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

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Amnesty International

Human rights groups must not be banned
Press release, 23/07/2004

Amnesty International today expressed grave concern at reports that the
Zimbabwe government plans to ban international human rights groups as well
as the foreign funding of local organizations promoting rights in the

The measures are reportedly contained in a draft bill governing the
operation of non-governmental organizations (NGOs).

"These reports indicate that as with other legislation introduced in the
past two years, the government will use this new bill to silence critical
voices and further restrict the right to freedom of expression. It is a
clear attempt by the government to suppress dissenting views as
parliamentary elections scheduled for March 2005 draw closer," Amnesty
International said.

Amnesty International calls on the government of Zimbabwe to immediately
repeal or amend all legislation which violates the rights to freedom of
expression, association and assembly and bring national legislation in line
with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the African
Charter and other international human rights standards.

At the opening of parliament on 20 July 2004, President Mugabe confirmed
that new legislation governing the operation of NGOs would be introduced to
replace the Private Voluntary Organizations Act.

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New Zimbabwe

Nervy moments for Zimbabwe opposition leader

By Staff Reporter
Last updated: 07/23/2004 23:22:37
MORGAN Tsvangirai prepared for the worst this week as news came through that
the High Court had postponed indefinitely a judgement on his year-long
treason trial.

Tsvangirai, leader of Zimbabwe's opposition Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC) is accused of plotting to kill President Robert Mugabe with the help
of a former Israeli spy who was the prosecution's key witness.

MDC spokesman Paul Themba Nyathi told New that the judgement
which was supposed to be delivered next Thursday had been held back after
assessors in the case - Misheck Nyandoro and Joseph Dangarembizi - asked for
a review of the judgement after expressing "concerns".

A legal expert told New that the latest hitch with the case
most definitely meant it was a guilty verdict by Justice Paddington Garwe.

"It's not common to get to this scenario but my observation is that it
doesn't look promising for Tsvangirai," the lawyer said.

Nyathi insisted that Tsvangirai was unfazed and remained "100 percent
certain of his innocence" and will lead the opposition party into the next

Tsvangirai was charged with treason in February last year for allegedly
plotting to assassinate Mugabe ahead of the 2002 presidential election.

The charges hinge on a secretly videotaped meeting between Tsvangirai and
Ari Ben-Menashe, president of a Canadian-based public relations firm,
Dickens and Madison, in which the idea of "eliminating" Mugabe was brought

Defence lawyers have argued since the opening of the trial that the
videotape on which the alleged plot to assassinate Mugabe was based was
defective and could not be relied on.

Tsvangirai, a former union leader who formed the Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC) in 1999 to challenge Mugabe, says the government trumped up the
treason charges against him in a bid to frame and discredit him ahead of a
presidential election in 2002.

He lost the elections, which were discredited by international observers who
said they were rigged and marred by political violence.

Tsvangirai said he had hired Ben Menashe's firm to help with international
lobbying and fundraising for his party, but later discovered the government
had also hired it.

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New Zimbabwe

Mugabe's pal Van Hoogstraten threatens judges

By Staff Reporter
Last updated: 07/24/2004 00:53:45
ZIMBABWEAN President Robert Mugabe's financier and friend, the property
tycoon Nicholas van Hoogstraten has vowed to sue his own legal team, a day
after winning his appeal in a £5million civil claim over the death of a

The 58-year-old, worth £500million, said he would sue the Crown Prosecution
Service for malicious prosecution, Sussex Police for attempting to prosecute
him for alleged assault and his lawyers for alleged incompetency.

He also said he would sue the family of the man he was convicted of killing
and issued a chilling threat to the judges who he said should never set foot
in southern Africa or "they will never see the light of the day".

Van Hoogstraten, who moved to Zimbabwe when freed from jail in December,
said: "The (judges) didn't like being beaten at their own game. I hope one
of those bastards sets foot in southern Africa one day. They'll never see
the light of day."

He was sentenced to 10 years' jail two years ago for the manslaughter of
businessman Mohammed Raja, who was gunned down by two hitmen in 1999 at home
in Sutton.

The conviction was quashed seven months ago but the Raja family continued
with a £5million civil lawsuit, freezing van Hoogstraten's assets.

On Wednesday three Appeal Court judges overturned several High Court rulings
in the case.

Van Hoogstraten said yesterday: "They (the Rajas) are nothing, they're just
Pa**s and complete nonentities."

The reclusive multimillionaire is already a major landowner in Zimbabwe and
boasts of his friendship with President Mugabe.

In an interview with the British Sundat Timees newspaper in February, van
Hoogstraten said he was planning to enter politics, but not in the UK
fuelling speculation that he will be seeking public office in Zimbabwe.

"I am already involved with politics... well, not in this country," he said
at the time.

Van Hoogstraten - who has described his own politics as "to the right of
Attila the Hun" - defended Mugabe from criticism that he has overseen
human-rights abuses and suppressed freedom of speech.

The Sunday Times also reported that van Hoogstraten was operating from an
office in the outskirts of Harare, Zimbabwe's capital, as he strove to do a
deal with the regime of President Mugabe to keep his business and land
ventures afloat in the pariah nation.

The tycoon, is Zimbabwe's largest private landowner and a vocal supporter
and financial backer of Mugabe.
Additional reporting Daily Mirror (UK)

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  Zimbabwe Emergency Statement
      23 Jul 2004 15:18:00 GMT

      Save the Children UK

Save the Children - UK

July 23rd 2004

Humanitarian Situation

Many Zimbabweans continue to face conditions of extreme food insecurity
according to the Famine Early Warning System Network (FEWSNET) . In May this
year the United Nations' World Food Programme (WFP) estimated that 5.5
million people from the total population of 11.6 million were at risk of
food shortages. Drought, poor agricultural production, high levels of
unemployment and inflation , as well as crippling levels of HIV/AIDS, have
left most urban and rural households facing serious obstacles in their
attempts to access food. Cereal deficits are predicted in 20 rural
districts, most seriously in Manicaland, Matebeleland North and Matebeleland
South. While basic foodstuffs such as maize meal, maize grain, sugar, flour,
salt, cooking oil and meat are available, the majority of poor urban
households cannot afford to buy such commodities . Fresh milk supplies to
most urban areas are erratic and inadequate. In addition, during three
consecutive years of drought conditions, farmers have lacked seeds and
fertilisers. Moreover, Zimbabwe has experienced a significant reduction in
the food output of its commercial farms following the government's
fast-track land-redistribution programme .lisers. Moreover, Zimbabwe has
experienced a significant reduction in the food output of its commercial
farms following the government's fast-track land-redistribution programme .

The United Nations (UN) is concerned that it will not be able to respond
sufficiently adequately or rapidly should food assistance be required by
Zimbabwe later this year. This follows the suspension of the Crop and Food
Supply Assessment Mission (CFSAM) that was to have been carried out jointly
by the Government of Zimbabwe and the UN's Food and Agriculture Organisation
(FAO) and World Food Programme (WFP).

Worrying indications of high levels of malnutrition amongst children,
particularly in the cities, are emerging. According to UNICEF, "malnutrition
levels in Harare have doubled over the past four years and significantly
worsened in Bulawayo. " At least a quarter of districts in Zimbabwe have
high levels of severe acute malnutrition in children aged under five, whilst
in a third of all districts, mortality rates are approaching emergency

The 2003 Zimbabwe Human Development Report indicates that poverty is
generally on the increase in both rural and urban areas . According to the
report, poverty is fuelling the HIV/AIDS epidemic and it is estimated that
1.8 million of the 11.6 million people in Zimbabwe were living with HIV and
AIDS by the end of 2003. HIV/AIDS has created numerous child headed
households who have very limited financial means. The prohibitive cost of
fees, uniforms and stationery, as well as the necessity of undertaking work
in order to survive, are some of the factors that prevent such children from
attending school. They are also at a disadvantage in terms of accessing
adequate health care and medication. In Manicaland Province, a survey
carried out by the Family AIDS Caring Trust (FACT) in Chimanimani, Chipinga,
Rusape and Nyanga, found below average growth and development amongst the
orphans and vulnerable children studied. This indicates a poor diet that is
predominantly made up of carbohydrates and limited types of vitamins, with
very few other essential nutrients. Community health services do not provide
medicines for AIDS related illnesses and patients must travel to towns to
access such treatment. High transport costs may inhibit travel and
increasing numbers of poor people are likely to suffer from illnesses than
could easily be managed at local level.tamins, with very few other essential
nutrients. Community health services do not provide medicines for AIDS
related illnesses and patients must travel to towns to access such
treatment. High transport costs may inhibit travel and increasing numbers of
poor people are likely to suffer from illnesses than could easily be managed
at local level.

Floods have hit Centenary District in Mashonaland Central, northern
Zimbabwe, for the past three consecutive years. The flooding has ruined
homes, leaving scores of people destitute and has destroyed the crops that
usually make up the community's major livelihood source. The area is remote
which has meant delayed responses and the unnecessary destruction of

Less than 0.5% of households in Mashonaland West province in Kariba District
had adequate sanitation facilities and water was drawn from open wells and
rivers , a situation that allowed cholera to become endemic there in June.

Only half of the health clinics in three provinces - Mashonaland West, the
Midlands and Masvingo - have access to safe water, and the majority of
districts across the country face shortages of essential drugs . Where such
drugs are available, their high cost represents a further barrier to
accessing health services. Midlands and Matebeleland North are amongst the
provinces worst served by facilities such as health centres and have a high
prevalence of diseases such as upper respiratory infections and malaria.
Matabeleland North also lacks sufficient medical staff, with only half its
clinics having at least one nurse.

Food shortages, compounded by the impact of HIV/AIDS, are drastically
affecting children's welfare in Zimbabwe:

? Children are forced to stay away from school so that they can work, in
order to supplement their family's income ? Increased numbers of children,
particularly girls, are pressured to engage in commercial sex work ?
Children miss school because of malnutrition and ill health ? Increasing
numbers of orphaned children must fend for themselves and their siblings ?
Children are finding it difficult to access food aid and other basic
services necessary for their survival ? HIV prevalence amongst young women
below the age of 20 is five times higher than amongst their male
counterparts ? UNICEF estimates that one in five children in Zimbabwe will
be orphaned by 2010.

Save the Children's Response Save the Children has been working in Binga
district in Matabeleland North and Kariba rural (also called Nyaminyami)
district in Mashonaland West since the early 1980s. Work has centred on
water and sanitation, malaria control, HIV/AIDS and child protection
programmes. The programmes have evolved from merely providing services, such
as drilling boreholes, to working closely with communities to build and
strengthen their capacity to manage and maintain services. A nutrition
survey carried out in June 2004 reported that 58.7% of the population here
now has access to safe water, 77% of which was delivered within Sphere

In response to Zimbabwe's economic crisis and years of drought, Save the
Children has been providing food aid in the Zambezi Valley. Since 2002 we
have implemented a number of new initiatives covering various aspects of
household livelihood security. These include: the distribution of
agricultural inputs such as seeds (mainly maize, sorghum, millet and cowpea,
depending on the climatic conditions in particular area) and fertiliser;
seed multiplication; nutrition support through vegetable seed kits and
interventions to support HIV/AIDS affected households. Save the Children has
also engaged in livestock support, the rehabilitation of dip tanks, and
provision of conservation farming tools for adults and children.

In 2003/4 Save the Children increased its focus on vegetable seeds due to
their severe shortage and exorbitant prices. Recognising the limitations of
agricultural production in Binga and Nyaminyami, Save the Children has
become involved in the area of livestock replenishment. We have developed a
pilot 'goat for maize' exchange for 200 households, in order to address the
livestock imbalance in Binga. Furthermore, we aim to improve the quality of
the goats in this area through importing stock and cross breeding.

Since 2003 there has been a significant expansion of Save the Children's
water and sanitation activities, including the repair and rehabilitation of
557 pumps and water points, flushing 135 existing boreholes and drilling an
additional 16, well deepening and training for the community based
management of water points. In 2004, Save the Children will be increasing
its focus on training and motivating communities to manage their own water
facilities. With regard to sanitation, Save the Children has carried out an
inventory of all community facilities in both districts, which confirmed
continuing needs. Additional latrines are being constructed in schools and
health and village community based workers are undertaking training in
health and hygiene education.

Save the Children's HIV/AIDS programme provides education to young people,
supports home-based care and offers livelihoods support to HIV/AIDS affected
households. Specific activities undertaken so far include: ? workshops for
communities and education officers; ? training of in-school and out of
school youth to become peer educators; ? establishing five youth friendly
centres where counselling, recreation and limited clinical services are
available; ? training 70 community level home based care providers and
supplying them with kits; ? undertaking a pilot initiative to assist
HIV/AIDS affected households who lack draught power. 20 donkeys were
purchased locally and distributed with ploughs and harnesses to ten groups
of households; ? carrying out an assessment of HIV/AIDS-related problems, in
particular those of people living with HIV/AIDS and children made orphans as
a result of AIDS. The results of the assessment will be used to strengthen
Save the Children's programme of work and we aim to work closely with the
District AIDS Action Committee on this in 2004.

Emergencies Section July 22nd July 2004
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Zim Online

Sat 24 July 2004

      HARARE - The World Food Programme (WFP) has asked the Zambian
government to put aside a reserve of 100 000 tonnes of maize to be bought by
the WFP for Zimbabwe if need be.

      Zim Online has established that despite repeated claims by President
Robert Mugabe and his government that their country had a bumper harvest,
the WFP has resolved to proceed with efforts to provide aid to assist
Zimbabweans who will face starvation.

      The United Nations recently said that 2,5 million Zimbabweans will
require food aid. An WFP agent last week held talks with Zambia's Ministry
of Agriculture requesting the reserve. Zambian agriculture minister, Mundia
Sikatana confirmed to Zim Online that WFP officals had asked Lusaka to
reserve some of its surplus maize for Zimbabwe and three other Southern
African countries, Angola, Malawi and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

      "We met an WFP official last week who requested that we consider
reserving 100 000 tonnes of maize for our neighbours in Zimbabwe. We are
still considering the request and will give a position to the WFP,' Sikatana
said.. The WFP office in Harare said in response to Zim Online enquiries
that it would release a statement soon on the situation in Zimbabwe in
regard to
      humanitarian assistance and its plans in view of government's claims
that there was enough food.

      Mike Huggins, WFP's Southern Africa regional public affairs officer,
recently said the WFP was currently providing food aid to 700 000
Zimbabweans in both rural and urban areas through a targeted assistance

      Surveys by independent bodies including the Southern African Crop
Assessment Programme and the locally based Zimconsult indicate that Zimbabwe
will require food aid to see the country through to the next harvest
beginning around March next year.

      Mugabe maintains the country has more than enough food and has
repeatedly told food relief agencies to take their aid elsewhere. The
opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) accuses Mugabe and his
ruling ZANU PF party of wanting donors out of Zimbabwe so they can
monopolise food aid distribution for political gain. ZANU PF, which in the
      past has been accused of using food to buy political support, denies
the charge. Zim Online

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Zim Online

Bogus war veterans in court
Sat 24 July 2004

      MARONDERA/MASHONALAND EAST PROVINCE - Scores of bogus war veterans
have appeared before the courts in Marondera (65 km south-east of Harare)
and more are expected to do so for defrauding the government of millions of
      Zimbabwe dollars in gratuities, pensions and other benefits.

      Investigations by Zim Online have revealed that some of the fake
former liberation fighters are members of the Zimbabwe Republic Police and
other government departments. Police officer commanding Marondera urban,
Norman Mpofu, Inspector Lucia Mafume,  and former Mashonaland East
provincial chairman of the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans
Association (ZNLWVA), Jelous Kochi are allegedly linked to the scam.

      Another alleged beneficiary, Douglas Chitekuteku, together with three
other bogus war veterans, is currently appearing in the High Court on
charges of abducting and murdering  a  white farmer, David Stevens, in 2000.

      Kochi denied the allegation: "I have heard about those reports in
newspapers but I'm not one of them (bogus war veterans.) Why don't you get
in touch with the association (ZNLWVA) for your enquiry."

      Mafume and Chitekuteku could not be reached for comment on the matter.
ZNLWA national chairman Jabulani Sibanda told Zim Online that his
association was re-vetting war veterans across the country and that several
bogus ex-combatants had been discovered. "I am aware of what is happening.
Once anyone is found to have cheated they will be prosecuted. If they are
      guilty, the pension will be stopped immediately," Sibanda said.

      President Robert Mugabe, giving in to pressure from late war veterans
leader Chenjerai Hunzvi, in 1997 awarded hefty gratuity payments, pensions
and other benefits to about 50 000 veterans of Zimbabwe's 1970s liberation
war. The unbudgeted payments totalling about five billion Zimbabwe dollars
led to the collapse of the currency in November 1997.

      A screening exercise carried out at the time weeded out hundreds of
bogus claims. But hundreds of other undeserving claimants slipped through
the net and are said to  be still receiving pensions and other benefits such
as free education and medical care for themselves and their families.

      According to Sibanda his organisation has found that some genuine
former liberation fighters were barred from accessing the benefits while
some former soldiers of the white supremacist Ian Smith regime were getting
the pensions. Zim Online

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Zim Online

'These elections, I really wish we never held them!' - More violence feared
before March 2005 poll -
Sat 24 July 2004

      TSONZO/MANICALAND - Sixty-year old Mavis Mashingaidze sheds a tear
every time she looks at the remains of what used to be the pride of her
homestead.. Although it was only a four roomed house, she was proud of it as
she could
      comfortably accommodate all her six grandchildren.

      But that was before mobs of suspected ruling ZANU PF militants burnt
and destroyed the house here in Tsonzo village in Chief Mutasa's area, more
than 300 km east of Harare. The house was burnt down during the run up to
the 2002 presidential election to punish Mashingaidze for allegedly
supporting the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).

      Today, three years down the line, news that yet another election is
around the corner, or eight months away to be exact, makes Mashingaidze, a
widow who lives alone here with her grandchildren, tremble with fear.

      Mashingaidze says her husband Trainos was killed during Zimbabwe's
1970s liberation war by soldiers of Ian Smith, the ruler of the renegade
British colony of Rhodesia before it became independent Zimbabwe in 1980.
Her only child, Joseph, who was an MDC activist, died of AIDS in 2000 and
his widow followed a year later.

      'They burnt my house. I was harassed and denied food. Now I have been
working hard to rebuild my house but it has not been easy," a tearful
Mashingaidze told Zim Online."But my worry now is that with the elections
approaching they (ZANU PF supporters) will come for me again soon. These
elections, I really wish we never held them!"

      As the country braces for yet another election, thousands of
Zimbabweans, particularly those suspected of supporting the opposition, are
still counting the losses they suffered during the previous polls. 'I lost
everything I had. The youths came and looted my belongings. My sewing
machine, my plough, everything. And then they burnt my house,' recalls

      Her crime: she had not been attending ZANU PF meetings held in her
village. The fact that her late son was a well known activist of the MDC
made the Ocase' against her even worse. Old age did not save her. Most
victims of political violence like Mashingaidze have failed to shake off the
'MDC sellout' tag stuck on them since the 2000 parliamentary and 2002
general elections. Now they fear the worst.

      Mashingaidze said: 'A lot of ZANU PF supporters in this area,
including my neighbours, still view me with suspicion. I don't know what
they will do to me now. They took my livelihood. I am afraid they might come
for my life this time around. But I fear for my grandchildren more than
anything else.'

      With the potentially historical 2005 parliamentary election beckoning,
both ZANU PF and the MDC have stepped up their campaigning for the ballot.
In an address to youths of his ZANU PF party in Harare this week President
Robert Mugabe ordered them to 'vigorously campaign for the party' warning
that he would hold them responsible if the party lost the election.

      Probably uncompromising but still a harmless statement of
encouragement from a leader to his followers, some might say. But to many
political observers Mugabe's call on the youths, most of whom have in the
past been accused of spearheading political violence, could mean a rise in
political violence against opposition supporters.

      Zimbabwean human rights lawyer Gabriel Shumba, who fled the country
last year after being tortured by government agents, said: "That kind of
talk from Mugabe points to one thing and that is violence. We should brace
for a lot of it. Sadly a lot of people have not recovered from the effects
(of political violence) in 2000 and 2002 and we can't afford any more
      injuries and displacements (of people).'

      Thousands of people in rural and farming areas were displaced during
the 2000 and 2002 election campaigns while non-govermental organisations say
close to 1000 people have died from politically-motivated violence since

      While in some cases supporters of the MDC have been accused of
committing acts of violence, local and foreign political analysts and
election observers blame ZANU PF for routinely using violence to maintain
its stranglehold on power.

      Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights director Arnold Tsunga said:
"Political violence has gone on from 2000 and Zimbabwe has not known peace
since. People can't be integrated into normal life when such things continue
happening. Until the government ensures that there is tolerance towards
opposition supporters, it's unlikely that we will witness peace in this
      country in the foreseeable future.'

      Mavis Mashingaidze continues to live in fear. Zim Online

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Zim Online

Zimbabwe railways steam ahead
Sat 24 July 2004

      BULAWAYO - Steam locomotives are usually synonymous with a bygone era
of glory and journeying in style. But a far less glamorous development may
resurrect the rattling of these iron engines on tracks across Zimbabwe.

      Fast-depleting coffers have forced the National Railways of Zimbabwe
(NRZ) to seriously examine reintroducing steam engines, making the country
one of the world's last bastions to still rely on this century-old
technology. Assistance from the Chinese government may make it possible to
turn coal-fired engines into the locomotive of choice for the NRZ.

      A delegation visited Bulawayo in mid-July to tour railway facilities.
When questioned, Minister of Transport and Communications Chris Mushowe
confirmed government was looking east for technical partnerships in both the
      and aviation sectors. Air Zimbabwe, the ailing national airline, has
already announced it will either lease, or buy, a long-haul passenger
aircraft from China.

      If ever the NRZ needed a lifeline it's now. Reports of accidents have
increased, rail has lost traffic to road transporters, and passenger trains
are running late, if at all. Additionally, Mushowe acknowledged that NRZ is
deeply in the red. Its salary bill has ballooned to 120 percent of its
revenue base.

      Privatisation is not an option. Minister of State Enterprises and
Parastatals Rugare Gumbo has labelled public corporations, like NRZ, the
country's 'last line of defence' against loss of sovereignty. The
parastatal's turn-around plan, reportedly recommending an overhaul of
infrastructure, will be presented to government at the end of July. Judging
by the date of the Chinese delegation's visit, their interest in Zimbabwean
rail seems most opportune.

      The NRZ also needs wagons and locomotives, which it used to hire, at
great cost, from neighboring countries like South Africa. This, however, is
no longer done as government lacks the funds. Nor does it have friends who
can provide long term support.

      But China is an exception. Ranked among one of Harare's few remaining
international allies, the waking tiger uses and manufactures both steam and
diesel locomotives, some of which could end up at the NRZ.

      "They say the Chinese are giving us engines; we don't know if it'll be
diesel or steam," said a source at NRZ, who spoke on condition of

      But Robin Doust, who chairs the Friends of the Bulawayo Railway
Museum, says if the concern is the bottom line then it would be 'much
cheaper to repair the steam engines we have, but aren't operating.'
Currently, the NRZ uses about 12 steam engines for shunting.

      Four months ago the engines also began pulling commuter trains,
introduced in Bulawayo and Harare in 2001. NRZ has a total number of 50
engines, in various stages of disrepair. Doust also warns against importing
sub-standard engines and components from China. "Their steam engines have a
good reputation,' he says, 'but their diesel locomotives do not."

      Zimbabwe, he says, has the expertise and labour to refurbish its own
engines. Two weeks ago a pair of steam engines, belonging to Portland
Cement, was re-built at the railway workshops. They are about to be shipped
to an operator in New Zealand.

      Additionally about five of the NRZ's engines are undergoing major
refurbishment. One of them is earmarked for the Bulawayo-Victoria Falls line
that is among a few remaining routes equipped to handle steam engines. Since
their debut in Bulawayo in 1896 steam engines have twice defied
decommissioning, keeping rail traffic on course despite difficult - yet
similar - odds.

      In the late seventies, for example, war and sanctions made it prudent
for oil-importing Rhodesia to reverse a planned dieselisation programme. The
decision was all the more cost-effective given the availability of
high-grade coal, skilled artisans and a fleet of well-kept steam

      These engines ran until the eighties when NRZ - following the advice
of Canadian consultants - replaced most with diesel engines that had been
bought with World Bank loans.

      In an uncanny resemblance to those pre-independence circumstances, NRZ
re-introduced steam engines in March this year, when fuel supplies were
erratic and diesel locomotives scarce. Some steam engines were borrowed from
the museum.

      The iron giants are also the reason the country can lay claim to
something akin to a world record. The yard in Bulawayo, the country's second
largest city, is considered the last great steam shed outside China. Adds
Doust: 'Zimbabwe is the last place in the world where steam engines are used
to pull commuter trains."

      Some representatives of the local tourism sector welcome the return of
more steam engines, saying they hope it may attract international steam
enthusiasts to the city. But that's still a way off, warns Doust, as the
locomotives have only been re-introduced on a 'localised scale' thus far.
'We are only looking at four trains a day and they run at difficult times;
early in the morning and late in the evening, when it's difficult to take
photographs of them,' he says. The few trains currently operating are
      therefore not as attractive to tourists as the re-appearance of steam
on main lines would be. That is something steam enthusiasts - and
accountants at the NRZ - are equally eager to see. Zim Online

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HIV/Aids: Zimbabwe's 'Exclusion' From Global Fund Questioned

Inter Press Service (Johannesburg)

July 23, 2004
Posted to the web July 23, 2004

Eunice Mafundikwa

The decision to "exclude" Zimbabwe from benefiting from the Global Fund to
fight AIDS, TB and Malaria has raised a number of ethical questions.
Campaigners are asking whether need and desire to prolong people's lives
should prevail over politics and controversies surrounding the legitimacy of
President Robert Mugabe's government.

Zimbabwe is at the epicentre of the epidemic, coming third on the ladder of
countries with the highest infection levels. One in four Zimbabweans is
infected with HIV. Life expectancy has been reduced to 35 and the orphan
population now stands at around one million.

In an interview with IPS at the just ended 15th International AIDS
Conference in the Thai capital Bangkok, Global Fund to fight AIDS, TB and
Malaria executive director, Richard Feacham, said Zimbabwe would not benefit
from the fund.

"Yes, the politics of a nation plays a role when we determine that country's
application," he said. "There are a broad set of challenges in Zimbabwe that
we considered - in coming up with an agreement to reject their proposal. How
and to whom do we disburse the funds? What exchange rate regime will we

"It does not help the people of Zimbabwe to pass money through channels
which are not well worked out," Feacham said.

However, the fund's director of operational partnerships and country
support, Elhadl Sy contradicted Feacham. "I am surprised that politics comes
into play. To my knowledge the assessment is purely on the technical merits
of the application," he told IPS.

Zimbabwe, whose proposal had inputs from an expert from the Fund, had
applied for 516 million dollars, the bulk of which was to support an
anti-retroviral drugs (ARVs) roll out. Out of the 1,820,000 Zimbabweans
infected with HIV, 5,000, or less than one percent of the infected
population, are on treatment therapy.

Judith Kaulem, coordinator of the Poverty Reduction Forum in Zimbabwe, said:
"Anti-retroviral support in Zimbabwe is not a luxury to keep infected people
alive but rather a medium through which we curtail poverty by keeping the
breadwinners earning income for the upkeep of their extended families. A
breadwinner is the social security for an entire village."

"When you withhold the much needed treatment you are not just depriving the
people living with AIDS, but are essentially depriving an entire clan of
their source of sustenance," she said.

David Parirenyatwa, Zimbabwe's Minister of Health and Child Welfare said he
had always suspected that politics was a factor whenever the fund discussed
Zimbabwe. "The Fund approved our first round application in 2002 and to this
day we have not received that money. They keep shifting the goal posts," he
told IPS.

By not including Zimbabwe in the initiative, Parirenyatwa feels the Global
Fund is depriving the world from benefiting from Zimbabwean experiences.

Parirenyatwa claimed Zimbabwe was among the countries with the best
coordinating mechanism (CCM), a key requirement by the Fund that encourages
co-operation between civil society, private sector and the government.
Zimbabwe through a private company, Varichem, is manufacturing ARVs but this
is not enough.

Kate Mhambi, director of the Zimbabwe AIDS Network (ZAN), the umbrella body
of AIDS organisations, said her agency was collaborating with government,
particularly during the write-up of the forth-round bid.

"ZAN has been collaborating with government and to us the CCM is just a
continuation of that," she told IPS.

While the Global Fund has a provision for civil society to make applications
independent of their governments, the organisations need to prove beyond
reasonable doubt that they were excluded from the countries with the best
coordinating mechanism (CCM).

"For this reason we cannot go behind the government and make independent
applications. Besides, to operate in Zimbabwe as an NGO or charity
organisation, we need to register and we cannot afford to antagonise the
government because they will simply deregister us," said coordinator of a
home-based care project who requested anonymity. "It's a catch 22 situation
that we find ourselves in."

Humanitarian aid is not often withheld because of governance issues. It
could be channeled through non-governmental organisations or other non-state

"It's an extraordinary step to withhold humanitarian support because while
suspension of aid to rogue regimes justifies itself politically, withholding
humanitarian support raises a lot of moral questions," said chairperson of
the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition, Brian Kagoro.

Leonard Okello, HIV and AIDS director for Action Aid International, said the
Bangkok meeting confirmed that the war against AIDS is one which can be won
if the commitments and passion of millions of people working in this sector
were translated into action.

"The main challenge now is to go beyond the politics in order to fight HIV
and AIDS and swing into real action of making resources available to all
including our political enemies. At the end of the day we are punishing the
citizens of these countries who continue to die unnecessarily of HIV and
AIDS," he said.

Mandi Mawodzwa-Taruvinga of the Southern African AIDS Trust - that supports
community-based organisations and NGOs to build community competence in
responding to HIV/AIDS said it was a tragedy of major proportions when
humanitarian groups turn their backs on millions of people because of

"I can understand it when (U.S. President George W.) Bush decides not to
support Zimbabwe because I associate him with politics. It boggles the mind
when initiatives like the Global Fund drag politics into the arena at the
expense of millions of people far divorced from politics," she said.

She urged Global Fund to rise above politics and show leadership by
providing resources to those who need them.

"The behaviour being displayed by the Global Fund raises questions of
leadership and accountability. We cannot but ask to whom the fund is
accountable. Is it accountable to the major donors or to the millions of
men, women and children who are infected and affected but who have no
influence over the political direction in their country?" asked

She warns that the challenges of the epidemic cannot be localised because of
the cross-border impact. "The tragedy is not a Zimbabwean tragedy but a
global tragedy," Mawodzwa-Taruvinga said.

Zimbabwe, which has contributed one million dollars to the Global Fund, is
not among the 14 African countries meant to benefit from Bush's 15
billion-dollar project to fight AIDS.

In its latest editorial, Zimbabwe's weekly 'Standard' newspaper, which is
critical of the government, said the world cannot hope to make a difference
in the fight against HIV and AIDS if some of the countries were denied
access to the global resources because of "misdemeanors" of their political

"It is in this context that we call on the international community to make a
clear distinction between the political leadership of a country and the
population of a country. People cannot be made to suffer for the sins of
their leadership. By all means, punish the leaders but spare the citizens,"
it said.

Lynette Mudekunye, of Save the Children UK-chapter in South Africa, said
isolating Zimbabwe was a sure recipe of undoing all the work on AIDS being
done in the sub-region and beyond. "You cannot deal with a public health
issue by isolating the epicentre of the epidemic. We might as well close
shop," she said.

Kagoro said the notion that people deprived of ARVs would revolt against
their regimes was simplistic. "This discounts issues of food insecurity, job
scarcity and other ills. Somebody who is famished cannot be expected to
focus on redressing the governance crisis," he argued.
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What snub to Mugabe, asks UK
          July 23 2004 at 03:24PM

      Harare - Britain denied on Friday that its outgoing ambassador snubbed
Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe by slipping quietly out of the country
and failing to observe diplomatic protocol with a farewell visit.

      Sir Brian Donnelly left Harare on Sunday after completing a three-year
assignment in Harare dominated by diplomatic spats. Zimbabwe officials had
claimed Donnelly was campaigning for Mugabe's ouster and led covert British
operations against the government.

      Alison Blackburne, Donnelly's deputy at the British embassy, said
British officials told Zimbabwe's foreign ministry of the ambassador's
planned departure weeks in advance, asking for "the usual courtesies" to be

      "The usual courtesies would normally include a valedictory call on the
head of state. We received no response," she said.

            'Do not give up hope'
      She also denied reports in the state-owned Herald newspaper that
Donnelly recently travelled to Australia to co-ordinate support for the
opposition Movement for Democratic Change and raise funds to bankroll
opposition campaigning for parliamentary polls next year.

      The Herald also alleged Donnelly instructed opposition lawmakers to
boycott a reception on Monday hosted by Mugabe of the eve of his ceremonial
opening of parliament.

      Blackburne said Donnelly neither visited Australia during his
three-year assignment in Zimbabwe nor held discussions with opposition
lawmakers about Monday's party at Mugabe's State House.

      Opposition lawmakers have routinely boycotted Mugabe's lavish cocktail
parties, accusing him of leading the nation into economic ruin and deepening

      The Herald's cartoonist showed Donnelly being hidden in a wooden crate
bound for London marked "diplomatic cargo".

            'The tide of democracy will prevail'
      The paper said Donnelly left Harare a bitter and disillusioned man
after failing to "do a Milosevic" on Mugabe and bring about "regime change"
in Zimbabwe, referring to Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic toppled in
2000 by a pro-Western coalition and now facing charges of genocide and war
crimes at a United Nations tribunal.

      Donnelly came to Zimbabwe from the former Yugoslavia.

      In a farewell speech at one of several high-profile diplomatic
functions before his departure, Donnelly irked the government by saying the
former Yugoslav dictator did not fall until he tried "to steal one election
too many, and Yugoslavs themselves decided they had had enough."

      "To all Zimbabweans who want to see political tolerance and economic
growth restored in this country, I would simply say: do not give up hope.
The tide of democracy will prevail," Donnelly said.

      Britain, the former colonial power, the United States and independent
election monitors said Zimbabwe's 2000 parliament elections and a 2002
presidential poll narrowly won by Mugabe had been swayed by vote rigging as
well as political violence and intimidation blamed mainly on ruling party

      Mugabe has vowed to allow only African observers to monitor next
year's parliamentary poll.

      Christopher Dell, designated as the next US ambassador, has already
become the frequent target of attacks in the state media more than a month
before his scheduled arrival in Harare.

      Dell told the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee last month he
wanted to see Zimbabwe re-emerge "as a country with a legitimate,
democratically led government that respects the rule of law and human

      Dell was evidently out to smear Zimbabwe with his "repugnant
sentiments" and work for a change in government, a Herald columnist wrote

      "Zimbabweans should never let him succeed where his predecessor and
British cousin have failed," the columnist wrote. - Sapa-AP

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Foreign Currency Shortage Hits Zimbabwe's Central Bank
Peta Thornycroft
23 Jul 2004, 15:45 UTC

Black market currency trading, which disappeared in January, has reappeared
with a vengeance. The U.S. dollar is selling more than 30 percent higher
than at legal auctions at the Central Bank. The shortage of foreign currency
for the private sector is now at an all time high.
The U.S. dollar was selling for 5,355 Zimbabwe dollars at the Central Bank
auctions on Thursday. On the street Friday among informal traders, the rate
was 7,000 Zimbabwe dollars.

Economists say the sudden reappearance of what is called the parallel market
is shown by the ever-rising demand for foreign currency.

Central bank statistics published Thursday show it only had $9.5 million
U.S. for sale, while, at the same time, it recorded a demand of nearly $38
million U.S. Every week since shortly after foreign currency auctions began
in January, the gap has widened, with supply falling farther and farther
behind demand.

The Central Bank presently only allows bids in the range of about $5,300
Zimbabwe dollars to $1 U.S., even though the system is called an auction.
The number of bids it rejects has also been on the increase each week.

One of the changes introduced by a reformed central bank in January was to
allow Zimbabweans living abroad to exchange foreign currency sent home to
families at the best rate through official channels.

The central bank went to the United States, Britain and South Africa to
persuade millions of Zimbabweans in the diaspora to send their money home
through official channels.

Several economists say that the return of the parallel market will see
Zimbabweans working in hard currency countries, reconsidering decisions on
whether to send money home to support their families.

They are not the only ones looking at the official channels with alarm. Many
in the private sector say they will be forced to take the risk and return to
the parallel market to source raw materials, because their bids are
regularly turned down at the auctions.

The government says Zimbabwe is experiencing an economic revival, but many
economists say the optimism should be tempered by the reality on the ground,
where food prices are rising sharply and the private sector continues to

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Zimbabwe Mulls Law to Ban Foreign Rights Groups
Fri Jul 23, 2004 01:08 PM ET

HARARE (Reuters) - Zimbabwe is mulling a law to bar foreign human rights
groups and block foreign funding for local bodies working in political
governance-related issues, including human rights, according to a draft seen
by Reuters on Friday.
One aid worker said this would close many rights groups.

President Robert Mugabe, who accuses some non-governmental organizations
(NGOs) of working with Western countries to undermine his government, said
this week Zimbabwe planned a law to "ensure rationalization of the
macro-management of all NGOs."

"We cannot allow them to be conduits or instruments of foreign interference
in our national affairs," he said.

The bill has not been officially published, but the draft said all NGOs
would have to register with a state council and no foreign organization
could operate "if its sole or principal objects involve or include issues of

It defined these as "the promotion and protection of human rights and
political governance issues."

"No local government organization shall receive any foreign funding or
donation to carry out activities involving or including issues of
governance," the draft said.

An official with a leading NGO who declined to be identified said the bill
in its current form was likely to see the closure of many rights groups in
the same way media laws enacted in 2002 had led to some publishing houses
being forced to shut down.

"It would be impossible for any organization to operate without foreign
funding," he told Reuters.

The bill can be amended before initial publication and would need to be
approved by parliament, in which Mugabe's ZANU-PF party enjoys a comfortable
majority, before passing into law.

Mugabe, in power since independence from Britain in 1980, accuses Zimbabwe's
former colonial ruler of leading a Western campaign to oust him over his
government's seizure of white-owned farms for redistribution to landless bla

He denies the land seizures are responsible for food shortages which have
plagued the country since 2001, and says some foreign aid agencies have used
what he calls a drought-induced crisis to push a political agenda under the
guise of food distribution.

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The following is an editorial reflecting the views of the United States

Robert Mugabe, Zimbabwe's president, says he expects his country will
produce more than enough food to feed Zimbabweans this year, with enough
left over for export. Mr. Mugabe is lying -- and Zimbabweans will suffer the
U.S. State Department spokesman Richard Boucher says that despite Mr. Mugabe
's claims of a bumper crop, the United Nations and others say that Zimbabwe
faces "severe food shortages":

"The government has a crop estimate of two-million-four-hundred-thousand
metric tons of corn. That's a great difference from the U-N Food and
Agricultural Organization's estimate of nine-hundred-fifty-thousand metric
tons of corn."

For the past four years, food assistance has been given to the people of
Zimbabwe. But now, non-governmental organizations that distributed food are
being forced to close their doors. Mr. Boucher says the Mugabe government is
"trying to curtail donor activity and engagement in Zimbabwe":

"We've been deeply concerned the Mugabe government is using its monopoly on
food distribution to manipulate food availability for political ends and
that there needs to be another track of food distribution available to
people.... [In] April of this year, five-million Zimbabweans needed food
assistance. We're concerned that another similar number might need food
assistance in the coming months."

It hasn't always been this way in Zimbabwe. Up until four years ago,
Zimbabwe was a food exporter. But the Mugabe government began a campaign of
land expropriation aimed at white farmers that destroyed Zimbabwe's
agricultural production. What Mugabe has done is destroy Zimbabwe's economy
and leave hundreds of thousands of black Zimbabweans homeless and
unemployed. Moreover, those who benefited from the massive land grab were
senior officials in the ruling ZANU - P-F party, military officers, and
their wives and friends.

Since then, the U.S. has been the leading provider of food assistance to
Zimbabwe. State Department spokesman Boucher says the U.S. will "continue to
try to establish proper mechanisms for distribution of food to the people
who need it, despite the government's efforts to manipulate and to hamper
those efforts."

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Reform of birth registration law urged

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

HARARE, 23 Jul 2004 (IRIN) - Child rights campaigners are looking to amend
current Zimbabwean legislation to make birth registration easier, as nearly
a third of all children do not possess a birth certificate, restricting
their access to public services.

Zimbabwe has ratified the Convention of the African Child, which emphases a
child's right to a name and nationality, and makes registration immediately
after birth compulsory. But neither the Zimbabwean constitution nor the
Births and Deaths Registration (BDR) Act expressly state that a child has
the right to be registered.

An estimated 50 percent of Zimbabwean orphans and 95 percent of children
living in institutions do not have birth certificates. Without proof of
identity, rights activists say, children find it hard to access health and
education services, and are prone to child labour, sexual abuse and early

The Child Protection Society (CPS) wants to reduce the number of
unregistered children from the current 30 percent to five percent of total
births by the end of 2005. They are pushing for amendments to the BDR Act,
arguing that the legislation currently makes for an over-centralised
registration system, with overly stringent requirements causing vulnerable
children to remain unregistered.

"We were working on the assumption of 30 percent unregistered children, but
this figure may be even higher because of the continuing AIDS crisis and the
impact of the land redistribution programme, which displaced many children,"
CPS advocacy manager, Busi Bhebhe, told IRIN.

Following a number of consultative workshops with interested parties in
2003, the CPS presented the Ministry of Home Affairs with a series of
proposed amendments to the act. The ministry "was taking the proposals
seriously", said Bhebhe, and had promised to facilitate a meeting with the
CPS and the Office of the Registrar General before presenting the proposals
to parliament.

Among the reforms urged by the CPS is automatic registration at birth.
Currently, the mother receives a birth record for later registration of her
child, but the card is issued only if she produces her identity card and her
maternity fees are fully paid up.

"Collection of maternity fees for the health ministry is a separate issue,
and should not be allowed to interfere with the home ministry's mandate of
facilitating birth registration," said Bhebhe.

The CPS has proposed a special arrangement allowing children aged over 15 to
facilitate their own registration "so that in the future, there will be
fewer adults without identity cards and fewer mums unable to register their
children immediately after birth," noted Bhebhe.

Under the BDR act, children "born out of wedlock" are registered in the
mother's name, unless the father is physically present at registration and
has agreed to the inclusion of his name on the birth certificate. Included
in the definititon of children born out of wedlock are those from
unregistered customary law marriages, where lobola or bride price was paid
for the mother but there is no documentation to prove it.

According to Bhebhe, 80 percent of Zimbabweans are married this way, and
many of their children remain unregistered because the provision makes for
paternity wrangles. Rural women, in particular, are not keen to register
children under their own names as, culturally, the children belong to the

President Robert Mugabe, in a speech opening parliament last week, said the
harmonisation of marriage laws - putting customary union on a par with other
legally recognised marriages - would be one of the priorities of his
government. In the interim, however, the CPS has proposed that the BDR Act
be amended to allow maintenance orders to be used as proof of paternity, and
for fathers to be allowed to register their children born "out of wedlock".

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