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

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Comment from The Mail & Guardian (SA), 2 September

Where is the yellow card?

Iden Wetherell

It is only too easy to argue that Zimbabwe's opposition Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) did the right thing in deciding last week to suspend
any further participation in polls until President Robert Mugabe's
government adheres to the electoral standards laid down by the Southern
African Development Community (SADC) heads of state in Mauritius last month.
It is more difficult to say the party did the wrong thing. But it is
beginning to look like that.

The MDC was right in claiming that any future election would place it at an
unfair disadvantage given Zanu PF's refusal to do anything more than submit
to pressure from the SADC leaders for technical reforms in the conduct of
polls. While those reforms, providing for independent electoral
institutions, non-discriminatory voter registration, and accessible voters'
rolls, among other things, will do much to improve the electoral process in
Zimbabwe, they don't address the wider context. Mauritian Prime Minister
Paul Berenger spelt that out when he said "really free and fair elections
mean not only an independent electoral commission, but also include freedom
of assembly and absence of physical harassment by the police or any other
entity, freedom of the press and access to national radio and television,
and external and credible observation of the whole electoral process".

The MDC will argue that none of those broader, but essential, requirements
are in place. More to the point, Zanu PF appears to have no intention of
putting them there. Even before the ink was dry on the Grande Baie protocol,
Zimbabwean ministers were planning new ways of closing democratic space by
further restricting freedom of expression and association ahead of a general
election scheduled for March. A proposed NGO Bill plans to do to civil
society what Mugabe's media law did to the press - muzzle it. Both the SADC
and the African Union share a commitment to popular participation in the
political process. But voters cannot make an informed choice if they are
denied access to competing views or don't know what their rights are. NGOs
perform a vital public service as electoral monitors and in telling voters
what rights they have. Now they will be closed down if they are
foreign-funded, leaving the electoral terrain wide open to Mugabe's
blandishments - and his militias.

The SADC principles require equal access to the media for contesting
parties. Far from tolerating dissent, Zimbabwe's public media pour forth a
daily diet of calumnies and hate speech directed at the opposition and civil
society. Partisan policing and a judiciary subject to constant threats make
for a toxic political climate that is designed to discourage people from
exercising their rights. It is, therefore, understandable that the MDC
should wish to draw a line in the sand, refusing to provide a veneer of
legitimacy to the ruling party's electoral chicanery. But the timing is
terrible. Whatever we might say about the reluctance of SADC leaders to make
a stand against misrule in Zimbabwe, the fact is they have now succumbed to
patient prodding from President Thabo Mbeki and set down benchmarks on
electoral reform that are unambiguous.

What was required was for the MDC to test the water. It should have used
Parliament to showcase the government's recidivism over the NGO Bill. And
then explained to the country and the region the implications of stunted
electoral education and monitoring as Zanu PF's militias move into action.
It should have applied for access to the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation
and monitored professional standards in the broadcaster's coverage well
ahead of the March poll. It should have seen who Mugabe appoints as head of
the new electoral commission. This was an ideal opportunity to test the
government's sincerity against the SADC electoral principles, step by step.
Each new travesty could be documented - but only if the MDC waved a yellow
card. As it is, SADC heads will feel their efforts were ill-rewarded. But
worse, they now have the perfect excuse to nod through the March election
outcome, however un-free or unfair. The MDC has let them off the hook just
as they were showing a hint of firmness. MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai's
assurance to his followers this week that "the political electric fence that
denied you access to the watermelon has rusted away" may prove a tad
optimistic. If the MDC decides to re-engage early next year when SADC
leaders might secure a political opening ahead of the March poll, it could
well be too late to make a difference.

Iden Wetherell is group projects editor of the Zimbabwe Independent and
Standard newspapers
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Zim Online

NON - GOVERNMENTAL ORGANISATIONS PLOT NATIONWIDE PROTESTS
Sat 4 September 2004

      HARARE - Non Governmental Organisations (NGOs) are set to meet this
weekend in the resort town of Victoria Falls to plot nationwide protests
next week against a proposed law that will severely curtail their work in
the country.

      National association of NGOs executive director Jonah Mudehwe said
that besides the protest scheduled for Tuesday, they had also briefed United
Nations Development Programme's resident representative in Zimbabwe, Victor
Angelo, in a bid to harness international support against the draft NGO Bill
expected to become law next month.

      Mudehwe said:  "We have agreed to stage protests on Tuesday against
the Bill. Members have agreed to team up in resisting the intentions of
government aimed at shutting down most NGOs."

      The draft law requires NGOs to register with a government-appointed
council. Under the proposed law, civic groups will be barred from receiving
foreign funding and from engaging in work related to human rights and
governance issues.  NGOs say the law will virtually force about 90 percent
of them to shut down.

      Mudehwe refused to say what help, if any, Angelo had promised the NGOs
in their fight against the Bill. He would only say:  "We met as part of the
development issues, and naturally the issues of the Bill came up.

      "But it would not be proper for me to discuss what came out of the
meeting. Talk to the resident representative himself." Angelo could not be
reached for comment on the matter yesterday.

      The National Constitutional Assembly, which is part of Mudehwe's NGOs
association, this week handed a petition to South Africa's ambassador to
Zimbabwe, Jeremiah Ndou, requesting Pretoria to take a more robust approach
to help end Zimbabwe's crisis. ZimOnline

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Zim Online

MDC surrenders Seke without a fight
Sat 4 September 2004

      HARARE - The ruling ZANU PF party's Phineas Chihota yesterday won the
Seke parliamentary seat unopposed after the main opposition Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) stuck to its decision not to take part in elections
until the country's electoral laws were changed.

      ZANU PF's victory brings to 98 the total number of seats controlled by
the party in Zimbabwe's 150-member House. The ruling party now needs only
two more seats to reach the crucial two-thirds majority that would enable
the party to change Zimbabwe's constitution.

      The MDC, which held the Seke seat before the death of its
parliamentarian Ben Tumbare Mutasa about two months ago, now controls 51
seats. Another smaller opposition party holds one seat.

      The MDC, which emerged four years ago as the biggest threat to
President Robert Mugabe and his ZANU PF party's 24-year hold on power, says
it will not take party in elections including next March's parliamentary
polls unless the country's electoral laws are genuinely reformed.

      The party wants Zimbabwe's electoral processes brought in sync with
Southern African Development Community (SADC) norms and standards for
elections. The regional norms require the setting up of independent
electoral bodies to run elections.  The electoral processes must be
transparent while human and individual rights must be upheld during
elections, according to the SADC norms.

      Mugabe has promised to appoint a new Zimbabwe Electoral Commission
which shall be tasked with running elections.  The MDC says Mugabe is
insincere as the proposed new commission will lack independence because its
chairman will be answerable to Mugabe. ZimOnline
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Zim Online

Amnesty official released
Sat 4 September 2004

      HARARE - An Amnesty International official arrested by police two days
ago at Porta Farm squatter camp just outside Harare was yesterday released
from custody.

      Obert Chinhamo, who works for Amnesty in Harare and an official of the
local Non-Violent Action for Social Change, Masanho Maruwacha, were arrested
on Wednesday.

      The two had gone to the squatter camp to check on reports that the
police, aided by ruling ZANU PF party militia had set the camp on fire in a
bid to evict the squatters despite a High Court order prohibiting them from
doing so.

      A lawyer representing the two men, Alec Muchadehama, said they were
released on Z$100 000 (US$17 at the official rate) bail each. They will
return to court on 20 September to answer to charges of public violence.

      The squatters were dumped at Porta Farm by the government in 1991
after being rounded up from the streets of Harare and another squatter camp
which was located nearer to the capital. ZimOnline

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Zim Online

Group helps orphaned children reclaim lost homes
Sat 4 September 2004

      BULAWAYO - Ivy Sibanda's home resembles a refugee camp for residents
of Ward 23 in Bulawayo's Nkulumane suburb. Toddlers, teenagers, parents and
grandparents stream in and out all day to play, chat about their health and
welfare or get something to eat.

      "Everyone is welcome here anytime of the day.  I've somehow become the
neighbourhood granny," explained Sibanda while a four-year old boy plays on
her lap. The boy is not her grandson but one of over 600 orphans that
Sibanda assists through a community-based organisation that she heads.

      A nurse by profession, Sibanda is chairperson of Silundika AIDS Health
Project.  The project was set up in 2000 to help feed and send to school
orphans in the suburb.  Each month, the project gives the orphans food, soap
and helps with payment of rent, water and electricity bills.

      The food and money comes from various international donor
organisations and is channeled through the Matabeleland AIDS Council.

      The 20 members of the project also offer home-based care to bed-ridden
AIDS patients in the Ward.

      During the past year, Silundika members have been forced to expand
their activities to include helping orphans reclaim lost family houses.
According to Sibanda, an increasing number of minor children find themselves
homeless when their parents die of AIDS because unscrupulous relatives would
have sold off their late parents' houses.

      In the past year alone, Silundika members have helped repossess 15
homes which had been sold behind orphans' backs.

      Kundai Madyahoto is one of the orphans that Silundika is helping at
the moment.  Kundai's parents died of AIDS-related illnesses. According to
Kundai, her aunt sold her late parents' home in February this year.

      She said her aunt, who is an informal trader, said she was selling the
property to recover money she had spent taking care of Kundai's mother.

      The new owner of the house has vowed to evict Kundai and her four
siblings. She said some months ago the new owner came to 'their house' and
threw their belongings onto the street. They are still at the house today
only because the police ordered the new owner not to evict them until the
ownership dispute was resolved, said Kundayi.

      Now with the help of neighbours and Silundika, Kundayi insists she and
her siblings will fight to have back their parents' house. "We are not
leaving.  Where do we go if we leave our parents' home?  If we move out we
will end up as street kids.  We will be forced to steal or become
prostitutes to survive," she said.

      Kilibong Nkomo, another member of Silundika blamed the problems
Kundayi and many other such orphans across Zimbabwe have to face when their
parents die on greedy and selfishness.  She said: "It is greed and lack of
feeling.  Relatives do not care about the children's welfare.  They just
want to grab the property."

      Nkomo complained that helping resolve the house disputes takes up too
much time and money as they have to shuttle between the police, courts and
non-governmental organisations such as Childline and Zimbabwe Women Lawyers
Association to get expert help to have the disputes resolved. And this
leaves little time to focus on their core activities.

      According to Sibanda there was need to revise property transfer rules
to save orphans from losing their homes and the hassle of claiming them
back.  She said most sick parents would have been coerced or cheated to
enter into agreeing to sell their properties.

      Sibanda said: "Most of the times, the relatives use forged papers to
transfer ownership.  Also, the parents will be very sick and disorientated
and unaware what they will be signing for (when they agree to sale houses).
Surely, such agreements should not be valid.  The practice is inhuman."
ZimOnline

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IOL

       Zim Christians vow support for archbishop

          September 03 2004 at 02:26PM

      Harare - Zimbabwean Christians from many denominations on Friday
joined in strong public support of Roman Catholic Archbishop Pius Ncube of
Bulawayo who has been denounced as "satanic" by President Robert Mugabe for
demanding tougher international pressure to end human rights abuses.

      In a series of statements which defied Zimbabwe's draconian security
legislation, the archbishop's supporters accused Mugabe's government of
intolerance which "amounted to persecution of the church".

      Ncube says 10 000 Zimbabweans have already died of hunger and
malnutrition as a result of 80-year-old Mugabe's use of famine relief as a
political weapon and disruption of commercial agriculture by "fast track
land reform".

      Ncube also alleges state-sponsored agitation surrounding the seizure
of 5 000 white-owned farms was exploited as a "smokescreen to intimidate
opposition".

            'A humble man of God who speaks the truth'
      In a speech in Harare on August 21, in Ncube's presence, Mugabe
accused him of "joining hands with our erstwhile colonial masters to peddle
lies" and allowing the church "to be infiltrated by the British".

      Three organisations on Friday placed a joint advertisement in the
privately-owned Zimbabwe Independent describing Ncube as a "true patriot"
and "a humble man of God who speaks the truth".

      The organisations included the Catholic Commission for Justice and
Peace, Christians Together for Justice and Peace, and the Solidarity Peace
Trust. The latter two are groupings, including Protestants and some South
African churches and religious organisations dedicated to helping victims of
violence.

      They condemned recent claims by state media that Ncube's words "border
on treason" and that he should be banned from travelling outside Zimbabwe.

      In a similar statement eight Catholic and Protestant groups and
ecumenical associations, likewise denounced the "calculated, hateful and
unjustified criticism of Archbishop Ncube".

      "This amounts to the persecution of the church and its leaders as a
ploy to silence it from voicing the glaring evils perpetrated against the
generality of the population."

      They rejected plans to enact legislation strictly controlling the work
of charities and voluntary organisations, and banning those focused on
"issues of governance and human rights" from receiving foreign help. -
Sapa-dpa

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VOA

Zimbabwe Court Stops Evictions from Harare Shantytown
Peta Thornycroft
Harare
03 Sep 2004, 16:29 UTC

Residents of a shantytown on the outskirts of Harare have clashed with
police and municipal workers who, the residents say, were trying to evict
them. The police were acting despite a court ruling Wednesday temporarily
barring the government from evicting the residents or destroying their
property.
Porta Farm, a shantytown on the edges of Harare, was actually started by the
government, which moved homeless people from the streets of Harare to the
outskirts of the city ahead of British Queen Elizabeth's visit in 1991. The
government did not want the queen to see the homeless on the streets of
Harare.

Over the years, the residents created their own infrastructure, including
schools and some health services. They also constructed homes.

As poverty gripped the country in the last five years, many people could no
longer afford to pay rent in the city and moved to Porta Farm. About 10,000
people live there today, according to government estimates.

Last month, the minister of local government, Ignatius Chombo, issued an
ultimatum to them to vacate the area and make way for what he said would be
a new sewage works. He gave the families until August 15 to move, and many
resisted.

The residents argued the only income they had came from fishing at a large
lake nearby, and the area they were due to move to, on the east of Harare,
was dry. They also said there were no schools or infrastructure on the land.

This week a group of them went to court, which ordered that they be allowed
to stay in their homes.

Police spokesman Wyne Bvudzijena said the settlers had attacked government
employees and so tear gas was used against them. Police have stopped all
visitors to the informal settlement.
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Community resists eviction

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

HARARE, 3 Sep 2004 (IRIN) - Police in Zimbabwe on Thursday torched homes and
fired tear-gas in a bid to evict some 10,000 residents from Porta Farm, a
long-standing illegal settlement 20 km south of the capital, Harare.

An elderly man, believed to have been sleeping in his shack, died, and
several police officers were injured when the residents resisted removal.
Two human rights workers from Amnesty International and an NGO, Non-Violent
Action for Social Change, were arrested and charged with inciting public
violence.

The police action was in defiance of a High Court ruling on Wednesday,
ordering the government not to evict the squatters or demolish their
dwellings.

A statement by Crisis Coalition, a pro-democracy NGO, noted: "The Coalition
once again reiterates that the government must be committed to the rule of
law, and that there must be an end to the continued disregard of judgements
that are passed by the courts, as is the case involving Porta Farm
residents."

Porta Farm, one of Harare's poorest communities, was established in 1991 by
the government as a transit camp for homeless people taken from the streets
of the capital. The clean-up was done ahead of a visit by the British
monarch, Queen Elizabeth II, to open a Commonwealth Heads of Government
Meeting.

After more than a decade of being denied official status, the government
announced last month that the residents would be relocated to make way for a
sewage treatment plant to be constructed in the area. The community, ordered
to move to a new farm lacking basic public facilities, vowed to resist.

"We were shocked by the government's move to evict us and build a sewage
plant ... We have been living here at Porta Farm for 14 years," the chairman
of the residents association, Khumbulani Khumalo said in an earlier
interview with IRIN. "How can the government take us to a land where there
are no toilets and water?" he asked.

With few employment opportunities, fishing in nearby Lake Chivero provided
some income for the Porta Farm community.

"We have been fisherman for several years and we had established good
markets in Harare which we were supplying with fish. If we are moved to a
new area, most people will have to find new ways of making money and I know
most people will just resort to criminal activities to make money," resident
Michael Tinarwo told IRIN.

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Sunday Times (SA)

The roost is mine, Mugabe warns diplomats

Friday September 03, 2004 13:33 - (SA)

HARARE - Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe, who has repeatedly accused
Western powers of trying to unseat him, has warned the new British, US and
Australian envoys to Harare against trying to effect a regime change,
reports said Friday.

"You are suspected to be coming for regime change and it's your
responsibility to correct that," Mugabe was quoted by the state media as
telling Britain's new ambassador Roderick Pullen on Thursday, when he
presented his credentials.

"You cannot go about the Kosovo, Yugoslavia way. Your predecessor tried and
failed," Mugabe said, referring to former high commissioner (ambassador)
Brian Donnelly, who was accused by the Zimbabwean government of trying to
help the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) to oust Mugabe.

Pullen meanwhile said he would work to improve the strained relations
between Zimbabwe and its former colonial ruler.

Mugabe also received credentials from the new US ambassador, Christopher
Dell, saying there had been media reports that his mission was to unseat the
government.

"There is that cloud of suspicion and you have to clear it. We want to see
from your deeds and utterances what your real mission is. If you have been
misrepresented, you have to prove it," Mugabe told Dell.

But Dell reportedly denied ever speaking about regime change.

"I will work to restore friendship between our two countries and I have no
intention to effect regime change in Zimbabwe," Dell told Mugabe.

Mugabe separately told the new diplomat from Australia, Jonathan Sheppard,
that he was concerned about false perceptions created by Australia and
Britain on the situation in Zimbabwe.

"Britain and Australia say I am illegitimate. Africa says I am legitimate.
So could all these people (African leaders) be wrong?"

"No we don't accept that. If only the truth could be basis of the judgment,"
Mugabe told Sheppard while denying any crisis in Zimbabwe.

Mugabe vowed to fight any attempts to remove him from power by external
forces "armed with weapons of mass destruction".

"We resist bullies even though we are little fellows in the international
community," he said, adding "even little fellows have rights too".

AFP
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Zim Independent

Homelink has no chance in this chaos
By Mavis Marongwe
IT was interesting to read the recent admission by Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe
(RBZ) governor Gideon Gono that the Homelink Scheme has failed to reap the
results it was supposed to and bring into the country the much-needed
foreign currency.

The scheme, which was initiated by the RBZ earlier this year, was meant to
encourage Zimbabweans living abroad to send money home to family and friends
through banks and other official channels. The foreign currency received
through the remittances and channelled through the banking system would then
be used to ease inflation and the spiralling foreign debts.

On the face of it, the RBZ plan seemed great. According to the central
bank's own estimates, there are at present 3,4 million Zimbabweans - about a
quarter of the total population - living abroad. Of these about 1,1 million
live in Britain, another 1,2 million live in South Africa and about 100 000
live in Australia. Another million or so are scattered throughout the world.

The RBZ had estimated that the country could earn between US$600 million and
US$1 billion this year alone from remittances. This was if each Zimbabwean
abroad remitted just US$295 per annum. The governor of the Reserve Bank
himself said that he hoped to raise US$300 million per week through
Homelink.

However, in his recent announcement Gono admitted that in the last three
months the scheme has only brought in about US$23 million. And even this
figure itself is disputable, with the actual amounts received likely to be
much lower.

The official reason for the failure is that people are using the scheme to
obtain foreign currency that they then sell on the parallel market thus
fuelling that market and putting pressure on the exchange rate. However, the
reasons for the failure are deeper than the proffered one.

Like all the other quick-fix, head-in-the-sand solutions which have been put
forward for Zimbabwe's recovery and survival over the last few years,
Homelink is failing to yield the needed results because remittances are not
and can never be a substitute for a normalisation of the situation in
Zimbabwe through a righting of the wrongs which have brought about the
crisis in the first place.

It is even more worrying to note that the government has put such faith in
remittances being a panacea that the RBZ governor is on record as
encouraging Zimbabweans to seek work abroad so that they can send money
home. Such a call could not have been made with a full grasp and
appreciation of the effects of a brain drain - because that is what the
governor is encouraging - on a country whose economy is on its knees.

Coupled with the effects of the HIV/Aids pandemic, Zimbabwe can scarcely
afford to export any human capital. Such a poor country certainly cannot
continue losing its youngest and brightest in the brain drain.

Since the start of the economic and political crisis in the country in 1997,
doctors, nurses, pharmacists, radiographers, teachers, social workers,
lawyers, mechanics, technicians and artisans, to list only a few
professions, have left in droves. The exodus has brought sectors such as
schools and hospitals to their knees. The business sector has also been hard
hit by a shortage of qualified and experienced professionals.

The professionals who are leaving were not trained on the cheap. The
government spent and continues to spend money educating its populace.

The thinking behind investment in education in any country is that those
trained will contribute to their country's development. They will stay and
work in the schools, hospitals and so on.

If, therefore, more professionals are encouraged to leave where would that
leave Zimbabwe? Encouraging trained professionals to emigrate means that the
money which Zimbabwe is spending on education will go towards helping some
other country's economic progress. That does not make economic sense.

The remittances which are being sent home are not adequate compensation when
compared to the money expended on training. The Reserve Bank should do a
cost-benefit analysis to see what Zimbabwe really gains and what it loses
for the human capital it is exporting. If the truth be said, the country is
actually losing and not gaining.

Granted from a political perspective, emigration is a bonus because it takes
off the lid on the frustrations in the populace but economically, the
country stands to gain nothing. The net results of losing human capital on
the country's development are already obvious. For one Zimbabwe was recently
ranked at number 147 out of 177 countries on the 2004 Human Development
Report of the UNDP.

Apart from the negative effects of emigration as outlined above, remittances
are, at present, unlikely to be a sustainable source of income for Zimbabwe
for a variety of reasons.

Firstly, remittances are a very uneven source of income. Some comparisons
have been made in the local media of countries such as India, Lebanon and
China which earn large amounts from their diaspora populations.

However, the comparisons ignore a fundamental issue, which is that the size
of remittances depends on the jobs and businesses which a country's
emigrants are engaged in. The diasporas of the countries under comparison
are largely traders and business owners in the countries they have settled
in.

Therefore, they are able to remit large amounts home and even more
importantly they invest in their home countries.

For Zimbabwe, the majority of its emigrants are working in menial jobs or
jobs which although not menial do not pay a lot of money. In fact a good
number of those in Britain for example work in care jobs in hospitals and
old age homes, in nursing and in teaching. A good number of those in South
Africa are gardeners, maids, security guards etc.

Secondly, the remittances are used by the receivers to supplement the
pitiful household incomes in Zimbabwe and not for investment purposes or to
create jobs.

What Zimbabwe needs right now is not just ready disposable foreign exchange
to buy fuel and electricity. The country badly needs investment to create
jobs and create buoyancy in the economy. The remittances sent home will just
not do that.

For these reasons, encouraging emigration and remittances is not the answer.
Instead, ways should be found to normalise the situation. The economy needs
normalisation as opposed to remittances in order to get back on its feet
again.

Instead of encouraging emigration, ways should be looked at by which
Zimbabwe can retain its best and brightest, and through their efforts in the
country earn enough foreign currency to meet external obligations.

*Mavis Marongwe is an international trade lawyer based in Guyana.
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NGOs to raise concerns with government

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

HARARE, 3 Sep 2004 (IRIN) - Non-governmental organisations in Zimbabwe will
have an opportunity next week to raise their concerns about a proposed law
that seeks to clamp down on local groups receiving foreign funding for the
promotion of human rights and good governance.

Rights groups have argued that, if passed, the law would further restrict
civil liberties, but the authorities have countered that the draft bill is
meant to regulate the operations of NGOs for national security reasons.

President Robert Mugabe has long accused the NGO community of meddling in
the country's politics.

Groups involved in human rights work are concerned that without
international aid their operations would be seriously compromised.

The Zimbabwe Association for Crime Prevention and Rehabilitation (ZACRO), an
NGO running rehabilitation programmes in prisons, has remarked that since
the proposal of the bill donors had become increasingly nervous about their
association with groups tackling human rights or good governance issues.
Many were now "fence sitters", Edson Chihota, the national treasurer of
ZACRO, told IRIN.

The government grant to ZACRO of Zim $1 million (about US $180,000) a year
has proved inadequate for a prison system involving 42 prisons and more than
20,000 inmates, and the money allowed ZACRO to do little beyond operating a
skeleton staff and paying for administrative costs such as electricity,
water and telephone bills.

Chihota said they were sometimes allowed to operate a casino, from which
they obtained "a few [Zimbabwean] dollars", and received some assistance
from organisations such as the Prison Fellowship, who were also funded by
churches and donors. However, there was a need for strong and continuous
donor support.

Government had shown interest in the idea of a comprehensive donor-assisted
HIV/AIDS programme in prisons, but this was now uncertain because of the NGO
Bill.

A report compiled by the Institute of Correctional and Security Studies said
more than half of all prisoners in Zimbabwe were HIV positive.

The government funds HIV/AIDS programmes through a levy administered by the
National Aids Council (NAC), but not much money finds its way to the
prisons. "Government is getting money from NAC funds, but why is it used
only for peer education in the prisons? Why not for the purchase of drugs?
Why not for identifying a special diet?" Chihota asked.

The authorities are also reluctant to provide employment for ex-prisoners,
even those possessing nationally recognised certificates in "motor
mechanics, tin smithing, carpentry, welding, O and A levels" but, at the
same time, ZACRO funds from government were insufficient to provide
ex-offenders with real security upon release.

Chihota added that ZACRO had unsuccessfully lobbied the land ministry for a
farm to serve as a halfway home for ex-prisoners, where they could acquire
hands-on experience in their chosen fields and generate some income before
branching out on their own. ZACRO would have expected to source funds for
this project from donors.

Rachel Rufu, an official of the NGO section of the ministry of labour and
social welfare tasked with administering the bill, said donors and NGOs were
being unnecessarily "jittery".

"They have nothing to worry about. They should carry on with their work. It
still has to be debated in public and parliament in the next three months,
and changes may be effected. No one can be prosecuted now on the grounds of
the bill - it's not yet law," she told IRIN.

But Fambai Ngirande of the advocacy team for the National Association of
NGOs (NANGO) said NGOs had reason to be concerned and aware of the current
interpretations of the bill.

He said NANGO was in discussion with the labour ministry and would
participate in a public hearing on 7 September to put forward a request for
a "redraft of some of the issues".

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The Scotsman

Mugabe Warns Envoys Not to Meddle

President Robert Mugabe warned the incoming ambassadors from Britain, the
United States, Australia and Nigeria not to meddle in his nation's political
life, state radio reported.

Mugabe, receiving the diplomatic credentials of the ambassadors, who were
newly posted to Harare, challenged US ambassador Christopher Dell "to dispel
reports he is on a mission for regime change" in Zimbabwe, the radio said.

It said Mugabe told the ambassadors at their accreditation ceremony that
Zimbabweans had the right to determine their own destiny without the
interference of outsiders.

Mugabe also took to task incoming ambassadors Rod Pullen of Britain and
Australian Jonathan Sheppard.

Britain and Australia have been among the harshest critics of ruling party
policies, including the often-violent seizures of thousands of white-owned
farms, that have led to political violence and economic turmoil.

Mugabe said their perceptions of lawlessness and electoral violations that
saw him narrowly win presidential polls in 2002 were based on "falsehoods".

"The lion of Britain might roar, but we will not hear it. Britain and
Australia say I am illegitimate. Africa says I am legitimate. Can all these
people be wrong?" Mugabe said.

Last year, Mugabe threatened to expel Pullen's predecessor and close down
the British diplomatic mission.

The radio said the government had pondered whether to reject Dell's
diplomatic credentials but decided to "give him a chance to prove himself".

As ambassador-designate in June, Dell told the US Senate Foreign Relations
Committee he wanted to see Zimbabwe re-emerge "as a country with a
legitimate, democratically led government that respects the rule of law and
human rights".

Afterward, Dell was criticised by Zimbabwean government officials and the
state media as having prejudged the nation's record on human and democratic
rights.

The state Herald newspaper reported that Mugabe remonstrated with Dell.

"So, sir, there is that cloud of suspicion and you have to clear it with
your deeds. If you have been misrepresented, you have to prove it," he said.

He said if there was any foreign military intervention "we will turn our
people into guerrillas again should the need arise".

Mugabe, addressing new Nigerian ambassador Anthony Ufumwen Osula, said there
was a need to "preserve the spirit of brotherhood" between their two
nations.

Once firm allies in the African Union and other continental bodies, Zimbabwe
has accused Nigeria of funding activities of opponents of Mugabe,
accusations denied by both Nigeria and the opposition Movement for
Democratic Change.

Zimbabwe has also accused Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo of siding
with Britain and Australia in its dispute with the Commonwealth of Britain
and its former territories.

Zimbabwe pulled out of the Commonwealth last year after the body refused to
lift the country's suspension on grounds of vote rigging and violence
reported by its observers surrounding both the presidential polls in 2002
and parliamentary polls in 2000.

Mugabe has vowed to allow only African observers to monitor the next
parliamentary poll in March.
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The Poultry Site

Outbreak of Newcastle Disease in Zimbabwe
ZIMBABWE - Newcastle has broken out in some parts of Mashonaland Central
Province and killed thousands of chickens, veterinary officials said
yesterday.

Provincial veterinary director Dr Josphat Nyika said a team of veterinary
officers had been dispatched to Matope and Kamutsenzere districts, where the
outbreak is most severe, to monitor the situation.

Dr Nyika said the diagnosis on the birds had been based on post-mortem and
symptoms. "We have taken brain and blood samples for confirmatory laboratory
diagnosis in Harare," he said.

He advised people in affected areas not to move chickens, as they are
susceptible to the disease, which is spread by an airborne virus.

He urged farmers to report any suspicious death of chickens to the nearest
veterinary offices.

Newcastle, a disease that is characterised by nervous [symptoms] and
pneumonia in poultry, can wipe out entire flocks in a very short time, and
chickens need to be vaccinated against it.

Dr Nyika said they were awaiting delivery of the Newcastle vaccine they had
ordered and would move into the affected areas as soon as the consignment
arrived.

In July 2004, the disease wiped out a flock at a farm in Harare's Vainona
area.

Source: ProMedMail - 1st September 2004
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