Coventry added gold to her silver and bronze medals by storming to victory in
the women's 200m backstroke final in Athens. The silver 100m backstroke
and 200m medley bronze medallist never relinquished her lead and won in two
minutes, 09.19 seconds.
Stanislava Komarova of Russia took the
silver with joint bronze for Antje Buschschulte and Reiko
Britain's world champion Katy Sexton finished a
The 22-year-old had the third fastest time
in the world leading into the Games and was tipped as a serious medal
But Sexton admitted she was struggling for confidence
and finished in 2:12.11 - more than three seconds off her British
"To not compete how I expected and not get what I feel I
deserved at the Olympics is just really really upsetting," said
"It's going to be a lot tougher to get over this because
it's an Olympic Games and they only come round every four years.
"It's just really hard when you know how much work you've put in but I'm sure
I'll bounce back."
Coventry will return to Zimbabwe with their
first-ever swimming gold medal.
The 20-year-old opened up a
narrow lead over Buschschulte but pulled away to win by half a body
HARARE, Aug 20 (AFP) -
Zimbabwe's government Friday published a bill that, if passed by parliament,
would see international human rights groups barred from the country and
foreign funding cut off to local rights groups. The bill, a copy of which was
circulated among aid groups last month, was published in the Government
Gazette, the last stop for draft laws before reaching parliament, where
President Robert Mugabe's ruling Zimbabwe African National Union - Patriotic
Front (ZANU-PF) enjoys a majority.
A key clause of the bill states that
"no foreign non-governmental organisation shall be registered if its sole or
principal objects involve or include issues of governance."
defines "issues of governance" as "the promotion and protection of human
rights and political governance issues".
The draft law also makes it an
offence for local aid groups to receive foreign funding "to carry out
activities involving or including issues of governance."
activists say this will be a major blow to their work, much of which is
dependent on foreign aid.
The bill would also set up a council whose
members would be appointed by Zimbabwe's social welfare minister to oversee
the activities of foreign and local aid groups.
The government has
repeatedly threatened to clamp down on non-governmental organisations (NGOs)
it accuses of meddling in the country's internal affairs.
National Association of Non-Governmental Organisations (NANGO) has warned
that, if passed, the law would hit hardest at vulnerable groups in the
country, including the unemployed and people living with
"Unfortunately the bill criminalises a sector that is providing
social safety nets to a lot of communities throughout the country," it
The bill has also been condemned by international rights groups,
including Amnesty International.
2004 Agence France-Presse Received by NewsEdge Insight: 08/20/2004
There is evidence of ineffective
application of cross-border disease control measures, as TOMELETSO SEREETSI
"Although rona re tokafaditse seemo, the threat of Foot and
Mouth Disease (FMD) transmission at the border is still very high. Any idea
that all danger is past must be strongly resisted, as the danger is always
present. We have planted our officers at the border entry points to
administer the disinfectant soda and scan travellers luggage for raw meat,"
said a veterinary disease control official on August 4.
Friday 30 July
2004. An old battered Combi struggles to slow down as it squeaks to a
seemingly anguished halt inside the fencing by the immigration office in
Matsiloje, about 40 kilometres from Francistown. A cloud of dust takes flight
behind its tracks, coaxing a few low-pitched dry coughs and reflex tears from
the eyes of old men and women in its vicinity.
Inside, commuters scramble
to respond to the anticipated halt, rubbing against each other to the sole
door that slowly slides open with a screech that upsets the ear.Then the
commuters, largely women, silently move out of the vehicle in a single
desperate file whose progression is incessantly being interrupted by the big
luggage that often finds a way out through fondling, caressing and - at times
- brute violent pulling out of the seemingly small opening.
"Ga ke ise
ke o bone, moletlo o senang nama; bathong nna ga ke ise ke o bone," Bhudaza
Mapefane's township jazz hit is momentarily stuck to the waves, let loose by
the Combi as it departs for the city to complete its daily circle that runs
on without an end in sight. The echo of the melody thuds in the ear and stirs
the spirits of a dozen men sitting the day away under a tree at the threshold
of the immigration office, which is now lined with commuters and their
belongings as they surrender their passports for processing.
pavement, leading to the gate manned by two weary looking veterinary
bouncers, one can discern an unmistakable bored demeanour inscribed on faces
probably brought about by the highly repetitive and monotonous proceedings
here. The travellers pass through these regulating bodies that seem to be
nodding approval to the Zimbabwean-bound travellers who are happy to walk
hassle-free across the dry Ramokgwebana River. It is the traveller from
Zimbabwe who is routinely stopped at this point to have their shoes dipped in
the basin of greyish disinfectant soda before being allowed onto Botswana
soil to process their stay in the country.
A little observation from this
point later, I climb about four steps into the immigration office where I
come before a grey-uniformed woman officer lying in wait for my entry. The
heat is still raging on despite a somewhat cool breeze tapping against our
"Dumela mma", I let out the stock greeting. "Ee rra, o ya kae?"
she mumbles back impatiently, eyes still riveted to the old
inexpensively-looking table with her hand outstretched towards me. I hand
over the passport and tell her that I want to check on some people on the
other side of the border. She flips through a few pages and settles on one
that she bangs the stamp hard on, leaving a faint red evidence of the
I exit the office and make my way towards the gate where I am let
free to wade across the Ramokgwebana into Zimbabwe with my small bag in hand.
The river sand cries out and crashes into potholes beneath my feet as I pass
by a few travellers emitting muted murmurings that are mutually understood
as greetings. On reaching the other side of the river, a few herds of
cattle are found silently gnawing away at anything edible.
throw away from the herd sits the Zimbabwean immigration office. I scan the
many unfamiliar faces here for a little while before an officer hands me a
piece of paper to fill and sign my way in. With all the kindness one can
muster, I decline the gesture and explain how I am just here to see someone
who seems to have not yet come. After a little wait, I leave for the Botswana
"Do you have Pula to change to Zim Dollars?," asks a man
with uncombed hair that I did not previously come across here. I sternly
shake my head and complement the gesture with a movement of my hands as I
move past him. I manage to crack a smile at my countrymen manning the gate
and try to wave my way past beside the basin of the disinfectant
"Nyaa lekgoa lame feta jaana! Step on this solution before you
leave," one of the men tells me pointing at the soda, which I then proceed to
do without questioning as I read from their faces that no questions will be
taken. I look under my feet and smile as I feel the liquid making way into my
soles through the pores under my worn out sneakers.
"A ke feditse nka
tsamaya chief?" I ask the official when he signals me to move through the
gate into the country. I wonder to myself seeing that the bag I am slinging
over my shoulder is under no threat of being searched for meats and shoes for
I think to have seen it done at other border gates in the country before. I
think about the raw juicy slab of steak inside the bag that I bought from
Matsiloje Butchery, as it re-enters Botswana.
later and a few more hours, I carry the slab of meat in the company of a
colleague pondering on which watering hole to roast the border trotting
treat. I once more hear the lyrics to the song "Ga ke ise ke bone moletlo o
senang nama" - differently this time - echoing distantly at the back of my
mind, bringing to the fore memories of wedding parties postponed over and
over again because of the Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) crisis. No bogadi to
herd over to the bride's clan or to even celebrate the matrimonial union of
man and woman. I cannot help thinking about the cattle wealth of the
Matsiloje farmers that went up in smoke as my colleague suggests a plethora
of places where the meat can be roasted.
What if it all started with one
chunk of meat and then another... and? I wonder how much uncooked meat makes
it over the border everyday. The song plays on as if it is a sort of an
ominous bell to the history of the village that might soon be helped to
Agencies Last updated: 08/21/2004 02:52:20 LAWYERS representing 70
suspected mercenaries held in Zimbabwe on charges of plotting a coup in
Equatorial Guinea asked the court on Friday to acquit most of the
The men were arrested in March when their Boeing 727 landed in
Harare to pick up a consignment of weapons, including rifles,
grenades, rocket-launchers and mortars which Zimbabwe says were to be used to
oust the regime in Equatorial Guinea.
Defence lawyer Jonathan Samkange
said charges of "conspiracy to possess dangerous weapons" against 66 of the
men should be dropped as the alleged soldiers of fortune knew nothing of the
arms purchases in Harare.
"The charge is incompetent and therefore I ask
that the accused be acquitted on that basis," said Samkange.
detained group included three crew members, and three men on the ground who
allegedly went to Harare International Airport to inspect the firearms to be
purchased from Zimbabwe's state arms manufacturer.
The court has heard
that the weapons were needed to guard diamond mines in the eastern Democratic
Republic of Congo (DRC), where most of men claim they were going to do
security work after being recruited in South Africa.
They are accused of
plotting to overthrow President Teodoro Obiang Nguema's 25-year regime in the
small central African state of Equatorial Guinea, a former Spanish
However, some of the men have testified that they knew nothing
about landing in Harare to pick up weapons, and Samkange said in closing
arguments on Friday that they could therefore not be charged with
"In this case there is deafening silence as regards the form
of agreement, and the court cannot therefore find any way of convicting these
people," he added.
"I would ask this court to act judiciously and when
it acts judiciously and in fairness to all parties, it has no option but to
acquit the accused," said Samkange.
If convicted under Zimbabwe's
Public Order and Security Act (POSA) the men could face a 10-year jail
Zanu PF has begun reviving terror bases on resettled farms around
the country as the party prepares to launch a violent campaign against
the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) ahead of next
year's parliamentary election. Party sources told the Daily News Online that
the bases would provide a launch pad for the ruling party's campaign against
the MDC. More bases would be set up in rural and urban areas, the sources
said. Youths drawn from the resettled farm and surrounding rural areas
were already staying at the bases were they were undergoing
"political mobilization", some ruling party officials said who could not be
named. "The party wants to make sure that the farming areas are sealed off
from the opposition. We will then venture into the rural areas from the
farms. We realized that the MDC would target the farms and the rural areas
for its campaign because it already has urban support. But they will find us
in a state of preparedness," said a party official.
said a recent politburo meeting had tasked national political commissar
Elliot Manyika and secretary for the youth league Absalom Sikhosana with the
revival of the terror bases. Sources said the youth would undergo political
mobilization and physical training but said this did not include firearm
handling. War veterans and some retired army personnel were involved in the
training, while militia from the government-sponsored national youth training
service had also been incorporated, it was established. Zanu PF spokesman
Nathan Shamuyarira refused to comment: "These are the usual lies to discredit
us. Goand seek comment from the MDC because they are the ones who manufacture
such stories." The ruling party has consistently denied charges that it uses
violence and intimidation against political rivals. But the MDC shadow
minister for defence, Giles Mutsekwa said he was aware of such activities on
resettled farms. Mutsekwa said two farms, The Grange and Meikle Farm, were
being used for such activities in his Mutare North
Efforts to alert the police had been fruitless, the
former army major said. "I have been aware of such training going on at the
farms. Of late the training has been intensified as we head towards the
elections. I am pleased to say that they have failed to mobilize a lot of
youths from the constituency so they have to rely on their usual militia. I
understand that the youths would be unleashed in the rural areas when
election time is near to intimidate villagers. My reports indicate that this
is happening nationwide," said Mutsekwa. Mutsekwa said he had informed the
police about the activities taking place at the farms: "Innocent Gonese (MP
for Mutare Central) and I advised the police but instead of investigating the
matter, the police have now turned on us. The officer commanding law and
order section, Superintendent (Godfrey) Chikwanda threatened us with
unspecified action for mentioning the activities." Chikwanda refused to
comment on the matter yesterday when contacted for comment. "It's a matter
between me and them. Anyway you have to come to my office if you want more
details because I wouldn't talk to you over the phone," said Chikwanda
Border Gezi, one of Zimbabwe's national
heroes, is buried at Heroes Acre. The former Zanu PF secretary for the
commissariat and minister of youth and employment creation died in a car
accident. Gezi is best remembered as the running mate for "war veterans"
leader Chenjerai "Hitler" Hunzvi in the 2000 election campaign, in which he
is alleged to have engineered about 200 murders. To honour Gezi, the national
youth service training camp 250km north of Harare was named after him. Border
Gezi National Youth Camp is where 23-year-old Dumisani Phiri* was trained and
now lectures others on patriotism. Phiri was not forced to don the dark green
military outfit of the infamous "Green Bombers". It was a career move. When
he completed high school in a Harare township, he knew his parents, who live
off state pensions, could not afford to pay for him to further his
studies. Unemployed, he would drown his sorrows in Harare's townships. He
believed his only alternative was to enlist for the national youth service in
the hope of securing a job in the police, army or government. "That's why I
went kwaBorder Gezi," he said. His bloodshot eyes and nicotine-stained
teeth reveal his liking for Madison cigarettes. "I had no [political] party,
I just enjoyed fun. Like other young men I liked machinja [the Movement
for Democratic Change], but I was not committed." Border Gezi changed all
this. "Yes, I came to understand Zanu PF and its principles, why they went to
war to fight Ian Smith, why they need to take land now and teach Tony Blair
To visit the youth training camps you have to seek
permission from the Ministry of Gender and Employment Creation. As in a
prison set-up, a ministry official monitors all interviews and your every
move. I made arrangements to meet Phiri in Harare town. He was frank and
forthright in his responses and had very little bad to say about the camps.
He described the daily routine at the camp as similar to boarding school: "We
wake up every morning about 5.30am, go for military drills with instructors -
a retired army colonel and a retired major." At 6.30am they have
yeKenya porridge (yellow maize), followed by tea at about 9am with bread,
no margarine, no eggs and no milk. You bring your own toothpaste because
the government has no money. "Those that went to war never had
these essentials," he says with pride. Lunch is served at 12.30pm, mainly
beans, meat, cabbage and, on the odd occasion, chicken. Afternoon is leisure
time. Most of the day is spent in lectures where "we were taught the
background of the Zimbabwe war of liberation, the Chinese revolution, the
Cuban revolution and the land reform", he said. He spoke passionately of
Fidel Castro, about pan-Africanism, and remembered the dates when the
country's heroes passed away and what they mean to him.
no examinations at the camp. "Your commitment is measured by your discipline,
ability to perform military drills and to understand the revolution and land
reform. The national anthem we sang in the morning, and late in the
afternoon." The youth are told that the MDC, acting in cahoots with the
British, has a strategy to derail land reform. Phiri is convinced that if the
MDC gets to power, the land will go back to whites. Morgan Tsvangirai's
speeches are printed, photocopied and distributed at the camps, especially
his infamous quote at Rufaro stadium in September 2001 where he declared his
party would remove President Robert Mugabe's government "violently" if he
does not go "peacefully". Recruits are drilled until they come to believe
that the people who vote for the MDC are lost. They feel they are fortunate
to be at the camps. He gave the official line: recruits are taught
patriotism, agriculture and military drills - but not violence. He scoffed at
reports that recruits have been harassing civilians in township nightclubs
and rural areas where scores of people have been displaced. "At our training
camp, we are never taught to fight others, but are taught self-defence. I
don't know about other camps," he said.
And on allegations of rape at
the camps, he said: "I was told the police did investigate, but I'm not sure
what happened to them. Others we were told were just in love. Some came [to
the camp already] pregnant - like the woman who named her son after Border
Gezi. It's not that she fell pregnant there. "Even during the war there were
cases of rape. There is nothing unique about Gezi." Harassment, he said, is
done to instil discipline. Female recruits get equal treatment. Phiri said
recruits attend national events and, as per their military training, have to
salute Mugabe and all government officials, something he will never do for
Tsvangirai should he become president. His explanation was simple: "You
should understand he never went to war. We have no respect for someone who
never went to war." Retired General Gava Zvinavashe expressed the same
sentiment prior to the 2002 presidential election. The defence forces, too,
are on record saying that they will not salute anybody who did not
participate in Zimbabwe's liberation war. Another youth-camp graduate, Gift
Dube*, is 18 years old. He did his stint at Dadaya National Youth Service
from September to November last year and was awarded his certificate from the
resident minister, Cephas Msipa. It is proudly displayed in his home in
Harare's Mabvuku township. Dadaya National Youth Service Training is about
500km south of Harare. It is located next to Five Brigade military quarters.
Recruits live with the army, talk to the army and learn military drills at
Dube did not mention poverty as a reason to enlist, as
Phiri did. He had heard that a national youth certificate would be a
prerequisite for a place at a training college, and so he signed up. "I
applied and went for training last year. The food was atrocious," he said,
pointing out that he lost 10kg during his stay at the camps. He does not
understand why recruits had to do military drills but "no mathematics,
science or geography. We were taught about globalisation, the struggle,
liberation war songs and land reform. "We were provided just three blankets
and would sleep in the barracks," he said. "We were barricaded by a big fence
and we rarely interacted with women after hours. There was strict military
discipline." His superiors were the only people with access to the camps at
night. "We were taught in a particular way to hate the MDC ... that was the
agenda." Dube now works at a government office in Harare. He believes he will
get a job in the army, police or prison service, and is convinced that with a
youth certificate in hand he's eligible for further studies, which could lead
to a job as a lawyer, prosecutor or judge.
Air Zim unearths fraud involving corpses by
STAFF EDITORS (8/20/2004)
Air Zimbabwe is investigating the alleged
misappropriation of funds generated from the ferrying of human bodies from
abroad. Sources alleged the airline had been prejudiced of billions of
dollars after money paid in foreign currency never found its way into the
airline's coffers. The sources said the bulk of the funds were generated from
the United Kingdom and South Africa, where the bulk of Zimbabweans living in
the Diaspora are resident.
" People privy to the transactions can tell
you that the number of bodies that were carried and what is indicated as
having been generated do not tally. This scam is not new, but spans a couple
of years back.
Air Zimbabwe spokesperson, Arthur Manase, said although
management was of the view that no such underhand dealings were taking place,
investigations had been launched to clear the air, since the allegations had
been doing the rounds for some time.
" The usual payment policy for
freighting human remains is cash up-front through our appointed GSAs.
However, to allay any suspicions, a thorough probe into all the transactions
undertaken has been ordered and is underway," said Manase.
Minister of Transport and Communications, Christopher Mushowe, said he had
not been appraised on the developments leading to the probe, but called on
anyone with relevant information to approach him.