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

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Radio Netherlands

The new face of Mugabe

by Bram Vermeulen, 13 August 2004

R-Mugabe-+-flagThis week, the voice of the "old" Robert Mugabe - the president of Zimbabwe who has used every means possible to stay in that job for the past 24 years - was heard once again. Imperialists such as the United Kingdom and United States are threatening our nation, he told the generals and commanders of Zimbabwe's armed forces. President Mugabe mentions his theory about a western plot against the Zimbabwean government at almost every public speaking engagement.

Yet, in recent weeks, Zimbabwe has frequently heard Mr Mugabe speaking with a different voice, one that that asks the opposition and other troublemakers for their "cooperation". A Robert Mugabe who not only promises free and fair parliamentary elections in March next year, but who also indicates how he intends to bring about "electoral reform". A man who's started to have corrupt businessmen and politicians – from his own party – arrested, and who's managed to halve the country's inflation in just a few months.

This is the charming side of Mr Mugabe. A man who, according to Rindai Chipfunde of human rights organisation Zimbabwe Election Support Network, is desperately seeking credibility and legitimacy:

    "Following the controversial 2002 elections, he's lost credibility, and he'll use this year to try and win it back."

Behind the facade
This is how Ms Chipfunde explains Mr Mugabe's radical change of tone and the fact that there were considerably less reports about opposition supporters being mistreated during the recent interim elections for a couple of parliamentary seats.

    "Mugabe seems to believe he can also win the elections with less intimidation. I'm afraid he could be right."

Intimidation and violence against the opposition and others who hold different views have become commonplace in Zimbabwe over the last four years. At the beginning of 2000, the president lost an important referendum on his proposal to change the constitution so that his term in office could last indefinitely. Later that same year his party just managed to win the parliamentary elections thanks to a law which has ensured, for many years, that the governing party always gets 30 extra seats. Since then, Zimbabwe has seen how many opposition supporters - particularly in the countryside – have been tortured, raped and sometimes killed by armed gangs of youths.

Old habits, new methods
The violence continues, but the Amani Trust human rights organisation says the methods have changed. A spokesperson for the group says:

    "We mainly get victims coming in here who've had the soles of their feet beaten or been injured on their behind or back. These are parts of the body which recover quickly, and the wounds have disappeared by the time the election observers arrive".

Human rights organisations say Mr Mugabe has adopted a new approach.

    "On the surface, he's playing the pro-reform leader. Beneath the surface, the repression goes on unchanged.''


Zimbabweans queuing to cast their votes

Change the law
One of his key instruments is the law. Under proposed new legislation, human rights organisations will be required to register this year with a special state commission. The bill also states that these groups may not meddle in government affairs or rely on foreign donors. "You can safely assume that organisations which voice no criticism will be the only ones that can count on getting a licence," is the reaction of one anonymous campaigner. The draft law has caused fear among non-governmental organisations. Last year, the country's media were ordered to register with a state commission, and three independent papers were shut down as a result.

Political scientist Brian Raftopoulos of the University of Zimbabwe says Mr Mugabe particularly wants the approval of Zimbabwe's neighbours, who'll be sending observers to the elections in March next year. Over the last year, the regional development group SADC and the African Union have both grown fiercer in their criticism of human rights violations in Zimbabwe.

    "Yet they're also very receptive to his rhetoric against big business, against the United States and Great Britain. If Mugabe combines that with the promise of democratic reform, they'll be able to back him again without any worries.''

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Washington File

Mugabe's Regime Hinders War on AIDS In Zimbabwe, Report Says
USIP shows health of nation is on a "downward spiral"

By Jim Fisher-Thompson
Washington File Staff Writer

Washington -- Poor leadership by President Robert Mugabe is hindering
Zimbabwe's struggle against an AIDS epidemic projected to kill more than 30
percent of its citizens over the next decade, according to a report issued
recently by the United States Institute of Peace (USIP).

The 50-page study, "Downward Spiral: HIV/AIDS, State Capacity, and Political
Conflict in Zimbabwe," is authored by Andrew T. Price-Smith and John L.
Daly, science professors at the University of South Florida in Tampa. They
note Zimbabwe "exhibits one of the highest levels of HIV/AIDS
sero-prevalence in the world, with approximately 34 percent of the adult
population now infected with the human immunodeficiency virus."

The study cites a chilling range of UNAIDS statistics, starting with the
fact that more than 600,000 Zimbabweans have died from AIDS since 1998. As
of December 2002, over 2.3 million people are judged to be infected --
600,000 with full-blown AIDS -- and 2,500 people are dying each week of the
infection that still has no known cure. All in a nation of less than 13

This health tragedy is compounded, the USIP authors say, by President
Mugabe's seizure of white-owned farms and his muzzling of the press and
crackdown on political opponents through intimidation and even physical
torture. The result has been an almost total breakdown of health and social
services that could help to stem the spread of the disease in what was once
regarded as one of Africa's most prosperous nations.

While the report notes it is difficult "to determine empirically what
proportion of Zimbabwe's economic decline is a direct result of the [AIDS]
contagion and what proportion is attributable to the Mugabe government's
increasingly poor management of the economy," it is clear that "economic
contraction is likely to intensify in the years to come as more HIV-infected
individuals develop AIDS and succumb to the illness."

As for foreign aid, the study says, "The continuing absence of the rule of
law in Zimbabwe, widespread corruption, electoral fraud, and the
government's renowned propensity to default consistently on loans have
generated significant mistrust of the Mugabe regime by foreign donor

The report further states, "Governance in Zimbabwe, already exhibiting
considerable potential for violence and institutional instability, likely
will worsen further as a result of the HIV/AIDS epidemic."

The authors credit Mugabe for recognizing "the HIV/AIDS epidemic constitutes
a significant threat to Zimbabwe" and note, "He has begun to give the issue
a higher priority on the regime's agenda." However, they point out many of
the funds raised to combat the disease have been lost to corruption.

Schemes to fight the disease, such as a three percent tax on companies and
individuals, have come under fire for politicizing medical services to the
sick by providing relief only to regime supporters.

In a frank assessment, the report notes, "As deprivation increases to
critical mass and the apparatus of coercion erodes, considerable internal
political violence is likely and may culminate in the overthrow of the
Mugabe regime, unless substantial reforms are enacted in the near future."

The study further asserts, "The removal of Mugabe from power would probably
benefit the country enormously, as it would permit a new and accountable
leadership structure to be established."

However, in a caveat it warns, "[A]ny successor regime would face a similar
situation of worsening economic and political destabilization while the
HIV/AIDS epidemic rages unabated."

Investors have also grown wary of Zimbabwe, the USIP study notes, "Thanks,
in part, to President Mugabe's persistent threats to nationalize industry
and to his government's egregious economic mismanagement. The increasingly
gloomy economic future of HIV/AIDS-wracked Zimbabwe is prompting capital
flight, as prudent investors pull their capital investments out of the
Zimbabwean economy."

Meanwhile, new investment is likely to go to countries with lower risk
exposure, or those that have governments aggressively addressing the AIDS
problem like Botswana and Uganda, the report adds.

While Botswana's infection rate of 36 percent is greater than Zimbabwe's,
the USIP study points out Botswana is still more prosperous because it
"possesses excellent political leadership in President Festus Mogae, an
Oxford-trained economist who is fully engaged in efforts to blunt the
negative effects of the epidemic on the people of Botswana."

The U.S. Institute of Peace is an independent research institution created
by Congress in 1984 to promote conflict resolution worldwide. It does this
through a range of studies, workshops, fellowships and training programs,
funded in part by an annual appropriation from the Federal government.

(The Washington File is a product of the Bureau of International Information
Programs, U.S. Department of State. Web site:
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Open Letter to Mr Robert Mugabe, President of the Republic of Zimbabwe

Dear Mr. President,

The International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and the World
Organisation Against Torture (OMCT), in the framework of their joint
program, the Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders,
express their concern with regard to a new non-governmental organization
(NGO) Bill in Zimbabwe, which, if passed by Parliament, would impose serious
restrictions on the freedom of association and expression in Zimbabwe.

The International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and the World
Organisation Against Torture (OMCT), in the framework of their joint
program, the Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders,
express their concern with regard to a new non-governmental organization
(NGO) Bill in Zimbabwe, which, if passed by Parliament, would impose serious
restrictions on the freedom of association and expression in Zimbabwe.

According to the information received from the Zimbabwe Human Rights
Association (ZimRights) the draft bill called "Non-governmental
organizations Bill 2004" was issued by the government and brought before the
Parliament for discussion and adoption before the next parliamentary
elections in September 2005. This new bill expansively defines NGOs, and
includes in its definition, "any institution, the objects of which includes
or are the promotion and protection of human rights and good governance".
The Observatory is very concerned about the potential negative implications
of this bill for Zimbabwe's civil society. Indeed, far from improving the
environment for the operations of NGOs in Zimbabwe, the bill's provisions
are designed to control, criminalize and appropriate the assets of NGOs,
threatening the very existence of a truly independent NGO sector as well as
the enjoyment of the right to freedom of association and expression. The
Observatory will confine its comments in this letter to its concerns
regarding the draft bill's potential effects on human rights defenders. ·

  Control over NGOs' activities

The Observatory is concerned that the NGO Bill, through measures bringing
human rights defenders under the heightened control of the government, is
designed to eliminate the very independence and freedom that forms the core
of the value, existence, and work of human rights defenders.

The NGO Bill requires the registration of all NGOs with the government,
stipulating in section 9 that "no non-governmental organisation shall
commence or continue to carry on its activities or seek financial assistance
from any source, unless it has been registered in respect of the particular
object or objects in furtherance of which it is constituted ".

NGOs have to apply for registration before the Registrar of the NGO Council,
who works under the Minister of Social Welfare. To apply for registration,
the director of an NGO must provide "the names, nationality and addresses of
its promoters; its sources of funding; its plan of action or projected
activities for the next three years..." (section 10).

Moreover, the modalities of registration are arbitrary, since the criteria
for refusing registration are not defined, and everything is left to the
discretion of the NGO Council, whose independence may be called into
question (see below). Finally, the appeal process is also vitiated, since
"any NGO which is aggrieved by any decision of the Council [...] may appeal
against that decision to the Minister [of Social Welfare]". One can safely
assume that the Minister would rarely, if ever, go against the Council.

Another means of controlling human rights defenders proposed by the law is
indeed the creation of an NGO Council, which seems to serve as a
governmental instrument to better control and investigate NGOs activities:
the Council will be composed of five civil society representatives and nine
government representatives, all appointed by the Executive (sections 3 to
8). It will "determine every application for registration [...], conduct
investigations into the administration and activities of NGOs [...], take
disciplinary actions...".

The Observatory fears that these provisions would, if passed into law,
unnecessarily and arbitrarily intrude on the work of human rights defenders
and paralyse their activities.

· Criminalizing human rights defenders

The criminalization of the activities of human rights defenders is the
second particularly worrying aspect of the NGO Bill. Alarmingly, if the bill
were passed, human rights defenders could be criminally sanctioned for not
registering with the government. Section 9 of the bill stipulates that "no
person shall in any manner take part in management or control of an NGO,
knowing that the organisation is contravening subsection (1)" and prescribes
personal criminal sanctions of up to six months imprisonment against the
board members of an NGO that is not registered. Furthermore, the NGO Bill
makes it a crime for human rights defender organizations to receive funding
from abroad. According to Section 17 of the Bill, local NGOs will not be
allowed to receive foreign funding or donations " to carry out activities
involving or including issues of governance". This prohibition directly
targets human rights defenders as issues of governance are defined in
section 2 as including the "promotion and protection of human rights and
political governance issues".

· Appropriating NGOs' assets

The NGO Bill not only allows the government to ban all foreign funding for
human rights NGOs, but it also permits the government to repatriate the
money back to the funding partner, or take possession of the money,
securities and property of the organisation (section 28). Furthermore, after
the dissolution of an NGO, section 30 provides that the government may
appropriate all NGO property.

The aforementioned provisions that attempt to control and criminalize NGOs,
specifically human rights defenders, in Zimbabwe blatantly contravene the
Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, adopted by the United Nations General
Assembly on 9 December 1998, and especially article 5b, which provides that
"everyone has the right, individually or in association with others, to
form, join and participate in non-governmental organizations, associations
or groups," and article 6c, which provides that "everyone has the right,
individually or in association with others to study, discuss, form and hold
opinions on the observance, both in law and in practice, of all human rights
and fundamental freedoms and, though these and other appropriate means, to
draw public attention to those matters".

These provisions also violate article 22(2) of the International Covenant on
Civil and Political Rights, which provides that "No restrictions may be
placed on the exercise of [the right to freedom of association] other than
those [...] which are necessary in a democratic society in the interest of
national security or public safety, public order, the protection of public
health or morals or the protection of the rights and freedom of others".

The provisions of the NGO law criminalizing foreign donations and allowing
the state to appropriate NGO assets violate article 13 of the Declaration on
Human Rights Defenders, which provides that "everyone has the right,
individually and in association with others, to solicit, receive and utilize
resources for the express purpose of promoting and protecting human rights
and fundamental freedoms through peaceful means...".

According to the information received by the Observatory, the new NGO bill
may be related to the publication of a report by the African Commission on
Human and People's Rights (ACHPR) during its last session in May 2004, which
was very critical of the situation of human rights in Zimbabwe. The
Observatory fears the Bill was drafted to sanction NGOs, accused of having
brought information for the report to the African Commission.

The Observatory is concerned that this Bill is proposed in a context of
increased restrictions of fundamental liberties in Zimbabwe. The Observatory
recalls that it follows the adoption of very repressive laws, such as the
"Broadcasting Services Act" (BSA) in 2001, the "Access to Information and
Protection of Privacy Act" (AIPPA), and the "Public Order and Security Act"
(POSA), and the amendments brought to the "Private Voluntary Organizations
Act" in 2002.

The Observatory urges the Zimbabwean government to take the necessary
measures to withdraw this draft bill from consideration in the Parliament
and to ensure the full respect of the freedom of association and expression,
in accordancewith the Declaration on Human Rights Defenders and with
international and regional human rights instruments binding Zimbabwe, such
as the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the African
Charter on Human and People's Rights.

In the hope you will take these considerations and requests into account, we

Sidiki KABA President of the FIDH

Eric SOTTAS Director of the OMCT
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Business Report

      Zimbabwe inflation still high despite dip
      August 13, 2004

      Harare - Zimbabwe's consumer prices dipped 31.7 percent in July
against the previous month but were still 362.9 percent higher year on year,
the official statistics bureau said Friday.

      "The year-on-year inflation rate for the month of July as measured by
the all-items consumer price index (CPI) stood at 362.9 percent, shedding
31.7 percentage points on the June rate of 394.6 percent," the Central
Statistics Offices (CSO) said.

      The increase in the annual rate of inflation was largely due to hikes
in the prices of beverages, bread, cereals, meat, fruits and vegetables.

      Zimbabwe's central bank has set an inflation target of around 200
percent by the year end from more than 622.8 percent in January.

      The Zimbabwean economy began sliding some four years ago and only
started showing signs of slight improvement in recent months following
remedial steps taken by the central bank.

      Average annual inflation has been on a upward trend since 2000 when it
stood at 55.9 percent, rising to 71 percent a year later and surpassing 600
percent two years later.

      Zimbabwe has in recent years faced political, economic and social
instability, with high unemployment and rising disease rates.

      Local non-governmental organisations say up to 80 percent of
Zimbabweans live under the poverty line and that between 60 and 80 percent
of the employable population is without jobs.

      The country has also been plagued by severe food shortages, caused
partly by drought as well as the controversial land redistribution programme
dispossessing white farmers. - AFP
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This Day, Nigeria

Nigeria Protests Zimbabwe's Accusation
From Iyefu Adoba in Abuja


Nigeria has sent a strong protest to the Zimbabwean Government over a
newspaper publication accusing the country of acting as a conduit for
Britain government, to bankroll Zimbabwe's Opposition Move-ment for
Democratic Change.

The Zimbabwean Sunday Mail had in its August 9 edition alleged that Nigeria
was working in concert with Britain in financing the opposition movement in
that country.

But Foreign Affairs Minister, Ambassador Olu Adeniji expre-ssed the Federal
Government's displeasure over the publication to the Acting High
Commissioner of Zimbabwe in Nigeria, Mr. Gwenzi, when he paid him a visit in

The Minister described as ludicrous and false, the publication, which
insinuated that Nigeria wa bankrolling the MDC to defeat President Robert
Mugabe's government in next year's legislative elections.

Adeniji said Nigeria least expected such "patently untrue publication in the
press of a friendly country for which Nigeria has sacrificed so much."

He charged the Acting High Commissioner to convey the Federal Government's
displeasure and disappointment to his government over such periodic
publications against Nigeria, which has become a pattern in Zimbabwe.
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Mugabe plans to starve voters into submission, says rights group

Malnutrition deaths disprove boasts of bumper crops

Andrew Meldrum in Pretoria
Friday August 13, 2004
The Guardian

The government of Zimbabwe may be planning to use food scarcity as a
political weapon in next year's elections, Human Rights Watch said
Millions of Zimbabweans are in danger of famine because the president,
Robert Mugabe, has refused to ask for international aid, and there is
increasing evidence to contradict his government's claim that the country
has sufficient food.

In the opposition stronghold of Bulawayo, Zimbabwe's second city, 125 people
have died from malnutrition this year, it was reported this week.

The toll in rural areas is unknown as there are no health statistics

Human Rights Watch said it feared that food under government control would
be restricted to those who supported Mr Mugabe's party, Zanu-PF.

By law maize must be transported and distributed by the state Grain
Marketing Board.

Rural people have to go to its local offices to buy subsidised maize, and
the board controls how much is sold in the cities.

"In recent years the grain board has been widely accused of discriminating
against supporters of the political opposition," HRW's report said.

Many witnesses say grain board officials turn away those who do not have a
Zanu-PF card.

The Roman Catholic Archbishop of Bulawayo, Pius Ncube, has accused Mr Mugabe
of wanting to use food relief as a weapon to win the polls.

"They are planning to starve people into submission," he said in London last

HRW's paper says the government must make a full disclosure of the food
stocks. By withholding vital information it is "gambling with its citizens'
access to food".

Earlier this week the Zimbabwean government said it was looking forward to
"an above-average national harvest".
But farm output has plummeted as a result of Mr Mugabe's chaotic and often
violent land seizures and failure to provide poor black farmers with enough
seed and fertiliser.

For the past three years the country has depended on international food aid.

In May the government boasted that farmers had produced a bumper crop of
2.4m tonnes of the staple grain, maize. Mr Mugabe said there would be no
need for international food aid. "We don't want to choke on your food," he
told an interviewer.

Experts, including the UN world food programme, dismissed the estimate as a
fantasy, but the government ordered the WFP to stop its crop survey, saving
its widely disputed figures from being factually contradicted.

The WFP has been forced to dismantle its operations in Zimbabwe and dismiss
nearly half its 230 staff.

Virtually all independent agricultural experts reject Mr Mugabe's figures.

"Anyone driving through Zimbabwe can see that there are not many fields with
healthy maize crops," a local grain specialist said. "Areas that used to
produce large maize and wheat crops are now lying fallow."

An estimated 4.8 million of Zimbabwe's 12.5 million people will need food
assistance in the coming year, the Zimbabwe Vulnerability Assessment
Committee says.

To avert a famine last year, the WFP provided food to nearly six million
people at the height of the country's lean season.

It is currently feeding about 650,000 a month.

The privately owned Standard newspaper questioned assurances that Zimbabwe
had plenty of food when it reported this week that 125 people had died of
malnutrition-related causes in Bulawayo. Twenty-one of them were children
under five.

The mayor of Bulawayo, Japhet Ndabeni-Ncube, confirmed the number, saying it
came from city records.

He said it was the responsibility of Mr Mugabe's government to feed the
people. "This definitely needs a government approach if we are to save
lives," he told the Standard.

The government reacted with fury, threatening action against the mayor of
Bulawayo and other city officials, and legal action against the newspaper.

"We are sure of our story," the Standard's editor, Bornwell Chakaodza, told
the Guardian yesterday.

John Makumbe, a civic leader and political scientist, said: "The truth is
that there is not enough food in Zimbabwe and the government is hiding that.

"I have just come back from my home area of Buhera and I can tell you that
there is very little food there. And in Matabeleland people are literally
starving. People are desperate for humanitarian assistance."

Mr Makumbe said the government intended to use food to lure political

"The public will have to toe the Zanu-PF line in order to get any food."

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How to Deal With 130 000 Elephants? Part 1

Mmegi/The Reporter (Gaborone)

August 13, 2004
Posted to the web August 13, 2004

Patrick Van Rensburg

We probably have 130 000 elephants living with us, now, mainly in the north.
That's more than any other country has, anywhere on earth. There's one of
them for every 4.5 square kilometres, overall, against about 3 people for
every square km. In the north, at 123 000 odd, their density is much higher
than nationally. In 1990, there were 55 000, and the official view - in the
Elephant Management Plan of 1991 - was that their number should be kept at
60 000, requiring the "removal" of 3 000 per year to sustain it.

The Department of Wildlife and National Parks (DWNP) is now developing a
(clearly overdue) new elephant management policy and has been looking at
issues, options and recommendations related thereto. In fact, what it is
busy with is what it calls the third report of the project to review the
Elephant Management Plan of 1991, following the "Inception Report and the
Stakeholders' Workshop Report". In this third report, it is noted that, "No
control measures have actually been taken". This seems to reflect a reality
that elephant management is a highly contested issue, more especially
because - as the Report notes - "Only about 28 percent of the elephant
population is found in national parks".

One of the major factors related to contestation of culling, for example, is
that "the international public do not understand the issues that result from
large elephant populations". There could be threats of economic sanctions if
large scale culling was undertaken.

"No species, other than man, can modify habitats as rapidly and extensively
as elephant", writes Graham Child, who was responsible for some years for
elephant culling in Zimbabwe. "At a safe carrying capacity, elephants may
act as a pruning agent and benefit biological diversity by opening up and
altering the age structure of plant communities, but once numbers exceed
this level, overpopulation impacts seriously on habitats. By virtue of their
dominance as herbivores, elephant damage has a cascading effect through the
ecosystem; degradation is not a uniform process, but is accompanied by
deterioration past a series of critical thresholds over which recovery is
often, at best, problematical in the short to medium term".

In its latest report, the DWNP acknowledges that any earlier beneficial
effects of elephant presence have now been overtaken by the near
disappearance along the Chobe River of woodland including riparian forest.
"Habitat changes may have had secondary effects on other species; bushbuck
in Chobe declined considerably over twenty years".

Ultimately, the Report suggests, "it might be expected that affected
habitats will become less able to support the elephants themselves - as
numbers continue to increase without any apparent moderation of rate while
habitats are deteriorating simultaneously.

"There is a very real danger of a sudden population crash as in the Tsavo
ecosystem in Kenya. A mass die-off would have very serious aesthetic,
ecological and economic consequences, as it did in Kenya. Whether or when a
population crash is going to occur, however, cannot be forecast."

The DWNP report was preceded by:

l direct consultations with communities living within the elephant range

l a workshop at which stakeholders directly but variously involved with
elephants were able to voice their opinions, concerns and objectives
regarding elephants

l study of literature on the subject of elephant ecology, biology, disease
management, Community-Based Natural Resource Management legislation,
Botswana Government policies and social development

l a workshop attended by experts in various relevant fields to discuss the
technical aspects of elephant management options

Background information is provided on the following themes:

l numbers and trends

l loss of range and habitat

l cross-border populations

l habitat change/loss of bio-diversity

l human-elephant relationships

l general public attitudes

l sustainable utilisation

l trade in elephant products

l economic factors in elephant management

l illegal hunting

These issues will be looked at next week, but it is important to look back
at what the objectives of the 1991 Elephant Management Plan were:

l Manage elephants on a sustainable multiple-use basis in accordance with
the 1986 Wildlife Conservation Policy and the 1999 Tourism Policy.

l Maintain elephant populations at their 1990 level by removing annual

l Maintain elephant occupied woodland in acceptable state, subject to
climatic influence.

l Reduce elephant populations if research and monitoring indicate
unacceptable changes to elephant habitat.

l Maintain biodiversity and essential life support systems in the national
parks and game reserves.

l Reduce conflicts between elephants and humans.

l Support and undertake elephant population and elephant habitat research
and monitoring programmes. Seek amendments to the 1989 CITES resolution such
that Botswana's elephants will revert to Appendix 11

There was some success in achieving these objectives, ie:

Progress was made in the sustainable multiple use management with the
reintroduction of safari and citizen hunting, with low annual quotas. In
1997, Botswana and other southern African countries were successful in their
bid at CITES to have their elephants down-listed to Appendix 11. Some ivory
sales have taken place. Habitat research and monitoring has been carried out
and continued elephant population monitoring has successfully demonstrated
the increase in populations.

However, elephant populations have not been kept at their 1990 level.
Woodlands within the elephant range were not maintained in an acceptable
state (defined as the 1990 state). It is not possible to state whether
bio-diversity and essential life support systems have been maintained, as a
baseline for this was not established. Conflict between elephants and humans
continue at an unacceptable rate.

What is worrying is that the elephant population was allowed to double in 14
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Zim Observer

      Blood from students 'unsafe'
      by STAFF EDITORS (8/13/2004)

 Zimbabwe's National Blood Transfusions Services (NBTS) has stopped
collecting blood from some schools in Harare owing to contamination of the
blood, reporters have learnt. According to impeccable sources in Harare, the
NBTS has allegedly stopped collecting blood from some girls' high schools in
Harare because most of the blood donated by the students' was found to be
infected with STD-related viruses.

Sources said school children from both rich and poor schools had a
relatively high prevalence of HIV/Aids owing to a number of factors, among
them careless sexual behaviour an d associating with older and infected
mates who often offered money for sexual favours.

The allegation comes at a time when the nation is embroiled in the fight
against the HIV/Aids epidemic.

However, NBTS public relations manager Emmanuel Masvikeni described the
allegations as false and unfounded.

He said, " Unfortunately the reports are untrue and unfounded and should be
dismissed with the contempt they deserve." Masvikeni however, agreed that
when there is a disease outbreak in a particular area, the NBTS stops
collecting blood until the area is safe.

"The main reason for such an action would be to ensure that the final
product is safe for transfusion purposes," said Masvikeni.

He further said another reason why the NBTS would consider stopping
collecting blood from schools is when blood donations at that particular
school are low, meaning that the exercise would have ceased to be cost

Masvikeni further claimed that students' blood is safe when compared to
blood donated by adults.

"By any standards an HIV prevalence of 0.38 percent amongst youth blood
donors would be considered low when compared to a rate of about 25 percent
in the general population," Masvikeni said.

NBTS visit a boys' high school three times per year because males are
allowed to donate after every three months while a girls' school is visited
twice a year because females are allowed to donate after four months.

Statistics show that at least 3 500 young people between the ages of 15 to
24 are infected with  HIV  on daily basis.

 Source: Paidamoyo Chipunza
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Zim Online

Sat 14 August 2004

      HARARE ­ A parliamentary committee investigating food security in
Zimbabwe has received conflicting information on the amount of maize
harvested last season, ZimOnline has established.

      The Grain Marketing Board (GMB) told Parliament's Portfolio Committee
on Lands and Agriculture that Zimbabwean farmers produced 2.4 million tonnes
of maize last season, well placed sources said. This is 600 000 tonnes more
than the 1.8 million tonnes required to carry the country through until the
next harvest to begin around March 2005.

      The government's Central Statistical Office (CSO), on the other hand,
told the committee that maize production would at most reach 1.2 million
tonnes, exactly half the amount reported by the GMB.

      Zimbabweans consume at least 100 000 tonnes of maize per month or
about 1.2 million tonnes a year. In addition, the country requires at least
another 600 000 tonnes for its strategic grain reserve stock.

      Maize is the staple food for more than 90 percent of the 12 million

      Chairman of the food committee Daniel Mackenzie Ncube (ZANU PF)
refused to discuss the discrepancy in the GMB's and the CSO's information on
maize quantities. But he said his committee was now planning to go around
the country to verify physically the amount of maize held at GMB depots.

      'We are ready to embark on the assessment. Our task is establishing
the reality in the face of conflicting reports, some which say we have
enough food whilst others say we don't.'  He did not say when exactly his
committee would have finished establishing the amount of maize in the
country, only saying the committee would be ready with a final report soon.

      President Robert Mugabe and his Agriculture Minister Joseph Made have
publicly insisted that Zimbabwe produced a bumper maize crop of more than
two million tonnes. Two months ago Mugabe told international food agencies
that have been helping Zimbabwe to take their aid elsewhere.

      But assessments by the United Nations and other independent food
relief groups indicate that Zimbabwe did not harvest enough food and would
still require assistance to avert hunger.

      In a report released yesterday,  the New York-based Human Rights Watch
called on the Zimbabwe government to 'publish all figures on maize imported
and traded internally as well as figures on the size of the government's
strategic maize reserve' and to 'invite the U.N. Special Rapporteur on the
Right to Food to Zimbabwe to report on the food situation and allow him
unrestricted access'.

      The opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) accuses the
government of wanting to bar international food agencies from the country so
that it can use food to buy political support ahead of a general election in
      next year. The government denies the charge. ZimOnline

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Zim Online

Botswana police swoop on passport syndicate
Sat 14 August 2004

      GABORONE -  Botswana Police this week arrested several foreign
nationals, including Zimbabweans, for possession of forged residence and
work permits.

      Superintendent Frankel Mohutsiwa said police believed they had cracked
a syndicate that produced and sold fake government documents.

      Three Zimbabweans and two Kenyans were arrested early Thursday for
selling fake immigration stamps and forged permits. This follows the arrest
of a Kenyan woman Friday last week. She reportedly told police she had
bought the forged material from a fellow Kenyan, who then led officers to
the Zimbabweans.

      Mohutsiwa said the suspected fraudsters were selling the passports for
up to 3 000 Pula (US$ 750). He added that the Serious Crime Unit was on the
trail of at least four other alleged syndicate members, all of whom are
believed to be Zimbabwean citizens.

      To prevent more fraud, the Botswana immigration office is busy
introducing new stamps which would be difficult to forge, said deputy chief
immigration officer, Abram Mmusetsi.

      Police began investigating forged passports in July, following reports
of stolen identity documents being smuggled to and altered in South Africa
and then re-sold to foreigners, including Zimbabweans. ZimOnline
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Zim Online

No protest at University of Zimbabwe
Sat 14 August 2004

      HARARE  -  Protest action announced by lecturers at the University of
Zimbabwe for today failed to materialise in the face of tight security by
the army and the police.

      The lecturers, disgruntled by poor pay and working conditions, had
meant to disrupt the graduation ceremony for 3000 students to bring their
plight to the attention of President Robert Mugabe. Mugabe is the chancellor
of the university and traditionally caps graduates.

      Student leaders had also threatened to hold demonstrations saying they
wanted to 'awaken Mugabe to the parlous state of the nation'.

      Association of University Teachers chairman Arnold Mashingaidze said
the heavy deployment of armed police and soldiers had deterred lecturers
from carrying out the threatened protests. ZimOnline
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