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China throws birthday bash for Zimbabwe's Mugabe

Mon Feb 22, 2010 6:31am EST

BEIJING (Reuters) - China said on Monday its embassy in Zimbabwe had thrown
a birthday party for President Robert Mugabe, a rare sign of foreign support
for a leader reviled by many Zimbabweans and criticized by the United States
and Europe.

Mugabe celebrated his 86th birthday on Sunday and made time to attend a
party held in his honor at the Chinese embassy in Harare, China's Foreign
Ministry said in a statement.

Hailed as a savior by fanatical supporters and praised throughout Africa for
standing up to what many see as bullying by the West, Mugabe is hated in
equal measure by opponents who accuse him of being a dictator.

Mugabe "thanked the Chinese embassy for its painstaking preparations for the
birthday celebration and ... hoped to further expand friendly cooperative
relations in every field between the two nations", the foreign ministry

The ministry's website ( showed pictures of Mugabe cutting a
birthday cake in front of a large sign wishing him "Happy 86th birthday" and
addressing almost 100 guests.

It quoted Zimbabwean Foreign Minister Simbarashe Mumbengegwi as saying it
was the first time Mugabe had visited a foreign embassy in the country since
independence in 1980.

"This proves the special friendly relations between the two countries," the
statement paraphrased the minister as saying.

Mumbengegwi is scheduled to visit China from February 24 to March 2, but
Beijing has given no other details of his trip.

Mugabe denies charges of human rights abuses and insists the West has
withheld aid mainly in protest over his controversial seizure of white-owned
commercial farms for resettlement among blacks.

Mugabe has tried to boost economic ties with Asian countries such as China
and Malaysia.

Beijing and Chinese companies have pledged tens of billions of dollars to
Africa in loans and investments, mostly to secure raw materials for the
world's fastest-growing major economy.

Rights groups have repeatedly criticized China for propping up dictatorial
and corrupt African nations. China counters it offers no-strings aid and
that its pledge not to interfere in any country's internal affairs is
welcomed by African nations.

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China warns Zimbabwe: We are not ’friends!’

  Monday 22 February 2010 / by Alice Chimora

China looks set to abandon Zimbabwe. The communist nation has told the
southern Africa country “not to expect further loans from Beijing until it
pays its existing debts”.

Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara says the Chinese want all loans to be
repaid before loosening its purse. According to the Mutambara the Chinese
President Hu Jintao revealed to him during a brief meeting at the World
Economic Forum in Switzerland that he considers Beijing relationship with
Harare as ’business partners’ and not ’friends’.

The Chinese are quoted telling the Mr. Mutambara that: "We’ll not condemn
you publicly but we’ll not give you cash". And according to the Deputy Prime
Minister, "unless we do the right thing the Chinese will not work with us."

"China has stopped working with us. The Chinese, though comrades, are not
giving us any money until we clear our debts,” Mutambara told delegates
during an international tourism investment summit in Harare.

Harare owes Beijing an undisclosed amount in unpaid loans, but Mutambara
says Zimbabwe, early this month, paid US$5 million to the Chinese.

Currently battling to convince striking civil servants to return to work,
Zimbabwe, despite having huge diamond deposits, could struggle to repay the

A senior Chinese diplomat recently revealed that Beijing had slowed its
investments in Zimbabwe in a sign that it may be heeding Western demands
that it quit backing regimes considered despotic.

But on Sunday President Mugabe said Zimbabwe “will always cherish its
friendship and the assistance it has received from China from the days of
the liberation struggle”.

Speaking at a birthday party hosted in his honour by the Chinese Ambassador
to Zimbabwe, Xin Shunkang, Mugabe said Sino-Zimbabwean ties are fruitful.

Mugabe turned 86 yesterday.

"Ours has turned into a really solid relationship which... (has) grown some
strong roots... We treasure this friendship. It’s not really the relations
that count but the love, alliance and, indeed, understanding” said Mugabe.

Since 2000, Zimbabwe has been making frantic efforts to strengthen its
relations with China as part of a “Look East” policy premised on the need to
find new trading partners and markets following the souring of relations
with Western governments following President Robert Mugabe’s violent
land-grab programme.

China soon became the investor with the fastest direct foreign investment
growth in Zimbabwe, replacing the southern African country’s traditional
Western partners.

The two countries have signed a series of agreements in infrastructure,
tourism, energy and mining but the cooperation has largely not translated
into an improved standard of living for ordinary Zimbabweans.

Zimbabwe has literally handed over control of most sectors of the economy to
the Chinese during the past few years in return for short-term financial
assistance to enable Mugabe’s government to ride one crisis after another.

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Zuma says sanctions hurting efforts for free and fair poll in Zimbabwe

By Tichaona Sibanda
22 February 2010

President Jacob Zuma of South Africa has said efforts to create a conducive
environment for free and fair elections in Zimbabwe are being hampered by
targeted sanctions against Robert Mugabe and his allies.

Zuma told journalists over the weekend that sanctions were undermining his
efforts to push Mugabe and Morgan Tsvangirai to agree an electoral framework
that could guarantee a free and fair vote.

'We want to create a conducive environment so that they can have elections
to choose their own government but the continuation of sanctions is
undermining the agreement,' Zuma said.

The European Union last week extended the targeted sanctions on Mugabe and
his inner circle by another year citing lack of progress in implementing the
Global Political Agreement.

Zuma's statement on the sanctions attracted severe criticism from analysts
who said the person to blame for Zimbabwe's woes was none other than Mugabe
and his ZANU PF party.

Political analyst Munjonzi Mutandiri said it was unfortunate that Zuma was
barking up the wrong tree by blaming western countries for what is happening
in Zimbabwe.

'To be honest, I don't see any link between sanctions and free and fair
elections in Zimbabwe,' said Mutandiri, adding 'the reason the sanctions are
still there is because a year after the formation of the inclusive
government, its full implementation has been stalled by Mugabe and ZANU PF.'

'No repressive laws have been repealed and draconian media laws POSA and
AIPPA are still intact. So Zuma should direct his criticism toward Mugabe
and not the western countries,' Mutandiri said.

In the absence of a checks and balance system in the implementation of the
GPA by the guarantors, many observers admit that Mugabe will never comply
with reforms as this would loosen his grip on power.
Analysts insist South Africa should instead step up efforts to push for the
full implementation of the power-sharing agreement between Mugabe and
Meanwhile, Paul Mangwana, co-chairperson of the parliamentary committee on
the Constitution, says elections will only be held in 2012 because the
constitutional reform process is already behind schedule.
Addressing journalists in Masvingo at the weekend, Mangwana said the
constitution making process was seven months behind schedule, and that
elections could only be held in 2012, if they started the outreach programme
next month.
The GPA stipulates that elections in the country can only be held after
completion of the constitutional reform process. MDC MP for Masvingo Urban,
Tongai Matutu, told us a timeframe for any future elections in the country
would be known only when the reform exercise gets underway.
'Those were Mangwana's own personal views but I think the correct time to
judge when to have elections is when we start the outreach programme,'
Matutu said.


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Bennett says Russians & ZANU PF chefs mining diamonds on his farm

By Violet Gonda
22 February 2010

Roy Bennett, the MDC Treasurer General and Deputy Minister of Agriculture
designate, confirmed reports that diamonds have been found on his former
farm, Charleswood Estate, which was seized by the ZANU PF regime in 2004.

He claimed ZANU PF chefs involved with the Development Trust of Zimbabwe (a
money-making trust founded by the late Joshua Nkomo in 1989) and a Russian
owned company, were secretly mining the diamonds at the farm in Chimanimani,
Manicaland province.

Last Friday rights group, the Centre for Research and Development, reported
that a Russia-based company, DTZ/Ozego, was secretly mining good quality
diamonds, in cooperation with senior officials of the ruling Zanu PF party
at the farm.

Bennett told SW Radio Africa: "This has been going on for close to two
years. I heard about it a good 18 months ago that the diamonds had been
found there, before the Russians became involved with the Development Trust
of Zimbabwe."

However, he said in 1996 De Beers, the South African mining giant, had spent
three months drilling and looking for diamonds on his farm but that he never
knew they had found anything there.

The former Member of Parliament for Chimanimani said at present around five
Russians had set up tents on the property and, together with some high
ranking ZANU PF politicians, were mining the gems and pocketing the proceeds
with total impunity. "The main chap is a guy by the name of (Alexander)
Gregory and I believe he has dogs which have bitten people and they are
trying to bribe people not to report to the police and trying to compensate
them with money."

He said what is going on is a scandal similar to the Chiadzwa diamonds
debacle in Marange district, also in Manicaland. "In Chiadzwa those are
alluvial diamonds buried in the river bed. On Charleswood it's actually a
diamond pipe," Bennett said.

He doesn't know the exact quantities being mined on his former farm but said
the quality of the gems are of huge value.

The MDC official believes ZANU PF is dealing with 'mafia type' individuals
with 'serious underworld' links, to plunder the resources in the area and
generate huge wealth.

He said: "It's absolutely disgusting. If anybody should be beneficiaries of
either the diamonds in Chiadzwa or the diamonds on Charleswood it should be
the Chimanimani people."

 "The area where the mine is falls under Chief Ngorima and had I been there
or been involved in anyway whatsoever, I would have made absolutely sure
that the community and the people involved had a major stake in those

He said in the Chiadzwa area the relatives of Obert Mpofu, the ZANU PF mines
minister, were allegedly involved in the abuse of the natural resources for
their own benefit. The outspoken official says it is 'mindboggling' that
individuals continue to enrich themselves within this new political system
with little challenge.

Meanwhile Bennett's trial resumes at the High Court on Tuesday. He is facing
charges of plotting to destabilise the former ZANU PF government.

The MDC official's appointment as Deputy Minister of Agriculture is one of
the MDC's outstanding issues, that has failed to be implemented, since the
formation of the coalition government. Robert Mugabe has so far refused to
swear the former white commercial farmer into the inclusive government,
claiming it's because he is facing serious criminal charges. Bennett and his
party deny these charges and accuse ZANU PF of political harassment.

MDC President Morgan Tsvangirai was quoted recently indicating that his
party was prepared to 'park the outstanding issues' and go for elections
next year.

When asked for a reaction on this, Bennett said: "It's not a problem if they
park outstanding issues as long as they make headway towards elections and
towards democracy. and in a manner where ZANU PF can't release violence or
cook the votes."

But he warned that ZANU PF is trying to prolong the elections for as long as
it can and was in the meantime asset stripping and looting in every aspect.

Bennett added: "The biggest challenge is to completely transfer power out of
ZANU PF's hands into a new democracy. The challenge is to remove a
kleptocracy, a defunct and a total, total rotten murderous regime."

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Zimbabweans Bid to Amend Security Law

Peta Thornycroft | Harare 22 February 2010

For the first time since an inclusive government was sworn into power a year
ago, steps have been taken to amend security legislation that enabled the
previous government to detain thousands of people.

Since the government of national unity came to power, the Cabinet made up of
ministers from ZANU-PF and the Movement for Democratic Change has not
repealed any repressive legislation.  Nor has it been able to agree on a
program to change the security and media laws that have long been criticized
by pro-democracy groups.

But proposed legislation will soon be put to parliament to amend security
laws that have been used from colonial days to suppress freedom of assembly.

Legislators from the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) are presenting
proposed amendments to Zimbabwe's Public Order and Security Act to people
around their country for their comment and views.

MDC legislator Douglas Mwonzora is co-chair of the parliamentary committee
overseeing constitutional reform.  He says the proposed amendments would
drop the requirement for political party and trade-union meetings, and all
indoor meetings to be cleared by the police.
Under the amendments, only the courts would have power to ban meetings and
only four days notice of a public gathering would be needed.

Mwonzora said the proposed amendments would improve freedom of assembly.  He
said the present legislation has been used against political organizations
for decades.

"It has far reaching consequences in our law," he said.  "The old law that
is the Public Order and Security Act is itself derived from the Law and
Order Maintenance Act, which is an act which was used by the Rhodesian
government to suppress dissent, to suppress the nationalists.  The new act
that came as a replacement achieved basically the same objectives of a
government suppressing dissent."

The Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights group has represented many people
detained under the security laws.  Group director Irene Petras said the
amendments bill is a key moment for all Zimbabweans, regardless of political

"The importance of the bill cannot be underestimated because it is the first
time we have had a private member's bill and it is addressing legislation
which is of critical importance and which has been very controversial," said
Petras.  "If the honorable members of parliament are able to put aside their
partisan interests and look at how this law has really affected and
traumatized society, they should be able to pass this for the good of the

It is unclear if these amendments will pass through parliament, where power
is almost evenly divided between the MDC and ZANU-PF.


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Mangwana says elections in 2012

February 22, 2010

By Owen Chikari

MASVINGO - Paul Mangwana, co-chairperson of the parliamentary committee on
the Constitution, says elections will be held in 2012 because the
constitutional reform process is already behind schedule.

Addressing journalists in Masvingo at the weekend, Mangwana said: "We are
seven months behind schedule, and this means that elections will only be
held in 2012 if we start our job in March."

According to the Global Political Agreement signed between Zanu-PF and the
two MDC formations, elections in the country can only be held after
completion of the constitutional reform process.

"We will, maybe, finish our work in November 2011 and this means we will
need time to give notice as regards to the elections," said Mangwana.

"If we are to follow the GPA, then there won't be elections in the country
until 2012."

SADC mediator and South African president Jacob Zuma and MDC president
Morgan Tsvangirai have been pushing for fresh elections to be held next

Original projections suggested the coalition government formed in 2008 would
only last for two years before elections were held.

Zuma says the problems in Zimbabwe can only be resolved through an early
election in 2011.

Zanu-PF and the MDC have been locked in a protracted dispute as they seek to
implement the Global Political Agreement they signed in September 2008..

MDC secretary-general Tendai Biti has already said that his party was now
seeking the intervention of SADC and the African Union after talks to
resolve the outstanding issues failed to yield any results.

"We have reached a ceiling as negotiators and we are now seeking SADC's
intervention," Biti said.

"We have failed to agree as negotiators and we need wisdom from South
African President Jacob Zuma as well as SADC."

Meanwhile, the parliamentary committee on the constitution has faced serious
financial problems, resulting in delays, apart from the bickering over a
draft constitution crafted in Kariba three years ago.

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AG says MDC members threatening him

February 22, 2010

By Our Correspondent

BULAWAYO - Attorney General Johannes Tomana says his family is being
threatened by MDC supporters living in the Diaspora.

Tomana says the people issuing the threats were demanding his resignation.

Tomana was appointed the chief government legal advisor by President Robert
Mugabe in December 2008, sparking an outcry from the MDC led by Morgan
Tsvangirai, now Prime Minister.

He took over from Justice Bharat Patel, who was the acting Attorney General
following the unceremonious dismissal of Sobusa Gula-Ndebele.

The MDC has repeatedly called for the removal of Tomana from his post. The
party has listed his appointment and that of Reserve Bank governor Gideon
Gono as outstanding issues under the Global Political Agreement (GPA).

According to the GPA, which led to the formation of the coalition
government, all senior government appointments were supposed to be made
following a mutual agreement between Mugabe and Tsvangirai.

Zanu-PF says Tsvangirai was not part of the government at the time.

Tomana, who was in Bulawayo attending a two-day senators' workshop on the
new constitution-making process, accused MDC supporters in the Diaspora of
making calls to his house and on his family members' mobile phones.

"I am being threatened on daily basis," he said. "Calls are being made from
Australia and Europe on my home telephone number and to my family members'
mobile phones demanding that I should resign.

"But this won't stop me as I am on this position to save my country."

Tomana did not explain how the callers out in the Diaspora had obtained the
mobile numbers of his family members. He said some people were accusing him
of belonging to a certain political party. He said there was nothing wrong
with him belonging to a party since "politics makes policies that govern the

The Attorney General has openly declared his support for Zanu-PF saying he
was proud to be a member of the party. Tomana argues that there no rules to
bar him from being a Zanu-PF supporter.

He said the law protected such right. Tomana said public offices were
occupied by people who were free to belong to political parties of their

In June 2008, in his capacity as deputy Attorney General, Tomana advised the
government that it was legal to detain MDC supporters without trial. The MDC
says he is too biased to hold the post of AG.

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Striking civil servants resort to sit-ins

February 22, 2010

By Our Correspondent

HARARE - The two-week strike by civil servants assumed a new form Friday
when union leaders called for the abandonment of the work boycott in favour
of a sit-in by all government workers.

"With effect from 22 February 2010, the current action will take the form of
sit-in," Tendai Chikowore, chairperson of the Apex Council told a rally by
civil servants in Harare on Friday.

The Apex Council is the main negotiating board for all government workers
including teachers.

"The sit-in will continue until the filth of March 2010 after which all
public service employees will come for feed back," said Chikowore, who is
also president of the Zimbabwe Teachers Association (ZIMTA).

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

Teachers, who formed the bulk of the protesting civil servants, felt let
down by some parents who continued to pay incentives to teachers, weakening
the strike action.  Some teachers paid by the parents have refused to
participate in the strike.

Civil servants also felt their strike had failed to produce its intended
impact as some of their colleagues had gone back to work after allegedly
receiving bribes.

The resolutions, made up of input from all unions representing government
workers, were read to agitated civil servants on Friday after more than 1000
government workers  had marched to present a petition to the Speaker of
Parliament, and the Ministries of Public Service and Finance.

The government workers want Parliament to initiate debate on their plight.

They are angry that the executive had seemingly ignored their plight, with
Zanu-PF claiming the strike was a result of the MDC's false promises to the
civil servants.

Chikowore said if government ministers continuously ignored their plight,
they would consider marching to both the President's and the Prime Minister's

During Friday's march, which was preceded by a rally at the Harare Gardens,
the civil servants failed to locate the Speaker of Parliament Lovemore Moyo
and the Clerk of Parliament, Austin Zvoma.

They also failed to meet Public Service Minister Eliphas Mukonoweshuro.
Finance Minister Tendai Biti is currently attending an IMF meeting in the
United States of America.

A delegation of union leaders who went to Biti's offices were received by a
security guard after all the staff from the ministry locked their doors to
keep the visitors at bay.

The civil servants were also angry that the government, instead of
addressing the problem - the first major crisis to hit inclusive government
since its inception a year ago - the authorities had responded with threats
of arrests of the striking workers.

"It is naive for anybody to believe that intensive criticism, threats and
intimidation tools will eliminate industrial actions by workers," said

"Threats to punitively crash workers' dissent can only fuel disharmony which
ultimately will affect productivity and service delivery."

The civil servants want government to increase their salaries so that they
are in line with the poverty datum line which is currently pegged at $502.

Since the strike started, government has insisted on an increase of between
$13 and $18 from their current salaries of $120 for the lowest paid workers.

The government says it has no money to pay for increases of nearly 200 000
workers whose salary bill continues to account for nearly two thirds of the
total revenue collected every month.

But the civil servants are adamant government can explore other sources to
raise money, chief among them being the exploitation of the rich diamond
reserves at Marange communal lands. The workers insist such mineral
resources are being plundered by corrupt government and military officials.

"Zimbabwe is a land of abundant mineral endowment and other natural wealth
but is not exploited for the benefit of the entire populace," read the
petition by the civil servants.

The government workers also say the tariffs being charged by utility
providers are unrealistic, compared to their own salaries.

During the march, the protesters hurled insults at some of their colleagues
who stood by the windows of government offices, watching the march.

During the two weeks, union leaders also staged rallies in Bulawayo,
Masvingo, Chinhoyi, Gweru and Mutare.

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Vicious ZANU-PF attack on MDC rally in Epworth

Zimbabwe Information Centre Inc


Media Release

February 22, 2010,

Vicious ZANU-PF attack on MDC rally in Epworth – edge of Harare

Six car loads of ZANU-PF youths yesterday attacked a Movement for Democratic Change rally at Epworth, a very poor district on the outskirts of Harare. Reliable reports confirm many residents were badly injured by axe and club attacks, which continued into the early hours of Monday morning.

The MDC rescue systems used in the terrible political violence in 2008 are not working, and the victims are desperately seeking transport to hospital for treatment of their serious wounds. Many Epworth residents are now in hiding in the surrounding bush where it is steadily raining. 

Mr Tawa, an MDC member of the local municipal council, has reported that his house is full of the injured and that people were streaming in all Sunday afternoon.  Many coming in have bad head wounds inflicted by ZANU-PF militia with axes, sticks fresh cut from trees and other sharp objects.  Ms P Ziki has serious head injuries with fresh deep cuts in her head.  Mr Zvokuomba has a bad cut over his eye and deep cuts to his head. He is anxious for his wife  who had serious injuries when he last saw her running with their infant for cover in a different direction to him.

The rally was called to discuss the process for creating a new Constitution for Zimbabwe as part of the Global Political Agreement of September 2008. It had been properly reported to the local police station. Soon after it began at 1pm, six vehicles carrying ZANU-PF youth drove into it, ordering the MDC to evacuate Epworth and then viciously attacking the assembled audience. According to reports at 2.30am today, Harare time, these violent attacks were still continuing in Wards 4, 5 and 7.

There are reports that the MDC Councillor for Ward 4 was arrested when he tried to politely request the ZANU-PF youths not to disturb the rally.

The chanting youth are reported to be gathered in Ward 7 at the only ZANU-PF councillor’s home, demanding that MDC members vacate Epworth immediately or else face death.

Last week, Epworth residents reported that six of the 13 ZANU-PF militia bases that were operational in 2008 and early 2009 had re-opened.

These bases are at Garakara, Mai Mawire, Kapumbu, Reuben, Solani, and Makangira.

The terms of the Global Political Agreement are very clear. All political parties involved must stop violence when it breaks out. Police should now be going urgently to Epworth to arrest the perpetrators of this outrage.

Epworth and nearby Mabvuku / Tafara were the epicentre of brutal revenge murders and house burnings after the March 2008 national elections, in which MDC won all but one local council position, the three MP positions, and the Senate seat.

For further comment: Peter Murphy     0418 312 301




SEARCH Foundation

Level 3, 110 Kippax St,

Surry Hills NSW 2010, Australia

Ph: +61 2 9211 4164; Fax: +61 2 9211 1407

ABN 63 050 096 976


promoting democracy, social justice and environmental sustainability

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Measles in nearly half of country's districts

Photo: Joseph Benamse/IRIN
A child is vaccinated against measles
HARARE, 22 February 2010 (IRIN) - A measles outbreak has hit 28 of Zimbabwe's 62 districts and is still spreading, but efforts to vaccinate people in some quarters is being hampered by religious convictions.

According to the latest World health Organisation (WHO) Epidemiological Bulletin, "Nearly 1,200 suspected cases were reported since the start of the outbreak in October 2009 ... 221 cases have been confirmed ... 50 community deaths have been reported."

The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) as well as other organizations in the health sector have embarked on an intensive vaccination programme. "The campaign is targeting all children between the ages of six months and 14 years," UNICEF's Zimbabwe spokesperson, Micaela Marques de Sousa, told IRIN. In eastern Zimbabwe, in the Buhera district of Manicaland Province alone, more than 25,000 children had been vaccinated against measles.

"We are also embarking on door to door campaigns to emphasize the importance of vaccinating children," she said, although the strategy is likely to meet with stiff resistance among those who refuse vaccinations based on their religious beliefs.

"While we as UNICEF respect the faith of the apostolic churches, we have also been engaging them to understand the value of vaccination. We have been engaging communities on the importance of protecting the rights of the children and to ensure that they access health services. Even children who have been vaccinated in the past are being revaccinated because of the exposure to the measles outbreak."

A large-scale measles outbreak has occurred among family members of the Johanne Marange Apostolic Church in the Nzvimbe area, about 70km from the city of Mutare, near the Mozambique border, according to local media reports. The church's elders do not allow vaccinations or permit followers to seek medical treatment, and prefer such measures as sprinkling holy water on the sick.

Religious convictions

The reports said 30 people belonging to the religious group, mainly children, had died from measles, although the number could be higher because of Vapostori - the practice of "fast-tracking" burials.

A senior official in Zimbabwe's ministry of health and child welfare, who declined to be identified, told IRIN: "We are working overtime to come up with strategies to ensure that the measles outbreak is contained. In an environment where some parents do not avail health programmes to their children, it then becomes difficult to contain the outbreak.

"That is why we are also working on regulations which will make it an offence for parents or guardians to deny children vaccination against killer diseases," the official said.

WHO describes measles as a highly contagious viral disease affecting mostly children, which can be effectively prevented by immunization. In Zimbabwe, children receive a first vaccination against measles at the age of nine months and second inoculation at 18 months.

Symptoms usually appear about 8 to 12 days after infection and include high fever, bloodshot eyes, and tiny white spots on the inside of the mouth. A rash also develops, starting on the face and upper neck and gradually spreading over the body. Measles cause the deaths of hundreds of thousands of children in developing countries annually.

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

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Flower to take Zimbabwe role

(UKPA) - 2 hours ago

Essex all-rounder Grant Flower is to leave the county at the end of the
coming domestic season to take up a role as Zimbabwe's batting coach.

The Harare-born 39-year-old, younger brother of England coach Andy, was
offered the job after an interview last week.

He told "At the end of this season it will probably
signal the end of my playing career and I do not want to have any regrets. I
have had five great years at Essex and I am looking forward to my sixth
season and want to give everything that I have."

He added: "The Essex fans, the club, staff and players have been brilliant
and I am very much looking forward to the season ahead.

"I start my new role with Zimbabwe in October and have the main objective of
helping them reach Test status once again. At the end of this season I aim
to complete my level four coaching course."

Flower scored 3,457 runs in 67 Tests for Zimbabwe at an average of 29.54.

He retired from international cricket in 2004 having fallen out of favour
following a dispute with the Zimbabwe Cricket Union.

Zimbabwe have not played a Test match since voluntarily surrendering Test
status in January 2006.

The appointment comes two days after it was announced former Surrey chief
Alan Butcher was to become the team's head coach.

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