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

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Zim Online

Tue 14 December 2004
  HARARE - Top leaders of President Robert Mugabe's ruling ZANU PF party
have said the bitter wrangling over his successor could weaken the party's
performance in next year's general election.

      In a confidential report of the party's key central committee made
available to ZimOnline, the committee said rifts between rival factions out
to position their candidates to take over when Mugabe retires in about three
years time were having negative impact on the party and could see it losing
votes in the March 2005 poll.

      The central committee is ZANU PF's highest decision-making body
outside the party's congress held after every five years.

      In an open admission that infighting over Mugabe's successor was
weakening ZANU PF, the committee said: "The party's performance as we go to
elections is likely to be affected by perennial political rifts evidenced by
factions within the party which will have a negative impact on ZANU PF's
political fortunes across provinces."

      Mugabe two weeks ago suspended six out of ZANU PF's 10 provincial
chairmen after they had ganged up to block his instruction that Joyce Mujuru
be appointed party co-vice-president.

      Mujuru has since been appointed co-vice-president of Zimbabwe joining
Joseph Msika with whom she is also co-vice-president of ZANU PF. Msika and
Mugabe are set to retire at the same time leaving Mujuru best positioned to
take over as ZANU PF and possibly Zimbabwe's president.

      The surprise ascension of Mujuru ahead of parliamentary speaker
Emmerson Mnangagwa ditched by Mugabe at the last minute has left ZANU PF
sharply divided. The six suspended chairmen as well as influential
government information minister and propaganda chief, Jonathan Moyo, backed
Mnangagwa for the vice-presidency.

      The central committee said infighting had "eroded the image of the
party as a solid cohesive entity" and could see supporters staying away from
the poll where ZANU PF is likely to face a stern test from the main
opposition Movement for Democratic Change.

      "Factionalism fuels voter apathy . . . voter apathy and protest votes
are a symptom of a much larger problem within the party," the report reads
in part. - ZimOnline
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Zim Online

Mugabe to use election to tighten grip on power: analysts
Tue 14 December 2004
  PRETORIA - President Robert Mugabe and his ruling ZANU PF party will use
Zimbabwe's parliamentary election next year to tighten further their grip on
power, analysts said yesterday.

      They said the opposition could not win under prevailing conditions in
crisis-torn Zimbabwe which they said favoured ZANU PF and Mugabe - in power
since independence from Britain in 1980 - to consolidate their rule.

      "(The election) will just help to consolidate ZANU PF, it will
consolidate authoritarian rule in Zimbabwe," University of Zimbabwe
Institute of Development Studies professor Brian Raftopoulos told a seminar
on Zimbabwe hosted here yesterday by the South Africa Institute for Security

      He added: "It will not resolve the fundamental issues around economic
reconstruction and democratisation."

      Zimbabwe is grappling its worst ever economic and political crisis
which critics blame on Mugabe and ZANU PF's mismanagement of the economy and
its failure to uphold democracy, rule of law and human rights.

      Raftopoulos predicted there would be minimal political violence in the
run up to the March 2005 ballot as part of a cunning strategy by Mugabe to
win the support of Southern African Development Community (SADC) leaders.

      This, coupled with cosmetic electoral reforms introduced by Harare
there was great likelihood that SADC leaders will recognise Mugabe and ZANU
PF's victory in the ballot as legitimate, the UZ political analyst said.

      The opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party faced a
tough choice on whether to take part in an election designed to deny them
victory whatever the feelings of the electorate or stay away and face
oblivion, according to Raftopoulos.

      He said: "Mugabe is saying stay in Parliament (by contesting election)
and be castrated or stay out and we will crush you, that is the challenge
for the MDC."

      The MDC, which has emerged as the biggest challenge to Mugabe and ZANU
PF's hold on power, has said it will not participate in the poll unless
Zimbabwe's electoral laws were fully brought in line with SADC guidelines
for democratic elections.

      International Crisis Group Southern Africa project director Peter
Kagwanja said it was a must for the MDC to contest the elections and said
the opposition party could still fare strongly if it repackaged itself,
notwithstanding the obstacles.

      "To be in the game is to play," Kagwanja said.

      Kagwanja said only peer shielding particularly by South Africa was
Mugabe and ZANU PF's salvation from defeat.

      Even if SADC guidelines that among other key conditions require
independent commissions to run elections were fully implemented in Zimbabwe,
the political field would still not improve, Kagwanja said. What was needed
were far-reaching political reforms not piecemeal legal changes, the ICG
analyst said.

      Kagwanja said in the event the election was flawed, stakeholders
should also consider lobbying the African Union to expel Zimbabwe from the
continental body. - ZimOnline
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Zim Online

Government trains more militias
Tues 14 December 2004
  HARARE - The Zimbabwe government will early next year open four more camps
to train youth militias accused by churches and human rights groups of
terrorising the government's political opponents, according to Youth
Minister Ambrose Mutinhiri.

      Speaking to ruling ZANU PF party youth leaders during a meeting in
Harare last weekend, Mutinhiri said four new youth militia camps will be
opened before the March 2005 general election in the two provinces of
Mashonaland East and West.

      An undercover ZimOnline correspondent was able to sneak into the
meeting held at ZANU PF's national headquarters in Harare between 10am and
1pm last Saturday.

      Mutinhiri said: "Mashonaland East and Mashonaland West should have
youth training centres by March next year. The youth training programme is
here to stay; there is no going back on the programme for whatever reason."

      The government already has four youth training centres at Kamativi in
Matabeleland North province; Border Gezi, Mashonaland Central province;
Vumba, Manicaland province and Mushagashi in Masvingo province. Another two
camps are nearing completion near the towns of Chivhu and Masvingo.

      The four camps that are operational each have a capacity of churning
out 2 000 graduates every six months. Mutinhiri did not clarify whether the
four camps to be opened next year will also have the same capacity.

      The government says its youth training programme is meant to inculcate
patriotism and good behavior in young Zimbabweans.

      But churches, human rights groups and the main opposition Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) party say the programme has turned innocent youths
into ruthless torture machines always on the hunt for perceived government

      The youths, always clad in green military fatigues, have allegedly
turned some rural areas particularly in the largely remote Mashonaland
Central province into no-go areas with people required to produce ZANU PF
membership cards to be allowed to travel to some parts of the province.

      According to Mutinhiri, the government had resolved to accelerate the
training of youths with the opening of the four new camps next year.

      He also said the National Youth Service Training Unit run on a part
time basis by military officers would now be transformed into a fully
fledged government department to ensure the programme had enough
resources. - ZimOnline
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Zim Online

AIDS to slash life expectancy to below 35 years
Tue 14 December 2004
  HARARE - Life expectancy in Zimbabwe will drop to below 35 years in the
next decade because of HIV/AIDS, the United Nations has said.

      Two other southern African countries ravaged by the disease, Swaziland
and Zambia, will also see life expectancy plummeting to below 35 years, the
world body said in its 4th 2004 Report on the Global Aids.

      The UN report reads in part: "In Swaziland, Zambia, and Zimbabwe, the
average life expectancy of people born over the next decade is projected to
drop to below 35 years in the absence of antiretroviral treatment."

      The UN did not say what life expectancy in Zimbabwe and the other
African countries would be in 10 years but said population in these
countries will be 14 percent lower than it would have been without HIV/AIDS.

      Life expectancy in Zimbabwe now is 35 years. Zimbabwe, grappling its
worst economic crisis ever, has a small anti-retroviral distribution
programme that is almost entirely funded by donors because the government
has no money to pay for drugs.

      A collapsing public health sector has only helped compound the
HIV/AIDS crisis in Zimbabwe with treatable opportunistic illnesses such as
tuberculosis and pneumonia killing people because state hospitals do not
have enough drugs.

      At least 2 000 Zimbabweans die of AIDS every week while 1.8 million
out of the country's 12 million people are believed to be HIV positive.

      The country's impressive gains in education since independence in 1980
could be drastically reversed as teachers succumb to the deadly disease over
the next 10 years, the UN said.

      Kenya, Uganda, Swaziland, and Zambia were also expected to lose their
educators to the epidemic, according to the UN.

      "(The) epidemic is expected to significantly contribute to future
shortages in primary school teachers. Without forward long-term planning,
these countries will have great difficulty meeting their school enrolment
targets," the UN ominously warned. -ZimOnline
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African Union's credibility can be rebuilt in Zimbabwe

Published: Tue, Dec 14, 2004

The African Union last week condemned a new military assault by Sudanese
government troops on rebels in the strife-torn region of Darfur, where more
than 1 million people have been displaced. The condemnation was ignored by
the government. Why? Because the African Union has shown itself to be a
toothless tiger.

Its meager peacekeeping force of 833 in Darfur, an area the size of France,
is a joke - and a bad one at that. The AU decided to do something about the
growing humanitarian disaster in the Sudan only after pressure from the
international community, led by the United States. By then, the fighting
between the Arab-African government and non-Arab African rebel groups, which
began in February 2003, had claimed more than 70,000 lives and had turned
1.5 million people into refugees.

The union is hosting peace talks in Nigeria aimed at finding a political
solution. It has said that a peacekeeping mission of 3,320 troops will be in
place by early January. It will cost $220 million, which will be paid for by
the international community. But long-time observers of post-independent
African are skeptical that the AU has the ability to bring peace to the


The AU's failures as an organization, whose stated goal is to improve the
lives of Africans, are plain to see. From Rwanda, to the Democratic Republic
of Congo, to Sierra Leone, to Nigeria, to Ethiopia and Eritrea, and most
significantly to Zimbabwe, death and economic destruction are the rule
rather the exception.

The reluctance of the union to condemn the iron-fisted governance of
dictators throughout Africa has become the clarion call of growing numbers
of people in the western world who see the continent as a lost cause. In the
United States, the demand for a reassessment of foreign aid is becoming more

Indeed, a column by conservative columnist Cal Thomas that appeared on the
opinion page of Sunday's Vindicator should be required reading for African
Union delegates. Thomas' arguments can be regularly heard on Capitol Hill,
where Republicans control Congress.

How can the African Union restore its credibility? By embracing a report on
the political and economic crisis in Zimbabwe presented by the International
Bar Association. It accuses Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe of conducting a
reign of terror and demands that he be brought to justice.

The association said there is staggering and well-documented evidence that
Mugabe's government has committed murder, rape, abduction and enslavement.

And the IBA, which has a membership of 16,000 lawyers and 190 bar
associations and law societies from every continent, accuses African nations
of propping up Mugabe's government to deflect criticism of their own human
rights records.


In September, we warned that thousands of Zimbabweans faced starvation
because the government's purchase of maize (corn) was expected to amount to
barely half of the country's yearly requirement. We urged the international
community to step in and save the people from certain death and continued
suffering brought on by Mugabe's brutal rule since the time Zimbabwe gained
independence from Britain in 1980.

Political and human rights are non-existent, and the once wealthy nation has
been reduced to a state of ruin, desolation and isolation.

The African Union can no longer turn a blind eye to what is going on in
Zimbabwe. Robert Mugabe must be brought to justice and made to answer for
his crimes against humanity.
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   Business Report

      Zimbabwe's claims of lowered inflation unconvincing
      December 14, 2004

      Harare - President Robert Mugabe's government Tuesday claimed it had
met its target of bringing inflation down below 150 percent before the year
end, releasing figures showing the rate for the 12 months to December had
fallen to 149.3 per cent.

      State radio said this was in line with predictions made in December
2003 by the then newly appointed governor of the Zimbabwe Reserve Bank,
Gideon Gono.

      The inflation rate in November stood at 209 per cent, down from an
all-time high of over 600 per cent at the beginning of the year, according
to the Government's Central Statistical Office.

      The official figures are, however, widely disbelieved, with the
Zimbabwean dollar continuing to fall against all major currencies on the
black market and soaring prices for fuel, postage and telecommunications,
transport, medicines, and many basics.

      On the official market, the Zimbabwe dollar now stands at 6 200 to the
US dollar and 8 212 to the Euro.

      Mugabe claimed last week that the economy is in the midst of a
"dramatic" recovery following redistribution of 5 000 seized white owned
farms to black Zimbabweans, a policy which saw a massive slump in
agricultural and manufacturing production, and near collapse of tourism,
another traditional money-spinner. - Sapa-dpa

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Independent Race and Refugee News

No removals to Zimbabwe
18 December 2004
A march and rally, organised by the Leicester Civil Rights Movement, to
oppose the government's resumption of returns of 'failed asylum seekers' to
  a.. Assemble 12.00pm, Saturday 18 December 2004
  b.. Victoria Park, corner of London Road and Granville Road, Leicester
After the march to Leicester city centre, there will be a public meeting in
the Secular Hall, 75 Humberstone Gate, Leicester.

Speakers include:

  a.. Zimbabwean human rights lawyers
  b.. Representatives from the Zimbabwe Association, London
Note that this event is not organised by the MDC and is open to all
Zimbabweans who wish to speak out against violation of their rights. For
more information, contact Emily Madamombe on 07900 061215, Patson Muzuwa on
07863 214168 or Camilloh Kamera on 07879 858190.
Events listing is provided for information only. Inclusion in this listing
should not be taken to imply that the Institute of Race Relations supports
an event or is involved in organising it.
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14 December 2004

President Tsvangirai's Tuesday message to the people of Zimbabwe

We buried veteran trade unionist Shangwa Chifamba in Gutu on Sunday.
Chifamba (63), who died in office after a long illness, will be remembered
for his untiring effort to raise the profile of Zimbabwean workers before
and after independence.

Unfortunately, Chifamba died at a time when hundreds of thousands of workers
are in a worse situation than they were at independence in 1980. The
majority is in a pathetic condition than they were in the early sixties when
Chifamba accepted a calling to take up trade unionism.

Speaker after speaker lamented the loss of Chifamba, in particular that he
died without realizing the ideals of the liberation struggle. The dignity of
the worker has since been eroded significantly by the absence of
opportunity, loss of freedoms, lack of solidarity, rampant inequities and
grinding poverty.

Chifamba shall be remembered for his maturity, experience and guidance
within the entire labour movement during the search for an alternative
political movement whose phenomenal growth has since turned ordinary
Zimbabweans into instant leaders in the democratic struggles against Africa's
post-colonial tyranny.

The presence of other veteran unionists, leaders of social society, Dr
Lovemore Madhuku of the National Constitutional Assembly, senior MDC
officials and myself caused some positive restlessness among the mourners.
Anxieties abound about the future. Questions are being raised regarding the
direction the country is now taking as we head towards March, the month that
must provide a defining moment for Zimbabwe's future.

Mourners prayed for Zimbabwe. There are uncertainties over the meaning of
the forthcoming Parliamentary election to our sovereignty. In their moments
of grief, the people pondered about the issues at stake, wondering whether
Zimbabwe shall emerge with hope and direction in the New Year. Will Zimbabwe
survive with a face, if we continue to bulldoze our way past their concerns,
all for the sake of political avarice?

While our opponents in Zanu PF see the forthcoming election as to entrench
and consolidate 25 years of dictatorship, the MDC and the people would like
the election to provide an opportunity to resolve the Zimbabwean crisis. The
election is an opportunity to start afresh, to end the crisis of legitimacy,
to bring back Zimbabwe into the family of nations, and to put in place an
irreversible democratic path for our nation. As we have seen in the past
five years, Zanu PF can easily retain power but the nation suffers if that
power is obtained illegitimately.

I left the Chifamba homestead convinced that the people are already looking
beyond March 2005. None seemed concerned about ballot winners and losers.
Zimbabwe is under scrutiny from none other than Zimbabweans themselves. The
people know their fate.

Without a free and fair election, March is neither set to produce winners
nor losers. A one party election with a result nobody recognizes shall be a
non-event. The people understand the magnitude of our nation's problems.
They have the options and a turn-around strategy. What they require is a
catalyst for order, a process that leads to a national solution respected by
all the major players.

We need a transitional mechanism to ensure a smooth substitution of one
generation of political leaders with another; to pave the way for a
readmission of Zimbabwe into the community of nations; and to embark on a
mammoth reconstruction and rehabilitation of a collapsed economy.

The nation is keen to move forward, with broad agreements on both our
domestic and foreign policies. From Mpandawana growth point, through Buhera,
into Chivhu and in Gweru, I was disturbed by large numbers of young people
loitering in the streets and around rural business centres. Looking at empty
buildings representing what was once a thriving rural economy, our young
people's approach to politics has since changed.

Noting that they were misled during the past five years, most youths now
appreciate that another five years without any prospects for employment
would be a disaster. There is an undisputed call for a legitimate
government - a government the people are prepared to recognize and work
with; a government with a healthy relationship with the outside world.

A legitimate government, born out of a legitimate election in March, shall
face immense challenges. In my discussions with the so-called new farmers,
it became clear that they now understand how they were misled and used as
pawns in a dangerous political game. Insecurity reigns supreme as the
farmers struggle to make ends meet.

Nothing will change unless we work towards constructive engagement before a
national election in March. March offers us an opportunity out of the mess
if we are serious about restoring the national esteem necessary for
meaningful national service. People recognize that without a free and fair
election, no nation or international partner will be prepared to work with

Our calls for a new start, a new beginning and a new Zimbabwe resonate
widely throughout the rural areas. At the centre of our economic and
reconstruction plans is a need to remove hopelessness and cast away what has
become a dependency syndrome among the people. We must knock-down and
restructure government, to institutionalise participatory decision-making
and to devolve of power in order to ring fence our nation against costly
political mistakes such as what we witnessed in the past five years.

Our objective is to see a secure society with sufficient food and full
employment, a society that enjoys universal benefits and rights. Our
objective is to place solid safeguards for personal and family security as a
first step towards total empowerment.

Together, we shall win

Morgan Tsvangirai

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Yahoo News

In Zimbabwe, the old and poor pay the price in raising AIDS orphans

KEZI, Zimbabwe (AFP) - Until a week ago, elderly Hannah Dube and her five
grandchildren living in the dusty village of Kezi in soutwestern Zimbabwe
had been surviving on small portions of dried white melon.

Then Zimbabwe's social services stepped in, handing the 75-year-old Dube
emergency aid of the staple corn grain to feed her family, caught in the
grip of an AIDS pandemic and a crippling drought.

Her face worn by grief and stress, the aging grandmother's plight in this
remote and rural corner of Zimbabwe tells the story of the burden of many
other pensioners in this southern African country where AIDS has turned a
million children into orphans.

The UN children's organisation UNICEF  estimates that more than one in five
children will be orphaned in Zimbabwe by 2010, with more than 80 percent of
those orphaned by AIDS, which kills an 3,000 people per week on average.

Nine of her grandchildren are orphaned -- she is looking after five children
between the ages of five and 13.

Three successive years of drought in this naturally dry region some 600
kilometres (350 miles) southwest of the capital, characterised by
unproductive soils, and a political and economic crisis have exacerbated
food shortages.

"We only eat one meal a day," said Dube, who lives in a hut next to a dusty
road, where her cooking fire has long since gone out.

"We are used to it now and there is nothing unusual about it," she told AFP.

While food is available in the shops, people like Dube and her family, who
have no source of income whatsoever, cannot even dream of buying any.

Driving up to Dube's home along a narrow dust road, hundreds of people,
dangling empty sacks, were seen walking back home, looking tired, hungry and

They are coming from the local business centre where they had gone to
register their names for food aid to be handed out three days later.

"We were told (by an international aid organisation) to come and register
our names for food coming next week. But now they say only those on the old
list will be given food," Dube said.

The Zimbabwean government this year turned away foreign food aid saying the
country produced enough to feed its people.

But Harare has recently allowed the UN World Food Programme to undertake a
one-off free food distribution to get rid of its stock left over from April
when the government stopped general food aid.

Volunteer workers confirm the hunger in the area.

"It is depressing to go out there visiting the sick, handing out a few bars
of soap, diapers, some antiseptic solutions -- but seeing that what is
urgently needed is food," said volunteer Georgina Tshabalala.

Dube is not only struggling to provide food for her orphaned grandchildren,
but also shelter.

She cleans up grass that fell while she was thatching the roof of her new
mud and pole hut in this remote rural area of Zimbabwe.

With nobody to help her build or maintain their home, Dube has to risk
climing onto the roof to patch it up before the rains bring it down.

Inside, the fire has gone out.

Dube said besides the fact that their one meal has already been cooked, she
could not afford to keep the fire going because she does not have the energy
to regularly go to the bush to cut down firewood.

The elderly woman -- old and weak enough to be a dependent herself -- told
AFP she had no choice but to look after her some of her grandchildren.

Those who are not under her wing are probably involved in illegal gold
mining, rife in the area.

"I don't really know how they are surviving, but no one helps me with
anything. The chickens and the goats you see outside I sell to send these
children to school," she said.

Despite the difficult living conditions and lack of food, one of her
grandchildren, Dan, 7, passed his year-end school examinations with 'A'

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Shortage of Experts Blamed for Surge in Mental Illnesses

The Herald (Harare)

December 14, 2004
Posted to the web December 14, 2004


THE country's new Mental Health Policy advocates the training of more
psychiatrists, clinical psychologists and social workers to help in the
early identification of mental ailments.

The current stressful environment resulting from a host of problems,
including a harsh financial spell, broken families, depression from HIV and
Aids and many other problems, has been largely blamed for the increased
number of mentally ill people.

The shortage of experts to detect such cases at early stages has resulted in
the rapid deterioration in the cases of affected people.

Although Zimbabwe trains its own psychiatric nurses, clinical psychologists,
clinical social workers and psychiatrists, there remains a critical shortage
of these people.

This is a result of brain drain that has hit the health sector in the
country, where many people have left for greener pastures in the region and

The Mental Health Policy launched last week says there is need to train more
professionals and provide incentives to alleviate the impact of brain drain.

It is also important, the policy said, to empower the existing general
medical professionals with relevant mental health skills so that mental
health services could be integrated into the general medical health system
of the country.

It is the Ministry of Health and Child Welfare's mission, the policy says,
to provide for all Zimbabweans a comprehensive, co-ordinated, quality mental
health service integrated into the general medical health system.

This would ultimately see an improvement in the mental health of the nation.
To achieve this, the policy says, there should be at least one trained
psychiatric nurse per rural health centre or clinic.

This expert would carry out primary assessments, support the patient and
relatives as well as support other clinic staff members.

The Minister of Health and Child Welfare, Dr David Parirenyatwa, said it was
his belief that mental health could play a crucial role in containing the
HIV and Aids scourge.

He said it was for this reason that one of the guiding principles of the
policy was to incorporate a mental health component into the National HIV
and Aids programme.

"Although it is encouraging to see that anti-retroviral drugs are now
available, there is still a need to have a holistic approach in our fight
against this pandemic," he said, in a speech read on his behalf by the
Secretary for Health and Child Welfare, Dr Elizabeth Xaba.

He said the behavioural component of the pandemic needs to be addressed
using scientific methods based on observations.
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Mail and Guardian

Zimbabwe 'in control of our destiny'


      14 December 2004 12:04

The Zimbabwean government will not tolerate foreign interference in next
year's parliamentary elections, the country's foreign minister, Kembo
Mohadi, said on Tuesday.

"The government of Zimbabwe will not allow its people to become gullible
victims of hybrid, genetically modified propaganda, affectionately fanned,
doctored and synthesised by reactionary forces to discredit our election
process," Mohadi said.

Zimbabwe's polls are planned for March 2005, and would certainly draw much
attention from observers around the world.

Mohadi was speaking in the wake of the passing into law of Zimbabwe's
draconian Non-Governmental Organisations Act, which bans foreign funding of
charities and organisations that monitor governance and human rights.

"Let me warn such forces of negation and people of like-minded disposition
that we are in control of our own destiny and as such our people should be
allowed to make their choices in the March 2005 parliamentary elections in

Zimbabwe's opposition Movement for Democratic Change has threatened to
boycott the poll unless the ruling Zanu-PF complied with Southern African
Development Community electoral guidelines and revokes harsh press and
public order laws which it claims are used against it extensively.

Still, Mohadi dismissed MDC claims, saying: "Those political cry babies who
wish to cheapen our electoral process by making incessant and frivolous
accusations on us must come to terms with the fact that we are in government
to rule and make provisions that safeguard our national sovereignty and
independence." - Sapa
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New Zimbabwe

Conjoined Zimbabwe twins to be separated

By Agencies
Last updated: 12/15/2004 02:59:21
SPECIALISTS from Toronto's Hospital for Sick Children are assessing
conjoined twins from Zimbabwe for separation surgery, the hospital announced

The four-month-old twins, Tinashe and Tinotenda, are joined at the abdomen.
They arrived at the hospital on Dec. 2, a release from Sick Kids said.

The boys, born in July in a rural part of Zimbabwe, were accompanied to
Toronto by their mother and a nurse.

Sick Kids learned of their plight through Canadian physicians who delivered
the twins while working in Zimbabwe.

The hospital said that over the coming few weeks, a team led by Dr. Jack
Langer, chief of general surgery, will evaluate the twins' medical condition
and devise a treatment plan.

The boys are the 10th set of conjoined twins to be treated at Sick Kids. The
hospital's release said it was the only facility able to offer both the
expertise and the financial assistance needed.

Assistance is being provided through the Herbie Fund, which has helped more
than 450 children from more than 80 countries travel to Sick Kids to receive
care unavailable in their own countries.

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Enough is Enough



We have a fundamental right to freedom of expression!


Sokwanele Reporter
11 December 2004
What a pleasure it was to attend an official occasion, presided over by Robert Mugabe, which was relaxed, carefree, joyous.  No haranguing about Tony Blair or even about his imperialist agents in Zimbabwe.  No incipient power struggles, warnings and threats to comply with autocratic dictates.  Rather a true celebration of achievement, both on the personal and on the national level.  A new university opened its doors only thirteen years ago, and already, in a single ceremony, it is graduating 645 students, in four different faculties, with more than ten different degrees, over a hundred of them post-graduates.   
They pack the nearly-completed Great Hall, with their friends and relatives, good-naturedly waiting for an hour for the procession to file in and commence the proceedings.  The delay has perhaps been caused by the long queues which formed outside in the searing heat, as everyone was forced to file through police checks.  The uninitiated were dismayed to find that cameras were forbidden – how can I attend my son’s graduation without a camera? – but the hardened graduation goers already know from previous years that cameras are dangerous items which can conceal bombs and can not be risked where Mugabe is in attendance.  Official cameramen must be relied on to record the great event of a lifetime.  Nevertheless, all eventually file through, bags searched and declared safe.  The red carpet leading up to the door of the Hall is soiled by the time the thousands have crossed it to find their seats.  Excited graduates walk up and down, parading their finery of gowns, hoods and mortarboards seemingly oblivious to the fact that these are colonial trappings.  Regular uniformed police ensure that no one trespasses on territory reserved for the important, while the more menacing with their hip-hugging pistols or their AKs slung at the ready seek out vantage-points from which they can eye the crowd.
Finally the arrival of the processions is announced.  And then we are treated to a veritable visual encyclopaedia of the regalia of the world’s universities.  A colourful procession of academics in flowing black gowns, with hoods all colours of the rainbow, mortarboards or floppy velvet hats, depending on the particular degree.  It is a thrilling display, for any true imperialist, of the influence of the European university tradition, even in the far-flung reaches of the empire where such bequests are apparently no longer appreciated.  Then comes Mugabe himself, decked out in the gown and hat of one of his many alma maters, enjoying himself along with the rest.  He is   accompanied by no less than fifteen police officials, in a variety of uniforms and non-uniforms, as well as two uniformed nurses carrying medical kits.  Standard procedure, it appears.  The army band is magnificent, playing a dignified processional as the parade of professors, council members, fraternal university vice-chancellors and other important persons files slowly toward the stage and take their seats.  But the ZANU PF provincial chairmen ?  Ministers, Governors, perhaps, they are government appointees, but party chefs – what is their entitlement to a chair on the stage ?
But more are to come.  Those graduating students who took seriously the need to limit their guests to two family members, choosing between spouse and parents, look on in dismay while the procession is followed by at least a hundred party hangers-on, women with the Mugabe’s picture on their ample backsides, youth in party T shirts, looking distinctly uncomfortable in the august academic gathering.  Their role is not clear – an extended bodyguard, or a rabble out for a free lunch ? But how did they come through the police checks without invitation cards ?  Another of the imponderables Zimbabweans have become accustomed to overlooking.
The ceremony itself finally gets under way.  Only one speech, from the acting Vice-Chancellor.  This is the first graduation at which the founding Vice-Chancellor, Phineas Makhurane, has not been present, as he retired during the year.  His successor has not yet been confirmed in the post.  But he recounts the achievements of the university, the new programmes that are already functioning.  Students will graduate for the first time in Library Science, in Quantity Surveying, with a Bachelor of Architecture.  The Bulawayo School of Health Sciences, which trains medical personnel, has been absorbed into the university.  The university is expanding, meeting new needs of the nation in such a wide variety of technical and commercial fields. A technopark, to link the university and industry is in the planning stage. But there are failings too – in spite of a gender sensitive affirmative action admissions policy, only 23% of the graduates are women.  There are other problems he doesn’t tell us about.  Some are evident.  In spite of 12 years of building, the Great Hall is not yet finished, neither is the library, which stands next to it, a large and intriguing mass of concrete which will certainly not house books for the next two or three years.  Very few residences exist for students, and equipment needed for scientific and technical training is not available.  Lecturers are difficult to attract and even more difficult to retain.  At least half of the teaching is done by part-timers, fitted into their other work schedules.  The salaries can no longer attract the best, or even the mediocre, Zimbabweans or expatriates. 
The students file up one by one to be capped by Mugabe – the almost mandatory chancellor of every institution of higher learning in Zimbabwe.  Families and friends ululate, applaud and dance their excitement.  A son, a wife, a father, has succeeded in achieving a dream after years of hard work, of financial and personal sacrifice.  The choir congratulates them with energetic songs to the delight of the assembly.  There is every reason to rejoice.  The years of penury are over, a graduate brings status, but more important, will get a better job, will earn a good salary, will support the whole family.
But will they?  The university and its graduates are not separate from the problems which plague the whole society.  The degree has been achieved, but will it bring economic security to the holder and her family?  How many of these graduates in commerce, in textile production, in architecture, in engineering will find employment in the crumbling economy?  Will they really contribute to the nation’s growth, or will they follow the flood of emigrants looking for prosperity?  A young man being awarded a degree in management admits that less than half of his class have jobs, six months after they completed their course.  What will happen to them?  And what will happen to the cohorts of next year and the year after?  Enormous amounts are spent on university education in Zimbabwe, but is it money put to good use when the economy cannot employ them?  And there are questions about quality.  Without the necessary staff and equipment, what is the value of the degrees?  Already the first graduates in the Faculty of Architecture have two degrees, but neither is recognised by the Institute of Architects.  The students at NUST are the cream of Zimbabwean youth.  But are they being adequately trained in an ambitious but under-resourced institution?
If any of the assembled crowd harbours such doubts, they are not voiced.  The mood is joyous.  As the last graduate descends from the stage, the choir breaks out into exuberant song, the graduates take off their clumsy mortarboards and wave them back and forth as they join in the chorus of congratulations. The colourful academics parade out and disappear for their lunch.  The graduates and their families hug and kiss each other and wish each other well.  From the elation of the occasion they move towards the car park and the bus stop, but find their way blocked.  A single metal detector has been set up and police barricades placed so that everyone must file through it.  Not surprisingly, a crowd builds up as people push to get through.  But this harsh re-entry into the real world of Zimbabwe does not dampen the happy mood.  For today, at least, they are determined not to be deterred from their right to celebrate. 


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Comedy of Political Errors: Super Patriots And Morons

Mmegi/The Reporter (Gaborone)

December 14, 2004
Posted to the web December 14, 2004

They had taken the play to Sweden in March. Super Patriots and Morons was
first performed in April 2003 in Harare. There were 10 performances in the
"Theatre in the Park" in the Harare Gardens. Then, they had five more at an
arts centre.

Then commenced a pyramid or multiplication initiative. Fifty actors from 10
theatre groups (in the 10 provinces) gathered to learn the play in a
workshop. Each took the play back to where they came from and it was
performed on one synchronised day.

Each then had 15 more performances (making 150). It was only banned after it
was performed at an international gathering in Harare where it attracted
more attention from the authorities.

They were ordered to cancel their next performance at the Festival. It was
the first play to be officially banned in Zimbabwe.

Since then, all has been quiet about the play in Zimbabwe. Rooftop
Promotions launches 12 to 16 plays a year at their venue in Harare.

Soon, they will take the play to Namibia where they will perform in Windhoek
and Katatura. They expect to return to Europe in 2005.

They have taken it to South Africa, where it received a mixed reception, and
Zambia where it was received enthusiastically.

"This play is not really about Zimbabwe," O'brian Nubyiwenyana, one of the
cast members says during a discussion after their performance.

They perceive it as a play about misrule and dictatorship, and thus it is
universal. In Zambia, people have had more experience with misrule since
independence in 1966, while in South Africa, many still see it as
politically incorrect to be critical of an African leader.

"Some South Africans mocked us. They see Zimbabwe as a proud nation, and
that we are still a proud nation," says Producer, Daves Guzha.

After independence in 1994, South Africa has not really experienced black
leadership as other countries, for example under Amin, Mobutu, Banda, and so
on. They also do not understand Protest Theatre in this context.

A script has been written to turn Super Patriots and Morons into a movie, to
be made by Tawana Gunda, somewhere outside Zimbabwe.

The once thriving film industry in Zimbabwe has been severely curtailed
because of the economic crisis in the country, though people still make
shots for television and documentaries.

The cast of Super Patriots and Morons is from different groups besides
Rooftop Promotions. The members have been in Gaborone before.

Jasen Nphepo was here a few weeks ago for a SATI (Southern African Theatre
Initiative) workshop.

Mackey Pickies of Amakhosi Theatre Productions in Bulawayo was first in
Gaborone in 1986. Nubyiwenyana is a permanent member of Rooftop Promotions.

"They were most curious to learn more about Uganda under Obote and Amin from
my time there in the 1960s and 1970s.

The difference between Amin and Mugabe was Amin was quick to detain and kill
any perceived opposition," Nubyiwenyana says.
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New Zimbabwe

Chinotimba faces axe over Tsholotsho meeting

By Clemence Manyukwe
Last updated: 12/15/2004 00:37:10
IN what could be tell-tale signs of the political demise of self-proclaimed
commander-in-chief of farm occupations, Joseph Chinotimba, Zanu PF Harare
province has passed a vote of no-confidence in him for allegedly
participating in the unauthorised Tsholotsho high-powered indaba.

The province also passed a similar vote on former Harare ceremonial mayor
and ex-Local Government deputy minister Tony Gara on the same charges.

If the two lose their case, they will also lose their places in the central

The unsanctioned meeting, allegedly called for by Information Minister
Jonathan Moyo, has so far claimed the scalps of six provincial chairpersons
who have since been suspended from the party for six months.

The meeting was convened allegedly to stage a "palace coup" and topple
President Robert Mugabe's lieutenants in the presidium. The meeting was
allegedly meant to usher in a new dispensation and sideline the nomination
of the now co-vice-president Joyce Mujuru and scuttle the re-nomination of
Joseph Msika as vice-president and John Nkomo as national chairman.

Mujuru now occupies the void left by the late Simon Muzenda. Speculation was
rife that Parliamentary Speaker Emmerson Mnangagwa would take over the vice-
presidency, together with Women's League boss Thenjiwe Lesabe, with Moyo
replacing Mnangagwa as secretary for administration, while Justice Minister
Patrick Chinamasa was to become national chairman.

However, the alleged "coup plotters" were outmanoeuvred by President Mugabe
who put a stop to the "madness".

Gara yesterday confirmed that a vote of no-confidence had indeed been passed
against himself and Chinotimba last Thursday by the party's Harare
provincial coordinating committee.

The committee is chaired by Minister of Mines and Mining Development Amos

"What surprises me is that they went to pass a vote of no-confidence on the
two of us, although I did nothing wrong. At least Chinotimba admitted that
he attended the meeting, but I told them that I was nowhere near that
meeting. I was not even invited," complained Gara.

Gara said he was being punished for inviting Moyo - perceived in Zanu PF
corridors as possessing a loose tongue - to donate computers to a school in
Mbare East. Gara is eyeing that constituency.

On why he invited Moyo, Gara said since Moyo was donating computers "left
right and centre" in rural constituencies, he saw no reason why he, too,
could not benefit from the "scheme".

The Thursday meeting was meant to review what transpired at the just ended
ruling party's congress, but ended up debating the Tsholotsho debacle.
Chinotimba, a member of the central committee, said of the vote of
no-confidence: "Nothing was communicated to me over that issue. But I have
received numerous calls from people asking if I have been expelled."

Chinotimba was, together with war veterans' leader Jabulani Sibanda, booted
out of the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans' Association for
allegedly causing havoc and confusion in the organisation and undermining
Zanu PF.

Their inglorious "exit" came soon after President Mugabe publicly asked
Andrew Ndlovu to restructure the war veterans' association.

Playing down the incident, Midzi said yesterday: "I am not commenting on
that matter until further notice. I am going to comment when the time
Highly placed sources said the Tsholotsho meeting was now a hot potato and
people were distancing themselves from it to save their political careers,
which are now hanging on threads.
Daily Mirror

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The Scotsman

Mugabe Government 'Very Rotten', Says Minister

By Trevor Mason, PA Parliamentary Editor

President Mugabe's regime in Zimbabwe was today branded "very rotten," by a
Government minister in the Commons.

Junior Foreign Office Minister Chris Mullin warned that for the immediate
future the prospects of bringing about democratic change in the country were
"not good".

He was responding at question time to senior Tory Sir Patrick Cormack (S
Staffordshire) who asked: "What hope can you offer the people of Zimbabwe."

Mr Mullin replied: "The people of Zimbabwe are regrettably at the mercy at
the moment of a very rotten Government.

"We've played a leading part in the EU and the UN in bringing international
pressures, such as can be brought, on this Government.

"But it is true that for the immediate future the prospects in Zimbabwe are
not good.

"We have hopes that in the longer term future there will be a return to
democratic rule and the rule of law in Zimbabwe and we will continue to do
everything in our power to achieve that."
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From The Daily Mirror, 14 December

Politiburo announcement expected on Friday

Daily Mirror Reporter

The ruling Zanu PF will on Friday convene an extraordinary central committee
meeting in the capital where President Robert Mugabe is expected to announce
the new-look Politburo, among other business. A senior member of the central
committee and also Zanu PF's chief whip in the 150-member Parliament, Jorum
Gumbo confirmed the extraordinary meeting. He, however, could not disclose
whether or not the Politburo would be announced as it was the prerogative of
the President who has for obvious reasons delayed appointing the team. It
has been said and not denied that President Mugabe and the rest of the
presidium were playing their cards close to their chests to avoid splitting
the party down the middle. Already, fissures within the ruling party had
become pronounced ahead of the just ended Zanu PF's National People's
Congress as members drew lines and curled into camps. However, President
Mugabe managed to diffuse the potentially explosive situation that
threatened collapse of the party.

Speculation was rife in the highly enthusiastic central committee that a
number of senior members who attended the unauthorised Tsholotsho meeting
that threatened to effect "regime change" and topple the presidium led by
President Mugabe, would be axed from the Politburo. President Mugabe's
spin-doctor and "confidante" Information Minister Jonathan Moyo allegedly
convened the unsanctioned meeting. "There will be an extraordinary meeting
in Harare on Friday. We have not yet received the agenda of the meeting
although speculation is rife that President Mugabe will announce the
new-look Politburo," Gumbo told The Daily Mirror yesterday. Zanu PF insiders
told this newspaper that President Mugabe and his deputies - Joseph Msika
and Joyce Mujuru - and national chairman John Nkomo, met at the party's
headquarters at the weekend and deliberated on possible politburo members.
President Mugabe deferred the appointment of heads and deputies of
departments that constitute the politburo when the ruling party held its
fourth all people's congress in Harare a fortnight ago.

Among the leaders who attended the "unorthodox" meeting was Justice Minister
Patrick Chinamasa (secretary for legal affairs), who is said to have
"apologised profusely to earn his keep". Six provincial chairpersons who
also attended the meeting have since been suspended from the party for six
months. War veterans' leader Jabulani Sibanda was slapped with a four-year
suspension. During the Zanu PF congress, President Mugabe, Msika and Nkomo
said the party would not hesitate to crack the whip on those bent on
destroying the party. Zanu PF's mouthpiece, The Voice, this week quoted
Nkomo saying: "The current fissures within the party are, therefore,
reflective of the variegated nature of Zanu PF's membership, and the costly
compromises we made in order to unify the party and the nation. "As we
gained the confidence and numbers of the ecstatic masses, we were
infiltrated by a few termites, which began their long journey of burrowing
through our core values of liberation, discipline, unity, respect and
loyalty," Nkomo wrote.
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From The Daily News Online Edition, 14 December

Mugabe's dilemma

President Robert Mugabe is in a political dilemma. As he and his three
colleagues within the Zanu PF presidium go through the process of selecting
members of the Politburo, the supreme decision making body of the ruling
party, they have to be careful not to rock the boat. A slight mistake could
see the national boat sinking. They face a formidable quandary. They either
leave out party members implicated in the abortive Tsholotsho indaba and
risk having a new political party on the eve of crucial parliamentary
elections or they play it safe and let them be. Within Zanu PF circles,
Emmerson Mnangagwa, the focus of the Tsholotsho meeting is seen as too
powerful to be dropped that easily from the Politburo. But the rest,
Jonathan Moyo, Patrick Chinamasa, July Moyo can be sacrificed on the altar
of political expediency. Mugabe will have to convince his colleagues, Joseph
Msika, Joyce Mujuru and John Nkomo that Mnangagwa is an asset and should be
spared. But some people believe if Mugabe fails to punish the errant boys,
including Mnangagwa now, he will have dug his own grave because one day,
these same errant boys will oust him from office.

The possibility of a new political party, taking in the Ndebeles, Manyikas
and Karangas and destroying all the work done by a united Zanu PF cannot be
ruled out. This will allow the opposition MDC to come in during the next
elections with a big showing. But Mugabe must be very much aware of the
consequences, either way. So he will have to walk a very tight rope and the
names that he will announce for the Politburo will be of people he will
depend on a lot for his political survival. It is not clear which camp
Didymus Mutasa belongs although simple analysis would point to the Mnangagwa
camp because Chinamasa, a blue-eyed boy of Mnangagwa is also Mutasa's
home-boy and very blue-eyed boy. The role of the CIO and the army is also a
very critical decider on the names into the Politburo. The question is, who
really controls the CIO and the army? There is speculation that both
critical arms of government are divided in loyalty. The names of Solomon
Mujuru, Vitalis Zvinavashe are linked to the army while those of Nicholas
Goche, Sydney Sekeramayi and Mnangagwa keep surfacing within CIO circles. It
remains to be seen who Mugabe will include and leave out in the Politburo
expected to be announced very soon.
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