Wed 19 July 2006
HARARE - The wife of a Zimbabwe army commander, who is on a list of
individuals banned from visiting the European Union (EU), last week evaded
the visa sanctions to travel to France to receive an award.
Jocelyn Chiwenga, is the wife of Zimbabwe Defence Forces commander
General Constantine Chiwenga, who together with President Robert Mugabe, his
ministers and army officials are barred from visiting Europe or doing
business with European firms.
The EU imposed targeted sanctions on Mugabe and his senior lieutenants
about four years ago following a disputed election which was controversially
won by the veteran Zimbabwean leader.
But last week, Chiwenga successfully negotiated her way past the
sanctions to receive a little-known award, the Golden European Quality New
Millennium Award on behalf of her Harare-based protective clothing
manufacturing company Zim-Safe.
She returned home last Thursday to a heroine's welcome at the Harare
International Airport where she was met by several government ministers.
"At the impromptu reception hosted for her by husband at the airport,
the government ministers who flocked to welcome her back were apparently
boasting that the sanctions were not affecting some of them," said a senior
ZANU PF official who was part of the delegation that welcomed Chiwenga home.
Chiwenga declined to comment on how she managed to get a visa to
travel to France.
Efforts to get comment from the French embassy in Harare yesterday
were also fruitless.
At the height of farm seizures, Chiwenga gave a white farmer near
Harare a few hours to leave his farm together with horticultural produce
worth millions of dollars that was ready for harvesting. She is said to have
also threatened the farmer, telling him she could harm or kill him because
she had not "tasted white blood for a long time".
In 2003 Chiwenga was in the news again when she beat up a lawyer for
the banned Daily News newspaper in the presence of the police. She beat up
the lawyer, Gugu Moyo, for trying to have a Daily News photographer released
by the police who had arrested him for taking pictures of Harare residents
protesting against the government.
Chiwenga joins a small list of Zimbabwean government officials or
their relatives who have successfully breached the EU sanctions to visit
Europe over the past four years raising questions on the effectiveness of
the targeted sanctions. - ZimOnline
Wed 19 July 2006
BULAWAYO - Themba Sibanda, 27, is too ill to walk on his own and
relatives have to carry him around each time he has to visit the hospital
for treatment for the many opportunistic infections that frequently attack
his weakened body.
Just four weeks ago Sibanda - who is HIV positive - was brought to
Mpilo government hospital almost lifeless after suffering from a severe bout
of malaria. A doctor quickly prescribed chloroquine course that had Sibanda
up on his feet just after two days.
But Sibanda's luck ran out this week when he returned to Mpilo - this
time suffering from acute diarrhoea. He was turned away because there were
no doctors at the hospital, the largest state hospital in Zimbabwe's second
largest city of Bulawayo.
"The nurses said because of his HIV status, only a doctor could
prescribe what drugs he should take for the diarrhoea and we should come
back when the doctors' strike is over," Sibanda's sister, Nokuthula, told
"He has not been able to sleep for the past two days because of the
diarrhoea ..only if we had the money to take him to private clinics," added
Nokothula, despair unmistakable on her youthful face.
Intern doctors, referred to as junior doctors in Zimbabwe, are on
strike for better pay and working conditions, the umpteenth time the interns
who effectively run public hospitals have downed tools to press for better
remuneration since the country's economic crisis began seven years ago.
The doctors have defied a government directive earlier this week to
return to work while their grievances are being examined, insisting they
would only call off the strike after firm commitment from the government to
pay them Z$500 million per month, up from a present salary of $57 million
which is way below the poverty datum line of $68 million.
The doctors also want the government to improve supplies of essential
medicines and equipment in public hospitals, saying they are sick and tired
of watching patients die of otherwise treatable diseases simply because
there are no medicines.
But the strike has dealt a knock-out punch to the public health system
that was already on its knees after years of mismanagement and
For example at Mpilo and the United Bulawayo Hospitals - the two
biggest referral hospitals in the city and the surrounding Matabeleland and
Midlands province - only a handful of senior doctors could be seen attending
to only the worst of emergency cases.
The outpatients departments at the hospitals were shut down.
It was the same situation at Harare Central hospital and at
Parirenyatwa, the two biggest hospitals in the capital city and where
ZimOnline reporters witnessed dozens of patients some on wheelchairs being
turned away because there were no doctors.
"It is the poor like us who have to suffer for this (impasse between
the government and doctors)," said Lazarus Ndlovu, who said he had travelled
about 100km from the border town of Plumtree south of Bulawayo but was told
by nurses at Mpilo to go back and return when the doctors' strike is over.
Deputy Health Minister Edwin Muguti this week attempted to use the law
to cajole doctors to return to the hospitals, telling them that they
provided an essential service and were not permitted by law to engage in
The government's Labour Relations Amendment Act prohibits providers of
essential services such as doctors and nurses from striking.
But Hospital Doctors Association president Kudakwashe Nyamutukwa said
doctors would take no heed of Muguti or the law vowing that the strike will
only escalate until the government accepts the doctors' demands.
"The strike has spread and now everyone has joined in, we will not go
back to work until the government has met all our demands," said Nyamutukwa.
With no quick end to the doctors' strike in sight, Nokuthula said
there was little option left for her family except to take her brother to
traditional healers for treatment.
"We are devout Christians and it's something we would never have
done .. but the only other option is to just fold our arms and watch my
brother die," she said, no doubt echoing the dilemma that many patients and
their families across Zimbabwe find themselves facing. - ZimOnline
Wed 19 July 2006
HARARE - A leading South African mining consultancy firm has
recommended that President Robert Mugabe's government appoints an
all-stakeholder committee to draw up a plan for black Zimbabweans to have a
share of the country's mineral wealth.
The Johannesburg-based Venmyn Rand Pvt Ltd, which carries out mineral
project valuations, was writing in an advisory paper to Zimbabwe's Chamber
of Mines that has been battling to convince the Harare government not to go
ahead with plans to seize 50 percent shareholding in all foreign owned
mining firms in Zimbabwe.
The consultancy firm said the stakeholders' committee should include
representatives from the government, mining industry and labour and should
be specifically tasked to devise an indigenisation programme that will
"balance the expectations of all stakeholders and is in the best interest of
the public, the economy and political stability."
In May, Amos Midzi, the Mines and Mining Development Minister, rattled
the mining industry when he announced that the government had agreed to
pursue a drastic indigenisation programme under which foreign-owned mining
firms would be forced to surrender up to 51 percent stake to the state and
black-owned mining firms.
Venmyn said the government's proposed indigenisation programme would
destroy value in Zimbabwe's mining sector, the only one in the economy which
still had significant foreign involvement after investors fled the country
because of political violence and lawlessness.
The South African firm urged the mining Chamber to request Mugabe to
assure the industry that their investments were safe in Zimbabwe as an
interim gesture while a fair and transparent indigenisation programme was
It said: "In the interim, the mining industry should formally request
President Mugabe to give assurance that its investments in Zimbabwe are
safe, the cost of doing business will not rise without consultation,
property rights will be strengthened in law and the government will protect
mining assets from being unlawfully invaded."
The Zimbabwe government has given conflicting signals over its mining
policy with Mugabe at one time saying the government had not yet agreed on
the indigenisation programme which he said was still under discussion. But
the Zimbabwean leader has also on several occasions vowed to ensure
Zimbabweans controlled the larger share of the country's mineral wealth. -
Wed 19 July 2006
HARARE - President Robert Mugabe's cash-strapped government is
planning to forcibly deduct Z$200 000 from all civil servants and members of
the uniformed forces to fund Heroes Day commemorations which are set for
next month, ZimOnline has learnt.
In a memo written by provincial administrator for Harare, James
Chivavaya, which was addressed to all heads of ministries, the Harare
authorities say civil servants and those in the uniformed service must
finance this year's Heroes Day celebrations, held in remembrance of fallen
heroes of Zimbabwe's independence struggle.
"The Provincial Heroes Committee has made a decision to ask for
donations from all government employees including uniformed forces in order
to finance the programme at the provincial heroes acre.
"May you please assist in this endeavour to ensure that the funds are
received this month (July)," reads part of the memo which was circulated
earlier this month.
There are about 160 000 civil servants in Zimbabwe with a further 68
000 people in the uniformed forces.
If all pay the stipulated Z$200 000 each, the Zimbabwean government
will raise about Z$45.4 billion, enough to fund lavish Heroes Day
celebrations around the country's provinces.
With salaries of between Z$27 million and Z$33 million a month, most
civil servants say any deductions on their paltry salaries will hit them
hard as they are already hard-pressed to make ends meet.
"My salary can hardly take me to the end of the month, even with the
recent increases government awarded us," said Austin Muderi, a civil servant
Mugabe's government has been accused in the past of intimidating
teachers and members of the uniformed services to contribute cash to fund
lavish ruling ZANU PF party and government functions in moves the civil
servants said amounted to extortion. - ZimOnline
Wed 19 July 2006
BULAWAYO - A Zimbabwean man who is on trial for allegedly insulting
President Robert Mugabe on Tuesday lost an application to have his case
quashed with the magistrate remanding him out of custody to July 28.
Bassanio Chikwiriri was arrested last year in the southern town of
Gwanda for allegedly insulting Mugabe, whom he blamed for the collapse of
the country's once vibrant economy. He is denying the charge.
Chikwiriri's lawyer, Thompson Mabhikwa, last week applied for a
discharge arguing that there was no prima facie case against his client.
But Gwanda magistrate, Douglas Zvenyika, on Tuesday dismissed the
application leaving Chikwiriri to face trial at the end of this month.
Under Zimbabwe's tough Public Order and Security Act, it is an offence
punishable by a jail term to insult Mugabe. - ZimOnline
Mail and Guardian
18 July 2006 10:59
A former Zanu-PF provincial chairperson has spilled the beans on
how the ruling party rigged the 2002 presidential election, which President
Robert Mugabe won against most expectations.
Dr Daniel Shumba is a retired army officer, former provincial
chairperson of Zanu-PF and central committee member who was kicked out of
the party last year, together with four others after facilitating an
"illegal" meeting that sought to thwart the nomination of Vice-President
Joice Mujuru as the party's vice-president.
Now the leader of the newly formed United People's Party (UPP),
Shumba said Zanu-PF manipulated the postal votes, which election observers
are unable to monitor properly.
Concerns about vote-rigging are beginning to mount, as the
nation gears towards the 2008 presidential election, which could see a new
political candidate from Zanu-PF. Civic groups are pushing for a coalition
to unseat Zanu-PF, which has been in power for the past 26 years.
Mugabe has repeatedly dismissed concerns about the 2002
electoral fraud, saying the Movement for Democratic Change were "cry babies".
This week more than 200 members of the reform-seeking National
Constitutional Assembly were arrested across the country for their
involvement in protests to demand constitutional change. By Thursday they
had not been released.
In a detailed reaction to Mail & Guardian inquiries on how
elections have been rigged in the past, Shumba said the weakness is that
"nobody has ever been able to account, monitor and verify the figures of
Mugabe's apparatus has been able to "exploit [this] at every
turn", he said. "There has never been a supplementary voters' list showing
the people who cast postal voters in Zimbabwe."
"That's correct. We have never had access to postal votes," says
Zimbabwe Election Support Network (ZESN) chairperson Dr Reginald
Matchave-Hove. "The possibility of rigging is very very high," he added.
"Accessing [postal votes] has been a mountain to climb and nobody has the
The ZESN says it has evidence of rigging from the last
parliamentary elections, in which the figures originally announced by the
government--sponsored Zimbabwe Elections Commission do not tally.
In the 2002 presidential election the government's strategy was
to frustrate the urban electorate by reducing the number of polling
stations. This created queues, which frustrated many people who eventually
did not vote. An application to extend the -voting days by two was accepted
by the high court.
But, according to Shumba's UPP, the area of postal votes needs
to be closely examined. Manipulation would be used again "because it has
Thousands of ballots are marked in favour of the Zanu-PF
candidate, Mugabe, from a central point, usually an army base, and then
posted so that they can be counted as postal votes from residents who are
physically way from an area in which they normally reside. They were
commonly sent to areas where Zanu-PF is expected to win a large majority so
that the disproportionately big margins do not raise eyebrows.
A former operative within the Central Intelligence Organisation
(CIO), who did not want to be identified, told the M&G he was privy to the
postal vote-rigging strategy.
The insider said the decision to rig the 2002 election was made
at a joint operations group (JOG) meeting, prior to the army issuing a
controversial statement saying it wouldn't salute anyone who had not
participated in the struggle. "Mugabe was only told [at the JOG meeting]
they were working something out to make sure the sell-outs never won. He
agreed but never understood the mechanics involved," the insider said.
The JOG comprises the army, police, prisons authorities, home
affairs officials and the CIO, chaired by Mugabe.
To boost votes in the presidential election, postal votes were
used in strategic provinces including Mashonaland Central, West and
Despite the vote-rigging, the UPP will participate in all future
Shumba insisted the rigging would not prevent Zanu-PF from being
rejected in the next election.
By a Correspondent
HARARE - THE National Constitutional Assembly (NCA) says its members
who were arrested last week and released at the weekend were assaulted and
tortured by the police while custody and as a result one person is fighting
for his life in the eastern border City of Mutare.
NCA spokesperson, Madock Chivasa, says the organisation's members, who
spent four days in police cells had been abused by the police who wanted
them to reveal the identities of their leaders. The NCA members refused to
pay guilty fines upon arrest resulting in them being kept in custody for
"While we salute the buoyant of our members who spent more than four
days in police cells in Mutare and Harare we are deeply concerned by the
barbaric treatment of our members by the police of assaulting and torturing
them," said Chivasa.
"The police behaved as if human rights do not exist and subjected our
members to inhumane and brutally treatment. In Mutare where our remaining 10
members were released on $500 000 bail today (Monday), one of the members is
battling for his life after he was assaulted by the police to reveal who was
"We have since instructed our lawyers to sue the police," he said.
The torture and assaults apply to Harare where 128 NCA members were
released on free bail on Saturday. Chivasa says his members were at times
denied access to food. One of them, a Ms Evidence John collapsed due to
hunger and inhabitable conditions at the Harare Central Police Station
The NCA was denied access to take her to a private doctor after the
police took her to Parirenyatwa Hospital. She could not be treated as
doctors were on strike.
"We will be in the streets soon to demonstrate specifically against
the brutality of the police. After that we resume our quest for a democratic
constitution," said Chivasa
The NCA has been at the front of a campaign for a new home-grown
Constitution in Zimbabwe following the drubbing of the ruling Zanu PF party
at the 2000 constitutional referendum.
The organisation has organised a number of demonstrations since then
but still is to force to government of Zimbabwe to the negotiating table for
a new document penned with the assistance of all stakeholders in the
By Tererai Karimakwenda
18 July 2006
It is no secret that the former Namibian head of state Sam Nujoma is a
firm supporter of Robert Mugabe and his land reform policy. But many
Namibians were caught off guard this past weekend when Nujoma reaffirmed his
loyalty to Mugabe then made threats against the British as he boasted about
Namibia's atomic capabilities. Speaking at the inauguration of the northern
railway line at Ondangwa on Saturday, Nujoma said: "The British should be
careful because they're trying to break down Mugabe's Zimbabwe... If the
English imperialists make a mistake today to occupy Zimbabwe, I will
instruct Swapo to go fight for the Zimbabweans."
Phil ya Nangoloh, executive director of the Namibia National Society
For Human Rights told us he was not surprised by Nujoma's outburst. He said
Nujoma had been snubbed at the railway ceremony and felt the need to lash
out. Ya Nangoloh said Namibians do not agree with Nujoma's views even though
he is still popular and heads the ruling SWAPO party. He said: "Namibians
realise there is a serious erosion of human rights next door because many
Zimbabweans are street vendors here who are telling them what is happening."
Ya Nangoloh informed us that callers on radio talk shows have shown clear
reservations about Nujoma's statements. He added that the demolitions of
Operation Murambatsvina were seen by many Namibians on television so they
know the real situation that is causing Zimbabweans to show up in large
numbers in their country.
Ya Nangoloh believes Nujoma creates the impression he is still in
charge of the country and the current leader Pohamba is his second. The
former leader has been criticised for becoming more like a dictator in his
current role as his friendship with Mugabe has grown. Local reports have
quoted Nujoma saying: "We have uranium here and we train our own scientists
and engineers. If they create nonsense, we can make our own atomic bombs."
Ya Nangoloh believes Nujoma was threatening the Kwanyama people, the
majority group from which President Pohamba hails. This same strategy of
instilling fear in his opponents is being used by Robert Mugabe in Zimbabwe.
SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news
WNDHOEK, July 18 -- Former Namibian head of state and president of the
ruling Swapo Party, Sam Nujoma, dropped another bombshell when he said the
country was ready to make its own atomic bombs in the event of any external
Nujoma was quoted by The Namibian newspaper as saying: "We have uranium here
(in Namibia) and we train our own scientists and engineers. If they
(external forces) create nonsense, we can make our own atomic bombs."
Nujoma had been speaking at the inauguration of the northern railway line at
Ondangwa on Saturday.
Earlier in the month Nujoma had threatened to send Swapo fighters to defend
Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe if "British imperialists" attacked the
country over the land issue.
"The British should be careful because they're trying to break down Mugabe's
Zimbabwe... If the English imperialists make a mistake today to occupy
Zimbabwe, I will instruct Swapo to go fight for the Zimbabweans," Nujoma
He also took a swipe at those who warned that Namibia would end up like
Zimbabwe if it emulated a disorderly land reform programme.
"If they don't like it, they can leave, go to Britain," he said. - IFS
Where next for land reforms in Africa?
Tuesday July 18, 2006
When white farmers in Zimbabwe started being driven off their farms at
gunpoint by intrepid settlers, the country's controversial agenda of land
reform was thrust into the international spotlight. But what happens after
the news teams leave?
An answer to this question is being sought in an ambitious £500,000 research
project that is bringing together African researchers and colleagues at the
Institute for Development Studies (IDS) at the University of Sussex. Funded
by the UK government and the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), it
will investigate the results of land reform not only in Zimbabwe but also in
Namibia and South Africa.
The aggressive land reforms in Zimbabwe have seen the number of commercial
farmers plummet from more than 4,000 to fewer than 500, and contributed to
severe food shortages in the once-rich country. But there has not been much
academic investigation into the effects that could help policymakers in the
"Amazingly, there has been no systematic, cross-country research on
livelihood change following land reform," says Ian Scoones, an ecologist at
IDS and a researcher on the project. He will spend the next three years
collecting and analysing data from land reform sites in the three regions,
including South Africa's Limpopo Province, Masvingo Province in Zimbabwe and
the Oshikoto region of Namibia.
After the events in Zimbabwe, there is now a sense of urgency to look at
land reform in some detail, he says. "It's an issue that, even if ignored,
won't go away."
The project will be led from South Africa, by the University of the Western
Cape on the outskirts of Cape Town. The principal investigator, Ben Cousins,
who did his PhD in Zimbabwe in the 1980s, says that this kind of research
has not always been welcomed by the policymakers. A few years ago, some of
the Zimbabwean researchers involved in the project were locked up for simply
asking difficult questions.
Cousins does not expect the same to happen this time. According to him, the
policy processes are becoming more open to external input and criticism. "In
Namibia and South Africa, there is a recognition that things are not going
so well. And in Zimbabwe, they are realising that it is not enough to
redistribute the land, you must help people to produce on it. It's what some
of us have been saying for seven or eight years."
But the research will not just shed light on controversial policies, it will
also break new methodological ground, says Scoones. Ten years ago, he says,
a similar project would have simply focused on the economics - how the move
from large-scale export farming to more diverse small-scale farming has
affected local and national streams of income.
"We are going to explore with a much more open-ended methodology," says
Scoones. This will involve looking not only at the economic viability of the
reforms - although this plays a part - but also the viability of the new
society structures created by the redistribution. In particular, looking at
what impact the reforms have had on people's livelihoods and on poverty
Such a holistic view is essential to understanding the impacts of land
reform, says Scoones. "There is often an assumption - particularly in
southern Africa, where there is a long history of large-scale commercial
agriculture - that small-scale farms are simply scaled-down versions of the
large-scale commercial sector, with the same needs and ambitions. This is a
He gives as an example visiting a farmer in rural Limpopo. "Such farmers are
almost always part-time, combining agriculture with an array of on- and
off-farm activities, linked in very different ways to the wider economy.
Understanding this new setting, and the support requirements it requires, is
an essential challenge for those supporting - and monitoring and
evaluating - land reform."
The results of the project are not expected to come trickling through until
early 2009. But land reform will continue to rise up the policy agenda as
climate change and population change keep putting pressure on the African
continent's natural resources. "We need to ask how part-time farming,
combined with trade, processing and other off-farm activities, adds up to a
new type of agrarian economy - one with new needs and priorities," says
The ESRC/DfID grant has been recommended for award on scientific grounds,
but is still subject to final contract negotiations.
By Staff Reporter
Last updated: 07/18/2006 12:02:00
ZIMBABWEAN opposition leader Arthur Mutambara says he does not regret
quitting robotics science to enter politics.
Speaking from Washington DC after meeting Zimbabweans, Mutambara said recent
electoral setbacks for his faction of the opposition Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC) had not made him reconsider his position.
A small gathering of journalists and Zimbabweans turned up to listen to the
former NASA rocket scientist in the the suburb of Gaithersburg in Washington
Mutambara said: "Many people are asking me why I left the comfort of the US
where I have a green card or South Africa where I have a resident's permit
to join the political bandwagon.
"I am happy to have made such a decision to be in the trenches, fighting
Mutambara told the meeting that Zimbabweans in the Diaspora had an active
role to play in the "struggle" at home.
On the trip, Mutambara, who met a number of US government officials, was
accompanied by MDC secretary-general Welshman Ncube, Bulawayo South MP,
David Coltart and Isaac Maphosa, a top party figure based in South Africa.
Coltart told the same gathering that it was now irrelevant to describe the
two warring factions of the MDC -- one led by Morgan Tsvangirai and the
other by Mutambara -- as as pro or anti-Senate.
Coltart said there were people in the so-called anti-senate, like Isaac
Matongo, who actually supported the Senate elections while there were others
like Mutambara himself who were anti-Senate but were now the so-called
Zimbabwean political commentators say Zimbabwe's opposition is now weakened
following the split last November.
By Staff Reporter
Last updated: 07/18/2006 10:21:16
ZIMBABWE'S High Court on Monday ordered that immigration authorities return
a diplomatic passport confiscated from an opposition member as he attempted
to travel out of the country last weekend, his lawyer said.
Immigration officials grabbed the travel document of Elias Mudzuri, a former
mayor and member of the main opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC)
at Harare airport, saying he was no longer entitled to it after being fired
two years ago, according to lawyer Beatrice Mtetwa.
"The judge ordered that the passport be returned to him forthwith because
there is no legal basis for it having been taken in the first place," Mtetwa
told journalists after a closed court hearing on the matter.
Mudzuri was elected as the capital's first opposition mayor in 2002 but
fired a year later on charges of misconduct levied against him by President
Robert Mugabe's government. The MDC has dismissed those charges as baseless.
Last December the High Court ruled that it was illegal for the government to
seize passports under a new law barring Mugabe's critics from travel.
The judgement followed a legal challenge by newspaper publisher Trevor
Ncube, who contested the seizure of his passport. Observers said Ncube's
passport was seized because his newspaper published stories critical of the
On Monday, Mtetwa said the High Court had ruled that Mudzuri's case "is no
different from the previous case where the state conceded that the passport
of Trevor Ncube had been unlawfully withdrawn from him or taken from him".
Mudzuri hoped to regain his passport and resume a trip to the United States,
State lawyers were not immediately available for comment.
Last year Mugabe's ruling ZANU-PF party, which enjoys a comfortable majority
in parliament, amended Zimbabwe's constitution to allow the government to
impose sweeping travel bans on "traitors" or those harming national
Analysts said the move was part of sustained crackdown on critics as the
government struggles with a deepening economic crisis widely blamed on its
Mugabe, in power since independence from Britain in 1980, has repeatedly
denounced the MDC as a puppet of the former colonial ruler and other Western
countries he accuses of sabotaging Zimbabwe's economy as payback for his
forcible redistribution of white-owned commercial farms among blacks -
By Staff Reporter
Last updated: 07/18/2006 10:04:37
A ZIMBABWEAN court on Monday issued and later cancelled a warrant for the
arrest of Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa after he failed to turn up for
The Rusape magistrates court issued the arrest warrant shortly before
lunchtime and cancelled it three hours latter after the Attorney General's
office said it had applied in error for the minister's arrest.
Chinamasa is charged with conspiring to defeat the course of justice.
In a faxed message read to the court, the AG's office said Chinamasa's
lawyer had informed them that he would not be able to attend, but that
message had not been conveyed to the state prosecutor in time resulting in
him applying for the minister's arrest.
The fax added that the minister's lawyer had told the AG that Chinamasa
would avail himself in court on August 1.
No reasons were given for his failure to attend Monday. The trial of five
other accused persons was also postponed to August 1.
The charges stem from an incident in which the justice minister allegedly
tried to influence key witnesses to withdraw charges arising from incidents
of political violence that rocked Makoni North, which initially sucked-in
Didymus Mutasa, the powerful State Security Minister.
Chinamasa will be tried together with Innocent Chibaya, head of the dreaded
Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) in Manicaland, Cosmas Chiringa, the
district administrator for Makoni, Dennis Masiya, a senior state
intelligence officer, Simba Muzariri and Robson Makoni.
Chibaya, Masiya, Muzariri and Makoni appeared before the Magistrates' Court
in Rusape and were remanded on free bail to July 17.
It is alleged that on December 18 2005 and January 25 this year Chinamasa
and the four attepted to entice James Kaunye, Leavence Kaunye, George
Mukundu, Fred Dube, Pedzisai Samanyanga, Wilson Kuwasekera, Emma Kapundanga,
Nurse Zonke and Idah Chiparange not to give evidence on charges of political
violence that rocked Makoni in the run up to the 2005 parliamentary polls.
He is alleged to have approached them during the Zanu PF People's Conference
in Esigodini in December last year and persuaded them to drop the case.
Ruling party supporters loyal to Mutasa went on a rampage and beat up war
veteran leader, Kaunye and his supporters for daring to challenge the
powerful Zanu PF secretary for administration in the constituency.
Several of Kaunye's supporters were seriously assaulted apparently at the
behest of Mutasa and his campaign manager Albert Nyakuedzwa.
Mutasa was later absolved but 23 of his supporters were dragged to court
over the violent attacks.
Mail and Guardian
Johannesburg, South Africa
18 July 2006 07:17
Striking medical interns in Zimbabwe have defied a directive to
return to work while their grievances are being examined, Harare's Herald
newspaper reported on Tuesday.
Its website said the junior doctors had vowed to return only if
authorities met their demands that included a 700% pay increase. They also
wanted substantial loans to buy vehicles suitable for the rural terrain and
allowances commensurate with their work.
The impasse had left patients stranded with the remaining staff
at hospitals only attending to emergency cases. The striking doctors were
mostly stationed at Parirenyatwa and Harare hospitals and downed scalpels
last Tuesday in protest against their deployment to district hospitals.
On Monday, the government offered the interns furnished
accommodation and a district allowance if they agreed to go to the rural
districts. But the doctors said this was insufficient.
Health and Child Welfare Minister Dr David Parirenyatwa urged
the doctors to return to work while a solution to the deadlock was being
He said the doctors should look upon their tour of duty in the
districts as a way of giving something back to the community that trained
The paper said only emergency cases were being attended to at
the Parirenyatwa and Harare hospitals on Monday.
At least 250 Zimbabwean medical interns were on strike by
"The strike started off slowly on Thursday last week, but now
everyone has joined in," said Kudakwashe Nyamutukwa, president of the
Hospital Doctors Association. - Sapa
The Herald (Harare)
July 18, 2006
Posted to the web July 18, 2006
THE Health Services Board is trying to woo back into service retired health
professionals, especially nurses to beat shortages.
Acting chairperson of the board Mrs Joyce Kadandara said efforts were in
place to try and attract even those nurses over the age of 60 back into
Sixty was the retirement age for nurses in the past.
However, Mrs Kadandara said if they were still able to work, those over 60
would be welcome to resume their old duties.
"As long as they feel they are still able to work, we would not mind having
them back in service.
"This just does not apply for those who are in the country but even those
who have left to enjoy their retirement elsewhere.
"We would like to attract them back into the country so they can serve the
nation," she said.
Thousands of nurses have left for the United Kingdom and other better paying
countries over the years, resulting in serious shortages.
Mrs Kadandara, a former director of nursing services in the Ministry of
Health and Child Welfare said the retired nurses would be able to share
their skills and experience with the younger crop.
She was speaking at Chitungwiza Central Hospital last Friday where some
private companies donated top-of-the range equipment and cash to the
Government has been mulling over this decision for sometime now with the
Minister of Health and Child Welfare Dr David Parirenyatwa having indicated
in the past that recalling retired nurses would fill the void left by the
exodus of skilled staff at Government hospitals.
He, however, said a lot of care and scrutiny based on merit and past
performances would be strictly adhered to, to ensure that standards of
nursing would not be compromised.
Despite bonding graduates, the Ministry of Health keeps experiencing a high
AN AFRICAN under-14s football team has been banned from taking part in an
international tournament in Scotland on the orders of the Foreign Office,
which claimed the young players might abscond.
The 24-strong squad of players from Bulawayo in Zimbabwe had been due to
take part in the Aberdeen International Football Festival, which opened in
the city yesterday.
But the squad has been refused access to the UK amid fears that they posed a
The footballers from Bulawayo, which is twinned with Aberdeen, were due to
join another 21 teams from Britain, Norway, Belarus, Ghana, the US and South
Teams from Bulawayo have played in the festival in the past without any
Gordon Naismith, the festival director, said the entry applications from the
young Zimbabweans had been denied by the British High Commission in Zimbabwe
over concerns that some of the group might not return.
Mr Naismith said: "It is ridiculous to claim under 14-year-olds are a flight
He added: "They [the Foreign Office] just thought the youngsters weren't
going to go back to Zimbabwe.
"You really feel sorry for them, after all the heightened expectations of
coming to the UK for a short break."
Mr Naismith continued: "We were looking to break down some of the barriers
the politicians have put up, so it is very disappointing that they have been
"Aberdeen City Council did not want to be seen to support the regime in
Zimbabwe, but we were more than happy for Bulawayo to come across and were
even going to help finance their accommodation."
He added: "Bureaucracy has gone over the top when they turn round and say
14-year-old kids can't experience what could be a trip of a lifetime. The
event is not just about football - it is about understanding each other's
culture and customs and enjoying the camaraderie with teams from other
countries. Sadly, the Bulawayo team won't have the chance to do this."
David Davidson, the Conservative MSP for the North-east, said: "I find it
absolutely staggering that youngsters could be refused visas as potential
illegal immigrants. This is an absolute nonsense and flies in the face of
what we deem to be a free society."
Nku Malusalila, a spokesman for the Bulawayo team, said: "The British High
Commission has denied all of us visas. Everyone is disappointed. They say
they don't believe that we will return home after the festival."
Neil Fletcher, the chairman of Aberdeen City Council's Bulawayo Trust, also
voiced his disappointment. "This is a terrible way to treat children who
would have been looking forward to coming over here," he said. "It's
disappointing for them, and it's disappointing for us.
"We have had links with Bulawayo for years with the twinning, and we are
careful about who we allow over here, and ensure that they go back home."
A spokeswoman for the Foreign Office said it did not comment on individual
The Herald (Harare)
July 18, 2006
Posted to the web July 18, 2006
POLICE in Harare on Sunday rounded up more than 50 street kids in a move
meant to combat crime in and around the city centre.
In an interview yesterday, Harare provincial police spokesperson Assistant
Inspector Memory Pamire said the rounding up of the street kids was part of
an ongoing operation aimed at bringing back sanity in the city.
Some of the street children that were rounded up during the clean-up
campaign escaped from the farms and homes where they were relocated under
Asst Insp Pamire said people should desist from giving the street kids and
beggars money because they usually buy intoxicating beverages, thereby
inciting violence and eventually disturbing peace as they harass the public.
"The number of children living on the streets is increasing because of the
money they get from people.
"We are appealing to the public not to give them money because we have noted
that doing so would be encouraging them to remain on the streets," she said.
"These children need basic rights like education, shelter and health
facilities," said Asst Insp Pamire.
Asst Insp Pamire also said people should help the poor, but they have to go
through the right channels such as the Department of Social Welfare so that
the street kids can be assisted in a proper way.
Most street children who have been rounded up for more than five times since
May last year have developed a habit of coming back to the streets.
Street kids countrywide are in the habit of harassing the public, especially
women and stealing valuables from them.
Last Friday, The Herald crew witnessed six street kids snatch a woman's
valuables in a flash along Kwame Nkrumah Avenue in the city centre.
The woman who identified herself as Pamela Chokudya lost a handbag worth $10
million containing a 3220 Nokia handset worth $60 million, $5 million cash,
a plastic bag of groceries and a gold necklace she was wearing.
The police confirmed the incident and urged the public to work with them to
remove children from the streets so as to reduce crime.
The public has hailed the move by the police but they hope for a lasting
solution to the problem of street kids and beggars.
Police are targeting street children, illegal vendors, illegal foreign
currency dealers and touts.
CHINESE Premier Wen Jiabao's trip across Africa last month
marked the third high-level delegation to the continent in a year. His
pickings were fruitful: 71 agreements ranging from trade to politics to
education. No wonder he calls Africa "the continent of opportunities". But
is it for Africa, too? This year alone the International Monetary Fund (IMF)
predicts China will carry on trade worth more than $50bn with a range of
African states, and estimates the figure will reach $100bn by 2010.
According to Beijing, Chinese trade with Africa jumped 35% from 2004 to
Consider the view from Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe's
new bathroom. While many western and African states have responded to
Zimbabwe's deepening political crisis by isolating the ageing autocrat,
Beijing sent him fighter jets and military vehicles worth $200m, sweetened
with a crate of blue bath tiles for Mugabe's new mansion, in exchange for
lucrative infrastructure concessions and mining rights.
Two key questions thus arise: does Beijing's rapid foray
into Africa exacerbate factors of state weakness in key countries where
resources have historically been as much a liability as an asset? And how
can African states reap the advantages of dealing with China without
undermining African leaders' broader project of improving governance and
stability on the continent?
In some places, there seem to be tangible benefits in the
relationship for Africa. Across the continent, China is investing in roads,
railways, telecommunications, and hydro-electric power stations, and
building schools, hospitals, and offices. A new military complex rises on
the slopes behind Algiers. China is set to build a new railway across Angola
and train telecommunications workers in preparation for a new fibre-optic
network they will lay.
But there is a downside, too. Some of China's key African
partners also happen to be among the weakest states in the world. Côte d'Ivoire,
the Democratic Republic of Congo and Sudan are the top three countries
listed on Foreign Policy's Failed State Index. Angola, Sierra Leone,
Zimbabwe and Nigeria are not much further down the list.
China is quickly becoming a viable source of alternative
capital for governments seeking to avoid international pressure for reform.
Earlier this year, China made a $2bn low-interest loan to the Angolan
government as part of a "long-term aid package", and it has subsequently
gained enormous oil drilling rights in new zones across the country. At the
time, the IMF, along with Britain's Extractive Industries Transparency
Initiative, had been working on a donor package of it own, conditional on
increased accountability and transparency in the oil sector. China's loan
undermined their leverage. According to a recent IMF statement, Luanda
shelved the latter deal.
China's cosy relationship with Sudan, meanwhile, included
"$100m worth of Shenyan fighter planes, including twelve supersonic F-7
jets," according to the Sudan Tribune, in exchange for "security and the
rights to drill" oil. Khartoum's complicity in the massive and violent
displacement of Sudanese from the Darfur provinces by state-sponsored
militias failed to complicate the deal.
Refugees International, meanwhile, has found that oil
companies have been forcefully removing individuals in southern Sudan from
land granted in oil concessions, and have even prevented internally
displaced persons from returning home following the signing of the
comprehensive peace accord between the north and the south last year. China
buys 50%-60% of Sudan's annual oil export.
As the US Council on Foreign Relations noted last year:
"China has successfully prevented the United Nations Security Council from
serious sanctions or other preventive measures in the face of alleged
genocide and crimes against humanity perpetrated in the Darfur region." In
September, Beijing worked first to soften a resolution meant to punish
Khartoum for perpetuating atrocities in Darfur by threatening to veto it,
then abstained from voting on the final, weaker draft.
China is not the only source of weapons to Africa, nor is
it the only country seeking access to the continent's resources. Neither is
Beijing entirely indifferent to Africa's plight. Beijing insists that it is
interested only in doing business in Africa and that its billions of dollars
in investments should be seen as a positive on a continent that reaps less
than 1% of global foreign direct investment. But in an age when state
failure counts as one of the greatest international security challenges,
engagement with the world's most corrupt, inefficient and repressive regimes
imposes new responsibilities - particularly among the permanent members of
the security council.
Throughout Africa's postcolonial period, states blessed
with ample resources have consistently ranked among the world's worst
performers. Revenues from timber, oil, diamonds and ores have financed
perpetual misery for millions of Africans. But today, African and
international leaders are, for the most part, striving to find formulas for
boosting and sustaining economic growth, ending conflict and improving
governance on the continent. Part of the challenge is to harness those
resources transparently and constructively. Employing 10000 Chinese workers
to extract oil in Sudan, rather than creating critically needed local
employment, does not meet that standard.
Recently, Emmerson Mnangagwa, Zimbabwe's speaker of
parliament and once a close ally of Mugabe's, observed that, "With
all-weather friends like the People's Republic of China . Zimbabwe will
never walk alone". His comment could apply to several of Africa's most
problematic states, and it should be a cause for grave concern among the
continent's policy makers.
Alec Wescott is an intern on a security and terrorism
research project at the South African Institute of International Affairs.
By a Correspondent
HARARE - THE opposition MDC has reported triumphs in its weekend rural
rallies that were addressed by national chairman, Isaac Matongo and
organising secretary, Elias Mudzuri.
Nelson Chamisa, the spokesperson for the main MDC camp, said thousands
turned up for the party's rallies in its nationwide campaign to interact
with the people around the country on issues affecting them and the way
Matongo and Mudzuri addressed about 8 000 people at Magombedze
Shopping Centre in Gutu, Masvingo province on Sunday.
Masvingo executive mayor Alois Chaimiti and the MDC's provincial
leadership also attended the meeting.
"At the meeting thousands of party supporters, including old men and
women, openly said they were tired of the dictatorship," said Chamisa. "The
people at the rally said Robert Mugabe had reduced the nation to paupers and
implored the MDC leaders to expedite the popular resistance programme so
that they can send a clear message to the regime."
Matongo assured the people that mass protests promised at the
beginning of the year by the party's president, Morgan Tsvangirai, were
still on. He explained the MDC roadmap, which he said was the party's
proposal for a peaceful resolution of the national crisis. He said Mugabe
risked facing angry and hungry people in the streets if he refused to accept
He said the democratic resistance programme being planned by his party
was aimed at forcing Mugabe to accept the party's Roadmap to a speedy
resolution of the Zimbabwe's multi-layered crisis.
The party also reports that thousands also turned up at rallies by the
leadership of the women's assembly in Matabeleland North and South.
On Friday, the women's leadership addressed over 4 000 people at
Gwanda Hall while an estimated 6 000 people attended another rally at
Dingimuzi primary school in Plumtree the following day.
On Sunday, the women's leadership was in Hwange where they addressed
another huge crowd of about 9 000 people at the party's offices after police
denied them the use of Nengasha stadium on "flimsy grounds".
"The people's spirits were not dampened. The huge crowd of singing MDC
supporters only dispersed at around midnight."
Lucia Matibenga the party's National Women's assembly chairperson and
secretary general, Evelyn Matongo, are also on a nationwide campaign to
galvanise the party's structures ahead of the planned action.
"They also took the opportunity to explain the party's roadmap, whose
signposts include a new, people-driven Constitution, a transitional
authority, free and fair elections under international supervision and a
period of reconstruction and stabilization in a new democratic
dispensation," said Chamisa.
This week, the women's team goes to Nkayi where they are scheduled to
hold eight rallies and several ward meetings. They will meet grassroots
structures to hear the people's concerns and to articulate the party's
position regarding the national crisis.
"The huge crowds continue to tell their own story. The people are
ready. The people are tired of the dictatorship," said Chamisa. "The people
have pinned their hopes on the MDC as their only source of salvation. The
people are determined to save their country. The people are ready for a new
Zimbabwe. Change is coming."
The opposition was left weakened after its acrimonious split last
October which saw the emergence of two MDC parties with the main and bigger
camp being led by Tsvangirai and a smaller one by Arthur Mutambara.
The Tsvangirai-led MDC is trying to galvanise support ahead of the
Ukranian-style street protests they are organising. The protests can only
succeed if the people of Zimbabwe heed the opposition's call to get onto the
streets. Tsvangirai has promised to lead the protesters from the front.
18 Jul 2006
By Mark Schulman*
Southern Africa just had one of the wettest summers on record, turning
its usual adobe brown sun-burnt landscapes into verdant green paradises. In
South Africa's Kruger National Park, vegetation has grown thick and dried
riverbeds have flooded. Wildlife haven't had to wander too far in search of
food or water.
That's great for the wildlife, but not necessarily for the 1.2 million
tourists who come to the world-famous park each year expecting to spot the
Big Five - lion, leopard, elephant, rhino and buffalo - that in leaner times
are easily found congregating in the open around sparse waterholes.
But not to fret, even in the best of conditions one can't miss the
elephants. Not only because they are the largest animal foraging around the
park - not to mention the largest terrestrial land animal on the planet -
but because they are numerous. In fact, within the first few minutes of
entering Kruger's main gate, a large male bull is easily spotted foraging
among the trees without blinking an eye at the herds of gawking
holidaymakers - an indication of their high visibility and high densities in
"Elephants are such large and magnificent creatures," said Dr PJ
Stephenson of WWF's African Elephant Programme, "but they also need a lot of
food and freedom if they are to survive."
As elephants consume up to 200kg of plant matter in a single day, when
space is limited, as it usually is, they often come into conflict with other
animal species, as well as people, who are competing for many of the same,
often scarce resources.
How many is too many?
Kruger National Park covers an area of some 20,000km2 - about half the
size of Switzerland - but it still doesn't seem big enough to accommodate a
growing elephant population. Unlike many populations in Africa which remain
endangered as a result of years of poaching and habitat loss, elephants in
Kruger are growing at a rapid rate. Since the park stopped culling elephants
about a decade ago as a result of international pressure, numbers have gone
from 7,000 to over 12,000. According to local officials, the park's habitat
can only sustain about 7,000 over a long period. Any more and it will add
pressure to an already fragile and carefully managed environment.
"With a natural growth rate of 6-8 per cent a year, the population
currently has the potential to double their numbers every decade," said Dr
Hector Magome, Conservation Services Director of South African National
Parks (SANParks), the government department responsible for managing the
country's 22 national parks.
"Increasing numbers of elephants are causing major changes to the
vegetation of the park, destroying trees and reducing habitat available for
other wildlife species. When elephant numbers go up, tree numbers go down.
At what point do you want to stop that?"
In the course of their foraging, elephants often strip the bark of
trees of such important tall tree species as ancient baobabs, knobthorns -
where birds of prey often make their nests - and marulas, whose fruit has an
extremely high vitamin C content and is used to make jam, juices and
alcoholic beverages like the popular South African liqueur Amarula. Rare
plant species, such as the lalla palm, are also being damaged.
"Marula trees are endangered due to destructive bark stripping by
elephants," said Dr Holger Eckhardt, an ecology specialist at Kruger
National Park. "They can eliminate entire communities of these valuable
trees in a very short amount of time. Increasing elephant numbers will cause
increasing pressure on current tall tree populations."
According to aerial surveys in the park, large trees are declining by
about 45 per cent in observed areas.
In addition to tree loss, elephants have been blamed for breaking the
park's boundary fence and reeking havoc on neighbouring villages, especially
their crops. The broken fences also allow species like buffalo to leave the
park, some carrying foot and mouth and bovine tuberculosis which infects
livestock and have a negative impact on the local economy. Outbreaks of foot
and mouth disease to the west of Kruger National Park have increased in
recent years. Managing a recent foot and mouth outbreak cost South Africa
some US$15.5 million.
About 1.5 million people live near Kruger and several hundred thousand
in bordering Mozambique. Because of these large population areas, there are
increased concerns of rising human-elephant conflicts. There have also been
reports of increased elephant attacks on tourists and personnel.
"Our obligation is to manage and conserve biodiversity," added Dr
Magome. "We have to do something to manage the situation, both for the
ecosystem, the people who live near the park and for those who visit it."
"Ultimately, the decisions on elephant population management are all
about choices of what we want. Do we want elephants to be the main asset of
the park and thus manage for elephants or do we want to manage the parks for
the entire functioning of the system?"
To cull or not to cull
Several options are currently being considered by South Africa and
other southern African range states to tackle local over-population of
elephants. These include range expansion through the establishment of
cross-border protected areas and protection of migration corridors,
translocation to under-populated areas, contraception, and perhaps the most
controversial, culling - the intentional reduction of elephant populations.
Each option has its advantages and disadvantages, each its costs and
WWF has for years been working to establish trans-frontier
conservation areas in Africa to help conserve elephant migration corridors,
to reduce human-elephant conflict, and to establish community-based natural
resource management programmes. The global conservation organization has
also helped establish new protected areas at the national level, as well as
helped translocate elephants from South Africa to an under-populated
trans-border park in Mozambique.
But translocation is expensive and labour-intensive and can only help
remove a limited number of "unwanted" elephants - up to only 14 at a time,
according to Kruger staff. Translocating one elephant can cost as much as
US$8,000. Despite the price tag, many have been taken across the border to
Mozambique, but the elephants have raided the crops of communities still
living in the area, and some have actually found their way back to their
traditional feeding grounds in Kruger - making the whole operation
ineffective. Contraception methods have also been employed over the years,
but this has proven to be expensive and the park's veterinarians say it can
only stabilize populations, not reduce them.
It is because of such complex challenges that elephant culling is once
again being talked about to address the problems of elephant overpopulation
and insufficient space in certain parts of southern Africa. Kruger, as well
as other southern African parks, used to cull small numbers annually to
maintain populations at levels authorities considered suitable for their
environment, but stopped under strong international pressure in 1995 after
populations in other parts of Africa had been decimated by decades of
systematic poaching. The status of the species, however, still varies
greatly across Africa. Some populations remain endangered due to poaching
for meat and ivory, habitat loss, and conflict with humans, while others are
secure and expanding, like in South Africa and its neighbouring countries as
a result of successful management and enforcement.
"No one likes killing elephants, but we have a responsibility to
maintain biodiversity," said Kruger's Dr Whyte, an elephant specialist who
has worked in the park for the past 36 years.
"This is the problem with elephant culling. You have the conservation
management issue to deal with, but there is the emotional side. A lot of
people identify with elephants, they have family structures similar to ours;
they look after each other. But in terms of conservation management of
biodiversity, elephants can have a very significant impact on an
"We see what happens in other parks when populations explode," he
added. "We are trying to predict well in advance before the serious damage
Anticipating an international backlash because of the sensitiviy of
the issue, SANParks and the South African Environment Ministry have been
debating any potential cull (no decision has yet been made at the time of
writing this article), taking in views from a number of stakeholders,
including top scientists, academics, conservation organizations such as WWF,
animal welfare groups, local communities bordering Kruger, neighbouring
countries that also have large elephant populations, and many others.
"We acknowledge the challenges faced by South Africa in managing its
expanding elephant population and support the consultative process and
attempt to take on board all points of view on this very important and
complex issue before making a final decision," said Dr Susan Lieberman,
Director of WWF's Global Species Programme.
"Culling should only be considered as a last resort when all
non-lethal options have been investigated and thoroughly tried and tested,"
"It is also vital that African elephant range states develop
long-term, large-scale national and regional plans for elephant and land
management that allow elephant populations to exist without danger to
ecosystems and local communities. These plans should also provide benefits
to local communities."
Local communities, local solutions
The elephant story in some of South Africa's neighbouring countries is
different. In Namibia's north-eastern Caprivi Strip, where Angola, Botswana,
Zambia and Zimbabwe all meet, there are thousands of elephants crossing
borders at any given time. In northern Botswana alone there are an estimated
100,000-plus elephants growing at a rate of 5 per cent a year, and are
damaging the vegetation in protected areas such as Chobe National Park at a
record pace. Elephant numbers in this part of southern Africa far exceed the
population in Kruger and are also causing huge headaches for wildlife
management and local people.
"There are definitely too many elephants here and they are causing a
considerable amount of damage to farmers' crops and even people," explained
Beaven Mulani, a field coordinator with the WWF-funded Integrated Rural
Development and Nature Conservation (IRDNC) in the Caprivi Strip, which is
experiencing a rise in elephant-human conflict. Beaven's grandmother was
killed by an elephant when he was only five-years old and the issue is close
"Something like culling would destroy a lot of elephants," he said.
"If we are talking about conservation we need to find the right balance. We
must look at the needs of the communities. The only solution here is to give
hunting quotas to the conservancies. This will give the communities more
control in managing wildlife."
Conservancies are a unique conservation system in Namibia that gives
local communities responsibility and right of ownership over their natural
resources and wildlife. Registered conservancies acquire the rights to
sustainable wildlife hunting quotas set by the country's Ministry of
Environment and Tourism. Wildlife, including small numbers of elephants, can
either be hunted and consumed by the community, or sold to trophy hunting
companies, with proceeds going directly to the communities.
"Communities once received nothing for the use of their resources, now
they are getting paid for it," said Chris Weaver, Director of WWF Namibia.
"You can do a lot with the money, like improving education, increasing
employment, and of course, sustainably managing natural resources. The idea
is for local communities to manage the land, wildlife and natural resources
so that they are profitable, and ultimately, self-supporting."
In the Samambala Conservancy, for example, the community can earn as
much as $US11,000 for an elephant. In the nearby Kasika Conservancy, there
are quotas for four elephants, six buffaloes, two hippos and two crocodiles.
These quotas, if filled, have a potential worth of over US$80,000.
"Community attitudes towards wildlife conservation have changed since
the establishment of conservancies in my region," explained Chief Joseph
Tembwe Mayuni, Chief of the Mafwe tribe, which lives on the Mayuni
Conservancy in Namibia's Caprivi Strip.
"As my people see that benefits are going directly to the community,
they know it is in their interest to look after wildlife."
Red hot chilli peppers
Although communities in Namibia have become more tolerant of wildlife
as a result of the conservancies, it doesn't mean that the human-wildlife
conflict has gone away. Elephants in many places still disrupt daily life.
Children in the Impalila Conservancy near the border with Botswana are often
too frightened to go to school because elephant herds are in the area. As a
result, many children's education has suffered. Sometimes the conflict ends
in tragedy. On the Kasika Conservancy in recent years, five people have died
from wildlife attacks - three from hippos, one from a crocodile, and one
from an encounter with an elephant.
About 1,600 elephants come across the border from Botswana's Chobe
National Park each year from June to November to graze on the lands of the
Kasika Conservancy. Elephants are also among the main culprits behind crop
raiding, easily damaging a farmer's yearly income in a matter of minutes.
"My field has been raided several times," said Moses Maseku from the
Caprivi Strip village of Sikaunga. "This is a problem, especially as I have
no other income and I get no compensation. When one elephant comes, more are
sure to follow. I am expecting more raids. There is nothing I can do."
Elephants are not just big, but smart. They can easily knock down
fences protecting crops, even disable electric ones, and are not scared of
loud noises made by farmers defending their crops. But it seems that they
have one weak spot - they don't like spicy food.
Chilli peppers have shown to be an effective elephant deterrent in
Namibia, as well as other parts of Africa experiencing elephant problems.
Either mixed with engine oil on rope barriers around the fields or mixed
with dried elephant dung and burned to make "chilli bombs", the spicy
capsicum seems to work as an effective anti-elephant repellent.
Albert Stenzi, another farmer from Sikaunga, has seen his sorghum
fields raided five times in one year.
"I am going to try and use chilli techniques if I am given the
chance," he said. "I will try anything at this point to stop the raid."
Through a WWF-supported project, several conservancies are now
learning to cultivate several plots of chillies to be used for scaring off
elephants that raid their crops.
"It's a simple and effective solution," said WWF's African elephant
expert Dr PJ Stephenson.
"The success in reducing crop-raiding and increasing crop yields has
made people more enthusiastic and supportive of conservation, and has
demonstrated that people can live alongside wildlife while developing
sustainable livelihoods. And that in turn should help ensure a long future
for the elephants."
* Mark Schulman is Managing Editor at WWF International, based in
. The African elephant once ranged across most of the African
continent from the Mediterranean coast to the southern tip. Although it is
difficult to assess accurately population numbers, it is thought there may
have been three to five million African elephants in the 1930s and 1940s.
However, heavy ivory poaching, in addition to habitat loss, saw elephant
numbers decline sharply in the 1970s and 1980s. Today, it is estimated that
between 400,000 and 660,000 elephants survive in Africa.
. In 2000, WWF launched its African Elephant Programme. With 40 years
of experience in elephant conservation, WWF's current programme aims to:
increase protection and management of elephants in Africa; build capacity
within elephant range countries to manage and mitigate conflict between
humans and elephants; and control the illegal trade in elephant products.
. WWF has recently supported the IUCN Species Survival Commission
African Elephant Specialist Group to produce technical guidelines for the
management of local over-population of African elephants. This is expected
to be published in early 2007 and will provide park managers and national
governments with the information they need to make informed decisions about
the options available to them.
Comment from The Nation (Kenya), 15 July
Almost every month, we hear of a historical work that presents the
experience of Kenya under the colonial government as consisting largely of
fraudulent land acquisition and brutal torture of the indigenous population
by colonial troops. These books, which are praised by many though read by
few, no doubt, bring to light archival details that were not widely known.
Surprisingly, the books present a one-dimensional image of what really
happened in Kenya over the past 100 years or so. No history purporting to
assess the complex factors that were at play in Kenya in the better part of
last century can be as simple and straightforward as some of the writers
want to us believe. So, to try and bring about a more realistic picture of
the past 100 years, I have decided to offer a prize of 100,000 dollars to
anyone who can write "the other side of the story".
This prize will be given to any writer who can come up with a defensible
account of the positive contributions that the colonial administrators, the
early missionaries and colonial settlers, as well as their heirs, the
present day white Kenyans - made to this country. In particular, I would
expect this work of history to give due credit to people like the late Bruce
Mackenzie, independent Kenya's minister for Agriculture, and Sir Michael
Blundell, who was the most prominent settler leader in the last years of the
colonial administration. And to illustrate what I have in mind, let me say
something about Mr Mackenzie and his achievements as Agriculture minister in
independent Kenya's first Cabinet. If you ask me what this man did to
deserve the gratitude of this nation, I would answer that the policies and
programmes that he initiated in agriculture, ensured that Kenya did not
precede Zimbabwe on a tragic path to economic ruin.
The economic and political dynamics of Kenya in the late 1950s and early
1960s were much the same as those exposed later in Zimbabwe. First, a
minority elite of white farmers who were the backbone of the nation's
economy, and who had no real desire to give up their privileged position.
Then, a large population of highly-politicised indigenous Africans, who had
generations earlier been dispossessed of their lands to make way for the
white settlers, and who saw political independence as being, primarily, an
opportunity to get back that land. And finally, the indigenous leaders of
the newly-independent country, who were only too well aware that whatever
their credentials may have been as "liberators", their future careers in
politics depended largely on the extent to which they were able to deliver
on the promises they had made to their people, and especially land. What
made Mr Mackenzie something of a visionary is that he saw clearly from the
start that Kenya's future depended on an immediate and massive programme for
the transfer of the bulk of the productive land in the country, from the
white minority to the black majority. And that this had to be done in an
orderly manner not to jeopardise the supply or quality of the agricultural
produce on which the country's economy was reliant - and also without, in
any way, appearing to violate the norms of modern property rights.
No matter how you look at it, given the colonial histories of countries like
Kenya and Zimbabwe, no long-term political stability was ever going to be
possible if there was no such programme. One way or another, a mechanism had
to be devised which would enable the ordinary man in the rural areas, to
obtain his small parcel of land, on affordable terms. The "million acres
scheme" funded by the British government, and other such programmes carried
out by the Settlement Fund Trustees saw this happen progressively in Kenya,
over the decades that began in the mid-1960s. And in consequence of this, we
now have a situation in which the greater part of privately owned land in
Kenya is in the hands of small-scale farmers. The Kenya Tea Development
Agency, for example, which serves the interests of small-scale tea growers
(and which was a creation of the late Mr Mackenzie) accounts for most of the
nation's tea exports. And after almost 40 years, it is still a success story
that many other countries have sought to emulate. In colonial times, tea was
grown exclusively by white settlers in their large estates.
In Zimbabwe, no such orderly transfer occurred and as a result, the
political pressures brought to bear on an ageing autocrat, who was losing
popularity with an electorate that once adored him, led to the land grabs
that ultimately brought the country to its knees. And speaking of Zimbabwe,
I think I forgot to mention that the 100,000 dollars prize is a single note
of Zimbabwean currency. A Zimbabwean, who gave me the note, assured me that
it could not buy even a loaf of bread in his country, and that the black
market exchange rate was 300,000 Zimbabwe dollars to the US dollar. My
intention in offering this unit of Zimbabwean currency was not to make
anyone rich. Rather it was to provide a piece of paper, essentially
worthless in and of itself, but nonetheless worthy of being framed and hung
up, for its symbolic value in illustrating what Kenya might have become if
it were not for the foresight of people like Mr Mackenzie.