lawsuit by Mr. Nkomo is only the most visible tip of a huge iceberg.

President Robert Mugabe, who instituted the land redistribution program, has repeatedly complained that many members of his party have acted against his orders, and took more than one commercial farm.

Mr. Worswick says the uncertainty over land ownership is partly to blame for Zimbabwe's plummeting agricultural production. He says some of the country's most productive land is not being used, because it is mired in legal wrangling.

Just days before Mr. Nkomo filed his lawsuit, Zimbabwe's parliament passed a constitutional amendment barring courts from adjudicating any land disputes. But the amendment, which nationalized all agricultural land, is yet to be signed by President Mugabe into law.

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Total buys Exxon retail network in 14 African states

French oil major Total said on Monday it had agreed to buy ExxonMobil's retail network in 14 African countries.

The agreements cover ExxonMobil's motor fuels, lubricants, aviation and marine petroleum products businesses in Chad, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Ghana, Guinea, Liberia, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Sierra Leone, Togo, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

These transactions include a network of about 500 service stations and 29 terminals and depots.

The deal is conditional upon regulatory approval in each country.
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The Herald
Mujuru Urges State Health Institutions to Be Innovative

The Herald (Harare)
September 3, 2005
Posted to the web September 5, 2005
VICE President Cde Joice Mujuru has urged Government health institutions to be more innovative in a manner that improves service delivery to attract paying customers and bolster the State health delivery system.
The improvements in service delivery system should also attract patients from outside Zimbabwe.

Cde Mujuru said while "hospital fees should be maintained at affordable rates they should not be set at sub economic levels where there would be no cost recovery".
She made the remarks yesterday at the graduation and prize giving ceremony of 132 nurses from Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals at a ceremony held in the city.
"The hospital authorities should strive to improve services in order to attract those patients who are able to pay to ensure that there is cross subsidisation," she said.
Cde Mujuru said it was sad to note that people who were able to pay prefer to seek medical attention from private hospitals or go outside the country where the fees were either exorbitant or were paid in foreign currency.
"What is management doing about this?" she asked.
Cde Mujuru said Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals, which was supposed to operate as the premier referral hospital, was not doing so.
She lamented the delays at the hospital in attending to patients, saying most of the patients who went to the hospital were not referral cases.
"The Ministry (Health) needs to enter into some dialogue with the Harare City Council through the Ministry of Local Government and Urban Development if quality service is to be upheld, thereby attracting even people from across our borders to want to seek medical services in Zimbabwe", she said.
Improved conditions of service, she said, were expected to see the country retain health professionals and attract those that have left for the Diaspora.
"I, therefore, urge hospital management to give this matter their most urgent attention in order to reduce the brain drain."
Cde Mujuru also urged officials working on the social health insurance scheme to expedite their consultations to ensure the speedy implementation of the scheme.
She hailed the Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals for introducing the ophthalmic nurse-training programme (eye specialisation).
Cde Mujuru also praised the hospital's refurbishment and rehabilitation programmes.
The hospital has invested several billions of dollars in medical and laboratory equipment with assistance from the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe.
It now has a haemodialysis centre with 18 new machines.
"There is no doubt the centre has brought significant relief to patients with kidney conditions. I urge management to continue to explore possible avenues for the generation of foreign currency for self-sustenance," she said.
She said the hospital should, however, not rely on Government for support, adding the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) was not a bottomless pit. A lot of equipment is lying idle because there is no foreign currency to buy spare parts.
"Cde Minister (Dr David Parirenyatwa) I want to say in earnest that this is an untenable situation. For how long are we going to continue behaving like crybabies? Please let us stop this chorus; we can't do anything because there is no foreign currency or because the governor of the RBZ has not allocated foreign currency for our requirements".
She said people should think of alternatives and urged the private sector to partner Government in training nurses.
Those who graduated yesterday majored in intensive care nursing, operating theatre nursing, nurse anaesthetic programme and diploma in nursing education.
Cde Mujuru urged the graduating nurses to be patient, approachable, compassionate and empathic.
"Society's expectations on you as nurses will naturally be high, and so are the demands of your profession. You will therefore need to strike a balance between these demands and expectations," she said.
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SABC news

Mutual's Zim connection may not kill Swiss deal

September 05, 2005, 14:00

Old Mutual is facing a grilling about its stake in ZimPapers, Zimbabwe's media group, which is widely seen as a government's mouthpiece. Old Mutual wants to buy Skandia, a Swedish insurer, but first needs to convince the Swedes, a country that prides itself on ethical dealings.

Old Mutual holds about 16% of the shares on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange.

Diana Ganes, a director of Africa at Work, does not believe that Old Mutual's involvement in Zimbabwe is enough to hinder the deal with Sweden. Ganes says if Old Mutual's withdraws its investment it would send out the wrong political message.

She says in the past companies turned a blind eye to a country's humanitarian crimes and made matters worse by bribing governments, but that companies are now increasingly at the political climate before getting involved in countries.

Ganes says she thinks the shareholders in Skandia will in any case be more interested in returns than politics. - edited by Matona Fatman

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Another row brewing in Zimbabwe cricket

DH News Service Harare:
Deccan Herald

The withdrawal of contracts of Stuart Carlisle, Barney Rodgers and Neil Ferreira threatens to spark another controversy in Zimbabwe cricket, with the players association representative and chairman singing different tunes, and Zimbabwe Cricket (ZC) lashing out at Carlisle in particular.

“At the moment, the withdrawal of contracts is not an issue,” Zimbabwe Professional Cricketers’ Association (ZPCA) chairman Mluleki Nkala told newsmen on Monday. “That is not paramount for the association, we are looking to get the best contracts for 34 other individuals. If the three approach us and ask us to take up the matter with ZC, we will then decide what must be done.”

ZPCA representative Clive Field, the negotiator with ZC, had a different tale to tell. “The withdrawal of contracts is a matter of serious concern, and if that is not a priority, we are heading for confrontation,” Field said. “The players are very concerned about it.”

ZC managing director Ozias Bvute slammed Carlisle in no uncertain terms. “Young Mr Carlisle, who is 31 or 32, made 30 in 80 balls against New Zealand. That is not what we want from a team point of view. The door is closed as far as Carlisle, Rodgers and Ferreira are concerned. We were unable to meet the demands they put forward, so we subsequently withdrew the offers made to them.

“The process of bargaining must be constructive, and we didn’t find their stand constructive at all,” Bvute went on. “They need not be contracted to ZC to be picked for Zimbabwe, but ZC will not offer them full-time employment even if they are picked to play for Zimbabwe again.”

On Carlisle, Bvute said: “We need players with national interests at heart, who must play with pride and honour. His performances haven’t exactly set the world ablaze.”
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Bvute defends Zim contracts

Mon, 05 Sep 2005

Zimbabwe Cricket managing director Ozias Bvute on Monday defended their controversial policy of issuing new contracts to their professional players based on performance in terms of runs, wickets and fielding.

Senior players Heath Streak, Tatenda Taibu and Andy Blignaut have already met the criteria but more than 20 others will be assessed by a panel including national team manager Babu Meman and coach Kevin Curran.

"This is and will be a detailed assessment, on the basis of past, current and perceived future results and performance," said Bvute.

He said the 24 remaining "Level One" (lower rated) players had been offered basic salaries and expenses.

This new policy lies at the root of the current dispute with the players.

Stuart Carlisle, Barney Rogers and Neil Ferreira, had demanded a minimum contractual income and had not been offered any contract at all, Bvute said.

"If I wanted a 737 Boeing aircraft parked at Harare airport, that would be unreasonable, not a negotiating position," he said, replying to a question about their position perhaps being one for negotiation.

"What I'm saying is that as far as those three are concerned there is no room for any negotiating position now."

But Bvute insisted: "We are not in a crisis."

Talks between Zimbabwe Cricket and players' representative Clive Field are expected to resume later this week.

Field warned that the dispute, which blew up last Thursday, "could become a major issue detrimental to Zimbabwe and indeed to international cricket".

"Some players have said it could become as destructive an issue as last year's strike, which had been triggered by senior player accusations of national team selections based on race, and I think they could be right. This is a cause for real concern," Field told AFP.

That acrimonious dispute began in April 2004 with the subsequent strike of 15 players and departure from the country of several others for careers abroad.

Field said: "The ball concerning this issue is now in the court of Zimbabwe Cricket to review their stance and position.

"The players have decided they will still be making themselves available for selection to matches remaining on the India tour (two Tests and a warm-up game) on the basis of them keeping the high moral ground.

"We have reached a situation where trust is paramount. We are told the contracts will now be re-presented on September 14 rather than the original date of September 30."


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United Press

Zimbabwe leader blasts Hollywood film

Sep. 5, 2005 at 5:49PM

A Zimbabwean government official charges the CIA created the Hollywood movie "The Interpreter" to discredit President Robert Mugabe.
      The Sydney Pollack-directed film starring Nicole Kidman and Sean Penn recently came out on DVD.
      Zimbabwe's Acting Information Minister Chen Chimutengwende said the movie -- which stars Kidman as United Nations interpreter who overhears a plot to kill an African leader -- proves "Zimbabwe's enemies do not rest," the BBC reported Monday.
      "The film talks about an African president going to the United Nations and our president is going to the (United Nations) next week, so the connection is so obvious," Chimutengwende said. "It is part of a CIA-sponsored fight ... but we will defeat them and we will defeat neo-colonialism. We have defeated a powerful enemy before which was colonialism."

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