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Zimbabwe inflation hits new record, 1,281.1% , stoking tensions

Reuters

††††† Wed Jan 10, 2007 1:47 PM GMT

By MacDonald Dzirutwe

HARARE (Reuters) - Zimbabwe's annual inflation raced to a new record in
December, inflicting more pain on workers in a country recently hit by
wildcat strikes against an economic crisis stoking political tensions.

Inflation -- the highest in the world -- is the clearest sign of a recession
that critics blame on President Robert Mugabe's politically driven economic
decisions, resulting in runaway unemployment and shortages of foreign
currency to food.

The Central Statistical Office (CSO) said on Wednesday annual inflation
raced to 1,281.1 percent in December from 1,098.8 percent the previous
month, setting the stage for more price increases for hard-pressed
consumers.

On a monthly basis inflation rose to 36.3 percent, up from 30.1 percent the
previous month.

"The top three items that contributed most to year-on-year and
month-on-month inflation were domestic power: electricity, gas and other
fuels," Moffat Nyoni, acting CSO director, told reporters.

Analysts blame inflation for boycotts that have hit the health sector,
warning these could trigger wider, spontaneous street protests and fuel
political tensions in the country.

Public medical care has ground to a halt as doctors at state hospitals
continue with a strike to demand salary hikes of more than 8,000 percent,
leaving hospital waiting rooms jammed with patients needing treatment.

"Government thinks it is in full control, but if things grind to a halt we
could find ourselves in a different situation altogether ... these small
things could trigger the masses into action," Daniel Ndlela, a Harare based
economist said.

The government has forecast inflation, which it has branded the country's
chief enemy, to retreat to 350-400 percent by the end of this year. But
others, including the International Monetary Fund, expect it to accelerate
further.

The CSO said average inflation for 2006 measured 1,016.7 percent, up from
237.8 percent in 2005.

TOUGH TIMES

Zimbabweans, struggling to cope with spiralling costs, are falling deeper
into poverty.

At a city bus station that serves some of Harare's working class township
districts, commuters waited for hours for a ride in a few state buses still
charging slightly lower fares after increases of 100 percent two weeks ago.

"Things are very tough, so I have to save every dollar where I can," said
James Mukore, a cleaner at a nearby office block.

"It is very difficult to keep up with the prices, here and in the shops," he
told Reuters in the main vernacular Shona language, his eye out for the
"cheap" bus.

In the last two weeks, there have been price rises across the board,
including that of rentals, bread, fuel and medicines.

And in shops in the capital Harare, the impact on consumers is clearly
evident. Angry or confused shoppers look dazed as they are hit by new price
increases almost daily.

The CSO said a family of five now needed to earn 344,256 Zimbabwe dollars a
month not to be considered poor, up from Z$228,133 previously. The figure is
far higher than the average earnings for most workers of less than Z$50,000.

Mugabe, the country's sole ruler since independence from Britain in 1980,
denies mismanaging the economy and charges that it has fallen victim to a
Western campaign of sabotage.


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Zimbabwe household bills surge 43 percent in December

Yahoo News

Wed Jan 10, 5:25 AM ET

HARARE (AFP) - The monthly average bill for households in Zimbabwe has shot
up by more than 40 percent last month, according to figures compiled by a
consumer watchdog.

††††† ADVERTISEMENT

The Consumer Council of Zimbabwe's (CCZ) said that the cost of living for a
family of six living in urban areas had risen from 245,661 Zimbabwe dollars
in to 351,631, reflecting a 43.1 percent incease.

The CCZ figures came on the same day that the government released the
monthly inflation figure which rose to a new record high of 1,098 percent
last month, up 182 percentage points on the November rate.

The consumer protection body bemoaned the escalating prices of basic
foodstuffs like cooking oil, bread and the staple cornmeal which have
worsened the plight of poor families.

The price of bread, the most common meal for the average Zimbabwean, went up
from 300 dollars early December to 850 by the month's end while the price of
cooking oil also went up nearly two-fold.

The average monthly salary for an urban worker in 65,000 dollars and most
families often resort to skipping some meals while workers walk or cycle up
to 30 kilometres to work in order to stretch their income to next pay day.

Some workers supplement their salaries by selling goods like clothes at
workplaces while others double as cross-border traders and street vending
during weekends and holidays.

For most families ingredients like milk for tea and margarine or jam have
become luxuries they have struck out of their list of groceries while a
square meal is rare.

"Prices for almost all goods and services increased in this period thereby
impacting negatively on the budgets for almost all consumers," the CCZ said.


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Britain accused of 'sinister agenda' in Zim

† IOL

††††††††† January 10 2007 at 01:32PM

††††† Zimbabwe does not deserve the renewal of European Union sanctions, a
spokesperson for President Robert Mugabe's party said Wednesday ahead of a
key EU meeting to discuss the extension of travel bans and asset freezes for
around 100 top Zimbabwean officials.

††††† Nathan Shamuyarira, the ruling Zanu-PF party's secretary for
information and publicity, said former colonial power Britain was pursuing
sinister agendas and wanted to convince other countries to renew the
sanctions.

††††† "Britain is pursuing a colonial practice, repression of other nations
and I hope other countries will not be dragged by Britain in its sinister
agendas," Shamuyarira was quoted as saying in the official Herald newspaper.

††††† "Zimbabwe has done nothing wrong that deserves those illegal
sanctions," he said.

††††† EU sanctions were first imposed in 2002 to protest alleged vote-
rigging and a worsening rights situation here. The US has also imposed
sanctions, including a ban on US companies doing business with blacklisted
Zimbabwean interests.

††††† Britain is likely to press for a sanctions rollover at a key EU-Africa
summit in February. At least one EU state - Portugal - is reported to be
against the renewal of EU sanctions on Zimbabwe.

††††† Mugabe's government regularly blames Zimbabwe's worsening economic
crisis on EU and US sanctions, and encourages ordinary citizens to do the
same.

††††† But in 2006, Xavier Marchal, the head of the European Commission
delegation to Zimbabwe, insisted that the EU remains Zimbabwe's biggest
donor and said the body had simply redirected funding to activities with
direct benefit to Zimbabweans. - Sapa-DPA


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Patients bear brunt of Zimbabwe's crumbling health sector

Yahoo News

HARARE (AFP) - The doctor at the Parirenyatwa hospital shakes his head in
despair as he issues his diagnosis of Zimbabwe's health service: "The system
has literally collapsed and we are losing lives unnecessarily."

Once renowned throughout southern Africa for its standards of treatment, the
collapse of the health service has mirrored the financial crisis in
Zimbabwe.

A seven-year recession which led to inflation passing the 1,000 percent mark
last year means state hospitals lack the means to pay for even the most
basic drugs such as anti-inflammatory pain killers and pills to battle
hypertension.

"It's so painful when you have to tell a patient there is nothing more you
can do to help them even though they are in agony," said the doctor who
practises at the Parirenyatwa in Harare, the country's biggest hospital.

"We often resort to bush medicine where we do trial and error and use
combinations of the few drugs that are available to bring temporary relief
to the patients," he added on condition of anonymity.

The major state hospitals have no functioning radiotherapy machine and rely
on donations from churches for chemotherapy drugs while basic implements
like syringes and latex gloves are in short supply.

All health centres have been hit by an exodus of staff including specialist
doctors, pharmacists and nurses to countries such as Australia, Britain and
neighbouring South Africa.

The situation deteriorated further last week when doctors at state hospitals
downed their tools, the culmination of a long-simmering pay dispute. The
strike has left patients stranded, with nurses and government consultants
attending to emergencies only.

The industrial action began three weeks ago when junior doctors went on a
go-slow demanding a sharp increase in their salaries from the current 56,000
Zimbabwean dollars (224 US dollars/172 euros).

They also want the government to up a car allowance loan from 700,000 to 2.5
million dollars.

Another doctor working at Harare Central Hospital said morale was at rock
bottom.

"Gone are the days when you simply stretched your hand and you had all the
tools you need for the job at the click of a finger," he said.

"You are supposed to smile at patients but the work environment and the
conditions of service are depressing."

A regular slot on television known as "Stories that break the heart"
features people suffering from various illnesses that cannot be cured at
home, appealing for funds for treatment abroad.

The cost is particularly prohibitive in a country reeling under a serious
foreign exchange crunch and only a lucky few get help in time.

One recent episode featured three-year-old cancer sufferer Dexter Chipunza,
sent home from hospital with one of his eyes protruding and a lump that had
blocked his nostrils.

"The doctors say there are no drugs for his condition at all state hospitals
and the machines for radiotherapy are down. I am appealing to wellwishers to
help me raise money to take my son to South Africa for urgent treatment,"
said his distraught mother Enia.

Dexter died at home three weeks later as donations were still trickling in.

Doctors say they are not to blame, insisting they had only embarked on
industrial action as a last resort.

"We are as concerned as everyone else about patients who are suffering as a
result of the deadlock between us and government," Kudakwashe Nyamutukwa,
president of the Hospital Doctors Association, told AFP.

"The majority of us have no cars to attend to emergencies, we can hardly
afford basic groceries. All we are asking for is a salary that will make
coming to work worthwhile.

"The current junior doctor's salary can only buy a few kilograms of meat and
these are the same grievances we put forward when we went on strike last
year."

President Robert Mugabe conceded last month that the health sector
"continues to face several challenges, which include the shortage of
essential drugs and critical equipment as well as the unending brain drain."

The government would soon compel medical school graduates to serve in state
health centres for a period equal to the duration of their training, he
said, while working out a package to discourage the migration of senior
medics.


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Senior doctors walk out as strike pressure intensifies


By Tererai Karimakwenda
10 January 2007

Several organisations have urged the Zimbabwe government to find a solution
to the ongoing doctors strike as the situation becomes more critical. The
Crisis Coalition released a statement that said senior doctors (consultants)
have joined the industrial action because they needed the demands by junior
staff to be met. According to the statement, only 11out of 350 doctors at
Parirenyatwa Hospital in Harare reported for work Wednesday. Our sources
said patients are being turned away at Mpilo Hospital in Bulawayo and
several other hospitals as the strike continues in its 3rd week without any
response from the health ministry.
The Zimbabwe Association of Doctors for Human Rights (ZADHR) has called upon
the Ministry of Health and Child Welfare to take urgent steps to resolve the
ongoing strike by junior doctors. Spokesperson Primrose Matambanadzo said
Parirenyatwa and Harare Hospitals were treating emergency cases only. She
said some patients were waiting days to be treated. A statement released by
the ZADHR Wednesday said "the strike has severely compromised the standard
of healthcare at the country's major referral hospitals since 21 December
2006." It urged the Ministry of Health and other relevant government
departments to resolve the crisis immediately in order to "prevent further
loss of life and unavailability of health care."
Reports said the Health Minister David Parirenyatwa initially denied any
knowledge of the strike, but on Tuesday he finally met with representatives
of the doctors to discuss their grievances. Parirenyatwa did not respond
immediately. Matambanadzo said government was not treating the situation
with enough urgency or assigning it a level of high priority. She said
further delay will force more doctors to seek greener pastures because they
are living below the poverty datum line. The striking junior doctors
currently earn Z$56,000 and are asking for a minimum Z$5 million as of
January 1.
President of The Hospital Doctors Association Kudakwashe Nyamutukwa told us
earlier this week they will not return to work until their needs are
addressed. They have been battling for decent salaries and better working
conditions from the government for years now. Nyamutukwa said going back
without a raise would be like shooting themselves in the foot.

SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news


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Miners arrested as Mugabe eyes goldfields

The Telegraph

By Peta Thornycroft, Zimbabwe Correspondent
Last Updated: 1:46am GMT 10/01/2007

††††† As many as 20,000 miners have been arrested in police raids across
Zimbabwe.

††††† Their detention, in one of the largest police actions in the country's
recent history, has left thousands of family members without any support at
a time of rampant inflation and a desperate shortage of maize meal, the
staple food.

††††† Many of those arrested are legally registered as miners with the mines
ministry. The government has claimed it is detaining illegal gold panners
selling ore on the black market and causing massive environmental damage.

††††† "This is not true," said a miner who runs two claims in western
Zimbabwe and a gold processing plant in the second city, Bulawayo. "Many of
them are established, legal, small-scale miners."
††††† He asked not to be named to protect himself and his workers, who have
been arrested repeatedly.

††††† In his case, the last raid was on Christmas Eve, when 47 policemen,
many armed with AK47 assault rifles, locked them up at Inyathi police
station, 40 miles north of Bulawayo.

††††† "It was cruel," he said. "I saw about 1,000 people in the open, many
handcuffed to each other, exposed day andnight to the sun and rain in a
small fenced field next to the police station."

††††† Another small-scale miner, who asked not to be identified, said: "We
have two small gold mines. They are closed now and under police guard. "We
also have a custom milling plant and I am forced to mill rocks, which have
been stolen by police from poor guys trying to support their families. If I
refuse I will be arrested again."

††††† At least three miners died of exhaustion digging a gold deposit for
police, according to unconfirmed reports.

††††† On Dec 29, police confirmed that a constable "accidentally" shot dead
Shepherd Mafiga, 23, when he tried to evade arrest about 50 miles north-east
of Harare.

††††† President Robert Mugabe's government said it has detained more than
19,000 "illegal" miners in recent weeks.

††††† John Robertson, an economist, said the arrests reflected panic as the
government was "chronically short of foreign currency".

††††† With a skewed exchange rate - the Zimbabwe dollar is officially pegged
at 10 times more than its real value - gold panners say they are forced to
sell their ore on the black market.

††††† Others believe Mr Mugabe intends to nationalise the mining sector six
years after he precipitated the collapse of the the economy by seizing 90
per cent of white-owned farms.

††††† Last year, he said he would take 51 per cent of all mines without
offering compensation.

††††† He told supporters: "To those who don't want to accept this, we say
goodbye and good luck."

††††† Hundreds of thousands of workers who lost their jobs on white-owned
farms after they were taken over by Mr Mugabe, turned to dangerous gold
panning to survive.

††††† Blessing Chebundo, an MP for the opposition Movement for Democratic
Change in central Zimbabwe - where much of Zimbabwe's mineral deposits are
concentrated - said he sees panners arrested almost every day.

††††† "It is terrible, so many people depended on them," he said. "Towns
near us are dying as there is no money going there now."


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Police chief urges Mugabe to fix economy

Zim Online

Thursday 11 January 2007

HARARE - Zimbabwe's top policeman has urged the government to fix the
country's bleeding economy instead of relying on the police alone to end
lawlessness, on the rise as many resort to illegal means to survive the
worst economic crisis in the world outside a war zone.

Police Commissioner Augustine Chihuri last month wrote to Home Affairs
Minister Kembo Mohadi that the police were overstretched and virtually
unable to carry out normal policing duties, as most officers were committed
on a myriad of special government operations to restore law and order in the
limping economy.

These ranged from operations to arrest shop owners selling basic commodities
above prices stipulated by the state, public transporters overcharging for
their services, illegal foreign currency traders, illegal grain buyers, with
the latest being the ongoing operation to arrest illegal gold and diamond
miners, Chihuri said.

"We are overwhelmed by the numerous operations that we are being asked to
carry out in almost every facet of government. It is now as if the police
have been assigned the role of governing the country," read part of Chihuri's
letter, dated December 8, 2006 and referenced, "Cancellation of Leave".

ZimOnline was shown a copy of the letter that Chihuri wrote to Mohadi in
response to an earlier request by the Home Affairs Minister that the police
commander bars his officers from going on leave or off so they could be
available for several special operations planned by the government this year
to restore sanity in the economy.

In a thinly veiled criticism of President Robert Mugabe's government's
apparent predisposition to use strong-arm tactics instead of sound economic
policy to restore order in the crumbling economy, Chihuri said previous
operations had failed to stop a thriving black market for basic commodities
or other unlawful economic activities.

He wrote: "Some of the activities the principals want us to stop, the
normalcy they want us to restore can only be best restored by solving
outstanding economic issues. Without normalising the economy, all we can do
is put stop-gap measures."

Chihuri said refusal by the army to provide the police with extra manpower
to help carry out government assigned operations had left the police
overstretched, forcing the law enforcement agency to "abandon normal police
work".

Police spokesman Oliver Mandipaka said he needed time to check with Chihuri
when first contacted by ZimOnline earlier this week on Monday for comment on
the matter.

When approached again on Wednesday, Mandipaka said he was too busy to follow
up on the matter and asked to be contacted next week. Mohadi was unreachable
on his phone.

Mugabe and his ruling ZANU PF party have come to heavily rely on state
security forces to not only keep public discontent in check in the face of
growing economic hardships, but to also carry out government duties and
functions that are normally performed by civilian authorities.

Several strategic state institutions have in recent years also been placed
in the hands of either serving or former military officers.

For example, the Grain Marketing Board, tasked to feed the nation, is headed
by former army colonel Samuel Muvuti, while retired Airforce of Zimbabwe
commodore Mike Karakadzai is general manager of the National Railways of
Zimbabwe.

A former military intelligence official, Sobuza Gula-Ndebele, is the
Attorney General and former army colonel and High Court Judge George
Chiweshe chairs the Zimbabwe Electoral Supervisory Commission to name just a
few former military officers now running state institutions and departments.

Zimbabwe's economic crisis has spawned hyperinflation and shortages of food,
fuel, essential medicines, hard cash and just about every basic survival
commodity - to leave political tensions in the once prosperous southern
African country on a knife-edge. - ZimOnline


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Zimbabwe state hospitals grind to a halt as nurses join strike

Zim Online

Thursday 11 January 2007

BULAWAYO - Operations have virtually come to a halt at two state hospitals
in Bulawayo after nurses at the hospitals, which are the biggest in the
country's second largest city, this week went on strike to press for more
pay and better working conditions.

Nurses at Mpilo and United Bulawayo Hospitals (UBH) had been on a go-slow
for the past two weeks but on Tuesday resolved to stop working altogether,
joining intern doctors who have boycotted work for the last three weeks also
demanding a review of salaries and working conditions.

With senior doctors also absconding duty in solidarity with striking
interns, only student nurses were left to take charge of most wards at
Mpilo, probably the busiest public hospital in the southern half of the
country.

A few foreign doctors could be seen battling to attend to very critical
cases but most patients had to be turned away at Mpilo as well as at UBH
where nursing staff were just milling around refusing to attend to the sick
until their salary grievances were addressed.

Nurses earn a basic salary of $70 000 per month, an amount most say is a
pittance compared to what their counterparts in the region are earning.

"What we earn is a joke compared to what nurses in South Africa and Botswana
are earning and we are not saying the government should match that but
anything close to what those countries pay would be acceptable," Mary Ncube,
a nurse at Mpilo said as she gathered up her belongings to return home.

Ncube said she had come to the hospital to only "check the situation" but
not to work.

And not far from where the ZimOnline news crew spoke to Ncube, an elderly
looking woman groaned in pain as she lay on an old blanket.

"What are we the poor supposed to do? Where should we go for help?" the old
woman, who later said her name was Alice Sigauke, asked to no one in
particular.

Sigauke, from Bulawayo's Magwegwe working class suburb, suspects she broke
her leg when she tripped and fell on her way home from church last week.

Her daughter had brought her to Mpilo so doctors could have a look at her
leg but she would have to return home because the few foreign doctors
available would not be able to attend to her as her condition was not life
threatening.

"We could not even get pain killers because there were no nurses at the
dispensary," Sigauke's daughter said, as tears swelled up in her eyes.

Contacted for comment, Deputy Health Minister Edwin Muguti said the
government was working flat out to resolve both the nurses and intern
doctors' salary grievances.

He said: "We are communicating with the doctors and the nurses grievances
are not different to that of doctors and we are urging them top go back to
work while we work out on their working conditions and salaries.

"We are for dialogue, the doctors and the nurses know that their salaries
are going to be reviewed in January and they should go back to work as they
are making the ordinary people suffer."

Zimbabwe's health delivery system, once lauded as one of the best in Africa,
has crumbled due years of to under-funding and mismanagement.

An unprecedented seven-year old economic crisis has seen the country fail to
import critically needed medicines because of a severe shortage of foreign
currency, while the country has suffered the worst brain drain of doctors,
nurses and other professionals as economic conditions continue to
deteriorate. - ZimOnline


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Tsvangirai faction to discuss progress on unity

Zim Online

Thursday 11 January 2007

HARARE - The national executive committee of the larger faction of Zimbabwe's
opposition MDC party will meet on Friday to discuss possible reunification
of the splintered party as well as moves by the ruling ZANU PF party to
extend President Robert Mugabe's term to 2010.

Authoritative sources in the Morgan Tsvangirai-led MDC faction told
ZimOnline that the top party committee will hear feed-back from former chief
executive officer of the banned Daily News newspaper Sam Sipepa Nkomo, who
heads a team set up by the Tsvangirai group to negotiate with a rival
faction led by prominent academic, Arthur Mutambara.

The MDC, once regarded as the biggest threat to Mugabe and ZANU PF, split in
October 2005 after its top leaders disagreed on whether to participate in a
Senate election.

"Several issues will be under discussion but the most important item on the
agenda will be the feedback from the team that is negotiating possible unity
with our erstwhile colleagues," said a member of the party's national
executive who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Both factions are divided on whether or not they should unite. However both
Mutambara and Tsvangirai have recently issued separate statements saying
there is no substitute for unity, fuelling speculation that the two groups
could be moving to either unite or to at least agree on peaceful
co-existence and co-operation.

The spokesman for the Tsvangirai-led MDC, Nelson Chamisa, said the Friday
meeting would concentrate on discussing the national crisis, internal party
matters and ZANU PF's decision to extend Mugabe's term by two more years
without an election.

"On top of the agenda on Friday will be the regime's decision to postpone
suffering, tyranny and oppression to 2010. The party will also deliberate on
the operational framework of the party's political agenda," Chamisa said in
a statement issued yesterday.

Chamisa did not refer to the issue of re-unification of the once vibrant
opposition party.

Meanwhile, the two MDC factions are expected to field separate candidates in
next month's parliamentary by-election in Chiredzi constituency to replace
the late ZANU PF legislator, Aaron Baloyi.

Friday's meeting by the Tsvangirai-led MDC is expected to endorse the
candidature of Emmaculate Makondo, who narrowly lost to ZANU PF in the March
2005 election while the Mutambara faction is expected to hold primaries to
select its candidate in time for the nomination court scheduled for next
week. - ZimOnline


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High fees push Zim students out of colleges

Zim Online

Thursday 11 January 2007

BULAWAYO - Thousands of students at tertiary colleges in Zimbabwe failed to
attend classes on Tuesday after the government increased tuition and
boarding fees by more than 1 000 percent.

Zimbabwe National Students Union (ZINASU) secretary general, Beloved
Chiweshe, said thousands of students had failed to turn up for the new
semester because of the high fees.

Chiweshe said the situation had been worsened because most colleges were
refusing to accept part payments for tuition fees.

The ZINASU secretary general vowed to mobilise students to force the
government to reverse the fee increments.

"These fees are ridiculous, students cannot afford to pay these fees and
that is the reason tertiary institutions are deserted.

"The authorities should brace for massive protests because as students we
cannot take this any more," Ěsaid Chiweshe.

According to the new fees structures announced at government-run tertiary
institutions, students at polytechnic colleges will pay tuition fees of $
115 000 up from $15 000 they paid last year.

Hostel fees had also shot up to $200 000 per semester, up from the $50 000
they paid last semester.

Students at teachers colleges will now fork out $120 000 in tuition fees and
a further $300 000 in hostel fees. The situation at the School of Mines in
Bulawayo is equally tough with students paying a total of $537 500 for both
tuition and hostel fees.

University students will pay $100 000 per semester, up from the previous $24
000 while hostel fees jumped from $24 000 to a massive $300 000 per
semester.

Higher Education Minister Stan Mudenge could not be reached for comment on
the matter.

Zimbabwe's education system once lauded as one of the best in Africa has
virtually crumbled because of under-funding and poor management.

Protests by university and college students over deteriorating standards and
high fees are common in Zimbabwe. - ZimOnline


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Zimbabwe Political Observers Back Call For Opposition Reunification

VOA

††††† By Ndimyake Mwakalyelye
††††† Washington, DC
††††† 10 January 2007

Tentative moves toward reunification last year by factions of Zimbabwe's
opposition Movement for Democratic Change seem to be faltering this year
despite calls from the broader opposition movement for MDC leaders to
overcome their differences.

MDC faction leader Arthur Mutambara extended an olive branch this week to
the rival faction headed by Morgan Tsvangirai - but a Tsvangirai spokesman
quickly dismissed the reunification proposal, saying the broad opposition
was already united.

The blunt rejection of Mutambara's overture came despite repeated calls from
civil and religious leaders for a rapprochement between the factions that
went separate ways in late 2005 over the issue of whether the MDC should
contest senate elections.

Tsvangirai faction spokesman Nelson Chamisa appeared to dismiss out of hand
the suggestion from Mutambara that the two factions rejoin forces. He told
reporter Peter Clottey of VOA's English to Africa that Mutambara's offer was
disingenuous.

Reporter Ndimyake Mwakalyelye of VOA's Studio 7 For Zimbabwe sought
perspective on the problematic relationship between the MDC factions from
two political observers: advocacy officer Fambai Ngirande of the National
Association of Non-Governmental Organizations, and Nairobi-based political
analyst Brian Kagoro.


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Interview with Peta Thornycroft and Professor Jonathan Moyo - SW Radio Africa Hotseat Transcript

On the programme ĎHot Seatí, Violet continues her discussion with foreign correspondent Peta Thornycroft and Independent MP Professor Jonathan Moyo on the media in Zimbabwe.

First broadcast Tuesday 9th January

Violet Gonda : Welcome to the Hot Seat teleconference with journalist Peta Thornycroft and former Information Minister Professor Jonathan Moyo. We continue from last week where we discussed the media and the quality of news emerging from Zimbabwe . It has been said the country has a suffocating media environment which is keeping people ignorant and incapable of making informed decisions. There are many who believe the government controlled press has deliberately hoodwinked Zimbabweans for years. I first asked Peta if Zimbabwe has ever had freedom of the press.


Peta Thornycroft:
Well, certainly not since 1965 when blank spaces appeared in the Herald and where the media was extensively formally censored. What weíve seen certainly since independence, and I joined the state media in 1982, was a creeping self censorship. It started as self censorship and then by the time that Tommy Sithole took over editorship of the Herald in 1983, and he probably did more damage to the press, than any other person. By that time one already knew that the noble hopes of the Mass Media Trust would represent a free democratic society and would guarantee freedom of speech, that it was gone. And, if one looks back at how the media in Zimbabwe covered, for example, Gukurahundi, it was absolutely shameful. And, at independence, Zimbabwean newspapers actually recruited really skilled people; mostly journalists whoíd fled South Africa or fled Rhodesia ; and there were some fine people there. But they were all, every one of them, were forced to leave because of their conscience or as soon as their contracts, you know, five year contracts, were up, they quit. So thereís really no tradition of free press/media in Zimbabwe .

Violet: And also now, under AIPPA, the law criminalises the practice of journalism without accreditation and provides for the possibility of a two year jail term for those found guilty. Now, this is a question for Professor Moyo. Do you think this is a proportionate punishment for such a petty administrative offence?

Jonathan Moyo: well, I think the fact that there is such a law is a reflection of the kind of society that we have been, itís not something that developed over night. It is a culmination of our twenty year practice, although it was always difficult for journalists, maybe even impossible to practice without accreditation by the then Ministry of Information, Posts and Telecommunications. One of the biggest responsibilities of that Ministry was accrediting journalists. And, as you know from various sources, major developments in Zimbabwe , notably the Gukurahundi was not reported by Zimbabwean journalists at all when there was no AIPPA. And, AIPPA was an attempt, I must admit a rather bad attempt at trying to regularise what was happening irregularly and what was giving the State a lot of discretion without any rules. You would be denied accreditation but there would be no explanation for it. I believe the worst period for journalism in Zimbabwe was during the ten year extension of the Rhodesian State of Emergency when the security apparatus was deciding on these things without being accountable to anyone and without anyone knowing what rules were being used. In AIPPAís case we know what the rules are. They continue to be applied selectively and, indeed, in a proper functioning society they would be unnecessary.

Violet: Peta do you agree that the worst period was during the Rhodesian period?

Jonathan: No, I didnít say Rhodesian. The Zimbabwean period, 1980 to 1990 when the Rhodesian State of Emergency was extended by the Zimbabweans.

Violet: Alright and then Peta still, would you agree, since you are a journalist still trying to work in Zimbabwe, covering the Zimbabwean story right now, would you say that things were worse then than now?

Peta: Violet Ian Smith deported or refused to allow at least ninety foreign journalists to work in Rhodesia . The first journalist I saw being evicted, expelled from Zimbabwe was I think it was early 1982. The headlines most made at that time was that Nick Worrall of the Guardian was deported because of what he had written about Gukurahundi, and it was an extremely frightening phase of Zimbabwe but it was confined to one area of the country. When the MDC was formed in 2000, I got there in 2001 but I had been up and down, I had no doubt that had there had been an MDC in Harare in the early í80ís, Nathan Shamyurira would have dealt with the press; in Harare or in other places where the MDC had; as brutally as the press were dealt with post 2000 really, post 2002 following the Presidential election, when it has been so difficult. So, what Iím saying is that political protest, political opposition to ZANU PF in each phase of that protest, whether it was in the 80s or the 2000s has been really vicious. I donít know if I can remember accurately enough. There was then a period after the Unity Accord of relative political submission. People were oppressed enough and the foreign journalists had little really to report on, and, Iím talking from a foreign point of view. And so, it was quite OK for them, there were very few of them getting into any trouble because there was very little going on, like thereís very little going on now.

But, the moment something happens politically, journalists do what journalists do, they try and tell the story, and they got cracked on now and then. Andrew Moyse, the Editor of Parade from 1984-í85 onwards, I mean, you know, what a heroic job he did, and Iím not saying it because I eventually worked for him. I mean just go back in the record spells it out for anyone who cares to look, it was the only voice in opposition, long before The Independent, long before the Daily Gazette. There was one voice and it was a monthly magazine and that magazine sold out every month. In fact, I can remember seeing the vendors coming and fighting with each other to get enough copies of it. And, go back and look at what he wrote. But it was really difficult for him, and that was before I joined him.

Violet: And what about AIPPA itself? What does that law do to peopleís desire to get the truth into the public domain?

Peta: Violet, you know when you stand there in court and you watch Andrew Meldrum being charged and I canít remember who was charged with him, and you see perfectly respectable journalists being hauled before Magistrates; I mean they havenít won a case yet, I canít even remember why they didnít win it because there have been such a mass of journalists getting into trouble etc. What does it mean? Youíd have to ask people on a daily basis. I donít think of AIPPA; I mean Iíve got used to it. Itís think itís lousy. Iím worried about being caught; others are worried about being caught, but from time to time. And if there is a rise in Civil Society protests at the moment and we go back onto the streets, weíve learned to be clever, weíve learned to avoid detection, we have learnt to keep a low profile, and, there are so few of us. If something actually happens in the streets of Harare or there is some kind of protests, well, Iím sure it will be just as difficult as it was in 2002.

Violet: And, Professor Moyo, there are some who say you created the AIPPA law which has led to people not being able to express themselves freely in Zimbabwe. That Mahoso and company are abusing the legislation is neither here nor there as you created that monster or at least the breeding ground where this monster has been well fed. Now, how would you respond to that?

Jonathan: Well what I would say to those people is that first they should recall that first of all it was not my creation; it was something that was already on the cards when I joined the Government of Zimbabwe. The aspect that can be seen as my creation, and an aspect which I accept fully, is that I was the incumbent Minister of Information and I therefore had to play the leading role in bringing that legislation to Parliament. But, this is not a Jonathan Moyo law, this is a law that came from the Government of Zimbabwe and was passed by Parliament of Zimbabwe. I donít think you are going to make any progress in personalising it and if you say Ďthis is a Moyo creationí, you may satisfy yourself but you will not move forward because you will fail to understand that there is something deeply institutional and deeply political about this law which is why it is there in the books, well long after my departure.

Even so, I would like to bring what I think is an important consideration to your attention about this law. While I believe that in a society that is functioning as a normal democracy there would really be no need for this; and the evidence for that, as far as I am concerned, is the draft Constitution that was rejected in 2000, which I supported and in which I played a leading role along with others. We clearly had wanted, and we put a clause in the draft Constitution that sought to protect media freedom as a fundamental right. The Zimbabwean Constitution doesnít do it. It protects freedom of expression. There is, as you have seen for example in other jurisdictions like the United States, a world of difference between freedom of expression as a natural right, which we are grateful to God because we are born with, and freedom of the media where the media is an institution that is socially created and so forth. We need, in a dispensation such as ours that kind of right.

In the absence of that Violet, and given our experience over the last 20 years, one of the worst, worst aspects or worst problems really in terms of media practice and freedom of expression we have experienced is the absence of rules. That those in power make their rules, or make the rules as and when they want to in response to particular situations on the basis of whim. This is what happened during the ten year State of Emergency in Zimbabwe ; the extended Rhodesian State of Emergency. I think itís better to have rules. To know what the rules are. To find ways of dealing with those rules if you find them unacceptable than to be a victim of a rule-less environment which is dictated by the personal whim of the Director of Information or the Minister of Information. With all its defects, I believe one good aspect of AIPPA is that it tells us in black and white what the rules are. And, you can then use those rules to fight the system.

One of the reasons, and I heard Peta saying this, and, she is correct, so far, of all the cases of a criminal kind that have been brought in the courts in Zimbabwe under AIPPA, the State has not won a single one. And, that is a significant development in terms of institutionalising the rule of law, because, at the end of the day, after losing one, two three and more cases, the Government gets embarrassed and it modifies its behaviour. And I think that, then, in an environment such as ours, can be progress.

Violet: Peta, what are your views on what Professor Moyo has just pointed out?

Peta: That I hope, one day, when Zimbabwe becomes a democracy, AIPPA along with POSA and some of the other security laws will be burned on a heap; a celebrations fire; and, we will never need odious laws, odious security laws again. It is undeniable that what the Government of Zimbabwe did was put rules down which nevertheless, rules being put in the hands of tormentors of democracy, would always be abused. Weíve seen registered journalists being arrested, registered photographers; Iím remembering a photographer from Reuters maybe eighteen months ago being arrested and locked up. So, registration is not necessarily a protection for the Press. Theyíre out of control; AIPPA gave them control that they would always abuse whether itís a good law or a bad law. I think itís a lousy law and I just hope it goes because it gave laws which were unnecessary. There is defamation; unfortunately, there was criminal defamation even prior to AIPPA. Journalists have been deported continuously since independence. And many journalists in the domestic press, Iím really talking about the State press here and we have seen some in sections of the privately owned media from time to time, practice tremendous self censorship because they are scared. And so, in an environment, it doesnít matter actually whether there is AIPPA or not AIPPA; it is a lousy place to work as a journalist.

And Iím, of course, like many people who knew Jonathan Moyo before he joined the Government of Zimbabwe, when he became, when he was, one of the first and most articulate writers and analysts on the evils of ZANU PF. I think for me, and Iíve said this to him, so itís not a surprise to him to hear it from me now on your radio, is that knowing what I know about him, and his argument about the Constitution, I still canít catch it! How somebody who wrote at length and regularly and was arguably the most articulate and regularly published critic of ZANU PF could have joined them. But, actually, I donít think this advances anything that we are saying now because we are talking about the media in general and weíve all been through this many times with Jonathan. And, one day, heís going to tell us fully, when itís a better climate than it is now, because itís a horrendous climate at the moment.

Violet: And then also Peta, still on the media, some people have been saying that the independent media has fallen victim to the polarisation of the country by protecting the Opposition and Civic Society from criticism and from any negative publicity. Would you agree with this?

Peta: I didnít know enough about the Opposition until just really before it split into two factions, nor did I know much about Civil Society. There were too many daily hard news stories going on. We went to the occasional press conference, we saw them, we saw them being arrested, we saw them being beaten, killed, etc, we saw that. But I donít think any of us really investigated. I think actually in defence, I think Trevor Ncube of The Independent; owns The Independent; was the first person to write, voice that critical

voice from the privately owned press. And then, the story started to come out actually from the foreign press. And, I think, actually following the split in the MDC; one saw some absolutely horrendous reporting. And, if one looks back on that, one can understand why it was horrendous, because there wasnít a tradition of accountability and you do have newspapers like The Independent, which did try very hard to not be partisan to one faction or the other. But then there were all these little internet publications that I used to, when I saw their stuff, I used to write them and tell them Ďwhat the hell are you doing? Why are you writing this stuff?í And, weíve seen it in other so called privately owned or independent or foreign funded media which has not been responsible. Its got better now; maybe it has got better because the Opposition is just words and not deeds now so maybe thatís why its died. But, it really did show the shallowness of understanding of many in the privately owned media when the MDC split in two and one saw that people, journalists, could not think beyond their personal admiration for one or other person there.

However, during; since the MDC split; and because thatís the nature of journalism, one starts to ask questions; Ďwhen did it start going wrongí? And, whatís horrendous, for a foreign journalist, is to find that it went wrong long ago, by 2001 they were squabbling with each other over this and that and I think then the domestic press did fail. I think the domestic media did fail and I actually think that was the job for the domestic press and not necessarily for the foreign media, we were interested in other things, other than the MDC.

Violet: Do you agree Professor Moyo?

Jonathan: Yes I agree. And, unfortunately, all this was happening against the background of a poisoned public sphere. One of the tragedies we have is that when the Nigerians gave a gift to Zimbabwe to buy the South African owned press, there was confusion about what that meant. And, what was supposed to be State ownership, and the State is you, me, everyone, all of us, but in our case it became just the Government, and in particular the ZANU PF Government, which then took ownership of the Mass Media Trust and through it Zimpapers, and, as we know, in the electronic media it took ownership of radio and TV. And, you cannot expect a proper check, or a means for check and balance where the private interests get caught up with the sort of issues that Peta was talking about. You cannot expect that to be corrected if the public media is in the hands of the Government of the day, and this is a position I held even when I was in Government.

I believe that Government has no business in owning newspapers; Government should in fact not even own radio. Any Government owned media is, by definition, propaganda pamphlet if itís a newspaper or a propaganda voice if itís an electronic media. This goes without saying, it is obvious, and yet this is the situation that obtains in Zimbabwe. And, when we made little efforts to get people to appreciate that Zimpapers is actually not a Government newspaper, itís supposed to be a State newspaper owned by a Trust whose beneficiaries are all Zimbabweans; MDC Zimbabweans, ZANU PF Zimbabweans, Ndonga Zimbabweans, Independent Zimbabweans. They are all supposed to be represented by The Zimbabwe Mass Media Trust.

Iíve been very, very surprised, I must tell you that, even when the issue came up in Parliament and we would say this, it had no takers. It came up again last year and there was some debate, again no takers. I even think that there are many grounds for Zimbabweans, through class action and other means to even approach the courts and say why is the Minister of Information appointing Board Members at Zimpapers, because he has no right to do that. Why is the Minister of Information going to direct things at ZBC? In terms of the Broadcast Services Act he has no right to do that. But yet, no one does anything about it and in the meantime everyone wants to give effect to the fiction that Zimpapers is a Government owned group, ZBC is Government station. And, as long as that continues then we will have problems.

Otherwise, yes, I agree with what Peta said. You know, there are many things which are wrong with Zimbabwe but those many things in many significant ways are a reflection of who we are, therefore a reflection of what is wrong with us. It might be a very easy thing for many or some to say Ďah, this is what is wrong with Jonathan Moyoí, but if you look at this business, it really has become a growth industry, of intolerance. The institutionalised intolerance in our country to a point where we donít even want to agree that we were actually created differently. This is a fundamental problem that is arresting not just our development, but the search for a solution to the current crisis in Zimbabwe.

Peta: Jonathan do you think you can have any of those entrenched freedoms of expression and freedom of the media under ZANU PF? Itís impossible.

Jonathan: No, I think you canít. You canít have it under ZANU PF. ZANU PF has become a poisoned institution and to move forward we canít move forward with ZANU PF, there is a lot of baggage, and that is why we must agree with everyone else who says we canít have these freedoms under the current constitutional dispensation. Zimbabwe needs not only a new leadership, it also needs a new movement, political formation and it needs a new constitution. Iím not sure which one should come first.

Violet: Thatís the question that I actually wanted to ask Peta, that is there any way of reviving the media right now or that can only be done after Mugabe?

Peta: You know, The Independent, in particular, does a sterling job, really it does and it wonít cease because Trevor Ncube does or does not have a passport. The problem is if it doesnít reach a mass audience. But, I also need to say about the mass audience and think a lot of them donít actually believe what they see on dreadful ZBC and they buy the Herald for sports and for the advertisements. You can see it every day all over the country, and The Chronicle. I think The Independent does, in its field, a good job to a limited audience and its only once a week. The most important thing of course is the mass media, the electronic media; radio and television, in particular radio which has by far the largest reach of any other media and while it remains under the control of ZANU PF Ė no, nothing can be done.

Jonathan: And I should say there quickly that the public media is definitely a lost cause and I donít think it has a future in Zimbabwe. We have done enough to destroy it permanently and itís now a question of a media such as the Independent growing the audience and also becoming more accessible and to be more regular and to have a similar competition. I think the future for the media in Zimbabwe is a responsible private media which will be national. I think that is the direction.

Peta: No, sorry, you can also reform. The public broadcaster, if we go back to public broadcasting, there must be a public broadcaster in Zimbabwe that has a responsibility to all sections of the community but it is in a total and utter moral, intellectual and physical state of collapse. And, I think if there ever is democracy in Zimbabwe it would be one of those projects that one would have to seek outside funding for. Getting people trained properly and getting really good leaders in each section who will be answerable to the public.

Jonathan: Yes but, I was also going to say if you look at the technological trends they do not favour public broadcasting in the sense as we have known it because choice is going to be a bigger and much more widespread factor in broadcasting through cell phones, all these sorts of things. I do not see public broadcasters going into that space but I see the State coming up with regulations to require private broadcasters to carry certain public interest issues and in countries like South Africa and the UK where there is a tradition of the public broadcaster even though in South Africa perhaps a bit shaky in recent years, there is some hope of the public broadcaster transforming along with technological changes. But, in Zimbabwe, where public broadcasting has been basically a disaster, seen as a partisan platform, I donít think, I certainly am not optimistic about its future.

Violet: Due to unforeseen circumstances we have decided to extend the programme and bring you another edition. The concluding debate will include the citizenship issue which has seen newspaper publisher Trevor Ncube being stripped of his Zimbabwean citizenship. We also bring you a follow up on events within ZANU PF since their Goromonzi conference and discuss the opportunities that in-fighting within the ruling party has created for opposition groups.

Audio interview can be heard on SW Radio Africa ís Hot Seat programme (Tues 9 Jan). Comments and feedback can be emailed to violet@swradioafrica.com


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South Africa to recruit Zimbabwean science and maths teachers ....


By Lance Guma
10 January 2007

South Africa's education ministry is considering plans to recruit science
and maths teachers from Zimbabwe in an attempt to address serious shortages
in their schools. An education official in the Gauteng province, Angie
Motshekga, told South African journalists that Education Minister Naledi
Pandor confirmed Zimbabwean teachers had already approached their government
over the vacancies. Raymond Majongwe the Secretary General of the
Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) told Newsreel that their
organisation's chapter in South Africa has been active in trying to get
employment for their members in that country.

Although no teachers have been recruited yet, South African officials have
said they recognise Zimbabwean teaching qualifications and recruiting them
was now a real possibility. A new curriculum has been introduced for Grade
10 pupils, which requires them to do maths or maths literacy as a subject.
The Gauteng province says it does not have many trained science and maths
teachers, which is why they are predicting a crisis. Teaching unions in
South Africa have said they will support the recruitment only if it is not
done at the expense of Zimbabwe's education sector.

Majongwe however told Newsreel that even if one wanted to be patriotic,
there were certain economic fundamentals that could not be ignored, and that
is 'people will always move to where the grass is greener.' Commenting on a
recent offer by the Public Service Commission to offer salaries below the
poverty datum line, he said the PTUZ is baffled as to how the government
intended to retain skilled professionals with such poor remuneration.
Majongwe launched a broadside at reserve bank governor Gideon Gono for
arguing against salary increases for civil servants saying they fuelled
inflation. He said it is amazing the same person has spent US$365 000 of
foreign currency on a high powered Mercedes Brabus E-class V12- bi-turbo
vehicle.

SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news


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....Keep our teachers local, say readers

IOL

††††††††† January 10 2007 at 03:00PM

††††† Education officials have hinted that they may hire foreign teachers to
help fill the gaps in South African schools as the school year begins.

††††† The IOL Poll asked "Should we recruit teachers from Zimbabwe?" and the
response was an overwhelming no.

††††† Of the 769 readers who voted, 78 percent did not want Zimbabwean
teachers in South African schools, and 22 percent voted yes.

††††† The comments, which came to more than a hundred, gave a more balanced
view on the issue.

††††† Here are some comments from readers who welcome the idea:

††††† Bianca: What's the problem with that? The problem is that SA currently
has teachers that are not qualified. I know of a girl from a farm school who
finished matric and was asked to come and teach at the school. if that is
the type of teachers we have in our rural areas, don't you think we need to
fix that up? The problem is that as South Africans we are very closed minded
about the rest of the world. Most people are of the opinion that all
Zimbabweans are idiots like Robert Mugabe when in fact there are many
educated people from the country. Children in rural areas are hungry for
education. Let's give it to them.

††††† Lungelo: We allow doctors and other professionals to come to SA, so
why can't we allow teachers, because they'll be here to teach our children.
Let's put our pride aside and accept that we need help. We can build more
training institutions, but that won't help now, because they are needed
right now, and with the issue of HIV/AIDS, more teachers are dying, so we
really need more.

††††† Anonymous: Why not, as long as their first language are English? If
they are qualified and willing to work here, then I say go fetch them. We
allow foreigners with other professions to work here, what is the
difference.

††††† While others disagreed:

††††† Kutlwano: What about thousands of South African teachers who are
unemployed?

††††† Winnie: Why should we give up on our country's capability? My answer
is No! No! No! Give them enough training and where there is no discipline,
tough measures should be practiced. Especially to those teachers who don't
care because their kids attend private schools. I think teachers should work
eight hours per day and get leave, not holidays.

††††† SL: Allow me to be a ray of doom in our bright rainbow nation. Thabo
is trying to turn us into Zimbabwe, by allowing our kids to be brainwashed
by Zanu-PF "teachers", he will expediate the process.


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Zimbabwe on flood 'red alert'

http://www.africa-interactive.net/index.php?PageID=2765

10 January 2007 - PANA. Zimbabwe Wednesday put its emergency services on
'red alert' throughout the country for flooding, as heavy rains continue to
pound some areas, raising fears of a looming disaster.
Some regions in the country, particularly in the south and north, have
already experienced floods after heavy downpours.

The director of the Civil Protection Unit (CPU), Sibusisiwe Ndlovu said
there were threats of flooding in some areas of the country, forcing
government to take precautionary measures.
"As heavy rains continue to pound most parts of the country, all units of
the Civil Protection Unit have been put on alert to avert possible
disaster," she said.

"We have also intensified our flood awareness campaigns and we are urging
people to refrain from crossing flooded rivers and seeking shelter in
unstable buildings," she added.
So far, flooding has destroyed homes and crops in several parts of the
country, and last week forced the air force to come to the rescue of
villagers marooned on river banks in the south of the country.


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Who guards the guards? - Violations by law enforcement agencies in Zimbabwe

Source: Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum (Hrforumzim)

Date: 20 Dec 2006

Who guards the guards? - Violations by law enforcement agencies in Zimbabwe,
2000 to 2006

Introduction

A democratic state is one in which the government respects human rights,
will freely allow democratic activity, and whose law enforcement agencies
will try to protect all persons against violation of their rights,
regardless of the political affiliation of the people involved. The role of
the police in a democracy is summed up in Article 1 of the United Nations
Code of Conduct for Law Enforcement Officials as follows:

Law enforcement officials shall at all times fulfil the duty imposed upon
them by law, by serving the community and by protecting all persons against
illegal acts, consistent with the high degree of responsibility required by
their profession.(1)

In stark contrast, a repressive regime with no respect for human rights will
disallow ordinary democratic activity, and will use the law enforcement
agencies to stifle dissent and opposition. The law enforcement agencies will
themselves become the main human rights violators and a source of fear for
those being targeted. A state in which this situation prevails is described
pejoratively as "a police state".

The last time the Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum issued a specific report
concerning the conduct of members of the Zimbabwe Republic Police [ZRP] was
in 2003.(2) In that report the Forum made serious allegations about the
involvement of the ZRP in torture. The 2003 report was based on reports that
the Forum and its member organisations had received in the period from
January 2001 to August 2002.

The primary focus of the present report is the behaviour by Zimbabwe
Republic Police, although it also touches upon the conduct of other law
enforcement agencies and the conduct on the part of army personnel when
acting in concert with the police force.

This report examines the political environment in which the law enforcement
agencies have been operating in Zimbabwe since 2000. It explores the extent
to which the law enforcement agencies have become instruments of state
repression, and the extent to which the abuses by these agencies are
officially condoned, sanctioned or encouraged by their commanders and by the
political leaders under whose auspices these agencies operate. As the title
of this report indicates, the main issue is: "who guards the guards?"
Applied to the law enforcement agencies 2002 (2003 Harare,). the question
is: who will guard against abuse of the vast powers possessed by members of
law enforcement agencies?

The report explores these issues by making use of the data collected to date
by the Human Rights NGO Forum.

The main conclusions of the present report are that:

- The law enforcement agencies are a major source of human rights abuses in
Zimbabwe;

- These agencies are being used to help the ruling party, ZANU (PF), to
suppress opposition and retain power;

- When these agencies operate in conjunction with the army, there are often
increased levels of brutality;

- Statements made by high-ranking members of the ruling party encourage the
law enforcement agencies to perpetrate these abuses and it can be argued
that the widespread abuses are state sponsored or at least condoned;

- The protection of the law has in many cases been denied to those
considered hostile to ZANU (PF);

- For these persons the law enforcement agencies have become an instrument
of violence against them rather than an institution that offers them
protection. They live in fear of the very agencies that are supposed to
protect them;

- On the other hand, the perpetrators of abuses against these persons have
often been immune from legal responsibility for their actions, and this
impunity encourages them to continue to commit abuses.

Notes:

(1) This Code was adopted by General Assembly Resolution 34/169 of 17
December 1979.

(2) See Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum Torture by State Agents in Zimbabwe:
January 2001 to August 2002 (2003 Harare,).


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Zimbabwe: Where only the Voice of the State is needed

American Chronicle

Scott A. Morgan

Scott Morgan is a Human Rights Activist and Commentor on US Policy in
Africa.

January 9, 2007
One of the most underused quotes by Napeleon is that four hostile newspapers
are to be feared more than thousands of bayonets. It appears that the rulers
in Harare believe that hostile newspapers should be silenced by any means
necessary.

Any means necessary is a wide ranging concept. In the past Intimidation of
Journalists have occured at the hands of the police. Photographers have had
equipment destroyed and film exposed. On more than one occasion legal action
was taken to force newspapers that dared to expose what was really happening
there to close.

The list of victims is long. First target of Oppression was the Daily News.
After a protracted legal struggle that saw editorial staff arrested, the
Offices of the Paper invaded by the Police and the Courts demanding the
Paper be allowed to Publish despite the refusal of the Government the paper
ceased publication and for a while moved outside the country before
disbanding.

Then in a move that reminded some of the actions of a repressive South
Africa of the 1970s, The Central Intelligence Organization which is the main
Intelligence Gathering body for the country bought interests into other
Newspapers such as the Financial Gazette. This allowed them access to
whomever was writing letters of discontent.

And now the most recent action taken by this despotic regime is unreal.
There is a law within Zimbabwe that only allows Media Interests to be owned
by Zimbabweans. This law which is Xenophobic at best was designed to be a
tool to create a Homogenous Business Climate.

This time the targets are the Standard and Independent. Both journals
publish once a week and are the only remaining critical voices left. And the
charges that the owner of the Paper Trevor Ncube is a Zambian and not from
Zimbabwe is just another tactic used to silence any criticism.

So if these papers close down that means the only voices that are reporting
the news and offering Opinion are State Controlled Outlets. This not not
healthy in a Democratic State but in what appears to be an autocratic State
like Zimbabwe its Business as Usual. So when these journals close it will be
a sad day for Freedom of Expression.


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Muddying the waters

Mining Weekly

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Illegal artisanal mining and prospecting is polluting the waters of the
Pungue river in Mozambique, affecting the river's ecosystem, animal life
along its banks, and endangering the supply of water to the local
population. This has been revealed by Manica provincial governor Raimundo
Diomba - Manica being one of the provinces through which the Pungue flows.
Diomba stated that the river banks and bed were being subjected to a
"predatory" search for gold, causing continuous pollution of the river. One
of the biggest problems is the illegal entry into the country of Zimbabwean
artisanal miners, who find it very easy to cross the frontier as it is
unguarded. So far, 31 Zimbabwean illegal miners have been intercepted,
arrested, and deported, while another two have been killed. The provincial
government is studying means of both alerting the local public to the
problem and actively countering the illegal operations. One of the options
is an appeal to the Army to deploy troops to protect the area, however, it
is recognised that the fight against illegal mining will be a long one.


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Chinhoyi Residents Go Without Water for Two Weeks



The Herald (Harare)

January 10, 2007
Posted to the web January 10, 2007

Chinhoyi

SOME parts of Chinhoyi have gone for two weeks without water while some
suburbs have been receiving erratic supplies forcing residents to fetch
untreated water from Hunyani River.

Residents in the affected areas had a bleak holiday.

Chinhoyi town clerk Mr Orbert Muzawazi said the water disruptions were a
result of a breakdown of pumps at the town's water works before the festive
season.

"We tried to augment pumping at the old water works by moving a pump to the
old water works but one of the motors was struck by lightning which
compounded the situation," said Mr Muzawazi.

When council moved the pumps to the water works, he said one of the
transformers had no oil and had been vandalised, causing further delays.

The most affected areas are Chikonohono, Katanda, Brundish, parts of
Hunyani, Mzari and White City.

Some residents in the affected areas have resorted to fetching untreated
water from Hunyani River, which is heavily polluted upstream from effluent
coming from Harare and other towns.

Mr Muzawazi said council could not locate the companies that repair pumps
and motors during the holiday as they had closed down.

"We could not get the pumps fixed during the holiday because Alstom
Engineering Company, which specialises in the repair and rewinding of motors
and pumps, had gone for their annual shutdown," he said.

He, however, said the situation would improve and return to normal within a
few days as the company was expected to attend to the pumps yesterday.

Residents said the situation had been neglected for a long time and council
should move swiftly to avert a possible disease outbreak.

"They have to address the situation quickly because we have endured for a
long time in silence. We have not been having a decent bath lately and not
to mention the health threat the situation is posing on us residents
especially children," said Mr James Kanduna of Chikonohono.

Council has moved fire tenders to ameliorate the situation on high gradient
areas such as Chikonohono and White City.

Mr Muzawazi said council would continue to ration water until all reservoirs
had gained and this meant supplies would be disconnected at 8pm and
reconnected at 6am before it was disconnected again at 9am.


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Zimsec Hit By Low Marker Turnout Over Payment



The Herald (Harare)

January 10, 2007
Posted to the web January 10, 2007

Harare

LOW turnout by markers owing to poor payment rates by the Zimbabwe School
Examinations Council has seen the few examiners failing to meet the December
marking deadline.

Most teachers for Ordinary Level and Advanced Level refused to mark this
year's public examinations saying Zimsec was offering unreasonable wages.

This has seen the examinations body failing to meet the December marking
deadline.

Zimsec director Mr Happy Ndanga said they reviewed upwards the marking rates
for the examiners and payment would begin next Friday.

He could not, however, be drawn into saying what the new rates were.

"Examination marking rates were reviewed upwards, Zimsec has finalised the
payment process. Examiners are encouraged to check with their respective
banking institutions for their money as from 12 January 2007," said Mr
Ndanga.

Markers who spoke to The Herald said they had been advised that their
payment would now be $150, up from the initial $70 per script.

This has, however, not gone down well with markers who wanted the money to
be at least $200 per script.

They said they were further advised that they would be paid 70 percent of
the total amount now, with the balance set to be paid around March.

Mr Ndanga conceded that the examinations body had not met its marking
deadline.

"The failure by examiners to meet the set deadline could be attributed to
the low examiner turnout during the December 2006 marking session," he said.

Concern has already been raised on the quality of the output as some
observers indicated that the low turnout might strain the markers, thereby
compromising quality.

Some stakeholders have also anticipated a delay in the release of results
this year, something Mr Ndanga has dismissed.

"Please note that normal marking procedures apply regardless of the number
of examiners to ensure the quality of marking is not compromised," said Mr
Ndanga.

"Examination results will be released as planned unless the council faces
unforeseen challenges."

Zimsec has in the past been dogged by exam leaks, among other
irregularities, raising concern over the examinations body's capacity to run
public exams.

"Examination question papers are always guarded by State and Zimsec security
details," he said.


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MDC to hold crucial executive meetings



MDC INFORMATION & PUBLICITY
National Headquarters
Harvest House
Harare
Tel 091 940 489, 091 850 556 email : mdcnewsbrief@gmail.com, website:
www.mdczw.org

The MDC will this Friday, 12 January, hold two crucial executives meetings
to deliberate on the national crisis and to define the political framework
for 2007.

On Friday morning, the party will hold a national executive meeting, which
comprises 48 members from the standing committee and the various party
secretaries. The national council, comprising the national executive,
representatives from the women and youth assemblies and representatives from
the all the 12 administrative provinces will confer in the afternoon on
issues ranging from the deteriorating national crisis to internal party
matters.

The MDC is aware that the national crisis has reached alarming levels; the
people are struggling to make ends meet and to put food on their table; the
cost of living has skyrocketed beyond the people's means while inflation
continues to eat into the people's incomes.

On top of the agenda on Friday will be the regime's decision to postpone
suffering, tyranny and oppression to 2010. The party will also deliberate on
the operational framework of the party's political agenda. This year is the
year of change and the MDC will discuss the consolidation of the unfinished
democratic resistance agenda as a necessary process to make the regime
accept the need for sweeping political reforms which include a new, people
driven Constitution, free an fair elections under international supervision,
a reconstruction and stabilization programme in a post-transitional era.

The people are determined to save Zimbabwe. The MDC leadership recognizes
its national obligation and duty to lead the process of delivering change to
the people of Zimbabwe. We recognize that we carry the nation's hope for a
new Zimbabwe and a new beginning. 2007 is a watershed year.

Nelson Chamisa, MP
Secretary for Information and Publicity


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Mahoso fails to submit MIC's audited accounts

New Zimbabwe

By Lebo Nkatazo
Last updated: 01/10/2007 22:35:08
ZIMBABWE'S media hangman Tafataona Mahoso has failed to submit the Media and
Information Commission's (MIC) audited accounts to Parliament since its
creation in violation of the country's Audit and Exchequer Act, it emerged
Tuesday.

A schedule by the Parliamentary Public Accounts Committee shows that the MIC
is one of the government bodies and ministries that had failed to submit
their
reports to Parliamentarians despite approving its budgetary allocations.

Last year, two MIC workers who were suspended by Mahoso claimed during a
hearing in the presence of other commissioners that Mahoso had abused MIC
funds.

The abuse included paying lawyers for personal matters using the media
body''s
funds.


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SA group plans massive platinum production in Zimbabwe

Business in Africa

Published: 10-JAN-07

Harare - South Africa's Impala Platinum Holdings (Implats) said Tuesday it
planned to increase the mineral's output in Zimbabwe to around one million
ounces per year in the next few years from the current 100,000 ounces.

Implats is the biggest platinum producer in Zimbabwe, which has the second
largest reserves of the mineral in the world after South Africa.

Implats Group chief executive David Brown said production at the company's
two mines in Zimbabwe would shortly be beefed up to 450,000 ounces per
annum, and later more than doubled to one million ounces after a series of
planned investments.

"Zimbabwe represents very significant growth for us, the organic growth in
the company, which could rise to a million ounces a year," he said.

"We don't have any reason to doubt our opportunities there," he added.

The company has announced investment plans worth around $1bn in Zimbabwe,
but has been unsettled by government threats to take over stakes of up to 50
percent in foreign-controlled mining ventures in the country as part of an
empowerment programme.

Brown said Implats and the government were discussing the threats with the
authorities.

"We have an ongoing dialogue," he said.-panapress


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SA deports 80 000 Zimbabweans

From The Daily Mirror, 10 January

Paidamoyo Muzulu

South Africa deported about 80 000 Zimbabweans, including 950 unaccompanied
minors, between May and end of December 2006, according to the International
Organisation for Migration (IOM). The figures were recorded at the
Beitbridge IOM Reception and Support Centre established in May last year to
help rehabilitate returnees by incorporating them back into society. Dyane
Epstein, the IOM official based at the Harare Office, told The Daily Mirror
that the centre was created out of dialogue among IOM, Zimbabwean and South
African government officials. "Among other components is a blue print for a
Reception and Support Centre for returned migrants offering food, shelter,
counselling and a plethora of information for returnees on HIV, safe
migration and support was created," Epstein said. She explained that the IOM
lobbied authorities for improved conditions of returned immigrants. "Once
returned to their countries, however, IOM believes some form of
reintegration assistance forms an integral part of the migration process,"
Epstein said. "Assistance to returned migrants after arrival varies from
country to country world-wide and may include assistance to start small
businesses, education, training among other things."

Of the 80 000 deported immigrants, just over 39 000 chose to receive some
form of assistance from the IOM at the Beitbridge centre. "The assistance
given ranged from a hot meal, transportation assistance in Zimbabwe for
those who wish to travel home, a medical assessment and where necessary
referrals for further treatment. "The centre also provides overnight
shelter, counselling and safe migration advice, new start vouchers for
voluntary counselling and testing for HIV," Epstein said. The deportees
receive a food pack while children's centre was also built at Beitbridge,
providing additional care and protection for unaccompanied kids. "The
Children's Centre is operated by UNICEF and Save the Children Norway in
co-ordination with the Zimbabwean Social Welfare ministry. It provides
health, counselling as well as tracing and reunification services. Since
July last year the centre has assisted almost 950 unaccompanied minors,"
Epstein said. The Beitbridge Centre is the first of its kind in Africa and
offers vital services for people who were too often overlooked previously.

The IOM said Beitbridge Border Post handled more than 97 000 deportees from
South Africa in 2005. The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) estimates there are
1,2 million Zimbabweans living in South Africa. Most of them work in the
mining and agricultural sectors were those without the right or any
documentation usually become vulnerable to exploitation and abuse. Close to
3 million Zimbabweans live in the Diaspora for varying reasons that ranging
from political asylum, economic refugees while others are seeking education
or better employment opportunities, according to 2002 census. Economists
cite the deteriorating economic conditions in the country as pushing most of
the immigrants to look for greener pastures. Zimbabwe's economy has
contracted by more than 60 percent in the last six years with inflation
rising from double to four digits.


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Sanef slams Zim 'media threat'

IOL

††††††††† January 10 2007 at 06:28PM

††††† Zimbabwe's attempt to strip newspaper publisher Trevor Ncube of his
citizenship threatened the ownership of his newspapers and media freedom,
the South African National Editors' Forum (Sanef)
††††† warned on Wednesday.

††††† The Zimbabwe government is preventing Ncube from renewing his
passport, claiming he is not a Zimbabwe citizen - a charge he contests.

††††† The action was "a serious inroad in what is left of media freedom in
Zimbabwe and Ncube's personal freedom", Sanef chairperson Ferial Haffajee
and Sanef media freedom sub-committee convenor
††††† Raymond Louw said in a joint statement.

††††† "Ncube states that he has been informed that the government's conduct
has been approved 'at the highest level' - which means that it has the
support of President Robert Mugabe whose abysmal

††††† vernance of Zimbabwe has been vigorously criticised by Ncube's papers,
the Zimbabwe Independent and The Standard, the last independent papers in
that country.

††††† "This can only mean that Mugabe wants to close down the papers or to
change their critical stance by forcing on them a new ownership structure
more supportive of him."

††††† Haffajee and Louw said loss of citizenship would mean that Ncube could
own only a 40 percent share in his newspapers, which meant control would
pass from him.

††††† They dismissed Zimbabwe's state-appointed Media and Information
Commission's assurances that the papers would be allowed to continue
publishing, saying the laws against foreign ownership would prevail so
Ncube's papers would be unlikely to continue their critical role.

††††† Sanef raised concern that the action could also impact on South
Africa's Mail & Guardian weekly newspaper, which Ncube publishes and
Haffajee edits, and other media institutions in which Ncube is involved.

††††† "Sanef supports Ncube in his endeavours to obtain legal redress
through the Zimbabwe High Court, but believes the proper course of action
would be for the government to give him his passport, stop
††††† interfering with his freedom of movement and to leave his papers
alone." - Sapa


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Zimbabwe vows to eradicate illicit arms deals

People's Daily

Zimbabwe is committed to the eradication of the illicit trade in small arms
and light weapons and will play its role to effect controls on the movement
of such weapons, an official said on Tuesday.

Zimbabwe Defence Industries general manager Tshinga Dube said Zimbabwe
appreciated that most of the armed conflicts in Africa were a result of
uncontrolled illicit trade in small arms and light weapons.

"The proliferation of small arms has caused untold suffering to many peoples
of Africa," he said, adding many of the conflicts were caused by rebels
whose sources of arms were questionable.

Zimbabwe is a signatory to the United Nations Convention on the Prohibition
or Restrictions on the Use of Certain Conventional Weapons, which requires
member states to put in place measures to control the movement and use of
such weapons.

Illicit trade in small arms and light weapons has assisted in fanning civil
strife on the African continent in such countries as Sierra Leone, Liberia,
Chad, Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo, where millions of innocent
civilians have either been maimed or killed in the conflicts.

Experts estimate that more than 600 million small arms and light weapons are
in circulation world-wide. Sources include but are not limited to illicit
brokering, weapons left over from conflicts, illicit manufacturing, leakages
from military and police stockpiles, smuggling and theft.

South Africa is one of the countries in the world with a high crime rate
owing to a proliferation of such weapons, which are used in the commission
of such crimes as robberies, car jacking and thefts.

Dube said there was need for the public in Zimbabwe to be aware of issues
involving weapons control as the world was living under the constant threat
of a holocaust from both small and sophisticated weapons.

Zimbabwe has always implemented watertight measures to control movement of
such weapons and adherence to the End User Certificate for both importers
and exporters of weapons, Dube.

Source: Xinhua


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Open Letter To UK Parliament From Canada

Zimbabwejournalists.com

By Andrew M Manyevere

THE Honourable Speaker of the house, Her Majesty the Queen of the United
Kingdom of England and Ireland, the Prime Minister of the UK, Honorable
Members of the House.

It is unusual norm for the house to be addressed from outside, by citizens
of former colonial territories on irritating subject that is becoming an
ordinary chit chat talk in the corridors of all world bodies with little
substantive action at all: But may be warranting now.

When independence was granted to Zimbabwe in April 1980, it was known to the
British that the then leader of Zanla forces, comrade Robert Mugabe was a
vowed Marxist-Leninist Socialist in theory, and the practice was yet to be
seen coming.

It can also be admitted that the pronouncement of a Reconciliation chit chat
statement, which was either passed into a policy, or a substantive document
of government; made the British government relax their guard against
eventualities of the possible poor governance approach, as currently
unfolding in Zimbabwe.

It is easy for the British Parliament to take cover under pretext of none
interference in a sovereign state; but it can always be assumed that the
responsibility to act on the general demands of the citizens of a country
for help to achieve democracy, should be more respected, than waiting until
force is used to overthrow a government.

Whether we like it or not, apportioning blame on either the UK or
Zimbabweans for having employed delayed tactics or evaded a direct
engagement with tyrants to put an end on tyrannical games in Zimbabwe, will
be very unfortunate and only comparable to the circumstances that surrounded
the Rwanda tragedy.

Zimbabwe government has failed to run a democracy and subsequently every
tenet of democracy is suffering, with the people and human rights abuses
taking the front line crisis precipitating a political decay, immorality and
corruption.

Incidentally this brings collapse to the country from the roots to every
branch of government and civic bodies as well as churches. The moral fabric
of the country is eroded.

The British government has been like a Doctor with a cure for cancer, who
however pretends he has to ask the patient's opinion, when fully aware that
time is running out for the patient to soon die.

The debates in parliament are very educative on how sympathetic the British
society is becoming on ordinary Zimbabweans incurring the wrath of a
political maniac. However, that in it self will not bring sanity to Robert
Mugabe or his cabinet, who appear hell bent on using every piece of
force-power they have to ruin the country to its last vestiges of decay and
decadent.

REQUEST AND RECOMMENDED ACTION.

You may ask, but what next then, you Zimbabwean? Surely it is as easy as the
millions of dollars which are used by the UN in keeping peace instead of
preventing that messy from the outset.

What can the UN pride itself in, if not to SUPERVISE an intimidation free
election, as well as to make sure that transition is also supervised or
else, whoever wins elections will wake up in the rusting oven of Zanu-Pf
army sycophants. Zanu PF has created a Zanurized/politicized army. The
thoughts on what the Parliament of Her Majesty's Government aught to spend
her money and energy debating on Zimbabwe issues are as follows:

1. Influence the world body to allocate a budget to put up a contingency
task force which will supervise an election in Zimbabwe under a free and
fair atmosphere.

2. Zimbabwe parliament and Parliamentarians should be dissolved as prelude
to transition.

3. Political parties existing for five years and above, with ten or more
members representing their constituencies in Parliament should be admitted
to contest in the forthcoming Internationally Supervised Elections.

4. Involving all stakeholders, set aside a date for the country to have all
Zimbabweans, where ever they are, to participate in this International
Supervised Election and rest the people choice over governance once and for
all.

5. Allow a twelve months transition, to remove the dirty influence of fear
implanted by Zanu-Pf and to allow political parties to educate the people
for once on the evils of tyranny irrespective of who comes to power.

COLLABORATIVE SUPPORT TO RECOMMENDATIONS.

Zimbabweans are known for breeding opposition political parties therefore
opening ground for more political parties in order to register them for
contest, could drain useful funds from the fiscus unduly. We must accept
that political party formation for Zimbabweans is just a futile gift, most
probably a notable setback to effecting change on Mugabe and cohorts so far
used by Zanu-pf against its opponents.

The nature of divisions now surfacing in the Zanu-Pf itself show that scales
will change with the departure of Robert Mugabe, be it through natural cause
or any other method.

The desires for power among Zimbabweans today shows too how naÔve

every one assumes that Zimbabweans are stupid, and that once in power, they
can employ again Mugabe styles and perpetuate the legacy of Zanu-Pf.
Consider the Stockholm syndrome study of fear and begin to realize that your
talk each day in Parliament baptizes Mugabe's illegitimacy into legitimacy.

If surely you will want Zimbabweans not to be a burden for your country, as
it turns out to be currently, do something practical.

Repeatedly, through a democratic means of elections in an undemocratic
atmosphere, Zimbabweans have shown the world that they are mature to
understand and use tenets of democracy, were it not for obtrusive methods
Mugabe employs to stay in power.

Needless to refer to the brutal attack by Robert Mugabe and his cronies at
lawful initiatives by Zimbabweans to have people claim socio-political
rights democratically, which have been met with unequaled force and
brutality.

We must insist that the sanctions as currently designed will soon have no
effect at all but to bless the mooted Zanu-Pf reform at

the expense of real peace in Zimbabwe.

You claim to have taught us democracy but you deny us to practice democracy,
when we ask you to kindly set an atmosphere conducive to the holding of a
free and fair election.

All provisions of the UN, AU, SADC and any organization with political
sanity have been trashed to the dust bin by President Robert Mugabe and his
party, who behave like they are outside planet earth. Your patience does not
teach us democracy but duplicity.

Generations and generations of Zimbabweans shall never forget this, which
while you debated in Her Majesty Parliament in UK; thousands of Zimbabweans
perished much under pretext of HIV/AIDS virus.

While that may be true, have you ever quantified the toll Mugabe's poor
governance has contributed to overall depression, stress and inhumanity in
the country and outside?

One day when society wishes to do better research oriented to human life
saving, it will be found that depression, stress and inhumanity contributes
high to causes of death than aids, which can be fairly managed under happy
conditions. Zimbabwe has an exaggerated HIV/AIDS virus picture which tent to
glorify Mugabe's nonsense mismanagement of the economy.

If the world is driving to instigate another Rwanda opportunity for gun
manufacturers to make millions out of human life, it is unforgivable and
hypocritical of human rights show manifested at many sessions. The Empire of
Her Majesty's government should show her influence on matters of human
rights in former territories where these political leaders are typically
influenced from her civilization.

Sincerely,

Andrew M Manyevere.

Human Rights and Political Analyst.

Toronto Canada


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MDC defends the right to strike!

MDC INFORMATION & PUBLICITY

Harvest House
Harare
Tel 091 940 489, 091 850 556†† email :mdcnewsbrief@gmail.com

Strikes a vote of no confidence in the Zanu PF regime

The strikes by doctors and at ZESA as well as the go-slow in the schools,
the police force and† the army reflect a serious national paralysis authored
and orchestrated by the Zanu PF regime.

As a labour-backed party, the MDC supports the basic freedoms of workers to
engage in collective job action and to express their discontent. At the core
of our social democracy philosophy is the respect of the working people and
their inalienable right to demand a living wage and better working
conditions. We stand in solidarity with the interests of the workers and the
right to strike, which is not negotiable.

The strikes in the civil service and the time bomb of general disgruntlement
in critical parastatals, industry and the whole country reflect a vote of no
confidence in the Zanu PF regime. They reflect a rejection of Zanu PF's
sterile agenda of postponing misery and looting to 2010. They reflect the
national sentiment that postponing Presidential elections is postponing
tyranny and oppression. The strikes reflect a government that has basically
collapsed. They reflect policies and systems that have dismally failed at a
time when the suffering people of Zimbabwe desperately need efficient
services in health, education and other critical sectors.

The MDC laments the humanitarian crisis that the regime has caused by
refusing to address the grievances of the striking workers. The regime must
be held accountable for the human, financial and social cost of these work
stoppages. Lives have been unnecessarily lost in our hospitals, power
shortages have cost this nation millions of dollars in lost production,
there is strained service delivery in all sectors of the economy while
morale is at an all time low among the country's teachers, soldiers,
policemen and the entire civil service in general due to poor salaries and
dismal working conditions.

Ordinary Zimbabweans are struggling to bring food to their table. Pensioners
are receiving pitiful monthly amounts of about $12 000. The majority of our
people have resorted to selling goats, cattle and other personal belongings
to meet the escalating cost of their children's basic right to education.
School fees and levies have shot up to unaffordable levels and most parents
cannot simply afford to discharge of their basic obligation to educate their
children.† Such is the cost of the dictatorship, which has failed to address
the visible signs of collapse that have engulfed our troubled nation.

The MDC believes that no worker should be dismissed for expressing
themselves. We condemn the victimization of doctors and ZESA workers for
exercising their democratic right to articulate their grievances through
collective job action.

The strikes and protests are danger-warning signs, which can only be ignored
at the risk of a full-scale national expression of discontent. In the very
near future, these seemingly scattered protests shall catalyse into a bigger
and more comprehensive national programme to achieve change and a new
Zimbabwe. The simple message coming from the people is that the nation is
restless for change. The crisis is now realizing its gestation period. It is
time for delivery. We need to deliver a new Zimbabwe. The national chorus
for change has engulfed the nation and the demise of the dictatorship is
inevitable.

Ours is simply a crisis of governance and a leadership paralysis that
requires a comprehensive political solution. The regime should be forced to
embrace sweeping political reforms that include a new, people-driven
Constitution, free and fair elections under international supervision, a
reconstruction and stabilization programme in a post-transitional era.
Zimbabwe deserves nothing less. 2007 is the year of action, the year of
galvanizing all democratic forces, Zimbabweans in and outside the country to
reclaim their destiny.

Nelson Chamisa, MP
Secretary for Information and Publicity


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Department Reports Outbreaks of Lumpy Skin Disease, Anthrax



The Herald (Harare)

January 10, 2007
Posted to the web January 10, 2007

Harare

THE Veterinary Services Department has reported outbreaks of lumpy skin
disease across the whole country while anthrax has been reported in
Mashonaland East and Masvingo provinces.

In an interview on Monday, acting principal director in the department, Dr
Unesu Ushewokunze-Obatolu, said anthrax cases had been reported in Hwedza,
which she described as a traditional area for the disease, Musami and Chivi.

"Although I do not have the exact figures of animals that have succumbed to
the disease, I can confirm that there has been fresh anthrax outbreaks apart
from the ones which we recorded in Goromonzi in December last year," said Dr
Ushewokunze-Obatolu.

She said efforts to contain the outbreak were being hampered by lack of
foreign currency to import the anthrax vaccine. Cases of livestock
succumbing to lumpy skin disease have been recorded countrywide.

Dr Ushewokunze-Obatolu said the situation was being worsened by the fact
that farmers were failing to immunise their livestock against the disease.

She stressed that it was farmers' responsibility to do so.

She added that some farmers were importing lumpy skin vaccines from South
Africa, which she said was not the ideal situation as local companies were
supposed to do so. Dr Ushewokunze-Obatolu said tick-borne diseases such as
redwater and heartwater were also taking a toll on the national herd due to
increased tick activity with the advent of the summer season.

In December last year, three people and an undisclosed number of livestock
were reported to have died from anthrax in Goromonzi.


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Zimbabwe Cricket names six uncapped players for World Cup

Zim Online

Thursday 11 January 2007

††††† HARARE - Zimbabwe Cricket has named six uncapped players in a
provisional 30-man squad for the World Cup set for the West Indies in March,
with Charles Coventry's inclusion a pleasant surprise after he turned his
back on national duty last year.

††††† However, there was no place for former captains Heath Streak and
Tatenda Taibu or any other experienced players who walked out on Zimbabwe in
acrimonious circumstances.

††††† There was widespread speculation Streak and Taibu might find the lure
of the World Cup irresistible and return to Zimbabwe duty.

††††† The 23-year-old Coventry had vowed not to play for Zimbabwe again as
long as coaches Kevin Curran and Andy Pycroft were involved in the game
following a misunderstanding during a tour of the West Indies last April.

††††† The big-hitting batsman, with two Tests and 11 ODIs, left to play club
cricket in England but no sooner had he returned to domestic cricket with
Bulawayo Athletic Club was he in trouble for indiscipline last month.

††††† However, Zimbabwe Cricket, desperate for performers, included Coventry
in the preliminary squad for the World Cup.

††††† Opening batsmen Terrence Duffin and Vusumuzi Sibanda are back in the
national side after missing last month's disastrous tour of Bangladesh.

††††† Sibanda has been playing club cricket in Australia, while Duffin was
nursing an injury.

††††† Seamer Tawanda Mupariwa, who has been recuperating from a knee injury,
was the other notable inclusion.

††††† Graeme Cremer, Tendai Chisoro, Trevor Garwe, Tinashe Hove, Friday
Kasteni and Timycen Maruma - who have all not played ODI cricket - were
included in the provisional squad.

††††† The rest of the squad was predictable, with skipper Prosper Utseya,
Hamilton Masakadza, Sean Williams, Stuart Matsikenyeri, Gary Brent and
Brendan Taylor likely to form the nucleus of the team.

††††† According to the ICC Cricket World Cup regulations, all the
participating countries should, in the first instance, have registered a
30-man squad by Saturday.

††††† Zimbabwe play Bangladesh in a four-match ODI series early next month
before the final World Cup squad is named.

††††† "Because that squad is not final, a player or players not in the
initial list can still be added to the group because the composition of the
30-man squad is open to change until the 13th of February 2007 when it
should be trimmed to the final 15 who will then go to the global cricket
showcase," Zimbabwe Cricket said in a statement.

††††† Zimbabwe provisional squad:

††††† Prosper Utseya, Gary Brent, Chamunorwa Chibhabha, Elton Chigumbura,
Tendai Chisoro, Charles Coventry, Graeme Cremer, Keith Dabengwa, Terrence
Duffin, Trevor Garwe, Ryan Higgins, Tinashe Hove, Anthony Ireland, Tafadzwa
Kamungozi, Friday Kasteni, Blessing Mahwire, Timycen Maruma, Hamilton
Masakadza, Stuart Matsikenyeri, Tinotenda Mawoyo, Christopher Mpofu,
Tafadzwa Mufambisi, Tawanda Mupariwa, Mluleki Nkala, Edward Rainsford,† Piet
Rinke, Vusumuzi Sibanda, Gregory Strydom, Brendan Taylor and Sean
Williams. - ZimOnline


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Kimberly Process Opens Investigations Into Zimbabwe Diamond Flows

VOA

††††† 10 January 2007

Following a complaint from the New York-based World Diamond Council that
gems from Zimbabwe are being exported without certification under the
so-called Kimberly Process, a spokesperson for the European Commission,
which currently chairs the Kimberly Process, confirmed Wednesday an
investigation has been opened.

The allegations as to the contravention of Kimberly Process rules arose in
the context of a dispute over the ownership of a diamond mine in Beitbridge,
Matebeleland South, and another in Marange in eastern Manicaland Province.

The Beitbridge mine was taken over by the River Ranch consortium, of which
former general Solomon Mujuru, husband of Zimbabwean Vice President Joyce
Mujuru, is a principal. The Zimbabwean army seized control of the Marange
mine.

European Commission external relations spokeswoman Emma Udwin told reporter
Blessing Zulu of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that a Kimberly Process
investigation is under way, adding that the Harare government has been
cooperating.

Udwin declined to provide further details on the investigation.


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Job Losses Feared In Restructuring Of Zimbabwe Electric Utility

VOA

††††† By Carole Gombakomba
††††† Washington
††††† 10 January 2007

Management of the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority have confirmed that
a big restructuring of the troubled state enterprise is in store, raising
fears that hundreds of workers could be laid off soon after the resolution
of a worker walkout.

ZESA spokesman James Maridadi confirmed a restructuring is planned, but said
that details would only come from the utility's chairman, Christopher
Chetsanga, who is to hold a news conference next week to outline the
turnaround strategy.

The power company's aging infrastructure has been subject to breakdowns
leading to widespread blackouts and power cuts, obliging ZESA to import
electricity from South Africa, Zambia and other countries in the region,
adding to its financial distress.

Members of the Zimbabwe Electricity and Energy Workers Union said they have
not been informed of the pending restructuring. The ZESA employees who
downed tools last week said they are concerned that retrenchment packages
for those laid off are unlikely to be substantial given the meager wages
they now receive.

Bottom-ranked ZESA workers earn Z$23,000 a month (US$92 at the official
exchange rate or some US$7 at the more commonly applied parallel rate). ZESA
management has offered a 144% pay rise in response to union demands for a
1,000% hike.

Former ZESA chief executive Simbarashe Mangwengwende told reporter Carole
Gombakomba of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that restructuring is unlikely to
solve the massive problems besetting the country's electric utility.


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Cost of AIDS Treatment Rises Out Of Reach Of Many Zimbabweans

VOA

††††† By Jonga Kandemiiri
††††† Washington
††††† 10 January 2007

Zimbabweans are absorbing the latest surge in inflation to a 1,181% annual
rate, but for some of those living with HIV-AIDS the rise in prices is
particularly disturbing as the recent doubling in price of antiretroviral
drugs has put them out of reach of many.

About 50,000 Zimbabweans are enrolled in government and other ARV drug
therapy programs. But many of those infected with the virus and starting to
see their immune systems collapse must purchase the drugs from private
pharmacies.

Those who need to take ARVs to defend their immune systems must pay Z$60,000
to Z$150,000 a month depending on what specific drugs they are taking.
Common ARVs like Lamavatin, Viagin and Keltrat doubled in price in the past
10 days as druggists raised local currency prices to reflect the mounting
cost of importing the drugs.

National Director Benjamin Mazhindu of the Zimbabwe Network of People Living
Positively with HIV and AIDS said ARV prices are beyond reach of many.

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