The ZIMBABWE Situation Our thoughts and prayers are with Zimbabwe
- may peace, truth and justice prevail.

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Sent: Saturday, January 01, 2005 4:36 PM
Subject: Nsingo

Phillip Nsingo

That name will mean nothing to you, but Phillip died on Tuesday morning in
Bulawayo General Hospital. He was the builder in my small group of companies
and had worked for me for 10 years. He was 35 years old.

What concerns me is that his story is so typical of the life that ordinary,
hardworking, Zimbabweans experience every day. His story is totally
anonymous and will never be reported on in any publication or in any of the
electronic media. But to us he was a friend, an honest and reliable employee
and a character in many ways.

He was an Ndebele; his forefathers came to this part of the continent in
1820 as refugees fleeing the might and wrath of Shaka Zulu and the Mfecane
in South Africa. He was a tall angular man who in a different time would
have made a superb Ndebele soldier with a cow hide shield as tall as himself
and the classical short stabbing spear and perhaps a few fighting sticks.
With his Impi he would have made up a formidable fighting force capable of
running many miles in a day and completely fearless when confronted with an
enemy or a predator. Philip's ancestors terrorized the whole of central
Africa until the white man arrived in significant numbers in 1890.

In those days Phillip would have joined an Impi when he turned 15, become a
man when he had bloodied his spear and married when his Impi had served the
King in a manner that earned them the right to marry. He would have probably
been dead by the age of 35 at the very outside.

But Phillip was born in the Rhodesian era and lived through independence in
1980 and finished school and then went to train as a bricklayer. He obtained
a certificate when he was just turning 22 and went to work as a builder.
Eventually he went on his own and specialized in general jobbing. He could
turn his hand to anything.

He married when he had enough money to pay Lobola and he and his wife had
two children - he was a devoted father, drank to excess on a Friday night
but other than that he looked after his family and that included his mother
in the South East of the country in a rural village.

Then the first tragedy struck. I do not know when it happened, perhaps on a
Friday night at a job away from his family, but Phillip contracted HIV. He
communicated it to his young wife and for a few years they knew little of
what was now in their lives. Then his wife fell ill. Nothing serious
initially but she never seemed to fully recover.

Phillip spent everything he earned on doctors, hospitals and then
traditional healers. It made no difference.  She gradually deteriorated
until she could no longer look after the children and had to be taken home
to her rural village where her own mother cared for her until she died at
the age of 30 years.

Phillip then moved the two children to his own Mother's kraal and he paid a
substantial sum to the family of his wife for this right - otherwise they
might have taken the children themselves. Phillip then returned to his job
as a builder.

On Christmas eve we took Phillip to the bus station in Bulawayo so that he
could go home with a large quantity of food and some gifts for his family
and the two small children. He was well dressed and looked fit and well. He
was to have two weeks off and was then expected back in Bulawayo to start a
new project.

On Saturday he fell ill - we do not know the details but his family took him
to the local clinic. It was Christmas day and the staff at the Clinic sent
them away saying they "were on holiday". They then put a very sick Phillip
into a donkey cart and rode 27 kilometers to the district hospital. There he
was admitted and spent the night before the staff (one qualified Nurse and
an orderly) told the family they could not help Phillip - there was no
doctor and no medicines. They suggested they take him to Bulawayo General
some 200 kilometers away.

No ambulance so the family - now armed with a letter of referral from the
District Hospital, put Phillip on a bus and then carried him from the side
of the road in Bulawayo to the main hospital complex. It was Monday
afternoon; Phillip could not speak or stand. He was admitted and on Tuesday
a doctor saw him at about 09.00 hrs. He died just afterwards.

I was called and took his brother to the hospital with his identity number.
A death certificate was issued and a burial order made out. The cause of
death "unknown." I said to the nurse on duty that this in my view was a
"sudden death" and therefore should be the subject of an autopsy. They
shrugged this off and said they had no time or staff for such procedures.

We bought a coffin from a local Co-operative and hired a truck to carry his
body home. He was buried in an unmarked grave on Wednesday, 6 days after he
had left us to go home for Christmas. The children are with the grandmother
who must be in her 70's. What lies ahead for just another two small orphan
kids, whose mother died of Aids and whose father died at Christmas time in

We now have a million orphans in Zimbabwe. In some schools 50 per cent of
the students in grade one are orphans. Over 1000 people a day are dying in
Zimbabwe - three quarters of them from diseases and other problems that we
thought we had beaten in the 60's. Now nearly 90 people a day die from
Malaria. 200 a day are diagnosed with Tuberculosis. 700 women die in
childbirth every week and our average life expectancy is lower than it would
have been for Phillip Nsingo's great Grandfather in the 1850's.

For ordinary hard working, honest people like Phillip, life in Zimbabwe has
become hell on earth and is most often short and nasty. We mourn Phillip's
death today - the last day of 2004 and we wonder what 2005 will offer. We
mourn for what we have lost in Zimbabwe and that which has created the
conditions that have made life so difficult for all of us. Only a complete
change of leadership and policies can give us any hope of a better tomorrow.

Eddie Cross

Bulawayo, 31st December 2004
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Sent: Saturday, January 01, 2005 10:16 PM
Subject: Looking for reasons

Dear Family and Friends,
As 2005 begins, I thought I would look back over the last year and as I
did, I wondered which of the highlights I found for each month, would
inspire Zimbabweans to put Zanu PF back into power in the approaching

January 2004 saw inflation hit 622% and international aid organisations
saying that seven and a half million Zimbabweans would need food aid
during the year.

In February 100 people were arrested after demonstrating in Harare for a
new constitution and the only daily independent newspaper, The Daily News
closed down permanently following a Supreme Court ruling.

67 alleged mercenaries were arrested at Harare airport in March and this
story swamped almost all other news during the month. The Zimbabwe
Institute in Cape Town reported that more than 90% of MDC MP's had been
arrested by the present government ; 25% had survived assasination
attempts; 16% had been tortured in police custody and in 616 incidents
recorded, not one perpetrator had been arrested, charged or imprisoned.

In April the UN Human Rights Commission again adopted a No Action Motion
when it came to discussing abuses in Zimbabwe and in that same month 1500
workers and their families were left squatting in the bush after the
government seized Kondozi Farm in Odzi.

May saw Zimbabwe's Minister of Finance being arrested; the Minister of
Education closing 45 private schools and the Minister of Social Welfare
declaring that the country was no longer in need of world food aid.

In June the country's email providers were told they would have to sign
contracts allowing tracing facilities for what the government called
"malicious mails". Vice President Nkomo announced that all farm land was
to be nationalized and parliament passed a Bill allowing the State to
compulsorily acquire farm equipment and material - regardless of whether
or not the owner wanted to sell his personal private property.

July saw the government closing the Tribune newspaper and parliament
passing new detention laws allowing a person to be held by police for 23
days with no rights to either a court appearance or bail appeal.

In August figures were released of 8871 human rights violations that had
been reported and documented in Zimbabwe in the last two years.

September saw 14 people being shot at the Marondera Agricultural Show when
the army staged a mock battle and somehow live bullets were used. During
the month telephone costs increased by 485% and countrywide peasant
farmers were thrown off farms to make way for what the government called
A2 farmers.

In October the South African Trade Union organization COSATU were deported
from Zimbabwe in the middle of the night and dumped at the Beitbridge
border post. 50 WOZA women were arrested for walking 440 kms to protest
the impending NGO BIll.

Life expectancy in Zimbabwe dropped to just 35 years in November 2004 and
the government pushed the NGO Bill into its final stages.

In December, just weeks before the next elections, the new budget was
presented and it awarded just over one billion dollars a day to the
country's secret police. In December 2004, just two days after an
earthquake and Tsunami in the Indian Ocean killed over 125 000 people this
Christmas, President Mugabe, his wife and their two children left for
Malaysia on their annual holiday.

The thoughts, prayers and condolences of Zimbabweans are with all those
who have experienced such devastating loss. Until next week, love cathy.
Copyright cathy buckle, 1st January 2005.
"African Tears" and "Beyond Tears" are available from: ; ;
in Australia and New Zealand: ;

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Pittsburgh Post Gazette

        Editorial: Africa's challenge / A new year is rife with the same old
      Sunday, January 02, 2005

      Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

      First in an occasional series.

      America's involvement in the world is likely to become even more
intense in 2005 than in 2004. The outsourcing of American jobs was a
presidential campaign issue last year. So was America's increasing reliance
on foreigners' purchases of U.S. treasury bonds to finance its budget
deficit. Our annual examination of the issues of the chief regions of the
world could help at this point.

      Africa presents more problems than successes at the beginning of the
year, the worst of them carry-overs from 2004. The Darfur region of western
Sudan is the worst, or at least the most visible, because relief
organizations are bringing the problem to the attention of the world. It is
first and foremost a civil war, a low-intensity conflict that has killed
perhaps 50,000 and uprooted another million.

      Darfur, like two other African conflicts, the Democratic Republic of
Congo and the Ivory Coast, resists solution: Parties to the conflict are
numerous and the area covered is huge; a few African Union and/or United
Nations peacekeepers won't do the trick. Nobody is willing to put in the
troops or resources to bring the Darfur conflict to a close. Ironically, the
other Sudanese conflict, the one between north and south, may be near
completion; an agreement is scheduled to be signed this month.

      Fighting in the Democratic Republic of Congo dating from 1996 has
resumed, or has continued, depending on one's perspective. Claims by relief
organizations of casualties numbering in the millions are wildly
speculative, but are prompted by the sincere horror the war there prompts.
This conflict resists resolution because of the number of parties involved,
including the Congo's neighbors led by Rwanda, and the area and numbers
involved. Congo's population is 50 million, as large as the part of the
United States east of the Mississippi.

      The Ivory Coast, once a showpiece of development and stability in
former French West Africa, proceeded in 2004 down a tragic road of
disintegration that began with a military coup d'etat in 1999. Ivory Coast
is now split between Muslims and Christians, north and south, with the
French standing uncomfortably between them. This conflict, too, has
unleashed waves of refugees into also troubled neighboring countries such as
Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone.

      It wasn't all bad in Africa in 2004. A dozen or so African countries,
including Ghana, Mozambique and Botswana held peaceful, democratic
elections. It may be no accident that those three countries also showed
economic progress in 2004, likely to be sustained in 2005. The year's new
crisis may be in Zimbabwe, scheduled to hold parliamentary elections in
March. ZANU-PF, the ruling party of President Robert Mugabe, 80, has dragged
the country deep into a mire of economic decrepitude, civil rights abuse and
international outcast status. ZANU-PF expects to win again.

      On the positive side, the continent's two giants, South Africa and
Nigeria, were able to hold themselves together and work through the
framework of the new African Union and the New Partnership for Africa's
Development to try to resolve problems and encourage development in other
more troubled countries. Conflicts may be reaching an end in Senegal and
Uganda, as negotiations with rebel groups, including the notoriously vicious
Lord's Resistance Army may be reaching a positive conclusion. The specters
of HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases continue to stalk the continent, but
there is still some reason for hope in all areas.

      America continues to play a minimal role in Africa, except to buy
about 20 percent of U.S. imported oil from its producing countries. Other
than sending some relief aid and encouraging negotiations, the United States
plays no meaningful role in the Sudan, Congo or Ivory Coast conflicts, nor
in heading off the growing storm in Zimbabwe. Although Africans remain
hopeful, this state of affairs is unlikely to change in 2005.
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New Zimbabwe


      Tsholotsho's Robin Hood remains an enigma
      Last updated: 01/02/2005 12:19:52
      ONCE upon a ZANU-PF time, there lived the nuttiest of all professors.
His name was Jonathan Moyo. He lived his short political life by the sword,
lived his political fortunes by the sword, married his political affairs by
the sword and eventually died from his political relevance by the sword.

      Born in the impoverished district of Tsholotsho in Matabeleland North,
Jonathan Moyo had a flirtation with anti-Mugabe politics on his days as a
young lecturer at the University of Zimbabwe. During his tenure as a
venomous critic of the full-time dictator from Zvimba, Jonathan Moyo penned
several articles lamenting Mugabe's dictatorship. The professor was eloquent
and soundly gifted in the use of written English to convey the displeasures
on behalf of the voiceless millions through the pen. He was a great icon of
the new freedom that was beckoning from the horizon.

      When Mugabe's regime ran short of the requisite brains to put together
a new constitution for the country Mugabe plucked Jonathan Moyo from the
oblivion of lectureship at a university in South Africa. Moyo accepted the
appointment, worked with zeal and diligence and his trademark verbosity
slowly found its way into the State-controlled radio stations and
newspapers. When the government sponsored constitutional reform referendum
was held, Moyo's ego was bruised as he suffered defeat at the hands of the
people who were against the final draft.

      What Moyo said after the government lost on the constitutional
referendum catapulted him into the loving and longing arms of Robert Mugabe.
Moyo spoke so condescendingly about the people's folly in voting against his
draft constitution. The people thought it was daft to consider that draft
constitution for adoption as the country's constitution, yet Moyo saw it as
a rejection of an intelligent piece of work from a collection of Zimbabwe's
think tanks with him obviously being the shiniest of them all. On all the
interviews he held, Moyo started singing the political hymns as composed by
Zanu PF and went about preaching the political gospel as offered by Zanu PF

            "Using an endless reservoir of cash, Moyo started buying his way
into the hearts of the people of Tsholotsho; a clinic here, a hospital
there, a bank yonder the hills, a school replete with electricity and
computers hither and a tarred road thither!"
      It was not long before Moyo's eloquence and assertiveness was
exploited by Mugabe. He was drafted into the Zanu PF campaign team for the
2000 Parliamentary elections and the face of politics was never the same! He
attacked everything that stood on the way of Zanu PF with the shock and awe
never seen before. Never the less, Zanu PF won narrowly and Moyo was invited
to the cabinet as Information Minister via a non-constituency MP platter
from Mugabe's gift drawer. True to his wisdom on the power of a free press,
Moyo went around muzzling the independent voices with a magnitude never
envisaged before.

      At one time, he was spotted literally razing to the ground the
antennae of Capitol Radio, a pirate radio station that had been set up as a
probe on the government's tolerance on independent voices. Moyo set himself
on a warpath against the independence of the press. He left his opponents
bruised as he topped-up his performance by promulgating the repressive press
law whose acronym is AIPPA. His best-known scalp after the enactment of
AIPPA was the Daily News whose issue is still haunting both the government
and its owners!

      Tsholotsho was to be Moyo's spring board for his political career
which seemed to have been brought to prominence by Mugabe, the man he had
loathed during his colourful lectureship days at university. He started
concentrating his efforts on winning the hearts of the mournful people of
Tsholotsho. He had to deal with the rough political terrain curved out for
the people of Tsholotsho by the evil Gukurahundi, a killer brigade unleashed
on the people by his party Zanu PF during the dissident era.

      Using an endless reservoir of cash, Moyo started buying his way into
the hearts of the people of Tsholotsho; a clinic here, a hospital there, a
bank yonder the hills, a school replete with electricity and computers
hither and a tarred road thither! He even had the luxury to organise a
lavish beauty contests featuring lasses clad in scanty attire.

      Those who live in Tsholotsho shall die in Tsholotsho, or is it those
who live by the sword? Moyo was only happy to promote his remote Tsholotsho
home area by arranging a high-powered delegation of Zanu PF bigwigs to visit
his bastion of power to-be. People who had previously sent killer soldiers
to kill the people of Tsholotsho sent representatives to Moyo's Indaba at
Tsholotsho. They came, they saw and they were fired! Moyo's political
comfort zone was never the same. He was denied the standing ovation he
commanded in Zanu PF gatherings. His stature was reduced to size. He was
left out in the bitter cold by Mugabe.

      Perhaps Moyo was misunderstood from the beginning. May be he lived
like the worm in an apple, eating away the core; unseen and unsuspected.
Maybe he had a mission to shake the empire from within. He is certainly one
person who will remain an enigma. Perhaps he is one person who would laugh
last with the rest of the people of Zimbabwe when unfettered democracy
comes. Maybe he will tell the free world that his agenda was to destroy Zanu
PF from within. We can only wait for his verbose memoirs to hit the news
stalls and hit the establishment where it pains most. The people of
Tsholotsho may have lost Robin Hood though!

      The sword of Damocles remains hanging above Tsholotsho!
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Enough is Enough



We have a fundamental right to freedom of expression!



Seventh Day of Christmas: Hunger in the City

Sokwanele Reporter: 1 January 2005


The Friday feeding scheme at the City Church began some years ago.  The hungry come from far and wide; some from the neighbourhood, others from a squatter camp many kilometres away; still others from the high density suburbs.  They come... men and women, young, old and middle-aged, mostly black, but, yes, a few whites too.  They hold a “ticket” – a piece of card stamped with the Church stamp, a number in large figures and their name.  The names and numbers are recorded in a book and each week the numbers are called out.  On production of their tickets, they are given about 1 kg of mealie meal (maize meal), and either 100g of kapenta fish, or 500g of dried beans or 100g of mopani worms.  The latter are seasonal – they look repulsive, but are considered a great delicacy.  The names are ticked off once they have received their ration, but even so some try to collect twice!


These people live by their wits.  They have to!  There are frequent stories of tickets “lost” or “stolen” or destroyed by fire, flood or other means.  Often the team running the feeding scheme will replace the “lost” ticket, but two people arriving with the same number is not unknown.  Who is the rightful owner?  The job calls for the wisdom of Solomon – and the patience of Job. On one occasion, just around the corner and out of sight of the Church,  the weekly ration was extracted from the recipient as payment of a lost bet.


On average, food is given to about 150 people each week.  They don’t all come personally.  Some are too old or frail to make the journey and their tickets are brought by children or friends.  Others are lazy and save themselves the trouble by getting someone else to collect for them...but they then have to persuade the recipient to hand it over!


Who are these people?  Let’s meet a few of them at random.


There is Priscilla, a young mother, probably in her twenties.  She has a toddler clinging to her skirt.  He looks about two but is actually four.  She also has twin babies whom she struggles to carry, one on her back and the other on her hip.  They look less than a year old, but are nearly two now, their growth retarded as a result of malnutrition.


Then there is the gentleman who shares the same name as one of Zimbabwe’s more notorious politicians in the bureau of state propaganda.  The contrast could hardly be greater.  The politician sports a Saville Row suit, a new Mercedes and the latest cell phone... and throws his weight around.  His namesake is a real African gentleman, gracious, courteous and helpful.  His clothes are shabby, his shoes worn, but he is always ready to intervene if some of the young men become a bit obstreperous.


Violet is employed as a domestic worker nearby.  Why does she come?  Well, her monthly wage is about Z$100000 (under ten pounds), several of her own children have died of AIDS and she is now trying to support 5 grandchildren.  Her employer will soon move into a retirement village and Violet’s services will no longer be required.  What will she do then?  She is not alone – there are many others in a similar situation.


Patrick is one of the few poor whites who come.  He and his common law coloured “wife” look as though they are well into their sixties, but they probably appear older than they really are.  They live in the car park at the local shops, eking out a living from begging and existing as best they can with a cooking pot and a few blankets between them.  It’s hard when it rains!


Biziwell is the professional con man, but the organizers are wise to him now.  They used to believe every sob story he came up with, but having been taken in many times, now they make sure that he gets his food ration and nothing more .. no money for bus fares home, or medicine, or anything else.  Hard? Yes, but one learns not to be too gullible.


Then there is the one called “Peter” because that’s the name on the card, though in fact Peter is his grandfather.  “Peter” is a little boy and should be in school, but even in term time he comes to collect the food.  There’s probably no money for school fees anyway.


Emma is mentally disabled, but she attends a little school for teenagers who are “academically disadvantaged.”  Her number is 145 but she usually pushes to the front of the queue so that she won’t be too late for school.  Who knows who pays her fees?


Then we have Thomas, who is blind, and Joseph and Margaret and Daisy and Kunda and a hundred others, each with his or her own story of hardship and suffering.  They are amazingly cheerful in spite of it all.


Some people come regularly and then suddenly they are seen no more.  What has happened?  No doubt many of the younger ones have made their way across the border to “greener pastures” in Botswana or South Africa, only to discover that life is bleak there too.  Months later they might reappear, with a vague story about “going home.” Many are HIV positive, and the word goes around, “so-and-so is too sick to come.” Some just disappear and eventually their number is allocated to another.  There is never any shortage of would-be recipients.


Will it ever end?  All the indications are that the situation will get worse before it improves, if it ever does.  Does this Church’s small contribution make any difference? There is the story of the old man and the boy who were walking along a beach cluttered with stranded starfish after a storm.  The boy picked up a starfish from the sand and threw it back in the ocean, then another and another.  The old man chided him, “What difference can you make?  There are thousands of these stranded up and down the beach!”  The child picked up another starfish, tossed it in the ocean and replied, “I made a difference to that one.”  (Told by Joni Eareckson in ‘The God I love.”)


Day 8: 2 January 2005

Our article for the eighth day of Christmas describes how the ZANU-PF government has done everything possible to control all aspects of food supply, culminating in their latest efforts to restrict the activities of NGOs.

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Enough is Enough



We have a fundamental right to freedom of expression!


Eighth Day of Christmas: Voting on an Empty stomach
Sokwanele Reporter: 2 January 2005
Most governments are grateful when their own citizens, or foreign organisations, offer assistance when natural or human-induced disasters result in food deficits.  They accept that they need help and are glad to receive it.  Not so in Zimbabwe.  The government knows that if they do not control the distribution of food, they cannot make use of it to consolidate their political domination.  Sad to say, ZANU PF has realised that it is in their interest to keep the Zimbabwean population starving or near starvation; in that way they can use their ability to supply food to buy compliance. 
Government wants to be the sole distributor of food, and the sole purveyor of knowledge about food supplies. The organisations providing relief, including major international NGOs and churches, are anxious to ensure that Zimbabweans are able to eat and do not have to buy survival at the price of political subservience. Thus the past four years has seen a tug of war between government and non-government humanitarian organisations, both foreign and local, over the supply of food, as well as information about how much food is being produced and is available for consumption
Government is in a sense in a weaker position.  Their own resources and distribution networks which were brought into play in earlier years have all but collapsed, but in any case were never adequate to feed on the massive scale which is now required. The World Food Programme and other large donors are in a position to import food, employ both foreign and local personnel on the ground, and carry out their own distribution.  They work with the communities to identify the families in need, and distribute the food themselves. 
However, this subverts ZANU PF’s strategy of giving food only to their own supporters. So they have become increasingly vocal in criticising donors, accusing them of assisting the opposition. Under a barrage of invective, NGOs and churches were required to sign agreements, known as Memorandums of Understanding, with the local authorities, to be allowed to distribute food aid.  Credit goes to hundreds of patient NGO administrators who persevered through many hours negotiating with demigods at local level, whether party bosses, war vets, local administrators, or army personnel, in order to satisfy everyone before they could be allowed to bring food to the people.  They were not everywhere successful, and there were areas where food aid was blocked at the behest of angry war vets or others who wanted to punish people for supporting the opposition.  In areas such as Binga in 2003 when the Save the Children Fund UK was prevented from giving food to the people for several months, reports of deaths from starvation predictably followed.  Government ultimately determined who could distribute food and who could not.
In 2004 the government changed tactic, keeping donors out by pretending that their aid was not needed.  While it was obvious to anyone who was working on the ground in Zimbabwe that the 2004 harvest would be pathetically inadequate to feed the nation, government tried to prevent access to reliable information.  A UN crop assessment team was unceremoniously thrown out of the country, and Mugabe announced that there would be a bumper harvest.  By perpetrating the lie that there was no need for food aid, government could reject all assistance and attempt to import maize secretly for distribution under their sole control, to use as they liked to influence voters.  And then they cynically declared the Parliamentary election for March, the height of the hungry period, before any harvest would come in.  Constitutionally the election does not need to be held before June, when, if the harvest has been good, granaries will be full.
After July 2004 government prevented humanitarian agencies from distributing food except to the very vulnerable people, estimated at about 500,000, and for those who were allowed to receive it, the amounts were reduced.  Thousands of tonnes were locked up in warehouses.  By September, governors of some provinces where there was a poor harvest this year were sending requests to government to allow food distribution by NGOs and churches.  Although the pleas came from senior ZANU PF officials, central government would not budge, and some feeding programmes run by churches were forcibly discontinued.  Recently, a governor of one of the traditional breadbasket provinces appealed direct to an NGO to bring them food because their people are desperate.  But most NGOs do not have food in storage.  They will need import licences to bring food into the country, and of course this is controlled by central government.  Even if they get the licences, there is a lead period of at least 4 weeks before the food can  reach the needy people.  Meanwhile people suffer; many may die while government prevaricates, afraid of losing their ability to buy votes.
To prevent others from helping hungry people so that you can continue to hold power represents the ultimate in depravity.  Do ZANU PF not realise that this cannot continue for ever?  Do they not understand that they are going to incur the hatred, not the support of the people, in all parts of the country?  Do they not fear the consequences of condemning thousands of their own people to death?  Apparently not. They are prepared to perpetrate the greatest injustice, the greatest evil, for their own personal gain.  In short, they care nothing for the suffering of their people.
Day 9: 3 January 2005
Tomorrow’s article takes a closer look how at how the HIV/AIDS pandemic poses one of the greatest risks to Zimbabwe’s food security.
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Daily News online edition

      Year when wheels came off Zanu PF vehicle

      Date: 3-Jan, 2005

      OPPONENTS of the ruling Zanu PF must have washed their hands in
invisible water as the wheels seemed to come off the party's seemingly
sturdily-built vehicle, for the first time since the 2000 parliamentary

      In that year, the party which dominated Parliament with nearly all but
three MPs being non-Zanu PF since 1980, lost 57 seats, literally, in the
twinkling of an eye.

      Perhaps for the first time, there was real panic in Zanu PF: it was
staring defeat in the face, if it didn't mount a remedial strategy urgently.
It did, introducing a swathe of legislation which would inhibit all
opposition activity.

      But last year, there was panic generated from within, the key player
being the political greenhorn Jonathan Moyo. The so-called Tsholotsho
Declaration didn't have the impact of the Communist Manifesto, but it shook
the party to its very foundations.

      For the first time, neutralists spoke of the probability of rifts of
an unprecedented proportion occurring in the party. But the, analysts were
amazed that there was no violence in the aftermath of the sacking of the
provincial chairpersons who attended the meeting in Tsholotsho.

      One potent reason could be that the proponents of the so-called
declaration did not excite ordinary Zanu PF members and even ordinary
citizens in a manner to inspire confidence in their vision - if there was
such a vision.

      As of now, it is not clear if Moyo, his comrades-in-arms, Patrick
Chinamasa and Joseph Made will remain in the cabinet. Moyo's future will be
of particular interest to the journalism fraternity.

      He blew in like a hurricane in 2000, virtually destroying a number of
newspapers and television stations. Before he came in, there had existence
in media circles a feeling that the government had decided to be even-handed
in its handling of non-government media.

      After Moyo took over the reins, the media was immediately placed on
notice: they would dance to his tune or there would be no place for them in
the arena.

      What damage this Stalinist stance inflicted on Zimbabwe's reputation
worldwide was incalculable. It will be some time before any foreign
journalists can speak of coming to Zimbabwe without fearing for their
safety, perhaps even their lives.

      But the most evil act for which Moyo will be remembered is his
introduction of the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act
(AIPPA) in 2002.

      A year later, it had closed down The Daily News and The Daily News on
Sunday. This year it closed down The Tribune, owned by a Zanu PF Member of

      In the next few years, all other independent newspapers would have
been banned as well. So, 2004 was definitely the year when Zanu PF displayed
a vulnerability which must frighten not only its ordinary members, but even
ordinary citizens.

      This is a party which has repudiated its original contract with the
people: restore their dignity, restore their faith in the true independence
of their country. - Editorial

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Daily News online edition

      People should be the government*s top priority

      Date: 3-Jan, 2005

      IF all the feverish activity in which Gideon Gono has been involved
since last year was aimed at improving people's fractured lives - and not
winning awards for himself - there was scant evidence of this during and
after the festive season.

      The most poignant reminder was the sight of long queues at one
commercial bank in Harare last Tuesday. People were furious with the bank
for not giving them their money because the Reserve Bank had closed it down
just before Christmas.

      Only a few depositors were able to access their salaries from the
bank. Most went home empty-handed, as they did before the holidays. This
scenario has been repeated many times over since the tough approach was
adopted towards recalcitrant financial institutions as part of the economic
turnaround strategy.

      Even accepting that there is no gain without pain - that it will be
difficult for us all in the interim, but will be beautiful in the end -
there is something awry here.

      It doesn't seem as if the turnaround programme was originally aimed
primarily at ending a crisis of the government's own creation which resulted
in the near-collapse of the dollar and the almost zero-value of the workers'
disposable incomes.

      To many people, there was a public relations element in the exercise
which is only now beginning to emerge as its centrepiece. There is a lot of
noise signifying absolutely nothing.

      Inflation may have gone down, but the effects on the disposable income
of the worker is not going to be felt in the short term. So the prices of
basic commodities in the supermarkets remain as high as they were and a
postage stamp from Point A to Point B in the Harare central business
district still costs $6 500.

      The turnaround programme may be a roaring success in the government
news media, but the reality is far less rosy.

      Zimbabweans are resourceful and innovative in times of deprivation.
But even their talents are limited: most of them spent the worst Christmas
holiday of their lives this year and they can, with some justification,
blame it all on the government.

      What Gono and his supporters, including President Robert Mugabe, now
holidaying in sunny Malaysia, must appreciate is that if this turnaround
strategy has no impact at all on the people's cost of living it is

      If the people decide to penalise Mugabe, Gono, Zanu PF and the
government for this misery, at the elections in March, they would be wise
not to accuse their usual suspects - Tony Blair, George W Bush, the IMF or
the World Bank.
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Daily News online edition

      Why despots, racists, can claim to be godly

      Date: 3-Jan, 2005

      By Munodii Kunzwa

      BENITO Mussolini was a Catholic. Being Italian, it must be assumed he
could not help being born Catholic.

      Adolf Hitler? All we can assume is that he was a baptised Christian.
Whether he practised it is something else, though. In the bunker in Berlin,
during their last moments together, who married Hitler and Eva Broun? Not an
imam or a rabbi - that's for sure.

      Certainly, Hitler was not a Buddhist or a Muslim. But Osama bin Laden
is a Muslim - some would say a mad Muslim, but a Muslim nonetheless, from
the country which gave the world Mohammed the Prophet.

      Idi Amin was a Muslim, as bad an example of that faith as you are ever
likely to find this side of Mecca and Medina. Karl Marx and Vladimir Lenin
denounced religion, one of them calling it "the opium of the masses".

      But both may have been baptised into their parents' religions -
Judaism for Marx and Russian Orthodox for Lenin.

      Mao was an atheist, but there are many Christians in China today,
although the country is atheist, as is the Democratic People's Republic of
Korea, founded by Kim Il Sung, a Mao-wannabe.

      Cuba was colonised by Spain, so must have started off as a
predominantly Catholic country. Fulgencio Batista, the dictator who
hightailed out of there as Fidel Castro's guerrillas neared Havana, had to
be Catholic.

      Today, Cuba is predominantly atheist, as was its former mentor, the
late Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.

      Similarly afflicted or blessed - depending on your point of view - was
most of Eastern Europe, after the Second World War, and Winston Churchill's
warning of an Iron Curtain.

      What killed Communism? Its promotion of atheism? Did the people
eventually cotton on to the probability that some of the most magnificent
events in the world could not have occurred in the absence of some Supreme

      And that this Being was God or Allah? Did they finally accept that
even the overthrow of the cruel feudalistic regimes of the Czars could not
have occurred if Some Supreme Entity had not decreed that the poverty,
suffering and subjugation of the people were evil and had to be ended once
and for all?

      Perhaps they looked closely at the dismantling of colonialism in what,
for the so-called Dark Continent, began as The Scramble for Africa. The
Europeans, all practising Christians, carved up the continent among
themselves for the purpose of plundering it for its wealth and expanding
their empires.

      They even brought with them their religion, Christianity. Some said
they used the Bible to dupe the Africans into accepting colonialism. But did
a Supreme Being see through this ruse and display His outrage at this by
arming the Africans with the courage, determination, if not the arms, to
overthrow the evil colonialists?

      It took some time and the end-result was not always the glorious
release from bondage that the people hoped for. In many instances, the
result surpassed the barbarous excesses of colonialism, to the extent that
the people secretly wished the colonialists would return.

      That, of course, is a weird notion, as weird as the proposition that
all the post-colonial upheavals in Africa were authored by the former

      Recently, a well-known atheist went public with the amazing
declaration that he had repudiated his faith in the non-existence of God. He
said he was now convinced that there was Someone In Charge of Things - or
words to that effect - because it was unlikely they happened by accident or
of their own volition.

      This declaration wasn't trumpeted by Christendom as a victory for the
faith. Islam didn't boast about it either, perhaps, for different reasons.
What would Al Qaeda make of such a statement?

      How many suicide bombers would be unleashed on....someone? My thesis
is the triumph of Good over Evil. It's neither a starry-eyed belief in
Someone acting for the underdog without the underdog acting, nor a
fatalistic faith in Someone Supreme not allowing the underdog to be ground
into dust, even if they make him dirt.

      It's just this strange notion that no human being is created without
the instinctive desire to want to matter, to have dignity, to be respected,
to be acknowledged as someone to whom the unthinkable should not be done,
without anticipating the consequences of that action.

      Quite simply, it boils down to cutting someone's wrist with a knife
and not expecting blood to start oozing out of the wound. Unless they are
bloodless or a complete imbecile, they would cry out, hit out or bite
someone. If they just sat there, numb with fear, then they would deserve to
be left to perish. But this Someone Supreme would not create such people,
would He - even if it was a She? That He cannot be seen is probably why
people like Hitler and Mussolini and the others hoped they could get away
with what they did. But even if He is unseen, what does the massive evidence
of Good triumphing over Evil suggest? That this Unseen Supreme Being can be
as merciful as He can be ruthless, if provoked. And right now, there are so
many who are provoking him in Zimbabwe, and believing they can get away with
it. Pray for them, before it's too late. Meanwhile, a belated Merry
Christmas and a Happy Year, better than the last one.

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New Zealand Herald

Racing: Du Plessis says farewell, but not goodbye


Mark Du Plessis might be leaving New Zealand tomorrow, but he'll never
regret coming here.

Bazelle's $350,000 New Zealand Herald Auckland Cup-winning rider has taken
up another lengthy Singapore riding contract, but says he will always call
New Zealand his home.

The Zimbabwean jockey has no such thoughts about his homeland.

His brother-in-law Laurence Erasmus is now farming in New Zealand after
leaving Zimbabwe with nothing after the government confiscated his farm.

New Zealand has been good to Du Plessis and in return he has proved to be a
talented rider.

He spent nearly three lucrative years riding in Singapore, relocated briefly
to Macau then returned to New Zealand last year.

He said he could only imagine that his original attempt to be re-licensed in
Singapore was turned down because officials had been upset at his shift to

"I understand my contract is for as long as I'm happy to ride in Singapore.
I'll be back here one day to live. These sort of opportunities are too
lucrative to turn down."

He'll be missed.

His ride on Bazelle was exactly what trainer Paul Jenkins had asked for.
When the pair discussed tactics, Jenkins asked Du Plessis to lead on the
Zabeel mare.

"That was fine until Opie Bosson came around on Bel Air."

Bazelle trailed Bel Air, sat outside the leader half a length back for a
while and exploded when Du Plessis pressed the button at the top of the home

"She did exactly what Paul said she would do."

A four-length break halfway down was reduced to not much more than one by
the home-straight sprint from Melbourne stayer Bondy, but the winners were
never in danger.

It was Du Plessis' sixth group one victory.

The punch in the air with the left hand on the line told the story.
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New Zimbabwe

Zimbabweans in UK student visa scam

By Staff Reporter
Last updated: 01/03/2005 03:35:52
THOUSANDS of bogus foreign students -- including Zimbabweans and South
Africans -- are staying in Britain by extending their visas as part of a
major immigration scam.

Analysis of official figures suggests that posing as a student is a major
back-door entry route into the United Kingdom, and raises questions about
the government's control of immigration.

It is believed that tens of thousands of people are arriving as ordinary
tourists and then enrolling at bogus colleges, paying hundreds of pounds in
exchange for the paperwork they need to get a student visa.

An investigation earlier last year found that 250 fake colleges were
operating as fronts for highly profitable immigration scams.

The report, by independent thinktank Migrationwatch, compares figures for
student visas granted to new arrivals with the number of extensions granted
to foreign nationals already in the UK.

The most dramatic example was Jamaica. Last year, 425 Jamaicans were allowed
into Britain as students. Government figures showed there were 780 Jamaicans
studying in UK higher-educational institutions, yet 13 220 student visa
extensions were granted.

Figures for Zimbabwe are also striking, with 10 535 extensions granted last
year compared to 790 student visas for new arrivals, and an official figure
of 2 850 students already in the country.

In future, foreigners wanting to switch to student visas will need a place
on a university degree course.

Most tourist visas only allow foreign nationals to stay in Britain for up to
six months, so long as they don't work.

Having a student visa means they can stay for up to three years, then apply
for repeated extensions and work legally while in the UK. - Star

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New Zimbabwe

Herald, Chronicle accused of 'zealous advocacy' for Moyo

By Staff Reporter
Last updated: 01/03/2005 01:03:12
ZIMBABWE'S two main State-controlled daily newspapers have been censured by
the Office of the President and Cabinet for "unwarranted editorialising" in
stories published on Saturday rebutting reports that Information Minister
Jonathan Moyo had resigned.

In a further sign that Moyo's star is waning within government and the
ruling Zanu PF party, his subordinate George Charamba who is the permanent
secretary in the Department of Information and Publicity, accused the two
papers of "zealous advocacy" and "being aggrieved on behalf of a private
party member".

What appears to have stung Charamba and his superiors was reference in the
Herald and Chronicle's stories to the provincial elections to elect central
committee members in which Moyo was nominated by Tsholotsho, comprehensively
beating challenger Cain Mathema by 73 to 23 votes.However, he was later
dropped by President Robert Mugabe as part of disciplinary measures over
claims Moyo planned to engineer a coup.

"The latest onslaught against Prof Moyo comes against the background of a
concerted campaign to discredit the Minister," the Herald and the Chronicle
reported Saturday. "Trouble for Prof Moyo started after a speech and prize
giving day ceremony at Dinyane Secondary School in Tsholotsho which was
attended by several senior Government and Zanu PF officials, which his
enemies took as an opportunity to bring him down."

In a strongly-worded statement issued Saturday, Charamba said the two papers'
stories refuting the alleged resignation were "disrespectful to the
Presidency and the Zanu-PF Politburo".

"To date, the minister himself has not registered any public rejection of
the disciplinary action meted out against him by his party, and on the basis
of which sentiments expressed in the article (Herald and Chronicle story)
might have been justified," said Charamba.

"What the editors have done in the story amounts to being aggrieved on
behalf of a private party member. This is untoward, partisan and quite
overboard given that the matter is between a party and its member who, in
the present circumstances, can only be assumed to have submitted himself to
his party's actions of censure and sanction.

"The report itself is a straight story falling outside an editorial comment,
and based solely on unnamed sources. It thus, amounts to unwarranted
editorialising, itself quite unprofessional," blasted Charamba.

He added: "Until Professor Moyo, strictly as a member of his party,
expressed public dissatisfaction with decisions of his party, newspapers had
no right or reason to invent a grievance for him."

"Overall, therefore, the piece smacked of zealous advocacy made all the more
odd by the fact that it appeared in two leading national newspapers which
should be better informed about party and Government matters," said

Moyo who is currently in Kenya on holiday with his family has filed a
complaint with the media watchdog -- the Media and Information Commission
over a story carried by the weekly Financial Gazette which said he had

The Financial Gazette claimed on Friday that Moyo had tendered his
resignation to Acting President Joyce Mujuru on Tuesday, but had been
advised to wait for the return of President Mugabe who is on holiday in

"The Honourable Minister is away on holiday and is expected to resume his
State duties by the second week of January," Charamba said in an earlier
statement released on Friday.

The Financial Gazette, quoting "impeccable sources", reported that Moyo had
resigned "following a sharp twist in his political fortunes".

The Chronicle and the Herald reported Saturday that Moyo had also instructed
his lawyers Muzangaza, Mandaza and Tomana to "institute legal action against
the Financial Gazette over the false story".

"He (Moyo) has also lodged a complaint with the Media and Information
Commission (MIC) over the fictitious story," the Herald reported. The MIC
can instigate the police to arrest journalists for writing "falsehoods", and
convicted journalists face up to 2 years in jail.

The Chronicle said the Financial Gazette report was "a desperate attempt by
Prof Moyo's detractors to confuse the nation". The paper said there was also
"a clear indication of the involvement of imperialist forces".

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The Scotsman

Cabinet Ministers Suspected of Spying


At least two Cabinet ministers in Zimbabwe are suspected of passing official
secrets to Western intelligence agencies seeking to spy on President Robert
Mugabe's government, the state Sunday Mail reported.

The newspaper, a main government mouthpiece, said security authorities were
closing in on several top ruling-party and government officials believed to
have divulged confidential information to "hostile intelligence agencies,"
including the US Central Intelligence Agency and Britain's MI5.

It said Zimbabwe security authorities were investigating at least two
Cabinet ministers and another lawmaker who had access to high-level
government and ruling-party meetings and who may have given information to
foreign-based Zimbabwean officials, who sold it.

"The officials would receive handsome payments from enemy agencies," the
Sunday Mail said.

The paper said Erasmus Moyo, a diplomat at the Zimbabwe embassy in Geneva,
disappeared after the arrest last month of a prominent ruling-party
politician and four others on allegations of spying.

It said Moyo, who was being recalled to Harare, checked in for a homeward
bound flight but then slipped away from colleagues escorting him to Geneva

Philip Chiyangwa, a prominent lawmaker; Godfrey Dzvairo, the country's
ambassador-designate to neighbouring Mozambique; and three other
ruling-party officials were charged last week in a Harare court under the
Official Secrets Act.

The men face a fine or a maximum 20 years in prison.

Chiyangwa is a legislator for the parliamentary district of Chinhoyi, 75
miles north-west of Harare, and one of 10 ruling-party provincial chairmen.

Chiyangwa, a wealthy businessman known for his flamboyant lifestyle amid an
economic crisis that has left 80% of the population in poverty, was detained
in March on corruption and perjury allegations.

He was acquitted on those charges.

Zimbabwe has repeatedly accused Britain and the United States of backing
Mugabe's opponents and working toward his ouster through "regime change."

The ruling party suffered deep divisions last year over Mugabe's autocratic
style of rule.

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Sunday Mail - Zimbabwe

Festive season death toll reaches 58

Sunday Mail Reporter
THE road accident death toll during the festive season had by yesterday
afternoon reached a total of 58, a slight decrease from 63 deaths recorded
during the corresponding period last year.

According to police spokes-person Superintendent Oliver Mandipaka, there was
an increase in road accidents, with 847 accidents recorded countrywide while
634 people were injured.

A total of 605 accidents, 63 deaths and 485 injuries were recorded during
the same period last year.

Harare recorded the highest number of deaths with 12, closely followed by
Manicaland and Mashonaland East both with 10, while Matabeleland South had
nine. Mashonaland Central recorded six deaths, while Masvingo and Midlands
both recorded three fatalities. Mashonaland West and Bulawayo recorded two
and one death respectively.

Harare also had the highest number of accidents with 332, followed by
Bulawayo (106) while Mashonaland East had 83. Manicaland had 69 accidents,
Midlands 59, Matabeleland North 53, Matabeleland South 48 while Mashonaland
West had 44.

Masvingo and Mashonaland Central recorded 33 and 20 accidents respectively.

The highest number of people injured in road accidents was in Harare with
143, followed by Mashonaland East with 84, Masvingo 69, Matabeleland North
62, while Mashonaland West had 59.

Manicaland recorded 56 injuries, Bulawayo 46, Mashonaland Central 43,
Midlands 42 and Matabeleland South 30.

Supt Mandipaka attributed most of the accidents to inattention, vehicle
defects, misjudgment and tyre bursts.

"Some accidents have been caused by stray domestic and wild animals, while a
few were caused by driving under the influence of alcohol," he said.

He urged the motoring public to exercise caution on the road to avoid more
fatalities and injuries.

Meanwhile, police in Harare have collected over $430 million in revenue over
the past week from errant motorists and commuter omnibus operators.

The officer commanding traffic, Harare District, Chief Superintendent Enoch
Marisa, said the revenue was from the operations conducted from December 21
to last Wednesday.

He said during the period a total of 3 453 tickets were issued and revenue
amounting to $430 million was realised.

"We have made 3 453 arrests since last week and we will continue arresting
errant commuter operators and other motorists until bad practices are

"It is sad that many motorists resort to negligent driving at a time when
they should be respecting their lives and others," he said.

Supt Marisa said the revenue collected was for various offenses, including
spot fines spanning from overcharging, driving without licences, driving
whilst drunk, driving unroadworthy vehicles and overloading.

"The culprits were fined for contravening various sections of the Traffic
Offences Act.

"Overcharging commuter omnibus operators were fined $25 000 per every
overcharged passenger. The same amount was charged for failing to stop at
red robots and for picking up and dropping off passengers at dangerous

Overloading attracted a fine of $25 000 per extra passenger,"said Supt

He also said police were targeting commuter omnibus operators who were
travelling outside their designated routes and those drivers who did not
have medical endorsements and defensive driving certificates and 222
vehicles were impounded for having defects.

"We would also like to urge the public to report on any corrupt officers on
the roads as well as overcharging incidents," Supt Marisa said.

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Sunday Mail - Zimbabwe

Tuition fees pegged at $8,5m

Sunday Mail Reporter
WITH schools opening for the first term next week, the Government is once
again on a collision course with some private schools after it pegged the
maximum tuition fees that the schools should charge at $8,5 million.

The Acting Secretary in the Ministry of Education, Cde Chris Bowora, told
The Sunday Mail in an interview on Friday that the school fee ceiling was
set following recent deliberations in Cabinet.

He said Cabinet was concerned with the prevailing situation under which the
ministry was locked in protracted wrangles with private schools over the
tuition fees that they should charge.

In another twist to the impasse, the High Court last week reportedly
directed 15 schools that had appealed against the setting of fees by the
ministry to adhere to this structure pending the outcome of the court case.

The schools lodged the appeal some two weeks ago, arguing the ministry's
prescribed fees were not viable. They, among other aspects of the appeal,
sought to bar the ministry from closing or interfering with schools that
chose to implement different tuition fees.

"Cabinet approved $8,5 million as the maximum that any school could be paid
after the minister took the issue to Cabinet for consideration," said Mr
Bowora. "We would like to make it categorically clear that those who flout
the stipulations will be prosecuted."

According to Mr Bowora, the ministry some time last year wrote to schools
countrywide requesting them to submit school fee increase proposals for the
2004 first term before the end of October.

But the proposals that some of the schools made were outrageous, he said.

Hillcrest College in Mutare proposed to increase its fees to $26 million,
Falcon College in Esigodini near Bulawayo $24 million, Whitestone Primary
School $21 million, Peter House Boys College in Marondera $28 million and
Peterhouse Girls' College $20 million.

Watershed College in Marondera had proposed to charge $20 million, Lomagundi
College in Chinhoyi $20 million while Chisipite Senior School and Arundel
School in Harare wanted to charge $16 million each.

It is understood the ministry had previously pegged next term's maximum fees
at $6,5 million but aggressive approaches by the schools to have the fees
reviewed compelled the minister, Cde Aeneas Chigwedere, to seek a way
forward from Cabinet.

The schools cited, among other issues, rising labour, stationery and basic
commodity costs as justifications for the proposed tuition charge increases.

"What we, however, realised is that the majority of these schools intended
to use a huge chunk of the millions (of dollars) to pay their teachers,"
said Mr Bowora.

"What should be realised is that it is not the parents' duty to pay
teachers. Each school has a quota for civil service teachers and the
Government will always provide salaries for these.

"It has emerged that these schools have more teachers than the recommended
numbers in an apparent bid to generate employment for their friends and
relatives. We have done research and never in the world have we seen a
teacher to student ratio such as that in these schools."

It is also understood that some schools have "officially" accepted
Government-stipulated fees but are now requesting parents to pay "donations"
for next term.

A parent whose child attends St Ignatius College in Chishawasha said though
next term's fees were about $3 million, the school has since dispatched
invoices to parents requesting them to pay $1,4 million in "donations".

The parent said because they had in previous terms failed to pay the
"donations" the school had requested, the arrears were staggered and now has
to pay a cumulative $7 million next term.

The school authorities say the "donation" is not compulsory and yet they
make vigorous follow-ups until the amount is paid, said the concerned parent
who has since alerted the ministry.

Mr Bowora confirmed he had received a similar report involving "one
province". Although he could not be drawn to reveal the names of the
school(s) he said the practice was an offence that called for prosecution.

Despite previous efforts by the Ministry of Education, Sport and Culture to
contain fee increases, the saga has raged on unabated, casting doubts to
whether a lasting solution to the problem could be found.

The on-going fiasco, which saw the police intervening at the ministry's
instigation, has stirred mixed feelings among parents. While some have since
thrown their full weight behind schools demanding higher fees, others,
especially those in the low to medium-income bracket, continue to raise
concern over the situation. Some parents who spoke to The Sunday Mail
alleged that those advocating fee increases do not bear the brunt of high
education expenses since their employers cater for their children's tuition
fee payments.

Said one parent: "Although as the parents we are supposed to collectively
propose fee increases, it is those among us whose children's fees are paid
by companies that advocate hefty hikes.

"I propose that a lasting solution to the problem be urgently found because
some of us will in due course fail to pay for our children's education."

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Sunday Mail - Zimbabwe

'New paper to blame for high failure rate'

Sunday Mail Reporter
THE introduction of a second paper, which is a written narrative in the
Grade Seven examinations, has been blamed for the high failure rate this

The second paper in all four subjects was introduced last year by the
Ministry of Education, Sport and Culture following criticism that Grade
Seven pupils were being inadequately tested through the multiple choice

This has put several secondary school heads who depend on these results for
recruiting Form Ones in a quandary as they have been forced to revise the
maximum number of units required for entry qualification.

Some prospective pupils at St David's Bonda Girls' High in Manicaland told
this paper that they had written and passed the school's entrance test and
had secured Form One places but subject to them getting not more than eight

Four of these girls had 10 and 12 units, with three getting 14 units. They
said they had now lost their places because the school insisted that they
should have obtained eight units and below.

The headmistress of the school could not be reached for comment.

The headmaster of Goromonzi High School, Mr Abisha Mujeni, said the low pass
rate had forced his school to move from the traditional four units enrolment
to nine units.

"When we started recruiting there was only one boy with four units while the
girls started at five units. The majority of the boys had nine units and we
had to accommodate them. This could have been caused by the introduction of
a written composition paper which both the teachers and pupils are not quite
familiar with.

"Grade Seven teachers have to be re-trained on how to handle this paper if
we are to avert this high failure rate," said Mr Mujeni.

Howard High School in Mashonaland Central was also forced to accommodate
pupils with as high as 15 units.

A teacher at the school told The Sunday Mail that the school usually
reserved a special class for four unit pupils from Barwick School, a private
weekly boarding school in Concession, but this was not to be this year.

"As far as I know no pupil at Barwick got four units. And the best pupil we
have recruited here at Howard had seven units. Only Umvukwes and Amandas
schools had a pupil each who obtained four units," said the teacher.

Brother Chirombe, the principal at Nyanga High School, also known as Marist
Brothers Nyanga, said they had recruited pupils on the basis of an entrance
test set at the school and so were not worried about the poor results.

"We have faith in our entrance tests. Our recruitment in August is final.
Even if pupils who passed our test did not do well in the Grade Seven
examinations, we are not worried because we believe that if they passed our
test, they make the grade," said Brother Chirombe.

Several senior education officials interviewed by The Sunday Mail confirmed
that pupils in their regions performed badly in the Grade Seven national
examinations that were written in October.

Although the regional director of Mashonaland Central, Mr Mutsvangwa, could
not be reached for comment, a senior education official in his office who
preferred anonymity confirmed that only two pupils in the whole province
managed to score four units.

"For the second year running, pupils' performance in the Grade Seven
examinations has been poor. Although we have not yet analysed reasons for
this poor performance, we suspect the introduction of the written narrative
paper has significantly contributed to the high failure rate," said the

The regional director for Mashonaland East, Mr Samuel Mutomba, also
confirmed that Grade Seven results in his region were appalling and he, too,
attributed this to the introduction of the written narrative paper now
commonly referred to as Paper II.

The deputy provincial education director (Quality Assurance) for the same
province, Mr Edson Mutuwira, said the general projections in Mashona-land
East showed that there was a poor performance in Mathematics and that pupils
did better in English.

"The general performance of the province this year was poorer than last year's.
I think we have to organise more training workshops for our teachers so that
they improve their performance. I also think with the new teachers coming
out of the colleges following the directive that only those with O-level
Mathematics could be accepted for training, the performance of pupils in
Mathematics will improve," said Mr Mutuwira.

The deputy regional director for Harare, Mr Calvin Mazula, said it was too
early to give a fair analysis of his region's performance.

No comments could be elicited from Matabeleland North province while the
deputy regional director for Matabeleland South, Mr Tofara Moyo, said there
was a drop in performance in his province.

"Compared to last year the drop was significant in Mathematics and English.
In some schools the failure rate is just too high and we are getting
concerned with these developments," said Mr Moyo.

In Manicaland, officials in the regional director's office confirmed that
pupils who sat for the Grade Seven papers this year did badly and this has
led to schools like St Augustine's High to lower their cut-off points to 12
units, according to a teacher at the school who declined to be identified.

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Sunday Mirror, Zimbabwe

Old guard to bounce back into cabinet
Kuda Chikwanda

. . . As more women could become ministers

ZANU PF young turks, long viewed as the future of the ruling party at a time
when most of the party's founders and stalwarts ponder retirement, are
likely to be elbowed out of the running for cabinet posts next year, in a
move that could see a cabinet dominated by the Zanu PF old guard and women.

According to highly placed sources within the ruling party, the young turks
had come under scrutiny owing to a number of misdemeanours they had
committed that had sown elements of mistrust amongst the old guard on the
intentions of the younger generation vis-à-vis the future of the 41-year-old
revolutionary party.

"They are not trustworthy anymore. Cabinet positions will most likely revert
to the old guard who are trusted more by President (Robert) Mugabe. The
majority of the so-called young turks will be shown the exit when cabinet is
announced," said one highly placed source within the ruling party.

The source added that it was highly probable that next year's cabinet would
also constitute more women than the current.

The ruling party's "young turks" are the new breed of politicians - valued
for being technocrats with innovative ideas and also treasured for their
links with the business community.

Former Zanu PF Secretary-General Edgar Tekere lent his weight to the
decision to sideline certain young turks - whom he described as the "young
blood" - who had riled the Zanu PF top leadership.

"They should not disrespect their elders in the party in the manner that
Jonathan Moyo did. Rather they should learn to mingle and learn from the old
guard better known as the founding fathers. While the Zanu PF elders should
not stand in the way of new ideas, the young blood should be respectful of
the old timers in the party," said Tekere.

Tekere said it was highly probable that most young turks would fail to make
it to cabinet following the decision to drop most of the youthful Zanu PF
politicians from the Central Committee and Politburo.

Chief amongst the transgressions committed by the young turks was the
Tsholotsho debacle that saw a number of influential Zanu PF politicians and
cabinet ministers allegedly attempting to rout the nomination of Joyce
Mujuru to the Zanu PF presidium.

The Tsholotsho fiasco already claimed the scalps of mercurial Information
and Publicity Minister Jonathan Moyo and incumbent Justice, Legal and
Parliamentary Affairs Minister, Patrick Chinamasa who attended the infamous
Tsholotsho meeting.

Moyo was thrown out of both the Central Committee and Politburo making his
chances of becoming Member of Parliament and minister almost nil, whilst
Chinamasa managed to scrape through the Central Committee nominations but
lost his Politburo post of Secretary for Legal Affairs.

Energy Minister July Moyo was suspended as Midlands provincial chairman for
his role in the Tsholotsho misadventure, whose invitations were extended to
quite a sizeable number of young turks in the ruling party believed to be
more business-oriented than political actors.

Five other provincial chairmen who include Tele-Access chief, Daniel Shumba
received their suspension orders from the party, ruling out their
participation from next year's parliamentary polls, and subsequent exclusion
from cabinet posts.

Other Zanu PF young blood members invited to Tsholotsho include Agriculture
Minister Joseph Made, Transport Minister Chris Mushohwe and Mashonaland West
provincial chairman Phillip Chiyangwa.

All three failed to attend the iniquitous meeting on the day in question.

President Mugabe declared a couple of months ago that he would not appoint
to ministerial status anyone who was not elected to parliament. Furthermore
the ruling party Political Commissar Elliot Manyika announced last week that
Zanu PF had set new guidelines that clearly spell out that only those in the
Central Committee, National Consultative Assembly and Provincial Executives
were eligible for the party's primary elections that would be used to select
candidates to represent Zanu PF in the March elections. The sources also
pointed out that the ruling party had also taken note of the involvement of
young turks in numerous scandals such as multiple farm ownership, disrespect
for elders in the party, and economic crimes that have had debilitating
effects for the economy, and in addition, tarnished the public's perception
of the ruling party.

"While senior party officials were also implicated in such scandals, you
should admit that the majority of implicated individuals are the same
so-called young turks. The party needs rejuvenation but not at the hands of
some of these individuals. They simply pose a threat to the party," said the

Moyo, Mushohwe, Made and Chinamasa were issued with withdrawal letters over
five months ago for being multiple farm owners; charges they sought to get
around by declaring that they were not in possession of the farms in
question, but rather that the farms had been allocated to close family

This led to arguments that the fingered ministers were controlling the farms
through proxy.

However another source, who refused to be identified for fear of backlash in
the ruling party circles, stipulated that while most young turks would not
make it to cabinet, those whose performances as ministers were noteworthy
and those who were not implicated in any acts of indiscipline in the party
would be retained as ministers.

In addition, it was highlighted that members of the old guard with known
records of non-performance were likely to be sidelined in the process making
way for Zanu PF senior politicians known to tolerate no nonsense at a time
when Zanu PF is desperate to make sure Zimbabwe's economic recovery is

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Sunday Mirror, Zimbabwe

Zanu PF masters of violence: MDC
Staff Writer

In spite of the current rhetoric about government's commitment to curbing
political violence ahead of next year's parliamentary elections, the
phenomenon is likely to persist because government lacks the political will
to decisively deal with the issue, an MDC official said recently.

Speaking to the Sunday Mirror on Wednesday, Paul Themba Nyathi said
government is reluctant to deal with violence because it has profited from
it. "I don't believe this government has the political will to deal with
political violence. We would be very happy to participate in an election,
which is free of violence, but the ruling party is bent on using violence
because it has proved an effective tool that it has used to retain power,"
he said. Nyathi said the recent arrests of two ruling party legislators over
allegations of inciting intra-party violence is mere posturing on the part
of government.

"Don't be fooled. There is factionalism in Zanu PF, and the two MPs were
just unfortunate in that they belong to the factions that are not
influential, hence they were used as scapegoats. If you take the case of
(Kindness) Paradza, for instance, why was he arrested and (Leo) Mugabe left
out?" Nyathi queried.

Paradza was arrested last Sunday after violent clashes erupted between his
supporters and those loyal to Mugabe, his opponent in Zanu PF primary
elections that will be held on January 15.

Phone Madiro another ruling party legislator for Hurungwe is also out on
$500 000 bail, on charges of inciting violence in his constituency.

President Robert Mugabe and police commissioner Augustine Chihuri recently
said the government and police will not tolerate any political violence
during next year's elections and added that everything was in place to deal
with the problem.

Both the ruling party and MDC have in the past traded accusations and
counter-accusations over who instigates inter-party political violence. On
one hand government has alleged that the opposition is used by the west to
foment violence in order to portray lack of good governance and rule of law
as an ostensible reason to subvert the country's sovereignty and effect
regime change.

The MDC has however, argued that the ruling party has sanctioned political
violence through the use of state machinery and youths from the national
youth training centres against its opponents to keep its stranglehold on
power. Nyathi maintained that his party has been at the receiving end of
most of the inter-party political violence that the country has witnessed.

"It is a simple and straightforward issue. If you look at the statistics,
you will see that since 2000, it is the MDC that has had the most victims.
Thousands have been tortured, maimed and some have even been killed. "The
saddest thing is that although the perpetrators are known, not a single
conviction has been made on the cases. All over the world, it's the duty of
government to protect its citizens. The police might have the capacity to
deal with violence, but for as long as they remain partisan they will not be
able to deal with it effectively," Nyathi said. Contacted for comment police
spokesperson Oliver Mandipaka denied that the police were partisan and said
that they would deal with political violence wherever it occurred regardless
of who would have caused it.

Asked about reports that some war veterans had declared certain places no-go
areas for the opposition and whether this was not likely to lead to violence
Mandipaka said he had only heard of such reports in the press. Pressed to
say whether the police had the capacity to ensure that political violence in
next year's election would not reach the levels witnessed in the 2000
parliamentary and 2002 presidential polls, Mandipaka reiterated that the
police were ready for any eventualities.

With parliamentary elections a few months away there have been fears of a
resurgence of political violence.

However, some observers have said political violence in the forthcoming
election is not likely to reach the heights reached in the 2000 and 2002
polls as the opposition, which posed the most serious challenge to the
ruling party since independence, no longer appears to enjoy the same support
it did at its inception.

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