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Tsvangirai rallies anti-Mugabe protests


      10 Apr 2006 11:47:45 GMT

      Source: Reuters

HARARE, April 10 (Reuters) - Zimbabwe opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai
has urged his supporters to defy tough security laws in organising
anti-government protests he has called, a state-controlled newspaper
reported on Monday.

Tsvangirai dramatically raised the political stakes in the southern African
country last month by threatening to lead peaceful demonstrations to oust
President Robert Mugabe, 82 and in power since Zimbabwe's independence from
Britain in 1980.

Mugabe has warned Tsvangirai -- leader of the main faction of the opposition
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) -- that he would be "dicing with death"
with such a campaign, but the MDC boss has remained defiant.

The Herald newspaper said Tsvangirai told a rally in the second city of
Bulawayo on Sunday that the "mass action" protests would go ahead. He has
yet to announce a timetable.

"When I come back to Bulawayo, I want to see you mobilising yourselves,
street by street, village by village, house by house, talking about what we
must do," it quoted him as saying.

Mugabe has used tough policing under the Public Order and Security Act
(POSA), which bans unauthorized demonstrations, to crush protests against
his government.

But political analysts say although Zimbabweans appear to have been cowed by
these tactics, a crumbling economy has increased public frustration with his

The country is wrestling with shortages of food, fuel and foreign currency,
as well as with unemployment of over 70 percent and the highest inflation
rate in the world.


Tsvangirai's office was not immediately available for comment, but the
Herald quoted him as telling the rally: "Forget about POSA because laws are
meant to be broken if you are in a revolution, especially if the law is bad
like POSA."

"What we need from you is your courage and your support for the direction
which we will take," he reportedly said.

At the end of a party congress where he was re-elected president of the main
MDC faction on March 19, Tsvangirai urged Zimbabweans to save money and
stock up on food ahead of a "cold season of peaceful democratic resistance".

He has been at the helm of the MDC since its formation six years ago and is
largely regarded as Mugabe's biggest challenge.

But some analysts say the 54-year-old politician has been outflanked by
Mugabe, whom he and the West accuse of rigging three major elections since
2000 to remain in power.

While he has clearly been weakened by a recent split in his party, he looks
increasingly more focused on Mugabe, rather than on the rival MDC faction,
which broke away in a bitter dispute over tactics on how to tackle the
ruling ZANU-PF party.

Since his party congress, Tsvangirai has addressed a number of rallies,
introducing his new leadership team and drumming up support for mass

At one of the rallies at the weekend, the privately-owned Standard newspaper
said Tsvangirai vowed he was prepared to die in the opposition campaign to
oust Mugabe.

"I am prepared to die to liberate Zimbabwe from Mugabe's misrule," he was
quoted as saying.

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Chinese tourists shun Zimbabwe - report


          April 10 2006 at 12:03PM

      Harare - Chinese tourist arrivals to Zimbabwe have declined by 70 per
cent, dashing hopes of a tourism revival in Harare, the state-controlled
Sunday Mail reported.

      The authorities in Zimbabwe had pinned their hopes on improved tourist
arrivals from China because visitors from traditional Western markets have
shunned the southern African country for the past six years.

      The 70 percent fall represented "the highest decline recorded from any
source market," said the Sunday Mail.

      Despite China's granting Zimbabwe Approved Destination Status to
Chinese tourism to the country, Chinese prefer to go to South Africa and
Zambia, the report said.

      The head of the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA), Karikoga Kaseke
blamed the decline on poor marketing.

      Critics say President Robert Mugabe's programme of white-land seizures
launched in 2000 has scared away many would-be visitors.

      Political tensions and shortages of essentials like fuel may also have
deterred others. - Sapa-dpa

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"The silent cries of the little ones" : Zimbabwe's under-fives cry out for justice

Sokwanele - Enough is Enough - Zimbabwe

Sokwanele Report: 10 April 2006

Malnourished childOf all the millions of Zimbabweans who have fallen victim to ZANU PF mis-rule the malnourished children under the age of five must surely rank as the most pathetic. They cry from hunger and deprivation, and the cries rend the hearts of their mothers, or if already orphaned, the hearts of their stand-in mothers, who have little or no food to give them. But because they are the most vulnerable group of all and have no means of collectively giving voice to the deep anguish they feel, their individual cries go unheard by those who could make a difference - the ruling politicians and their apparatchiks.

Be silent Zimbabweans, and listen - with care !
Can you not hear the cries of the little ones
condemned by your inhumanity to die of starvation,
or, at the least, never to reach their God-given potential -
rather to live stunted half-lives ?
Can you not hear the cries of the little ones -
for mercy ?
Not to mention justice.

One group of professionals who are alert to the tragedy is the country's paediatricians and health care workers who have the daily task of tending the severely malnourished and often dying little ones. At a recent workshop in Harare organized by Doctors for Human Rights a number of papers were presented by practitioners who are deeply troubled by current trends resulting from the crisis levels of poverty and food deprivation and the regime's refusal to engage seriously with the issue. One paper was entitled "Severe child malnutrition: an unnecessary and avoidable crisis".

The problem is not a new one, but it is growing. A study carried out at a Harare hospital in 2003-4 showed that 55 per cent of children admitted then were suffering from malnutrition. Since that time the regime has significantly reduced the amount of feeding the international community is permitted to do through the World Food Programme and its local agencies, and in May 2005 it embarked on the notorious Operation Murambatsvina, dubbed "a catastrophic injustice ... to Zimbabwe's poorest citizens" by none other than Kofi Annan, Secretary-General of the United Nations. At the same time, as agricultural production within the country has plummeted to all-time lows, the regime has failed conspicuously to import anything like the quantity of maize required to compensate for the deficit and feed the population. The result has been a predictable intensification of the suffering, especially of vulnerable groups like the under-fives.

One experienced nutritionist has put it this way:

"I contend that towards its citizens under the age of five, the Zimbabwe government is showing no lesser degree of disregard, considering their basic needs, than towards the victims of Operation Murambatsvina".

For a number of reasons it is difficult to chart the increase in the phenomenon of severe child malnutrition, or indeed child deaths due to this cause, across the nation. ZANU PF politicians are in denial. They have no wish for the truth to be known and have therefore deliberately obstructed health officials who have sought to record the relevant statistics. One has only to recall how Jonathan Moyo when Minister of Information fulminated against the officials of the Bulawayo City Council's Health Department for daring to record in a professional manner the basic data on deaths related to malnutrition, and one realizes just how sensitive the issue is to the ruling party. And apart from political interference there are other factors making any scientific assessment practically impossible. There are the number of child deaths in remote rural areas which go unrecorded. The majority of victims are not even taken to the country's hospitals and clinics because the mothers or mother substitutes are often too poor to afford the transport fares. Add to this the masking effect of the AIDS epidemic, with about a quarter of the population HIV-positive, and the difficulty in accurately charting the national increase in child deaths due to malnutrition can be seen to be almost insurmountable. As one Bulawayo surgeon quoted in the Sunday Times observed: "Put simply, people are dying of AIDS before they can starve to death."

Of necessity therefore and for the time being, the evidence is somewhat patchy and incomplete. Much of it is anecdotal. This is no reason however to dismiss the harrowing accounts of suffering and such provisional assessments as those who are in the front line of the battle to save lives, have so far been able to provide. After all the children concerned are dying now, and it may take many years and the removal of the present regime, before the full extent of the tragedy becomes apparent to all. We cannot wait that long to sound the alarm. If we did we might well find ourselves in the sort of deep crisis the people in Rwanda or Darfur found themselves in before the international community began to respond.

Much of the following information was provided at the Doctors for Human Rights' workshop referred to above. The balance was given anecdotally by busy medical practitioners whom our reporters were able to consult.

· On a snap one day survey at one of Zimbabwe's largest hospitals 7 out of 8 children admitted were severely malnourished.

· Over 60 per cent of children under the age of 12 admitted to the same hospital are now there because of severe malnutrition.

· In a ward of 102 children 67 were found to be suffering with some form of malnutrition. Paediatric wards have been turned into malnutrition wards.

· Records of major hospitals in both Bulawayo and Harare confirm that malnutrition is now the prime cause of deaths among children.

· Among the under-fives admitted for treatment for severe malnutrition the mortality rate is 46 per cent in Harare. The corresponding figure in Bulawayo is 25 per cent.

· Of those malnourished child patients who die 46 per cent die within seven days of admission. In other words they were admitted too late to be saved.

· Of the children admitted to the malnutrition unit at Mpilo Hospital, Bulawayo, between April and July 2005, 62 per cent were HIV-positive.

· Deaths of malnourished children in the HIV-positive category (76 per cent) far exceeds those in the HIV-negative category (8 per cent)

Among the paediatricians whom we were able to consult there was a broad consensus that the problem of child malnutrition showed a marked increase in the last quarter of 2005. A comparison of the numbers of admissions of children suffering from severe malnutrition at Mpilo Hospital for example over the period October to December 2004 and over the corresponding period the following year, reveals an increase of nearly one hundred per cent. In simple terms the numbers doubled between 2004 and 2005. The doctors themselves were of the view that the increase could be attributed in large measure to the final cessation of the general NGO feeding programmes (by order of the regime) in April 2005, it taking about six months for the full effects of that stoppage to be felt. No doubt Operation Murambatsvina which started in May 2005 also contributed to the increasing levels of food deprivation. Much of the malnutrition is now urban-based, which is a new phenomenon in Zimbabwe and supports the thesis that the so-called "clean-up" operation was a major contributor.

Interestingly one Bulawayo doctor observed that among the parents or relatives bringing the severely malnourished children to hospital for treatment in recent months many were not dressed like "the very poor". The inference drawn from this fact was that the relatives were not long-term destitute persons but rather were recently impoverished. This points to the "Murambatsvina factor".

The severe restrictions placed upon the NGOs feeding programmes also had an adverse effect upon the medical rehabilitation of under-fives. Prior to the imposition of these restrictions and while NGOs were still able to supply clinics with such nutritious foods as the corn/soya blend, hospitals could discharge patients after successful treatment with some confidence that they would continue to receive the necessary quantities of nutritious foods they required. From April 2005 this was no longer the case. Clinics were often lacking the food supplies needed to provide the after-care and to help restore the nutritional deficits previously detected in the children, and so mothers stopped taking them there. It is not known how many children brought back from the brink of death by hospital intervention have subsequently relapsed due to food deprivation attributable to this cause.

Given the gravity of the situation some might wonder why we are not yet seeing significant numbers of "skin and bone" children such as were memorably recorded by television cameras during the drought and famine in the Sahel. This raises an important point which needs to be understood by all who have a concern for the under-fives. As one senior nutritionist explained, there are basically two ways of assessing whether the amount of food available to children is nutritionally sufficient. The first enquires, is it sufficient to keep them alive ? The second, is it sufficient for them to reach their physiological potential ?

The former criterion is employed in emergency relief situations such as occurred in the Sahel, and more recently in Darfur. The latter is the criterion that Zimbabwe's Ministry of Health has employed over very many years, and obviously the one doctors concerned with children's issues would prefer to see adopted in non-emergency situations.

In the former case the standard method of measurement is body weight against height. Only those children therefore in whom height and weight are out of proportion are labeled as malnourished. A glance at such a child reveals his skinny, or wasted, condition. This is the classic mark of an acute nutritional emergency.

On the other hand if the yardstick is the child's physiological potential a different measurement is used, namely body weight for chronological age.

The Zimbabwe Ministry of Health has designed a standard weight-for-age card for under-fives, thereby signaling its intention of charting children's actual weight development against their growth potential. The internationally accepted range within which healthy development takes place is demarcated on this card by percentiles: the 3rd and 97th percentiles are set down as the outer marks which should not be exceeded. Given a healthy environment and sufficient caloric intake 94 per cent of children would develop along a percentile somewhere between these extremes, most of them clustered around the 50th percentile. By plotting weight-for-age on these cards it immediately becomes clear whether there is cause for concern about the child's health.

If children's weight is recorded in relation to their height, however, this may easily be missed. The point is that the growth rate of children for both weight and height can and does adjust to conditions of long-term food deprivation (low calorie intake) by reducing so that sufficient nutrients are available. The end result is a child who is both too light and too short for his age, but since height and weight are still proportionate the child "looks ok". To the casual observer there is no problem here, nothing to suggest a nutritional deficiency. Only by enquiring the child's age and comparing weight-for-age against an accepted norm is it possible to ascertain that he is lagging behind that norm - and this is exactly what the Zimbabwean Ministry of Health's weight-for-age card for under-fives does.

The obvious question then for those concerned with the wellbeing of our children is whether the yardstick adopted by the Ministry of Health, which measures a child's growth potential against actual growth, is the appropriate one for under-fives in Zimbabwe.

From a nutritionist's point of view, and also in consideration of every child's basic human right to adequate nutritious food, the answer must be a resounding "Yes!". Such a right has long been recognized by the international community and by Zimbabwe. To quote the International Convention on the Rights of the Child (Article 24 sub-section 2(b)), "State parties will take appropriate measures to combat disease and malnutrition through the provision of adequate nutritious foods and clean drinking water." Or again to quote the International Covenant on Economics, Social and Cultural Rights (Article 11(1)), "The State parties …recognize the right of every one to an adequate standard of living for himself (herself) and his (her) family, including adequate food, clothing and housing, and to the continuous improvement of living conditions. The State parties will take appropriate steps to ensure the realization of this right …" Zimbabwe ratified this Covenant on 13 May 1991.

It would be wrong therefore, not only in a moral sense but also in a legal sense, to wait until an emergency situation arises and large numbers of skeletal figures start presenting for treatment. The crisis is already upon us and requires an urgent response.

Studies undertaken on under-fives in Matabeleland in 2002 revealed that malnutrition was then below the emergency threshold. However it is important to point out two things in relation to these findings. First, they were based on the acute nutritional emergency criterion which ignores the actual-against-potential growth factor, which the Zimbabwean Ministry of Health itself, at least in the past, was committed not to leave out of account. And second, between 2002 when the studies were done and 2006 subsistence farmers in Matabeleland have had to contend with a succession of poor, and sometimes very poor, harvests due to insufficient rainfall. Food availability has declined in a corresponding way and the people have been forced to adopt all sorts of survival strategies to cope.

Moreover in 2003 NGOs were playing a vital role in providing maize, beans and cooking oil which was of general benefit to the whole community. School feeding points had been established for children and extra mealie meal and beans were being provided for pregnant women and breast-feeding mothers. The recipients were heavily dependent on these feeding programmes. Yet in mid 2004, against all the future projections of experienced relief workers from the United Nations and the donor community, the regime declared that it was expecting a "bumper harvest". On this pretext Robert Mugabe ordered international food donors out of the country and terminated a UN food survey which was then under way. The bumper harvest was of course totally illusory. On the contrary, and as firmly predicted by UN officials, Zimbabwe soon ran into a severe deficit of cereal grains, which it has only managed to offset minimally by the regime's own efforts to import from the region. We have already alluded to the devastating impact of the restrictions imposed on donor food aid. The significantly increased number of young children presenting at Zimbabwe's major hospitals towards the end of 2005 and subsequently with varying degrees of malnutrition is but one instance of this.

Malnutrition studies on under-fives based on actual-against- potential growth are few and far between. There is an urgent need for this kind of research, though finding qualified practitioners with the time to do it and then overcoming the regime's natural reluctance to allow research in such a politically sensitive field, mitigate strongly against it. Such limited and informal studies however as have been undertaken, in rural Matabeleland for instance, tend to suggest that a significant number of children are experiencing episodes of static weight or actual weight loss. One study shown to us in which weight development of a random sample of under-fives was tracked from February 2003 to February 2006 revealed that nearly a third of those monitored had experienced actual weight loss at some time during this period. And most significantly the study showed that episodes of static weight or weight loss only set in late in 2004 after NGO feeding had been declared superfluous by the regime.

In his own words the verdict of the practitioner responsible for this study was as follows:

"a government that once stood for an end to colonialist and racist notions of what 'the natives' were entitled to, and a Ministry of Health that once opted to make the realization of children's growth potential the aim of its under-fives policy, have proven, when gauged by their own yardstick, not only their utter inability to deliver, but even their deliberate intent to sacrifice the well-being of their youngest citizens."

This is surely as damning an indictment of the regime's track record in the medical field as one could ever expect from a professional employed in that field.

In summary we may say that while there is no general acute nutritional emergency yet evident in Zimbabwe there is good reason to be deeply concerned about the deteriorating situation. More than this, there is reason to act now, without delay, because of the regime's own "utter inability to deliver" or, worse still, "their deliberate intent to sacrifice the well-being of their youngest citizens". Few skeletal figures of the starving there may be at this point in time to shock the world into action but that is absolutely no reason for complacency. The fact is that, judged by their own yardstick, the regime and its health delivery system are already failing seriously and the suffering thereby inflicted on the nation's children is increasing steadily. The urban figures presented provide a clear message. Current food insecurity and shortages are likely to continue for an extended period of time and this will only add to the misery. One has only to speak to some of the medical personnel in the front line of the battle against famine and its terrible effects, or to some in the caring professions like pastors and social workers, to sense how urgent is the problem. We cannot, we dare not, wait for the full scientific survey which would undoubtedly help, for that will not be forthcoming under the present regime. To wait for the regime itself to respond would be naïve and foolish. No. The time has surely come for the international community to come to the rescue of Zimbabwe's most vulnerable through the intervention of the United Nations.

The report of the International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty states that "state sovereignty implies responsibility … for the protection of its peoples". It provides further that "where a population is suffering serious harm, as a result of … state failure, and the state in question is unwilling or unable to halt or avert it, the principle of non-intervention yields to the international responsibility to protect."

Let not the regime of Robert Mugabe prattle on about national sovereignty. They have had the opportunity - 26 years in fact - to provide appropriate protection for all the people of Zimbabwe and they have failed lamentably. Nor is there any prospect of the suffering of the people reducing in the foreseeable future. On the contrary. The time has come therefore for the international community through the agency of the United Nations, to do for Zimbabwe's people what the regime is "unwilling or unable" to do. Let the United Nations intervene.

And until that happens let Zimbabweans who care join their protest cries to the silent cries of the little ones.

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Mugabe beefs up security forces

Zim Online

Tue 11 April 2006

      HARARE - The Zimbabwe National Army (ZNA) will this month recruit 5
000 more soldiers to beef up its numbers, slashed in the past few years by a
significant 25 percent to between 30 000 and 35 000 fighting men and women.

      Authoritative sources told ZimOnline the recruitment exercise - that
comes as the main opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) prepares
for mass anti-government protests in the winter - is scheduled to take place
on April 26 at centres in Mashonaland West province, Bulawayo, Mutare and
Inkomo Barracks, near Harare.

      Minister of Defence Sydney Sekeramayi refused to discuss the matter,
referring questions to ZNA director of public relations, Lieutenant Colonel
Simon Tsatsi. The colonel was on Monday unable to immediately respond to
written questions sent to him at his request.

      But senior officers at the army's KG VI headquarters said signals were
sent out in the last two weeks to all barracks to prepare for the

      "The recruitment of ordinary soldiers will coincide with that of
regular officer cadets to undergo an 18-month training programme at the
Zimbabwe Military Academy in Gweru. The deadline for officer cadet training
was last Wednesday," said a ZNA officer, who cannot not be named because he
is not authorised to speak to the Press.

      The move to employ more soldiers - that appears a reversal of the
government's defence policy in recent years which has leaned more towards
cutting back the ZNA - follows threats by President Robert Mugabe to crush
any mass protests against his government.

      Mugabe, who has in the past deployed soldiers and police to crush
streets protests, has told MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai that mass protests
could lead to bloodshed and warned the opposition politician he would be
"dicing with death" if he called the protests.

      Political analyst and chairman of the National Constitutional Assembly
(NCA) pro-democracy civic alliance Lovemore Madhuku said he was not
surprised by reports of fresh moves to hire more soldiers which he said was
most probably meant to "intimidate citizens and fill them with fear."

      Madhuku, whose NCA campaigns for a new and democratic constitution for
Zimbabwe, cautioned that Mugabe and his government were already prepared
with or without recruiting more soldiers to deal with the threatened mass

      He said: "Let's not be fooled because this regime is always prepared
to deal with such issues as mass action. The regime is always talking

      Tsvangirai last Sunday again vowed to lead Zimbabweans in street
protests to force Mugabe to accept democracy even if it could lead to his
own death.

      The MDC leader was speaking at a rally at Bulawayo's White City
stadium attended by about 5 000 people and the fourth the opposition leader
has held in major cities in the last two weeks to mobilise Zimbabweans for
mass anti-government protests whose dates he has not yet announced. -

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Zimbabwe's specialist doctor training programme faces collapse

Zim Online

Tue 11 April 2006

      HARARE - Zimbabwe's programme to train specialist doctors faces
collapse because students cannot afford high fees demanded by the University
of Zimbabwe's Medical School, the only school for doctors in the country.

      Information obtained by ZimOnline indicated that some courses such as
radio therapy and oncology have been temporarily discontinued while some
departments had to go with only a single student as junior doctors stay away
from the medical school.

      Junior doctors must pay Z$100 million a year for a post-graduate
degree at the school but very few of the doctors, who earn between $35 and
$55 million a month, can afford the fees.

      "This means in the next few years we will not have any specialist
doctors in this country," said Zimbabwe Hospitals Doctors Association (ZHDA)
chairman Takaruda Chinyoka, commenting on the dwindling numbers of junior
doctors enrolling at the medical school.

      Zimbabwe, once boasting one of the best health systems in the
developing world, already faces a shortage of health personnel after most of
its doctors and nurses left the country - as has many other Zimbabwean
professionals - to seek better paying jobs in neighbouring countries and

      Ministry of Health permanent secretary Edward Mabhiza confirmed
enrolment problems at the medical school but said the government was working
out ways to address the situation and ensure there was a "sufficient pool"
of junior doctors to undertake post-graduate training.

      Mabhiza said: "We know the university post-graduate programmes are
failing to attract students . . . the issues that we are addressing will
make sure that we have sufficient pools of doctors that are ready for
post-graduate programmes."

      According to statistics shown to ZimOnline, one of the worst affected
departments, the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology has only one
student enrolled for this year while paediatrics has only two students.

      The surgical unit which has several areas of specialty among them
neurology, orthopaedic surgery, eye, nose and throat surgery has only 10
students. The unit usually attracts over 60 students.

      The collapse of the specialist doctor training programme mirrors well
the general state of collapse of the public health sector after years of
under-funding and mismanagement.

      Apart from the problem of under-staffing, public hospitals in many
cases can only prescribe ordinary pain killers to patients because essential
medicines are in short supply due to a hard cash crisis that is also
responsible for shortages of fuel, electricity, food and other basic
survival commodities. - ZimOnline

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Suspended ZANU PF official convicted of defamation

Zim Online

Tue 11 April 2006

      BULAWAYO - Suspended ruling ZANU PF party official, Lloyd Siyoka was
on Monday convicted of criminal defamation after he accused a Zimbabwean
government minister of pointing a gun at him during a heated argument.

      Kembo Mohadi, who is the Minister of Home Affairs, dragged Siyoka to
court after the suspended official told President Robert Mugabe in 2004 that
the minister had pointed a gun at him in Gwanda town.

      Handing down judgment in the defamation suit, magistrate John Masimba,
found Siyoka guilty of the offence saying state witnesses who included
Speaker of Parliament and ZANU PF national chairman John Nkomo were
consistent in their evidence against the suspended official.

      The magistrate also said the witnesses had convinced the court that
Mohadi never pulled out a pistol and that he never threatened to shoot

      "In all circumstances, the court finds that the defendent`s utterances
against the complainant were unlawful and sufficient enough to warrant
conviction of criminal defamation. . . Accordingly, the accused is found
guilty," said Masimba.

      "The respondent, wilfully and intentionally peddled falsehoods about
the minister in the presence of many people, including the security agents
and the President himself. These falsehoods were also widely publicised,"
said the magistrate.

      He said the portrayal of Mohadi as "a trigger-happy cowboy" had cast
the minister's image in a bad light.

      The court will reconvene on April 24 for mitigation and sentence.

      Siyoka together with five other ZANU PF provincial chairmen were
suspended from the party in late 2004 after they were accused of plotting to
scuttle the rise of Joice Mujuru to the party's vice-presidency.

      At a heated meeting in Gwanda held ahead of the party's congress in
2004, Siyoka was grilled by ZANU PF officials on his utterances indicating
his province was against the ascendancy of a female candidate to the

      It was at this meeting that Siyoka alleged Mohadi pointed a pistol at
him during an argument over the Mujuru issue.

      ZANU PF is embroiled in a vicious succession war pitting two powerful
factions led by former army general Solomon Mujuru and former speaker of
parliament Emmerson Mnangagwa. - ZimOnline

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Protesters want African leaders to act on Zimbabwe

Zim Online

Tue 11 April 2006

      PRETORIA - More than 100 Zimbabwean immigrants at the weekend
demonstrated at Tanzania's High Commission in Pretoria in what organisers
said was an attempt to draw the attention of visiting Tanzanian President
Jakaya Kikwete to worsening crisis in Zimbabwe.

      Kikwete, among southern African leaders who have resisted
international pressure to censure President Robert Mugabe, was in South
Africa at the weekend for talks with President Thabo Mbeki on peace-keeping
operations in Africa.

      The chairman of the Zimbabwe Johannesburg Support Network that
organised the protest, Victor Kasaga, said the demonstration was part of a
new strategy by his group to try and raise awareness among African leaders
on the humanitarian crisis fast unfolding in Zimbabwe.

      Kasaga said: "We have to alert African leaders that there is a worse
crisis in Zimbabwe and it (protest) is part of our strategy to ensure that
all leaders coming here go back to their countries knowing that there is no
food in Zimbabwe and that Mugabe abuses human rights."

      The protest at the Tanzanian High Commission will be followed by
similar protests at the embassies and high commissions of other African
countries whenever their leaders were in South Africa, Kasaga said.

      Zimbabwe is grappling its worst economic crisis that has seen
inflation shooting beyond 900 percent while food, fuel, electricity and
nearly every basic survival commodity is in short supply.

      Critics blame Zimbabwe's economic collapse on repression and wrong
policies by Mugabe, a charge the veteran President denies. - ZimOnline

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Bleak future for Zimbabwe tennis

Zim Online

Tue 11 April 2006

      HARARE - Zimbabwe's top tennis player Genius Chidzikwe fears the
country might face a bleak future after tumbling to a 1-4 home defeat at the
hands of Norway in the Davis Cup Euro-Africa Zone Group Two first-round tie
at the  weekend.

      Zimbabwe will now face Greece in a relegation play-off quarterfinal in

      "Now it's going to be a big tie for us and it will be tough playing
Greece away after they last visited us," Chidzikwe said  yesterday.

      Zimbabwe won 3-2 when Greece visited Harare in 2004, with Chidzikwe
going down 3-6, 6-4, 3-6 to Elefterios Alexiou  in a dead rubber.

      "I don't doubt my ability to win, but I think lack of exposure has let
us down. We're not getting enough play, and if we  look at the number of
games Norway's players had before coming to Harare, it's a sorry situation
for us."

      At 0-2, Chidzikwe - who is now Zimbabwe's number one player - failed
to save the tie for the hosts against Norway  when he was beaten 4-6, 7-5,
7-5, 3-6, 6-3 by Stian Boretti to give the visitors an unassailable 3-1

      Chidzikwe had on Saturday teamed up with Gwinyai Tongoona to bring
Zimbabwe back into contention with a 6-2, 3-6,  6-4 doubles win over Boretti
and Jan Andersen after the Norwegians had won the opening singles on Friday.

      Fringe player Stefan D'Almeida lost the dead rubber 6-3, 6-1 to Carl
Sundberg to hand Norway a 4-1 win - a reversal of  the result when Zimbabwe
triumphed in Oslo in 1993.

      Zimbabwe have been struggling in the Davis Cup tournament since the
Black brothers Byron and Wayne quit the game. Another key player, Kevin
Ullyett, has made himself unavailable for national duty for personal

      At 27, Chidzikwe foresees a bleak future for tennis in Zimbabwe when
he also retires.

      "We might not be winning, but honestly after me and Tongoona I think
the future doesn't look promising for  Zimbabwe," Chidzikwe said. "It's
going to take some time before we can be counted among the best again."

      Tongoona is 33 and might be hanging his racquet soon.

      Chidzikwe is ranked 668 in the world and Tongoona 1 077, while Dumiso
Khumalo - the only other Zimbabwean with an ATP ranking - is a distant 1
523. The country's highest ranked junior is 16-year-old Happy Takura, who is
number  630 in the ITF junior boys rankings.

      "There are no juniors now who can easily fill up the void when we are
gone. The association is broke and it's difficult to make sure the upcoming
young stars will have exposure."

      Zimbabwe enjoyed their longest winning streak from September 1996 when
they beat Finland 4-1 in a Davis Cup Euro-Africa Group One semifinal until
they lost 0-5 to Italy in July 1998 in a World Group quarterfinal tie.

      In-between, the Black brothers enjoyed their peak beating Ukraine,
Great Britain, Austria and Australia.

      But after the retirement of the Black brothers, Zimbabwe have been
singing the blues. Allegations of embezzlement of funds at Tennis Zimbabwe
during Paul Chingoka's era as president have not helped  stop the game from
sliding further into the abyss. - ZimOnline

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Forex Shortage Hampers Work On Airport


The Herald (Harare)

April 10, 2006
Posted to the web April 10, 2006

Tandayi Motsi

THE Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe (CAAZ) programme of refurbishing
the country's major airports has been hampered by lack of foreign currency,
a senior official has said.

CAAZ acting general manager Mr Ezra Mazambara told the parliamentary
portfolio committee on Mines, Environment and Tourism last week that
shortage of forex was affecting the progress of the exercise. He was
presenting oral evidence before the committee on the operations and
challenges facing the authority. "We have problems in funding and we have
forwarded our concerns to the relevant taskforce dealing with the issue," Mr
Mazambara said.

He said the upgrading exercise included refurbishment of the lighting system
at both Harare International Airport and Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo Airport. Mr
Mazambara said CAAZ had a back up system of generators used in the lighting
system at major airports in the event of electricity blackouts although
sometimes they encountered fuel shortages.

CAAZ chief executive officer, Mr David Chawota was quoted by last week as
saying the authority was negotiating with foreign and local investors to
seal joint ventures to upgrade airports in line with intern ational
standards. He said there were some investors willing to enter into joint
ventures with the authority though details of the negotiations were still to
be finalised.

Mr Chawota declined to reveal the amount of funds required in the
refurbishment exercise but sources close to CAAZ operations said the
organisation required about $2 trillion. The authority has, over the past
three years, failed to complete the refurbishment of the airports due to
foreign currency shortages. Other airports whose refurbishment was yet to be
completed included Victoria Falls and Buffalo Range.The CAAZ has also been
courting Asian investors on joint ventures in line with the Government's
Look East Policy.

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Airzim Must Start Thinking About Its Passengers

The Herald (Harare)

April 10, 2006
Posted to the web April 10, 2006


Air Zimbabwe has seen business plummet from one million passengers in 1999
to 230 000 last year.

Acting chief executive officer Captain Oscar Madombwe puts this down to
"negative perceptions about safety". He is not correct, or at least he has
failed to identify far more serious problems with the national airline. The
biggest single reason why fewer and fewer people want to fly Air Zimbabwe is
because no one can be sure that they will actually fly at the stated time
and day.

Far too many people book, pay, confirm bookings and then find that they have
to hang around the airport for hours or days because Air Zimbabwe, for some
"operational reasons", cannot fly that day or cannot carry them on the
flight they booked. And then, when finally they get on the plane, they often
find the best seats and the upgrades have gone to staff or relatives of
staff. When other airlines cannot fulfil their commitment to fly a passenger
at the previously agreed time and date, they not only pick up all expenses
the passenger incurs from the delay but even go as far as promising a free
future flight as their apology.

Excuses of "political interference" are, we feel, excuses for inefficiency.
The only "political" flights of Air Zimbabwe are those that carry the
President. And no president suddenly decides at 4pm that he wants to fly at
5pm. Surely the booking system can handle the advance block bookings that
the President's Office makes, just as it can handle block bookings for
tiddlywinks teams.

Information of who makes bookings should be confidential in all cases, so
not even the necessary extra security considerations need cause any real
problem. Reduced and free tickets for staff are a perk throughout the travel
industry. Other airlines, admittedly with fewer staff per plane than
overmanned Air Zimbabwe, cope well with this. Their staff understand that
they have to wait until all paying passengers are ready to board before
their seat is confirmed and accept that they will often travel in the least
desirable seats. Excuses over Chinese planes, although with Ame rican
engines, do not wash.

Top executives trundle back and forth between Bulawayo and Harare regularly
on these planes without qualms. Others cannot afford the tickets and have to
go by bus. Air Zimbabwe, small as it is, can become profitable if its
management simply drops prevalent attitudes that the airline exists to
provide jobs and perks for staff and starts thinking about its passengers.
Once people know that Air Zimbabwe will take them to where they want to go,
at the time and date set out on the ticket, and will take them with the
minimum of fuss and bother they will return to the airline. It is as simple
as that.

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Pupils to spy on teachers in new government system

      By Violet Gonda
      10 April 2006

      A showdown is looming between teachers and the government after a memo
was sent to schools saying that starting next month school children will be
assessing the teaching methods of their teachers.

      A fuming Raymond Majongwe from the main teaching union, the
Progressive Teachers' Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ), said a new circular titled
"Termly teacher rating by pupils" was distributed to all provinces to
tighten the screws on the already suffering teaching population.

      Majongwe said this time the Ministry of Education has gone too far. He
said; "It is nothing but madness. Teachers will be assessed by their pupils
in areas like punctuality, the standard of dress, attendance, whether they
are being given adequate work, whether they are prepared for lessons,
whether they are being given homework, whether they know the subject or not,
whether teachers are able to explain new concept, whether they are providing
a stimulating learning environment."

      It's feared that more teachers, who are already smarting from poor
salaries and politically motivated factors, will resign .

      It's reported that some of the issues that pupils from both primary
and secondary schools would be assessing their teachers on will include
questions like, does the teacher teach any politics in class? Does the
teacher talk about politics?

      The outspoken leader said the teachers are again and again being
subjected to torture; "This is violence against teachers and it's
unfortunate really because we would have expected the same government to
say, let's get our citizens and assess our ministers and I am sure the whole
ministry of education would lose their jobs."

      This latest edict about teachers will ultimately create a culture
where students - who have no training to assess their superiors - will be
reporting about what a teacher does or does not do. The PTUZ warned it will
not allow this to happen and will take the government to court.

      This kind of system was made famous by Chairman Mao and Adolph Hitler
who both used children to report any deviance from official policy. Majongwe
said there is no law in Zimbabwe that allows this. He said; "Statutory 1 (of
the education act) of 2000 does not allow for such things to happen. These
are things founded on threats and intimidation."

      Majongwe believes whatever the government may try to do it won't work
because it does not have the capacity. It does not even have the money to
print the forms to be distributed to all the schools.

      He said bottom-line, teachers need money; "If they are well
remunerated and there are good conditions of service, the results will be

      If the government goes ahead with this plan it's also feared that this
will simply bring animosity between teachers and their pupils and ultimately
it is the children who will suffer.

      Majongwe warned that teachers will adopt a position that will liberate
them from what he termed, "This rank madness that is gripping the education

      He said the bottom-line has to be made very clear; "Citizens of this
country must decide. As long as they keep quiet then they deserve the
leadership they have if they just sit down and just cry and not do anything
with their feet."

      The PTUZ General Secretary also called on the civic and political
leaders to physically lead from the front. " We have gone beyond talking. we
have been talking about leadership and there is no leadership. We have been
talking about change. The change doesn't come. People must start to walk the

      SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news

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Mugabe Struggles To Hold Military Support

Post Chronicle

      by UPI Wire
      Apr 9, 2006

      HARARE, Zimbabwe - April 9, 2006 (UPI) -- Zimbabwean President Robert
Mugabe is attempting to retain military support by putting officers in
control of key state institutions, it was reported.

      The attorney-general, chief executive of the Grain Marketing Board and
the head of the country's electoral commission are all currently serving or
retired officers of the Zimbabwe Defense Forces, The Sunday Times of London

      So many junior officers have been leaving because of poor pay and lack
of food that the government has issued a ban on quitting before the
completion of 10 years of service.

      Zimbabwe's economy has shrunk more than any other in the past five
years and inflation is running at 1,150 percent, the newspaper. World Health
Organization statistics released Friday showed life expectancy to be 34
years for women and 37 for men.

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We deserve no sympathy

New Zimbabwe


      Last updated: 04/10/2006 12:53:56
      I SHALL start with the things we have done in an effort to shake
Robert Mugabe off our weary backs.

      We have shied away from confrontation. In our meekness as Zimbabweans,
we have offered our spears, shields, knobkerries and clubs to Mugabe in a
self-defeating stance of pacifism. We have avoided our right to defend
ourselves from aggression by assuming that if we remain unarmed and
cowardly, Mugabe the aggressor may not attack us.

      We have shamelessly sold out our dignity to Mugabe's wicked ways. The
proverbial phoenix may never rise again. We deserve the humiliation; for in
our expedience to avoid shedding a few drops of blood from the throats of
our adversaries, we have allowed our enemies to drain all the blood that
could possibly flow in our veins.

      What we have done is pure spineless cowardice of the worst dishonour.
We have shamelessly committed infanticide and crowned the cowardly act with
suicide. There is no worse way of killing your own progeny. There is no
worse way of castrating oneself.

      Politically, we are neuters that parade sterility everywhere we go. We
are what we are because we choose to be what we are; castrated men and
spayed women. Our courage is as effective as that of a pride of toothless
lions wondering in a zoo somewhere in Beijing.

      Dancing is one way of celebrating humanity; happiness and achievement.
We have attended dances organised by Mugabe. We have tucked our sorry tails
between our ungainly legs and accepted invitations to Mugabe's séances.
Without contrition, we have accepted gourds filled with the blood of our own
and taken gulps that would shame a camel that has not been to an oasis for
months. We have enjoyed the self-demeaning dances we have had with the
witching Mugabe.

      In mitigation, we have all asked, 'What effect will a single dance
with a demon do to a whole life-time?' We have been extremely careless with
our conscience. We have been unkind to ourselves and our own kind. There is
no defence in dining, wining and dancing with the enemy; not even in your
dreams! At every instance Mugabe dances with us, he puts a tally in his
black book of notoriety. We are affording Mugabe achievements he ordinarily
should not enjoy. We are to blame.

      We have voluntarily accepted to swimming session in a sewage pond full
to the bream with Mugabe's excreta. Can we call ourselves a people with
dignity? Should we not be called yellow-bellied cowards? Countrymen, enjoy
the breast-stroke in the pond of shame! It is so ironic that some of you
have gone on to excel in the Olympics through persistent swimming lessons in
Mugabe's dirty pond. What would we say; the reward of a diplomatic passport
is testimony!

      We are disgusting cry-babies of the worst bloodline! We sob and expect
Mugabe to exercise some tender-heartedness in soothing us. We forget that at
the moment Mugabe wipes off our tears, it would be to give us false hope; to
lull us into submission so that when the spirit of Dracula in him urges him
to have our blood; we would be so engrossed in our small false comfort zone
to defend ourselves. We are utterly brainless, spineless, and to say the
least, lost in our own domain!

      Like the farmer who fattens his livestock for slaughter; Mugabe has
the ability, time and depraved motive to feed us growers' mash for a
blood-sucking day. We are Mugabe's sheep. Probably when he sucks our blood
we do not even bleat in agony; we donate all our blood in silence.

      We have done nothing to emancipate ourselves from Mugabe's perfidy.

      Now for the places we have gone in search of deliverance from Mugabe's
unearthly evil!

      We have all flocked to Zvimba to pay ungodly homage to Mugabe's
cruelty. We have saved huge sums of money for Zimbabwe's own version of the
Hajj; the 'greatest trip on earth'. We have made pilgrims to Zvimba in a
fashion Mecca is religiously pilgrimaged. Forgive me for knowing where
Zvimba is!

      Mugabe's state house is one other place we have visited. We have
presented our credentials of dishonour to him in an amazingly dishonest
fashion. We have accepted hugs from the brute and pecks on the cheeks from
his less-than-honourable wife. We have joined the empiric family in their
cannibalistic dinners. Hail Emperor Bokassa! Hail Emperor Mugabe. We have
recited poems of praise to the cannibal! I know where state house is.
Forgive them Lord those who visit state house for they do not know that the
meat they eat there is the flesh of their own kith and kin.

      We have been to Cuba, to China and to Iran. We have accepted offers of
holidaying in the bastions of dictatorship from Mugabe. A plane-ride from
hither to thither! It causes me sardonic fury to know that we all go to
far-away places in planes hired for us by Mugabe. We have no conscience. We
are purchasable like grocery items in a shop. We have sinned against our
standards of humanity. I apologise for going to Havana for a degree course.

      Now for the grand finale: we are seemingly going in one direction. We
are fast approaching doom without reproach from our suffering. We are going
to all other un-heavenly and unsightly. We cannot emancipate ourselves. We
have gone deeper than the deepest there is in going against the demands of

      We yearn for no freedom. We crave for no full stomachs for our
emaciated children. We covet nothing else than the ugly woman in our
neighbour's life. We desire no more than the tattered Mao suits donated to
us by charity. We have no hunger for success. We deserve all the fleas that
inflict upon us. Excuse me for not removing the lice that bite me when I

      I surrender Rhodesia; oops. Zimbabwe!

      We have no self-pity. We deserve no sympathy.

      Masola wa Dabudabu is a columnist for New and was
previously a regular columnist with the banned Daily News. He writes from

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Wilf Mbanga: 'I'm glad our paper has the Mugabe regime rattled'

Independent, UK

Against the odds, The Zimbabwean has reached its first birthday. Geneviève
Roberts meets the driving force behind a rare voice of dissent against
Robert Mugabe
Published: 10 April 2006
Over the past year, Wilf Mbanga has been denounced by the Zimbabwean
government, his reporters have been threatened, and cartoonists have
depicted him kneeling before Tony Blair, having his head patted.

The editor and publisher of The Zimbabwean has antagonised his former friend
Robert Mugabe, but his newspaper has not only survived - it has now started
to sell advertising online and in the paper. This month, it has increased
its distribution in Zimbabwe, and Mbanga hopes to increase it further this
year as demand for an independent voice in the country increases.

"I am glad we have got them rattled. It makes us more determined," Mbanga
says. "They have responded by saying, in the state-run Herald newspaper,
that I am using dirty money to fund the paper from the US and British
governments. The government is giving us a lot of publicity through their

The newspaper is printed in Johannesburg and flown into Harare. It is also
distributed to Zimbabweans in England, Europe and the US. The paper's
website, run from Mbanga's dining room in his house in the south of England,
where he lives in exile, has won the Highway Africa award for the most
effective use of new technology.

"So far, the government has been letting The Zimbabwean into Harare without
hindrance," Mbanga says. "The government owns The Herald, The Chronicle,
nine or 10 other newspapers, the radio and the television. We come out once
a week, so for six days there is a constant feed of propaganda with just one
day when there is a challenge to it. Letting The Zimbabwean be distributed
allows the Government to play the democracy card, which gives them
credibility. If I were to publish daily, it would be banned."

The paper's reporters use pseudonyms and face up to 20 years in jail for
doing their work. Mbanga, who describes his journalists as "unnamed heroes",
says: "Last week, we reported on a journalist being beaten up in Harare
because the government was suspicious of him writing for the foreign media.
In Mutari, a journalist was locked up for four days on suspicion of working
for foreign media. The minister in charge of the intelligence services has
said the net is closing in on journalists working for foreign news

Mbanga "worries all the time" for his staff, but cannot phone a reporter if
he is concerned in case the phone is tapped. "Some send their stories from
their Yahoo! addresses in internet cafés. They cannot go to press
conferences, or get confirmation on stories from the government, but they
get the stories. They use sources who will not shop them and confirm stories
with extra sources."

He is funded by the Open Society Institute and a Dutch donor organisation,
who are backing the non-profit Zimbabwean for another year. It prints 12,000
copies for the UK, 15,000 for South Africa and 15,000 for Zimbabwe. Its
lawyer, accountants and journalists are all volunteers. He and his wife
Trish are the only full-time staff. Mbanga, 58, is editor, publisher and
copytaster; she is chief sub, deals with all the admin and makes the tea.

It's a far cry from his life in Zimbabwe when he was friends with Mugabe,
travelling with him to India, East Africa and London. They met in 1974 when
Mbanga was a reporter. Mbanga believed in Mugabe's love for Zimbabwe. Mugabe
gave him exclusive interviews and asked Mbanga to become the founding editor
of the state-run news agency in 1981.

In 1983, Mbanga heard rumours of massacres in the south-west of the country.
At first, he did not believe Mugabe was responsible. Years later, he found
out that Mugabe had been responsible for the Matabeleland killings of up to
20,000 people.

By the 1995 elections, with the economy in free fall, Mbanga had realised
that Mugabe had turned into a "monster". The erosion of human rights could
not be ignored. "I was left disillusioned by the man I had had absolute
faith in," he says.

In 1999, he had been the founding managing director of the Daily News in
Zimbabwe, a daily opposition paper. It was silenced by Mugabe in 2003.

In the past year, life for Zimbabweans has worsened. More than 70 per cent
are unemployed and 80 per cent need food aid. Inflation was 600 per cent.
Mbanga says: "In 1980, I bought a four-bedroomed house with a pool and an
acre of land for Z$23,000. Today, a loaf of bread costs Z$65,000. People in
the diaspora send money home. The monthly wage of a domestic worker is
Z$500,000 - 10 loaves of bread. We have a send-a-sub scheme so people can
subscribe to The Zimbabwean on behalf of someone living there." The paper
now costs Z$50,000.

Mbanga works so that people inside and outside the country are informed.
"They say the darkest hour is before the dawn. In the past, Mugabe could buy
people. Now he cannot do that because inflation has taken over the country.
The police set up roadblocks and demand people pay them because they cannot
survive on their salaries. With ministers looting and police looting,
lawlessness has spread.

"I live in hope and will produce the paper to fight for a better system. We
feel that if people know what is going on in the country, they will get

Mbanga is confident The Zimbabwean will outlast Mugabe, and when that
happens he will return to his country. "I am very patriotic, and look
forward to running the paper from there."

'Seretse & Ruth' by Wilf and Trish Mbanga (Tafelberg, £14.95) is available
from the Africa Book Centre (

Over the past year, Wilf Mbanga has been denounced by the Zimbabwean
government, his reporters have been threatened, and cartoonists have
depicted him kneeling before Tony Blair, having his head patted.

The editor and publisher of The Zimbabwean has antagonised his former friend
Robert Mugabe, but his newspaper has not only survived - it has now started
to sell advertising online and in the paper. This month, it has increased
its distribution in Zimbabwe, and Mbanga hopes to increase it further this
year as demand for an independent voice in the country increases.

"I am glad we have got them rattled. It makes us more determined," Mbanga
says. "They have responded by saying, in the state-run Herald newspaper,
that I am using dirty money to fund the paper from the US and British
governments. The government is giving us a lot of publicity through their

The newspaper is printed in Johannesburg and flown into Harare. It is also
distributed to Zimbabweans in England, Europe and the US. The paper's
website, run from Mbanga's dining room in his house in the south of England,
where he lives in exile, has won the Highway Africa award for the most
effective use of new technology.

"So far, the government has been letting The Zimbabwean into Harare without
hindrance," Mbanga says. "The government owns The Herald, The Chronicle,
nine or 10 other newspapers, the radio and the television. We come out once
a week, so for six days there is a constant feed of propaganda with just one
day when there is a challenge to it. Letting The Zimbabwean be distributed
allows the Government to play the democracy card, which gives them
credibility. If I were to publish daily, it would be banned."

The paper's reporters use pseudonyms and face up to 20 years in jail for
doing their work. Mbanga, who describes his journalists as "unnamed heroes",
says: "Last week, we reported on a journalist being beaten up in Harare
because the government was suspicious of him writing for the foreign media.
In Mutari, a journalist was locked up for four days on suspicion of working
for foreign media. The minister in charge of the intelligence services has
said the net is closing in on journalists working for foreign news

Mbanga "worries all the time" for his staff, but cannot phone a reporter if
he is concerned in case the phone is tapped. "Some send their stories from
their Yahoo! addresses in internet cafés. They cannot go to press
conferences, or get confirmation on stories from the government, but they
get the stories. They use sources who will not shop them and confirm stories
with extra sources."

He is funded by the Open Society Institute and a Dutch donor organisation,
who are backing the non-profit Zimbabwean for another year. It prints 12,000
copies for the UK, 15,000 for South Africa and 15,000 for Zimbabwe. Its
lawyer, accountants and journalists are all volunteers. He and his wife
Trish are the only full-time staff. Mbanga, 58, is editor, publisher and
copytaster; she is chief sub, deals with all the admin and makes the tea.

It's a far cry from his life in Zimbabwe when he was friends with Mugabe,
travelling with him to India, East Africa and London. They met in 1974 when
Mbanga was a reporter. Mbanga believed in Mugabe's love for Zimbabwe. Mugabe
gave him exclusive interviews and asked Mbanga to become the founding editor
of the state-run news agency in 1981.

In 1983, Mbanga heard rumours of massacres in the south-west of the country.
At first, he did not believe Mugabe was responsible. Years later, he found
out that Mugabe had been responsible for the Matabeleland killings of up to
20,000 people.

By the 1995 elections, with the economy in free fall, Mbanga had realised
that Mugabe had turned into a "monster". The erosion of human rights could
not be ignored. "I was left disillusioned by the man I had had absolute
faith in," he says.

In 1999, he had been the founding managing director of the Daily News in
Zimbabwe, a daily opposition paper. It was silenced by Mugabe in 2003.

In the past year, life for Zimbabweans has worsened. More than 70 per cent
are unemployed and 80 per cent need food aid. Inflation was 600 per cent.
Mbanga says: "In 1980, I bought a four-bedroomed house with a pool and an
acre of land for Z$23,000. Today, a loaf of bread costs Z$65,000. People in
the diaspora send money home. The monthly wage of a domestic worker is
Z$500,000 - 10 loaves of bread. We have a send-a-sub scheme so people can
subscribe to The Zimbabwean on behalf of someone living there." The paper
now costs Z$50,000.

Mbanga works so that people inside and outside the country are informed.
"They say the darkest hour is before the dawn. In the past, Mugabe could buy
people. Now he cannot do that because inflation has taken over the country.
The police set up roadblocks and demand people pay them because they cannot
survive on their salaries. With ministers looting and police looting,
lawlessness has spread.

"I live in hope and will produce the paper to fight for a better system. We
feel that if people know what is going on in the country, they will get

Mbanga is confident The Zimbabwean will outlast Mugabe, and when that
happens he will return to his country. "I am very patriotic, and look
forward to running the paper from there."

'Seretse & Ruth' by Wilf and Trish Mbanga (Tafelberg, £14.95) is available
from the Africa Book Centre (

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The illusion of democratic resistance

New Zimbabwe

By Msekiwa Makwanya
Last updated: 04/10/2006 12:53:54
MARTIN Luther King jr. was right when he said 'hate multiplies hate,
violence multiplies violence, and toughness multiplies toughness in
descending spiral of destruction.'

Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of the other MDC faction has promised to lead
democratic resistance from the front and is giving people time to stock on
food in preparation for 'a sustained cold season of peaceful democratic
resistance'. On the other hand, President Mugabe has warned Tsvangirai
against his attempts at 'regime change'. Tsvangirai has not been outdone; he
says he is prepared to die...a martyr if you like. It's Jihad!

It's one thing for Tsvangirai to call for 'peaceful resistance', but it is a
totally different issue whether he would be able to restrain his supporters.

In recent weeks, we have witnessed growing acts of violence by MDC
supporters against each other. There are reports of people being beaten up
at rallies, and one was actually a Member of Parliament, Timothy Mabawu. A
car being used by the Arthur Mutabara-led MDC was hijacked and press reports
are linking the vehicle's seizure with the Tsvangirai-led MDC. There is no
evidence to suggest that Tsvangirai has instructed anyone to be violent but
leaders are responsible for what their followers do, in the same way
Tsvangirai has spent a good part of six years telling us that President
Mugabe is responsible for what his security agents do.

I am aware that, before Prof Mutambara assumed leadership of the other MDC,
one of Tsvangirai's supporters in Bulawayo was reported to have lost an eye,
but Prof Mutambara has been unequivocally clear about the need to shun the
use of violence against each other. Mutambara is on record having said that
the MDC has no moral basis to mourn about Zanu PF's use of violence when the
party itself is using violence as a political tool. Some dubious elements of
the civil society leaders who are now embedded in opposition politics have
remained tight lipped about this situation which might get out of hand. In
fact we have some so called civic society leaders who think they have the
mandate to tell the world who is the real MDC.

The problem with our poor countries is that, once we start fighting each
other we destroy the little that we have and it will take forever to build
again. I have to make it clear that Tsvangirai has called for a 'peaceful
democratic resistance' but will it be 'peaceful' and democratic? Previously
attempted mass demonstrations have not been democratic; those who did not
agree were not given the chance to disagree. In fact, elsewhere in the world
like the UK for instance, strikes are balloted secretly so that people can
express their wish to participate or not.

What I know about non-violent direct action is that it requires thorough
training and discipline as well as commitment to the ideals by those
involved because there will be provocation and things can get out of hand.
There is also a dangerous assumption that Zanu PF no longer has any support
and that its supporters have defected to the MDC and these supporters are
ready for a 'peaceful democratic resistance'. This requires careful thought.

The illusion of democratic resistance has been packaged in the language of'paradigm
shift' but the reality has manifested itself in the Chegutu mayoral election
in which the Tsvangirai-led MDC was defeated, and other local government
elections in which both MDCs did not do well. So, what exactly is this
'paradigm shift and democratic resistance?' I can see the 'paradigm' but not
the 'shift'.

Before the promised cold season of peaceful democratic resistance, the
Tsvangirai-led faction has promised to battle it out with the Mutambara led
faction and Zanu PF next month in the Budiriro by-election. It is not my
intention to question why the two MDC factions are preparing to field
candidates because it is their democratic right. I am not going to ask what
has changed in the minds of those who, just yesterday, had no faith in the
electoral process, and rejected the notion of defending their political
space in the senate elections.

The reason why some of us were calling for unity was to make sure that the
energies are focused on the issues affecting the very people of Zimbabwe
that Tsvangirai is 'prepared to die for'. The view was that even Zanu PF
needs a strong opposition to sit up and listen. An opportunity for unity was
created when Prof Mutambara presented a framework for unity and offered to
step down and contest elections on a united platform, ready to accept the
verdict. For a moment there was hope then came an out break of bad mouthing
and dirty tactics, mainly from elements that did not see the benefits of
unity because a united platform meant stiff competition.

We were told the differences within the MDC arose partly because Prof
Welshman Ncube and other members of the management committee were prepared
to talk to President Mugabe and enter into some agreement, but Tsvangirai
preferred 'a paradigm shift and was ready to confront the regime'.
Interestingly though, we are now being told that a 'peaceful democratic
resistance' to be led by Tsvangirai is meant to force Mugabe to the
negotiating table, and possibly call another general election! Who will win
election in this current situation is anybody's guess, but what if Zanu PF
reforms and win? Anyway, before we get to that point what can we do now
because things are getting out of hand.

Talking to President Mugabe is seen as selling out, and in any case there is
a risk that if he does not listen the embarrassment will be political
suicide. But what solution can be there if the opposition does not engage
those in power? This is the famous story of 'Baba Handishaye naVaRutsoka'.
While the children suffer people on both sides have what it takes to bring
this suffering to an end, if only they engage each other constructively.
They have to realize that apart from unity, there is also an option of
collaboration or coalition but these require negotiating skills of the
highest order not 'democratic resistance'.

I conclude by saying that, 'mass action', rallies and congress have come and
gone. The only thing yet to be tried is closing ranks and putting our
differences aside to discuss the way forward. The two MDCs should define
themselves into distinct entities so that we can have some progress. While
unity is ideal, it is not a must.

Denials of the MDC split should simply be dismissed as being late in the day
and unhelpful. Zimbabwe now has three world-wide acknowledged political
leaders; President Mugabe, Prof Mutambara and Morgan Tsvangirai. These
leaders should not allow the few overzealous party functionaries and those
dubious 'career activists' and civil society leaders benefiting from the
crisis to throw spanners into the work.

The situation is now so serious and we have the civic duty to appeal to our
leaders to do their best to negotiate us out of this crisis. People can do
this through their MPs, Governors, Chiefs, genuine Church leaders and Spirit
Mediums if possible as well as their other Social and Political structures.
Now is the time!

Msekiwa Makwanya is a social commentator based in England. Contact can be
made through

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Western concern at China's growing involvement in Africa

World Socialist Web Site

By Brian Smith
10 April 2006
New evidence is emerging about the extent and nature of China's involvement
in Africa. A series of articles in the Financial Times claims that China
"has in the span of a few years changed the pattern of Africa's investment
and trade." The paper admits to "only just beginning to grapple with the

Trade between China and Africa has quadrupled since the beginning of this
decade. China is now Africa's third largest commercial partner after the US
and France, and second largest exporter to Africa after France. It is
notably ahead of ex-colonial power Britain in both categories. As one US
official put it, "China has simply exploded into Africa."

Although China's primary interest in Africa is energy, it has major
interests in other natural resources, particularly metals, food and timber.
It exports textiles and low-cost consumer goods, primarily electronic and
high-technology products, and invests in infrastructure.

Like the former colonial countries China backs its trading relations with
aid, debt relief, scholarships, training and the provision of specialists.
It is also a major supplier of military hardware, like the West, and has
supplied peacekeepers-to the Democratic Republic of Congo and Liberia-and
election observers to Ethiopia.

As a latecomer to Africa, China has been prepared to enter regions and take
risks that others would not. "Like the west during the cold war," observes
the Financial Times, "China is not sniffy about dealing with despots."

China's methods are cutting across the interests of the International
Monetary Fund (IMF). It has extended a $2 billion soft loan to Angola, for
example, which Africa Confidential believes may increase to $6 billion, in
exchange for favourable oil contracts. "The Chinese are offering the loan as
an alternative to working with the IMF," points out Princeton Lyman from the
Council of Foreign Relations think-tank in Washington. The loan has given
Angola the ability to ignore the IMF's demand for an agreement on
accountability and to delay indefinitely an international donors'

About half of Angola's $9.7 billion foreign debt is owed to the Paris Club
of nations, which according to Africa Confidential is divided over their
negotiating strategy, largely because of China's incursions. Paris Club
rules dictate that creditor countries cannot reschedule debts without an IMF
imprimatur, but Spain, Germany, Italy and Japan want negotiations to speed
up so that they can expand their operations in Angola.

In Ethiopia, China has offered to make good any shortfall in assistance
following the suspension of European Union aid due to human rights abuses.
In Equatorial Guinea, China is trying to gain influence in the US-dominated
oil sector by providing military training and specialists to the country-the
president now describes China as its main development partner. Equatorial
Guinea has approximately 1.28 billion barrels of proven oil reserves.

In the case of Zimbabwe, China is now its second largest trade partner after
South Africa, up from eleventh in just three years. It has supplied military
hardware, including fighter aircraft and intelligence listening devices, and
is interested in Zimbabwe's tobacco as well as platinum and other mineral
reserves which are currently dominated by South African and British
companies. It also has stakes in electricity production and supply, mobile
phones and transport. Its reported plans include a joint coal venture, a
glass factory, telephone assembly, and beef production on vast tracts of
acquired land following President Mugabe's disastrous land redistribution
policy. There are now also direct flights from Harare to Beijing, and China
has donated three commercial aircraft to Air Zimbabwe.

China's links with Zimbabwe go back to when it supported the ZANU liberation
movement of Robert Mugabe, whilst the Soviet Union backed his rival Joshua
Nkomo's ZAPU. Mugabe, who has been isolated by the West, stated recently
that Zimbabwe is "returning to the days when our greatest friends were the
Chinese." He also told supporters somewhat cryptically: "We look again to
the East, where the sun rises, and no longer to the West, where it sets."

The US Department of Energy has registered concern over China's willingness
to deal with regimes to which it has given pariah status. This particularly
refers to Sudan, where China has used its United Nations Security Council
veto to block sanctions over the question of Darfur.

China has stepped up its arms sales to Sudan in line with its increased
involvement in the country's oil sector, and the Financial Times believes
that the "manufacture in Sudan of Chinese weapons and ammunition complicates
the enforcement of a UN embargo on supplies to militias in Darfur." A
Sudanese government official is quoted saying that China's presence is
important "not only on an economic level but also on a political level."

In January, a Chinese government white paper on Sino-African trade called
for greater military cooperation with the continent, and trade agreements
"when conditions are ripe." China is now making strategic trade deals
throughout Africa. It gets copper from Zambia, cobalt and copper from the
Democratic Republic of Congo, timber and oil from Congo-Brazzaville,
iron-ore from South Africa, and food from Tanzania, to name but a few. It is
now the world's largest consumer of copper, ahead of the US, and the
worldwide rise in many commodity prices is largely driven by Chinese demand.

China is also stepping up exports to Africa, especially in textiles. Garment
factories across Africa have been shutting down since the ending of the
Multi-Fibre Agreement (MFA), which allowed Western countries to place quotas
on clothing and textile imports from certain countries, such as China. When
the MFA ended in January 2005, Chinese exports to the US soared and African
exports could not compete. Over 10 textile factories in Lesotho alone closed
in 2005 with the loss of 10,000 jobs. Even larger economies like Nigeria and
South Africa have seen their textile sectors largely devastated. Clothing
exports from China to South Africa rose by 40 percent in the last nine
months of 2005 and after protests from the South African government China
has now claimed it will limit the amount to prevent further job losses.

Chinese investments have an advantage over the West in that most are through
state-owned companies whose individual investments do not have to make a
profit so long as they serve overall Chinese objectives. In Nigeria, China
is in talks about running the privatised Kaduna oil refinery-a money-losing
proposition that no Western country would touch. However, the deal should
give the Chinese preferential treatment in future oil-block allocations. In
Ethiopia, China's state-owned construction company was instructed by Beijing
to bid low on various tenders, since its objective is to gain favour with
the regime.

Like the US, China is looking to diversify its oil supplies away from the
Middle East and now gets between 25 percent and 30 percent of its oil from
Africa, mainly from Sudan, Angola and Congo-Brazzaville.

Between 1995 and 2005, the number of licences held by national oil companies
in Africa more than doubled, from 95 to 216. Chinese state oil companies'
exploration include deals with Angola, Nigeria, Sudan, Algeria, Gabon, Niger
and Chad.

The key demand which China impresses upon its African trading partners is
its "one-China" policy, which insists on non-recognition of Taiwan. Today,
all but six of Africa's 53 nations maintain relations with Beijing. Senegal
was the last to transfer allegiance from Taipei last year, leading to
Senegal being included on Chinese Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing's recent
six-nation diplomatic visit, and the offer of debt elimination and
infrastructure funding. The visit also sent a message to smaller nations
about the help they might receive for cooperation with China.

Resource rich Libya and Nigeria were also on the minister's agenda. China
signed an $800 million oil deal with Nigeria last year to purchase 30,000
bpd for five years, and the China National Petroleum Corporation recently
bid $2.3 billion for a 45 percent share in Nigeria's off-shore Akpo field.
In total, China is considering some $7 billion of investment in Nigeria
across a wide range of sectors.

"The perception is that China is catching up with the level of engagement
that Western governments have," a senior Nigerian foreign affairs official
explained. "They are also prepared to put more on the table. For instance,
the Western world is never prepared to transfer technology-but the Chinese

Nigeria has approached a Chinese company, Great Wall Industry Corporation,
to launch a satellite for it next year. This is despite the fact that the US
has applied sanctions against this company for allegedly supplying Iran with
technology that could be used for a nuclear weapons programme.

Nigeria has recently criticised the US for failing to help it protect the
country's oil assets and forcing it to turn to China for military support.
When talks with the US were not progressing fast enough to stop the
insurgency in the south of the country, Nigeria sourced dozens of patrol
boats from China to secure the swamps and creeks that are at the centre of
insurgent attacks on oil facilities.

The US has been reluctant to increase its supply of military equipment to
Nigeria, citing official corruption as the reason. Stephen Morrison of the
Centre for Strategic and International Studies has warned the Pentagon to
get more serious about dealing with the Nigerian military and to show more
concern about Chinese involvement in the country. "The Chinese are very
competitive players and we have to come to terms with that," he complained.
"They are going to places that really do matter."

More generally the US Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) think-tank has
recently proposed that sub-Saharan Africa must be a primary component of US
foreign policy over the coming decade due to growing US economic and
strategic interests in the continent. It also applauded Secretary of State
Condoleezza Rice's "transformational diplomacy", i.e., the shifting of
diplomats away from Europe to Africa and other areas of more immediate
strategic concern.

We need "greater flexibility," explains Lyman of the CFR, and "the kind of
geopolitical shift that puts a much higher priority on this region within
the White House and ... State Department." He also called for US involvement
in conflict resolution in Africa to be more flexible so that "we can deal
with more than one crisis at a time."

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Zimbabwe Vigil Diary - 8th April 2006

Definitely a feeling of Spring in the air, with buds beginning to emerge on
the bare branches of our four maple trees.

It was good to see an old supporter Luka back at the Vigil.  He has just
come out after three months in detention.  He said how wonderful it was to
be free and immediately made himself useful, engaging passers-by and
directing them to sign our petition.  To remind readers, it says: "A
ZIMBABWE: We are deeply disturbed at the deteriorating situation in
Zimbabwe.  It seems as if the international community does not care that a
rogue government can hold its people hostage.  In the past six years up to a
quarter of the population have fled the country.  Half of those remaining
face starvation.  Any dissent is stamped on.  The UN's special envoys have
seen this for themselves and condemned the regime.  We urge the UN Security
Council to take measures to help free the suffering people of Zimbabwe."

Like many others, Luka will be anxious about the court case on Wednesday
which will make a decision on Zimbabwean asylum seekers.  Sarah of the
Zimbabwe Association came to the Vigil and encouraged supporters to attend
the hearing at the Royal Courts of Justice in the Strand.

It was also good to welcome back Fadzanayi Muchenagumbo.  She came to the
MDC-UK protest at the Vigil a few weeks back and has been galvanising
support for us.  She brought a group of four from Milton Keynes to the Vigil
and plans to bring more people in the future.  Vigil spokesperson, Julius
Mutyambizi-Dewa, was pleased to see acquaintances from Zimbabwe among a
group from Slough.  We are getting a large number of new people every week,
many of whom are coming back again.

We had our oldest Vigil visitor ever. Tiny with white hair and a stick, she
joined in and had a great time dancing with Dumi, one of our Vigil
co-ordinators.  Many people commented on the beautiful singing.  We had
quite an audience for the national anthem at the end of the Vigil.

FOR THE RECORD: 51 signed the register.

FOR YOUR DIARY: Zimbabwe Forum, Upstairs at the Theodore Bullfrog pub, 28
John Adam Street, London WC2 (cross the Strand from the Zimbabwe Embassy, go
down a passageway to John Adam Street, turn right and you will see the pub).
Monday, 10th April, 7.30 pm - action planning: discussion and decisions on
campaigns and demos.  A REMINDER: there will be no forum on Easter Monday,
17th April - the forum does not meet on public holidays.

Vigil co-ordinator

The Vigil, outside the Zimbabwe Embassy, 429 Strand, London, takes place
every Saturday from 14.00 to 18.00 to protest against gross violations of
human rights by the current regime in Zimbabwe. The Vigil which started in
October 2002 will continue until internationally-monitored, free and fair
elections are held in Zimbabwe.

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Tsvangirai Wows 16 000 Bulawayo Residents

Zim Daily

            Monday, April 10 2006 @ 12:10 AM BST
            Contributed by: Zimdaily

             MDC president Morgan Tsvangirai continued nationwide rallies to
garner support for the upcoming mass protests with thousands of supporters
turning up to show their unwavering support for the charismatic leader.
Speaking at Huruyadzo business centre (Saturday) in Chitungwiza where more
than 20 000 people turned up and at Whitecity Stadium in Bulawayo where
another 16 000 chanted MDC slogans, Tsvangirai said Zimbabweans had suffered
for too long under President Robert Mugabe's rule. MDC spokesman Nelson
Chamisa told Zimdaily that the party felt humbled by the thousands who
attended the weekend rallies.

            "16 000 at whitecity stadium came in full swing to support us"
Chamisa said. Huruyadzo Business centre, a venue a stone's throw away from
the house of pro-Senate MDC member, Job Sikhala. The leader of the
pro-senate faction Arthur Mutambara cancelled a meet-the-people rally at
white city stadium a month ago after his congress when only a handful of
supporters turned .

            Three weeks ago, Mutambara, addressed a rally attended by around
800 people.The faction however said 5 000 people attended Mutambara's rally.
Responding to Mugabe's threats that any attempts to lead peaceful
demonstrations against his government could result in his death, a fired up
Tsvangirai said: "I am prepared to die in order to liberate the people of
Zimbabwe from Zanu PF's misrule. Who are you Mugabe to talk about the death
or life of an individual, are you God? Even if I am killed, one thing is
certain, all dictators, just like other people, will die. If I die first, I
will be waiting for you in heaven and I will ask you if you managed to
improve the lives of Zimbabweans."

            He said the success of his faction's congress had shaken Zanu PF
resulting in mass panic among the party's leadership. "Every time you see
Zanu PF officials addressing people, none of them is ever calm. They are
always shouting and abusive because they have no solutions for the crisis
facing the country and have no idea on how to solve the chaos they created."

            Tsvangirai blasted Mugabe's last ditch efforts to engage in what
he terms "building bridges" with British Premier, Tony Blair. "What kind of
a person are you? The solution to the crisis in Zimbabwe is right here in
Zimbabwe not in Britain. You should build bridges with Tsvangirai not Tony
Blair." Midway through his address, several youths who allegedly belong to
the pro-Senate camp started ordering Tsvangirai's followers to leave the

            Tsvangirai's followers beat them up.

            A police officer who tried to shield them from further beatings
was also beaten up and saved by the arrival of reinforcements from the
anti-riot squad. Tsvangirai has embarked on nationwide rallies to mobilise
people ahead of anticipated street protests against the government's misrule
and failure to manage the economy. He has already toured the Midlands and
Masvingo, and attracted bumper crowds. Tsvangirai addressed a rally attended
by over 16 000 Bulawayo residents at White City Stadium further rallies
lined up for Bindura, Mutare, Gwanda, Chinhoyi and Hwange.

            The final star rally will be held in Harare.


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'Only God knows' Zim's fate

From Reuters, 9 April

Harare - Zimbabweans woke up on Saturday to news of an inflation figure that
confirmed life in a country already on its knees is getting worse. The cost
of bread rose by 60% overnight after the southern African country's official
statistics agency announced that the annual inflation rate - already the
highest in the world - was heading towards 1 000%. Zimbabwe's main state
media tucked the bad news in the middle of bulletins dominated by what
critics call "useless speeches" by President's Robert Mugabe's government
officials. But the new 913.6% inflation rate still announced itself loudly
on the streets of Harare where survival remains a challenge even to citizens
well practiced in the art. Like the rest of her compatriots, Shamiso Mapanga
said she has learned to live one day at a time. The 38-year-old assistant
accountant and her teacher husband have long stopped trying to calculate how
much money their family of four needs for groceries every month. "It is an
impossible and extremely stressful exercise," she said at a Harare
supermarket on Saturday where she was forced to leave behind one of the
three loaves of bread she wanted to buy because the price had risen to Z$95
000 from Z$60 000 overnight.

"I am sick to the bone with all these things," she said to a Reuters
correspondent in the same shop. "How are we expected to survive, and how
long is this going to last?," she asked angrily, and without pausing for a
reply, answered her own question: "I think only God knows how it will all
end." A man in the same queue said despairingly: "For me whatever happens. I
am going with the flow but at the same time praying that we survive the
tide." The Consumer Council of Zimbabwe says an average family of five
requires at least Z$35m every month but an average middle class citizen
earns Z$15m. Political and economic analysts say many urban Zimbabweans have
so far survived the country's long-running economic crisis through wheeling
and dealing and through subsidies from relatives abroad who send money for
groceries. A recent study by economists at Harare's University of Zimbabwe
says 90% of urban families are spending most of their income on food and
accommodation in the face of the galloping inflation rate.

Aid agencies have also helped ease the crisis in rural Zimbabwe. But many
people have simply left the country. Regional officials estimate up to 2
million Zimbabweans have sought economic refuge in neighbouring South Africa
in the face the crisis, which Mugabe's critics say has forced a quarter of
the country's 12 million people abroad. Mugabe's government has branded
inflation and corruption as arch-enemies in its war to revive an economy
which has shrunk by an estimated 40% in the last seven years. The crisis has
left Zimbabwe battling chronic shortages of food, fuel and foreign currency,
a crumbling infrastructure and poor medical services. The World Health
Organisation said in a report on Friday that life in Zimbabwe is shorter
than anywhere else in the world, with neither men nor women expected to live
to 40 because of the affects of Aids and poverty on the population. The
opposition - along many other critics - blames the deepening economic crisis
on Mugabe's policies and expects the public to explode in an angry revolt
soon. Mugabe, 82, and in power since independence from Britain in 1980, has
used tough security laws to clamp down on protests. Last week Mugabe warned
opposition leader Morgan Tsvangiri that he would be "dicing with death" if
he tries to drive him out of power through mass demonstrations.

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Easter and Independence letter

Dear Constituents and Friends

As we enter Holy Week, it is proper that I should write to encourage all of
you to remember the message of Easter, which is the message of Hope and New
Life.  It is good to remind ourselves that hope for a better life has been
around for a very long time, and to know that we share that hope with so
many other people around the world right now and also in ages long past.

Easter is also a time we like to be with our families, and I hope that many
of you will be able to enjoy your family this Easter, even if you are not
able to travel kumusha or wherever to be with those who sadly have been
forced to join the brain drain.  Indeed, I must say here that I believe one
of the worst crimes of the Zanu-PF regime is the destruction of our family
units. There is hardly a family which does not have at least one member
living outside Zimbabwe.  Many, many couples are now unhappily separated,
with one spouse living thousands of kilometres away from his/her partner.
What does that mean for the future of our Zimbabwean families?  I believe it
means major and permanant disruption, and stress to the youngest generation
who are now growing up in one-parent families or with grandparents or other
relatives as their parents struggle overseas to send enough money back home
for their families to survive.  The family is the foundation of any society.
Our Zimbabwe society will take generations to recover from this disruption,
if indeed it ever manages to reconstruct itself as before.  We used to worry
about urban life destroying traditional society, but now we have Diasporan
life destroying Zimbabwean society as a whole, thanks to Robert Mugabe and

On a happier note, this Easter is a very special one for my own family,
because my mother-in-law is turning 100 - yes, 100! - on Easter Saturday.
We are having a huge gathering of the Stevenson clan, all ages from 1 to
100, it will be great fun I'm sure.  My mother-in-law is a great lady who
taught many, many children the basics - including good behaviour - in her
career as teacher and headmistress, even though she retired nearly 40 years
ago!  The secret of her longevity appears to be a diet containing a lot of
very hot tea taken with digestive biscuits!

At mass tonight we sang a lovely hymn, "This is my God, the Servant King"
and it reminded me of the type of leader we want to have in the New
Zimbabwe - a leader who serves the people and interacts with us, not one who
dictates to us and surrounds himself with security and armoury to protect
himself from us. Surely the time for a new leader cannot be far away, when
we have inflation at 913,6% officially (and doubtless much higher in
reality) and when even the regime is in considerable disarray.  So let us
not lose hope.  Let us keep the faith, and remember God's promise that he
will never abandon us.

And let Independence mean just that, this year.  Let all Zimbabweans reclaim
our independence as human beings and citizens of this country.  Let us
remember that people have suffered and died fighting for freedom, both
before independence and after - and let all Zimbabweans reclaim our freedom.
Let us set our minds free from the oppression and depression we usually
succumb to without even thinking.  Let us use the free will God gave us to
bring about the New Zimbabwe we long for and deserve - a Zimbabwe where
there is freedom, justice, equality, democracy and solidarity for all and
among all Zimbabweans.

Have a happy Easter and Independence holiday this year - God is with us.

Trudy Stevenson
Member of Parliament for Harare North Constituency

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Crisis rocks renal division at Bulawayo hospital

      April 10, 2006.

      By George Nyathi

      BULAWAYO (AND) Thousands of patients from throughout Zimbabwe referred
to Mpilo Hospital in Bulawayo are faced with a serious crisis following
stunning revelations that dialysis machines had run out of a vital fluid
that helps them cope with renal failure.

      Authorities at the hospital said that there was a looming crisis that
could result in some of the patients losing their lives if urgent
interventionery measures were not taken by the government and other players
in the health sector. The vital fluid, dialysate, is reported to have run
out early last week, leaving the hospital staff to panic as there was no
other solution in sight.

      "Some patients are at serious risk of losing their lives if this fluid
is not sourced with immediate effect as their kidneys run the risk of
stopping their function. Currently, we are operating with only one or two
machines as all others have been switched off due to the chemical shortage,"
said one nurse at the health institution. The situation is so desperate
despite the fact that Vice President Joyce Mujuru recently sourced and
donated eighteen dialysis machines to the hospital. According to an initial
survey by AND NETWORK, five litres of the dialysate solution costs $4.5
million at a pharmaceutical outlet in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe's second largest
city. No comment could be obtained from the hospital superintendent,
identified as Lindiwe Mlilo.

      Bulawayo (AND)

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War Vets in stormy meeting

The Chronicle

Chronicle Reporter

POLICE had to intervene and stop a meeting organised by the interim
executive of the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association's
Bulawayo Province in the city yesterday amid fears it would turn violent as
angry former freedom fighters exchanged harsh words over the alleged
imposition of a new committee.

The meeting, which was being held at the war veterans' offices in Entumbane,
was prematurely adjourned by the police, as it became chaotic with the
exfighters shouting at each other and heckling the speakers.
A storm has been brewing within the exfighters association since the
election of a new interim executive led by Cde Thoriso MoyoPhiri in February
after a " vote of no confidence'' was passed on the Cde Themba Ncube led
Cde Ncube's executive was accused of failing to respect senior Zanu (PF)
leaders in the province and in the Matabeleland region as a whole.
Cde Ncube was one of the six ruling party provincial chairmen who attended
the infamous Dinyane High School meeting in 2004 in Tsholotsho, where they
reportedly plotted to circumvent the party criteria for the selection of a
The six were suspended from the party for five years.
Yesterday, tempers flared at the meeting when members of the new executive
tried to address the gathering.
Supporters of the old executive refused to give them the platform, claiming
to be the legitimate owners of the piece of land where the meeting was being
held as they had paid $3,5 million in rates to the Bulawayo City Council.
They claimed the new committee had no right to address them.
The war veterans gathered on the podium and continued arguing over who had
the right to address the meeting.
Some members tried to quell the commotion by chanting Zanu (PF) slogans but
their efforts were in vain.
There was so much commotion that the riot police had to be called in.
The crowd was dispersed after it was discovered that they had not notified
the police about their intention to hold the meeting.
The war veterans were told to put their house in order before applying to
the police for permission to hold their meeting.
During the meeting, the ousted Cde Ncube led executive and its sympathisers
refused to acknowledge the new executive, saying it had been imposed on the
former freedom fighters, as no elections had been held to choose a new
leadership in terms of the association's constitution.
The rival group alleged that the "old executive" did not have their
interests at heart as it was reportedly working in cahoots with the former
Minister of Information and Publicity, Professor Jonathan Moyo and his
little known United People's Movement party.
In an interview on the sidelines of the meeting, the national chairman of
the ZNLWVA reorganising committee, Cde Andrew Ndlovu, said the meeting had
been called to unveil the new executive and to update members on new
developments that were expected to take place in the association.
He said he had planned to announce to the members that a Bill was in the
pipeline that would pave way for the dissolution of ZNLWVA, which was a
welfare association, so it could be replaced by a restructured body which
would fall under the Ministry of Defence.
"During the meeting, we were supposed to update others on the information as
directed by the restructuring committee that comprises of Cde Dumiso
Dabengwa, Retired General Vitalis Zvinavashe and Rtd Gen Solomon Mujuru
(former Zimbabwe Defence Forces commanders).
"However, the old executive led by Cde Ncube has come here to make noise
hence misleading the other war vets and disrupting the party programmes by
saying that they do not recognise the new executive. Cde Ncube is
politicising the whole issue yet people need to be briefed on the
developments," he said.
Cde Ndlovu said the announcement would have to be made in the next meeting
as the old executive had clearly shown that it had no respect for the
national leadership and the Government.
Cde Ndlovu also said the new interim executive was chosen to solve the
problems that were caused by the infamous "Tsholotsho Declaration'' and
would be in power until a new executive is elected.
He said the old executive and its sympathisers had to "reason" with the
interim executive and map the way forward instead of causing confusion
within the association.
Another war veteran who attended the aborted meeting, Cde George Mlala, said
he did not recognise some members of the new executive, accusing them of
being bogus war veterans.
"There is a constitution which clearly states how people get in and out of
office and the procedures to follow when there are grievances. If there are
problems with the true executive (led by Cde Ncube), then they have a
constitutional right to remove it, but in a constitutional manner, " he
"If they want to be leaders then they should wait for the next elections and
contest, instead of dissolving structures unconstitutionally," he said.

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Independence Celebrations Committee raises $500m

The Chronicle

Political Editor

THE Bulawayo Independence Celebrations Committee on Friday raised $500
million during the launch of its campaign to raise $1 billion for the

The fundraising launch which was held at a hotel in the city was attended by
several members of the ruling party, Zanu(PF), captains of commerce and
industry and senior civil servants with the Resident Minister of
Metropolitan Bulawayo, Cde Cain Mathema being the guest of honour.
Mr Mathema pledged $40 million towards the fund while the Provincial
Administrator, Mr Isaac Ndebele and the five district administrators under
him forked out a total of $13 million towards the fund for the celebrations
to be held on 18 April.
The chairman of the Fundraising subcommittee, Mr Obert Sibanda, who is also
the owner of Reliance Holdings, donated $30 million while two financial
institutions; Standard Chartered Bank and CBZ chipped in with $50 million
and $60 million respectively.
The Grain Millers Association of Zimbabwe pledged five tonnes of mealiemeal
worth $100 million and handed over a cheque of $10 million while the
National Railways of Zimbabwe and its sister company RMS, each donated $30
million and $50 million respectively.
Innscor Group of companies, Fazak Gift Centre, Jupiter Insurance, Ziscosteel
and the Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce each donated $10 million with
the Rainbow Hotel providing the venue for the fundraising launch, snacks for
the function and pledging to offer catering services free of charge during
the fundraising dinner on the eve of Independence Day at the Large City Hall
in Bulawayo.
Other notable pledges were made by the Zimbabwe Institute of Management
which forked out $25 million and the Fort Group which donated $30 million
while Councillor Stars Mathe, who recently defected from the MDC antiSenate
group to Zanu(PF) donated $5 million.
Speaking during the occasion, Mr Mathema urged organisations and individuals
in Bulawayo to support the cause so that the fundraising target of $1
billion could be achieved.
He said independence celebrations were an important episode in the life of a
nation and urged people of Bulawayo to desist from "belittling'' the event.

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Public concerned over health delivery system

Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe

The Daily Mirror Reporter
issue date :2006-Apr-11

MEMBERS of the public have expressed concern over the health delivery system
in the country, amid high consultation fees, unavailability of drugs and
poor service.
Health practitioner Nicholus Tsatse attributed the problems to poor
government funding of the health sector.
"You will find out that a hospital which needs one billion dollars will only
get one fifth of that amount.
"The government should revise its budget to improve the health delivery
system in Zimbabwe," Tsatse said.
He also blamed the lack of resources and old machinery for the poor health
delivery service.
"Outdated machinery and lack of resources reduces the efficiency and
effectiveness of our service," he said."We cannot buy new machinery as they
require the scarce foreign currency."
Patients said the health situation in the country was cause for concern.
Joseph Nhamburo, a patient, bemoaned high consultation fees and the shortage
of  drugs.
Another patient at Parirenyatwa Hospital, Veronica Zivanai, said there were
long queues at the hospital.
Dr Roger Murodza described how the Aids pandemic had stretched health
institutions in the country to the limit.
"It is unfortunate how Aids is causing problems in the health sector.
"More than 80 percent of the people are in hospitals are Aids patients. This
is draining the resources," he said.
He said the government to decentralize its ARV distribution centres.
He expressed satisfaction with the health personnel in the country.
The health delivery system has been nose-diving in recent years, making it
more difficult for the public to access treatment.

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Ministry not serious, says committee

Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe

The Daily Mirror Reporter
issue date :2006-Apr-11

THE Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Transport and Communication
yesterday expressed displeasure at the failure by the Ministry of Transport
and Communication to complete the construction of toll gates by the end of
March this year as earlier promised and general lack of roads maintenance

 Toll gates are used to control flow of traffic into designated areas as way
of raising revenue for road maintenance and reduction of congestion and have
already been constructed at all border posts.
Soon after the announcement of the 2006 national budget last year, the
ministry told the committee that the construction of the toll gates would be
completed by the end of March this year.
However, acting permanent secretary in the Ministry of Transport and
Communication, Amos Makarawu, said they had faced a number of problems due
to lack of funding.
"We should have had them, but we are facing a number of problems and have
made a number of false starts.
We have had to abandon high technology design and just opted for a booth and
boom not similar to ones in South Africa where there are automatic gates and
money collecting machines," he said.
Makarau added that his ministry had resolved to construct one toll gate for
each province as a matter of getting something tangible on the ground.The
deputy director for roads in the ministry, Gilvas Nhemachena, said the low
cost toll gates would cost them $20 billion dollars instead of $150 billion
needed for the high technology ones.
"Three years ago we floated tenders to private players for infrastructural
development, but we got little interest.
 "There were only two responses and one later opted out. This is due to low
traffic volumes and they (private operators) will only get returns after a
long time," Nhemachena said. Harare Central legislator, Murisi Zwizwai, said
the ministry was not serious in the way they handled the issue of toll
"There is lack of dedication on part of the ministry.
"It's just like TeleAccess, they put up brilliant plans, but when we said
just have 10 houses on the network they could not do it.
"Why don't you put up toll gates in Harare on the major routes just to show
that you are doing something," he said. Chairman of the committee, Leo
Mugabe added: "You seem to have lied to the committee when you said under
oath after the budget that it would be up and running in April.
"The idea to build one in each province is not economical and does not show
proper business plan. The idea is to collect as much money as possible from
motorists and net in as many as possible."
On the state of roads, Nhemachena said the shortage of funds was also
hampering the maintenance and construction of new roads.
"We have a backlog of over 4 000 kilometres to be maintained. What we got
was only 15 percent of what we need.
"Machine owners used to charge $15 million an hour last year, but now want
$250 million. Most of our roads are battered. Harare to Gweru road is over
40 years old and Harare to Masvingo road is also over 40 years old yet they
were designed to last 20 years," he said.

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Govt lifts hospital fees freeze

Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe

Oswelled Ureke
issue date :2006-Apr-11

THE GOVERNMENT has lifted - with effect from April 1 - a freeze it had
effected on private hospital fees, but slashed the proposed rate of increase
from 240 to 100 percent until July.

David Parirenyatwa, the Minister of Health and Child Welfare, announced the
approved fees at a press briefing in Harare yesterday.
Medical aid contributions have also been increased by up to 90 percent.
The increases mean general practitioners' consultation fees have gone up
from $2,9m to $5,8m, while those for specialist physicians were increased
from $4,1m to $8,2m.
An anaesthetist, under the new fee structure, would be entitled to 70
percent of the fee a surgeon charges for a particular operation.
There would also be a 79 percent increase for twin-room daily rates from $4
059 200 to $7 265 968 in major private hospitals. Private hospitals would
also be standardised and graded to determine what fees they could charge.
Announcing the new rates, Parirenyatwa said while the government appreciated
the impact on health delivery of the harsh economic climate in the country,
there was need for accountability in coming up with new rates in order to
protect patients.
"The health sector operates under the prevailing harsh economic environment
including hyper-inflation, macroeconomic challenges and foreign currency
shortages and input costs have soared.
"We have allowed, but reduced, various service provider associations and
medical aid societies and private hospitals to increase their fees from
April 1. Increases proposed had been up to 240 percent," Parirenyatwa said.
He said his ministry was seriously concerned that major private hospitals
had no control over the conduct of doctors operating in their institutions
in charging fees.
Parirenyatwa said a taskforce comprising officials from the health ministry,
doctors' associations and medical aid societies had been set to look into
the specific needs of each and every player in the health delivery system.
The findings of that taskforce, said the minister, would be out by May and
be implemented in reviewing the fees in July.
He added the government needed to regulate the increases of medical fees to
ensure that patients were not short-changed. Parirenyatwa said: "We want to
regulate the increases, not necessarily to control them. We have not
necessarily backtracked after freezing the fees, but we have just asked for
reasonable and realistic increases."
He added the government was concerned with making public health institutions
the backbone of the country's health delivery system because they were more
affordable, but that would not mean the private sector had the right to do
as it pleased as it also fell under his ministry.
The government, about a fortnight ago, froze all increases on private
hospital fees pending investigations into the issue. The high costs of
medical care have been a source of concern with many failing to afford them.
There have been reports of patients in Mashonaland Central mission hospitals
paying livestock to authorities because they could not afford the medical
fees in cash.
Concern has also been cited over medical aid contributions which have been
overlooked at most referral centres because of lack of communication between
medical aid associations and doctors.
This has seen patients being asked to pay cash despite being medical aid
account holders. At times, their contributions were either too low or were
forwarded late to the concerned health institutions.

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Police officers in gold scam

Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe

Takunda Maodza
issue date :2006-Apr-11

TWO POLICE officers a fortnight ago allegedly locked a goldpanner and his
companions in a toilet in a Harare restaurant, stripped them naked, and
confiscated 51,4 grammes of the precious mineral worth about $160 million
which they did not surrender to their authorities.

Relating his ordeal to The Daily Mirror last week, Joe Kamboya a goldpanner
from Chinhoyi, said he travelled to Harare intending to sell the gold to
Fidelity Printers last month.
 "We dropped at Rotten Row bus stop and on our way to Fidelity Printers we
passed through a restaurant (name supplied) for a drink. Two men approached
us, identified themselves as police officers and demanded a body search,"
narrated Kamboya.
The pair accused Kamboya of having skipped bail and suspected he was in
possession of dangerous weapons.
The police officers allegedly demanded keys from employees at the restaurant
and proceeded to lock Kamboya and his companions Rodney Mbiri and Sani
Standa in a toilet.
"They forced us into the toilet at gun point where we were assaulted and
stripped of clothes. It was then that they discovered I had 51,4 grammes of
gold and the search ended," Kamboya alleged. The policemen, who claimed they
were from the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) gold squad, allegedly
ordered their victims to dress up and pronounced them arrested.
Kamboya said the two men identified themselves as Machokoto and Machingauta.
They allegedly gave their victims fake contact numbers, ordered them to go
back to Chinhoyi to source more gold that the pair would sell on the
parallel market at high rates. "They ordered us to go back to Chinhoyi to
source more gold and bring it to them for better prices than Fidelity
Printers," Kamboya said.
While in Chinhoyi, the trio realised they had been duped after they tried to
contact one of the police officers on telephone numbers the pair had given
"A woman responded to our phone call, said she was in Chiredzi and expressed
shock and ignorance at the whole matter. It was then that we realised we
were duped," Mbiri added.
The goldpanner and his colleagues travelled back to Harare on April 1 to try
and locate the men. "Our first port of call was the restaurant where we
looked for the two without success. We then went to Harare Central Police
Station and on arrival we saw one of the culprits who had just apprehended a
suspect," narrated Kamboya.
The trio allegedly sought for assistance from another policeman to arrest
the man, who was later identified as Moses Nyawanhu.
"It was then that he was identified as Nyawanhu attached to the CID homicide
section.  He was called and asked whether he knew us and he admitted,"
alleged Kamboya. Kamboya said they demanded their gold back from Nyawanhu,
but the later allegedly claimed the buyer had travelled to South Africa." He
volunteered to pay us $150 million cash to settle the matter. He ordered us
to wait for him at the restaurant while he rushed to collect the money
somewhere in Luck Street," Kamboya said. The trio claimed they waited for
Nyawanhu for three hours, but he would not turn up until they followed him.
"When he was interrogated at the station, Nyawanhu named the other culprit
as Muchawaya who resides at Bindura Police Station, but works in Harare,"
said Kamboya. The policemen were reportedly detained at Harare Central
police station late last week on charges of theft and corruption.
However, when the case went to the Rotten Row magistrates' court, a senior
public prosecutor is said to have referred the case back to the police,
saying charging the suspects with corruption was incorrect, this paper was
Yesterday, police spokesperson Memory Pamire confirmed having received such
a report.

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MDC Publicity


Harvest House
Tel 091 940 489, 091 850556   email :

10 April 2006
Euphoria for change grips the nation as thousands turn up at MDC rallies

The MDC juggernaut continues to roll on. Once again, the people made another
profound statement that it is only the MDC that remains the hope of the
nation. The people continue to make a bold statement that they have
confidence in President Tsvangirai and the Liberation Team. They are making
a bold assertion that the writing is on the wall for the dictatorship and no
amount of threats and intimidation can stop an idea whose time has come.

On Saturday, the MDC leadership was at Huruyadzo Shopping Centre in St Mary's,
Chitungwiza, where more than 20 000 people turned up to meet their leaders
and chart the way forward. Some were perched on shop balconies; others hung
precariously on tree branches to listen to the message of hope from the
'Liberation team' they have entrusted with providing a vanguard role in
building a new Zimbabwe.

In Bulawayo, the people showed that the MDC commands support in all the
country's provinces by turning up in their thousands at White City Stadium
on Sunday. Over 16 000 people thronged the stadium to attend the morning

In Chitungwiza, President Tsvangirai said there was need for all democratic
and progressive forces to unite in fighting tyranny and building a new and
democratic society. He called on students, workers, religious and civic
groups to unite in resisting the dictatorship.

President Tsvangirai said only a new Constitution and fresh elections
supervised by the United Nations and international observers would restore
legitimacy. He said he and the MDC leadership were prepared to pay the
ultimate price if that was necessary to bring democracy and prosperity to

President Tsvangirai reiterated the MDC's commitment to non-violence,
emphasizing that the party remains the embodiment of non-violent politics in
Zimbabwe. He urged MDC supporters to continue to cultivate and nurture a
culture of tolerance in our society.  President Tsvangirai said the crisis
in Zimbabwe could not be wished away and it was high time Mugabe realized it
was necessary to build bridges with the people of Zimbabwe and not with Tony
Blair. The solution to the country's multi-layered crisis lay in Zimbabwe
and nowhere else, said President Tsvangirai.

President Tsvangirai bemoaned the meagre salaries and poor working
conditions of civil servants. He said civil servants were the bedrock of a
functional and effective government and their conditions of service deserved
to be improved.

The MDC secretary-general, Tendai Biti, chronicled the state-hemorrhage,
which had resulted in the collapse of all sectors of the economy. He
bemoaned the bureaucratic bungling in government, which had resulted in
Zimbabweans facing another season of starvation even though the country had
received abundant rains.

In Bulawayo, President Tsvangirai reiterated his message that the people had
their future firmly in their hands. Vice President Thokozani Khupe told the
people that it was time to give the regime notice. She said only a sustained
programme of mass resistance would bring back the dignity of Zimbabweans
which had been compromised by an uncaring government. The Vice President
said she was confident that the people would triumph against dictatorship
and corruption.

The thousands attending the MDC rallies put paid any pretence that the party
has collapsed. The rallies have shaken the regime. The euphoria that
engulfed the people during the formative stages of the MDC has once again
gripped the nation. Change is in the air. The people remain resolute on the
ground. The people are clear on what they want. The people continue to make
a statement that the MDC is the only alternative whose programmes and values
resonate with their hopes, wishes and aspirations. The people are raring to
go. The people shall win. Together, we shall bring a new Zimbabwe and a new

Nelson Chamisa, MP
Secretary for Information and Publicity

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