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

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Sent: Tuesday, December 21, 2004 1:01 AM
Subject: Dogs and Fences

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 encounter.

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 pedigree! They
survive by scavenging - like many of the rest of us.

We have now reached the stage where squatters of various descriptions occupy
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 capita.

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 horticultural products.
The industry generated a third of Zimbabwe's national employment, half its
exports and fed a population of 11 million.

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 region from
being the lowest in Africa in 1997.

And the madness goes on - just this past week at least two farmers per day
were being systematically evicted from their land - by force and without any
legal basis. People need to understand what happens as it still seems to me
to be totally bizarre and how anyone, anywhere, can call this "land reform"
or 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 departs.

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 avail.

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 go.

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 sanctions.

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 Zambia and
Botswana - come and join us here. But do they trust Africa again? How about
a fresh start in Australia - they find they are too old. The UK? No real
links in that direction. South Africa? From the frying pan into the fire!

And the tragedy of it all is that these guys were the best farmers in
Africa. They took marginal land and a variable climate and no help from
anyone except a hard-nosed bank and built up an African empire with real
African expertise. Now it's all gone and all that remains are a few mangy
dogs and broken down fences. It will take a long time to put it all back
together again.

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 altogether.

Eddie Cross

Bulawayo, 20th December 2004.

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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 irrelevant.

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 remarked.

Under the new policy guidelines, mental health issues form part of the
national HIV/AIDS mitigation and information strategy, thereby giving the
mentally ill greater access to information, treatment and counselling.
Matare said the policy should be followed by action plans aimed at
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 disorders," Matare
explained. This sets them apart as a sector begging for special attention,
and we would be pleased if that could be incorporated into the mental
health policy."

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 11 895-1900
Fax: +27 11 784-6759
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Statement in support of Roy Bennett M.P.


We, Christians 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 the victim.


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.


We therefore 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)


Christians Together for Justice and Peace,


15th December, 2004


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Poem written for Roy Bennett – prisoner of conscience incarcerated in  Zimbabwe.


Please pray – and protest - for this family.


Lunar Rainbow Promise


When through the cell bars the moonbeam fingers come,

To dance in shaded yellow blue white transparency

On the darkness of the dirty walls

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 injustice.

An uneasy quiet settles, where the mosquito’s hum

Becomes a symbol of self-determination droning on defiantly,

Far beyond the command of men.

In that moment, I will come and be with you

Sit beside you on the sparse floor

To share your space,

Cramped though it is,

To gently embrace your weariness

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 perfect vessel

To bear testimony for those who cannot speak

Long since forgotten in the place where you are.

You are my witness for them.

The moon is my messenger, my ethereal angel.

Reaching in beyond the confines,

To heal your heart and mind.

Her gentle light is your lunar rainbow promise,

Alone in this time, you are not.

Freedom is the right of the just.

None can shackle your spirit, when you rest in me. 


Subject: Free Roy Bennett Campaign website 


Dear Friends,

The Free Roy Bennett Campaign website is now live and can be found at

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 past few

years; and images which record some of those events. 


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



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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 March.

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 commission.

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 blacks.

Copyright 2004 Reuters.
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The Herald

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.

Mines and 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 production.

"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.

"The fund 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 Midzi.

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.

Miners can access the fund under two main schemes, the loans portfolio and the plant hire scheme.

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 machines.

"My ministry will strive to uplift the sector by being responsive to its needs," Midzi said. — New Ziana.

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'Close to a Million Orphaned By Aids'

The Herald (Harare)
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 next year.
"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 breastfeeding.
"Zimbabwe, with one of the world's highest prevalence rate, registered the largest swells in child death rates from 1990 to 2002," he said.
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.
These 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 meet.
"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 children.
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.
This 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.
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The following is an editorial reflecting the views of the United States Government:
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 2005."

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 decline.

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The Herald
Chipawo Training for Rural Youths

Zimbabwe Standard (Harare)
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).
The vocational 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 drums.
The remaining five were being trained in video production.
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," Chimboza said.
The fifteen youths were drawn from Mudzi, Chiredzi, Rusape, Chivi, Zvishavane, Gokwe, and Nyanga.
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Economic Woes Force Zimbabweans Turn to Urban Crops

20 December 2004
Maphosa report - Download 282k
Listen to Maphosa report

Maize growing near national stadium in Harare
Maize growing near national stadium in Harare (VOA photo - T. Maphosa) 
With the growing economic difficulties Zimbabwe faces, urban dwellers are planting crops in city lots to make a living and feed their families.

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 expects to
Maize growing in a Harare residential area
Maize growing in a Harare residential area (VOA photo - T. Maphosa)
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.

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.

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The Herald

Zivhu Set Free

The Herald (Harare)

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 application.

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 State.

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 police.

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 $4,5 million.

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The Herald
Shameless Scribes Fail to Settle $11m Hotel Bill

The Herald (Harare)
December 18, 2004
Posted to the web December 20, 2004
Mtulisi Mafa
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.
The sports journalists were believed to have incurred the bill while dining and wining at the hotel during the single night they spent in the capital.
The 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 process.
But after they had enjoyed their supper, which was paid for by the sponsors, the journalists then ordered more alcoholic drinks and food.
One of 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 scribes.
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.
Some were still battling to raise the required funds last night.

Swaz chairman Stanley Gama lashed out at the journalists for their "irresponsible behaviour" and vowed that they would take action against those found to have been wrong.
"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."
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Take Stern Measures Against Indisciplined Drivers

The Herald (Harare)
December 18, 2004
Posted to the web December 20, 2004
THE practice by the Harare City Council of towing away motor vehicles found parked at undesignated places is legal after all.
The council 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 and sidewalks.
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 millions.
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' vehicles.
They should take no chances. Motorists should also not easily let go their vehicles before they are convinced who is towing away their vehicle.
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 established.
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 CBD.
People should not just park their vehicles in a way that inconveniences others.
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.
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Taskforce Set to Look Into War Vets Association Restructuring

The Herald (Harare)
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 Veterans Association.
The committee comprises former Zanla and Zipra commanders Cdes Solomon Mujuru, Vitalis Zvinavashe and Dumiso Dabengwa.
The President said the committee would be looking at how the war veterans' association would be incorporated into the structures of the party.
He said 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 increased.
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 veterans' association.
The war veterans association has of late been riddled by factions that are threatening to tear it apart.
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Harare's Lovebirds With a Difference

The Herald (Harare)
December 18, 2004
Posted to the web December 20, 2004
Sifelani Tsiko
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.
The 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 three-roomed house.
"People first perceived us as having no rights to sexual feelings."
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 relationship.
"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 shops."
She says they now enjoy strong and cordial relations with people in the community.
"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 George VI.
"We kept our relationship going until 2000 when we decided to stay together," says Chanda smiling and with an expression of love in his eyes.
"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 their home.
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 next year."
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.
"Demand for 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 away."
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 says.
"More effort must be put to educate disabled citizens as a way of empowering them.
"If one becomes economically empowered, he gains confidence and this is important for the positive growth of the society and the economy as a whole."
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.
The World 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 world.
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 wheelchairs."
"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.
"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 behind.
"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 disabilities.
"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 citizens.
"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."
The couple 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 relationship."
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.
Passion acts of love have bound them together for years. The couple enjoys watching soccer, cricket, playing with children and listening to gospel music.
"We love sports, I support Amazulu and he is a Shabanie football fan," she says teasing her husband. "He enjoys travelling, VaKarumazondo vanoda kufamba chaizvo."
Disabled citizens, long to be wanted and loved just like any other person.

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 before.
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Mangongo suspended by board

Cricinfo staff

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 Masvingo.

© Cricinfo

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Union Used Us for Political Gain: Workers

The Herald (Harare)
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 them.
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 workers.

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.
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Orphans paying the price
  Orphans paying the price

The devastation caused by AIDS in Zimbabwe has been underlined in a new United Nations report.

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 Zimbabwe.

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 afford treatment.

The government admits that the estimated HIV infection rate could be far higher as many people infected feel too ashamed to report the condition.

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Jingle Tills, Jingle All the Way

Zimbabwe Standard (Harare)
December 19, 2004
Posted to the web December 20, 2004
Rangarirai Mberi

Business picks up for retail shops
RETAILERS are 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 Christmas.
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, 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.
Add this 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 said.
"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.
"I think 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 Harare.
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 few weeks.
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.

The 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".
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Furore Over State Take-Over of MZWT

Zimbabwe Standard (Harare)
December 19, 2004
Posted to the web December 20, 2004
Loughty Dube
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 greenbelt.
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 Matabeleland region.
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 project.
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.
Six other 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 government."
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 President.
Ndabeni-Ncube said council would soon meet to discuss the issue before coming up with a position on the matter since it involved ratepayers' money.
"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.

"We 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.
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