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

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Mail & Guardian
Zim violence makes free and fair elections 'difficult'
Johannesburg, South Africa
04 August 2004 14:40 A high level of violence and intimidation in Zimbabwe has made it "increasingly difficult" for citizens to participate freely and fairly in elections next year, the Media Institute of Southern Africa (Misa) said Wednesday.

"The level of violence has made it increasingly difficult for people to participate in electoral processes in a manner that truly reflects their wishes on who should govern the country," Misa said in a report compiled after a fact-finding mission to Zimbabwe in June.

"Because of the high level of violence and intimidation, people cannot freely express themselves as members of supporters of one political party for fear of retribution just in case it happens to be the wrong party."

The aim of the Misa visit was to determine whether the present state of the media in Zimbabwe is conducive to free and fair elections in March next year. It said the trip took place in a "very hostile" environment and that members of the fact-finding mission were accused of "demonising the government".

It concluded that "with the current media landscape the grounds to hold free and fair elections are limited" and that the "media landscape is uneven" and "cannot be utilised as a watchdog of the public".

"Abuse of power and interference by the political leadership will intensify as the country nears the elections," Misa reported.

It found that the Zanu-PF government controls television, radio and the main daily newspaper while the opposition Movement for Democratic Change rarely has the opportunity to express its views in the media.

"Violence seem to be encouraged by what was described as hate messages that are carried out in the state media, particularly the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation and the country's main daily paper, The Herald.

"The state media hardly makes mention of any activities carried out by the opposition, and when it does, it is invariably in derogatory terms, projecting opposition leaders and their supporters as unpatriotic, sell-outs ... and instigators of violence."

The government's Media and Information Commission has closed down three independent newspapers in the past year. -- Sapa-AFP
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Daily Echo - Dorset
Bid to find haven for fleeing family

by Andy Davey

EXILE Faith Jupp is appealing for a Good Samaritan to give refuge to a desperate family which has fled Zimbabwe with nothing but a handful of suitcases.

The single mother from Highcliffe escaped Zimbabwe three years ago with nothing except her 15-year-old daughter, a suitcase and £50.

But she does not have enough room in her two-bedroom rented flat to shelter the exhausted family and their four children, aged between two and seven, who have spent the last two years living in fear for their lives.

Frustrated Mrs Jupp explained she has tried everything she can think of to accommodate her friends, who she says are like family to her, but she does not have the cash or the room in her home to give shelter to them all.

"They have had a really traumatic time," she said. "They have sold everything they own to get a ticket out of Zimbabwe. They just need somewhere to stay for a few days where they can try and gather themselves together."

Mrs Jupp explained how the Main-Baillie family, from Gueru, in Zimbabwe's rural midlands, endured death threats and intimidation, culminating in the terrifying week-long abduction of father Bruce.

The family's livelihood was snatched away when veterans of Zimbabwe's war of independence seized their mine and without money the family was forced to rely on friends to put them up, but was split apart for months on end.

"They just need some time so they can start to feel safe again and rebuild their lives," Mrs Jupp said.

"People must be leaving daily because they just can't cope any more. I just hope there is someone out there who can help them until they can stand up on their own."

The family is due to arrive at Gatwick on Monday evening (August 9).

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BBC News
Scores hurt in Harare train crash
Train carriages on their side
Police cordoned off the area
Two commuter trains have crashed in the Zimbabwe capital, Harare, injuring at least 90 people, officials say.

A traffic controller "misdirected" the trains onto the same section of track, Deputy Transport Minister Andrew Langa told state radio.

Four carriages overturned and police cordoned off the area, as worried relatives scrambled to find their loved ones.

Railways have become more widely used due to shortages of petrol for buses.

Last year, some 50 people were killed in a train crash in western Zimbabwe.

A spokeswoman for Harare's Parirenyatwa hospital, the largest in the country, Jane Dadzie, said some of the 98 people admitted were in critical condition.

"We are going to investigate the accident and we will punish the culprits," Transport and Communications Minister Chris Mushowe told reporters when he visited the crash scene with several other government ministers.

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Sunday Times - SA
Daily news
Suspected mercenaries lose appeal


South Africa's highest court on Wednesday rejected an appeal by 70 suspected mercenaries held in Zimbabwe who tried to force President Thabo Mbeki's government to seek their extradition.

The Constitutional Court upheld a ruling by the High Court in June that there were insufficient grounds to order the South African government to take action to bring home the 70 men accused of plotting a coup in Equatorial Guinea.

"The Constitutional Court today dismisses the appeal against the judgment of the High Court in Pretoria," Chief Justice Arthur Chaskalson pronounced.

"All the judgments hold that the claim that steps be taken as a matter of urgency by the South African government to seek the extradition of the applicants from Zimbabwe must be dismissed," he said.

The trial of the 70 men opened on July 27 in Harare with most of the alleged soldiers of fortune pleading guilty to minor charges of violating aviation and immigration laws.

The 70 suspected mercenaries, all of whom were carrying South African passports, were arrested on March 7 at Harare airport when their plane made a stopover to pick up weapons they claim were to be used to guard a diamond mine in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

But Zimbabwe authorities claim that the men were on their way to Malabo to join 15 other suspected mercenaries and carry out a coup to topple long-time leader Teodoro Obiang Nguema.

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Doctor asks Valley for funds to run hospital in Zimbabwe

By Matthew Ebnet
Post-Crescent staff writer

APPLETON — The 67-year-old physician returned Tuesday to his home state from a city of about 50,000 in Africa, where he now lives, to make his plea.

He is seeking medical supplies, medicine, monetary donations and moral support.

Anything to help improve the Mvuma, Zimbabwe, hospital he operates, which is less a hospital and more of a final resort, a ramshackle operation of 188 beds, two doctors, 23 nurses and, on average, two deaths a day from AIDS.

Richard Stoughton, of St. Theresa’s Hospital, told the Rotary Club of Appleton that the hospital is overwhelmed. It is bombarded, not only with treating 8,500 cases of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, but also the other ailments that come from living in a Third World country.

“The No. 1 problem is AIDS. But we have all the other health problems, too,” Stoughton said during the afternoon gathering.

“We’re going through some very difficult times … we have a budget of about $250,000 a year. If there were 750 deaths from AIDS in Shawano, we’d be doing a lot more about it.”

Ram Shat, treasurer of the Rotary, who spent 17 years in West Africa before moving to the Fox Cities, said the Rotary business community gathers and sends $250,000 of medical supplies every year to Stoughton in Zimbabwe, a country just above South Africa on the southern tip of the continent.

The supplies could include anything from simple arm slings to antibiotics or defibrillator paddles.

“Personally, the impact of health care is incredible. People go to the hospital as a last resort. When they are sick, it is a (different kind of) sick. It is a desperate sick.”

After spending roughly five years in Zimbabwe (then Rhodesia) in the early 1970s as missionaries, Stoughton and his wife, Loretta, also 67 and a physician, lived about 25 years in Shawano as general practitioners.

When the so-called age of retirement approached, it somehow didn’t feel right.

“I’m too healthy to not do anything,” Stoughton said.

So the couple returned.

Richard and Loretta Stoughton are there as missionaries again, working as an offshoot of the Los Angeles-based Mission Doctors Association. The project is officially called SAMP, the Sharing Around the World Medical Project.

Stoughton and his wife have been back in Zimbabwe for 2½ years, driving an Isuzu truck on bad roads, sometimes making crutches out of simple sticks and wood, trying to help make a 12 million-person country that is chronically tired and sick a little bit healthier, and offer at least a small measure of hope.

Matthew Ebnet can be reached at 920-993-1000, ext. 526, or by e-mail at

The Post Crescent - USA

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Ghana news
General News of Wednesday, 04 August 2004 Next Article

Africa losing nurses to Britain

Concern is mounting in Africa over the growing number of well-educated and much-needed nurses who are leaving the continent for better salaries and working conditions in Britain.

The British nursing register shows the number of nurses being certified from Botswana, Ghana, Malawi, Nigeria, Kenya, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe -- all former British colonies -- has soared since 1999.

As a result, more than 60 per cent of nursing positions remain unfilled in countries such as Ghana and Malawi.

"It's been catastrophic," says Dr. William Aldis, who represents the World Health Organization in Malawi. "The nurses are the ones to hold the situation together at hospitals and they are all leaving."

Sub-Saharan Africa's low-income countries need to more than double their work forces, adding at least 620,000 nurses to be able to tackle the severe health emergencies, according to estimates by the Joint Learning Initiative. The network is coordinated by Harvard University and consists of more than 100 scholars and analysts studying human resources for health.

The nursing shortage is intensifying as foreign aid is beginning to pour into Africa to provide life-saving drugs to millions of people afflicted with AIDS and tuberculosis.

The money includes the first installment on a total of $15 billion promised by U.S. President George W. Bush and $2 billion from the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.

By 2006, Britain is aiming to increase its aid to Africa from £711 million ($1.29 billion) to £1 billion ($1.82 billion).

Ironically, African countries need more nurses in order to utilize the new funding.

"The money will not be of any use if there are no nurses to administer the drugs," says Dr. Dela Dovlo, former director of human resources at Ghana's Ministry of Health.

New rules for recruitment In 2001, Britain recognized the increasing problems in Africa and adopted codes to limit the government's active recruitment of health professionals from developing countries.

But the codes do not apply to private recruitment agencies or private employers. Nor does it prohibit the National Health Service from hiring African nurses who apply on their own. Since the new codes came into effect, more than 7,000 African nurses have registered to work in Britain.

"The effects of the outflow of health professionals has led to the phenomenon of a brain drain," says Dr. Barbara Stillwell, a scientist with the WHO's department of human resources for help in Geneva. "The poor African countries are subsidizing the richer countries with nurses."

Stillwell would like to see more restrictions put in place: "There should be agreements between countries. Nurses should be given the opportunity to migrate, but only for a specific length of time. Two-year contracts could be used to make sure they come back."

However, Stillwell says she recognizes that it would be against human rights to stop people from moving.

According to the Department of Health in Britain, there is little more the UK government can do to prevent the continued migration of African nurses.

"They come because of huge push factors and we can't stop this. Also, it is very difficult to stop private recruiters from recruiting there, but we will soon announce a new clamp down strategy," a government official said.

Chance to better their lives While acknowledging the severe shortage, NHS nurse Rose Haldane says it is only fair that hard-working African women be given a chance to better their lives.

Haldane, who leads a newly developed overseas nurse adaptation course for the Guy and St. Thomas NHS foundation trust in London, says: "African nurses go through a tough recruitment process to get here.... They have made the choice to change their life and we are pleased to give them this chance."

One of Haldane's students worked as a nurse in Nigeria for three years before she decided to come to London.

"They have less equipment at home and nursing is very hard there. Where I was there were 32 beds on a ward with only three qualified nurses. Here there are 27 beds on a ward with six nurses. London is much better."

Another student, a nurse from Sierra Leone, added: "The equipment is better in the UK. In Sierra Leone, we had to improvise due to the lack of equipment. Here in England we have everything we need to treat the ill."

But the departure of young to Britain, has long been a sore subject with Britain's former African colonies.

"Its like a vicious circle," says the WHO's Dr. Aldis. "As more nurses leave the hospitals, the work conditions worsen for the remaining nurses and as a result they are more tempted to leave as well."

Dr. Dovlo, the former Ghana health official, says Africa's future looks bleak if nurse migration continues. "The shortage is likely to dismember the whole health system in Africa," he says.

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Botswana, Zim discuss security issues

8/4/2004 12:30:16 AM (GMT +2)

THE Minister of Labour and Home Affairs, Thebe Mogami and his Zimbabwe counterpart, Kembo Mohadi began bilateral discussions this week on security issues in Vumba, a resort area in eastern Zimbabwe. The meeting between the two ministers comes after preliminary discussions between officials of defence and security from both countries who have been meeting since Tuesday in the resort town, some 200km from Harare. Last Wednesday, Mogami was the guest of honour at a reception held for him in Harare by Mohadi.

A number of issues would be discussed during the two-day conference, including illegal immigration of Zimbabweans into Botswana and criminal activities that they allegedly engage in while in the country.

Mohadi and his team were expected to raise the issue of alleged ill-treatment of Zimbabwean immigrants by law enforcement agents in Botswana. The meeting is being held under the auspices of the permanent joint commission on security issues affecting the two countries and other matters of concern. Mohadi and Mogami are expected to be presented with a draft of the discussions, recommendations and agreements.

The ministers would discuss the draft and make amendments where necessary. They would issue a joint communique after the meeting on Friday. The Vumba conference comes about a month after information ministers from both countries met in Harare to discuss matters pertaining to information exchange. Other meetings have already been held over the past few months on bi-lateral matters.

© Mmegi, 2002
Developed by Cyberplex Africa
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Concourt dismisses coup suspects' appeal

    August 04 2004 at 12:21PM  IOL: AFRICA

The Constitutional Court on Wednesday dismissed an appeal by 69 South Africans held in Harare against a judgment by the Pretoria High Court in June that the government be compelled to assist them.

The men are being held on charges of plotting a coup in Equatorial Guinea. They have since pleaded guilty before a special court in a Harare prison to violations of Zimbabwe's immigration, firearms and security laws.

The men are currently awaiting sentence.

Chief Justice Arthur Chaskalson said on Wednesday the court was divided on some of the issues raised, but its 10 judges were united in the view that the claim as formulated by the men demanding their rights under the South African Constitution was misconceived.

'Not surprisingly, there was no response'
"They also hold that the claim that steps be taken as a matter of urgency by the South African government to seek the extradition of the applicants from Zimbabwe to South Africa must be dismissed," Chaskalson said in giving an overview of the various judgements.

The majority decision, written by Chaskalson, confirmed the order made by Transvaal Judge President Bernard Ngoepe in June that government could not be compelled to demand the return of the men to South Africa or be forced to ensure the men received fair trials and were detained under internationally acceptable conditions.

In his argument he was supported by Deputy Chief Justice Pius Langa and judges Dikgang Moseneke, Lewis Skweyiya, Johann van der Westhuizen and Zak Yacoob.

Judges Sandile Ngcobo and Albie Sachs broadly agreed with the majority view while Justices Kate O'Regan and Yvonne Mokgoro dissented.

In the majority judgment, Chaskalson also chided the lawyers for the men for attempting to rush the process through the media.

"There is no justification for the peremptory manner in which the proceedings were commenced, no satisfactory explanation for the failure to make the demand at the time the media was informed that court proceedings were to be launched. It must have been obvious to the applicants' attorneys that the demands could not reasonably have been responded to (by the government) within twenty four hours," Chaskalson said.

"Not surprisingly, there was no response."

Foreign Affairs spokesperson Ronnie Mamoepa said the department "noted and welcomed" the court's decision.

"We still have to study the full text of the judgment to enable us to comment in greater detail. Nonetheless government will continue to offer consular services to South Africans imprisoned abroad including those in Zimbabwe and Equatorial Guinea," Mamoepa said. - Sapa

  • This article was originally published on August 04, 2004
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From The Washington Post, 4 August
Zimbabwe keeps protest music muffled
By Craig Timberg
Bulawayo - The crowd at the Large City Hall here had become a sweaty, tipsy, swaying throng by the time Oliver Mtukudzi played his most controversial song, "Wasakara." As he sang in his native Shona, "Admit it, you are wrinkled...You are worn out," several members of the crowd pointed upward. There, above the stage, hung a framed portrait of a man wearing a dark suit, with the narrow wisp of a mustache running from his lip to his nose. The picture - the same one found in hotel lobbies, car rental agencies and government offices throughout Zimbabwe - was of 80-year-old Robert Mugabe, the only ruler this southern African nation has known. Such gestures are among the few public protests Zimbabweans still make after years of repression under Mugabe. During the fight against white-minority rule in Rhodesia, which culminated in the creation of independent Zimbabwe in 1980, musicians such as Mtukudzi and Thomas Mapfumo provided the soundtrack. But more than two decades later, Mugabe's government keeps far tighter control over political expression - including music - than Rhodesia ever did.
Zimbabwean musicians say they rarely can get protest songs recorded. When they do, the songs are almost never played on radio stations, all of which are owned by the government. Mtukudzi's music gets airplay, but he has repeatedly disavowed the widespread interpretation of "Wasakara," which translates to English as "You are worn out." He says his songs are based on timeless themes and are not about particular people or events. "Wasakara," he says, is about growing old and the wisdom that comes from experience. But he doesn't begrudge his fans for interpreting a song however they choose. He plays "Wasakara" at almost every public performance. "All my songs work yesterday, today and tomorrow," Mtukudzi said in an interview. "My definition of a good song is a song that the next person is able to use." Mapfumo is far more outspoken, but does most of his talking from the United States, where he moved in 2000 because, he said, it was no longer safe for him or his family in Zimbabwe. He returns for performances each Christmas, but his political songs are rarely played on the radio - a problem he didn't face when the Rhodesian government owned the stations. "It was easier in those days," Mapfumo said in a telephone interview from his home in Oregon. "Today we have a black government's even worse. It's very irritating. You are trying to tell the people the truth, what is happening in their country, and somebody is trying to shut you down."
The muting of protest music comes as Zimbabwe's economy is shrinking, hunger is widespread, the rate of HIV infection is among the world's highest and opposition leaders are frequently harassed by the government. The airwaves, meanwhile, are filled with endless hours of propaganda songs extolling the virtues of Mugabe and his ruling party, Zanu PF. In one song receiving heavy play, pro-government singer Tambaoga complains about British Prime Minister Tony Blair's supposed attempts to reestablish Zimbabwe as a colony, a favorite theme in Mugabe's speeches. The twist is that the word "blair" in Zimbabwe also refers to the crude pit latrines common in rural areas across the country. Tambaoga switches out of Shona to sing the punch line in English: "The only Blair that I know is a toilet." The line provokes amused smiles from many Zimbabweans, even those who dislike Mugabe. But Mapfumo says the song is just another example of the one-sided nature of political debate in Zimbabwe. "Everything is just propaganda. They are trying to fool the people," Mapfumo said. "You cannot call somebody a toilet...I don't think that is right." His most famous protest song is "Mamvemve," a Shona word that translates as "tatters." "The country you used to cry for is now in tatters," Mapfumo sings. "Let's get out of here. The country you used to cry for is now run by crooks."
As the government has restricted political messages in music, protest songs have gone underground. The recordings are sold by musicians, then passed around by hand and copied. Raymond Majongwe, a protest singer, said he had sold a total of 10,000 copies of his four albums, all recorded in South Africa because no Zimbabwean company would produce them. He has tried to deliver them to stores and radio stations, but none would take them, he said. To get a copy of Majongwe's music, fans go to his office at the Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe, of which he is secretary general. He charges the equivalent of $1 for a tape and $2.50 for a CD. In October 2002, he was arrested twice and beaten and tortured by police, who applied electric shocks to his genitals, he said. More recently, in March, Majongwe was targeted in what he said was an assassination attempt. Majongwe, who attributes the government's animosity to both his roles, union leader and protest singer, said he had never tried to hold a public concert because of his fear that police would intervene violently. The situation would be even worse, Majongwe said, if he didn't practice what he called "self-censorship" by never mentioning Mugabe or his ruling party by name in a song. He said that Mtukudzi has made a similar calculation in disavowing the political interpretations of "Wasakara." "He's also a clever politician," Majongwe said. "It's only a fool who will go against the wind. He'd be crushed."
Despite Mtukudzi's caution, police in 2000 interrupted one of his concerts. As he played "Wasakara," a lighting technician aimed a spotlight on the picture of Mugabe near the stage. Police arrested the technician and kept him in a squalid cell for four days, according to reports. Two years later, during hotly contested national elections marked by extensive political violence and reports of vote-rigging, Mtukudzi released another album, "Vhunze Moto," which in Shona means "burning ember." Several of the songs revived debate about whether he was slipping subtle political messages into his lyrics. The album cover pictured a bright yellow flame covering a map of Zimbabwe. Mtukudzi again said the controversy resulted from coincidences and misinterpretations. He also has made clear that he has no desire to follow Mapfumo into exile, despite the difficult times in his country. "Zimbabwe is home," Mtukudzi said. "What can I do?"
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