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Angry civil servants vow to intensify strike action

By Alex Bell
19 February 2010

More than two thousand angry civil servants who gathered in Harare on Friday
have vowed to intensify their strike action if the government does not meet
their demands for a wage increase.

A meeting of civil servants in the capital had been organised for workers'
unions to provide feedback to their members, who have been on strike for two
weeks over the government's refusal to increase its wage bill. The strike
has mainly affected public schools, hospitals, government departments and
the courts. Civil servants unions have demanded that their wages be
increased from the current US$150 to US$630, and they've rejected a 10
percent increase offer from the government.

The two thousand strong group of civil servants who gathered in Harare on
Friday embarked on a march, after hearing that the government has refused to
change its 10 percent wage increase offer. Leaders from various workers'
unions led the group through the streets of central Harare and presented
signed petitions at Parliament and the offices of the Ministers of Finance
and Public Service.
SW Radio Africa correspondent Simon Muchemwa reported that some workers were
'agitated' during the march when they realised that some of their colleagues
were on duty in the government buildings they marched to. They were further
angered when they were denied an audience at Finance Minister Tendai Biti's
office, which was locked because Biti is out of the country. Muchemwa said
many workers' believed that the empty office was 'intentional', because "no
one in government wanted to accept the workers' petition."
"It took several hours of dancing and singing at the Minister of Finance's
office before they eventually handed their petition to a security guard,"
Muchemwa reported. "They were angry that no one in government was willing to
receive the petition."

The civil servants' unions have now vowed to intensify their action by not
only remaining on strike, but also by having protracted 'sit-ins' at their
places of work. Muchemwa reported that the move was to ensure "no worker was
being threatened into defying the strike action." Teachers' unions have also
called on parents to stop paying incentives, saying it would be tantamount
to "squeezing water from a stone."
The unions said that they will carry on with their strike and sit-in until
March 5, and warned that the strike with further intensify, if the
government refuses to increase its offer.


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Zanu-PF forcing civil servants to strike?

  Friday 19 February 2010 / by Alice Chimora

More than 1000 disgruntled Zimbabwe's state workers took to the streets
today in Harare declaring that they are scaling their strike.

State workers are demanding for the salaries of the lowest-paid public
workers to be increased from 120 dollars a month currently to 630 dollars.

The cash-strapped power-sharing government, which is still recovering from a
severe economic meltdown in 2008, had offered to increase their salaries to
122 dollars in February, rising to 134 dollars in April.

A petition was handed over at Parliament and the offices of the minister of
finance. And workers vowed not to return to work before their demands are

The strike has paralyzed government institutions such as the courts and

Oswald Madziwa, programmes officer at Progressive Teachers' Union of
Zimbabwe said they are "trying to compel the government to listen to our
demands. We are also scaling up our struggle in view of the threats from the
employer that the strike is illegal".

No one was arrested today and police kept a close eye on the proceedings.

Since the strike began early February government has maintained that it is
illegal and would not hesitate to fire the workers. The bulk of the civil
servants are teachers and health professionals.

But finance Minister Tendai Biti has in the past said civil service pay
takes up at least 60% of revenues, and limited resources make it difficult
for the state to increase wages significantly.

Mixed responses

However, the strike has received mixed responses with teachers whose
salaries are boosted by incentives from parents and nurses whose salaries
were topped up by donors not responding to the call to go on strike.

Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai's MDC say state security agents and Zanu PF
hardliners are stoking the strike in an effort to wreck the fragile
coalition government.

MDC spokesperson Nelson Chamisa said there is an hidden hand by "third force
elements (...) We note with concern the politicization of a genuine plight
of civil servant by our colleagues in Zanu PF"

Chamisa said Zanu PF's hand in the strike was also evidenced by the
organisations aligned to the former ruling party who were castigating the
MDC-T over the job action through the state media.

In some parts of the country, the MDC-T said, traditional chiefs loyal to
Zanu PF were threatening those who had turned up for duty, instructing them
to stay at home until further notice.

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Zimbabwe Strike Continues

Striking Zimbabwean civil servants march through the streets of Harare, 19 Feb 2010 Photo: AP

Striking Zimbabwean civil servants march through the streets of Harare, 19 Feb 2010


Striking Zimbabwean civil servants say the government has not responded to their demands. They have resolved to continue with their strike over pay until the authorities come up with a better wage offer.

Tendai Chikowore, one of the leaders of the protests, said the strikes would continue.  She made the announcement at the end of a march by some 500 workers through downtown Harare.

"With effect from 22 February the industrial action will take the form of a sit-in," said Tendai Chikowore. "The sit-in will continue until the 5th of March 2010 after which all public service employees will come for feedback."

The decision to go on strike was reached after the government said it could not meet the workers' demand for a minimum wage of at least $502 per month, a few dollars above the official poverty line. Most of them are currently paid less than $200 a month.

Finance Minister Tendai Biti has said civil service pay takes up at least 60 percent of revenues, and limited resources make it difficult for the state to increase wages significantly.

Minister of Public Services Eliphas Mukonoweshuro said the government cannot afford to pay even $300 a month because it is broke. The workers have dismissed this.

Again, Tendai Chikowore:

"Zimbabwe is a land of abundant mineral endowment and other natural wealth but not exploited for the benefit of the entire populace," said Chikowore.

The strike leaders also said despite Mukonoweshuro's promise that government would engage the workers in dialogue to resolve the standoff, no talks have been held since they decided to go on strike.

Chikowore warned the workers would take further unspecified action if the government fails to meet the workers demands.

"If government remains adamant, it must prepare itself for a more crippling and economically damaging course of action," she said.

The response to the strike call has been mixed with most workers in government offices reporting for work. Takavafira Zhou of the Progressive Teachers' Union told VOA this is because those workers are being intimidated into reporting for work.

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Biti says talks have reached deadlock

By Tichaona Sibanda
19 February 2010

Tendai Biti, the secretary-general of the MDC-T and also the chief
negotiator for the party, has said dialogue between the three parties is
'going nowhere' and that as negotiators they had 'reached the ceiling.'

Biti, who is the Finance Minister in the inclusive government, told
journalists on the eve of his trip to Washington in the USA, that SADC and
South Africa should move in to help break the deadlock.

Biti's statement was widely covered in the South Africa media on Friday. He
added that negotiators from the two MDC parties and ZANU PF had
'irredeemably' failed to resolve their differences.

'We are going nowhere on the dialogue and therefore it is very important for
President Zuma and South Africa to step in and step in quickly. We as
negotiators have reached our ceiling. It should be taken out of our hands.
Continuing to let us negotiate we are wasting time because we have tried. We
have been negotiating since the 14th of May 2007,' Biti said.

The Finance Minister also told journalists they could go no further as
negotiators, saying they therefore needed 'a bigger brain - that of
President Jacob Zuma and more wisdom from SADC'. South African based analyst
Munjonzi Mutandiri told us Biti was telling the world what most Zimbabweans
knew from last year, that talks were not going anywhere.

'Biti is being honest. These talks have long been deadlocked and SADC and
Zuma are fully aware that ZANU PF is dragging its feet on this issue by
portraying an image that they are still interested in the talks when all
they are not,' Mutandiri said.

Clifford Mashiri, a London based analyst, warned the MDC that by insisting
on Zuma or SADC to help them break the impasse was playing into the hands of

'The MDC should approach the United Nations for intervention. If they do
that, sooner rather than later we will see a quick transformation and a
return to normalcy with help in drafting a new constitution, drawing up
constituency boundaries, updating the electoral roll, facilitating the safe
return of those in the Diaspora and holding of peaceful elections followed
by investment and a once again vibrant independent Zimbabwe,' Mashiri said.


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Zimbabwe Media Commission Gazetted

19/02/2010 15:50:00

Harare, February 19, 2010 - The government on Friday gazetted the
appointment of members of the Zimbabwe Media Commission (ZMC), as pressure
mounts on the 85-year-old to fully implement a power sharing agreement he
entered into with his former opponents in 2008.

In a government gazette published on February 19, Media, Information and
Publicity Minister Webster Shamu said the commissioners would serve a
five-year term, which began on February 11.

"His Excellency the President, in terms of Section 100N of the Constitution
of Zimbabwe, is pleased to appoint with immediate effect for a term of five
years the following members of the Zimbabwe Media Commission from a list of
nominees submitted by the Committee on Standing Rules and Orders of
Parliament with effect from the 11th of February, 2010," reads the gazette.

The gazette confirmed the nine names that were announced in December 2009,
where Godfrey Majonga is the chairperson of the commission, deputised by
Nqobile Nyathi. The committee members, in the order of their publication in
the gazette, are: Miriam Madziwa, Henry Muradzikwa, Chris Mutsvangwa, Mathew
Takaona, Chris Mhike and Millicent Mombeshora.

The ZMC is a statutory body created under the Global Political Agreement
(GPA), which led to the formation of an inclusive between Zanu PF and the
two Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) formations.

During a recent discussion in Harare, journalists expressed reservations
about the new commission. They said the commissioners are basically
political appointees who would concentrate on the interests of those who
appointed them, instead of meeting the expectations of the country's media

Award winning investigative journalist and spokesperson of the Zimbabwe
Journalists for Human Rights, Dumisani Muleya said they would watch the
commission closely to ensure that it works towards fulfilling the mandate
for which it was set.

"We will be watching closely the work of these commissioners. They are
likely to be hamstrung by party politics that led to their creation," said

There are high expectations among Zimbabwean media professionals over the
new ZMC, which has a mammoth task of rebuilding the country's battered media
industry, which almost collapsed under Tafataona Mahoso's abolished Media
and Information Commission.

The government is however yet to gazette the other three commissions created
under the GPA: the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission, Zimbabwe Human Rights
Commission and the Anti Corruption Commission. Members of these commissions
have already been identified.

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WOZA women finally released

News update from WOZA
19th February - 11am

Two women released

Sibongile Matupe and Rose Rukwewo, the two women arrested in Mutare on
Wednesday, have finally been unconditionally released. Their lawyer, Mr
Nyamaropa of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, had managed to get the two
women released into his custody last night on the proviso that they would
appear in court this morning charged with criminal nuisance. Investigating
Officer Renzo had initially insisted on keeping the women in for the full 48
hours despite acknowledging that he had no evidence that they had done
anything illegal. Upon arrival at court this morning, the prosecutor refused
to accept the charges as police had no evidence. The women were therefore
unconditionally released.

Both women are okay after their ordeal. Rose, an elderly woman who suffers
from hypertension, had been unwell. She received medical attention this
morning and will be all right.

WOZA would like to commend officials in Mutare Magistrate's Court for their
observance of the law and for refusing to participate in the malicious
harassment of two innocent women. We would also like to thank all friends
and supporters who tried to call Mutare Police Station or emailed their
support. Rose and Sibongile have been informed of the solidarity they
received from all over the world and are humbled by the support.

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Confusion as senior police officer is removed from EU sanctions list

By Tichaona Sibanda
19 February 2010

There is confusion surrounding the removal of a serving senior police
officer from the EU sanctions list, who three years ago allegedly led a
brutal assault on the Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai in Highfields,

This confusion arises after Assistant Commissioner Thomsen Todd Jangara, who
until Tuesday appeared 57th on the EU list, was removed when officials in
Brussels 'believed' he was dead. Jangara is alive and well but his name
bears a striking resemblance to that of Senior Assistant Commissioner
Winston Changara, the former Aide-de-Camp to Robert Mugabe who died in March

Changara was Mugabe's most trusted aide who joined the police force in 1980
after taking part in the liberation war of the 1970's. In 1982 he was
transferred to the Police Protection Unit, which is responsible for VIP
protection. He spent the next 24 years as Mugabe's most trusted and leading
bodyguard. When he died in 2006 he was declared a national hero and is
buried at the Heroes Acre.
As Chief Superintended in charge of Harare district in 2007, Assistant
Commissioner Jangara led the crackdown on MDC supporters who had gathered in
Highfields for a prayer meeting on March 11, 2007. Tsvangirai and a number
of his senior aides were arrested and brutally assaulted whilst in police
custody. Jangara was promoted from Chief Superintendent to Assistant
Commissioner after he led this brutal crackdown that left one MDC activist
dead from gunshot wounds.
The images of Tsvangirai with a swollen face, when the police brought him to
court, caused an international outcry that led SADC to intervene and force
Mugabe to a roundtable with the MDC.

Jangara told the City Press of South Africa on Thursday that the confusion
began when the Financial Gazette published in January this year that he was

'They mistook me for Winston Changara (Mugabe's bodyguard).  The Gazette
however wrote that Tomsen Jangara had died, so the EU people took it from
there and included me among other dead people that have been removed from
sanctions,' Jangara said.

The EU list of the names of people removed from the targeted sanctions
contains names of ZANU PF officials who died in the last year. These are
Vice-President Joseph Msika, politburo member and former cabinet minister
Richard Hove and the former Defences Forces commander, General Vitalis

Human Rights lawyer, Gabriel Shumba told us he will write to the EU
secretariat of the Council of Ministers, pointing out the error.

'I don't think there is a problem really. If it is seen as a genuine error,
they will simply put him back on the sanctions list. This also vindicates
the notion that the MDC supplies the EU with the list of individuals to be
added on the list. I don't think the MDC can do such a thing. There are EU
officials in Harare who obviously trawl through the internet looking for
people who violate human rights,' Shumba said.

Diplomats in Brussels said there was significant pressure from the office of
the Prime Minister to remove the targeted sanctions. But civil society
organizations from Zimbabwe visited Brussels in the last two weeks and
campaigned vigorously for the measures to remain.

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Russians mining diamonds at Charleswood Estate


The CRD is registered as a Trust under the laws of Zimbabwe


18 February 2010

Russians mining diamonds at Charleswood Estate

Report for 12/02/10

DTZ OZEGO, a Russian mining company is secretly mining diamonds at Charleswood Estate, a large commercial farm formerly owned by the MDC Treasurer and former legislator for Chimanimani, Roy Bennett. The company is working in cahoots with senior ZANU PF officials who have kept a tight lead on the mining operations taking place on the farm. The Center for Research and Development made a sight visit of Charleswood Estate and can confirm that indeed mining activities have been going on for a year now.


The farm is located 25 km from Chimanimani village. The company is managed by one Alexander Gregory. The area is now highly protected by soldiers from all over the country. Policemen from Chipinge are amongst those who are guarding the area. Good quality diamond is being mined which is similar to the one in Chiadzwa. Meanwhile the CRD was informed by

concerned villagers that they had been informed of the government intentions to relocate them. It is still unclear where the government intends to move the families to. Whilst the extend of the diamond deposits is not fully known, it is rumored that the deposits can stretch well beyond Charleswood Estate.

There is Ill-treatment of settlers and workers at the mine by the management. Freedom of movement is infringed because people are not allowed to go and see their relatives or to buy maize. Alexander is said to be a rabid racist with an undying quest of abusing workers and trespassers. Many unconfirmed stories were told about him which, among others, include setting his dogs on workers and passersby. Soldiers have made the area impassable by beating up motorists who do not live in the area on suspicion that they want to buy diamonds illegally. The soldiers have also been brutally assaulting villagers caught panning on the farm. Below are some of the cases recorded by the CRD.

Name of Victims of Charleswood Diamonds

1) Name: Collen Sibanda

ID: 44-060536L-44

Sex: Male

Residential Address: 72 Nyanga, Chimanimani District


Story: He was drinking alcohol on the 7th of February 2010 at Blue Moon Club. Four Russians who had dogs entered and asked him ‘silly’ questions. One dog jumped on his chest. He complained but Alexander Gregory said he wanted his dog to taste black man’s blood.

2) Name: Emanuel Manyande

ID: 44-078199K-44

Sex: Male

Residential Address: 183 Gilson Street, Chimanimani District


Story: He went to Charleswood to buy honey. He was caught by police who accused him of panning for diamonds. He was threatened by police and detained for more than 7 hours.

3) Name: Fidely Mutisi

ID: 44-014133Y-44

Sex: Male

Residential Address: 1058 Ngangu, Chimanimani District


Story: Fidely Mutisi pictured below is a bar man. Alexander Gregory and his friends demanded Fidely to play music of their choice. When Fidely delayed in taking their orders, Alexander shouted racist remarks and commanded his dog to bit Fidely four times.


4) Name: Bvunzanai Chaonwa

ID: 44-003127 K 44

Sex: Male

Residential Address: 819 Ngangu, Chimanimani District


Story: Bvunzanai Chaonwa pictured below drove to Charleswood in January 2010 to buy maize. Police stopped and searched his car. He was beaten by police and lost one of his front teeth.


5) Name: Lovemore Mbiri

ID: 75-0880485 S 44

Sex: Male

Residential Address: Chimanimani Medium Density


Story: In August 2009 Lovemore paid a visit to his uncle Mr. Mhlanga. He passed through Charleswood farm accompanied by Pardon Maguta. They were caught by 3 men who asked for their IDs and said it was a no go area. As Lovemore tried to explain the three men started beating them on their buttocks using button sticks and tree branches. They were detained for six hours. Both Lovemore and Pardon were severely injured on their buttocks.

6) Name: Morgan Mucharira

ID: 44-062931P44

Sex: Male

Residential Address: 1312 Garikai St, Chimanimani


Story: He went to Charleswood to buy maize in October 2009. He was caught by 3 policemen who accused him for being a buyer. They kicked and beat him on his back. He suffered internal injuries on his back and waist. The three policemen continued beating him and one of them pulled off his dread locked hair injuring him in the process

New Diamond Discovery at Chikwizi Mountain

Diamonds were recently discovered at Chikwizi mountain in Chimanimani and panning is in progress. The mountain is located about 25 km from Chimanimani. Unlike the Chiadzwa alluvial diamonds, the Chikwizi diamonds are Kimberlitic, originating from ancient volcanic rocks at the top of Chikwizi mountain. Panners spend days and nights crushing the rocks in search of the precious stone. They use very primitive tools and may take long hours before coming across a diamond. This explains why there are few panners at Chikwizi.

Policemen sometimes come to the area to try to arrest the panners. But the panners keep on coming as soon as the Police leave the area. Some community members interviewed by the CRD said that the diamonds are of high quality. At present the mining of diamonds is chaotic and Chikwizi diamond is the latest example. KP standards are not being followed in the mining of diamonds in Zimbabwe.

Chiadzwa Update: Chinese Muscle In

The Chinese, long rumored to have an interest in Chiadzwa diamonds have finally been allocated a claim by the government of Zimbabwe. The Chinese have been allocated Chirasika area but have not yet started formal mining. The area is still tightly guarded by the Police. Of late Chirasika was one of the areas where diamond panning was flourishing through syndicates organized by the soldiers. A single soldier operated a syndicate ranging between 5 and 200 panners. About 25 soldiers were stationed at Chirasika. The CRD can reveal that soldiers have been withdrawn from the Chinese claim and a violent crackdown has been launched to drive out panners from the area.

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Harare residents present their grievances to parliament

By Violet Gonda
19 February 2010

On Friday Harare residents and other stakeholders made submissions on the
appalling service delivery in the capital city, to the Parliament Committee
on Local Government, Rural and Urban Development.  The Committee was
conducting public hearings on service delivery, water and roads.

Precious Shumba, the coordinator of the Harare Residents' Trust, told SW
Radio Africa the major concerns for the residents included the poor
performance of elected councillors and the meddling of the Minister of Local
Government Ignatius Chombo.

He pointed out: "The powers of the Local Government Minister are excessive
and he meddles in the running of these Councils to the extent that
councillors and the Mayor have been rendered powerless, yet Heads of
Department and the Town Clerk have become so protected by the Minister."

The residents accuse Chombo of abusing his ministerial powers to block
council resolutions. Shumba said the City Council resolved last year to
suspend the Town Clerk, Michael Mahachi, on allegations of corruption but
that the Minister intervened and blocked the suspension.

Service delivery in Harare, like the rest of the country, is extremely poor
but residents are still being charged high bills. Refuse remains uncollected
and water and power cuts continue.  "They prioritise high salaries and
purchase top of the range vehicles for heads of departments, while
neglecting the needs of the residents," Shumba said.

He said the Parliamentary Committee will deliberate on the submissions and
will call Chombo in to respond, due to the overwhelming demand from people
to rein in the minister.

Shumba said Councillor Herbert Gomba from Ward 27 Glen Norah tried to use
the excuse that the city council was bankrupt, but that he failed dismally
to respond to the issue of service delivery.

The residents want the local government to be part of the constitution and
not an act of parliament. They also want local authorities to be
decentralised, to ensure that resources are equally distributed and they
want to work with their elected representatives and service providers on a
non-partisan basis.

In their submission to parliament residents said: "The City of Harare should
prioritise service provision, refuse collection, water and sewer
infrastructure rehabilitation, purchase of maintenance of refuse trucks and
charge affordable rates before allocating more resources towards huge salary
perks to heads of departments and administration."

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CIO reportedly broke into Mpofu’s office

February 19, 2010

By Our Correspondent

HARARE – The break-in in Harare at the offices of Obert Mpofu, Zimbabwe’s
Minister of Mines and Mining Development was no ordinary criminal act as it
was reportedly carried out by state security agents keen to establish Obert
Mpofu’s alleged role in shady deals involving diamonds from Chiadzwa, it
emerged on Thursday.

Government sources revealed it was a Central Intelligence Organization (CIO)
operation aimed at establishing Mpofu’s alleged involvement in shady diamond

The sources said a team of CIO operatives broke into the offices and took
key documents linking the minister to reported under-hand deals.

Mpofu has been on many occasions singled out as one of the senior government
officials involved in the plunder of diamonds from Chiadzwa in Marange. The
state-controlled media reported early this week that unknown people had
broken into Mpofu’s offices on the seventh floor of the Zimre Centre, along
Leopold Takawira Avenue.

The police are reported to have moved in to investigate the matter.

But it has now turned out that a team of CIO officers tasked with
investigating Mpofu’s reported corrupt deals in diamonds broke in an took
with them key documents that could implicate the minister.

The Herald reported that Mpofu was on leave when the offices were raided
four times.

“This was done by CIO operatives who are keen to establish the Minister’s
involvement in shady deals in Chiadzwa,” one senior government official,
speaking on condition he is not named. “An ordinary thief cannot break into
an office and walk away with documents and computer hard drives. The truth
is that CIO operatives broke into these offices and Mpofu is fully aware of
what is going on.”

Mpofu confirmed the break-in saying: “There were four break-ins by unknown
persons into my office when I was on holiday.”

“The motives behind these acts are still not clear. I have reported the
matter to the police.” The break-in incidents took place in January and this

Although other sources have attempted to relate the break-in to an ongoing
wrangle over ownership of diamond mining claims in Chiadzwa our sources said
this was a clear CIO operation.

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Zimbabwe Students Pay For Attacking Draconinal Law

19/02/2010 09:10:00

Masvingo, February 19, 2010 - The Zimbabwe Republic Police on Thursday night
brutally assaulted over 20 Great Zimbabwe University students here who had
on Wednesday attacked the notorious Public Order and Security Act (POSA) at
a public hearing meeting organized by Parliamentary Portfolio committee on
Home Affairs and Defence.

A student spokesman, Alec Tabe, told RadioVOP that police had launched a
witch-hunt soon after the meeting leading to Thursday night's brutal attacks
on Zimbabwe National Students Union (Zinasu) members at GZU. "Its surprising
that some of our members were severely beaten last night, most of the
students who were beaten are those who openly attacked POSA on Wednesday."

Masvingo Provincial Police spokesperson, Inspector Tinaye Matake did not
deny the incident. "Probably one or two among them were beaten for resisting
arrest. Police do not just beat up people."

Earlier the portfolio committee chairman Paul Madzore urged the public to
desist from victimising others for airing their views concerning POSA.

Zinasu members criticized the police for failing to understand POSA. "We
think the police should be retrained...they do not understand law and that
impacted negatively on the public."

Zanu PF provincial chairlady Shylet Uyoyo, who was booed after she praised
POSA during the meeting, vowed revenge. "I know the people who were heckling
me, I will deal with them. They wanted to humiliate me but very soon they
will find that they are not clever," Uyoyo threatened.

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Zim game rangers kill Zambian poacher

Game rangers in Zimbabwe said Friday they had killed a Zambian poacher and
arrested eight others, after a shoot-out in a wildlife park near the
countries' common border.

They said they recovered 20 elephant tusks, rifles and other arms from the
suspe cted poachers in Binga, in the north of the country.

Poaching in the area is rife, prompting the Zimbabwe government to introduce
arm y and police patrols to back up the game rangers.

Often the poaching is blamed on syndicates from Zambia who target elephants
and endangered black rhinos.

In the shoot-out, game rangers said police took part in the skirmish in
which on e of the Zambian poachers died.

Harare - Pana 19/02/2010

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Aware Trust - Animal and Wildlife Research and Rehabilitation




A passionate and unique wildlife trust has recently been launched in Zimbabwe that aims to fill a gaping hole in the local conservation scene. The Animal and Wildlife Area Research and Rehabilitation (AWARE) Trust's mission statement promises to "pro-actively further the conservation and welfare of wildlife and wildlife habitats with particular reference to conservation  veterinary medicine, and to raise awareness of  veterinary and ecological threats to wildlife species and habitats".


The five pronged approach of the trust will offer free vetinary treatment and rehabilitation to sick or injured ownerless wild animals, prophylactic veterinary campaigns for domestic animals living in areas fringing Zimbawe's National Parks, provide funding for worthy veterinary and ecological research projects around the country, provide veterinary training for locally aspiring wildlife veterinarians and support staff, and facilitate conservation and education campaigns regarding animal health and welfare.


The trust has been founded and will be managed by two local veterinarians; Dr Keith Dutlow and Dr Lisa Marabini who where inspired to form the trust after struggling to source funding for a crucial study on the prevalence of bovine tuburculosis in the Sengwe Corridor of the Trans Frontier Conservation Area (TFCA) which borders the Gonarezhou National Park.


"It took us the better part of a year to find funding for this project (eventually funded by the Peace Parks Foundation), during which time we thought it would have been nice if we could have gone to a local organisation to facilitate the funding" reflect Dutlow and Marabini "so the trust was set up initially with conservation research in mind".


The trust evolved from that initial framework to include the treatment, education and capacity building objectives of the trust in order to fulfil a more holistic approach to veterinary conservation. "The need for crisis treatment of wild animals invariably suffering because of man prompted the evolution of our objectives..we believe that every animal's life is precious, every life is worth trying to save or improve" explains Marabini.


At present there is no trust offering this type of service in Zimbabwe. "Every Zimbabwean who would like to see our unique wildlife heritage passed on has a duty to look after it" comments Marabini.


The trust has recently begun its Lake Chivero Rhino Monitoring programme which, in conjunction with National Parks staff in the park, will see the eventual dehorning and notching of each individual Rhino in the park.


For more information and how you can help please contact Christopher on +263 (0) 912 44 00 52 or or www.awaretrust .org



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"Small House, Big House" showing soon on TV

Photo: IRIN
In a 2005 South African survey, 40 percent of men and 25 percent of women aged between 15 and 24 reported having concurrent partners
HARARE, 19 February 2010 (PlusNews) - A new Zimbabwean short film on multiple concurrent sexual partnerships (MCPs) runs for just 24 minutes, but the producers are hoping that its message will last much longer.

The film, "Big House, Small House" is the latest offering from the OneLove Campaign, which works to reduce HIV prevalence and MCPs in 10 southern African countries. The title refers to the colloquial expression "small house", used to denote long-term, illicit sexual relationships in Zimbabwe.

The film was produced by the Action Institute for Environment, Health and Development Communication (ACTION), a local NGO, in partnership with the Soul City Institute for Health and Development Communication, a South African NGO, and Zimbabwe's National AIDS Council (NAC).

Television stations around southern Africa will air the movie as part of a series of 10 films - one from each of the campaign's focus countries - highlighting the dangers of MCPs.

MCPs have been identified by both UNAIDS and regional leaders as one of the key drivers - along with inconsistent condom use and low levels of male circumcision - of southern Africa's HIV epidemic and Zimbabwe is no exception. Although the country has experienced a decline in HIV prevalence within the last decade, attributed to mortality and behaviour change, HIV prevalence remains high at about 15 percent, according to UNAIDS.

Localising the story

Using regional research on MCPs conducted in 2007, ACTION worked with partners to develop the script, which focuses on Simba and his wife, Shingi, who seemingly have the perfect relationship after 10 years of marriage - until Shingi finds that Simba has been having a long-term affair with a much younger woman.
''We want to encourage people [to know] that it's possible to have a relationship that is both emotionally and physically satisfying with one person.''

"The film is about how their story unravels, and about some of the cultural challenges [like those] that say it's okay for men to have more than one 'wife'," said ACTION's Caroline Majonga. "It's about the discovery of betrayal, the complexities around sexual networks, how HIV comes into the picture, and how the couple deals with it."

Jasen Mphepho, who plays Simba in the film, said men were sometimes pressured into taking up a "small house" by friends and family. "Men want to be seen to conform to what they think is the norm; they want to please their friends and relatives, but in the process they end up hurting the ones they love. I hope those who watch the film will be moved enough to protect the ones they love."

Although regional partner Soul City has stepped in to help train and sensitise local film-makers, according to Harriet Perlman, Soul City senior executive for the region, the movie reflects Zimbabwe's unique message on MCPs.

Majonga said regional research had shown that people in southern Africa generally engaged in MCPs for the same reasons, like seeking sexual satisfaction, but Zimbabwe and other countries covered by the OneLove Campaign had now crafted their own messages on the topic and presented them in films like "Big House, Small House".

"A lot of the dissatisfaction [highlighted in research] was because people weren't able to communicate their expectations to one another. We want to show people how communicating would improve the quality of relationships," Majonga told IRIN/PlusNews.

"Our main message in Zimbabwe has been that we want to encourage people [to know] that it's possible to have a relationship that is both emotionally and physically satisfying with one person."

[This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations]

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Zimbabweans a sore point in villagers' lives


By Chenjelani Baraedi
For Ramakgwebana’s long serving Chief, Dick Matopote, Zimbabweans, especial
illegal immigrants,  were very dangerous people who could only be good when
they are dead.
In a recent interview with The Voice following a spate of attacks on the
villagers by alledged border crossers, Matopote said he was convinced that
illegal immigrants from neighbouring Zimbabwe were good for nothing people
who should not be trusted.
“Illegal migrants can be very cruel because they know that it is not easy
for them to be traced. Keeping them in ours homes is just like taking a bath
with a hungry crocodile,” Matopote said adding: “A Zimbabwean is only good
when he is dead.”
The chief said the immigrants have been a menace to the residents of
Ramakgwebana and nearby villages, pointing out that his people were now
beggars because the illegal immigrants steal from them.
 “We don’t sleep and life is very tough here in this village. People are now
beggars because illegal migrants steal from houses and even fields,” he said
also adding that the immigrants steal goats and chicken from cattle posts.
Chief Matopote indicated that police and paramilitary officers were also
spending sleepless nights patrolling the Zimbabwean border in an effort to
stop illegal immigrants from entering Botswana. He said although most of
them are nabbed and deported back to their country, they always return the
same day.
“Since illegal immigrants always return to Botswana after deportation,
villagers are becoming more uncooperative with police for fear of
victimisation,” he said revealing that three lashes seemed not enough of a
deterrent for the illegal immigrants.
What worried the chief most was that some illegal immigrants way-lay fellow
Zimbabweans at the border where they rob them of their belongings and
sometimes beat them up. He said the only way to win the fight against
illegal immigrants is when villagers stop keeping and allowing strangers in
their homes.
Meanwhile, Tshebebe Police station commander, Mathitha, revealed that crime
in the area was decreasing as since January, his police had recorded fewer
cases of house breaking and other related cases compared to last year. He,
however, thanked members of the community for their support in the fight
against cross border crime.
“Since we started engaging villagers in the fight against cross boarder
crime, things are now improving,” said Mathitha while thanking members of
the community for their support.

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The Affirmative Action Group (AAG) – Reaping What Others Have Sown

The Affirmative Action Group (AAG) is an advocacy group for greed, promotes
and propagates intolerance, practises hate-speech without limitation, and
incites law abiding citizens to become lawless accomplices and accessories
to its sinister criminal crusade. It enthusiastically functions as and
constitutes ZANU (PF)’s white collar business robbery unit.

Zimbabwe’s hard-won independence and her liberation would not have been
possible were it not for the selfless sacrifice by fellow Africans—like
Nigerians who rendered political, moral and financial support to Zimbabwe’s
freedom fighters. Today, pseudo-revolutionaries in shiny suits and pointed
shoes, craft legislation and implement xenophobic laws that bar fellow
Africans from participating in economic activities within a country they
helped to liberate.

The AAG, Zimbabwe's militant and ethnically skewed black empowerment group,
said “they will use force to rid all Nigerians running businesses in the
country's cities and towns to pave the way for black Zimbabweans.” The group
said the Nigerians were “running business operations, which should be run by
black Zimbabweans, and therefore, they should be forced to leave to allow
locals to enjoy the privilege.”

Such unintelligent utterances by criminals bent on stealing businesses from
fellow Africans via a bad law, are tragic as much as they are laughable.
Zambians, Malawians, Mozambicans, and South Africans, are they next? These
and other statements by the AAG clearly establish a prima facie case of hate
speech which is offensive and unpalatable to tolerant Zimbabweans who
believe in “wealth with work”.

In Nigeria, the Murtala Muhammed - Olusegun Obasanjo administration in 1978
liquidated British economic interest by nationalising the British Petroleum
and the Barclays Bank over Britain’s violations of sanctions against
Rhodesia, and for its support of the apartheid regime in South Africa. By
the mid-1970s, Nigeria’s financial systems to Southern African Liberation
Movements had increased dramatically both through the OAU Liberation
Committee and directly to the various liberation movements. It is reported
that such direct financial assistance increased to more than five million
annually from 1975 in addition to paying a measure contributor to the OAU
Liberation Fund.

Other forms of assistance included the provisions of small arms and
ammunition, logistical assistance for freedom fighters, and the loan of two
Nigerian military transport planes and one Boeing 707 aircraft.

The Southern African Relief Fund, launched in 1976, held more than US$20 000
000 by mid-1978 with monies donated from Nigerians from all walks of life.
In May 1986, Nigeria donated US$10 000 000 dollars to Zimbabwe following
South African’s aggression against frontline states.

It is not a happenstance that the Minister of Indigenisation, Saviour
Kasukuwere, is also the ex-vice president of the AAG. Its current leadership
reads like the “who is who” of the looting barons, possessing no known
achievements in business or politics, besides violently advancing a
primordial enrichment agenda anchored in political patronage.

The AAG indigenisation exercise, left unchecked, will soon morph into a more
menacing ethnic-centred movement, as depicted by the composition of its
board. Why is it that all the members of the AAG are from one ethnic group
and are related either through marriage or birth to Mugabe, or other senior
members of ZANU (PF)?

The blatantly xenophobic and racist policies ZANU (PF) does not want to
impose openly through its party structures are funnelled for implementation
through its extensive network of parasitic tentacles attached to disposable
pressure groups and ageing war veterans.  This strategy gives Mugabe a
plausible deniability escape route when and if there is backlash. The AAG
will soon be thrown under the bus as soon as their “use before date” has
expired. Mugabe is the patron to some of the most violent groupings in
Zimbabwe and supports all business seizures.

The Zimbabwe constitution is ambiguous on the issue of hate speech and needs
to clearly define such an act that will proscribe organisations such as the
AAG from functioning in a modern society. Zimbabwe’s new constitution must
include a section fashioned along the same lines as Section 16 of the South
African Constitution, Freedom of Expression, which states that:
(1) Everyone has the right to freedom of expression, which includes- 1.
freedom of the press and other media;  2. freedom to receive or impart
information or ideas;  3. freedom of artistic creativity; and 4. academic
freedom and freedom of scientific research.
(2) The right in subsection (1) does not extend to- 1. propaganda for war;
2.incitement of imminent violence; or 3.  advocacy of hatred that is based
on race, ethnicity, gender or religion, and that constitutes incitement to
cause harm.
It is no wonder that the AAG has never been invited—and will never be
invited—to forums such as the World Economic Forum in Davos and South
Africa, or other African economic summits where progressive groups focus on
entrepreneurship, poverty reduction, and real wealth creation. The AAG,
which stealthily lingers in the wilderness ready to pounce on businesses
created by someone else’s sweat, has no place amongst pragmatic Africans
accustomed to turning business plans into profitable private enterprises.

The AAG is a hate peddling outfit that must be disbanded before it
permanently damages the Zimbabwean brand. This group does not have any
constitutional powers to enforce Zimbabwean indigenisation laws, and its
threats to move from business to business to enforce the indigenisation
regulations should be met with rubber bullets and tear smoke.

“Everyone has a right to be stupid some just abuse the right” – West African

Phil Matibe –

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A letter from the diaspora

19th February 2010

Dear Friends.
No matter how many reports I read of high-powered foreign visitors'
satisfaction at Zimbabwe's progress since the formation of the Inclusive
Government, my daily trawl through Zim news sources leaves me utterly
depressed. The economy is improving, we are told, there is food in the shops
and life is getting better for Zimbabweans but unemployment remains in
excess of 90%. Does anyone in the so-called Government of National Unity
care how the unemployed survive or are they all too busy getting their own
share of the spoils? The reality is that the country is in the grip of deep
moral decline, the selfishness and downright corruption is present
everywhere you look. How is it possible that these foreign delegations can
leave after their brief visits without noticing the fact that the once
shining capital city is now a pot-holed, insanitary and litter-strewn urban
sprawl without water and electricity for days on end, a situation repeated
in towns and cities up and down the land? The answer, of course, is that the
foreign visitors do not see the reality of life for ordinary Zimbabweans.
They spend their time in five star hotels or in their embassies in the
affluent northern suburbs, once the preserve of whites but now home to
Zimbabwe's new black and wealthy elite. Watching Phillip Chiangwa's wife
showing a BBC reporter round her husband's collection of expensive motors,
sixteen of them in all I believe, was to witness the greed and selfishness
that dominates Zimbabwe's political classes. In answer to a question from
the BBC reporter as to whether such conspicuous wealth did not make her feel
guilty about the contrast with the poor and dispossessed without a roof over
their heads or food in their stomachs, Mrs Chiangwa replied that her
husband's wealth was 'a gift from God'. Her husband, Phillip Chiangwa, by
the way, is the man who once claimed that membership of Zanu PF had enabled
him to become a very wealthy man!

Another, even more glaring contrast between the haves and the have-nots will
be demonstrated this Sunday, February 21st in Bulawayo when Robert Mugabe
holds an all-night 'Birthday bash' to celebrate his 86th birthday.
Matabeleland is in the grip of a terrible drought and starvation looms for
the masses of rural folk. Matabeleland's capital, Bulawayo, is a city facing
an imminent water crisis but this means little to the organisers of the
birthday party. They must demonstrate their absolute fealty to the Great
Leader or risk losing their own wealth and privilege. So while the residents
of Bulawayo face water rationing and hunger in the bleak months ahead,
Mugabe's guests will tuck into a great feast of nyama from beasts 'donated'
by the party faithful. The state-owned press and firms who owe their very
survival to the Old Man will queue up to place their obsequious message of
congratulation in the Herald and wish him 'Many more years' in which to
govern the country he has ruled, some say 'ruined', for thirty years. 86
candles on a giant birthday cake would take some blowing out even for a man
half his age. In a country where life-expectancy is 37 years for men and 34
for women, it is hardly appropriate that one man should celebrate his 86th
birthday with such an ostentatious display while his countrymen and women
are destined to die before their fortieth birthdays.

What gift is suitable for an 86 year old man, I wonder. Would diamonds be
appropriate? Certainly Zimbabwe seems to be awash with the precious stones
but none of the wealth from these 'blood diamonds' is trickling down to
ordinary Zimbabweans to fund the schools or hospitals or to pay the wages of
teachers, nurses and other civil servants surviving on paltry salaries that
cannot even meet their monthly service charges for non-existent power and
water. This week we have a credible report that a new diamond deposit is
being mined on Roy Bennett's old farm in Chimanimani. A Week after the
Indigenization and Economic Empowerment regulations are introduced limiting
ownership to 'indigenous' Zimbabweans, we hear that it is the Russians who
are conducting the mining operations on Charleswood. So now, we have
decidedly non-indigenous Russians and Chinese exploiting Zimbabwe's natural
resources, in partnership no doubt with Zanu PF top chefs and some newly
affluent MDC types as well. Economic Empowerment for the already rich while
the poor get poorer!

In response to the news this week that the EU has renewed some of their
sanctions against Zimbabwe, Mugabe repeated his well-known mantra, "We know
their attitude," he declared, "they don't want anyone, any country in the
developing world to make any meaningful strides. We have resources which
they envy that belong to us." Confusingly, his spokesman, Rugare Gumbo
appeared to contradict that when he said, "We are not worried. It's a
continuation of the struggle - just like the liberation struggle...Why
should we worry?" How the issue of sanctions can be construed as 'a
continuation of the liberation struggle' is beyond me but if Zanu PF and
Robert Mugabe are not worried about sanctions, one has to wonder why they
are making such an issue about lifting them. Nothing to do with alleviating
the poverty of the masses, you can be sure of that, more, I suspect, to do
with those 'blood diamonds'.
Yours in the (continuing) struggle, PH.


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