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Valentine's Day detainees released in Zimbabwe

Mail and Guardian

      Harare, Zimbabwe

      18 February 2006 09:02

            Sixty-three women detained in Zimbabwe during a Valentine's Day
protest were released on bail on Friday after appearing in a Harare court, a
lawyer confirmed.

            The 63 were part of a group of more than 150 women detained on
Tuesday in the capital during what they called a "bread and roses" protest.
About 100 had already been released after paying fines, but the remaining
women were either unable or unwilling to pay, said Otto Saki, of Zimbabwe
Lawyers for Human Rights.

            Earlier reports had put the number of women still detained on
Friday at about 120.

            The women were charged under the country's Miscellaneous
Offences Act for "conduct likely to cause a breach of the peace", the lawyer
said. "They were taken to court at around 3pm this afternoon."

            "Some of these women didn't want to pay the fine," said Saki,
adding that the state would find it hard to sustain the charges when the 63,
who were released on free bail, reappear in court on March 3.

            In all, more than 300 Women of Zimbabwe Arise supporters were
arrested this week for holding "bread and roses" marches in Harare and the
second city of Bulawayo.

            The marches were called to press for affordable food and the
right to a dignified life. Zimbabweans are reeling under inflation of more
than 600%, escalating prices and deepening poverty. -- Sapa-dpa

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Good Lord Deliver Us

Dear Family and Friends,

The Litany Bird is back in my neighbourhood this week and it is cause for
considerable comfort to hear its voice these evenings. The fiery necked
nightjar is a nocturnal bird and lays its eggs on the ground amongst a
small scratch of leaves. Its piercing call, such a familiar Zimbabwean
sound in the early evenings and on moonlit nights, is matched to the words
Good Lord Deliver Us. It is amazing that the nightjars have managed to
survive another year in our dirty, plundered and ravaged semi urban
environment. They have survived the fires that scorched every inch of bush
6 months ago. They have survived the endless flow of men, women and
children who walk out into the bush every day with axes to chop trees,
hoes to dig roots and packets to collect mushrooms and fruits. The Litany
Birds have miraculously survived the boys who aren't in school anymore
because the fees are just too expensive; boys who harvest birds with
catapaults and boys who climb trees to take eggs and fledglings in every
nest they find. The Litany Birds have also survived the unemployed young
men who walk into the bush in small groups every day. They are armed with
crude home made weapons and follow lean and fearsome packs of hunting dogs
which flush out every living creature.

This February the Litany Birds are back, they have survived the piles of
garbage dumped in the bush, the people and the plunder and they cry out
defiantly every evening. Their voices give hope for a similar resilience
for our people and country.

The call of the Litany Birds is particularly appropriate for Zimbabwe this
week. Over 150 women in Bulawayo and 240 in Harare were arrested for
trying to march on Valentines Day. Unarmed women, calling only for dignity
and food were arrested. Some of the women carried babies, they too were
taken into police cells. As I sat in the dark this week, in these evenings
of incessant power cuts, I listened to the Litany Bird calling out Good
Lord Deliver Us and I struggled to find peace. It was hard not to think of
ordinary women: mothers, daughters, sisters, some with babies - crammed
into police cells. I feel such shame that things like this are happening
in our beautiful country and so ashamed that for 6 years we have watched
helpless, rudderless and aimless as everything has deteriorated to the
most appalling levels.

In one week in Zimbabwe there are now so many horrors that it is hard to
accept that such things can really be happening. This week we hear that
the Gweru mortuary which can only hold 24 bodies, has over 100 corpses in
it. State media reports that the cooling plant in the mortuary has broken
and that nurses and doctors are complaining of the smell. This week we
hear municipal authorities in Harare blaming overflowing sewers and burst
pipes in the Capital city on dumped babies and aborted foetuses. The cold,
callous and inhumane way in which the reports are presented are almost as
unbearable as the facts they tell of. Good Lord Deliver Us. Copyright
cathy buckle 18 February 2006.

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Mugabe Remarks Suggest Desire to Mend Fences With Great Britain


By Carole
      17 February 2006

Zimbabwean state media reported Friday that President Robert Mugabe extended
an olive branch to Britain, urging its incoming ambassador to send fair
reports back to the Foreign Office and expressing the hope that he'll help
bridge the gap in relations.

The state-controlled Herald newspaper reported that President Mugabe told
new British Ambassador Andrew Pocock, who presented his credentials to the
president Thursday, that the country "needs a bridge with the British." He
is also said to have urged Pocock to portray Zimbabwe fairly in his
dispatches back to London.

"If you report as your government wants, why send you here?," the newspaper
quoted the president as saying to Pocock, citing senior governmental
sources. "We want you here to help construct formidable bridges. We need a
bridge with the British."

Pocock is taking the place of former British Ambassador to Zimbabwe Roderick
Pullen, who abruptly departed his post in Harare last month for family

Some political analysts took Mr. Mugabe's seemingly conciliatory remarks as
a sign of desperation with the economy in freefall and food and fuel
shortages widespread.

National Constitutional Assembly Chairman Lovemore Madhuku told reporter
Carole Gombakomba of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that the Zimbabwean
president's comments suggest he is feeling diplomatically isolated.

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Mugabe unhappy with some ministers


      [February 18, 2006]

(Comtex Community Via Thomson Dialog NewsEdge)HARARE, Feb 18, 2006 (Xinhua
via COMTEX) -- Zimbabwean President Mugabe has
expressed dissatisfaction with the performance of some ministers, whom he
described as "self-centered" and failing to meet the goals
of the development cabinet.

Mugabe, who was speaking during an interview with Newsnet on
Friday, said the fact that no one has been axed so far did not
mean that the chop would not come.

Responding to a question on whether the cabinet had lived up to
its name, the president said some ministers had not performed to

"There is a lot of self-centeredness that one sees amongst some
of my ministers. When we talk of national development and a
development cabinet, we would want to see each and every minister
and each and every ministry moving towards the attainment of the
goals set," he said.

"You can just look at how we tried to plan for our agriculture
this year. Why should we have run short of fertilizer?"
Mugabe said not much was done to make inputs available and this
would militate against an otherwise good season.
In apparent reference to the Ministry of Mines and Mining
Development and the Ministry of Industry and International Trade, Mugabe
expressed concern over the failure to revive industries
that were left by former owners who fled to South Africa and the
continued leakage of minerals.

"We pledged to ensure that the mines would operate at full
blast that the leakages we had experienced earlier would not occur.
Mugabe, however, hailed achievements in the social services
ministries, education and health, saying they had done their best
under difficult circumstances.
"There have been achievements in certain sectors, in some
ministries. The social ministries have done their best. Education
has sustained the system but even there, the schools, the costs of
education have gone up; the Ministry of Health has managed to make
drugs available," he said.

The cabinet was set up after the March 31 parliamentary
elections. Speculation has been rife that the cabinet would be
reshuffled to incorporate members of the Upper House who were
elected after the cabinet was selected.

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Who's Who in the "split"

From: Trudy Stevenson

Sent: Saturday, February 18, 2006 10:48 PM
Subject: Who's Who in the "split"

Many people have asked me which side various people are on, in the different
groups of the MDC.  I have been reluctant to answer this question for two
1) There is only one MDC, the one which has consistently adhered to the
constitution of the party, especially regarding the national council vote on
the senate election and which subsequently expelled Morgan Tsvangirai and
Isaac Matongo for contravening that constitution;
2) We have left our door open for others to see the truth of the situation
and come back to the party.

However, as we are now less than a week away from Congress and as it has
become increasingly obvious to all but the most ill-informed that there will
be no magic re-uniting of the two sides, it is perhaps time to give an

Please note that this list is NOT EXHAUSTIVE, and that some exciting
NEW FACES (but old members) will appear at Congress.

Among National Council and other national leaders are Gibson Sibanda,
Welshman Ncube, Gift Chimanikire, Fletcher Dulini Ncube, Paul Themba Nyathi,
Blessing Chebundo, Trudy Stevenson, Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga,
Job Sikhala, Renson Gasela, Moses Mzila-Ndlovu, Joubert Mudzumwe,
Joel Gabbuza, Abednico Bhebhe, Milton Gwetu, Timothy Mukhahlera,
Abednigo Malinga, Nomalanga Khumalo, Esaph Mdlongwa, Miriam Mushayi,
Diamond Garanda, Ellen Shiriyedenga, Edwin Mushoriwa, Godfrey Gumbo,
Alouis Mudzingwa, Silas Mangono, Shakespear Maya, Gabriel Chaibva,
Lyson Mlambo, Henry Chimbiri, Angilacala Ndlovu, Isaac Mzimba,
Goodrich Chimbaira and Shaky Matake.

In Parliament, our Shadow Cabinet is as follows (from
Kwekwe legislator, Blessing Chebundo, is the new party Chief Whip and will
be deputised by Nomalanga Mzilikazi Khumalo, Member of Parliament for
Glen Norah MP, Priscilla Misihairambwi Mushonga, is the new parliamentary
spokesperson for the party.
Edward Mkhosi, the MP for Mangwe is the new shadow minister for Lands &
Agriculture, with Harare North MP, Trudy Stevenson re-occupying the Local
Government portfolio.
Moses Mzila-Ndlovu, MP for Bulilima is the new Foreign Affairs shadow
minister, while Pumula-Luveve MP, Esaph Mdlongwa, takes over the Labour &
Social Welfare portfolio.
Other appointments were: Blessing Chebundo (Health), Dvivarasekwa MP Edwin
Mushoriwa (Economic Affairs), Lupane MP Njabuliso Mguni (Education &
Culture), Pelandaba-Mpopoma MP Milton Gwetu (Industry and Commerce), Gweru
Urban MP Timothy Mkhahlera (Home Affairs), Zengeza MP Goodrich Chimbaira
(Gender & Youth Development), Binga MP Joel Gabbuza (Mines), St Mary's MP
Job Sikhala (Defence & Security) and Nkayi MP Abednico Bhebhe as Transport &
Communications shadow minister.

The list of our Provincial structures was published in the Zimbabwe
Independent on 6 January 2006.

It might also be useful to list some who are NOT yet with us, apart from
Tsvangirai and Matongo who have been expelled and David Coltart who is
still trying to arrange "an amicable divorce":

Lucia Matibenga, Sekai Holland, Nelson Chamisa, Paurina Mpariwa,
Gertrude Mthombeni, Thokozani Khupe, Eddie Cross, Roy Bennet, Innocent
Grace Kwinjeh, Tendai Biti, Fidelis Mhashu, Tapiwa Mashakada, Giles
Evelyn Masaiti, Teresa Makone, Morgen Femai and staff notables Ian Makone,
Gandi Mudzingwa and Dennis Murira.

Sadly, some from this other side have been lying that they are working at
re-uniting the party. This is very far from the truth.

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Mutambara set to be new MDC leader

New Zimbabwe

By Lebo Nkatazo
Last updated: 02/19/2006 00:33:12
A FACTION of Zimbabwe's divided opposition Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC) party appeared to have pulled a major coup Saturday by convincing
former student leader Professor Arthur Mutambara to stand for leadership.

Sources within the MDC told New that bar a miracle, Mutambara
will be the new leader of the MDC faction opposed to party leader, Morgan

Mutambara was expected to meet with the MDC secretary general Welshman Ncube
in Harare on Sunday, before meeting the MDC national executive committee
later on Monday.

Mutambara was non-committal when he spoke to New, only saying:
"I certainly intend to work with others in pursuit of the Zimbabwean
national interest."

Paul Themba Nyathi, the MDC's information and publicity secretrary declined
to comment Saturday, but confirmed that they would be holding their congress
in Bulawayo from 25-26 February where a new leader would be elected.

"We intend to use the Congress as a platform for organisational renewal and
to establish a robust consensus amongst our members on the way forward for
the next five years," Nyathi said.

"At the congress delegates will elect the leaders they believe are best
equipped to take the party forward and advance our project of
democratization in Zimbabwe."

Mutambara's imminent arrival has not gone down well with everyone, with
Ncube's deputy, Gift Chimanikire, charging that he is the best candidate for
the job and claiming his colleagues have stabbed him in the back.

New also understands that former Zimbabwe Union of Democrats
(ZUD) leader Margaret Dongo and University of Zimbabwe leacturer Heneri
Dzinotyiwei are also likely to step in the frame as Mutambara's running

New Zimbabwe has been told that Mutambara has the support of all the MDC's
province, except Masvingo.

The MDC split irreconcilably following disagreements over participating in
senate elections last November. Tsvangirai favoured a boycott of the
elections, but his senior colleagues disagreed leading to an acrimonious

Tsvangirai's group intends to hold its own congress in March.

A political analyst, observing the developments, said Saturday: "This move
has positives and negatives. The negative element is that Mutambara barely
knows these guys and has been out of the country for some time. The positive
is that he is untainted by the current MDC politics and has a lot of respect
among Zimbabweans. This could be bad news for Tsvangirai."

Mutambara shot to prominence in the late 80s when he led massive student
protests aagainst government corruption.

He is currently the Managing Director of Africa Technology & Business
Institute, a professional and advisory services firm operating in 13 African

Prof. Mutambara is also a Principal Consultant with MAC Consulting and
Professor of Operations Management with the School of Business Leadership,
UNISA. From March 2002 to September 2003, Prof. Mutambara was a Standard
Bank Director of Payments with responsibilities in 17 African countries.

ormerly, Prof. Mutambara was a Research Scientist and Professor of Robotics
and Mechatronics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT),
Carnegie Mellon University, California Institute of Technology, FAMU-FSU,
and NASA, all in the United States.

From January 2000 to March 2002, Prof. Mutambara was also a Management
Consultant with McKinsey & Company in the Chicago office. While in Chicago,
he was Professor of Business Strategy at the Kellogg Business School.

Prof. Mutambara is author of three engineering research books and sixteen
peer reviewed journal papers. In addition, Prof. Mutambara is a community
leader, public intellectual, and activist who is extensively involved in
socio-economic issues in both the US and Africa.

He attended Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar in 1991 where he obtained a Doctorate
of Philosophy in Robotics and Mechatronics (1995), and an MSc in Computer
Engineering and Electrical Engineering (1992). At Oxford, he was President
of both the Africa Society, as well as the Merton Graduate Union (MCR).

Prior to attending Oxford, Prof. Mutambara received a BSc (Honors) in
Electrical Engineering from the University of Zimbabwe, where he was
President of the Students Union (1989-1990).

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Taibu sees no future in Zim

Daily Star, Bangladesh

BBC Online, undated

Former captain Tatenda Taibu says he has no future with Zimbabwe after
agreeing to play English club cricket.

The wicketkeeper has signed contracts with celebrity side Lashings and
Surrey club Pyrford.

"I've pretty much cancelled everything (in Zimbabwe). I just do not see a
future," Taibu, 22, told CricInfo.

"It's sad that I left before I produced the best that I can. I had my best
years still to come. I had not reached my peak."

Taibu resigned as captain in November in protest at the way the game is
being run in Zimbabwe.

The cricket board has since voluntarily suspended Test status after a player
strike, coupled with the departure of several leading players to England and

Taibu revealed that former teammate Andy Flower, who is now playing with
Essex, advised him against playing in England.

"After speaking to Andy, who, like me, left international cricket abruptly,
he reckons South Africa is my best destination," added Taibu, who has been
playing in Bangladesh.

"I thought Andy was right, especially for a black cricketer like me. They
are short of black cricket role-models in South Africa.

"But I said I will wait for the season in England, and God will show me the
way ahead."

Should a county side want to sign Taibu he would not count as an overseas
player because Zimbabweans qualify under the controversial Kolpak rule.

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Zim's human rights lawyers under siege


      Basildon Peta
          February 18 2006 at 03:53PM

      Three weeks ago, a soldier presented himself at the Zimbabwe Human
Rights Association (Zimrights) office in Harare, asking to meet with its
head, Arnold Tsunga.

      When told he was not in the office, the soldier explained that a hit
squad of the Military Intelligence Corps was monitoring Tsunga's movements
and had received an order to kill him.

      The soldier claimed that he had come to warn Tsunga of the danger. But
the Southern Africa Litigation Centre (SALC) believes the soldier himself
was sent to kill Tsunga.

      The latest human rights body to come under siege by President Robert
Mugabe's regime is the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR), of which
Tsunga is also head and which was blacklisted in December at the ruling
party Zanu-PF congress.

       The SALC has begun distributing an alert urging concerned individuals
and organisations to write protest letters to the Zimbabwe government urging
it to desist from its harassment of the ZLHR.

      It also urges similar protests to be sent to Foreign Minister
Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma urging South Africa to intervene and ask for the
protection of human rights defenders in Zimbabwe.
      The SALC chronicles a number of incidents in which the ZLHR has come
under attack from the Zimbabwe government.

      The ZLHR was behind the representations which resulted in a December
resolution condemning human rights abuses in Zimbabwe by the African
Commission on Human and People's Rights. This has infuriated the Zimbabwe

      SALC director, Nicole Fritz, said there was growing fear that with a
weakened political opposition and an effectively silenced media, the
Zimbabwean government now viewed its most vocal, dangerous critics as
individuals and groups such as the ZLHR and Tsunga.

      "It is especially worrying that human rights lawyers are being
targeted, as they are now often the last and only protection available to
human rights defenders," said Fritz.

      Tsunga has received numerous death threats while the ZLHR offices have
been placed under military surveillance. Its lawyers are arrested and
threatened with arrest for defending human rights activists, according to
the SALC.

      The ZLHR has long been recognised and acclaimed internationally for
its courageous opposition to the Zimbabwean government's repressive

      Of late, the ZLHR has sought to challenge the state's unlawful
evictions campaign and its increasing clamp-down on media freedom and civil
society organisations.

      The SALC said events over recent weeks suggested that the ZLHR faced
even greater, more extensive threat.

      Irene Petras, programmes co-ordinator of the ZLHR, said fewer
Zimbabwean lawyers were willing to take up the cases of human rights
defenders for fear of state harassment.

      "Given this shortage, the ZLHR must take on an increasing number of
these cases and so is increasingly the target of the state's attentions,"
she said.

      The SALC said Tsunga appeared to be at particularly grave risk. A few
weeks ago, in the early hours of 21 January 2006, two police officers and
one soldier forcibly entered Tsunga's home.

      Not finding Tsunga at home, the officers took his housekeepers to the
police station. The police would not release the workers until Tsunga
presented himself for questioning and arrest - an increasingly common
feature of the Zimbabwe policing system, known as ransom arrests.

      While in custody for four days, the three workers were severely beaten
and one suffered a perforated eardrum as a result, the SALC said.

      When Tsunga reported to the police station, he and five others were
charged with operating a broadcasting service in Zimbabwe illegally, a
charge the SALC dismissed as spurious.

      Soon thereafter, on 26 January 2006, a soldier presented himself at
the Zimrights office, asking to meet with Tsunga. Tsunga was not in the
office. The SALC said the soldier explained that a hit squad of the Military
Intelligence Corps was monitoring Tsunga's movements and had received an
order to kill him.

      The soldier claimed that he had come to see Tsunga to warn him of the
danger. It is possible that this soldier intended to kill Tsunga, according
to the SALC.

      ZLHR lawyer, Tafadzwa Mugabe, representing Tsunga and the other five
trustees charged, found himself threatened with arrest for obstructing the
course of justice.

      On Wednesday he was arrested and detained in Harare for coming to the
assistance of his clients, 192 women and five infants arrested for
participating in the annual Valentine's Day march organised by Women of
Zimbabwe Arise. A further 181 were arrested in Bulawayo. Independent Foreign

      This article was originally published on page 13 of Cape Argus on
February 18, 2006

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Happy birthday for one man, another sad day for the nation

      By Conrad Nyamutata

      The idea of a national celebration of one man's birthday is just
becoming increasingly incomprehensible, despicable and unacceptable to me.
Even the attempt to legitimise it as some kind of movement meant to benefit
the youth, fails to mask the real purpose of this annual event - that is, to
lick someone in the wrong place.
      It is about President Robert Mugabe, and him alone.And not some
philathrophy towards our suffering youths.
      I cannot even be pacified by suggestions of a "scaled down" event this
year. The mere indications that they wish to limit their usual consumption
this time around is in itself testimony of their guilty conscience. Or do
they have a conscience I wonder?

      Let's face it - the very concept, that very idea - of 'celebrating' a
leader's birthday just stinks of rotten sycophancy. The propensity to  spend
billions in the name of one person - who chiefly contributed to the
impoverishment of that very nation - makes it even more perplexing and, at
worst, distasteful.

      And yet  Zanu PF sycophants planned to raise billions of dollars to
celebrate the birthday of "our dear leader." I must indicate that I do not
believe that all contributors do so willingly. The scare tactics are well

      But as a nation, we need to ask ourselves some questions. Should we
really revere mere humans to such a degree? And each year? Even when times
are hard?

      No.These subsequent questions tend to justify the pratice after all
and bury they key question - Simply WHY? Or expanded - why should we at all
have a national 'celebration' of a living person?
      The concept is obviously located in some warped communist ethos; that
leaders should be worshipped like demigods; that a leader is somewhat
divine. Comparisons are abound.

      Enter Cde Kim.
      Mugabe and North Korean leader Kim Jong Il undoubtedly belong to the
same school. Incidentally, their birthdays - my main worry at the moment -
are celebrated within days of each other. Last year, North Korea marked the
63rdbirthday of their "dear leader" on 16 February with feasts of "pheasant
and venison. fireworks over his reputed mountain birthplace and sing-songs
praising his military brilliance."
      The day is treated as one of the country's most important national
holidays, where citizens are treated to propaganda spectacles and receive
extra food. Mass synchronized dances with women garbed in bright-colored
traditional Korean dresses are staged in the capital's main square.
      The following report on the North Korean leader's last birthday
celebrations reads like something from our very own People's Voice:

      The Communist Party daily, Rodong Sinmun, said Kim was "endowed with
outstanding commandership art and matchless courage and pluck" and
represented the destiny and future of Korea. KCNA said fireworks fizzed over
Mount Paekdu, where the North says he was born at a secret camp.Floral
tributes mounted up and synchronised swimmers splashed in unison while the
Korean People's Army song and dance ensemble put on a show that included
numbers such as the choral "General on a Galloping White Horse" and female
solo "I do not know a warmer bosom than it".

      Last Thursday,the North Korean leader marked the 64th birthday
insisting he would not succumb to United States pressure.
      The resemblance is striking. Mugabe was born on 21 February 1924. His
birthday might not be characterised by anything as stupendous and posh as
the North Korean cuisine. But watch out for the number cows and chickens
which will be devoured during the hotels, stadiums and gatherings. Already,
there is talk of raising more than US$100,000 for the "celebration"
scheduled for Manicaland province.
      Our version will also feature some army drills, our beloved fathers
and brothers, mothers and sisters - clad in Zanu PF regalia, emblazoned with
Mugabe's youthful wartime image, commemorating his birth at some stadiums. I
do not want to believe that - in this day, and knowing Zanu PF's coercive
tactics - all attend such ocassions voluntarily.
      Inevitably, President Mugabe will seize the opportunity to hit out at
the British and other 'neo-imperialists.'
      My feelings towards this national event on our calendar now fluctuate
between sadness, anger and sickness.
      What makes the whole thing more deplorable is that the 21st February
Movement - never mind 'youths' well beyond their teens who lead it - is a
huge political gimmick of our time. This so-called  'movement' was initiated
in 1986 as a registered welfare organisation ostensibly 'to provide
opportunities for youths and to take part in social development and
encourage them to participate in recreational activities.'
      Years on, just what social development have the generality of our
youths been involved in or benefited from? And what recreational activities
are there to talk about? Perhaps some stock taking would help. It would be a
waste of time and money anyway.
      This sickening charade proves that the raison dete're, is to elevate
Mugabe to a 'super being', worthy of not only our collective veneration,
but deserving such reverence on an annual basis. In my view - and I
insist -this is a revolting culture.

      I think it is time to stop this practice. Robert Mugabe and his family
should celebrate his birthday at his Zvimba mansion or State House. Period.
      After all, his misrule had reduced Zimbabweans to such paupers they
cannot even afford one soft drink to celebrate their own birthdays. In fact
Zimbabwe is going through its worst period in many many years.

      This economic crisis brings me to another saddening similarity with
our North Korean friends. North Korea's communist ideology has been based on
the concept of "juche" or self-reliance. Like Zimbabwe, it has embarked on a
series of limited market reforms. But severe economic problems , however,
mean the country needs international food aid. Famine in North Korea has
reportedly killed hundreds of thousands of people over the last decade.
      Disturbingly, both our "birthday boys" have spurned food aid from the
World Foood Programme (WFP) for fear the gesture would create an image of
desperation. Well aren't we, really?
      In one of his caustic remarks, President Mugabe left us awestruck when
told off the WFP, saying Zimbabweans did not need food aid and it should not
be "foisted upon them" or they would choke on it!
      Back to the birthday. I repeat that the concept should strike us as
repugnant. It is all obscene.Even if there might be few birthdays remaining
for us to commemorate as a nation, the 21st February Movement will probably
remain as long as Zanu PF is in power. But the so-called 'movement' only
window-dresses a sickening culture of venerating mere mortals.
      We have had organisations linked to national leaders. Take Nelson
Mandela's 46664 Foundation - named after his prison cell number. It is a far
more respectable and successful organisation compared to our moribund
movement. Mandela's has attracted major international stars and raised
millions of dollars for good causes.
      At national level, President Mugabe can do the same. Genuinely so.
      But individual egos should not be allowed to supersede the national
interest. Hero-worshipping living individuals is the bane of African
      It is even more distasteful in our case. Just how people can 'wine and
dine' amidst such a sea of poverty or a starving nation, befuddles the mind.
Even if the commemoration is 'scaled down', the point is - the underlying
concept that one man's birthday should be a cause for national celebration,
especially when they are still alive, has become vividly objectionable.
      I only celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ.

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World Vision partners govt in disaster management

Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe

From Pamenus Tuso in Bulawayo
issue date :2006-Feb-18

WORLD Vision Zimbabwe in partnership with the government has come up with a
disaster management and response strategy for Matabeleland South Province.
The province has of late been hit by a number of disasters, among them
droughts, road accidents, floods, veld fires and the foot and mouth disease.
Last week, World Vision funded and facilitated an emergency preparedness and
response workshop in the province attended by provincial government heads.
Addressing participants at the workshop, the Matabeleland South Provincial
Administrator, David Mpofu said despite the province's proneness to
disasters, equipment such as ambulances, vehicles, funds, resources and
structural organisation remains elusive in the province.
"This is a pro-active move by World Vision to assist us come up with a
disaster management plan.that will assist us avert
disasters, save resources and,
more importantly, save lives and conserve our environment for the future.
"This is unique because other non-government organisations want to come in
after a disaster has occurred rather than assisting in taking up preventive
measures to avoid a disaster from occurring" Mpofu said.
He pledged to immediately implement the disaster strategy after its
formulation and approval by the Civil Protection Department.
Mpofu applauded the strategic plan, saying it will assist the government in
interacting with other stakeholders in the event of a disaster.
Principal administration officer in the Civil Protection Department, Godfrey
Nyoni expressed concern over the increase of disasters in the province.
"Not only are disasters on the increase in the province, but they are also
becoming more complex to manage. We have disasters such as droughts, dam
wall failures, stampedes, suffocation in mines and floods," said Nyoni.
Speaking at the same workshop, World Vision deputy relief director,
Bhekimpilo Khanye said the emergency preparedness and response partnership
should spill over to other provinces and permeate to district, ward and
village levels.
"It is good to respond to an emergency, but it is more advantageous to have
an emergency preparedness and response strategy that partners together with
local people," Khanye said.
He added that training and consultation in emergency preparedness and
response has been already kicked off in Mangwe and Bubi districts.
Last year, a train carrying sulphuric acid derailed near Gwanda and spilled
thousands of litres of the acid into rivers.
Last October, five pupils coming from a primary school in Insiza in the
province were  burnt in an inferno caused by a veld fire.

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Forex shortage affects production of fertiliser

Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe

The Daily Mirror Reporter
issue date :2006-Feb-18

THE acute shortage of foreign currency has this year affected the production
of top dressing, ammonium nitrate (AN) fertiliser.
This has in turn resulted in the shortage of the much-needed product on the
Eben Makonese, the chief executive officer (CEO) of fertiliser manufacturing
company Chemplex, said the country needed 550 000 tonnes of ammonium nitrate
for a good harvest each farming season.
Due to the shortages of foreign currency to import some critical inputs, he
said, the country could only produce about 300 000 tonnes this season.
Most of the manufactured fertiliser, however, ended up on the black market
because demand is outstripping supply.
"To produce phosphatic fertilisers, you have to also produce sulphuric acid.
To produce the acid, a special chemical is needed for the floatation
process, and that chemical has to be imported," Makonese said.
"In Zimbabwe, we have only two plants that produce sulphuric acid and one of
them had to be shut down last year because there was no money to buy the
floatation chemical."
Makonese said there were also serious transport problems, which resulted in
delays in the movement of raw phosphate from Dorowa Mine in Buhera to
Nyazura and then to Harare via rail for processing.
Dorowa is the only phosphate mining company in Zimbabwe and is not connected
to the rail network.
Currently, the mine transports the phosphate to Nyazura by its own fleet of
haulage trucks, a process that heavily depends on fuel availability.
Phosphate is the major component in fertiliser manufacturing.
Makonese said, due to the unreliability of rail transport, phosphate had
some time last year to be moved by road from Dorowa to Harare, a distance of
over 300 kilometres.
He said plans to translocate the manufacturing plant from Harare to Dorowa
had stalled due to the huge capital demand for such a project.
Many farmers are going through difficult times trying to access fertiliser
to revive crops that have been affected by leaching due to incessant rains
received countrywide since the beginning of the rain season.
Davison Mugabe, the president of the Zimbabwe Commercial Farmers' Union
(ZCFU), recently said crop yields could be hugely compromised by the
shortage of fertiliser, coupled with the heavy rains.

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Top cop shoots baby

Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe

From Patience Nyangove in Marondera
issue date :2006-Feb-18

A SENIOR police officer on Wednesday allegedly fired shots and seriously
injured a seven-month-old baby, its mother and another person in Marondera
during a scuffle with suspected gamblers.
The baby was strapped on its mother's back.
The policeman is said to be an inspector based in Marondera.
According to reports, the bullet went through the woman's abdomen and
injured the baby in the stomach.
Another shot fired reportedly hit one of the suspected gamblers in the head.
The victims were by yesterday reportedly battling for their lives at Harare
Allegations were that the inspector (name supplied) - who was in civilian
clothes - was part of a team patrolling Dombotombo suburb when they were
requested by the public to intervene and stop a fight at Rusike Hostel.
On their way to the hostel, the policemen allegedly saw a group of people
gambling and told them they were under arrest for betting illegally.
One of the suspected gamblers reportedly challenged the
inspector and the harsh exchange of words degenerated into a
As they wrestled, the inspector allegedly drew his service pistol and shot
the man in the head.
The other bullet hit the woman and her child.
Mashonaland East police spokesperson, Inspector  Darlington Mathuthu,
confirmed the incident saying: "We have since launched investigations to
establish what really transpired."
Meanwhile, in a case of domestic violence, a Macheke man last week fatally
assaulted his pregnant wife following an un-disclosed dispute.
Mathuthu alleged that Charles Sarufu (37) killed his 33-year-old wife
Pauline Nyamunjira after kicking her in the stomach and all over the body
until she started bleeding profusely.
The police spokesperson said Nyamunjira bled for three
days without accessing any medication and was only sent to the hospital when
her condition deteriorated.
She was admitted at Marondera Hospital where she later died.
Mathuthu said the matter was only reported to the police
when Nyamunjira was taken to hospital.
"We have since arrested Sarufu on murder charges and he will appear in court
soon," Mathuthu said.
Cases of domestic violence in Zimbabwe are on the rise, prompting many human
rights organisations to press government to table the long awaited Domestic
Violence Bill.
The Bill, which has been on the cards for years, is expected to protect
mostly women from domestic violence and allow for the prosecution of
perpetrators of the offence.
Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, Patrick Chinamasa,
recently told this newspaper that the Bill would be tabled in Parliament
before year-end for debate.

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Food riots erupt at mealie-meal delivery in Bulawayo

From SW Radio Africa, 17 February

By Violet Gonda

A food riot is reported to have broken out in Bulawayo on Friday after a
delivery of the scarce mealie-meal arrived at a local shop. 10 people were
injured and windows were broken as riot police tried to control the
situation. There has been no mealie-meal in shops in the Bulawayo area for
months now, and reports from around the country show that this basic food is
in serious short supply. Millers in Bulawayo have been accusing the Grain
Marketing Board of favouring large operations, who sell this major commodity
at higher prices on the black market. Bulawayo based journalist Raymond
Phiri told us by the time a National Foods truck arrived with the delivery
Friday, some people had queued for more than 3 days. He said chaos broke out
as desperate Bulawayo residents pushed and shoved for positions, and others
attempted to jump the queue. Riot police arrived to control the crowds as
some rowdy youths began looting. Many shop windows were smashed and people
panicked trying to escape from teargas fired by the police. Phiri said the
crowd eventually dispersed, but the police who remained were seen buying the
mealie-meal themselves. Angry residents say this shows how police and
government officials get priority, while the ordinary Zimbabweans struggle
without this much needed food. Bulawayo based Roman Catholic Archbishop Pius
Ncube also told SW Radio Africa that people are dying of starvation in the
country. The outspoken cleric said this is a direct result of the government's
ban on mass feeding programmes in parts of the country. Many NGOs that were
distributing food were told to stop by the government which claimed they
were supporting the opposition. Ncube says that priests in some areas are
burying at least 5 people a day as mass starvation grips. Despite this the
government continues to interfere with food distribution. The worst affected
are mainly HIV/AIDS sufferers, children and the elderly who are particularly
vulnerable to a lack of food.

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