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

Back to Index

Back to the Top
Back to Index

Yorkshire Post

Living in the shadow of Mugabe's evil

Sibongile arrived here from Zimbabwe less than two years ago - tortured,
terrified and barely able to walk. Now she's been reunited with her son and
begun a new life in Yorkshire. Chris Bond went to meet her at
the start of Refugee Week.
SHE greets me with a wonderful, slightly bashful, smile.
It's a smile as infectious as it is genuine and draws your attention
momentarily away from the scars on her legs.

At the moment, life is good for Sibongile; she is working as a carer for the
Jewish Welfare Board, in Leeds, and in February was reunited with her son,
Prince, who she hadn't seen for 18 months.
They live in a small flat in Harehills and Prince has recently started
school in the city.
But this peaceful picture is a far cry from the harrowing psychological and
physical trauma Sibongile endured at the hands of President Mugabe's
security forces.
When she arrived at Heathrow in October 2002, after fleeing her homeland,
her legs were so badly beaten she could hardly walk.
Shocked Immigration officers raised her case with the Home Office and she
was granted refugee status within six weeks.
She was sent to Leeds to begin rebuilding her shattered life, leaving behind
her young son, mother and five brothers and sisters.
It has been an horrific few years for the 33-year-old mother-of-one, and
just as the scars on her legs bear testament to her physical abuse, so the
occasional glimmer of fear in her eyes reveals the depth of her
psychological trauma. Even now, she is afraid and doesn't want her picture
shown for fear of reprisals against her family back home.
Sibongile was brought up in Zimbabwe's second city, Bulawayo, the daughter
of a carpenter, James, and a teacher, Melta. She says that her early life
was relatively peaceful and it was only after Robert Mugabe's Zanu-PF party
came to power in 1980 that the situation deteriorated.
"When I was young, life was OK; it was not too difficult until the 1980s
when the ruling party got into power and started killing people."
She became pregnant at the age of 18 but says she and Prince's father
separated after Prince was born, although the pair remained in touch until
his death last year.
Once Prince was a little older, Sibongile went to study dress-making at a
college in neighbouring Botswana where she spent five years before returning
to Zimbabwe at the end of 2001.
She admits she was nervous about returning home having already seen her
father brutally murdered by soldiers two years earlier at a family Christmas
reunion - a portent of what was to follow.
Her eyes glaze over as she recalls a memory too unbearable to forget and all
she says is there were men with sticks who "beat him" while she and her
horrified family were forced to watch.
Sibongile claims her father was killed simply because he was a supporter of
the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) - the main opposition party.
Her own ordeal began in spring 2002 when she went to visit her cousin, the
wife of the MDC's vice-president.
She says she was stopped by members of Mugabe's Criminal Intelligence
Organisation (CIO) who found her carrying an MDC card.
"They didn't take me to the police station; they took me to this tent where
they were torturing people inside. They started asking me why I had the
opposition's card and I told them I thought there might be a change."
Sibongile says she was tortured, along with two other girls who later died,
by six men for hours on end.
"I was beaten. I was there for seven days. They used big sticks to beat me
under the feet and on the legs and they would dip me in ice-cold water and
put a plastic bag round my head so I couldn't breathe.
"They would hit me everywhere with clubs and fists and anything they could
think of," she says. "Sometimes I would call out to stop, and eventually
they would leave. But you couldn't sleep because you knew they were coming
When she was finally released, the interrogators ransacked her home,
searching for her passport and any incriminating documents.
"I was in a terrible state; they came every day to make sure I was still
It was her uncle, a businessman in Harare, who came to her aid after he
heard what was happening. He arranged for her to be taken to Kwe Kwe, where
she was able to hide with relatives.
But even then she wasn't safe and was forced to sleep under a bed.
"They came to my mother asking my whereabouts. They threatened to kill her
and they searched for me all over the place.
"They put posters up all over the streets with my picture on. If they had
found me, they would have done anything," she says.
Then in October 2002, after four months in hiding, her uncle arranged for
her to be smuggled out of Zimbabwe.
"My uncle gave my passport to a man; there were photos of me and others all
round the airport. I was told to put on a hat to hide my face," she says.
Sibongile flew from Harare to Gatwick where she was helped by immigration
officers and dispersed to Leeds the following month.
She says it took a long time before she could talk about her experience, but
with the help of refugee support groups in the city, she was able to get a
job in a care home.
"My mother was tortured, she was beaten, and so were my brothers and
sisters. It was really terrible.
"It was really difficult when I first came here because I was scared they
would come after me. Even now I don't always feel safe."
But in February this year she was finally reunited with her son after 18
months apart.
Prince's father died last year in a mysterious car accident, and Sibongile
had feared she would never see her son again. "When I saw him, I started
crying, I just couldn't believe my eyes. The last time I saw him he was
still a small boy but he had really grown."
The pair are beginning to settle in Yorkshire and Prince has started to make
new friends, but her harrowing experience has taken its toll on Sibongile.
Christine Madjit, who runs the Leeds-based organisation Positive Action for
Refugees, helped her when she first arrived in Leeds.
"When I first saw her, she was extremely traumatised by what happened to
her. She had been very badly treated, her legs were in a terrible mess.
"But she's a strong woman, she's very strong-willed to have survived
everything she has," she said.
"A lot of people who suffer human rights abuse feel ashamed. They blame
themselves sometimes and it can be very hard to talk about it.
"It's strange, but the Zimbabweans don't mix because some people claim
there's Mugabe people here trying to claim asylum and they're afraid someone
will report them; there's always that fear with them."
According to Amnesty International, in 2002 more than 1,000 people were
tortured by the police, security forces and Mugabe supporters.
The organisation says Mugabe's régime has adopted a policy of "systematic
repression" against all government opponents through arbitrary arrests,
torture, extra-judicial executions and the curtailment of various civil
"We continue to receive reports of violence. It is most often members of the
Zanu-PF and the security forces, but it's the police as well," a spokeswoman
Sibongile says she speaks regularly to her relatives back home who tell her
the situation remains perilous.
"It is still bad because people are still being tortured, there is no food
and there are no jobs. They are taking farms from the owners and they are
still killing innocent people."
She says she likes England but hopes to return to Africa one day.
"If things work out, I would be more than happy to go home, but I can't
return while Mugabe and the ruling party are in charge because anything
could happen to me."
Back to the Top
Back to Index


Mugabe jun blocks Bok practice
16/06/2004 19:43  - (SA)

Cape Town - Springbok coach Jake White suffered yet another public relations
nightmare when hundreds of fans were barred from attending the "open" Bok
practice at Bishops on Wednesday.

The reason: Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe's son was being enrolled at
the time.

Among those turned away at the gate by Bishops' Noel Greeff was Springbok
selector Pieter Jooste and former Bok Cobus Burger, who played against the
World XV in 1989.

Those cars with Bishops' stickers on their windscreens were allowed in -
much to the chagrin of those on the outside, looking in.

White said: "I was phoned this morning (Wednesday) and told that Grace
Mugabe was coming to the school to enrol her son. I left it in their hands
to handle. I just think it was a miscommunication."

The reason, according to Greeff, was that White had apparently told him the
training session was closed to all media and public.

Using Bok practice as a smokescreen

"Jake told me this morning - that the session was closed - and he said it to
the supervisor of the guards," said Greeff afterwards.

But the group of people at the front gate grew increasingly angry each time
a car was allowed through.

"They are Bishops boys. They are entitled," explained Greeff.

It seems Greeff was using the Bok practice as a smokescreen to keep
journalists at bay, while the unsuspecting public was merely caught up in
the act.

Even when Bok media liaison, Rayaan Adriaanse, approached Greeff to tell him
White had given the go-ahead to open the gates, Greeff refused to budge.

Eventually, after about half an hour of waiting, the matter was cleared up
by a school official and people were allowed into the ground.

By this stage, though, the damage had been done with about 100 people turned
away, most of them young fans.

Bok manager Arthob Petersen was shocked when told that hoards of young Bok
supporters had been turned away.

"What are you telling me?" he asked with a disbelievingly.

He said: "We are appreciative of the support of the public, so for what
reason would we close a session after initially saying it was open.

Irate man leaves in disgust

"We were told there was some celebrity who was coming to register her child
and the request from the school was to keep the media away for a period.
This was not deliberate from our side.

"We didn't know at all that this had been arranged."

One irate man turned away in disgust. "I can't afford the R250 for a ticket
to the Test on Saturday," he said, "so I brought my child to watch today and
this happens. It's a complete disgrace. I can't believe it. We were all told
it was open."

The Springboks clash with Ireland in the eagerly awaited second Test at
Newlands on Saturday.

Back to the Top
Back to Index

Varsity Shelves Law Degree

The Herald (Harare)

June 16, 2004
Posted to the web June 16, 2004


THE Great Zimbabwe University (GZU) in Masvingo has stopped offering the law
degree after the Council for Legal Education ruled the course was not up to

Plans are underway to transfer affected students to the University of
Zimbabwe in Harare to complete their studies.

GZU acting Vice-Chancellor Dr Hilda Matarira yesterday told The Herald that
they had decided to suspend the law degree programme until problems
affecting the course are sorted out.

"We have stopped offering the law degree course because since the current
semester began on 5 April law students have not been attending lectures and
were causing problems to students in other faculties following the
condemnation of the law programme by the Law Society of Zimbabwe.

"The degree will not be offered until at such a time we would have put our
house in order. We will have to sit down in the future to see how to go
about it, but at the moment we have stopped the law degree course," said Dr

She said the UZ was already working on how to absorb the GZU law students.

"The UZ is working on the absorption of our law students. As soon as they
are ready they will notify us as to how the process goes on and when the
lectures will start," said Dr Matarira.

There are fears that not all the 500 students will be absorbed by the UZ as
the GZU was not stringent on entry requirements.

Dr Matarira dismissed as baseless reports that all students at the
institution had abandoned lectures while awaiting the proposed merger of GZU
with Masvingo State University.

She said lectures were going on as usual in all other faculties, adding that
students would write their end of semester exams from July 19 to 30.

"We reiterate our profound apologies to parents and students in the law
faculty. As for other students, we urge them to remain calm so that this
semester ends peacefully," Dr Matarira said.

In August last year, the Law Society of Zimbabwe said GZU law graduates
would not be registered to practise as lawyers in the country.

The law society pointed out at non-available or inadequate resources such as
a law library, shortage of experienced lecturers and the unsatisfactory
enrolment criteria for some students as some of its major concerns.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

New Zimbabwe

Zim man nabbed in UK student visa scam

By Staff Reporter
Last updated: 06/17/2004 02:09:58
A ZIMBABWEAN man was today named as the ring leader of a massive student
visa scam as police swooped on 12 addresses in one of the largest
crime-busting operations ever seen in London.

Sixteen people were being questioned Wednesday after more than 120 officers
took part in the dawn raids, the biggest staged so far under Scotland Yard's
Operation Maxim, which targets immigration crime.

The raids were designed to bring to an end a huge immigration racket
estimated to have brought more than 1,000 people to London.

The suspects - 10 men and six women - were detained on suspicion of
immigration offences and money-laundering.

The officers targeted addresses in the Upper Norwood, Anerley, Mitcham and
Canning Town areas of London. Also visited were two suspected bogus colleges
in Tooting.

The swoops were timed to coincide with action by South African police in the
port city of Durban.

Among those arrested in the London raids was a Zimbabwean-born naturalised
British citizen in his 40s.

Detective Chief Inspector Steven Kupis, who led the operation, said the scam
was one of the largest known to have been operating in the capital.

He said those who had been brought to the UK under the scam were mainly
South African, both black and white.

He added that most had come to the UK in search of a better life but that
their status in this country was now under threat.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

New Zimbabwe


Hey Mr Spy!
Last updated: 06/16/2004 23:12:38
DURING my youthful days at secondary school at Empandeni, we used to emulate
the film stars that thrilled us in movies provided as part of our
entertainment by the school. Each Friday or Saturday evening meant that we
assembled orderly in the Beit Hall to watch the week's movie.
Not all the movies that were rented from some film agency in Bulawayo
thrilled us. As the duty to select the movies was at the hands of the senior
students, there was no way we could blame the school authorities for giving
us poor quality films. The school administrators, who were Catholics, only
moderated on the selection of the movies as they did not want students to
watch movies with some improper messages for our age.

At times, we were subjected to very long and boring films that lacked any
appeal to us. When such movies were rolling, the students would show their
discontent by way of fidgeting noisily to the chagrin of the teacher on
duty. It was always certain that a non-interesting movie would attract some
noise reaction from us.

At the end of each film, students would make its memories linger longer by
adopting the movie characters for their own puerile purposes. Teachers and
students who had irritating characters were given names of unrevered
characters from the boring films. Since the school upheld a high level of
religious ethics, we were careful though not to make small devils out of

This was our special way of showing negative gratitude to those responsible
for bringing in the lousy movie. We could not start throwing stones in
anger. We could not openly insult those responsible since our scholarful
lives forbade slander, malice and insults. We could not take any other
action as we were bound by school and church regulations. We were meant to
observe the rules as they stood without question.

On some occasions, we watched very long and captivating movies like
Spartacus. Long and interesting movies were preferred as that meant more
time in the company of the few female students from the Home Economics
branch. I should rush to explain that at our age, we derived some form of
motherly care from that company as the older girls from the Home Economics
section pampered us in a manner very feminine.

Perhaps I would do justice to those who are not familiar with Empandeni
Secondary School by explaining its nature. During our time, it was a boys
only school, with a small number of females who were enrolled for the
Domestic Science course. It goes without mentioning that the ratio of girls
to boys was something like one to ten!

Anyhow, the issue is on movies and books!

There was a high occurrence of movies by James Bond. His exploits in solving
intricate cases made small James Bonds out every one of us. You can imagine
all students claiming to be 007s or some other secret agent in that mould. I
do not remember anyone volunteering to be the villain. We were careful not
to be associated with villains, a trait that was discouraged by our school's
religious authorities.

The school's library opened more avenues on the subject of fictitious spies.
We were able to read novels on James Bond by Ian Flaming. We could borrow a
James Bond novel whose story line we would have already watched in a movie,
just to compare the written and the acted. We read other spy thrillers too.
James Hardley Chase novels appealed to us. The Biggles series also took our
imagination to another level.

The older students took voluminous novels by Mario Puzzo of the Godfather
fame. They also read about the Mafia from many novels that specialised in
that subject such a s Robert Ludlum and others.

Our scope on spying and spies literally grew by leaps and bounds.

One would not have known that the fiction one got from movies and novels was
preparing him or her for the real life drama that was in the making. I did
not know that life would be so full of spies and scoundrels. When I read the
spy novels or watched spy movies, I thought that the world was pre-occupying
itself with too much fiction and as a result it was ignoring pertinent
issues, such issues being the mundane but tricky ones of solving the bread
and butter issues.

      "There was a high occurrence of movies by James Bond. His exploits in
solving intricate cases made small James Bonds out every one of us"
Today, years later and so many mistakes to marvel at, I now see why our film
industry gave us so much on spy movies. I now appreciate why the librarian
at school made it a point that he satisfied our demand for spy novels. We
were being prepared for the cruel life ahead. The teachers and priests at
school could not tell us directly that the road to living life to the
fullest was riddled with spies and informers.

The Catholic priests had no courage to tell us that spying was part of the
life we had pledged to take head on. Even the novels did not hint that what
they gave us as fiction was derived from real life dramas.

Now I appreciate the whole issue. The present political and social
developments in Zimbabwe give me the cheek to say that spying on citizens is
an integral activity of a regime that lacks total approval from the majority
of the population. During my secondary school days for example, the Ian
Smith regime wanted to know what the majority Blacks were thinking in
relation to its own illegitimacy. The regime had a large network of spies
and informers. The regime did not trust the people, hence its pre-occupation
with spying on their activities.

It is not new information that the regime classified people according to
different threat levels, depending on who the people were and what they did.
The covert department of the Smith regime worked full throttle to gather as
much information as it could on all the people of Zimbabwe. In trying to
enforce a strict spy regimen, the regime ended up causing untold
inconveniences to the people.

The gathering of intelligence could not remain covert considering the human
nature of the spies and the diversity of the people to be spied on. At the
end of it all, everyone knew that they were being spied on. This led to the
spy network getting information that could not be used profitably by any
intelligence network.

The present regime, under the impression that people who support the
opposition parties are being subversive, is expanding its network of spies.
The spy network is made of many people who end up spying on one another in a
desperate need to post a report. With so many spies at large, there is a
great possibility that half the spies on the regime's pay-roll spend most of
their time spying on the other half. One can only imagine the piles and
piles of dossiers that are originated for each person who is being spied on.
One wonders of the fate of so many files conspicuously indicated 'for the
director's eyes only'. Who gets time to analyse them?

In the spy movies, we saw technology being brought into the fray.
Sophisticated gadgets would be employed to track a suspect to the bitter
end. Some slick gadgets were used to bug telephones belonging to suspects.
It is the bugging issue that takes me wondering in awe imagination. I really
wonder what happens when a phone line is bugged. In the movies, this
question was not adequately answered either. All we could hear was the taped
conversation, but we never could be shown how it ended up being recorded for
intelligence purposes.

For dear Zimbabwe which has so many perceived enemies of the state, who
carries out the bugging of the telephone lines, assuming it happens? What
juicy staff would they be looking for? In the process of bugging the
citizens' telephones, is it not possible that some of the spies would use
the trivial information they are privy to for their own selfish ends? Can
you imagine you and your friend chatting absent mindedly about buying cheap
maize meal from the back-doors with some spy catcher listening intently. You
get to your rendezvous and find the spies having bought all your staff! This
is just a little bit about spies who do not get much on their briefs!

The citizens of this country may ask how the spies use the information
gathered from bugged phones? Is it within the legal rights the spies to bug
those phones? Is it possible to detect that one's telephone is bugged? Are
we protected by law from having our privacy pried into by spies sent on a
fact finding mission by someone who is afraid to lose their grip on power?
Is the bugging of telephones a reality or just a myth? Is it paranoia that
drives us to fear prying spies?

Is the idea if 'clean lines' as portrayed by American spy movies possible in
Zimbabwe, seeing that almost all people with phones are suspects in
ZANU-PF's war against self-inflicted problems? Can one buy himself or
herself a counter-bugging gadget? What should one say that may not attract
the attention of the spies?

Assuming that the regime has unleashed a network of spies to spy on its
citizens, does the regime not stand a chance of acquiring misleading
information that would have been peddled by some counter-intelligence
networks that oppose the way the regime is conducting its business? Would it
not be possible that the ZANU-PF government is desperately looking for
informers and recruiting some moles from the other 'side' as well? The
manner information on the citizens of this country is going round makes one
fear the future. What could happen next?

The people of this land need freedom of association. They need to talk
freely in recognition of their right to freedom of speech. The people do not
have to suspect that they are being followed, tracked, listened to and
monitored. They need total freedom. It should be the duty of the spies to
get information without causing alarm and despondency on the suspects. If
the whole country is turned into a network of spies, the end result is

Spies should be taught that it is not within their interests to know too
much about someone who is less than a threat to national security. Spy
agents should know that there is no prescribed way of spying, therefore
spying methods are all ususally unorthodox. Anything unorthodox is not
normally admissible as evidence in any court of law. Our spies should be
taught that opponents of the ruling party are not enemies of the state. The
enemies of the state are those losers within the ruling party who plunder
the country's wealth through political impropriety and plain theft.

The spies that spy on us should redirect their immense energies towards
safe-guarding the looting of the country's wealth by friends and relatives
of the big fish within the ruling party. There is so much national interest
to protect from the hands of the thieving politicians within the ruling
clique than stalking people who mind their own business!

Back to the Top
Back to Index

15 June 2004




There is widespread anxiety in Zimbabwe today about the future. In the nine meetings, we had in the party’s provinces since the beginning of May, the key question that keeps on popping up centres on the mind and intentions of Robert Mugabe and Zanu PF about next year’s Parliamentary election.

People are asking me to explain how a sitting regime that has usurped the people’s sovereignty and imposed its will on the nation can boastfully preside over or supervise another national election.

Africa’s political tragedies are loaded with regular doses of instability forced onto a people by rogue nationalists who block essential freedoms and narrow political activity. What are you up to when you shut the door to the sole democratic passage to development?

When a regime continuously denies the people space for political activity, emotions run riot. People tend to explore a range of possibilities, some of which could be disastrous.

From Hwange to Chipinge, Beitbridge to Binga, there is a chorus of disapproval with what has happened in Zimbabwe in the past five years. The state of our politics today is shamelessly unworthy.

What is causing anxiety are options the regime is trying to foist onto the people. There is a deep feeling that Mugabe and Zanu PF could foment an uprising and force the people, out of desperation, to take part in the destruction of the little that remains in order to open up the country and to start afresh.

When a regime seals off the country and shrinks the democratic space to the barest minimum, what does it expect the people to do? This question is coming up, often with increasing resentment and bitterness, at our consultative meetings with our party leadership all over the country.

The circumstances here have thrust democrats, civil society activists and ordinary voters into a dilemma. Do you prepare and participate in an election when you know the result? How do you restore the people’s confidence in a climate of insecurity, fear and, above all, when there is no guarantee that your vote can make a difference? Why waste time?

These are difficult questions, especially when ordinary people say they are aware that any meeting of more than five people requires the attendance and sanction of the police and the secret service, the dreaded CIO. The people recognise the presence of a grossly weakened judiciary and judicial process in their midst. They know the limitations of Parliament. They are scared of the partisanship of the police force and state security forces. They now understand poverty, hunger and HIV/AIDS.

Along with the squeeze on the media, internet service providers now have to sign contracts compelling the state to tamper with private mail. In middle class circles, the subject has dominated dinner table discussions and funeral wakes. Having lost on radio, television and newspapers, intellectuals and academics are miffed at the prospect of losing the only remaining outlet for debate and discussion.

Villagers and workers are arguing that elections in Zimbabwe will turn their communities into instant war zones. Memories of deaths, rape, mass displacements, burned down homesteads and acts of unprovoked brutality are still fresh in their minds.

Voters have legitimate concerns about the violent nature of Zanu PF and Mugabe and the total denial of any information that can empower them to make critical choices in an election.

Messages from radio and the public media have incensed the nation to a level akin to open abuse. The people are saying the regime has gone beyond the need to coerce and confuse. State monopoly in the public information sector irks the majority because Zanu PF has effectively taken over the control of the flow of ideas and debates on national issues.

The people are saying they need to protect themselves and their families from possible brain damage from a regime that wishes to turn everybody into a docile recipient of unrelenting government propaganda whose thrust is to deify a single nationalistic political thought.

We as a party that is committed to democratic change, through the democratic route, are averse to entertain that option. We are counselling patience out of the conviction that instability manifests itself through chaos, economic ruin and loss of life.

The MDC, through our intensive mobilisation programme, is giving the people the necessary relief to these fears and anxieties. We are making sure we leave no stone unturned. There is no room for superficial assumptions. We are on the ground.

The latest consultative meetings I had in Hwange, Matabeleland North on Saturday and in Gwanda, Matabeleland South on Sunday made me realise the depth of the sentiment for change that has overwhelmed this country. The feeling is irreversible.

I met a cross-section of officials from as far afield as Binga, along the Zambezi River, Mangwe, 100 km north of Plumtree and Toporo on the southern tip of the Tuli Block of Beitbridge. The two provinces represent an embodiment of our rich historical diversity as a nation. The residents of these areas have serious concerns about national integration and development, which they say they have been denied by Mugabe and Zanu PF for 24 years. It is a big challenge for the MDC and to Zimbabwe as a whole.

In Hwange, we conferred with the Tonga of the Zambezi Valley, the Xhosa of Mbembesi, the Fengus of Tsholotsho/Silobela, the Shangwe, the Nambia of Dete, the Lozi of Jambezi and Pandamatenga, the Ndebele, the Karanga and other Zimbabweans whose ancestry migrated to the area from Zambia and Malawi during the last century.

Delegates from these communities have a simple message. They want political space. They want freedom. They want peace. They want free and fair elections. They want to elect leaders of their choice. What they have received from the Mugabe regime during the past five years amounts to a form of sequential retribution and collective punishment for rejecting Zanu PF in the 2000 Parliamentary election.

On Sunday, in Matabeleland South, a similar picture emerged. The Venda, the Kalanga, the Ndebele, the Sotho, the Tswana and the Karanga assembled to discuss the future. The people expect a Zimbabwe with a cultural diversity that is always celebrated. They yearn for a Zimbabwe where differences are tolerated and where freedoms are jealously guarded. They are unhappy with the status quo.  I am happy to inform the nation that as the MDC we are happy to report that we have united the entire nation against tyranny. Tribalism has never been and is not an issue in our party. Our concern is democracy and space. This was amply demonstrated at the last two meetings I had with the people in Matabeleland. They all spoke about democratic change and unity to remove Zanu PF from power.

Matabeleland South is unique in that almost the entire young generation has migrated to South Africa and Botswana for economic security. They are keen to come back home. They yearn to live with the families in their own country. Their message, like that of their fellow patriots in Manicaland, in Masvingo, in Harare, in the Midlands, in Mashonaland and in Matabeleland North, is quite simple. Mugabe must restore the people’s basic freedoms in order to have a free and fair election. They want peace.

Now that we have covered three quarters of the country with our campaign for revised electoral standards, I can categorically state that Zimbabwe has no choice other than to get out of the current political impasse through a legitimate election. No other formula can assist us to resolve the burning crisis of governance that confront us today.

The spirit for change remains vibrant. The regime has failed to break the people’s confidence. They are ready to exert pressure from all directions in order to de-mystify the arrogance of the Mugabe regime. I am sure we shall succeed this time. We will stop Mugabe from stealing another election. We will stop Mugabe from plunging our country into further chaos.

The people are watching the regime deploy war veterans and militias to their communities, attaching them to the homestead of the chiefs, village heads and headmen.

They said they are noticing discrepancies in the voter registration exercise. Those assumed to be opposition supporters are being denied the opportunity to register. The practice is prevalent in rural and urban Matabeleland, in parts of the Midlands, in Masvingo and in Manicaland. Our leaders at the grassroots level are compiling lists of those denied access to register. The party will take up the issue as soon that exercise is completed.

The people are very clear as to what needs to be done to secure a free and fair election. They said they are working flat out on a multiple counter-strategy to rid their areas of violence, violent campaigns, intimidation and threats. That Zanu PF plan has outlived its effect. The gains from our struggle far outstrip the current pain. The MDC, the main political driver in that struggle for change, feels that pain. We know that you, the people, the lifeblood of our beloved country, are hungry. We know that you feel betrayed by the dictatorship after almost a century of fighting colonialism and 24 years of independence with token freedoms.

Our next port of call are the three Mashonaland provinces. We shall be moving into this area soon with a renewed determination to revive the spirit of 1999. I know the entire country feels let down by the fake and inflated election results from previous voting patterns in this region.

Many of our supporters in Mashonaland, after five years of being held hostage by the regime, may have been wondering if anything will ever change.

We know you are in despair, that you wonder why we are talking about elections and electoral conditions when you are thinking of how to raise a penny for bread or to pay school fees for your children.

After being brutalised for so long by state agents your main concern is the creation of a good life for your families, not to think about politics every day. Your plight is uppermost in our minds. Together we shall meet in the next few days to exchange notes and work out a plan.

Violence will never be an acceptable component of the conduct of elections. Moreso, if the perpetrators are shielded from justice.

Let me sign off with a message to Zanu PF. Your noises will dissipate as you slowly realise that you are caught in the gap between what Mugabe has claimed and what he can prove. Mugabe tried to label us puppets, only to see our support surging upwards every day. You attempted to blame targeted sanctions and imaginary foreign enemies, only to see that the trouble is being brewed from inside your stable. You ruined the economy through corruption and patronage.

Your anti-corruption plan and your land redistribution route threaten to wipe out your own party. You have failed to smash the MDC. You cannot destroy an idea.

By his own admission, Mugabe’s succession experiment has collapsed. The economy remains on a free-fall. Your propaganda campaigns have reached new heights, but Zimbabweans are refusing to be boxed in by your dictatorship, no matter how crude the tactics have been. It has never been our policy to pursue a campaign of retribution. We seek to gain power legitimately and start to rebuild our dilapidated nation. It is an escapable fact that the future lies in a democratic alternative. Feel free to come and join others to enable the nation to rise against tyranny. We welcome all. Already more than two thousand middle level officials and 10 senior officials have quietly joined our ranks.

The MDC shall remain with the people.



Morgan Tsvangirai



Back to the Top
Back to Index

The Herald

Mhangura farm worker shot dead

Herald Reporter
A MHANGURA farm worker was allegedly shot and killed by a security guard at
Scornar Farm at the weekend after he was accused of trespassing and theft.

The guard was looking after farm equipment left behind by a former
commercial farmer after the property was acquired by the Government for
resettlement last year.

Wellington Joe Shupikai, who was once employed by the white ex-commercial
farmer, a Mr John Manning, collapsed and died on the spot after he was
allegedly shot once in the neck by Asan Musa, the guard.

Shupikai was allegedly passing through the farmhouse complex on his way to
work when he was ordered to stop and was questioned about why he was passing
through the farm.

The chairman of the new plot owners at Scornar and Broadlands farms, Cde
Onismo Takawira, yesterday said Shupikai was quizzed about some missing
chemicals before he was shot dead.

"There was bad blood between the white commercial farmer on the one hand,
and Shupikai and the new farmers, on the other, because Shupikai had left
the ex-farm owner's employ to work for the new farmers.

"There is also no friendly co-existence between the former farm owners and
the rest of the newly-resettled farmers," Cde Takawira said.

He said there were endless heated disputes between newly-settled farmers and
the former commercial farmers at Scornar and Broadlands farms.

"Mr John Manning has since left, but his brother, David, who is the former
owner of Broadlands Farm, is still staying at the farm and working the land
we were allocated by the Government," he said.

"We suspect they are now making up a story that he (the man who was shot)
had stolen some chemicals, but the actual reason behind the shooting was
that they were ordered by their employers not to allow people resettled on
the farm to come near the farmhouses."

Cde Takawira said complaints about endless disputes on the two farms were
reported to the committee responsible for land allocation in Mashonaland
West Province.

"If the Government does not intervene in this matter, more people will be
killed by those who are armed," he said.

Mashonaland West police spokesman Inspector Paul Nyathi yesterday said
police had not yet established the motive behind the shooting or that
Shupikai had stolen anything.

"We are still carrying out investigations and urge people who have
information on what was happening and what could have happened on the
fateful day to come forward," Insp Nyathi said.

He said police arrested Musa following the shooting.

"Musa has since appeared in court charged with murder and he was remanded in
custody to June 28," the police spokesman said.

Insp Nyathi said police were closely monitoring the situation following
reports of further disturbances at Broadlands Farm after the shooting.

Shupikai's shooting comes barely a month after a newly-resettled farmer, Cde
Mike Mufambi, was shot and killed at Riverside Farm in Odzi last month,
allegedly by a white commercial farmer.

Another newly-resettled farmer, Tichaona Mafuruse, was also shot on the
shoulder at close range in that incident.

A 45-year-old white commercial farmer, Peter Spero-Landos, has since
appeared in court on charges of murder and attempted murder.

It is alleged that after the Government had resettled new farmers on the
farm, there were endless misunderstandings between Spero-Landos and the new

On the day in question, Mufambi and Mafuruse had a misunderstanding with
Spero-Landos over redrawn boundaries following sub-division of the property.
The commercial farmer opened fire and allegedly killed Mufambi and injured
Back to the Top
Back to Index

The Herald

Private schools turn to donations

Herald Reporter
MOST private schools in the country have now resorted to donations to top up
fees set by the Ministry of Education, Sport and Culture, with more than 50
percent of the parents complying.

In almost all cases, the ministry set fees well below what the boards of
governors of the schools had asked for and appeals for upgrades of fees have
been invariably unsuccessful.

The ministry said it was setting the levels on the basis of the fees paid in
last year's third term and in many cases the fees for all three terms of
this year has been about twice that amount.

However, the ministry has allowed the schools to raise funds from other
sources and to seek donations from parents, but has made it clear that no
child may be excluded if the parents have paid the set fee and that there
can be no coercion.

The schools have informed parents that either extra funds must be raised or
the schools would have to change their nature dramatically or even close.

The action of the ministry has seen two major developments at almost all the
20 secondary and 40 primary schools affected.

Parents are now having sight of quite detailed accounts and budgets, with
some schools even revealing the salary scales of their teachers.

The salaries are generally only marginally higher than those enjoyed by
their counterparts in the civil service.

Secondly, parents have taken the lead in fund-raising with action committees
or associations formed at most of the schools to mobilise parental support.

All schools have held at least one meeting to explain the position to
parents with most having held more than one as action committees report back
and seek support for fund-raising ideas.

Many of these meetings have seen a lot of ideas come up, some of which have
had to be shot down as a breach of conditions set by the ministry.

The schools, with only one or two exceptions, seem determined to avoid
further confrontations with the ministry and to ensure that everything they
do is done within the parameters set by the ministry.

Generally parents' meetings have approved budgets set for this term, but
have demanded, and been granted, the right to have far more say in how
future budgets will be set.

All 60 schools are non-profit organisations with totally voluntary boards
and parents forming a majority of these boards, or even the entire board,
but some parents feel their views need more weight.

A long-lasting change that the ministry's actions is likely to see is far
more parental involvement in the schools, a move generally welcomed by heads
and governors.

Greater involvement of parents was also desired by the minister, Cde Aeneas
Chigwedere, when the crisis hit the schools at the beginning of this term.

One common proposal offered at the parents' meetings has been for the
"extras" that the schools give to be charged for separately.

However, at all but one school, this has been universally rejected after
parents were told that the fees set by the ministry were based on the full
services offered by the schools.

It has also been generally accepted that such a difference in services could
be interpreted as coercion.

Only St George's College has pursued this idea with parents invited to sign
one of two declarations.

The first is for those parents who wish to donate.

The second, for the parents who wish to pay only the set fees, states that
the parent understands and accepts "that services provided by the College
not included under tuition and boarding will either not be available to my
son or will be charged for separately".

Some parents have objected strongly on the grounds that this breaches the
conditions set by the ministry. The recommended declarations come from the
Parents-Teachers' Association, not the school itself, and so are not binding
on parents.

Amid the general upsurge of parental support, there have been reports that
some parents, described as a "small minority", are attempting to line their

Cases have been reported of parents who not only want a refund of anything
extra they paid in the first term, but also want interest on this sum.

There have also been cases of parents, whose employers have agreed to pay
not only the fees, but also the suggested donation, pocketing the donation
and just paying the set fee.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

HeraldSun, Australia

Aussies call for Zimbabwe review
Jon Pierik

AUSTRALIAN cricket's players' union wants Zimbabwe scrapped from the one-day
and Test arena unless a complete review of the sport is conducted in the
African nation.

The Australian Cricketers Association adopted the tough stance at its recent
executive meeting, bringing it into line with the worldwide players' union,
Federation of International Cricketers Association.
The decision comes ahead of this month's major International Cricket Council
meeting in London where the Zimbabwe issue will dominate the agenda.

Although FICA will not be represented in talks there, it hopes its view will
be taken into strong consideration by the ICC's 10-member executive board.

In particular, the ACA wants allegations of improper behaviour and
discrimination by the Zimbabwe Cricket Union investigated, rather than
simply focusing on the dilution of the standard of play as a result of the
boycott by 15 white players.

"Should ICC confine its review to performance level only, it is recommended
that ZCU should be excluded from the Future Tours Program -- both forms of
the game," the ACA said yesterday.

"This would still enable Zimbabwe to compete in ICC events -- World Cup and
Champions Trophy.

"Should the Zimbabwe Cricket Union be able to demonstrate that they can
entice the majority of the 15 rebel players back and that these players
would not be discriminated against, we would be prepared to review our

The ZCU has agreed not to play its remaining four Tests of the year after
its emergency meeting with the ICC and officials from Australia, India and
South Africa in Dubai last week.

Back to the Top
Back to Index

The Scotsman

Why the waiting must end for Africa



'By the time Gleneagles is sealed off, some 350,000 may have died in
Sudanese camps'

THE Gleneagles declaration is about a year away, but it's pretty obvious
what Tony Blair is preparing for us - and Africa - when he gathers world
leaders at the next G8 summit.

Sir Bob Geldolf's Commission for Africa is due to report by then. Britain
will also hold the rotating presidency of the European Union, setting its
agenda. And there is the small matter of a general election.

Put the three together, and we can see the Blair Plan to End Poverty in
Africa by 2030 - or a similar idealistic goal and distant deadline. But if
the Prime Minister wants to make this his legacy, he faces a crucial
obstacle: Africa is a problem today. And today, Britain is failing.

By the time Gleneagles is sealed off to the public, some 350,000 may have
died in Sudanese refugee camps, according to the United States government.
Many of the deaths will be due to simple hunger: charities are now trying to
feed them, and need cash.

By Gleneagles, some 2.3 million Africans will have died from AIDS. Charities
seeking to combat the syndrome are raising money right now - campaigners
seeking to make AIDS drugs cheaper need political backing right now.

Yet there is no sense of urgency in the UK government. At his monthly press
conference yesterday, Mr Blair declared his conscience clear when challenged
over Sudan by The Scotsman. "I believe we're doing all we can," he said.

This is where the British government - in common with the government of
almost every other developed nation - is emphatically wrong. The answer to
Africa does not lie in ten-year plans or commissions, but in a series of
steps that can be taken tomorrow.

Take aid. In 1970, Edward Heath's government agreed to donate 0.7 per cent
of the nation's economy on money to help the developing world - a United
Nations target chosen for realistic chances of achievement.

Yet Britain will, this year, deliver only 0.34 per cent of its national
wealth - not even half way. The difference in these figures works out just
short of £13 million a day: money which the UK government has promised to
poor countries, but has decided to withhold. Money which, if delivered to
Sudan, could feed every one of the refugees who face starvation.

So why the shortfall? "We're working towards a goal of 0.4 per cent by
2005," explains the Department for International Development (DFID).

But why the wait? A cheque could be written tomorrow. The Treasury gets
closer to the truth. "There are a lot of pressures on the spending round" -
a polite way of saying that Gordon Brown considers the pledge on aid too

Again, it's a question of political willpower. And this from a Chancellor
who has done more than almost anyone else in the international stage to push
Third World development up the agenda.

Here is the "charity gap": world leaders love talking with empathy about
Africa, but when it comes to paying up, they start umming and talking about
tight budgets. For as long as this gap exists, promises and speeches will be

The next question is policies which accompany aid already spent. When Clare
Short was running DFID, she made it into her personal fiefdom - and was
easily taken in by dodgy African leaders who saw her coming. Charities on
the ground in Rwanda point to Ms Short's trust in General Paul Kagame in
Rwanda, giving him £46 million on the putative condition of democracy and
freedom of speech.

This is the same President Kagame who was "elected" last year with 96 per
cent of the vote and his opposition in jail rather than parliament. So
Britain is sitting back, paying up, while the conditions for armed
insurrection again take place.

"If Rwanda happened again today," said Mr Blair in the same 2001 speech, "we
would have a moral duty to act there." But not, it seems, in Sudan - where
the unfolding tragedy is still arousing little more than harsh words from

Zimbabwe shows another failure. Mr Blair has stood by as what was once the
"bread basket of Africa" slipped into economic freefall, with farms turning
into desert and starvation close behind. The debate about cricket is a
woefully unfit proxy for decisions about sanctions.

These, aid agencies say, mark a snapshot of a prime minister who talks the
talk on Africa - and genuinely believes in the ideal - but has failed to
follow this up with effective policy. By means of cop-out, he points to

The problem is not specific to Mr Blair. When government gives taxpayers'
cash to dictators, it invariably goes astray. History has repeatedly shown
there is only one sure-fire answer to these problems: trade.

This is the rope which the people of China and India are using to pulling
themselves out of poverty - yet this rope is denied to Africa by the
European Union.

The solution staring European leaders in the face for years has been to
abolish the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) which has become a new Iron
Curtain, cutting African farmers off from rich markets.

The CAP slaps tariffs on food which Africa could sell to the EU - denying
its farming industry the chance to grow, and denying millions the chance to
earn a living. Not content with this, the CAP dumps subsidised European
surplus in Africa, undermining local markets.

The CAP is supposed to protect farming jobs in Britain and keep incomes
high - an objective which, as any Scottish farmer will confirm, is by no
means an outright success. The CAP is a big part of reason why Africa
remains so poor.

The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development has shown that the
policy to help European farmers denies Africa £400 billion in lost export
income each year. This is a staggering 14 times all the amount of aid by
every country in the world.

The United States is equally as guilty of farm subsidies. It has been
calculated that world protectionism costs about £1 billion a year - enough
not just to feed the world's 60 million cows, but fly them business class
around the world and give them £2,000 spending money at each stop.

The answer to Africa is staring us in the face - and it doesn't take a
commission or a five-year plan to work it out. To treat the scar on the
world's conscience which is Africa, abolish the CAP.

But this is politically unacceptable across Europe - so instead, leaders
talk about international aid. By 2010. Or later. They promise, Africa
starves, the cows absorb subsidy, we pay too much for food - and all for the
sake of farmers who are struggling anyway.

Whoever breaks this cycle of misery can lay genuine claim to helping Africa.
Perhaps Mr Blair will be the one who pulls the sword from this stone.

Anything less will make the Gleneagles declaration the last word in an
epitaph of failure.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

The Star

      Double standards beggar belief
      June 16, 2004

      Linking reports and comments in newspapers (even when one is both
selective and subjective) can cause clarity and confusion among the little
grey cells and so it was in The Star of June 11.

      In your main editorial you quite rightly warn poor people against
using their houses as "collateral for a bank loan".

      You warn that "life is not that simple", indicating that banks
providing loans eventually want their money back. With interest.

      In other words, it must be realised that a loan is not simply a gift.

      Then we move onto your report about the performance of African leaders
meeting the Group of Eight leaders - and we read that the African delegation
made a "strong appeal for cancellation of all their debts".

      In the same breath they then "demand respect from
      the world's most powerful countries".

      Come on African brothers, "respect" is something that has to be
earned - and you gain no respect when on the world stage you promote an
African culture of borrowing money with no intention or ability to repay.

      The responsibilities of nations are no different to those of the
individual with a bank loan mentioned in the editorial.

      Little wonder that a frustrated President Thabo Mbeki remarked that
Africans are portrayed in some quarters as "mendicants" (beggars).

      Moving on, there's an article on the Africa editor of The Economist
magazine, Robert Guest, author of the book The Shackled Continent.

      He too warns of the tendency to abuse money in Africa and bitterly
attacks black economic empowerment. In a nutshell: it benefits the rich and
not the poor.

      Young people do not realise that wealth is something that has to be
created and is not acquired by aspiring towards political power.

      I have frequently said affirmative action, transformation and black
empowerment will spell the ruin of this country. Never mind the rest of
Africa, where economic morons such as Zimbabwe's Robert Mugabe have already
destroyed their economies.

      I am pleased that 33-year-old Guest shares views which I acquired
after some 33 years as a journalist and "field reporter", filling some six
passports during my travels.

      He more or less translates my favourite Latin adage: veritas vos
liberabit (the truth shall set you free) when he concludes that, "... there
are ways forward. But denying the truth is not one of them."

      Cultivating a begging-bowl mentality is no way to gain respect.

      Implementing realistic plans for the future - free of corruption and
enrichment of the elite - will cultivate respect.

      But believe me, Africa cannot be left to its own development devices.

      There will have to be a massive influx of expertise from the highly
developed countries to take the lead.

      Please, be realistic and grateful and do not resent the fact that
there are those who have expertise essential for the development which
Africa still only dreams about.

      Cliff Saunders
      Northcliff, Johannesburg

Back to the Top
Back to Index

From: "Trudy Stevenson"
Sent: Thursday, June 17, 2004 3:56 AM
Subject:  Monday in UK Parliament


Questions from Michael Howard (leader conservatives) to Tony Blair


14 Jun 2004 : Column 522

The G8 also focused on wider middle east questions. I welcome its
Is it not the case, as the G8 said, that
"trade liberalisation is key to boosting global prosperity"?

What help are the British Government giving to ensure that the Doha round
gets back on track in the way that the G8 envisaged?
I wish finally to ask two specific questions about regions in Africa. First,
I share the horror that is felt in all parts of the House about the recent
developments in Darfur and welcome the extra £15 million in UK assistance
that was announced last week. If Government bombing occurs in Darfur, should
not the Security Council authorise a no-fly zone to protect the civilian
population and consult those states with the capacity to enforce such a
restriction to urge them to do so?

Secondly, what discussions on Zimbabwe took place at the G8? Will the Prime
Minister explain why the limited sanctions that are in place do not prevent
the pro-Mugabe fund-raising visit to Britain of the governor of the Reserve
Bank of Zimbabwe? Does that not illustrate the need for an urgent tightening
of targeted EU sanctions to
include, in the words of the Movement for Democratic Change in Zimbabwe,

"all individuals who play a leading role in perpetuating the illegitimate
rule of Mugabe"?

Is that not an excellent illustration of the need for Britain to demonstrate
clear and firm leadership, in the G8 and elsewhere, in working with the
international community to help to achieve the objectives of peace and
stability to which we are all committed?

The Prime Minister: On the latter two points, we work closely with the MDC
on the measures that we should take in respect of Zimbabwe, although I am
afraid that these measures and sanctions, although we have them in place,
are of limited effect on the Mugabe regime. We must be realistic about that.
It is still important that we give every chance to, and make every effort to
try to help, those in south Africa-the southern part of Africa-to put
pressure for change on the Mugabe regime, because there is no salvation for
the people of Zimbabwe until that regime is changed.


Back to the Top
Back to Index

From The Sunday Times (UK), 13 June

Kofi Annan's son faces probe in UN oil scandal

Robert Winnett

The son of the United Nations secretary-general is to be investigated over
his alleged role in a company that negotiated to sell millions of barrels of
Iraqi oil under the discredited UN oil-for-food scheme. Kojo Annan faces
questions about a conflict of interest as the oil scheme was ultimately the
responsibility of his father Kofi, who heads the UN. Financial investigators
for the Iraqi government are to look into apparent links between Kojo and a
company that negotiated a contract to sell Iraqi oil as part of its wider
probe into deals struck during Saddam Hussein's regime. The UN oil-for-food
programme - which allowed Saddam to trade controlled amounts of oil to buy
food and other essential supplies - is alleged to have been corruptly
administered by the former Iraqi leader and the UN. The allegations centre
on an Iraqi oil deal worth $60m (about £33m) that was lined up by Hani
Yamani, the son of Sheikh Yamani, the former Saudi oil minister. The
business relationship between Hani Yamani and Kojo Annan represents the
coming together of two of the world's most influential families. In his
mid-twenties, Annan became a director of Yamani's main company, Air Harbour
Technologies (AHT). Documents seen by The Sunday Times show that Yamani
agreed to sell 1m barrels of Iraqi oil - through another of his companies
Hazy Investments - to a Moroccan company, Samir, in September 2001. He was
given a further option to sell another 1m barrels.

A source close to the transaction said: "This was a major coup for Yamani at
the time as it was critical to his main business as funds from the Hazy deal
were planned for AHT. Kojo was a director of AHT." Yamani is alleged to have
said Kojo was important to the Hazy deal. Kojo, however, says he had no
knowledge of Yamani's oil negotiations. He firmly states, through London
lawyers, that he ceased being a director of AHT in July 2001, two months
before the oil deal was signed. His lawyers say they have seen a letter of
resignation that proves his leaving date, but Kojo Annan has refused to
release it to The Sunday Times. Although the Hazy contract for the Kirkuk
oil was agreed, Yamani now says the deal never went ahead. Speaking from his
home in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, he said: "We didn't have an allocation from
the Iraqis, we were selling the oil on behalf of someone else. I never
actually traded a barrel of Iraqi oil." The investigators will now have to
establish when Annan resigned and may seek evidence from other senior
executives of AHT. In late 2000, the majority of the AHT board resigned
after several projects failed to materialise, but Annan's directorship was
renewed in January 2001. Annan insists he only ever received two director's
payments. He also points out that when he was last accused of using his
father's name in an oil-for-food contract he was cleared.

After leaving university in 1994, Annan worked for Cotecna, a company that
specialised in inspecting and verifying oil shipments. He became a Cotecna
consultant through the Sutton Group, a company he set up in Nigeria. In 1998
the UN began tendering a multimillion pound contract to "inspect" its
oil-for-food programme. This involved monitoring shipments of food and
medicine being imported into Iraq, and checking oil tankers as they left
port. Annan stopped acting as a consultant for Cotecna six weeks before it
won the UN contract. An internal UN investigation found Annan had no
knowledge or involvement in the Cotecna bid. A spokesman for the company
said: "Kojo Annan's activities concerned exclusively Cotecna's activities in
Nigeria and Ghana, and he was not involved in any of Cotecna's operations
involving the United Nations or Iraq." Annan joined AHT in 1999, two years
after his father was elected UN secretary-general. The company was set up to
build airports and hotels and is wholly owned by Yamani. The company has
close links to Hazy Investments which, records indicate, signs contracts and
pays employees and consultants on AHT's behalf. Both companies were
ultimately based in the same office in Nicosia, Cyprus. Annan was approached
to join the board of AHT at a time when Yamani was hoping to increase the
company's profile by hiring well-known figures, such as a former president
of Costa Rica and Maurice Strong, a senior UN official and special envoy to
Kofi Annan. One source close to AHT said: "Hani Yamani liked to surround
himself with the great and the good. Kojo was a very passive executive and I
always thought he basically lent his name to the firm. The Annan name
obviously has a certain presence when you are putting together deals in

One of the company's biggest projects was the building of a new airport in
Harare, Zimbabwe. It attracted controversy over allegations that the company
had won the contract through its association with Leo Mugabe, Robert Mugabe'
s nephew. During 2001, AHT was in trouble and Yamani allegedly stopped
paying a number of key staff. It was against this background that the oil
deal was negotiated. The Sunday Times has seen a contract drawn up between
Hazy and Samir, a Moroccan company owned by prominent Saudis, for the sale
of oil from Kirkuk in Iraq in September 2001. At the time, Iraq's oil
exports were strictly controlled by the oil-for-food programme. It is
claimed Saddam handed out vouchers giving allocations of oil at discounted
rates in return for favours, including political support outside Iraq and
the supply of goods not permitted by UN sanctions. A spokesman for Kofi
Annan declined to comment on Kojo's relationship with Yamani. However, he
said: "The secretary-general has categorically stated that neither he nor
his son had any connection with the awarding of a contract to Cotecna."

The original story follows:

From The Daily News, 28 November 2000

President linked to airport deal

President Mugabe has been linked to the payment of unauthorised commissions
during the construction of Harare's new international airport. As the
project nears completion, a serious rift has emerged between Air Harbour
Technologies (AHT), the main contractor, and local representatives and
government officials. The airport project has become a tale of cronyism that
has involved the United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan's son, Kojo,
Mugabe's nephew, Leo Mugabe, and Yamani, the son of a famous and powerful
former Saudi Oil Minister, Sheikh Ahmed Yamani. It now emerges that Hani
Yamani, the owner of AHT, has named President Mugabe and the Speaker of
Parliament, Emmerson Mnangagwa, as being among Zimbabwean top officials he
alleges to have paid a total of US$3 million ($165 million) to ensure that
his company won the $5 billion tender to design and build the new airport.
The names of the President's nephew, Leo Mugabe, two former Transport
Ministers Simon Khaya Moyo and Enos Chikowore, Higher Education Minister
Herbert Murerwa, as well as the Dean of the Diplomatic Corps in Harare, Ali
Halimeh, Ambassador of the Palestinian Liberation Organisation (PLO) appear
on the list of people to whom payments were allegedly made by Yamani's
representatives in Harare in circumstances which he now challenges. Murerwa
was at the time Minister of Finance.

Yamani alleges that his representatives in the country, Heena Joshi and Tony
Kates, claimed they also made disbursements to the former Editor of The
Herald now chairman of Zimbabwe Newspapers (Zimpapers), Tommy Sithole, Obert
Matshalaga, the Director of Domestic and International Finance in the
Ministry of Finance, Dr Sam Marume, Deputy Secretary in the Ministry of
Transport, and Amos Marawa, former Director of the Civil Aviation Authority
of Zimbabwe (CAAZ). A number of junior-ranking civil servants are alleged to
have also benefited. It is alleged that a total of US$190 000 was paid to
Leo Mugabe, while Murerwa, Chikowore and Khaya Moyo received US$24 803,
US$171 456 and US$106 832, respectively. Yamani alleges that Joshi and Kates
claim that Ambassador Halimeh had received US$10 000, with Sithole receiving
US$21 000 and Matshalaga being paid the least amount of all, only US$1 250.
Yamani said: "Ambassador Halimeh has been demanding much more money from me
over the past two years, over and above the large sums that he has been
receiving. This is extremely sad for me because I genuinely like him and I
will continue to care for him and his family in his serious illness." The
PLO ambassador said: "I know Yamani. He is a friend of mine. I know the
gentleman very well, but I know nothing about the payment." If the story was
published he had a way of dealing with the people, Halimeh said, throwing
diplomatic caution to the wind. Yesterday Heena Joshi denied she ever paid
the named people anything. "I resigned from the company after I realised
that Hani Yamani was conducting himself outside the boundaries of ethical
business practice." Leo Mugabe said: "I have nothing to do with AHT. All I
did was to introduce one of the company's representative to influential
people in the country and that was six years ago. That is an old story. The
problem is that you don't like President Mugabe and end up painting us with
the same brush. I am a capable businessman who has a right to receive
commissions, but on this one I did not get anything."

Meanwhile Marawa denied ever receiving any money, saying: "I have not been
paid by anybody even if I am listed in those documents. At the time when I
was at CAAZ, we did not recommend that company. I have not received money
from them." When contacted for comment, Matshalaga also denied he had
received any payment. "I don't know what to say," he said. "I can only say
my name was possibly added on the list because I was one of the people
opposed to the project. If I was supposed to receive any payment, then where
is my money? I never received any money. It's always the small fish who
suffer. Small fish also need protection. I was one of the people strongly
opposed to this project. Unfortunately, I cannot confirm or dismiss
anything." Sithole, the Zimpapers chairman, who is abroad, refused to
comment when he was contacted yesterday. He asked The Daily News to call him
on Thursday when he returns. Mnangagwa and Murerwa are also out of the
country, while Chikowore and Khaya Moyo could not be reached for comment
last night. Yamani explains the full details of the alleged payments in a
letter he wrote to President Mugabe a year ago. He complains that he lost
US$3 million - or $165 million in local currency - through paying
Zimbabweans. Zanu PF's trading company, Zidco (Pvt) Ltd, was named as the
official agent for AHT in the country. Yamani states in his letter to Mugabe
that his Cyprus-based company paid a total US$20 000 (Z$1 100 000) through
Zidco for the construction of the President's residence in Zvimba. The house
was allegedly built by Yugoslavs who were paid by AHT. Yamani says a total
of US$1 200 000 (Z$66 000 000) was paid directly to Zidco through the
personal bank account of Jayant Joshi on the instructions of Mnangagwa.
Jayant Chunilal Joshi and his brother, Manharlal Chunibal Joshi, are, along
with Mnangagwa, directors of Zidco. It is alleged that a total of US$50 000
(Z$ 2 750 000) was donated by Yamani to Zanu PF through Jayant Joshi's
account. Heena is the daughter of Jayant Joshi. The Joshis, the key players
in Zidco, together with Mnangagwa, retain strong personal links with the
Mugabes. Heena Joshi is a close friend of the President's wife, Grace. She
sits on the board of the First Lady's charitable organisation, the
Children's Rehabilitation Trust.

In the letter to Mugabe, which is dated 15 July 1999, Yamani, alleges that
there was a "dirty conspiracy" that had been actively seeking to destroy his
relationship with President Mugabe and his family in order to hide certain
financial transactions. Describing Mugabe as a father, Yamani enclosed in
the letter to the President the list of officials to whom payments were
allegedly made. "It is crucial for me that you know all the facts, and that
my reputation with you and your family is restored," Yamani appeals to
Mugabe. "You are more able than I am to determine the good sheep from the
bad ones in your flock and I have no choice but to come to you in the
present circumstances for help and protection." Yamani alleges that Kates,
Heena and Saleh Miri, AHT's former architect, who designed the new terminal,
acted together and "committed many administrative and financial
irregularities". Most intriguing in the letter is Mnangagwa's alleged role
in organising and handling, through Zidco, funds for Mugabe's residence, and
the payment of sums of money out to Halimeh "to cover his living and medical
expenses". Mnangagwa in his personal capacity was allegedly paid Z$2 331
505. Yamani says he intended to go into a joint venture with the First Lady
to construct a $15 million hotel. Yamani says he had asked Heena Joshi to
locate an appropriate piece of land near the airport for the hotel. "We
intended to lend the money to the First Lady who would buy the land and we
would build the hotel using our own equity and project financing," he says.
Yamani says sub-standard work was uncovered on the airport project and the
contractor was forced to correct it against heavy criticism from Kates and
"his allies in government and the representative of the contractor" who said
redoing the job would delay the project. "It seems we were hurting their
personal financial interests," says Yamani.

Yamani says to Mugabe: "Normally, we would take Heena to court for
mismanagement and fraud and we can stop her this way, but this is impossible
in our present case as it would hurt Zimbabwe and your family. Heena Joshi
knows these facts and she is using them to her own benefit. We are now told
that the funds which were intended to pay the Yugoslav contractor for your
residence, with the contribution of my company at a total one million United
States dollars up to the end of the airport project, were never disbursed."
He said his company had already lost US$3 million on the airport contract
and it stood to lose much more after two of his architects were "officially
kicked out of the country". "Most important to me is my relationship with
you and the First Lady, which is worth more to me than money and fame,"
Yamani says in his letter. "I respect you and I am honoured by your trust in
me. I am a victim of plotters who derive all their power from you, but who
deal for their personal ambitious agenda." Yamani says his last meeting with
Mugabe was in July 1998 and the First Lady in September 1998 in Paris. He
says attempts to come to Zimbabwe and accompany the President on a tour of
the new airport had been blocked by Heena Joshi. "I was also supposed to go
to Dubai in late 1998 to assist the First Lady on her visit, but I was told
by Heena Joshi that the visit was cancelled by the First Lady herself. It is
an honour for me to meet with Your Excellency and the First Lady, especially
since I need to discuss problems on the airport project and I now realise
that the Joshis did not want such a meeting to occur."
Back to the Top
Back to Index

What we can learn from Zimbabwe

      Peter Foster
      National Post

June 16, 2004

It's always worthwhile to put our political system's fundamental principles
in broader perspective. This is particularly so after the leaders' debates,
which tend to be as much Survivor as substance.

For the underlying realities of "redistribution," the principle on which
most modern democracies -- including Canada -- are built, one might examine
the situation in Zimbabwe. There, President Robert Mugabe decided to
"redistribute" the land of white farmers to the oppressed black minority (in
fact his own political supporters). The result has been the implosion of
what used to be a highly efficient agricultural system. Benighted
Zimbabweans now rely for their food on the international community. This
further "redistribution" from Western taxpayers -- none of whom,
significantly, voted for it -- serves to keep Mr. Mugabe in power.

What similarity does this pernicious situation have with Canada and other
Western democracies? Plenty. Only here the expropriation is kept down to
"tolerable" levels: that is, short of outright economic destruction.

While the conventional wisdom tells us Western capitalism "triumphed" over
Communism, does nobody find it unusual that Western political systems are
virtually all based on the fulfillment of one of the main objectives of The
Communist Manifesto: from each according to his abilities, to each according
to his needs?

"Redistribution" is such a reasonable sounding word. The Western market
economies "distribute" wealth among the "factors of production," and since
this distribution is obviously unfair, Solomon-like governments must step in
with a more equitable "redistribution."

Such thinking amounts to one of the great con jobs of all time. The tendency
of governments to tax and spend on an increasingly grand scale -- even
through the Thatcher and Reagan "revolutions" -- is one of the most
remarkable trends in political history.

Democratic government has grown overwhelmingly as a predatory entity which
buys votes by robbing Peter to pay Paul and Mary. The trick is that it also
robs Paul to pay Peter and Mary, and Mary to pay Peter and Paul. Its skill
is to implicate everybody in the great potlatch.

As well as being monumentally inefficient, such a system is fundamentally
immoral. We are told that there is a trade-off between freedom and equality,
but it is in fact a trade-off between freedom plus wealth and forced
equality. Perfect equality is synonymous with perfect poverty. And perfect

Meanwhile the notion that the system in practice consists primarily of
transfers from the rich to the poor is bogus. As noted, it consists
overwhelmingly of complex and minus-sum transfers within the middle class.
Its major beneficiaries also include corporate welfare bums such as the big
auto companies and "national champions" such as Bombardier. There are also,
of course, myriad fountains, fixtures and finagles installed from Sea to
Shining Sea to beautify local politicians' electoral chances.

As for the funds that reach "the poor," the notion that they are
unequivocally beneficial is far from clear. A redistributive system that
goes beyond temporary provision for those in trouble through no fault of
their own encourages self-destructive feelings of entitlement. It cultivates
envy as a political principle. It discourages work and attendant feelings of

Also, we might note that the gap between the incomes of the richest and the
poorest remains remarkably stable over time. The only difference is that the
incomes of the poorest increasingly consist of welfare. They become trapped.
Excessive taxation meanwhile also creates a disincentive to work and invest
from the point of view of the productive. This again indirectly robs the
poor of opportunity.

The fact that all developed countries have similar levels of taxation and
expenditure in no way validates the mushy egalitarian principles behind
Western democracy. It merely indicates how successfully politicians have
been in imitating every intrusive scheme adopted anywhere on earth.

Sensible individuals should willingly pay taxes proportional to their
incomes to maintain minimal governments, but by what token is it "unfair"
that somebody with more talent and application earns more than somebody with

Meanwhile who says the rich will be inclined to hoard their incomes? Public
esteem is much more important than naked wealth for most normal people,
especially talented ones, and the surest way to achieve public esteem is via
acts of benevolence. That is certainly the history of the great capitalists
from Andrew Carnegie to Bill Gates.

Ah, say the redistributors, but this leaves benevolence too much at the whim
of individuals. Better, apparently, that it should be at the whim of

The remarkable feature of the system of fettered capitalism -- which is so
cherished by politicians -- is that the productive keep producing, albeit it
at a lower level than they might do under a lighter tax burden. The
lack-of-principle involved was recognized by the 17th century French
minister Jean-Baptiste Colbert, who gave us the immortal analogy of plucking
geese while keeping down the hissing. That's less stupid than Mr. Mugabe's
killing of the golden goose, but it's almost as immoral.

© National Post 2004
Back to the Top
Back to Index


      Zimbabwe condemns US sanctions on Cuba 2004-06-17 02:31:59

      ¡¡HARARE, June 16 (Xinhuanet) -- The Zimbabwean government on
Wednesday condemned the long-standing US economic embargo on Cuba,and
Washington's extra territorial application of its laws on the island nation.

          Foreign Affairs Minister Stan Mudenge in a wide-ranging press
conference also condemned recent US threats to Cuba made under theguise of
Washington's war on terrorism.

          "We call on the international community to join us in condemning
such unilateralism as well as any other sanctions imposed by individual
countries outside the framework of the United Nations," he said.

          He said it was disheartening to note that Cuba continued to face
threats to its sovereignty and territorial integrity and the right to
determine its own destiny.

          The people of Cuba were facing the threat of enhanced economic
sanctions, propaganda media campaigns, discouragement of tourist travel and
denial of visas, among other things, he said.

          "Zimbabwe is concerned at recent hints or threats of unspecified
action being taken under the pretext of the war on terrorism," he said.

          Mudenge hoped a solution would soon be found through mediation by
the international community, which has supported Cuba's cause for the past
45 years.

          Zimbabwe would continue to render its support to these
multilateral efforts, and to the just cause of the Cuban people, he said.

Back to the Top
Back to Index


Mugabe Addresses AIDS Conference
Tendai Maphosa
16 Jun 2004, 16:42 UTC

Zimbabwe's President, Robert Mugabe, has addressed the country's first
national HIV/AIDS conference in Harare.
In his address, President Mugabe spoke about the progress made in the fight
against HIV/AIDS since the first HIV case was diagnosed in Zimbabwe in 1985.

Mr. Mugabe said while a lot of ground has been covered in terms of making
Zimbabweans aware of the virus, a lot still has to be done.

He applauded the recent launch of an anti-retroviral drug program, which he
said can only reach a maximum of 10,000 people because of a lack of funds.
Mr. Mugabe stressed the need for more resources and for the building of what
he called "sustainable partnerships" to enable more people to benefit from
the program. He also called for voluntary counseling and testing centers to
spread out to the rural areas.

Mr. Mugabe said because of the limited access the majority of Zimbabweans
have to modern medicines, traditional medicine could also play a role.

"There is a need also to compliment expensive modern ARVs [anti-retroviral
drugs] by finding a role for effective traditional medicine in AIDS care,"
Mr. Mugabe. "After all, the majority of our people still rely on and could
benefit from traditional medicine as long as the proposed remedies pass and
I emphasize, pass the necessary medicines control tests."

The president's announcement was welcomed by Professor Gordon Chavunduka,
the president of the Zimbabwe National Traditional Healers Association, who
said his organization has tried for years to work with the Health Ministry
to combat HIV/AIDS, but had met with stiff resistance. He said some
traditional healers can ease the symptoms of AIDS but, like modern medicine,
they have not come up with a cure.

President Mugabe also expressed his appreciation for the assistance Zimbabwe
has received in the fight against AIDS from multilateral organizations of
the United Nations. Noting that there are more than 300 non-governmental
organizations and community-based organizations in the country, he called
for a more harmonized approach to helping AIDS victims by reducing
duplication and avoiding the unnecessary waste of resources.

"Those involved in HIV/AIDS programs need to work in a co-ordinated manner
which strengthens the agreed framework of what is now known as the "Three
Ones", namely, one national plan for the fight against HIV and Aids, one
co-coordinating authority and one monitoring and evaluating system," Mr.
Mugabe said.

Former Zambian President Kenneth Kaunda will address the conference
Thursday. He was one of the first people to go public about AIDS when his
son died of the disease in 1986.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Mugabe's man accuses 'lying' UN
16/06/2004 - 18:11:14

President Robert Mugabe's government accused UN officials of "spreading
 lies" about Zimbabwe today, deepening a rift between the country and the
world body.

Foreign Minister Stan Mudenge said he had summoned the UN World Food
Programme representative to his office yesterday to explain a report
compiled by one of its officials that outlined increasing crime and
lawlessness in the troubled southern African nation.

"There is a persistent trend of malicious intent on the part of some UN
staffers in Zimbabwe who are deliberately demonising this country and its
leadership through lies and misinformation," Mudenge said in the capital,

"It is unfortunate the United Nations in Harare continues to tolerate people
who tarnish the name of Zimbabwe. This is unacceptable to the government."

The report warning of a sharp rise in violent crime - including street
robbery, rapes and vehicle hijacking - was compiled by Zimbabwean WFP
official Denis Mpanda, whom Mudenge said was "probably drunk."

"He just sits down, his hangover gets to him, and he puts it out," Mudenge

He also complained about an official at the UN Development Programme who
previously described Zimbabwe as "a no-go country," where policing was
ineffective and the lives of UN personnel were in danger.

Mudenge accused UN officials sympathetic to the opposition Movement for
Democratic Change of using their positions to promote a political agenda
with "evil intent" against the country.

Mudenge's comments came after UN Secretary General Kofi Annan's special
envoy for humanitarian needs in southern Africa cancelled a planned trip to
Zimbabwe, saying neither Mugabe nor his top officials were available to meet
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Africans 'see little to cheer'
A survey in Africa suggests Nigerians and Zimbabweans feel especially pessimistic about their own countries.

The study by international polling agency, Globescan, also indicates that more than a third of Africans feel worse off this year compared with last.

In Zimbabwe, just 3% of those asked think life is getting better.

In Nigeria, 75% of people think the country is heading in the wrong direction, with 66% thinking it is more corrupt than a year ago.

Remarkably, another survey conducted by the New Scientist last year, suggested Nigerians might also be the happiest people in the world.

The Globescan survey also shows that most Africans do not believe that their national governments reflect the will of the people, and have more trust in their religious leaders.


There is some optimism in Kenya, where the vast majority of Kenyans believe corruption is declining, and two-thirds of Ghanaians think their government reflects the will of the people.

However, 80% of Zimbabweans and 66% of South Africans feel their countries are more corrupt than a year ago.

One thousand people took part in the study in each of eight countries: Egypt, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa, Tanzania, Zimbabwe.

More than 90% of those asked, see Aids and the spread of diseases as serious problems for them and their families

Half of Africans asked, feel the world is going in the wrong direction. They feel positive about the United States but negative about trade, Aids, jobs and poverty

Do you feel there are grounds for optimism in African countries? Do you agree with survey's conclusions? Let us know using the form below.

As a Zimbabwean I feel the result has been rigged - who are the 30 people out of a thousand who feel the country is getting better? Thirty out of 12 million would be a better bet, that is Mugabe and his cabinet who are chasing UN food programme from the country saying we will have a better harvest. And for better measure 12 million is the rough population of Zimbabwe.
Thembelani Ndlovu, London, UK

As for corruption, the Zimbabwe and South Africa cases may reflect opposition to the government and not the real situation. It will be more important to know how the respondents were selected. Elites and people from urban areas are more likely to oppose ruling governments.
Richard Minja, Tanzania

There is nothing to cheer about in Zimbabwe, except that the coming of the Lord is near. Corruption is rife, hunger is everywhere, and few are on the government's anti-retroviral support system. The government does not reflect the will of the majority nor do the people have a voice.
John Mbiri, Harare, Zimbabwe

Corruption, though being investigated, some big guns are being left out. Only a few are surviving. The rest of us are just existing and one does not know what to eat or drink the next hour. Things are just difficult for most of us.
Goddie Godfreys, Gweru Zimbabwe

As a Nigerian, I am optimistic that someday things will change for the better but there needs to be major reforms in the government before that will happen. There might be a lot of bloodshed and difficulty in Africa, but it is always darkest before dawn. Nigeria is a very corrupt country but Nigerians are good people and someday that goodness will be seen by the whole world.
Grace, Plateau State, Nigeria

Why would Africans be happy when they see all the money been spent by their own countries and the G8 on weapons when less than 1% of that money would stop a tragedy from happening in Sudan this month!

How unscientific. Nigeria is a country with a population of millions and this report suggests that a thousand people will adequately reflect their thoughts. Utter rubbish!!!! We already know where we think Nigeria is going. Please don't use stupid statistics to emphasise it.
Uzo, USA, Nigeria

In Nigeria, there is every cause for pessimism because there is hardly anything visible to make the citizens feel contented about the country ranging from declining infrastructure, lack of job to other things like insecurity and corruption. The citizens have a habit of keeping themselves happy by all means since many of them have not seen better days in the past, hence the result that says they are the happiest in the world. It is high level corruption that has been the bane of these happy people.
Paul Ohia, Lagos, Nigeria

As a born and bred Zimbabwean I do not believe that there are any grounds for optimism in Zimbabwe. Ten years ago we Zimbabweans were full of hope but now corruption and Aids spread like wildfire. Land lies fallow while our people starve. The flow of tourists has all but dried up while some of the world's greatest wildlife is being destroyed. Trees are falling never to be replaced. Those that want to make things better are stamped on by the authorities. How can anyone find hope in these times of chaos?
Don, London, UK

I believe that Africa as a continent is going through a transitional phase in its journey to development. While bad governments may prevail now, the chances are that as sources of media permeate the continent and people are made more aware of their rights, the nations will (over time) surmount these obstacles and free stable democracies will prevail. However, to achieve stability the process must mature intrinsically, without external military help. Meanwhile, kudos to the Nigerian people for being amongst the happiest in the world.
Sunava Dutt, Philadelphia, USA

As Africans we have every reason to be cheerful. New technology has open new doors for us; corrupt leadership are a minority, democracy is taking hold; research is ongoing for a cure for Aids; through the internet we are learning more; and getting connected. We should be optimistic!!!
Francis Stevens George, Oslo, Norway

The statement Africans feel good about the USA must be some kind of a joke designed to make the US feel good. Africans never feel good about imperialists or their lackeys.
Fidel M, Oxford England

Back to the Top
Back to Index

Mail and Guardian

Malnutrition hampering Zimbabwe's Aids battle


      16 June 2004 10:56

Poverty and malnutrition are undermining Zimbabwe's battle against HIV and
Aids, about 700 delegates heard at a conference that opened in Harare on
Doctors who have been examining the impact of anti-retroviral drugs (ARVs)
in Zimbabwe have found that the anti-Aids drugs are too expensive in a
country where some three-quarters of the population live in poverty.

"The issue of poverty ... is one of the factors limiting the access to
ARVs," said Phineas Makurira, who spoke on behalf of the doctors at the
first national conference on HIV and Aids to be held in the southern African

"It is estimated that about 5 000 patients are currently on ARVs in
Zimbabwe, although this might be an underestimate," said health ministry
Aids expert Christine Chakanyuka.

They are a tiny fraction of the estimated 1,8-million Zimbabweans living
with HIV and Aids.

The three-day conference aims to come up with the best strategies and
practices for combatting Aids, which kills an estimated 3 000 Zimbabweans a

"I'm quite optimistic that this is not going to be a talking shop,"
Panganayi Dhliwayo, a member of the organising committee and health ministry
official, told a press conference.

He added that, contrary to what had been said about the high price of drugs,
many families in Zimbabwe could in fact afford the prices charged for ARVs,
the drugs that help to slow down the progression of HIV/Aids, at some
Zimbabwean clinics.

"At 150 000 dollars [$28] a month you don't even need free treatment," he

He attributed the price reduction to the local manufacture of generic
anti-retrovirals. "People are not aware that the cost of ARVs has come down
so much," he said.

Nutritionist Percy Chipepera told delegates meanwhile that recent studies
had shown that malnutrition in Zimbabwe was exacerbating the condition of
people with HIV/Aids.

"Malnutrition affects 90% of HIV/Aids patients (and) ... it is also
responsible for 60% to 80% of Aids deaths," he said.

Over the last three years Zimbabwe has experienced a serious food shortage
attributed to droughts and the chaotic land reforms that saw the seizure of
thousands of white-owned commercial farms handed over to landless blacks.

Farm workers are also becoming less productive due to HIV-induced illnesses.

President Robert Mugabe's government plans to roll out free ARVs to some 171
000 people by end of next year.

But the health ministry's Chakanyuka hinted that it may be unable to meet
that deadline, saying "we are limited by resources".

Another health official said attention should not be focussed on ARVs alone.

"We need to provide a comprehensive package to manage HIV/Aids in the
country, not to just provide ARVs," Owen Mugurungi said.

With about one in four adults infected by HIV, Zimbabwe ranks among the
countries worst hit by the pandemic. An estimated 166 000 new HIV cases were
registered last year, according to Chakanyuka.

However, Zimbabwe's Aids statistics are not all gloomy, health official
Dhliwayo told reporters. He said now that HIV figures were beginning to
decline, Zimbabwe deserved a pat on the back.

"Now that it (HIV infection) has stabilised and is starting to go down, I
think we should congratulate ourselves and say that our efforts are bearing
fruit," Dhliwayo said. - Sapa-AFP
Back to the Top
Back to Index