Sent: Tuesday, December 21, 2004 1:01 AM
Dogs and Fences.
When I attended Gwebi
Agricultural College in the early 60's the faculty
told the students that we
should watch out for two features when on a farm
visit - the state of the
fences and the nature of the dogs. The first would
suggest what sort of
farmer we were about to visit and the second would
indicate what sort of an
employer he or she was. It was amazing how often
these two simple features of
ordinary farm life projected accurately the
type of farmer we would
Today we can apply the same criteria to the whole
country. The state of our
farm fences is such that they no longer contribute
in any serious way to the
management and control of our livestock. They are
either falling down or
non-existent. As for the dogs - well the only kind of
dog seen on most
properties today are thin emaciated animals of dubious
survive by scavenging - like many of the rest of
We have now reached the stage where squatters of various
90 per cent of our large-scale commercial farms
illegally. There are, we are
told, 129 000 small scale squatters - about 500
000 people in all and some
12 000 larger scale squatters. Most of the latter
are not resident; they are
bank managers, doctors, and business persons with
interests in towns and
civil servants. Many are army officers and members of
the Police. After 4
years of chaos, we have about 600 000 people partially
settled on 12 million
hectares of land that once supported 2 million people.
The same land now
employs about 60 000 people in paid jobs - where once we
employed 350 000
and incomes have plummeted from about three times the
national average to
well below the national average income per
Before the chaos called "land reform" we were the third
largest exporter of
tobacco in the world, we were the largest beef exporter
in Africa and were
major producers of cotton, milk, sugar, fruit and
The industry generated a third of Zimbabwe's national
employment, half its
exports and fed a population of 11
Today we have 75 per cent of our population dependent on
food handouts or
imports; we are unable to supply our needs for vegetable
oils, milk, meat
and fruit. Our food prices have risen to the highest in the
being the lowest in Africa in 1997.
madness goes on - just this past week at least two farmers per day
systematically evicted from their land - by force and without any
basis. People need to understand what happens as it still seems to me
totally bizarre and how anyone, anywhere, can call this "land reform"
defend the practice, is beyond me.
Let me give you one example
from the past week. A tobacco farmer - one of
200 who were still on their
land and were encouraged to grow a crop this
year by the authorities, living
in a homestead he built in the bush after
many years of living in ramshackle
conditions while he became established.
Having given away three quarters of
his farmland and trying to make a living
for himself and his 100 farm workers
on the remainder, is giving a birthday
party for his 89 year old father who
has been on the farm for 50 years. A
convoy of luxury vehicles arrives and
men and women in dark glasses and
imported shoes arrive at the gates and
inform the farmer that he has 24
hours to leave. The convoy departs leaving a
Police detail to ensure that no
assets are removed when the family
In the ground are 35 hectares of tobacco, weeks away
from reaping and other
crops that are grown in rotation or as supplements - a
bit of irrigation.
The inputs for the crop - fertilizer and chemicals are in
the sheds as are 4
tractors and several trailers and all the other equipment
you need to farm.
By Monday morning the farmer and his family are with
friends in Harare and
the farmer is desperately trying to get the people he
is contracted with for
the tobacco to persuade someone to get him permission
to go back and finish
his crop - to no avail. The ZTA hold an emergency
meeting with the Governor
of the Reserve Bank and he calls in the army and
the Police and demands
action to protect the crop - to no
The farmer and his family have been "allowed" to take
three quarters of
their furniture and their personal effects. There was even
a squabble about
the farm pick up - the 7 tonne truck was a no
This farmer was - with several others in the District,
helping hundreds of
small growers who were trying to grow tobacco on the
farms they occupied. He
had grown seedlings, helped with advice and even held
a field day on his
property when the crop was in and growing. Now they sit
shattered by the
loss of a lifetime of hard work and sacrifice. Their
children bereft and the
old man confused. When they had bought the land in
the early 50's it had
been 1200 hectares of wild bush. They had cut the road
for 15 kilometers
from the nearest Council road. Built a pole and dagger hut
to live in and
grown a tobacco crop to get started. Everything they earned
they put back
into the farm. They survived the liberation war and helped
build up the
industry again after 15 years of mandatory UN
All they have to show for this now is some money in a
bank, some shares in
agro industry and their clothes and some worn furniture
that has raised
three children. They have their memories and are now deciding
what to do
with the rest of their life. They get phone calls from friends in
Botswana - come and join us here. But do they trust Africa again?
a fresh start in Australia - they find they are too old. The UK? No
links in that direction. South Africa? From the frying pan into the
And the tragedy of it all is that these guys were the best
Africa. They took marginal land and a variable climate and no help
anyone except a hard-nosed bank and built up an African empire with
African expertise. Now it's all gone and all that remains are a few
dogs and broken down fences. It will take a long time to put it all
And for those people who try to justify
this racist, illegal, unbelievably
short sighted action, I say what about the
consequences for the millions who
now suffer and who have no external options
or havens of safety? If we are
going to allow such actions simply because a
few of the victims are white -
then we have really lost the plot
Bulawayo, 20th December
ZIMBABWE: Mental health policy launched
[This report does not necessarily
reflect the views of the United Nations]
JOHANNESBURG, 20 December
(IRIN) - Activists have welcomed the launch of
the Zimbabwe's first national
mental health policy, but warned that delays
in implementation could make it
Elizabeth Matare, director of the Zimbabwe National
Association for Mental
Health (ZIMNAMH), told IRIN that her organisation
welcomed the new policy,
as well as the increased budgetary allocations for
the mental health
"The inclusion of mental health issues in
the national HIV/AIDS programme
is highly commendable - we have always
complained that mental health
patients have been sidelined. But the policy is
only a statement of
intention on the part of the ministry of health. We would
like to see the
policy put into action - Zimbabwe has a long history of
coming up with
acts and working documents that are never implemented," she
Under the new policy guidelines, mental health issues form part
national HIV/AIDS mitigation and information strategy, thereby giving
mentally ill greater access to information, treatment and
Matare said the policy should be followed by action plans aimed
improving the welfare of the mentally ill.
"We would like to see
action that improves the lot of those affected [by
mental illness]; that
deals with such components as treatment,
rehabilitation and forensic
psychiatry for the mentally ill who are held
in prisons, among other things.
We are happy to note that the policy
recognises the link between HIV/AIDS and
mental health," she said.
"It is a known fact that people suffer from
varying stages of depression
once they get to know their positive status -
some fail to cope with it
and suffer from serious forms of mental illness.
So, recognising this link
puts us in a position to deal with the problems
once they arise," Matare
However, she said ZIMNAMH was still
concerned that the new policy lacked a
specific clause dealing with women and
mental health. She called for a
specific agenda, as women were affected by
mental health problems in a
number of ways.
"We have to recognise that
women are usually the caregivers for people
suffering from such serious
illnesses as HIV/AIDS. This exposes them to
high stress factors, which in
turn affects them mentally. They end up
suffering from many conditions, like
continuous headaches, sleeping
disorders, depression and other psychosomatic
explained. This sets them apart as a sector begging for
and we would be pleased if that could be incorporated into
A total of Zim $5 billion (US $877,346), up
from Zim $120 million (about
$22,000) in 2004, has been set aside for
programmes and improvements in
the country's three psychiatric hospitals
during 2005. ZIMNAMH estimates
that about 300,000 Zimbabweans suffer from
various types of mental
Tel: +27 11
Fax: +27 11 784-6759
support of Roy Bennett M.P.
Together for Justice and Peace, an informal, ecumenical group of church leaders
meeting in Bulawayo, write to express our sense of outrage at the persecution
of the Hon. Roy Bennett, MDC
Member of Parliament for Chimanimani – a sustained persecution which culminated
in the sentence imposed on him by Parliament in October. We write, not in a partisan spirit, but
rather because we are confronted here with a blatant example of a gross
injustice, to which we would feel bound to respond whatever the colour,
ethnicity or political affiliation of
Roy Bennett was
imprisoned after he was found guilty of assaulting the Justice Minister,
Patrick Chinamasa, during a debate in Parliament; Bennett had pushed Chinamasa
to the ground after the most severe provocation. Parliament, with an almost
two-thirds majority held by ZANU-PF, sentenced Bennett to 12 months
imprisonment with hard labour.
We believe his
sentence to be totally disproportionate to the incident in question. In fact we
regard him as a prisoner of conscience, imprisoned for his stand as a popular
opposition MP in a rural constituency. We fully endorse the statement made
recently by the Churches in Manicaland
in his support.
We view Roy Bennett’s
case as being representative of all those who have been detained without trial
or through the abuse of the legal system, and all those who are being held in
sub-human conditions in jails and holding cells across the country. Many of
these people do not have a voice to protest at the injustice done to them.
encourage individuals to sign the “Free Roy Bennett” petition, which is
circulating throughout the churches and civic society, and to continue to
uphold him and his family in prayer.
Let us pray and work together for the coming of that day when justice
will “roll on like a river and righteousness like a never-failing stream”. (Amos 5/24)
Together for Justice and Peace,
15th December, 2004
written for Roy Bennett – prisoner of conscience incarcerated
Please pray – and protest - for this
When through the cell bars
the moonbeam fingers come,
To dance in shaded yellow
blue white transparency
On the darkness of the
And the moaning of men has
given way to restless mutterings -
This silent time, alone, a
merciful escape from the heated toil of the day,
Brief respite from shackled
An uneasy quiet settles,
where the mosquito’s hum
Becomes a symbol of
self-determination droning on defiantly,
Far beyond the command of
In that moment, I will come
and be with you
Sit beside you on the
To share your space,
Cramped though it is,
To gently embrace your
Remind you -
My kingdom is greater than
this earthly span.
Another day is spent – one
solid step towards liberty.
Hold to the dream,
Be strong in the truth,
For my hand is raised to
protect you through voices raised in protest.
A trial by fire for a
To bear testimony for those
who cannot speak
Long since forgotten in the
place where you are.
You are my witness for
The moon is my messenger,
my ethereal angel.
Reaching in beyond the
To heal your heart and
Her gentle light is your
lunar rainbow promise,
Alone in this time, you are
Freedom is the right of the
None can shackle your
spirit, when you rest in me.
Subject: Free Roy Bennett Campaign
The Free Roy Bennett Campaign website
is now live and can be found at http://www.freeroybennett.com.
Please can you help us to publicise the
website. We'd be very appreciative if you would circulate information
about the site to
everyone on your mailing lists.
The Free Roy Bennett website provides
downloadable factsheets; petitions; emailing facilities to easily enable
people to contact
their friends with information about Roy; collected
articles about what Roy, his family and employees have endured for the
years; and images which record some of
The website has been designed to give
people as much opportunity as possible to participate in the campaign
to free Roy; in particular, by helping to spread the word and by
collecting petition signatures.
We'd be grateful if you would consider
adding a link to our website from yours, and we have provided images for
this purpose to be used by your webmasters - visit the 'Add a link to
your site' section of the website.
Please do not hesitate to contact us if you
have any questions, and thank you very much for your support.
With best wishes,
The Free Roy Bennett Campaign
"We do not need titles or fancy cars.
We just need the courage to stand up, and oppose the oppression we
face." Roy Bennett, August 2003
Mugabe's party to gain from constituency changes
Monday, December 20, 2004 Posted: 6:24 PM EST (2324 GMT)
HARARE, Zimbabwe (Reuters) -- A Zimbabwe
state-appointed commission redrew the country's voting constituencies on Monday,
strengthening President Robert Mugabe's party ahead of elections in
The new demarcations increased seats in strongholds of the ruling ZANU-PF and
reduced the number in areas where the opposition enjoys majority support.
The commission presented its report on the constituencies, traditionally
compiled before parliamentary elections, to Mugabe in Harare on Monday.
"We will in due course naturally also be looking at making this information
available to the public and the various parties that might want to participate
in the election," Mugabe said on national television after receiving it.
The areas of Manicaland, Mashonaland East and Mashonaland West, where ZANU-PF
enjoys popular support, gained three constituencies. Harare and Matabeleland
South provinces, opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) strongholds,
lost two constituencies.
"What it means is that ZANU-PF has gained more seats in areas it is assured
of victory and the MDC is the loser because they have lost two constituencies,"
said Lovemore Maduku, chairman of the National Constitutional Assembly, a
pressure group campaigning for a new constitution.
MDC officials were not immediately available for comment.
The chairman of the commission, judge George Chiweshe, was quoted as saying
more than 5.6 million voters were registered to vote as of September 20.
The MDC said on Sunday it would decide in early January whether to contest
the elections, which it has threatened to boycott.
In August, the MDC announced it was suspending participation in all elections
until Mugabe's government implemented reforms in line with those agreed by the
14-nation Southern Africa Development Community.
Mugabe's ZANU-PF used its majority in parliament to pass a set of electoral
reforms this month, which include setting up an independent election
But the MDC says the reforms are not enough to guarantee a fair vote in a
country that has witnessed election violence in the past four years.
Foreign critics led by mostly Western governments have said Zimbabwe's ruling
party rigged the 2000 parliamentary elections and the 2002 presidential poll and
accuse the government of widespread human rights abuses.
Mugabe, in power since independence from Britain in 1980, accuses Zimbabwe's
former colonial ruler of leading a Western campaign to oust him over his
government's seizure of white-owned farms for redistribution to landless
Government determined to support small-scale
miners THE Government is determined to support the
small and medium-scale mining sector which has contributed significantly to
Zimbabwe’s mineral output, a Cabinet minister said last week.
Mining Development Minister Ambassador Amos Midzi said his ministry was
committed to uplifting small to medium-scale miners to enable them to produce
effectively at higher levels.
Speaking when he presented 10 compressors
and accessories to the sector, he said it was Government policy to support the
industry as it had contributed immensely to the country’s total mineral
"Small-scale mining sector has grown considerably in terms
of mineral production," said the minister.
"It has produced more than 50
percent of the gold declared for this year with peak production being 58 percent
of total gold production for 2004."
The ministry acquired the equipment
under the Mining Industry Development Fund, which was set up to assist the small
and medium-size miners to grow to potential.
In recognition of the
potential of the small miners, the Government allocated $5 billion to the fund
in the 2004 Budget, and doubled the figure in the 2005 Budget.
provides to the small and medium-scale miners financial and material support,
loans for accessing plant equipment and tools on a sustainable basis," said Mr
He said the ministry’s engineering department also provides
technical assistance such as geological information, methods of mining and
educated the miners on environmental and health issues.
access the fund under two main schemes, the loans portfolio and the plant hire
A provision of $2,5 billion was channelled towards the support
of the loan facility, which was utilised by about 19 miners.
A total $1
billion of the $2,5 billion reserved for the purchase of equipment for hire was
used in the procurement of nine compressors and nine hand-held drilling
"My ministry will strive to uplift the sector by being
responsive to its needs," Midzi said. — New Ziana.
'Close to a Million Orphaned By Aids'
December 20, 2004
Posted to the web December 20, 2004
Close to a million children in the country have lost one or both parents as
a result of HIV and Aids, the United Nations Children's Fund (Unicef) country
representative to Zimbabwe Dr Festo Kavishe has said.
In a statement to mark
the launch of the State of the World's Children Report for the year 2005, Dr
Kavishe said he expected the number of children orphaned by Aids to grow in the
"By 2003 some 2,1 million children under the age of five were
living with HIV and Aids, most of them infected during pregnancy, birth or
"Zimbabwe, with one of the world's highest prevalence rate,
registered the largest swells in child death rates from 1990 to 2002," he
At least 1,8 million people in Zimbabwe are living with HIV and Aids,
while more than 2 000 people die each week from Aids-related illnesses.
people are mostly breadwinners and parents, meaning thousands of children are
being left to fend for themselves.
The impact on these children left behind,
said Dr Kavishe, was severe.
The bulk of them, he said, stayed with extended
families most of which were already stretched and finding it hard to make ends
"In such instances, finding enough money to send the children to
school, feed them and clothe them is not always possible.
"We cannot afford
to have more than 20 percent of the country's children, more likely to fall out
of school, more likely to be malnourished or involved in hazardous forms of
labour," he said.
Dr Kavishe said the challenges to meet children's rights
were many but they were based on the choices that governments and citizens of
different countries made.
"It is time to redefine our priorities and redefine
the choices we make, especially those we know will have a detrimental impact on
the right to a good childhood," he said.
He commended the Government's
adoption of the National Plan of Action for orphaned and vulnerable
The plan maps out a way to provide basic services for at least 25
percent of the country's orphans in the next year.
Dr Kavishe said it was
crucial for all the people in the country to work together to make the plan a
success and reach more children.
"We encourage Government and donors alike to
commit the needed resources and political will to ensure that we reach all the
children in the country who are at risk of losing their childhood with the
safety nets they so badly need to preserve their basic rights," he said.
year marked 15 years since the United Nations General Assembly adopted the
Convention on the Rights of the Child.
This is now the world's most widely
ratified human rights treaty that enshrines every child's right to survival,
development, participation and protection.
Unicef's State of the World's
Children's report says more than half of the world's children are suffering
extreme deprivations from poverty, war and HIV and Aids
Unicef also estimates
that since 1990 children account for nearly half of the 3,6 million people
killed in conflict.
Working with some researchers, Unicef also concluded that
more than half of the children in the developing world are severely deprived of
one or more of the goods and services essential to childhood like shelter,
sanitation, health care services and information.
12/19/04 - BAD LAW FOR ZIMBABWE
following is an editorial reflecting the views of the United States
Legislation approved by the Zimbabwe parliament would outlaw foreign
human rights or governance groups, known as N-G-Os, from receiving foreign
assistance, even from Zimbabweans living abroad. The measure will significantly
burden hundreds of organizations working for the improvement of political,
social, and economic conditions in Zimbabwe. It could result in the shutdown of
hundreds of N-G-O's and will certainly affect the atmosphere of parliamentary
elections in March.
The pending law has spurred a wave of domestic and foreign criticism. Amnesty
International calls it "a direct attack on human rights which should be
immediately repealed." Human Rights Watch says the law "would enable the
government to intervene in the reasonable activities of civil society
organizations and possibly force many of them to close. It would undermine the
fundamental freedoms of association and expression in Zimbabwe."
U.S. State Department Deputy Spokesman Adam Ereli condemned this latest piece
of repressive legislation in Zimbabwe:
"This bill is an assault on civil society and an attempt to curtail political
discussion in Zimbabwe. It is yet another sign that the government of Zimbabwe
may not be serious about holding free and fair parliamentary elections in March
Zimbabweans opposed to the law, including churches, law groups, unions, and
legislators from the main opposition party, the Movement for Democratic Change,
or M-D-C, say that as soon as the law goes into effect, the government of
President Robert Mugabe intends to move against a list of prominent groups
seeking respect for human rights and democratic reform in Zimbabwe. Law
professor and M-D-C Secretary-General Welshman Ncube said the law threatens to
push Zimbabwe into the dark ages.
Zimbabwe is already experiencing protracted political and economic turmoil.
Its agriculture has collapsed as a result of the government's ruinous policies,
exacerbated by several years of drought. Inflation has put basic commodities
such as food out of reach for many of Zimbabwe's poorest citizens.
The new law targeting N-G-Os seems part of a pattern of repression aimed at
silencing political criticism and ensuring the ruling ZANU-PF party's hold on
power, even if that means additional years of turmoil and
Chipawo Training for Rural Youths
December 19, 2004
Posted to the web December 20, 2004
FIFTEEN unemployed youths from 10 rural communities recently went through a
20-day vocational skills training programme organised by CHIPAWO in partnership
with Swedish International Development Authority (SIDA).
skills course is a poverty reduction project aimed at alleviating the
unemployment rate by equipping youths with skills to help them start
income-generating projects in their communities, according to Bridget Chimboza,
CHIPAWO's public relations officer.
She said 10 of the youths were being
taught how to produce musical instruments such as marimba, hosho, mbira, and
The remaining five were being trained in video
Meanwhile, in the Disadvantaged Rural Children Project, which
started in 2003, CHIPAWO has established 20 centres, which are set to help the
disadvantaged in remote rural areas.
"Teachers are also trained in
psychological support, particularly with reference to HIV/AIDS and the centres
are assisted in setting up a mbira and dance performance group, which is capable
of generating income to pay for fees and contribute to school development,"
The fifteen youths were drawn from Mudzi, Chiredzi, Rusape,
Chivi, Zvishavane, Gokwe, and Nyanga.
Economic Woes Force Zimbabweans Turn to Urban Crops
report - Download 282kListen
to Maphosa report
With the growing economic difficulties
Zimbabwe faces, urban dwellers are planting crops in city lots to make a living
and feed their families.
|Maize growing near national stadium in Harare (VOA photo
- T. Maphosa) |
There was a time when faced with a drought, urban dwellers in Zimbabwe were
forbidden to use precious water for their lawns or for washing their cars. But
as the country's economy continues to weaken and the cost of living rises, more
and more people in the cities and towns are using large amounts of water for
growing crops on their properties and wherever they can. And, more are hoping
for an increase in rain because while some use city water, most of them rely on
rainfall for their crops.
In the capital Harare most vacant pieces of land have been turned into corn
fields - a staple crop which has become increasingly scarce because of
successive droughts in the country.
Urban cultivation of crops is not a new development in Zimbabwe. But, in the
past, it was the preserve of low-income earners.
One "new urban farmer'" who spoke to VOA on condition of anonymity says he
harvest enough to feed his family and
to sell the surplus. His lush crop is in stark contrast to a neighboring plot
were the corn does not look healthy. The difference, he explains, is that he can
afford the expensive fertilizers while his neighbor cannot.
|Maize growing in a Harare
residential area (VOA photo - T.
The Harare municipality used to put up notices on areas where people were not
allowed to cultivate crops. Those who disregarded the notices would have their
crops slashed by municipal workers. But now it seems city authorities are
turning a blind eye to the widespread violations of the law. Attempts to get a
comment from city hall were unsuccessful.
The government recently allocated plots to some families in Harare on farms
on the outskirts of the city that were acquired for urban expansion. The
Metropolitan Resident Minister for the city, Witness Mangwende, was quoted by
the state-owned daily newspaper The Herald as saying urban agriculture
is "part and parcel of the national land reform program" launched in 2000.
Zivhu Set Free
December 18, 2004
Posted to the web December 20, 2004
CHAIRMAN of the Zimbabwe Cross-Border Traders' Association
Killer Zivhu who had been in custody since last week, is now assured of a
Christmas at home after being granted $1 million bail on Thursday.
Magistrate Mrs Judith Tsamba granted Zivhu's fresh bail
Zivhu - who faces three charges of theft by conversion - was
ordered not to interfere with witnesses and to report three times a week at the
Harare Central Police Commercial Crimes Unit.
Prosecutor Mr Servious Kufandada requested the court to warn
Zivhu that he risked being incarcerated until the finalisation of the matter if
he flouted any of his bail conditions.
Mrs Tsamba remanded Zivhu in custody last week following the
confirmation of his warrant of arrest.
His excuse that he had been ill when he defaulted was
dismissed, resulting in him being asked to make a fresh bail application.
Zivhu's initial $500 000 bail was forfeited to the
His passport also remains with the clerk of court until the
case is finalised.
In another case, he was also ordered to deposit $700 000
bail and a default fine of $100 000.
He risked being imprisoned for 30 days if he had failed to
pay the default fine.
For that case, he was also ordered to report every Monday
and Friday at the Harare Central Commercial Crimes Unit.
Charges against Zivhu arose after he was given $5 million by
a Harare-based pastor to buy him some goods in Zambia.
The State alleges that Zivhu agreed to do so but later
converted the money to his own use.
It is alleged that efforts by the clergyman to recover his
money from Zivhu proved fruitless resulting in him making a report to the
Zivhu also faces another charge of theft by conversion after
he was allegedly given $6 million by a member of his association.
It is alleged that Zivhu agreed to secure foreign currency
for the member, but converted the money to his own use.
He also faces another theft by conversion charge involving
Shameless Scribes Fail to Settle $11m Hotel Bill
December 18, 2004
Posted to the web December 20, 2004
FOOTBALL writers from outside the capital
abandoned a bill of more than $11 million at a city hotel last month when they
came to Harare to choose the 2004 Soccer Stars of the Year.
journalists were believed to have incurred the bill while dining and wining at
the hotel during the single night they spent in the capital.
accommodation and meals at the hotel had been paid for by the sponsors of the
Soccer Stars of the Year - National Breweries.
The same journalists had also
enjoyed free drinks, courtesy of the sponsors, after the selection
But after they had enjoyed their supper, which was paid for by the
sponsors, the journalists then ordered more alcoholic drinks and food.
the journalists is believed to have signed for food whose value shot to more
than $1 million on the night.
Others are reported to have been involved in a
drinking spree that went late into the night. The journalists then left the
hotel without settling the bills. But last night luck ran out on some of the
Returning to the capital for the big Soccer Star of the Year
banquet, they had the misfortune of being booked into the same hotel where they
were housed the last time they were in Harare.
And before they checked into
the hotel, each individual was asked to settle his or her debt.
still battling to raise the required funds last night.
Stanley Gama lashed out at the journalists for their "irresponsible behaviour"
and vowed that they would take action against those found to have been
"We don't expect such behaviour from people like journalists, they
should behave like adults in everything they do because they are respectable
people in society."
Take Stern Measures Against Indisciplined Drivers
December 18, 2004
Posted to the web December 20,
THE practice by the Harare City Council of towing away motor
vehicles found parked at undesignated places is legal after all.
has explained that its action is based on Statutory Instrument 357 of 1983 which
empowers it to take steps it deems necessary to deal with obstruction of roads
Part of the by-law states that if the person causing the
obstruction cannot be found or refuses to comply with any directives or orders
given, an authorised employee may take such steps as maybe necessary to remove
the obstruction or prevent its continuance.
This should bring to an end the
controversy where motorists were saying the council's action was illegal since
it was not backed by law.
Recent weeks have seen scores of vehicles illegally
parked on the streets towed to the city's Central Stores. Owners have to pay the
costs for towing the vehicles and storage charges. These run into
While this is a noble idea to tame our streets, there are already
unconfirmed reports that some people have lost their motor vehicles to thieves
masquerading as municipal traffic police.
Harare City Council should come up
with a proper identification system before they tow away errant motorists'
They should take no chances. Motorists should also not easily let
go their vehicles before they are convinced who is towing away their
Motorists should know that the major objective of towing illegally
parked vehicles is to decongest the central business district, increase the
level of driver discipline and to increase the safety and security of
pedestrians and motorists.
The municipal traffic police should also work
hand-in-hand with the Vehicle Inspection Department that before any vehicle,
which would have been impounded, is released only after its roadworthiness is
Motorists who have a culture of parking their vehicles
willy-nilly for their own convenience and selfish ends, should not go unpunished
as this has been one of the major ingredients leading to congestion within the
People should not just park their vehicles in a way that inconveniences
The city council should also consider the wheel clamping system which
is currently in operation at Harare International Airport. The system has
drastically reduced parking violations there.
The airport system forces the
culprit to pay the fine immediately in order to recover his vehicle. Failure to
pay on time results in storage charges accumulating.
We have said in the past
that the council should not only target private motorists and mini-buses, but
haulage trucks as well.
It is now common for drivers of these monstrous
trucks to park and drive in the city centre, areas not designated for such heavy
vehicles. What is needed is a culture of discipline.
The municipal police, in
consultation with the Zimbabwe Republic Police, should take stern measures
against undisciplined drivers until the culture of parking willy-nilly and
reckless driving is eradicated.
Taskforce Set to Look Into War Vets Association Restructuring
December 18, 2004
Posted to the web December 20, 2004
PRESIDENT Mugabe yesterday announced a three-member committee
tasked to look into the restructuring of the Zimbabwe National Liberation War
The committee comprises former Zanla and Zipra
commanders Cdes Solomon Mujuru, Vitalis Zvinavashe and Dumiso Dabengwa.
President said the committee would be looking at how the war veterans'
association would be incorporated into the structures of the party.
the current situation where new war veterans associations were mushrooming was
not acceptable given that these were combatants that had fought together during
the country's liberation war.
The President said the committee was also going
to look at such issues as remuneration to ensure that where benefits are not
being given out, they are given out and where the benefits are low, they are
Cde Dabengwa pledged that the committee would work hard to ensure
that sanity and unity prevails in the association.
He said they were going to
use the same methods that they used during the war to restructure the war
The war veterans association has of late been riddled
by factions that are threatening to tear it apart.
Harare's Lovebirds With a Difference
The Herald (Harare)
Posted to the web December 20, 2004
MANY people in Zimbabwe do not think that persons living with disabilities
can marry or raise families.
If any "able-bodied" man loves a woman living
with disability, his parents and relatives will make fierce objections if the
man attempts to marry a disabled woman.
It's equally not easy for a disabled
male to marry an "able-bodied" woman.
When such marriages occur, they have to
go through a very different set of rules and morals, robbing people living with
disabilities off their right to their own sexuality.
But Chanda Karumazondo
and his wife Dorothy, both aged 36, are still celebrating what many people in
their community say is a model, long and enduring marriage that has created a
lift of understanding for a couple living with physical challenges.
couple oozes that spark of inspiration of an amazing relationship that has
attracted the attention of people in New Tafara, a high-density suburb about 25
kilometres east of Harare.
"As people living with disabilities, it was
difficult for us to be accepted as a couple which could co-exist in the same way
like that of other able-bodied people," says Karumazondo at his modest
"People first perceived us as having no rights to sexual
Concurs her wife: "Initially, we suffered stigmatisation from
people around this community. People were amazed as they wondered how two
physically handicapped people stayed together.
"It was something new,
something they could not easily digest."
Thatch water can fill the water pot
and with time, Dorothy says, more and more people later accepted their
"We now have lots of friends around here," she says preparing
some food for her husband. "Most of our neighbours are quite understanding and
we are now free to send their children to buy us some stuff at the
She says they now enjoy strong and cordial relations with people in
"They have accepted us and we now feel closer to them than
most outsiders would think," she says smiling.
Chanda and Dorothy fell in
love way back in 1986 in Bulawayo while they were still going to school at King
"We kept our relationship going until 2000 when we decided to stay
together," says Chanda smiling and with an expression of love in his
"We were very fortunate that relatives from both sides were very
supportive. We never experienced much problems."
"Our relationship is good. I
love my husband very much," Dorothy says, and at times would refer to her
husband as "VaKarumazondo" as a gesture of showing respect.
Chanda runs a
small printing and stationery business in the city while Dorothy does some
sewing, embroidery and looks after five HIV and Aids orphans aged below six at
Dorothy holds Diplomas in Accounting as well as Cutting and
Designing together with a pre-school teacher certificate.
People living with
disabilities have fewer opportunities and in many cases, very few of them
receive training or employment.
"I've a Diploma in Accounting and I failed to
get a job. I felt strongly that I would show love for disadvantaged children
just to take the cause of our fight to a higher level," she says.
She has a
big heart and runs a pre-school for orphaned children for free. The couple uses
its own resources to support their home-based pre-school, which takes care of
some of the children who are also living with disabilities.
"I love children
and my heart bleeds when I see them being ill-treated and neglected by the
community," she says emotionally.
"There are so many orphans and we are
forced to limit the number because we have a limited capacity. It's sad that we
have to turn some away and if I get support, I hope to increase the number to 10
Dorothy is a soldier without a sword and her modesty contribution
in uplifting the lives of HIV and Aids orphans all shows her dedication and
strength of character.
Some children who come looking for assistance are
mainly from those with parents that are terminally ill or those that would have
lost either one or both parents to the HIV and Aids pandemic.
this kind of service is so high and it's sad that we cannot accommodate
everyone," she says. "Some parents even cry, it's so painful to turn them
Chanda says education is very important in enhancing self-esteem and
confidence especially for people living with disabilities.
"We are still a
long way from fully recognising the needs for disabled citizens," he
"More effort must be put to educate disabled citizens as a way of
"If one becomes economically empowered, he gains confidence
and this is important for the positive growth of the society and the economy as
Traditionally, disabled citizens have been looked upon as objects
of charity and pity.
They are often portrayed as pitiable beings in need of
sympathy, something that the couple says has damaged the image and self-esteem
of the disabled citizens.
"The self-esteem of disabled citizens can be
greatly enhanced if they are given equal chances to education, employment and
access to loans for their own income generating projects," he says.
Health Organisation estimates that 10 percent of the world's population has a
disability and 80 percent of the world's people with disabilities live in the
developing world - Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean.
It is also
estimated that 99 percent of disabled people are unemployed in the developing
Social analysts say lack of employment relates to low educational
levels, lack of training and public attitudes that disabled citizens should be
hidden away and taken care of by charities.
In most parts of the world,
including Zimbabwe, the affairs of disabled citizens are ironically controlled
by able-bodied people.
"I can do most of the work on my own. I can wash
clothes, iron them, do some gardening and cooking," says Dorothy. "I'm able to
do my work despite how sympathetic some people may feel.
"But problems arise
when I want to buy some sewing materials. Somebody has to choose them for me,
not because I don't want to, but the shops are too far to people who use
"This is a big problem for me," she says.
There are many
barriers that disabled citizens face when they venture out to go about with
their own business.
Public buses are few and those that come to the area tend
to ignore people living with disabilities.
There are stairs onto the buses
that disabled citizens cannot negotiate through easily.
In addition, public
attitudes are still raw that disabled persons are ridiculed if seen out in
"Public transport is hell for us," laments Dorothy. "It's not easy to
board kombis and most of the times they just speed off and leave us
"I've not been able to go to town for days. It's painful and at times
I'm forced to pay for my wheel chair. It's so unfair, something has to be done
to address this problem."
Chanda expressed concern that most architects are
still designing buildings that are not user-friendly for people living with
"We had to customise the toilet to make it more accessible to
our condition. Part of this door had to be demolished to allow for the free
movement of our wheelchairs," he says.
"It's the same problem everywhere you
go - in schools, hospitals and in city buildings. More work needs to be done to
address the needs of disabled citizens."
He also called on the Government to
create a special fund to support income-generating projects for disabled
"The Government has to take practical steps to support income
generating projects for disabled citizens to curb a growing begging and
dependency syndrome," he says.
But the couple says God is at work and has
kept their marriage intact.
"God is the one who keeps a marriage intact,"
says Chanda. "When God is absent, a relationship falls apart."
says most marriages are falling apart because couples are putting material
things ahead of the true foundation - love.
"Love and having reasonable
expectations within a couple's reach is the answer," says Dorothy. "People
should not glorify material things at the expense of their
Many disabled citizens experience various problems concerning
pregnancy and child rearing.
The couple has no children and it is encouraging
that they have learnt to accept things they cannot change.
"We have come to
terms with that. We are managing and the love we show to orphans has kept us
going," says Dorothy, a devout Seventh Day Adventist Church follower.
acts of love have bound them together for years. The couple enjoys watching
soccer, cricket, playing with children and listening to gospel music.
love sports, I support Amazulu and he is a Shabanie football fan," she says
teasing her husband. "He enjoys travelling, VaKarumazondo vanoda kufamba
Disabled citizens, long to be wanted and loved just like any other
And this is an amazing couple that leads its marriage with
determination, dedication and devotion.
It's a marriage full of hope that can
help many others re-discover lost passion at a time when marriages of so-called
"able-bodied" people are crumbling like a deck of cards at a rate never seen
Mangongo suspended by board
December 20, 2004
Reports that Stephen Mangongo, the former head of Zimbabwe's
selectors, had been suspended from Zimbabwe Cricket (ZC) were confirmed in the
weekend's newspaper in Harare.
Mangongo, along with Givemore Makoni, the general manger of
Mashonaland Cricket Association (MCA), were suspended for unspecified reasons,
although it is thought that it relates to the recent move by the MCA to bring a
vote of no confidence against the ZC board.
The unrest against the board surfaced last week, and it is
believed that senior MCA officials want to take their case to the ICC. The
official meeting to discuss the vote of no confidence is due to take place on
Wednesday (December 22).
But Peter Chingoka, ZC's chairman, sought to turn the tables
on the dissenters, claiming that the MCA's move was no more than a bid to cover
up an investigation into the conduct of some officials, including Mangongo, at
the Takashinga club.
A local reporter told Cricinfo that the news of Mangongo's
suspension was not surprising. "They are out to fix him," he said, pointing out
that his position and influence within the board had been weakening steadily in
recent months. He was replaced as head of selectors at the AGM in August, when
it was stated that he would be in India on a coaching course for most of the
year, but he has remained in Zimbabwe. "That was a way of getting rid of him,"
the source added, "and it succeeded."
There are also reports – unsubstantiated – that was an
attempt to remove Max Ebrahim, the current head of selectors, as chairman of
Union Used Us for Political Gain: Workers
December 18, 2004
Posted to the web December 20, 2004
DISMISSED NetOne, TelOne and Zimpost workers yesterday accused the
leadership of the Communications and Allied Services Workers' Union (CASWUZ),
led by Mr Lovemore Matombo of using them for political gain before dumping
The workers, who have reportedly gone for between three and six months
without pay, are bitter that the union has left them destitute.
And in a
development that could signal a major split in the union, long believed to be a
bastion of opposition politics, the disgruntled workers have sought the ruling
Zanu-PF's intervention in a bid to get back their jobs.
Yesterday scores of
the dismissed workers thronged the Zanu-PF Harare provincial headquarters to
highlight their plight to the party leadership.
CASWUZ Harare province
chairman Mr Hillary Gurumani said the workers wanted the entire national
executive to step down because they no longer represented the interests of the
Some senior CASWUZ members like the secretary-general, Mr Gift
Chimanikire, are members of the opposition MDC.
But Mr Chimanikire has
distanced himself from the strike action, saying he was in Geneva attending an
executive board meeting of the Union Network International World, of which he
was a member.
The devastation caused by AIDS in Zimbabwe has been underlined
in a new United Nations report.
|DISEASE WRECKING NATION|
Nearly one million children in the
country have now lost either one or both parents to the disease.
The UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) said child orphans aged just nine were having
to care for younger siblings.
More than one quarter of Zimbabwe's 26
million people are now believed to have HIV.
This has forced increasing
numbers of children of those infected to leave school and undertake highly risky
work, including prostitution.
Life expectancy in President Robert
Mugabe's southern African nation has dropped from 52 to 37 since only 1990
because of AIDS.
In its annual World's Children report, UNICEF said the
information highlighted social and economic crisis engulfing
Poverty is making an already acute AIDS epidemic still worse
with many of the 2,000 people a week dying from related illnesses, unable to
The government admits that the estimated HIV infection
rate could be far higher as many people infected feel too ashamed to report the
Jingle Tills, Jingle All the Way
December 19, 2004
Posted to the web December 20, 2004
Business picks up for retail shops
already smiling at the sound of ringing tills, but say they are holding out for
a last minute shopping spree this week to make up for a sluggish start to
You know it's Christmas when the big department stores bring out
those corny Boney M Christmas carols. For conspiracy theorists, these songs
convey a subliminal message into the heads of shoppers: "Spend, spend,
Then you have so-called bargains shouting "buy me, buy me" from the
windows, bathed in bright Christmas lights, another capitalist ploy to lure
unsuspecting shoppers - like bugs led to their deaths by the glow of a lamp. And
the fake Santas are also back at work, used by clever store managers to entice
ever bigger spending on increasingly expensive kiddie goods.
traditional fare to an estimated $5 trillion that is out on the market - ready
to be spent - after personal income tax cuts by acting Finance Minister Herbert
Murerwa last month, then you have a recipe for the biggest Christmas cake
Zimbabwean retailers have had in years.
Retailers say the first two weeks of
December have brought the traditional perk in sales volumes. But perhaps showing
a touch of ingratitude after a weak year, retailers say the tills are not
ringing as loud and as long as they would have wanted.
According to Ray
Mlotshwa, Managing Director of Edgars, the country's largest clothing retailer,
the rise in business so far has been normal for this season. However, the real
picture of the festive season will only emerge at month end, Mlotshwa
"We expect sales to peak in the last ten days before Christmas,"
Mlotshwa told StandardBusiness Wednesday. "We expect trade to rise after civil
servant salaries this week."
Other retailers also reported a slow start to
the traditionally strong season, but also looked to a late rush on stores as
shoppers hunt for last minute bargains.
In the words of the operations
manager of a ZSE company, "The customers haven't exactly been walking in and
shaking out the contents of their wallets".
However, there are sections of
the retail sector that have already reported sales volumes running well ahead of
last year. Traders in electronic goods and luxury items who spoke to
StandardBusiness say business is already better than last year's.
after the tax-free bonus, you get people who have not been able to buy luxury
items before, thinking 'well, I have more to spend, I'll buy stuff I've been
wishing to buy all year'. This has driven some of the demand for goods such as
ours," said Dinesh Ramsamy, who runs five electrical goods stores in
Four food and beverage retailers surveyed said they expected to ring
their tills louder this year than they did in December 2003, and are also
looking to the last few days before Saturday for a surge in spending. Furniture
retailers have however reported weak sales so far.
The last quarter of the
year, and December in particular, is the most important time of the year for
retailers, capable of making or breaking annual performances within a space of a
Retailers have every reason to hope for a merrier Christmas this
year. Last year's Christmas brought no cheer for the sector, instead being a
curse for retailers throughout 2004. High stocks were carried over from December
last year, most of that stock financed by pricey borrowing.
borrowings saw retailers take huge interest charges, which ate into bottom
lines. The slow moving stock also reduced retailers' flexibility to stock fresh
and more exciting new ranges.
Retailers know they miscalculated on their
orders last year - not expecting the steep collapse in demand seen in December.
However, retailers are confident this season will exorcise the ghost of
Christmas past. CEOs are polishing up their vocal chords, ready to sing:"Jingle
Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle all the way - to the bank".
Furore Over State Take-Over of MZWT
December 19, 2004
Posted to the web December 20, 2004
Investors who bought shares in the Matabeleland
Zambezi Water Trust (MZWT) are unhappy about the government's decision to take
over the ambitious project that has a potential to turn the region into a
Several companies in Bulawayo and the outlying regions bought
thousands of shares in the Matabeleland Zambezi Project as part of raising
capital to kick-start the project. When finally completed, it will see water
being pumped from the mighty Zambezi River, 450 kilometres away, into the arid
However, after repeated failures to kick-start the
project the government this year announced that it had taken over the project,
raising shareholders' fears over their stake in the ambitious
Companies that bought shares in the water scheme when the shares
were floated in 1994 include AP Glendinning which bought 250 000 shares, Stanbic
Bank which also bought 250 000 shares and later donated them to Help Age
Zimbabwe. The shares were going for 20 cents each at the time.
companies bought 50 000 shares each while the Bulawayo City Council bought quite
a large chunk of the shares.
Bulawayo executive mayor, Japhet Ndabeni Ncube,
said: "We are seeking a meeting with the responsible Minister and we want the
whole issue of shareholding to be clarified in the new set up announced by
The council in its last meeting resolved that the then Minister
of Water Resources and Infrastructural Development, Joyce Mujuru, be summoned to
Bulawayo to explain the effects government's take over was likely to have on the
council's shares. Mujuru has since been appointed Vice
Ndabeni-Ncube said council would soon meet to discuss the issue
before coming up with a position on the matter since it involved ratepayers'
"The council bought thousands of shares in 1994 and we want the shares
issue to be clarified. If this is now a government project we want to know what
happens to our share holding," Ndabeni-Ncube said.
Some of the investors who
spoke to The Standard this week said they would need to establish where they
stood in the current set-up before taking action against the MZWT.
need to be consulted. If government has taken over the project then a re-tender
of the shares on investors' terms should be done,"said an official of one of the
companies that bought shares
The fate of the Matabeleland water project hangs
in the balance due to lack of funding.