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Zimbabweans Reeling Under Crushing Inflation


20 December 2005

Malvern Chishazhe, 7, cries after family home was destroyed at Porta Farm, Zimbabwe, June 30, 2005
Malvern Chishazhe, 7, cries after family home was destroyed at Porta Farm, Zimbabwe, June 30, 2005
As 2005 draws to a close the people of Zimbabwe have little to celebrate, with inflation reducing all but a small minority to abject poverty. The dramatic decline in living standards is making the daily life of most Zimbabweans miserable.

Zimbabwe's inflation has soared to more than 500 percent per year, and economists predict it could climb to twice that rate next year. No other country in southern Africa has inflation above 20 percent.

The U.N. humanitarian chief, Jan Egeland, after a brief visit recently, said Zimbabwe is in "meltdown." In his words, "the situation is very serious in Zimbabwe, when life expectancy goes from more than 60 years to just over 30." He attributed the decline to the AIDS pandemic, food insecurity and the total collapse of social services.

Zimbabwe was once a food exporter, but government policies of farm land expropriation carried out over the past five years, and one season of patchy rainfall, have left the country unable to feed itself, and millions of people in Zimbabwe now rely on food aid.

Economist and financial consultant John Richards says government spending is fueling the country's inflation. "Government spending in the year to September increased by a thousand percent. When you spend a thousand percent, you will likely get the same amount in inflation. The real economy in this country shrunk even by the government's own admission by 45 percent in the last five years. That means, government should have shrunk by 45 percent. Government has not shrunk by 45 percent. The formal economy is producing much less tax revenue, in order for it to pay its civil servants. The mismatch between revenue and expenditure means there is little option, but for government to print money to fund the budget deficit, and that will push inflation further," he said.

Rudo Chibebe is among the 20 percent of Zimbabweans with a job. She earns well above the minimum wage of one-million Zimbabwe dollars, about 13-U.S.-dollars, a month, and has free accommodation and basic food for herself and three grandchildren. She says, like many Zimbabweans who moved to big cities, she used to be able to travel to her rural home. But she can no longer afford to.

"Two years ago, we used to go home and communicate with our families and our relatives," she said. "Now, since last year, we can't afford to go home. Don't talk about school fees -- most of the children are not going next year, because it is about six-million (Zimbabwe dollars)."

That's the equivalent of about $80 at the official rate of exchange.

She says prices for food and basic goods have gone through the roof. "This year is worst, prices going up after an hour. If you go to the shops and buy a bar of soap, (then) if you meet someone on your way back home, you can't say the price, because if that person goes there, it will be about five-thousand (Zimbabwe dollars) more," she said.

Urban residents were hit particularly hard in 2005. Many had their houses and businesses demolished by the government during a winter campaign officially known as 'Drive out the Trash.'

The government of President Robert Mugabe said it bulldozed hundreds-of-thousands of homes and small businesses as part of a campaign of urban renewal. The United Nations called the program "disastrous."

John Mawire's home was knocked down, along with a room he rented to run his business as an upholsterer. As the government bulldozers closed in on his business premises, he used all his cash to transport his sewing machine and tools to safety. "So, during the operation they destroyed that place, and I have to carry my things to Mufakose, another location, just to hide my things there, pumping out some money, and by the time the operation stopped, I had no money to start working," she said.

Some economists say, if Zimbabwe has good rains this summer, and the mining industry climbs out of its doldrums, inflation could stabilize next year, and even drop.

But until then, Zimbabweans will continue to struggle with food shortages of interruption of services such as electricity and water.

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Police Soliciting For Food, Money From Prisoners

Zim Daily

            Wednesday, December 21 2005 @ 12:04 AM GMT
            Contributed by: Reporter
            As the economic hardships bite on civil servants, the once
revered police force is now soliciting for food and bribes from the
prisoners. An investigation done Zimdaily revealed shocking levels of
corruption within the police force. The police officers, who are currently
earning a paltry $3 million per monthly ask for detainees' food and money in
exchange of privileges such as a safe place to sleep, usage of cellphones
and getting extra clothes from outside.

            An eye witness account divulged the rot in the cells. "The level
of corruption in the cells is just too much, you can buy your freedom behind
bars if you have the cash to do so", said the ex-detainee. The ex detainee
also revealed that the police offices demand a range of between $200 000 to
$500 000 depending with the magnitude of the favour. It is also said that
the police ask for meat from the prisoners as they can no longer afford
buying decent meat which now ranges from $250 000 to 400 000 a kilogram.

            "Its so horrible, the cells are stench, so you will obviously
need a better place to sleep, so an extra cash will usher you to the better
place", emphasised the ex-detainee. It was also surprisingly revealed that
the inmates also get five bean particles as relish. A comment from the
police revealed why its happening that way. Every police station gets an
allocation of five kilograms (5kgs) of beans per year to sustain the
inmates. The economic meltdown in Zimbabwe has seen surprising things
happening, the latest on the rot in police officers is no exception.

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Coming Home

On Friday I did a really stupid thing - I had driven down to Beitbridge on
business and then, because I could not find fuel in any of the usual places
I had to cross the border to South Africa to buy some diesel in Mussina.

I went down to the border at 16.00 hrs. No sign of any problems on our
side - it all looked quite calm. Then, after I had cleared Immigration and
Customs, I presented myself to the external customs officers for final
clearance and inspection of my vehicle. I had brought Z$2 million with me
for the bridge toll and after paying this I had Z$1465 000 plus some Rand. I
declared this and when I finally got to the officer dealing with currency I
was told that he would have to confiscate Z$1 165 000 so as the leave me
with Z$300 000 which was the maximum I was allowed to take out of the

I explained to this gentleman that I was only going over to fill up and
would be back in an hour or so and that I needed Z$535 000 for the bridge
toll. No he said to me, the regulations only allow you to take out Z$300
000. "How do I pay the bridge toll then?" He said that was none of his
business. "How do I get back into Zimbabwe if I cannot pay the toll?" I
asked - he shrugged his shoulders.

So back into the border post - I persuaded the bridge toll supervisor to
sell me my re-entry ticket then and was left with Z$930 000. As I arrived
back in the Zimra inspection area I saw a local farming friend and asked him
to take Z$630 000 so that I was left with the requisite Z$300 000, he agreed
and I collected the money from him later. Then back to the Customs man who
reluctantly let me go. It is now after 17.00 hrs and I head for the South
African side.

On arrival we were told they had closed the normal exit route for visitors -
"please go to that door". Behind the door was a long queue to a desk where a
lone immigration officer sat. It was hot and airless in the passage where we
queued and after an hour and a half I was some three people from the desk
when a officer arrived to say this desk is closing - please go back to the
normal route. A rush ensued - those at the front of the queue found
themselves at the back of the new queue! Another huge shambles - they pushed
everyone out of the border post and then organized the queue to match the
order in which we had been in the other queue.

By now we have been there nearly two hours and were then handled quite
quickly and found ourselves in the dark outside the border post in South
Africa. As I left the area a new horror confronted me - there as far as you
could see was a sea of motor vehicles trying to get into the border post
from the other side. They were not the normal sort of vehicle you might
expect at a border post - the majority were small pick-ups loaded with
trailers piled high with every sort of item. Toilet bowls, sinks, baths,
bicycles empty drums, full drums, food and bags of every kind you can
imagine. The rest of the space was taken up with people - thousands of
ordinary people, all trying to get home for Christmas.

If ever you needed confirmation of the fact that 2 to 3 million Zimbabweans
now live in South Africa, you could do no better than simply visit that
queue on the SA side of the border. It had started, I was told, on Thursday
night - by Friday morning it was 5 kilometres long, by Friday lunchtime it
was 7 kilometres long and eventually it nearly reached Mussina - 12
kilometres from the actual border with 4 500 vehicles in a huge log jam of
pushing, shoving humanity and smoking engines.

I got to the local filling station only to find that it was sold out of
petrol but had diesel. I filled up, bought a burger and headed back into the
scrum, bracing myself for a long night. After a long wait during which I was
unable to even get into the queue, a police offer spoke to me - I explained
my dilemma and he allowed me into the queue - about 300 meters to go. I
worked out they were clearing 2 cars a minute on average - but at that rate
the vehicles in the queue behind me had a long 30 hour wait.

It took me an hour to reach the front, then 30 minutes to find parking and
then I had to face a queue that was about 150 meters long and five people
wide. I again explained my dilemma to a customs officer and this time he
arranged for me to go into the exit and there I was dealt with in five
minutes and was then back in the queue for the bridge. At 10.30 I crawled
into Zimbabwe exhausted and thirsty - even at that time of night it was hot.

The following day I met one of the valiant vehicles that had just come
through the border - I asked him how long - he replied "two days." I thought
he had done rather well. As we drove out of Beitbridge on Sunday morning we
were met with a Zimra roadblock managed by armed Police. Here the poor guys
who had spent two days and nights in the queues and at the border post -
without toilets or water or food, were again subjected to a detailed search
to make sure they had declared every item and all duty had been paid. I
explained that we were "local" and was waved through. How those other poor
guys felt about their "homecoming" was anyone's guess.

As for the bridge toll - that is charged by a company owned and operated by
a group linked to Zanu PF and they are allowed to charge the toll in foreign
currency with locals being required to pay in Zimbabwe dollars at the
interbank rate. This means it is now changing every week as the dollar
devalues and on Saturday night it was raised again. As it is now twice the
value of the sum you are allowed to take out, I suggest that the Minister
of Finance fix the toll at the level of what we are allowed to take out -
that would satisfy me and limit the fantastic profits this bunch of thieves
is taking at the same time.

Eddie Cross
Bulawayo, 20th December 2005

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Statement by Jan Egeland, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator to UN SC Meeting 19 Dec 2005

Source: United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs

Date: 19 Dec 2005

Mr. President, distinguished members of the Security Council,

Thank you for this opportunity to brief the Council on several major
challenges the humanitarian community faces in Africa at the moment, all of
which have considerable regional implications.

Darfur and Chad

I will start with what continues to be the largest humanitarian operation in
the world, the crisis in Darfur, as well as its impact on neighboring Chad.

The humanitarian operation launched in late 2003 has been remarkably
effective this year, against overwhelming odds. Some 13,000 international
and national relief workers have been providing relief to more than 3
million people in Darfur and Chad. The success of their work can be measured
in the thousands of lives saved, as mortality rates among the displaced have
dropped by two thirds over the past year. I want to pay tribute to the
heroic work of these men and women. But we must realize that their work and
lives are under constant threat, and our operations can now be disrupted
completely by renewed conflict any day and anywhere in Darfur. We must be
acutely aware that all that has been built up by the thousands of relief
workers and hundreds of millions of dollars in donor contributions could be
destroyed. We could be on the brink of losing this huge humanitarian

In addition, no amount of humanitarian relief can provide what those
threatened by the conflict have wanted most from day one: effective
protection against violence of the most vicious kind, and the ability to
return to their homes. Only an effective ceasefire, a political solution,
and a strong international security presence can accomplish these

We have to face up to the terrible reality our colleagues on the ground are
witnessing and reporting every day. The killings have not stopped. The rapes
are continuing, as are the burning, looting and forced displacement which I
first reported to you more than 20 months ago. For three consecutive months
now, the situation has been deteriorating. We have had less humanitarian
access during this period than at any other time since that first briefing
in early April 2004. More than twenty thousand more people were displaced in
the last few weeks alone. In a deeply worrying new development, IDP camps
themselves are increasingly being attacked by militia.

The regional spillover effects of this crisis on Chad and the impact of
Chadian groups crossing into West Darfur are also cause for great concern.
Tensions between the 200,000 Sudanese refugees and Chadian host communities
remain high. Attacks on innocent civilians by armed groups crossing from
Sudan continue to be reported, including the massacre in Modaina on 26 of
September, which this Council condemned. Only yesterday, it was reported
that 100 people were killed in an attack on the town of Adra in eastern
Chad. Equally worrying are the recent political and military developments in
Chad, including the mounting tension with Sudan over Darfur. A further
deterioration of the situation would pose a threat to ongoing relief
operations to Sudanese refugees and could trigger a serious humanitarian

This Council has taken many important steps to address the crisis in Darfur.
But unless these measures have a real impact on the ground, the wound will
continue to bleed. And our massive humanitarian operation will not be
sustainable unless we finally see commensurate efforts in the political and
security areas. The next few weeks will be critical, both for the talks in
Abuja and as the Security Council and the African Union deliberate on the
next steps. We need an expanded and more effective security presence on the
ground as soon as possible, a presence that can provide more effective
protection and ultimately allow people to return to their homes. This
expanded presence is needed whether or not the Abuja talks succeed. It
cannot be right that we have twice as many humanitarian workers in Darfur as
international security personnel. So I appeal to you very strongly to show
the sense of urgency and determination needed to achieve the objectives
identified in your resolutions, and to help bring this crisis to an end.

Humanitarian Impact of LRA Activities in South Sudan and Northern Uganda

The second issue I want to address, Mr. President, is the regional crisis
caused by the activities of the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) in Uganda,
Sudan, and, most recently, the DRC. In mid-September, a group of LRA
fighters crossed from Sudan into north-eastern DRC. They remain in this
border region, from where they threaten much of Western Equatoria. LRA
attacks on civilians and humanitarian workers have escalated, severely
undermining our ability to provide relief to millions of people, and
disrupting the long awaited return of refugees to Southern Sudan. While the
overall number of LRA combatants may not have increased, they have spread
out over a larger area and now constitute a significant threat to regional
security, with appalling consequences for several million people.

The specific impact of LRA activities on humanitarian operations has been as

Northern Uganda

In northern Uganda, gains are being lost as security erodes. Access to the
nearly 1.7 million IDPs encamped in the northern districts has decreased in
the past three months. Recent violence has hampered assistance efforts and
we have seen a shocking new tactic: the deliberate targeting of
humanitarians. In October and November alone, five humanitarian workers were
killed by LRA ambushes in Sudan and Uganda.

The UN can only access 18 of the 200 IDP camps in northern Uganda without
military escorts. Although the World Food Programme is able to distribute
food under heavily armed military escorts, many other organizations find
fees for escorts prohibitively expensive, or do not use them on principle.
The NGO Action Against Hunger has reported that 57 percent of IDPs in one
area -- or 480,000 people -- were not accessible in November. Without
access, the effects are predictable: increased mortality, rising exposure to
human rights violations, and deepening vulnerability.

Life in the camps continues to be unacceptable. A recent joint Ministry of
Health, WHO and NGO study indicated that crude and under-five mortality
rates were more than double the emergency thresholds.

Access by IDPs to farming areas outside camps is extremely limited due to
the movement restrictions imposed by the UPDF. Less than half the IDPs in
Acholi districts can access land that is more than two kilometers outside of
their camps, severely hampering their ability to produce their own food. At
present, there is no prospect of a large scale return before the critical
March planting season. Therefore, WFP will have to provide food aid to 1.5
million IDPs through 2006.

Given the conditions in the camps, it is not surprising that many LRA
combatants remain in the bush. We have not done enough to create the "pull
factor" that could draw more of the LRA to disarmament and reintegration
programmes. Those who have come in have found few chances to live a safe and
productive life. We must dramatically expand our programmes for
reintegration in order to give hope to those who still see fighting as a
better option.

Southern Sudan

Mr. President,

The LRA is also wreaking havoc in the Equatorias in Southern Sudan. Dozens
of civilians have been killed since the LRA crossed the Nile in
mid-September, and over one hundred people, including children, have been
abducted, many of whom have not returned.

The impact on our humanitarian operations has been dramatic. After three NGO
staff were killed, large parts of the Equatorias in Southern Sudan have
become inaccessible. In Central Equatoria, international NGO staff withdrew
and critical health programmes in rural areas have been curtailed. In
Western Equatoria, a UNICEF led measles campaign has been disrupted, and
only covered 10 percent of the targeted population. Some 180 primary health
care facilities in Central and Eastern Equatoria are currently inaccessible
to UNICEF and NGO partners.

The LRA attacks have also severely hampered the preparation for the return
of refugees from DRC, Central African Republic and Uganda. Many recovery
projects to support the returnees had to be suspended for now, including
hospitals and water points. As long as there is a significant LRA presence
in the DRC/Sudan border area, it is difficult to imagine when refugees can
start returning to Central or Western Equatoria, areas that previously were
among the safest in Southern Sudan. This has clear consequences for efforts
to rebuild and stabilize this important region.

Proposed Steps

Mr. President,

Much more needs to be done to address the threats and conditions I have just
described. The governments of Uganda, DRC and Sudan bear the primary
responsibility to protect and assist their populations, as well as to pursue
the LRA. Unfortunately, their actions so far have not prevented the LRA from
causing the devastation I have just described. The LRA continues to maintain
bases and moves relatively freely throughout the region. A relatively small
number of fighters is threatening a huge area and millions of people.

I would like to suggest a number of steps the Governments in the region and
this Council could take:

It is of utmost importance that the three Governments concerned fully
acknowledge how dangerous the situation has become for civilians and
humanitarian workers, and that they do whatever they can to protect their
citizens, secure access for relief workers and promote regional solutions.

As I noted in my recent briefing to you on the protection of civilians,
efforts to find a peaceful solution to the conflict in northern Uganda must
be strengthened through an internationally supported process. And the UN
must actively contribute to this effort.

While I welcome steps taken by the Government of Uganda to operationalize
the National IDP Policy, more should be done by the Government and its army
and police to assume full responsibility for the protection of their
civilian population. More must also be invested in the provision of basic
services in the affected areas.

The Security Council should pay close attention to the regional dimension of
this crisis and the threats to humanitarian work, and could consider as the
Security Council several potential steps:

  a.. The Council should strongly condemn the LRA's attacks against
civilians and humanitarian workers. The Council should insist on an
immediate cessation of violence and of all support to the LRA from all

  b.. To help the Council consider further steps and improve its
understanding of the LRA, it could consider appointing a panel of experts.
Such a panel could explore the sources of funding and support for the LRA
and work with the three affected Governments and other parties to determine
how this Council could most effectively contribute to reducing the threat
emanating from the LRA.

  c.. The Council could request regular updates on the effects on the LRA's
activities on the region.

I also hope that in their reports to the Council, UNMIS and MONUC can
indicate what else they can do, within their mandates, to provide security
to relief workers and help create the necessary conditions for the return of
refugees and IDPs.
Southern Africa

Finally, Mr. President, I have just returned from Zimbabwe and South Africa.
As I reported to you in April, the humanitarian situation in the sub-region
is already very serious, due to severe food insecurity, widespread HIV/AIDS
and inadequate basic services. More than ten million people in the region
are in need of food assistance. The situation could deteriorate further in
2006 and beyond, particularly in Zimbabwe and Malawi, unless actions are
taken to meet immediate needs and to reverse the decline in key sectors.

In Zimbabwe, the humanitarian situation has worsened significantly in 2005.
More than three million people -- almost one third of the population -- will
receive food through World Food Programme in January and even more will
receive assistance come April. Annual maize production, the basic staple, is
one third of what it was several years ago. Basic services continue to
deteriorate, particularly in the health, water and sanitation sectors.
Inflation currently reaches over 500 percent. In this context, and as I told
the Government in my meetings in Harare, the massive urban eviction campaign
of hundreds of thousands of people was "the worst possible action, at the
worst possible time".

We are now entering the peak of the "lean season." Food prices are rising
fast, placing some basic commodities out of reach for a growing portion of
the population. I welcome the Memorandum of Understanding finalized by the
Government and WFP, which will ensure these emergency needs are met, and I
also hope it will lead to better collaboration between the Government and
the humanitarian agencies in other sectors.

Yet we much recognize that this huge need for food assistance is symbolic of
the vicious cycle that we are caught in. It was raining when I was leaving
Zimbabwe, but all expected that next year's harvest would be poor because of
a lack of skilled agricultural labor force, the devastating toll of the
HIV/AIDS epidemic, counterproductive agricultural policies and practices,
and a lack of inputs such as fertilizer, seeds and tools. It is not
sustainable to provide food assistance for millions of people year after
year without making the necessary investments to get out of this situation.
We can have a new approach that again will provide food security for all
Zimbabweans. This will require major efforts from all, nationally as well as
internationally. There is no substitute for engagement and dialogue at all
levels in order to address the humanitarian crisis in Zimbabwe.

From my discussions with the Government of Zimbabwe, I am convinced that the
UN and the humanitarian community at large must try to engage more actively
with the Government to address the enormous humanitarian crisis. We did
reach agreement on some issues during my mission: a more active and
systematic dialogue on food security; a more hands-on approach to resolving
bureaucratic problems for humanitarian organizations through
"one-stop-shops" at both the Government and the UN; and the initiation of a
shelter programme for households affected by the eviction campaign.

However, sustained progress will require the following:

  a.. The Government must stop further evictions and be more flexible in
allowing shelter and other programmes for those affected. It must ensure
that beneficiaries are assisted solely on the basis of need.

  b.. The UN and our humanitarian partners, as well as the donors, should be
guided in their own response by the needs of the population. We should
provide the appropriate level of assistance where and when we identify the
needs. Beyond food aid, we need to invest in food security, livelihoods and
basic services.

  c.. The Governments in the region and Africa at large should engage more
proactively with Zimbabwe to find constructive solutions, also given their
interdependence and the risks of increased migratory movements.

  d.. All parties must understand the importance of neutral and impartial
humanitarian assistance.

Mr. President,
More is currently at stake in terms of lives saved or lives lost in Africa
than on any other continent. At the same time, there is great hope and
opportunity given the forward looking initiatives of the African Union and
the sub-regional organizations. Also, the G8 countries and other donors have
pledged more resources for Africa than at any other time. In this coming
year, we must and can see change.

As humanitarian workers, we cannot accept that so many lives are lost every
year on this continent to preventable diseases, neglect and senseless
brutality. We cannot accept that low levels of funding impede our operations
in so many places. We must demonstrate our humanity by responding equally to
the needs of those affected, whether they are families returning home to
Southern Sudan, young men and women looking for a future beyond the IDP
camps of northern Uganda, or AIDS patients trying to sustain their families
through a drought in Zimbabwe. I call upon all member states to live up to
their commitments to fund, support and facilitate a much more ambitious
development and humanitarian agenda.

And finally, we must recognize that too many of these humanitarian crises
result from a total absence of peace and security. Humanitarian aid cannot
be an alibi for an unwillingness to address the root causes of conflict. The
greatest contribution we can make to addressing humanitarian crises in
Africa is determined, energetic and sustained efforts to bring an end to
conflict and injustice that cause so much suffering in Africa.

Thank you Mr. President.

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UN envoy spoiling for a fight - Govt

Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe

Mirror Reporter
issue date :2005-Dec-21

THE government yesterday said the labelling of Zimbabwe as one of "Africa's
troubled spots" by United Nations (UN) Undersecretary for Humanitarian
Affairs and Relief Co-ordinator, Jan Egeland while addressing the Security
Council on Monday was a ploy to have the country on the council's agenda.
Egeland - who visited the country early this month to assess the progress of
the government's reconstruction exercise, Operation Garikai/Hlalani Kuhle
and the humanitarian situation in the country - told the 15-member Security
Council that the "crises" in the Darfur region in Sudan, the Democratic
Republic of the Congo (DRC), northern Uganda and Zimbabwe were a result of
"violence and governmental problems".
But the government yesterday said Egeland had created "an artificial
scenario" by grouping Zimbabwe with countries facing civil strife.
 "He wants to create an artificial scenario. He is daydreaming. There is no
war in Zimbabwe; civil wars are in Uganda, Darfur, DRC and other countries.
It is a shame that in his address he grouped Zimbabwe among such nations,"
deputy information minister Bright Matonga told The Daily Mirror.
Matonga said Egeland - who was branded "a liar" by President Robert Mugabe
during Zanu PF's eighth national people's conference in Matabeleland South
early this year - was politicising the Zimbabwe case in a vain attempt to
have Zimbabwe on the Security Council agenda.
"He has become so political and this can be seen in his choice of words when
talking about Zimbabwe. The government has made it clear what it thinks
about his visit and when he left Zimbabwe we thought he was genuine, not
knowing he had an agenda to fulfil. As a country we are clear what we want
to achieve," Matonga said.
 "Egeland came to Zimbabwe to reinforce the Tibaijuka report so as to put
Zimbabwe on the Security Council agenda. Our fear is that the UN is going to
lose credibility because of that kind of manipulation."
In July Britain, supported by the US, attempted to have Zimbabwe put on the
UN Security Council agenda over its May clean-up to rid cities and towns of
illegal structures and vice.
The move was thwarted by China and Russia - the council's permanent members
with veto-wielding powers- and Algeria, Benin and Tanzania, who are
non-permanent members.
Ambassadors from the five countries walked out of the meeting and it was
only held behind closed doors with junior diplomatic officials from the
countries in attendance.
In his address to the Security Council, Egeland described Zimbabwe's
clean-up as "the worst possible action, at the worst possible time."
But Matonga said it was wrong for the UN envoy to focus on the clean-up and
completely ignore its successor programme, Operation Garikai/Hlalani Kuhle.
"They (UN) have not built a single house in Kenya where their headquarters
are and the number of houses we have built under operation Garikai/Hlalani
Kuhle are unbelievable. Zimbabwe is not a tent country as we have plans for
permanent structures. We are not in a desert country. Let him push his
agenda but it is not going to change our stance in any way," Matonga said.
Egeland urged the humanitarian community and the region to actively engage
"From my discussions with the government of Zimbabwe, I am convinced that
the UN and the humanitarian community at large must try to engage more
actively with the government," Egeland said.
He lamented what he said was the continued deterioration of basic services
in the country and called for much more investment in sustainable food
security and livelihood.
"I call upon all Member States to live up to their commitments to fund,
support and facilitate a much more ambitious development and humanitarian
agenda," he said.
Egeland visited Zimbabwe several months after another UN envoy, Anna
Tibaijuka came to the country to assess the impact of the clean-up
In her report, Tibaijuka claimed that over 700 000 people were affected by
the exercise - a fact hotly disputed by the government.
During Egeland's visit, he met President Mugabe and various stakeholders.
When he met President Mugabe, the two disagreed with Egeland insisting the
UN would provide temporary shelter for people affected by the clean-up,
while the head of state insisted on permanent structures.

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Trudy still fighting for democracy - Christmas 2005

Sent: Wednesday, December 21, 2005 6:50 AM
Subject: Trudy still fighting for democracy - Christmas 2005

Stories that I have been suspended from my party, MDC, are greatly
exaggerated!   On the contrary, I am busy with other colleagues helping
prepare for Congress.

I am still the MDC MP for Harare North, and have recently initiated several
programmes to mitigate the effects of Murambatsvina and to challenge the
regime at various levels on its human rights violations in that regard.  As
MDC Parliamentary Spokesperson for Local Government and Housing, I recently
challenged the proposed Budget, particularly the allocation for housing -
740 billion, when we need at least 60 trillion for Garikai-Hlalane Khuhle
(most of which would not have been necessary had Murambatsvina not been
unleashed in the first place!)

As Party Secretary for Policy and Research, I am currently coordinating a
review of policy papers and the party constitution, in preparation for
Congess early next year.

Indeed, I have only heard the rumour of my supposed suspension from the
media, which cannot be relied upon to give an accurate report.  I have never
received any letter, fax, e-mail, phone call, sms or any other form of
communication summoning me to any disciplinary hearing at all or stating
what charge is being made against me.  Should I do so, I would of course
challenge the validity of such action, on the grounds that, unlike some who
reportedly suspended me, I have never ceased to uphold the party values and
constitution to the very best of my ability.

Do not believe rumours, even if you read them on the internet.  Do not lose
faith -that is exactly what  the regime wants us to do - to give up!  I am
MDC. MDC is strong and will grow in strength BECAUSE we are prepared to
tackle dictatorship and corruption within the party NOW, rather than let the
seeds grow and turn us into just another ZanuPF.  MDC is the people's party.
It does not belong to  any single person or any single tribe.  Our strength
is in our diversity.  Let us go forward together with true democrats to
build the nation that our children and our grandchildren deserve.

That is what I will be doing, this Christmas - what about you?

May God guide us and watch over us and our families and friends as we try to
do His will, and as we recall the birth of Jesus Christ and re-dedicate
ourselves, this Christmas.

Trudy Stevenson MP
Harare North Constituency

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Zimbabwe archbishop will not be silenced



Catholic Archbishop Pius Ncube of Bulawayo has said he refuses to be muzzled
and he does not fear the Zimbabwean government's latest threat to clamp down
on its critics.

The outspoken church leaders declared: "They [Mugabe's forces] will not
silence me and I will continue to denigrate the evil things they have done
against their own people."

A ruling party conference has called for the security forces to draw up a
list of Zimbabweans whose passports should be seized under new laws aimed at
muzzling opponents.

The passports of the main opposition party spokesman and a leading
Zimbabwean publisher whose papers have carried stories critical of the
government have already been confiscated.

After a four-day tour of the country, the United Nations humanitarian envoy,
Jan Egeland, recently described Zimbabwe as being in "meltdown".

He estimated that around three million people would be in need of food aid
by February. The country's agricultural output has fallen by more than half
in the last five years.

"We are in the Guinness Book of Records for having the highest inflation in
the world," said Archbishop Ncube. Although it officially stands at 500 per
cent, he felt the real figure was closer to 700 per cent.

"Essential staff such as teachers feel devalued when their wages can buy
very little," he said. Harare's Herald newspaper noted that a two-kilogram
chicken for Christmas dinner would cost around 273,000 Zimbabwean dollars.

In October 2005, Archbishop Ncube predicted that some 200,000 Zimbabweans
could starve to death as a result of the Government's destructive policies.

He based this figure on the effect of severe food shortages on a population
ravaged by HIV/AIDS and extreme poverty at a time of hyperinflation and
near-80 per cent unemployment.

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Hwange villagers, national park wild animals at war

Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe

From Pamenus Tuso in Bulawayo
issue date :2005-Dec-21

A WAR for survival is raging between villagers in the Mavalebu and Jambezi
communal lands in Hwange and wild animals in the vast Hwange National Park.
Game from the big sanctuary have strayed onto residential areas giving
villagers a torrid time with monkeys, baboons, lions, buffaloes and jumbos
now a regular sight in otherwise unfamiliar surroundings.
While the numbers of the big five have drastically increased this year,
those of smaller species such as bushbucks, warthogs and impalas have
dwindled as villagers hunt them down for the pot due to the high cost of
Elephants have become a nuisance destroying crops, vegetables and
infrastructure such as dams and roads. Villagers have classified the tuskers
as their number two enemy after lions which have killed an estimated 50
livestock in the last three months.
Big buffalo herds are also a regular sight along Hwange/Victoria Falls road,
and they too occasionally drift into adjacent residential areas worrying
residents, some of whom have been gored or trampled to death.
According to Chief Jonah Neluswi Shana of Jambezi, an elephant killed
Wallace Nyoni, early this year while on his way to Hwange to collect his
monthly pensions.
"People's lives have been lost mainly because some of them travel at odd
hours in game areas. This is dangerous because wild animals' reactions are
unpredictable. Shortcuts are not always best as we suspect that Nyoni might
have been killed on a shortcut path", said the chief.
Early this year, a buffalo in a bush adjacent to the national park, fatally
gored a woman herbalist identified only as Stembiso.
According to the Communal Areas Management Programme For Indigenous
Resources (Campfire), wild animals between January and October this year
killed 27 people in various districts. Besides people, the animals have also
devoured their livestock. Last month, lions killed 15 cattle worth over $200
million in the Chidove area near Victoria Falls.
Impatient villagers are now calling for the immediate elimination of problem
game in their vicinity.
"People in my area are no longer interested in Campfire. As I speak right
now they are planning demonstrations against the programme because they have
been losing their livestock while nothing is being done", said Chief
Nelukoba of Mavalebu, who recently threatened to poison a pride of lions
that had been terrorising villagers in the area, The chief accused the
department of National Parks and Wildlife Management of doing nothing to
stem the menace.
Chief Nelukoba who claimed to have lost half his livestock to the beasts
said nobody had been compensated.
"A compensation fund or some form of assistance for victims of wildlife
aggression will definitely alleviate the plight of villagers robbed of their
livelihood by the wild animals", said Chief Nelukoba.
Morris Mutsambiwa, the Parks director said the government had empowered
local authorities to manage all game under their jurisdiction.
He stressed that his department could only attend to problem animals in
areas outside their domain and when invited.
"As parks and wildlife management department, we can only act on problematic
animals in residential areas if invited by appropriate authorities. We
acknowledge the magnitude of the problem, but our hands are tied," said
On compensation, he said the present Parks and Wildlife Act did not provide
for victims of wildlife aggression, adding chiefs were free to raise the
issue in parliament.
Mutsambiwa said the problem could be resolved if Rural District Councils
ploughed back to the community proceeds from wildlife sales.
"The problem here is that some RDCs are not willing to plough back to the
community the proceeds from Campfire. For example, I do not see any reason
why the proceeds should not be used to erect an electric fence in areas
bordering national parks and conservancies and villagers," he said
Douglas Irvin, a wildlife conservationist suggested that the contentious
issue of land ownership complicated everything.
"If wild animals from national parks escape into villages, technically they
cease to be the concern of park's authorities. Hence, it is the
responsibility of concerned local authorities to ensure that these animals
are controlled. The latter is cheaper since people will be policing
themselves", said Irvin
He attributed the increase in stray game to new farmers who have been
accused of removing fences in the former conservancies.

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$660bn facility to benefit council

Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe

The Daily Mirror Reporter
issue date :2005-Dec-21

HARARE City Council is set to benefit from a seven million Euro
(approximately Z$$660, 8 billion) facility from an Iranian company to
finance capital projects.
According to executive committee meeting minutes held on November 28, the
company, Mahd Tejarat signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the
council and pledged to assist Harare.
Apart from the financial package, Mahd Tejarat would dispatch engineers and
specialists to help the council.
"The town clerk (Nomutsa Chideya) reported that the Iranian company had now
revised their offer of financial assistance to the city to Euro seven
million and that the company was prepared and ready to send a team of
specialists and consulting engineers to the City of Harare to carry out
feasibility studies on projects due for selection for funding," read the
Chideya said there was room for further funding in the MoU between the
council and the Iranian company.
Harare City Council had already selected projects in six departments, which
would benefit from the Iranian funding and these include waste management,
emergency services, printing and procurement, trade waste, crusher stand and
Chideya was authorised to submit the council's proposals to government, Mahd
Tejarat and the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) for consideration.
Besides the assistance from the Iranian company, Harare is set to sign a
twinning agreement with the City of Moscow following a trip to Russia by a
delegation led by Harare Commission chairperson, Sekesai Makwavarara at the
beginning of November.
Among other areas of cooperation between the two cities is culture and
sports, housing, waste management, water supply systems and health.
A delegation from Moscow is also expected in the country next year.
The City of Harare, like many local authorities in Zimbabwe, suffered from
lack of international funding after most Western and traditional financiers
pulled out due to political differences with the Zimbabwean government
emanating from the 2000 fast track land reform.

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No fuel in sight for Christmas

Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe

Givemore Nyanhi
issue date :2005-Dec-21

PETROL service stations across the Harare central business district (CBD)
this week continued to run dry, with the bulk of the motorists continuing to
rely on exorbitant black market fuel and alternative direct fuel imports
sourced by companies just days before Christmas festivities kick off.
But most of the fuel stations that were visited yesterday afternoon were
more than hopeful that they would receive fresh fuel supplies at the latest
by Friday.
"We are expecting fuel supplies for the Christmas season to arrive anytime
this week but we were advised that on Friday fuel will be available," a
petrol attendant at Wedzera fuel station at the corner of Nelson Mandela
Avenue and Park Street said.
The service station is one of the very few service stations that sold fuel
to motorists early this week.
At Mobil service station at the corner of Nkwame Nkrumah Avenue and Sam
Nujoma Street, members of staff confirmed that they expected some supplies
to cater for the Christmas holiday beginning on Friday.
"We are expecting fuel and it be sold on Friday. The fuel is coming from
Noczim," a worker at the service station said.
However, other major service stations, that have gone for months without
fuel, among them the Total service station located at the corner of Samora
Machel Avenue and Chinhoyi Street, are not certain whether they will receive
supplies to cater for Christmas.
Workers at the station said they did not know if they were going to receive
any fuel this week.
The National Oil Company of Zimbabwe (Noczim), the fuel procurement
parastatal that has been struggling this year to provide fuel to the entire
economy and has since been providing the commodity only to government and
its departments, could not be reached for comment regarding preparations to
avoid crunching shortages during the holidays. The Christmas and New Year
holidays, which kick off in earnest at the end of this week, are expected to
mark the close of what has been one of Zimbabwe's most challenging years
where fuel is concerned.
Zimbabwe has been affected by acute fuel shortages since April this year,
with government officials saying on record that the country has been
surviving on less than 25 percent of total fuel requirements estimated at
2,5 million litres monthly.
The shortages of the commodity had adverse impact on the economy, with most
companies failing to meet production targets and greatly hampering the
distribution of goods and services.
The shortages of fuel, that have been characterised by most service stations
running out of supplies for months, have been the major reason behind the
rise of the alternative black market in fuel.
While the official pump price of fuel has been pegged at not more than  $22
000 a litre for diesel and petrol, the commodity has been fetching at least
$100 000 on the black market.

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ZEC assures officers of payment

Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe

The Daily Mirror Reporter
issue date :2005-Dec-21

THE Zimbabwe Electoral Commission has assured people it employed as polling
officers during the recently held Senate polls that they would by Friday
have received their payments.
ZEC spokesperson, Utloile Silaigwana said the electoral body had this week
deposited the money into the concerned people's respective bank accounts.
"As far as I know, by Friday people would have got the money deposited in
their respective accounts. Only a few people who had supplied us with wrong
account details were not paid," Silaigwana said.
"Remember that we used to pay in cash immediately, but this time around,
payment has been through individual accounts. We have had cases of people
erroneously giving us the numbers borne on the faces of their ATM cards
instead of their actual account numbers and this delayed the payment
process. We only discovered it after they had come forward to enquire, "
said Silaigwana, adding that those who had not received payments earlier on
should check in the accounts.
The Senate polls, soundly won by Zanu PF, were held on November 26, but
since then some polling officers were complaining they had not been paid.

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Zimbabweans in Diaspora urged to supply council with equipment

Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe

From Our Correspondent in Bulawayo
issue date :2005-Dec-21

THE Bulawayo City Council has appealed to Zimbabweans in the Diaspora to
source and supply equipment and spares to the municipality to improve its
In his annual report released this week, city mayor Japhet Ndabeni Ncube
said: "Zimbabweans in the Diaspora are requested to consider venturing into
supply of critical spares and materials for council's operations.
This is against the current volatile economic situation worsened by the
current shortages of foreign currency and critical inputs.
However, the effective and efficient service delivery has been greatly
affected due to these factors." The council, Ncube added, intended to also
lure the Zimbabweans to venture into multi-billion dollar investments in the
Turning to Bulawayo's water crisis, Ncube said the current economic
challenges in the country resulted in local companies failing to meet the
municipality's demand for water treatment chemicals.
As such, he added, the council resorted to importation of the chemicals.
"The current macro-economic conditions prevailing in the country resulted in
local companies failing to supply chemicals for treating water especially
chlorine, which has to be imported.
In this regard, the Bulawayo City Council has been living on the edge due to
uncertainty of the deliveries," Ncube explained.
Apart from the water woes, he said, the city was facing a critical shortage
of accommodation with the waiting list now standing at 71 000 people.

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'High Failure Rate Among Student Nurses Worrisome'

The Herald (Harare)

December 20, 2005
Posted to the web December 20, 2005


GOVERNMENT is worried by the high failure rate among student nurses partly
caused by indiscipline, a Cabinet minister has said.

Health and Child Welfare Minister Dr David Parirenyatwa said the high number
of nursing students falling pregnant during training was also cause for

The minister said this at a graduation ceremony in Masvingo last weekend.

Although the minister did not give figures, The Herald understands that some
nurse training institutes were recording failure rates as high as 30

In some enrolments, as many as 26 pregnancies were being reported.

This had the detrimental effect of reducing the number of health
professionals graduating from the institutions.

"There is a high incidence of indiscipline amongst student nurses at our
training situations, a situation that calls for urgent correction," he said.

Dr Parirenyatwa bemoaned the high tutor/student ratio in nursing schools,
saying it had shot up because of the brain drain.

Most nursing tutors have left the country for greener pastures to countries
like the United Kingdom.

The situation was also the same in clinical areas where the student/mentor
ratio was extremely high, Dr Parirenyatwa said.

"To compound the problem, the mentors are highly inexperienced, all of which
leads to these high failure rates."

He also lamented the shortage of facilities at training centres, saying the
existing infrastructure was not adequate for the number of students under

Some buildings also needed refurbishment.

However, several student nurses interviewed said they were finding it
difficult to concentrate on their studies because they were finding it hard
to make ends meet.

"We don't have decent accommodation and we have little money. Because of
that, we are always trying to devise ways of making money," said one female
student nurse on condition of anonymity.

Last month it was resolved that at least 600 student nurses in their final
year at all nursing schools countrywide would have to resit their final
examination next week after officials at Chinhoyi School of Nursing
discovered that the paper had been leaked.

The paper was being sold for $800 000 at Chinhoyi School of Nursing, the
same institution where the 30 percent failure rate was recorded in the past.

Sources in the health sector also said that even before the discovery of the
Chinhoyi scam, fears already existed that examination papers, which are set
by the Nurses Council before being taken to printers, were being leaked.

The high disparity in the pass rate at the different nursing schools led to
the suspicion.

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Home Affairs

The Mercury

      December 21, 2005

      by The Editor

      The Department of Home Affairs is in the news again. Like nectar to a
bee, the department seems to have a knack for attracting attention which
does it and its employees no good at all.

      At Beit Bridge, the main border post between South Africa and
Zimbabwe, tempers have been running high in the past few days among
motorists who have been waiting for hours in long queues to have their
documents processed so they can cross. Some exasperated travellers at the
weekend said they had been waiting more than 24 hours at the border
crossing. At some stage stationary vehicles stretched back up to 12km from
the post.

      A week ago, it was reported that disciplinary action awaited customs
and immigration officials who absconded from their posts at Beit Bridge.
Home Affairs spokesman Nkosana Sibuyi's explanation for the bottleneck is
lame and will not soothe the frustration of those stranded on the border. He
observes: "What most people don't understand is that the process of crossing
the border does not only involve immigration officials. Once travellers are
past immigration they must go through customs and be checked by police."

      He also says long queues at the border are customary for this time of
year. But then this begs the question: If Beit Bridge is besieged by
Christmas travellers, why aren't measures taken timeously to redress the
situation? Another incident that must raise serious concern took place at
Johannesburg International Airport last week. When a flight from Nigeria
landed, there were said to be only three immigration officials on duty.
After waiting for up to 45 minutes to have their documents processed, dozens
of foreign passport-holders simply strolled into the country without their
presence in South Africa being noted.

      During this time of international terrorism and drug trafficking,
heads must roll over such a serious security breach. When foreigners can
just waltz into the country without being vetted, drastic action is called
for. When the minister of home affairs was appointed she promised discipline
in her department. Now she must walk the talk.

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Chiyangwa's Plunder Matrix Exposed As Tycoon Builds Z$1 trillion Mansion

Zim Daily

            Wednesday, December 21 2005 @ 12:05 AM GMT
            Contributed by: correspondent

            PHILLIP Chiyangwa, Harare's ostentatious tycoon, is using US$200
000 externalized to capitalise a Namibian joint-venture company to develop a
Z$1 trillion residential development situated just next to his
multi-billion-dollar Prestwood Lane "White House" mansion in the exclusive
Helensvale suburb, Borrowdale. The prestigious Crowhill Boulevard, will
comprise 12 executive mansions and is a replica of the leafy Borrowdale
Brook Estate, developed by world-renowned golfer Nick Price.

            Sources in Kennan Properties, the official sales agents for the
new property development told zimdaily that there was a Grace Marufu who had
snapped up property number 4 among the 12 owners but it was not immediately
possible to ascertain if the Marufu was the First Lady Grace. Zimdaily heard
that Marufu's property had been quoted for $120 billion but the source added
that Chiyangwa was the sole developer and financier of the whole estate
development. Zimdaily understands that the mansions' expensive furnishings
were imported from Namibia.

            Documents obtained from Namibian sources reveal that the
businessman misappropriated funds for the failed Crittal Hope Namibia (CHN).
Information to hand further reveals that Chiyangwa used N$1 093 713 (the
equivalent of US$200 000) through various withdrawals from Standard Bank
Gustav Voigts branch in Windhoek, Namibia to purchase Italian fittings for
the 12 executive mansions. The fittings were bought from Italian Lights and
Furniture, Chris Carpets, and Casa Italia and LN Valetti.

            Confidential documents to hand reveal that Chiyangwa was allowed
by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe to move money to Namibia, ostensibly to
invest in a joint venture company there. Nothing has come of the envisaged
deal and the foreign currency has not been repatriated to Zimbabwe. Zimdaily
understands that the funds were remitted to Namibia but the joint venture
was aborted and the capital was not repatriated. It is understood that
Chiyangwa, through his investment vehicle, Native Investments Africa (Pvt)
Ltd, wanted to forge an alliance with a Namibian company, Namibia Northern
Investment Group (NNIG). Zimdaily understands that Chiyangwa has enlisted
the services of his Native Security, a subsidiary of his Native Investments
Africa Group, to guard the premises.

            AR Project Services (ARPS) Namibia, a wholly owned subsidiary of
ARPS Ltd, a company incorporated in South Africa and owned by self-exiled
tycoon Mutumwa Mawere, was appointed the project consultant on behalf of
NNIG. ARPS was charged with the responsibility of assisting in negotiations
with Crittal Hope, a subsidiary of Chiyangwa's Native Investments. Zimdaily
understands that the management of the envisaged joint venture company was
to be assigned to ARPS. A memorandum of understanding was in December 2000
signed by Native Investments Africa (Pvt) Ltd Zimbabwe on behalf of Crittal
Hope Zimbabwe, represented by Chiyangwa, and NNIG represented by the group
chairman, Kelly Nghixulifwa.

            Documents in our possession reveal that Native Investments had
undertaken to provide plant machinery and necessary technical assistance
while NNIG was to provide buildings and working capital for the envisaged
joint venture. Both parties agreed to retain the services of ARPS Namibia,
represented by Sebil Dhewa as a consultant during the preparation and up to
the commencement of business after which date ARPS Namibia was to be
retained as management contractor. Zimdaily understands that the joint
venture partners agreed to register a company called Crittal-Hope Namibia
(Pty) Ltd in which Nghixulifwa was the public officer and Dhewa the managing
director. Chiyangwa went on to open a bank account in Namibia at Standard
Bank, Gustav Voigts branch in Windhoek.

            He later sought permission from the Bank of Namibia to operate a
foreign currency account. In his application to the Reserve Bank of Namibia,
Chiyangwa stated that the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe had approved the movement
of US$200 000 under authority GC3148. The money was to be used by Chiyangwa
for the preliminary costs of the joint venture. The RBZ is understood to
have demanded quarterly progress reports on the envisaged alliance. Zimdaily
understands that the Bank of Namibia approved the opening of the account
under application number 547. The approval letter emphasised it was issued
under "highly exceptional circumstances". Meanwhile, Chiyangwa had written
to Standard Bank in Namibia requesting that he alone operated Crittal-Hope
(Pty) Ltd's foreign currency account (FCA) and that he alone be the sole

            Zimdaily was told that authority was granted and Chiyangwa
operated a current account whose number was given as 04 272 6085. An FCA
account was also opened with Chiyangwa as the sole signatory. The FCA
account number was given as 022/20/101369/01. It is understood that
Chiyangwa proceeded to deposit several US$20 000 bank drafts issued by at
least three Zimbabwean banks, namely Zimbank, Barclays Bank, and Jewel bank.
It is understood that Chiyangwa then transferred N$154 950 from the FCA to
the current account. The balance in the current account as at December 24
2004 stood at N$16 807 (US$2 800). Zimdaily understands that a total of N$1
252 472 (US$208 745) was transferred from the FCA account to the current
account as of last year. The entire amount was withdrawn from Standard Bank
enabling the tycoon to embark on the Z$1 trillion project he is currently

            Zimdaily heard that to augment his financial resources,
Chiyangwa had also sold his Bulawayo based leather and tanning company
Midiron Enterprises to bankroll the extravagant property which is
incongruous with the poverty currently stalking Zimbabwe.

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