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A Bleak Christmas for Zimbabwe

Institute for War and Peace Reporting

The accelerating economic decline means most people won't even be able to
afford the small luxuries of Christmases past.

By Dzikamai Chidyausku in Harare (Africa Reports No 48, 13-Dec-05)

There will be no real Christmas in Zimbabwe. Yes, December 25 will come and
go in this largely Christian country. But there won't be the kind of merry
Christmas that Zimbabweans recall from earlier times, even in the
pre-independence years of white minority rule. This Christmas, even though
it comes at the height of summer will be bleak indeed.

In the old days, that is until about five years ago, families in the rural
areas anticipated the return of fathers and uncles from work in the cities
with bags full of goodies. Every child would get new clothes - colourful
frocks for the girls, trousers and T-shirts for the boys - and a pair of
trainers.You were a king if you received a pair of black BATA Tenderfoot

The atmosphere would be taut with anticipation. On Christmas Eve, the
children would scrub themselves clean in the river and the soles of their
feet would be cleared of the calluses from their long barefoot journeys to

In my village, welcoming father back home at Christmas was something akin to
a celebration of manhood. Besides the clothes, there would be plenty of
biscuits, sweets, fizzy drinks and the latest music cassettes.

On Christmas Day, we children would wake early and clean the yard before
rushing to the river for another bath, while mother prepared tea in
bucketfuls, with fresh milk from the cows in the pen and cupfuls of sugar.
Everything would be plentiful on that day. Thick slices of bread, buttercup
yellow with margarine and scarlet red with Sun Jam would be eaten as if
there were no tomorrow. A goat and some chickens would be slaughtered, and
both meat and rice - a luxury - would be plentiful. Then would follow the
pilgrimage to neighbours to show off the new clothes. Guests would drop in
and we would sing and dance until beyond New Year's Day.

In towns, the story was much the same, but perhaps with richer and more
exotic fare than the bread and rice that meant so much to my family.

Not this year. Most of the 11.5 million Zimbabweans still in the country -
some 3.5 million others have fled abroad - will sleep on empty stomachs this
Christmas night.

The harsh impact of a crumbling economy, meagre salaries and food shortages
will combine to ensure that Zimbabweans have the most miserable Christmas
ever. Unemployment is approaching 90 per cent and inflation has topped 500
per cent, and there are now so many zeros on most price tags that
calculators, designed for only eight digits, are useless for our daily
calculations. Pickpocketing, once almost a national pastime, has gone out of
fashion, as stealing a full purse will not buy you a single sweet or
cigarette, and you need a carrier bag full of Zimbabwe dollars to buy a
bottle of beer.

At the Christmas of 1980, the first after independence from Britain, a
top-of-the-range shirt would have cost five Zimbabwean dollars. Now the
cheapest costs in excess of 1.2 million. In just over six years, our
currency has lost 99.9 per cent of its value.

In the past 15 years, average life expectancy has fallen from 60 to 30

With the majority of people still battling to rebuild their lives after the
disastrous effects of the ruling ZANU PF government's Operation
Murambatsvina (Operation Drive Out The Rubbish) six months ago, in which
hundreds of thousands of people saw their homes destroyed by government
police and militias, few can afford the goodies normally associated with
Christmas Day. The situation is so desperate that even tea and bread have
become luxuries for most Zimbabwean families.

"We have been selling the bricks from our destroyed homes to get food, but I
don't know what I will eat on Christmas Day," said Norman Muchero, an
unemployed labourer whose home in the Harare working class suburb of
Whitecliff Farm was razed by bulldozers under the supervision of soldiers
and police. He now lives in a cardboard, plastic and corrugated iron shack
barely two metres high. He expects to spend Christmas desperately trying to
mend the leaking holes in its roof to protect his family of four from the
heavy rain of the summer thunderstorms.

Muchero remembers that, despite his poverty last year, he managed to buy his
family new clothes and a treat or two to celebrate Christmas. "At least I
bought a few drinks and bought some clothes for the kids from my odd jobs,"
he said. "They were happy. But this year I just don't know what I will tell
them, because there will be nothing."

Life has always been hard for most ordinary Zimbabweans, but if they had
tightened their belts in the months before Christmas, there would be enough
to celebrate the holiday and hope for brighter prospects in the new year.

But Zimbabwe's desperate economic and political crisis, which began when
President Mugabe ordered the invasions of prosperous white commercial farms
in 2000, leading to massive food shortages, has changed all that.

Three meals a day are merely memories, and travel almost impossible, because
when petrol is available, it is prohibitively expensive. So this year, even
those who have jobs will be hard put to get back to their traditional rural
homes. Most people in work earn less than 2.5 million Zimbawean dollars [25
US dollars] a month. The World Bank has dubbed the economic crisis the worst
ever seen for a country not actually at war.

Even a highly qualified Harare schoolteacher like Munetsi Gobvu, a
35-year-old fending for his wife and four children, anticipates hunger for
his family this Christmas. This month, Gobvu will get a "13th month" bonus
payment, so he will have an extra 3.5 million Zimbabwean dollars to take

But the Gobvus are still close to destitute. "My children will be lucky if I
have enough money to buy bread this Christmas," said Gobvu, who has taught
in government schools for the past ten years. "My first-born will be going
to high school next year and they want 14 million Zimbabwean dollars for the
boarding fees."

What with other outgoings for school education and food for the family and
medicine and doctor's fees for his sick mother, Gobvu's finances are in deep
trouble. "Don't insult me by talking of a Christmas party or toys for my
children," he said IWPR. "I'm sinking further and further into debt. I'm
totally disillusioned."

The grim joke about inflation goes, "We're all millionaires now - Zimbabwe
must be the richest country in the world."

The plight of people like Gobvu got worse when the pace of inflation
accelerated in reaction to the government's budget in late November, in
which rates and other municipal tariffs were increased by up to 2,000 per

Before Operation Murambatsvina, some 70 per cent of all able-bodied people
were unemployed. That figure has leapt to nearly 90 per cent because the
"clean-up" operation all but destroyed the informal sector - small carpentry
businesses, roadside shoe repairers, barber shops on upturned beer crates,
fruit stalls - where people earned small livings.

The economic crisis has not even spared the army, which Mugabe relies upon
heavily to suppress discontent. A private soldier earns only 2.5 million
Zimbabwean dollars a month.

"I won't be taking my normal Christmas off this year, because I have nothing
to bring my mother," said Thomas, who became a soldier two years ago. Almost
all of his salary goes on the rent of a single room in an outer suburb. "To
think of the Christmases that I used to enjoy when I was young pains me," he
said. "Now I am working, but can't afford all that."

Dzikamai Chidyausku is a pseudonym used by a journalist in Zimbabwe.

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Zimbabwe Family Mourns AIDS Death

Institute for War and Peace Reporting

Cousin's illness gave the author an insight into the desperate state of
Zimbabwe's healthcare system.

By J.J. Zhou in Harare (Africa Reports No 48, 13-Dec-05)

He called me on my mobile two days after the police had flattened his home
in the Harare suburb of Mbare during President Robert Mugabe's now notorious
Operation Murambatsvina [Drive Out The Rubbish].

He had nowhere to go, he said, and had spent the previous two wintry nights
on the side of the road with his four-year old son. His wife had deserted
him earlier when the ravages of Zimbabwe's urban poverty became worse than

I told him he could come to my place. He was my first cousin and in our
Shona society that meant he was family, and there was no way I could refuse
to help him in his hour of need.

A four square metre wooden shack had been his home for a long time, so its
destruction by the government was deeply traumatic - as it was for at least
700,000 other Zimbabweans made homeless by Drive Out The Rubbish. He had
been orphaned when he was a schoolboy back in the mid-Eighties and did not
have a rural home to go back to, which is what the ruling ZANU PF government
suggested to those whose homes it wrecked.

Unfortunately, I did not have much space so I could only offer him the use
of my garage, which had a small cooking stove and a door with access to our
house and the bathroom. Down the phone, I sensed his relief. The garage was
a much more comfortable and spacious dwelling than any he had lived in since
he lost his full-time job 15 years earlier.

Once he settled in with his son, he tried his best to live a normal life. He
would cycle every morning to the market where he touted for odd jobs.
Initially, he took his son with him, but that became impractical. So we said
our maid would look after the boy, a frolicsome, cheerful child who enjoyed
playing in the street with the other kids.

Then my cousin's life changed dramatically. One morning he woke up with half
his face covered in a rash of ugly blisters and purple splodges. After my
doctor had conducted tests came the shocking news: my cousin had herpes but
was also HIV-positive. The sores were symptoms of Karposi's sarcoma, a skin
cancer that is one of the most insidious opportunistic infections associated
with the HIV virus.

We were all completely shattered. To make things worse, my cousin was soon
completely immobilised as immense pain developed in his spine. He now spent
his days lying on his back, and could not sit up at all. His meagre market
earnings were no more. This badly dented his pride since he wanted to work
and contribute to his upkeep and that of his son, no matter how menial the
task he found at the market.

More and more frequently, he called me in the middle of the night to take
him to the toilet because he had severe diarrhoea. He lost his appetite and
went for days without eating.

The hospital did a CD4 cell count, an indicator of the strength of an
individual's immune system which goes down as HIV progresses. His was 83,
way under the benchmark 200, the point at which doctors put people with AIDS
on anti-retroviral drug.

The hospital said they would get the drugs, but he would first have to
undergo weeks of counselling before they would administer the first dose.
This was so difficult for me to understand, because you did not need to be a
medical expert to see that if he was to be saved at all he needed them

I soon discovered that the hospital had in fact run out of anti-retroviral
drugs and that because of the pariah status of my country, 500 per cent
inflation and a dire shortage of foreign exchange they could not be procured

As my cousin waited, we could see him slowly losing his zest for life. Often
he talked about the hopelessness he felt for his son's future. He was
literally surviving on water. He did not even have appetite for fruit. The
doctor gave him stronger and stronger painkillers.

When the anti-retrovirals finally came he lit up with hope. We all thought,
given our lack of expertise about HIV/AIDS, that the effect would be
immediate, but 14 days after his first dose there was no improvement. He had
not responded positively to medication. The doctor put him on morphine,
because his Karposi's sarcoma had advanced badly. His back pain had become

The hospital refused to admit him, saying he was terminally ill. We did not
have enough money to hire a private nurse. He asked for crutches to help him
get to the toilet.

My cousin talked more and more about his son's future and began cursing
Robert Mugabe. He had been a staunch supporter of Mugabe and the ruling
ZANU-PF party, so much so that even when the majority of people living in
Zimbabwe's towns and cities swung to the opposition Movement for Democratic
Change he remained firmly behind Mugabe.

No one knows exactly what he had got up to in Mbare during the ugly events
preceding the violent March 2005 general elections. I think it is possible
he was a member of one of Mugabe's vigilante groups who terrorised the
ordinary people of Mbare who showed open support for the opposition.

When he moved in, it struck me that he had never imagined in his wildest
dreams that Mugabe could be so cruel as to destroy people's houses. It was
not my cousin of old. He had seen the bulldozers for himself and military
men beating up old women who could not understand why their homes were being

Eventually he began messing his bed, an eventuality we had anticipated but
dreaded. I thought there were limits to what I, his cousin, should be
obliged to do. However, I could not ask our maid to clean him up and for
cultural reasons my wife could never go anywhere near him.

Care fatigue was setting in. We asked other family members for help, but
they were too busy with their lives to spare the time. I desperately sought
someone to share the task of cleaning him regularly. I found his nephew, his
sister's son. He was duty bound to sit through what were now clearly his
uncle's death throes.

At the end, my cousin literally died in my arms as we were cleaning him,
still hoping the hospital would be merciful enough to admit him and give him
expert care in his last hours.

At the moment he died, his son was playing, as usual, with other kids on the
street. It has not yet registered in his young mind what had happened to his
father. We have taken on my cousin's boy as our own second son. I now have
to prepare mentally and spiritually for the day when my new son will ask me
what caused his real father to leave this earth.

J.J. Zhou is the pseudonym of an IWPR contributor in Zimbabwe.

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Ashleigh to help others in their struggle to gain asylum

Sent: Wednesday, December 14, 2005 12:16 AM
Subject: Latest news


09:30 - 12 December 2005
A Young Zimbabwean woman fighting the threat of deportation was today
travelling to London to lend her support to others in the same

Ashleigh McMaster, 20, lives in Keyingham, near Hedon, and has been
fighting for three years for the right to stay in the UK, rather than
return to her native Zimbabwe.

Ashleigh, whose immediate family all live in the UK, believes she faces
physical danger and imprisonment if she is forced to return to Zimbabwe.

Ashleigh and her father, Gary, have been invited by Beverley and
Holderness MP Graham Stuart to attend a discussion and rally in London
today in support of Zimbabwean professionals.

Ashleigh said: "There are a lot of Zimbabwean professionals, such as
doctors and nurses, who have skills the UK needs, but aren't allowed to
put them into practice. They also run the risk of their skills becoming
obsolete through lack of use.

"The event is being held on behalf of the professionals to try to get
some sort of work permit."

Ashleigh and her father have been asked to attend, along with a number
of other asylum-seekers fighting for the right to stay in the country.

Ashleigh fled to the UK in 2003 after being told she would be
conscripted to the national youth service, where women are said to be
routinely raped, tortured and sometimes killed.

Her father, stepmother and two sisters and brother all have the right to
live in the UK for various reasons, but Ashleigh faces deportation.

To support her case to stay in the UK, she was asked to compile personal
evidence from family members remaining in Zimbabwe about the dangers she
could face if deported.

At personal risk of violence and assaults if found out, Ashleigh's
mother and grandparents wrote letters backing up her case.

The letters were sent to the Home Office last month and the McMaster
family was told to expect a decision shortly.

But Ashleigh is still waiting for news, and is preparing herself for
whatever decision is made.

She said: "It's difficult not knowing what I will be doing in a few
days, weeks or months. I don't even know if I will still be here for
Christmas. It's so frustrating not being able to work or make plans. I
want to get on with my life."

Ashleigh said Mr Stuart had been very supportive and told her he will be
pressing the Home Office for a decision.

She said she thought she may not get a decision now until after
Christmas and New Year.

"It feels like walking on eggshells," she said. "Thankfully, my family
are here to support me in whatever decision is made."

An online petition launched in support of Ashleigh McMaster's campaign
had this morning attracted 691 names.


Ashleigh McMaster petition online

Home Office

What do you think?


Write: The People's Voice, the Mail, Blundell's Corner, Beverley Road,
Hull, HU3 1XS

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'I just suffered the pain'

The Guardian

Thomas, a failed asylum seeker who fled Zimbabwe, describes why he was
terrified to seek medical treatment for his agonising kidney stones

Wednesday December 14, 2005

One night I started coughing up blood from my mouth and nose. It was lots of
blood and my fellow Zimbabweans who I was staying with didn't know what to
do. We were all frightened about going to hospital because of our status.
Instead, they knocked on the door of a British neighbour and the woman took
me to hospital. I was scared but I had no choice. I was frightened to write
down my own details in case they called the police, so I told them the wrong

They treated me by putting a tube into my mouth and nose and they put me on
a drip. I was in the hospital for five days. All the time, I was frightened
that any time they might come and say they knew who I was, but I was treated
well. I was too scared to tell them about my kidney stones in case they
wanted to know who my GP was.

I have had kidney stones since I was living in Zimbabwe. To go to the toilet
is agony and sometimes I pass blood. I was really scared of going to the
doctors after my case for asylum was refused in case they informed the
police or the Home Office. So instead I just suffered the pain. Some nights
I feel like I am dying. I am doubled up in pain. I had spoken to a
caseworker about whether I could still go to the doctors and he said I
probably could but it might be dangerous because of my status. My HC2 form,
which entitles me to free health care, ran out.

The hospital thought I had food poisoning. After I was discharged, they
telephoned me and asked me to come for more check-ups but I couldn't go
because l thought maybe they had discovered who I was and they would take me
back to Zimbabwe.

Now that the government have suspended removals to Zimbabwe I am going to
try to register with a GP. But I know that could be difficult now that
doctors don't have to give free healthcare to failed asylum seekers unless
it is an emergency. I can't afford to pay for the medication I need. If I
was allowed to work I could afford to pay for a prescription and then at
least I wouldn't suffer pain. I fear the winter, I suffer pain mostly in the
cold, and I fear that again I am going to be totally destitute.

Thomas (not his real name) is living destitute in Manchester. In April, he
wrote about his experiences of being driven underground and why he feared
for his life if he was sent back to Mugabe's regime.

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Destitution among Zimbabwean asylum seekers in the UK

Black Britain

      Category: uk Dated: 14/12/2005
      A lack of support is being given to Zimbabwean asylum seekers in the
UK, which has left individuals living in poverty and excluded from gaining
work in the UK, says the Refugee Council.

      Krystle Osafo Jones : Email Krystle
      Copyright © The Colourful Network

Currently, the situation with Zimbabweans in the UK is extremely critical.
These asylum seekers have come to the UK from a country which suffers from
the severe domination of Robert Mugabe, according to campaigners.

However, these conditions do not qualify them for any superior treatment
from the British authorities. In fact, Zimbabwean asylum seekers do not
possess any status in the UK and therefore cannot claim support or benefits
to even maintain an average lifestyle in the UK.

In light of this, if these asylum seekers have applied for refuge in the UK
and received failed applications, some support is available to them, however
it remains very limited.

Zimbabwean asylum seekers have to attempt to survive independently in the

Last week, Tony McNulty, the Immigration Minister said if an asylum seeker's
application is denied, there remains to be adequate support for them in the

The Immigration Minister believes the government is not responsible for
failed asylum seekers destitution.

Opposing his opinion, the Refugee Council and All Party Parliament Group
(APPG) on Zimbabwe attended a news conference in the House of Common on
Monday, to address issues of poverty and work prospects asylum seekers in
the UK.

Both the Refugee Council and APPG on Zimbabwe have made calls for
Zimbabweans to be immediately regularised in the UK.

The two bodies want to ensure that Zimbabwean asylum seekers gain rights to
work but without the possibility of them being sent back to Zimbabwe,
especially under the country's current condition.

The Refugee Council found 200 Zimbabweans were returned to their country in
the earlier part of this year, and felt it was an issue.

Concern grew for the safety of those who were sent back to Zimbabwe and in
tern encouraged the Zimbabweans who were held in detention camps to go on
hunger strikes to bring the issues of the South African country to the
forefront of the media.

Kate Hoey, Chairwomen for the A.P.P.G on Zimbabwe said:

"There are Zimbabweans I know personally who have been reduced to
destitution within the past few weeks even though they have skills we really
need in this country such as teaching and nursing.

"We can't send them back to Mugabe's tyranny, so it is common sense they
should be allowed to work for their living."

Maeve Sherlock, Chief Executive of the Refugee Council said:

"It is inexcusable that we are still forcing vulnerable people into
destitution. It is even worse that many of these people have valuable skills
and talents that could benefit both the UK economy and society.

"If people are unable to return home, they should be properly supported and
offered the opportunity to work and contribute."

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Spy's release ends diplomatic tug of war

Business Day

Dumisani Muleya


Harare Correspondent

THE South African Secret Service officer who was held in Zimbabwe on
espionage charges was released yesterday after nearly a year in detention.

Aubrey Welken, also known as Andrew Brown, was released and deported
immediately. He was arrested a year ago at Victoria Falls by Zimbabwe's
Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO).

Welken, who lives in Pretoria, was handed over to Intelligence Minister
Ronnie Kasrils at Harare International Airport by his counterpart, Didymus

The intelligence officer was seen off at the airport by South African
ambassador to Harare Mlungisi Makhalima and senior government officials.

Mutasa confirmed Welken's release. "He was released around midday
(yesterday) and has since left for SA," he said.

The move followed sustained pressure from SA on Harare to release Welken.

Five alleged spies linked to SA were also arrested at the same time after a
CIO swoop on a suspected South African intelligence network in Zimbabwe.
They were Zimbabwe's ambassador-designate to Mozambique, Godfrey Dzvairo,
Zanu (PF) foreign affairs director Itai Marchi Banerk, Tendai Matambanadzo,
a Metropolitan Bank director, Zanu (PF) deputy security chief Kenny Karidza
and former Zanu (PF) MP Phillip Chiyangwa.

A CIO officer, Elisha Muyemeki, now dead, was also arrested at the same time
for failing to report to his bosses a secret meeting he had with a South
African spy who botched a plot to recruit him.

A Switzerland-based Zimbabwean diplomat, Erasmus Moyo, was said to have
escaped arrest by disappearing at Geneva airport last year.

Dzvairo, also Zimbabwe's former consul-general to SA, was sentenced to six
years, while Matambanadzo and Marchi were jailed for five years each.

Chiyangwa was released by the high court, but the state said it had not
dropped the case.

Karidza is still on trial.

Sources said Harare took time to release Welken because it wanted to strike
a deal with him to act as a witness against Karidza in exchange for freedom.

However, this seems to have failed as the case against Karidza appears to
have foundered.

Welken was quoted by Zimbabwe's state television yesterday as having said he
"appreciated the gesture extended to him by the Zimbabwean government", and
apologised for spying against the country.

Kasrils reportedly said Welken's arrest "would not damage the sound
relations that exists between the two countries".

Mutasa said Zimbabwe and SA "share a lot in common, and co-operation in
various fields should be further strengthened".

However, SA had to fight to secure Welken's release, which put a strain on
diplomatic relations behind the scenes.

Kasrils visited Mutasa on May 23 to negotiate Welken's release.

The ministers also discussed the issue during the two countries' bilateral
meeting on state security and intelligence issues in Cape Town recently.

Zimbabwe and SA signed a memorandum of co-operation on intelligence matters,
although Pretoria has denied it agreed to help Harare to monitor
nongovernmental organisations that President Robert Mugabe accuses of trying
to topple his regime.

In between there were a number of diplomatic negotiations on the matter.

Welken's wife also visited Harare several times to see him and plead for his

The saga almost escalated into a crisis early this year after SA arrested
two Zimbabwean intelligence officers at Tshipise, near Musina, where they
were meant to monitor a meeting of leaders of the South African Congress of
Trade Unions and Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions.

Although SA released the two Zimbabwean officers, Harare rejected a number
of overtures to release Welken.

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SA spy to return to Zimbabwe for testimony


December 14, 2005, 06:00

Aubrey Welken, a South African spy, will have to return to Zimbabwe next
year to testify in a trial relating to his arrest.

He was released from a Zimbabwean safe house yesterday, after he was held
for a year over allegations that he spied on the Harare government.

He was brought back to South Africa by Ronnie Kasrils, the intelligence
minister, on a chartered plane.

Addressing a brief press conference with Kasrils, Welken said it had been
his own decision to cross from Zambia into Zimbabwe, where he was arrested
on December 10 last year.

He had reportedly been lured into entering the country.

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Zimbabwe Opposition Factions Dispute Provincial Reshuffle


By Chinedu Offor
      13 December 2005

The faction of Zimbabwe's Movement for Democratic Change defined by its
opposition to the new senate and led by party president Morgan Tsvangirai
has moved to revamp provincial party chapters, but the opposing pro-senate
faction has charged that the exercise is designed to remove party officials
who do not back Mr. Tsvangirai.

Nelson Chamisa, an MDC spokesman representing the faction lined up behind
Mr. Tsvangirai, told reporter Chinedu Offor for VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe
that the restructuring of provincial offices was required by the MDC
constitution to prepare for an upcoming party congress called to work out
differences between the factions.

Mr. Chamisa added that the overhaul will strengthen party structures so that
the party can better resist ruling party incursions into MDC strongholds
based on the house and senate supermajorities ZANU-PF secured in March and
November 2005 elections.

But the faction lined up behind MDC Secretary General Welshman Ncube, which
ran candidates in the Nov. 26 senate election in defiance of the boycott
called by Mr. Tsvangirai and won just seven of 50 elected seats, said the
reorganization of the party's provincial structures is meant to reinforce
the Tsvangirai faction.

MDC Deputy Secretary General Gift Chimanikire, speaking for the pro-senate
faction, charged that the Tsvangirai faction was carrying out the exercise
in disregard of the party constitution. He said there is no need for
provincial reorganization because the party has firmed up its support base
despite pressure from the ruling party.

Mr. Chimanikire said the anti-senate faction is quietly removing provincial
officials who are thought to be sympathetic to the faction that contested
last month's election.

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Mawere linked to Kanyemba Uranium bidders

Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe

Shame Makoshori
issue date :2005-Dec-14

TROUBLED South African based businessman, Mutumwa Mawere has been linked to
Kudu Resources, an unregistered company that has submitted bids for the
Kanyemba Uranium and Vanadium deposits, The Business Mirror has established.
   The concession, which harbours a mineral belt stretching over an
800-kilometre expanse containing 30 kilometres of yet to be explored ground
has in recent months been at the centre of renewed optimism in Zimbabwe's
troubled mining industry.
Anticipated exploration success would lead to injection of Foreign Direct
Investment (FDI) of between US$30 million and US$40 million.
The project is projected to unlock 150 employment opportunities with annual
foreign currency inflows totalling at least US$50 million.
Authoritative sources in the Ministry of Mines and other bidding companies
said the bidding period ended in June.
However, a local businessman (name supplied) with close links to Mawere and
a business consultant and media analyst based in Namibia (name supplied)
also with close links to the former SMM Holdings chairman are alleged to be
used by Mawere in the investment. Mawere's businesses were nationalised by
the government last year on allegations that he had externalised US$300
His alleged proxies are also understood to have forced adjudication
officials to extend the bidding period so that they would submit a new
project proposal as Kudu Resources after they were allegedly elbowed out  of
the bidding companies. Mawere this week denied the allegations. He said he
had no interests in investing in Zimbabwe  until the finalisation of a
pending court case.
"It is unfortunate that you appear to be dragging me into areas I have no
interest in.
"My assets have been nationalised in Zimbabwe.
"While that case is pending in the courts, it would be foolish on my part to
be involved in any investment opportunity in Zimbabwe.
"I have no direct or indirect interest in the company you refer to, I know
the business consultant but I have not been working with him. I have not
personally seen him for the past several months.
"I believe that he spends most of his time in Namibia. The Zimbabwean
businessman you refer to worked for FSI Agricom (Mawere's former company)
until last year when the government nationalised my companies," said Mawere.
He said since the nationalisation of his companies, his focus had changed
from Zimbabwe because "the government felt that my initiatives are not
welcome for the development of the country. "Equally the businessmen would
be foolhardy to approach me knowing fully well the manner in which I have
been treated by the government of Zimbabwe."
The Namibian based business consultants and media analysts have in recent
months been appearing in both the electronic and  public print media
supporting government policies.This has been interpreted as a public
relations campaign to win official hearts ahead of the determination of the
winning bid.
Other bidding companies include  Australian registered concerns Africa
Energy,  Omega Corporation, Perigil, Benadale and Lowenbrau.
"The common denominator is that the unregistered Kudu Resources' directors
are all linked to Mawere. Given their background they have no capacity to
operate a project of that magnitude," said the sources.
Records at the Registrar of Companies indicate that the only company
registered as Kudu Resources, registration number 14404/2005 was
incorporated on August 15 after bids closed.
Neither of the mentioned directors is on the list of directors, invoking the
concerns among the bidding firms that the ministry could have allowed an
unregistered company to enter the bid.
 The Kanyemba Project would be carried out in five phases that are projected
to suck up capital as follows; Phase 1 US$55 000, Phase 2 US$75 000, Phase 3
US$100 000, Phase 4, US$200 000, and Phase 5 US$375 000 which sums up to
US$805 000.
Until yesterday, the ministry of mines had not responded to questions hand-
delivered on October 14.

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Population explosion fuels Harare problems

Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe

The Daily Mirror Reporter
issue date :2005-Dec-14

ACUTE problems of poor service delivery bedevilling Harare have been
worsened by a population explosion that has seen at least three million
people using resources designed for only a million residents, the
municiaplity's Town Clerk Nomutsa Chideya, has said.
He told the inaugural stakeholders meeting discussing the capital city's
turnaround strategy on Monday that the ballooning population had partly
contributed to the decline in service delivery since the city's
infrastructure was overstretched and overwhelmed.
"Some of the problems affecting Harare have to be understood from a
historical background. The City of Harare was created for whites in the
colonial era and a few blacks that provided labour," Chideya said. "At the
moment, the city has a population of three million people while the
infrastructure can take care of one million people or so."
Percy Toriro from Harare's Business Development Unit (BDU) also noted that,
of the city's three million dwellers, only 200 000 were paying rates and
"Of the three million people, only 200 000 are rate payers. This means each
ratepayer carries 15 "free riders," meaning some people are enjoying our
services for free," he said.
Toriro also said the city's financial position had been worsened by the
withdrawal of donor funding for strategic infrastructure such as schools and
roads by monetary institutions like the World Bank and the International
Monetary Fund (IMF) during the early 1990s.
Harare, which is being administered by a commission chaired by Sekesai
Makwavarara  whose term was extended by six months, has embarked on a
turnaround strategy to improve service delivery and has created four
Strategic Business Units (SBUs) to operate autonomously, nine
semi-autonomous agencies and 13 self-sustaining sectors that would be under
central administration.
Commenting on reports that Harare had failed to access Reserve Bank of
Zimbabwe (RBZ) support after the central bank questioned the credentials of
some of those hired to lead the SBUs, the capital's strategist Chester
Mhende said: "Central bank has not released funds because there were a
number of structures that needed to be put in place. We needed to ring-fence
the SBUs, for example, in the form of Articles of Association. The utilities
will now be driven by a service charter."
Mhende said, there was also need to clarify to the RBZ on procurement
procedures of some utilities needing selective tendering for specialist
He, however, professed ignorance that the central bank was unsure of council
employees' competence, saying they had designed performance-based contracts
for all heads of departments and directors in the turnaround programme.
Head of the Business Unit, Alois Masepe declined to comment on the suspended
city officials arguing the matter was internal and would prejudice investigations.
The city suspended chamber secretary Josephine Ncube, director of works Psychology Chiwanga,
director of housing and community services Numero Mubayiwa,
and four senior municipal police officers.

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NGO holds fund-raising walk

Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe

The Daily Mirror Reporter
issue date :2005-Dec-14

WORLD Vision Zimbabwe, a Christian-based non-governmental organisation, last
Saturday held a 10 km sponsored walk from Mt Pleasant to Westgate to raise
$10 billion for the provision of shelter for orphans in Lupane and Mudzi
Dubbed "Making a difference in children's lives," the sponsored walk is
aimed at improving the lives of the underprivileged through mobilising local
resources rather than depending on external partners only.
"Local resource mobilisation is a key component of the corporate service
function which strives and intends to acquire adequate resources from local
partners and effectively utilise them among disadvantaged Zimbabwean
communities," World Vision communications manager Stewart Muchapera, said.
"World Vision will add value to the corporation's donations by facilitating
the implementation of a wide range of projects to benefit communities."
Muchapera said the level of requirements in the programmes and the geography
covered by these schemes has increased considerably hence demand for more
resources continued.
   "Demand for the resources to meet the expanding programmes continue to
grow. The increasing need for resources to promote transformational
development cannot be adequately supported by external partners alone, hence
the need to mobilize resources locally," he explained.
Key problems affecting communities include low food productivity, inadequate
schools, inadequate health facilities and poverty in most households.
The HIV and Aids pandemic has further worsened the situation as Zimbabwe has
more than 1,5 million orphans against shrinking resources.

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Reminder: Please vote for 'This is Zimbabwe'

Sokwanele - Enough is Enough - Zimbabwe

Sokwanele Reminder: 13 December 2005

Voting closes in a couple of days in the 2005 Weblog Awards and, as you will all know by now, Sokwanele's blog - 'This is Zimbabwe' - was selected as one of the fifteen finalists in the Best Middle East or Africa blog category.

The voting results currently stand as follows at the time of writing this reminder email:

Iraq the Model (1540)
Regime Change Iran (1536)
Rantings of a Sandmonkey (661)
This is Zimbabwe (514)
Israelly Cool (344)
The Religious Policeman (231)
6000 Miles from Civilisation (150)
Secret Dubai (65)
Timbuktu Chronicles (50)
The Fishbowl (35)
360 Degrees of Sky (33)
Voice in the Desert (29)
Mission Safari (8)
Digital Africa (8)
Jared's Mozambique (7)

We are coming fourth in our category, but second out of the African blogs. It would be great if we could give 'the Sandmonkey' a run for his money (Egypt) and come first out of the African blogs.

But, as you can see, we need a last push from you !

Please, can you go vote for us by clicking here, or by clicking on the flashing icon in the right hand colomn on our blog. Our blog can be found at

It should take you less than a minute to vote! But if you have problems voting, please send us an email and let us know so we can feed back to the organisers.

Please remember that you can vote once a day - in other words, today and again tomorrow. Diaspora Zimbabweans in Australia - and early risers in Zimbabwe - can vote on the morning of the 16th as well !

Voting officially closes at this time: 11:59:00 p.m. Thursday December 15, 2005 USA - Eastern time

This means that voting closes at the following times in other cities around the world:

Many thanks for all your support,

Sokwanele - Zvakwana - Enough is Enough

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Visit our blog: This is Zimbabwe (Sokwanele blog)

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Sokwanele does not endorse the editorial policy of any source or website except its own. It retains full copyright on its own articles, which may be reproduced or distributed but may not be materially altered in any way. Reproduced articles must clearly show the source and owner of copyright, together with any other notices originally contained therein, as well as the original date of publication. Sokwanele does not accept responsibility for any loss or damage arising in any way from receipt of this email or use thereof. This document, or any part thereof, may not be distributed for profit.

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