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Desmond Tutu calls on international community to toughen stance on Zimbabwe

International Herald Tribune

The Associated PressPublished: September 18, 2007

LONDON: Archbishop Desmond Tutu called on Britain Tuesday to toughen its
stance on Zimbabwe and press the troubled nation's neighbors, including his
own South Africa, to intervene.

Tutu told Britain's ITV television network that "quiet diplomacy" had failed
to halt the crumbling of Zimbabwe's economy and a political and humanitarian
crisis.

"By now it ought to be clear that the softly softly approach - quiet
diplomacy - has not worked at all and we want something a little more
forthright, a little more categorical," Tutu told ITV News.

He called on Brown to press for international efforts to set President
Robert Mugabe deadlines to improve the country's economic and political
woes - and threaten punitive measures if improvements aren't made.

"I myself believe that the humanitarian situation is so fraught that we
would need all the help we can get," Tutu said. "It's been deeply, deeply
distressing, the kinds of things that have happened to ordinary people in
Zimbabwe."

"All of us Africans must hang their heads in shame for having allowed such a
desperate situation to continue almost without anybody doing anything to try
and stop it," Tutu said.
The Brussels-based International Crisis Group warned in a report Tuesday
that Zimbabwe "is closer than ever to complete collapse," saying four out of
five of the country's 12 million people live below the poverty line.

Inflation in Zimbabwe may hit 100,000 percent by the end of the year, the
International Monetary Fund has warned.

Tutu said he hoped the international community would push South African
President Thabo Mbeki and the Southern African Development Community to do
more to alleviate suffering in Zimbabwe.

"People are being detained, human rights are being violated without any
conscience at all," Tutu said. "It is we who are on the outside who ought to
intervene."


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Beijing turns its back on embattled Robert Mugabe

The Times
September 19, 2007

Jane Macartney in Beijing
China has bowed to economic reality and political expediency by calling a
halt to aid to Zimbabwe.

One of the few remaining friends to President Mugabe, Zimbabwe's embattled
leader, China has been quietly allowing the relationship to cool over the
past few months. But Li Guijin, China's special envoy for Africa, confirmed
yesterday that Beijing had halted development aid. "China's assistance is
mainly humanitarian. In terms of development assistance, we have some
difficulties," he said.

"China in the past provided substantial development assistance but owing to
the dramatic currency revaluations and rapid deterioration of economic
conditions, the economic outcomes of these projects have not been so good."

The decision deals a heavy blow to a country where unemployment is 80 per
cent, inflation hit 7,600 per cent in July and the value of the Zimbabwean
dollar on the black market recently fell to 500,000 to the pound.

China's continued aid could have served as a lifeline to Mr Mugabe's
Government. And its decision to end years of government investment must have
involved much soul-searching for a country eager to present itself as an
unconditional friend of Africa and one that does not impose conditions on
its loans and investment.
As recently as April Jia Qinglin, a member of China's all-powerful Politburo
standing committee, promised to build two primary schools, a hospital and an
agriculture training centre. And he reiterated plans to renovate the
National Sports Stadium, that was built by China in the 1980s. But the only
definite deal was a swap of farm machinery for tobacco. The future of those
projects is now in doubt.

Lord Malloch-Brown, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office Minister for Asia,
Africa and the United Nations, said during a visit to Beijing last month
that officials had informed him of the change. He described the shift as
enormously important. "That puts it in the same position as Britain, which
is the second-biggest provider of humanitarian assistance to Zimbabwe," he
said.

President Hu Jintao excluded the country from a tour of several African
countries this year. Beijing may have begun to feel international pressure
after it welcomed Mr Mugabe to the Sino-African summit in November.

With the Olympic Games less than a year away China may not want to be
associated with a state leader regarded by many nations as a pariah. China
is Zimbabwe's largest investor and its second-biggest trading partner -
after South Africa.

Ailing agriculture

China extended loans worth $58 million (30 million) to Zimbabwe in April to
spend on agricultural equipment

It provided Mr Mugabe with $200 million of fertiliser to revive the country's
beleaguered farms

A human rights report in June estimated that Mr Mugabe's policies have cost
the country $8.5 billion since 2000

Source: Reliefweb; Zimbabwe Human Rights Forum; Times archives


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Zimbabwe needs your help, Tutu tells Brown

The Telegraph

By Peta Thornycroft and Sebastien Berger
Last Updated: 2:34am BST 19/09/2007

Gordon Brown should put more pressure on President Robert Mugabe to
improve Zimbabwe's human rights record, Desmond Tutu said last night.

The Archbishop Emeritus of Cape Town and Nobel peace prize winner said
the "quiet diplomacy" pursued by the Southern Africa Development Community
(SADC) had "not worked at all".

He called on Britain and the West to pressure SADC, including South
Africa, which is chairing talks between President Mugabe's Zanu-PF party and
the opposition Movement for Democratic Change, to set firm deadlines for
action, with consequences if they are not met.

"All of us Africans must hang their heads in shame for having allowed
such a desperate situation to continue almost without anybody doing anything
to try and stop it," he said.

"It's been deeply, deeply distressing, the kinds of things that have
happened to ordinary people in Zimbabwe. People are being detained and human
rights are being violated without any conscience at all.

"The people are doing as much as you possibly could in such a ghastly
situation. They have suffered enough. It is we who are on the outside who
ought to intervene," he told ITN. He looked, in particular, to Gordon Brown
"for more effective intervention".

Dr Tutu's comments were echoed in a report by the International Crisis
Group, a respected think-tank.

It said that the country's economic crisis had brought it "closer than
ever to complete collapse" with inflation running at nearly 7,000 per cent,
and called on the SADC to persuade Mr Mugabe to step down.

"Some SADC leaders remain Mugabe supporters, and there is a risk the
organisation will accept cosmetic changes that further entrench the status
quo," the report said. Possible incentives for retirement could include
"immunity from prosecution for Mugabe and other senior Zanu-PF officials",
it said, as well as "guarantees, at least to a specified level, that the
accumulated wealth, including land, of Mugabe, his family, and other members
of the establishment will be secure".

"Zimbabweans want above all an end to their nightmare," it added, but
said EU and US measures were ineffective. "Western sanctions - mainly
targeting just over 200 members of the leadership with travel bans and asset
freezes - have proven largely symbolic," it said.

"And general condemnations from the UK and US if anything (are)
counterproductive because they help Mugabe claim he is the victim of
neo-colonial ambitions."

In Harare, the Movement for Democratic Change struck a surprise deal
with Zanu-PF to change the country's electoral laws.

The constitutional amendment abolishes President Mugabe's right to
appoint 30 MPs, removing a major hurdle to the opposition winning an
election.

But it also increases the number of constituencies from 120 to 210,
which the current election commission, appointed by Zanu-PF, could
gerrymander to return loyalist MPs.


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Robert Mugabe in electoral deal with his rivals

The Telegraph

By Peta Thornycroft in Johannesburg
Last Updated: 2:34am BST 19/09/2007

Zimbabwe's opposition party, the Movement for Democratic Change,
yesterday struck a deal with Robert Mugabe to change the country's electoral
laws.

The rule change abolishes President Mugabe's right to appoint 30 MPs,
removing a major hurdle to the opposition winning an election.

But it also increases the number of constituencies from 120 to 210,
which the ruling Zanu-PF party could easily gerrymander to return loyalist
MPs.

But observers believe that the deal could mark a breakthrough and that
talks chaired by South Africa could produce a new constitution in time for
presidential and parliamentary elections next March. The process, however,
remains subject to Mr Mugabe's veto and there are no assurances of a free
and fair ballot.

Welshman Ncube, founding secretary-general of the MDC, said: "A new
constitution is now firmly on the agenda and hopefully agreement will be
reached."

If Mr Mugabe, 83, retires or dies before the next election, parliament
will have the power under the new law to appoint his successor.

Mr Mugabe, though, appears determined to stand for re-election, but
his factionalised party has called an "extraordinary" congress in December
where his candidacy could be on the agenda.

The government yesterday announced that Zimbabwe's hyperinflation had
slowed to 6,592.8 per cent in August, but in a new report the respected
International Crisis Group think-tank said that the country's economic
crisis had brought it "closer than ever to complete collapse".

It called on Zimbabwe's neighbours in the Southern African Development
Community (SADC) to focus on persuading Mr Mugabe to step down.


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Police raid offices, summon labour leader ahead of strike

Zim Online

Wednesday 19 September 2007

By Patricia Mpofu and Lizwe Sebatha

HARARE - Zimbabwean police on Tuesday raided the offices of the Zimbabwe
Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) demanding to see the secretary general of
the workers' federation Wellington Chibebe, a day before the union leads a
two-day protest against worsening economic hardships in the country.

The raid on the ZCTU offices in Harare followed an increased presence of the
police on the streets where security forces mounted roadblocks on all major
roads leading into the capital ahead of today's job stay-away.

Chibebe confirmed that the police had raided his offices at Chester House in
Harare looking for him adding that the police had also arrested three more
ZCTU members in the morning.

The ZCTU boss said those who were arrested were Wilson Gambanje, the union's
regional officer for Chinhoyi, Charles Chikozho, the Midlands regional
secretary and another member identified as Isaac Tebetebe.

"We are pushing ahead with the protests despite the police intimidation. We
want the government to address the plight of workers," said Chibebe.

Police spokesperson Oliver Mandipaka said he was still to be briefed over
the arrest of the three ZCTU members.

"I have to check with my office for details but police are on high alert for
any disturbances," said Mandipaka.

Meanwhile, ZCTU spokesperson Khumbulani Ndlovu said the labour union's
lawyers were battling to gain access to three members who were assaulted and
later abducted by suspected state agents while distributing fliers on
Monday.

The three, Michael Kandukutu, Justice Mucheni and Tennyson Muchefa, were
detained at Mbare Police station on Monday night but were yesterday moved to
Harare central police station.

"They (lawyers) are preparing to take the matter to the High Court to apply
for an urgent order to have access to the three," said Ndlovu.

Alec Muchadehama, the lawyer representing the ZCTU officials, said he was
still preparing the High Court application.

"The police have also denied the three access to food. The last meal they
had was breakfast and those bringing them lunch were turned away," said
Muchadehama yesterday.

The two-day anti-poverty protests come at a time when most Zimbabweans can
hardly put food on the table for their families as they grapple with an
acute economic crisis that was worsened by a controversial government blitz
on prices that began last June.

The directive to retailers to roll back prices by 50 percent has resulted in
empty shelves in most supermarkets after manufacturers and shop owners
failed to restock as they were forced to sell basic goods at a loss.

The Zimbabwean government, which accuses business of working in cahoots with
its Western enemies to effect regime change in the country, last September
beat up Chibebe and other senior labour leaders after they had organised
similar protests in Harare. - ZimOnline


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Civic leaders meet South African mediators

Zim Online

Wednesday 19 September 2007

By Sebastian Nyamhangambiri

HARARE - Zimbabwean civic society leaders under the 'Save Zimbabwe Campaign'
banner left the country yesterday for a meeting with South African mediators
in talks between ruling ZANU PF party and the Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC) party, ZimOnline has learnt.

The team, composed of National Constitutional Assembly president Lovemore
Madhuku, Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights director Arnold Tsunga and Pastor
Ray Motsi who is spokesperson for Christian Alliance, was yesterday expected
to meet South African Defence Minister Mosiuoa Lekota.

Lekota is part of the South African team mediating in the Southern African
Development Community-initiated talks between ZANU PF and the MDC.

"There is a possibility of meeting the South African president, but that is
not certain yet," said a source close to the delegation.

The source said the civic leaders are going to make known to the South
African team their misgivings after the Zimbabwean civil society was left
out of the talks.

"The delegation also wants the issue of the constitutional reforms to be
part of the concessions that will be made by the MDC and ZANU PF. The
constitution is the centre of the current crisis. We believe having an
election under the current constitution is academic," the source said.

The 'Save Zimbabwe Campaign' meeting with Lekota comes days after President
Thabo Mbeki met leaders of the divided MDC over the weekend.

The South African leader briefed Morgan Tsvangirai and Arthur Mutambara on
progress in the talks.

Madhuku, who is said to be leading the "Save Zimbabwe Campaign", confirmed
going to Pretoria but refused to be drawn into details.

"Maybe the right time to comment would be when I am back. I am not going to
say what I am going to South Africa for," said Madhuku speaking from the
Harare International Airport.

Lekota or Mbeki's office could not be reached for comment yesterday.

Mbeki was mandated by SADC last March to mediate in the Zimbabwe crisis
talks seen by many as key to ending a biting eight-year economic and
political crisis in the country. - ZimOnline


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Business predicts 30 percent slump in foreign investment

Zim Online

Wednesday 19 September 2007

By Thulani Munda

HARARE - The Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce (ZNCC) has warned of a 30
percent slump in foreign investment if President Robert Mugabe presses ahead
with a controversial law that will force foreign companies to cede majority
control to indigenous Zimbabweans.

ZNCC chief executive Cain Mpofu told a special parliamentary committee in
Harare that the chamber was worried that the "noble" intentions of the
proposed law could be eclipsed by a lull in critical foreign direct
investment (FDI) inflows.

Mugabe's government has said it intends to bring in more blacks to
participate in the country's mainstream economy by making sure that locals
take up at least 51 percent shareholding in every investment where foreign
investors will be involved.

The Zimbabwean leader says the Indigenisation and Empowerment Bill is meant
to give control of the country's natural resources to the majority blacks,
claiming that foreigners were not investing in Zimbabwe's future
development.

But Mpofu said the Zimbabwean economy would be the overall loser if the Bill
was passed in its current form.

"There is a likelihood of a 30 percent drop in FDI following the passage of
the proposed Act," Mpofu told the parliamentary committee during a heated
debate attended by industry representatives and private companies.

He said the Bill, currently being debated in Parliament, should put in place
mechanisms to make sure that every Zimbabwean had access to participation in
the economy.

"A decline in Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is also anticipated after the
implementation of the indigenisation programme," said Mpofu.

The tottering southern African economy is estimated to have shrunk by up to
40 percent since Mugabe chased white farmers from their properties in 2000,
triggering a severe recession highlighted by an exodus of foreign investors
and unprecedented shortages of foreign currency to import raw materials.

The crisis, triggered by Mugabe's controversial land reform programme that
started in 2000, has seen a slump in industrial and agricultural output and
condemned more than 80 percent of the population to a life of abject
poverty.

Millions others have escaped to other countries in search of better living
conditions.

"It is also not clear what the implications of the Bill will be for those
corporates that are listed on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange. How will trade in
stocks on the market be handled? Will issues of race be incorporated into
the stock exchange?" Mpofu asked.

Questions were also raised over the safeguards in the Bill to ensure that
all Zimbabweans benefited from the proposed law.

Previous attempts to empower blacks have benefited those with connections in
high places or those seen to be sympathetic to Mugabe's ruing ZANU PF party.

"There are inadequate safeguards in the Bill to suggest that this will not
happen if the Bill becomes law," said Mpofu, who however acknowledged that
if properly done the Bill would create an enabling environment that will
result in increased participation of indigenous people in Zimbabwe in the
economic activities of the country.

Chamber of Mines president Jack Murehwa warned against government's recent
intention to be a "referee in a match it is playing" arguing there were
serious "conflicts of interest" in such practices.

Murehwa could have been referring to the recent entry by the government in
diamond mining in Marange.

He warned that while the proposed law had the potential to increase the
people's participation in mining, government should be careful in its
selection of those who will benefit from the laws.

"Government must nurture those indigenous people that are capable of adding
value to the economy without subsidies or handouts from the taxpayers.
Existing agreements between government and mines should continue to be
recognized," Murehwa told the committee.

The empowerment Bill has drawn criticism from economists who fear it would
scare away foreign investors at a time Harare desperately needed support
from the international community.

Zimbabwe has struggled to meet her fuel and power requirements since 2000
after the International Monetary Fund and other Western donors pulled the
plug on economic assistance, triggering acute shortages of foreign
currency. - ZimOnline


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A nation in meltdown

Gulf News

By Nicholas Coates, Associate Editor
Published: September 18, 2007, 23:50

If Zimbabwe was floating on a sea of oil, would Robert Gabriel Mugabe still
be heading the government? The simple answer is no, because the Western
world would never have allowed the country to deteriorate to the extent it
is, under President Mugabe's rule, or misrule.

With inflation now standing at somewhere in the region of 10,000 per cent
(it is difficult to extrapolate precise figures; with 80 per cent of the
population out of work; with the Zimbabwean dollar official rate being
ZB15,000:$1 (but on the black market, nearer to ZB300,000:$1), the nation is
imploding and the people are starving.

Not only is there insufficient food, what there is available is of poor
quality and unaffordable to the majority. Mugabe, in his infinite wisdom,
decided the way to curb inflation of basic commodities was to invoke a law
whereby retailers could not sell produce below the government-stated price.

This meant that effectively, shops had to shut as they were expected to sell
items for less than they were buying them. Since much of the foodstuff was
being imported from South Africa by individual retailers a great personal
expense, it is not surprising that the government intervention would put a
stop to the practice.

This was a nation that was once known as the breadbasket of Africa. It not
only supplied adequate cereal crops for its own people, but was able to
build up a lucrative foreign exchange in export trading of crops, including
tobacco.

Now, the majority of Zimbabweans is destitute, and has little access to food
or medicine and is slowly dying. And the world sits idly by, wondering how
much longer things will continue as they are.

For several years Thabo Mbeki, President of South Africa, has insisted that
his "quiet diplomacy" approach will in the end pay dividends. It has not
only proved to be totally ineffective, but brought disrepute to Mbeki's
abilities, especially in the light of so many problems that still persist in
his country.

It is said that no one in Zimbabwe is prospering, but that it not true.
Mugabe is prospering, and very nicely too. He not only lives in a large
spacious manor, with all found, but is reputedly building a palace for
himself for his retirement.

This costly project not only mocks the poverty-stricken Zimbabweans who are
building it, but also the many that cannot find, let alone afford, food for
their table. For talk of Mugabe's retirement seems to be that only. No
indication of when he will step down has been given, nor is likely to be.

Mugabe now wants to change the constitution (he has done it before) so it
leaves him free to nominate his successor, instead of having an election.
(The term "free and fair" election cannot be applied in Zimbabwe, as there
never has been one.)

The reason for nominating his successor is the same reason Mugabe persists
in holding on to power.

So corrupt has his regime become that he fears any successor of independent
nature might take him to court, charged with various felonies, like
corruption, racketeering, forced imprisonment, torture and so on. It is for
similar reasons that Mugabe is restricted in his movements in travelling
abroad.

If he was to leave his own country it is possible he would be arrested and
charged with similar offences, as there is a European Union warrant out for
him.

Sanctions

Mugabe claims that the problems are brought about by Western sanctions,
which is why his argument is so well received in Africa. But the sanctions
only apply to the foreign assets held by Mugabe and his family, the
sanctions are not against the nation.

In fact, there reverse is true, if anything, because for several years
Western aid agencies have been trying to get basic materials in, only to be
rebuffed by Mugabe.

The truth is the decline of Zimbabwe's economy started once he decided to
move against white farmers and hand their farms over to his cronies and self
styled "war veterans" from the earlier civil strife.

These veterans, many of whom did not appear old enough to have fought, were
given allotments from larger farmlands, sufficient for a family to sustain
themselves.

With inadequate knowledge of farming, and insufficient grain for replanting,
the once-fertile lands decayed and failed to produce sufficient food for
Zimbabweans, let alone for export. At least half the population now depends
on aid from other countries.

No one will move against Mugabe - he has the army and police on his side,
and ensures they stay on side by paying them well and ensuring they are fed
adequately. In return, the troops are prepared to beat down or torture any
opposition to Mugabe.

If sanctions were applied against Zimbabwe, it would merely add fuel to
Mugabe fire; although there by virtue of a corrupt election, technically
Mugabe is the elected president (amazingly, he still has supporters is some
regions), so other nations, including the West, are reluctant to move
against him.

But if Zimbabwe was floating on a sea of oil ...


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Zimbabwe Authorities Crack Down On Union Officials On Eve Of Strike

VOA

By Patience Rusere
Washington
18 September 2007

Police on Tuesday arrested six more officials of the Zimbabwe Congress of
Trade Unions for a total of nine since Monday, and were still detaining
seven of them on the eve of a two-day national general strike called by the
trade union federation.

The union called the strike to protest a freeze on wages imposed by the
government as part of its crash program to reduce inflation officially
running at 6,593%.

Police were holding ZCTU Matebeleland Regional Chairman Reason Ngwenya and
Regional Secretary Ambrose Sibindi, who were picked up by officers of the
Bulawayo law and order section, union sources said.

As of late Tuesday, police in Gweru were continuing to hold ZCTU Midlands
Chairman Charles Chikozvo and the union's regional secretary, Isaac
Teveteve.

But police in Chinhoyi freed Mashonaland West Regional Secretary Wilson
Kambanje and Organizing Secretary Wellington Chiparamakura after detaining
them briefly for handing out union fliers urging workers to participate in
the "stay-away."

Three union officials arrested Monday in Harare for passing out fliers were
still held by police. Union sources said they were denied food and legal
representation.

ZCTU Secretary General Wellington Chibebe told reporter Patience Rusere of
VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that police came to union headquarters looking
for him.


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Zimbabweans, we hear your call for help

Christian Science Monitor

Chaos and want are not a part of the heritage God has provided for anyone.
from the September 19, 2007 edition

"Dear World,

I am a 16-year-old living in Zimbabwe.... Maybe, just maybe, there might be
someone out there who can help us...."

This e-mail message showed up in my mailbox recently, along with a request
for prayer for that deeply troubled country. As the news pages of this paper
reported in late August, "Once considered a shining example of Africa's
potential, Zimbabwe is now a country in the throes of its worst economic
crisis in decades. Critical shortages of food, fuel, foreign currency, and,
in some areas, water, beset a nation where the official inflation rate tops
7,600 percent" ("Zimbabwe economy in free fall," Aug. 27).

A large part of the problem seems to be repressive and corrupt government
policies that over two decades have made life more difficult for people. But
one thing I found encouraging as I was praying about Zimbabwe and also
reading in one of its newspapers is that, despite the difficulties, people
both within and outside the government are working to improve people's
lives. Our prayers can support efforts to free people in the country from
violence and destitution.

The obstacles to progress seem almost insurmountable, but Mary Baker Eddy,
the founder of this newspaper, offered a powerful thought to offset
discouragement. At the very beginning of her book "Science and Health with
Key to the Scriptures," she wrote, "The prayer that reforms the sinner and
heals the sick is an absolute faith that all things are possible to God, - a
spiritual understanding of Him, an unselfed love."

This isn't an abstract statement. Mrs. Eddy dealt with poverty, abuse,
doubt, itinerancy, and many other challenges in order to establish Christian
Science and the organization that supports it. And her conviction that "all
things are possible to God" never wavered. It rests on the understanding
that there is a Science of Love that is practical and that can change the
course of events to a more spiritual direction. It can heal a sick country -
whatever the situation - as readily as a sick body.

The basis for such healing is that each of us is spiritual, made to express
qualities such as intelligence, peace, purity, goodness, honesty, love,
order, and beauty. Chaos and want are not part of the heritage God has
provided for His creation. So whatever instills feelings of chaos and lack
doesn't have divine support. On the contrary, it is eliminated by the
spiritual fact that God's goodness is unlimited and ever present. God never
abandons His children.

Even so, when people are striving make reforms, they sometimes have to
struggle with the feeling of being alone. Like the young girl whose e-mail
appeal touched my heart, they ask if someone anywhere cares. This passage in
Philippians helps me: "Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.
For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good
pleasure" (Phil. 2:12, 13).

In our prayers we can affirm that God is actually working with each
individual; no one is alone. Through God's guidance, they will be able to
find useful answers and have the courage to pursue what is right. At the
same time, this God - who loves all His children - can inspire the
leadership to change its operating methods, to become wiser, more
compassionate.

Often, when conditions are desperate, fear blocks positive steps toward
progress. Prayer enables us to recognize that God is Love, and this Love is
present for everyone, 24/7. Love provides guidance, sustenance, and comfort.
The Bible makes clear that there is no fear in love, so Love is fear's
antidote. Love embraces its full creation in ways that heal and bless.

Ultimately, it is "Love that worketh within" us and leads us to the right
answers. It's love that is empowering your prayers and mine on behalf of
Zimbabwe. And it's love that will lift that country out of its anguish and
into the light once more.


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Matter of fact

Zim Online

Wednesday 19 September 2007

JOHANNESBURG - In a story published on 24 August 2007, we erroneously
claimed that Dr Dickson Chibanda said that close to 40 percent of
Zimbabweans suffer from mental disorders due to economic hardships the
country is facing and also because of the effects of Operation
Murambatsvina, the government's urban clean-up operation carried out in
2005.

It has since been brought to our attention that Dr Chibanda never claimed
that 40 percent of Zimbabweans suffer from mental disorders and that this
was in part attributable to Operation Murambatsvina.

The correct position is that Dr Chibanda is an employee of the Ministry of
Health and was last year involved in a research project conducted in Harare's
high-density suburb of Mbare. The research project - which was approved by
the Ministry of Health - focused on cases of common mental disorders at
clinics in Mbare.

The survey established that approximately 40 percent of persons seeking
medical assistance in the clinics were at risk of having common mental
disorders, which included depression, anxiety and stress related conditions.
These findings were based on a screening tool called the SSQ (the Shona
Symptom Questionaire) which is a screening tool and not a diagnostic tool.

Dr Chibanda presented the findings of the research at a meeting of various
stakeholders amongst them representatives of the Ministry of Health and the
Harare city council in November 2006.

He explained that the findings of the survey did not apply to the rest of
the country. Dr Chibanda specifically did not say that almost 40 percent of
all Zimbabweans suffered from mental illness as a direct result of Operation
Murambatsvina.

We regret misrepresenting Dr Chibanda and attributing quotes that he never
made in our story that claimed that almost 40 percent of Zimbabweans suffer
from mental illness. We sincerely apologise to Dr Chibanda for the
publication of the inaccurate article. - Editor

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