Everette Ndlovu on Reporters' Forum
Sometimes a single person’s life experience can tell a whole country’s history? Sceptical about that theory? Well listen to the interview by Lance Guma with documentary and film producer Everette Ndlovu. The former ZBC producer recounts his life story from being a teacher in Matabeleland, to working for the state broadcaster and then having to settle in the United Kingdom after the political situation deteriorated. Ndlovu produced notable programmes like Around Zimbabwe, Gospel Hour, Esandleni Se Musa, Amaphimbo Amnandi and several documentaries. He explains how the discovery of a mass grave and attempts by him and his crew to film the discovery almost cost him his job at the ZBC. What were his experiences of the Gukurahundi? Find out more on Reporters’ Forum.
The Herald (Harare)
June 7, 2006
Posted to the web June 7, 2006
A parliamentary portfolio committee yesterday recommended the urgent need for a review of the salaries of journalists, saying most of them are earning monthly salaries which are far below the poverty datum line.
Chairperson of the committee on Transport and Communications Cde Leo Mugabe told the House of Assembly that most journalists were struggling to make ends meet. Cde Mugabe, who is the legislator for Makonde, was presenting his committee's report on the state of the public media in Zimbabwe. He said although the salary gap between management and ordinary workers in the public media was too wide, the bottom line was that they were both poorly paid. "The committee would like to urge the minister responsible to seriously consider the issue of poor salaries. They (journalists) need to be looked after; perhaps that is the reason why the experienced staff is leaving," he said.
Contributing to the debate, Masvingo South Member of the House of Assembly Cde Walter Mzembi (Zanu-PF) said poor remuneration was tempting some media practitioners to engage in corrupt activities. "You are exposing journalists to corruption and manipulation if you don't pay them proper salaries. Let's attempt to make our journalists better people," he said. Chiredzi North Member of House of Assembly Cde Celine Pote (Zanu-PF) said some journalists had showed the committee members payslips reflecting that they were taking home a monthly salary of $6 million which was far below the PDL of about $41 million. "They buy from the same shops as the rich people and to be silent on this issue is being very cruel." "Why is it left to chief executive officers to award salary increments to the workers? Why does the minister not consider such issues?"
Her sentiments were echoed by Kambuzuma Member of the House Mr Willas Madzimure (MDC) who said the poor salaries were a mockery to the noble profession of journalism. "This is almost slavery when the PDL is at $41 million yet you are paying someone $6 million," he said. Deputy Minister of Information and Publicity Cde Bright Matonga said he would respond to the issues raised by the lawmakers today.
Zim Online (SA), 7 June
Bulawayo - At least 43 people died of malnutrition-related illnesses in Zimbabwe's second biggest city of Bulawayo last February, according to a confidential council policy paper released last week. The latest figures bring the number of people who have succumbed to malnutrition-related diseases in Bulawayo since the beginning of the year to 77, highlighting the deepening economic crisis in the southern African country. Bulawayo executive mayor Japhet Ndabeni-Ncube yesterday confirmed the rising malnutrition-related deaths, describing them as worrying. Of the 43 people who died in February, 31 were children under the age of four while two elderly people above the age of 70 had also died because of hunger. Ndabeni-Ncube, from the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party, is the only mayor in Zimbabwe who compiles figures of residents dying of malnutrition-related illnesses, an undertaking that has earned him threats and insults from the government which does not want such statistics highlighted. The Harare authorities have in the past disputed figures compiled by Ndabeni-Ncube, accusing the opposition mayor of lying and manipulating death records to cause alarm and despondency.
But the mayor told Zim Online yesterday that the statistics were necessary to help his council properly plan for a feeding programme it is carrying out in schools in the city. "The figures that we get from our health department are worrying and we are now working on trying to improve on our supplementary feeding programmes in schools and in council-run clinics," Ndabeni-Ncube said. Bulawayo provincial governor Cain Mathema was not available for comment on the matter last night. Zimbabwe has battled severe food shortages over the past six years after Mugabe violently seized white-owned farms for redistribution to landless blacks. The farm disturbances slashed food production by 60 percent resulting in most Zimbabweans depending on food handouts from international donors. Mugabe, in power since independence from Britain 26 years ago, has often boasted that no one would die of hunger in Zimbabwe.
June 07 2006 at 02:20PM
Journalists for Zimbabwe's state-owned media earn tiny salaries well below the poverty line, a situation that means they can be easily "manipulated," it was reported Wednesday.
Some reporters for the public media are taking home a monthly salary of ZIM$6-million (about R405), a wage that is far below the poverty line of ZIM$41-million, reported the Herald, itself a state-owned daily.
A parliamentary portfolio committee has been investigating the public media and its findings were presented to the House of Assembly on Tuesday, said the Herald.
President Robert Mugabe's nephew Leo, who was chairing the committee, told parliament that "most journalists were struggling to make ends meet," the paper reported.
Zimbabwe's official media normally stick closely to the official government line.
Unlike reporters from the private press, journalists from the Herald and Chronicle newspapers as well as from state radio and television are virtually never arrested for contravening sections of Zimbabwe's tough media laws. But occasionally they are greeted with hostility by members of the public.
Leo Mugabe said journalists needed "to be looked after," the paper said.
"The committee would like to urge the minister responsible to consider the issue of poor salaries. They (journalists) need to be looked after. Perhaps that is the reason why experienced staff are leaving," he said.
Another ruling party politician, Walter Mzembi, said some reporters were being tempted by corruption due to poor pay.
"You are exposing journalists to corruption and manipulation if you don't pay them proper salaries. Let's attempt to make our journalists better people," he said. - Sapa-dpa
Business Day (Johannesburg)
June 7, 2006
Posted to the web June 7, 2006
Dumisani Muleya With Bloomberg
ZIMBABWE again has been hit by a wave of nationwide power outages in winter as the struggling state-owned electricity utility increasingly fails to ensure reliable supplies.
Reports from Zambia said yesterday that that country's recent countrywide blackout was related to Zimbabwe's supply system.
Zimbabwe's capital, Harare, and other towns have for the past few nights been plunged into darkness as the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (Zesa) cuts power in the face of continued shortages and distribution problems.
Plush suburbs in Harare such as Borrowdale and Glen Lorne and areas like Hillside and Hatfield, as well as teeming townships on the outskirts of the city, have been without power the past few days.
Residents have been complaining of the increased disruptions due to electricity shortages.
Football fans have been protesting the loudest about power cuts ahead of the opening of the World Cup tournament in Germany on Friday.
Companies are also complaining of disruptions as a result of the outages.
The Combined Harare Residents' Association said that the power cuts showed government had failed to provide basic social services. Education, health, transport, and water and electricity supply are near collapse as the economy disintegrates.
Zesa said on Monday the worsening power shortages were due to "reduced electricity generation capacity, low tariffs, distribution problems and regional shortages".
Zimbabwe has suffered widespread power cuts, despite recently renewing its supply contracts with SA, Mozambique and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Zesa signed an agreement with Eskom in February to extend its power supply contract to March 31 next year. The agreement allows Zesa to import up to 450MW from SA.
The Zimbabwean utility also extended its contracts with HCB of Mozambique, to buy about 200MW, Snel of Congo to secure 100MW and Zesco of Zambia to get about 300MW until next year and up to 450MW between 2008 and 2010.
This means Zimbabwe is able to import a maximum of 750MW from the region.
Zesa generates about 1440MW, with Kariba providing 750MW, Hwange contributing 590MW and small thermal power stations adding 100MW to the national grid.
Imports account for 650MW, representing 32% of Zimbabwe's electricity requirements. The country's peak electricity demand has increased to more than 2600MW, from 2000MW, while the import bill has ballooned from $50000 to $6m a month.
Zesa owes foreign creditors a staggering $330m, making it technically insolvent. The crisis is compounded by shortages of foreign currency and spare parts.
A preliminary report by the Zambia Electricity Supply Corporation (Zesco) says a nationwide blackout in the country on Sunday afternoon was caused by a major fault at Kariba South power station on the Zimbabwean grid.
Zesco's acting MD, Musonda Chibulu, said that because of the magnitude of the fault and the interconnection of the Zimbabwean and Zambian grids, the fault affected the main system in Zambia.
Zambia on Sunday afternoon experienced a total electricity outage for more than two hours and businesses that depend on electricity came to a standstill, said Xinhau news agency.
In December last year, Zambia experienced a similar blackout caused by a system failure at Kariba North power station.
Chibulu was quoted in yesterday's Zambia Daily Mail as saying the failure on the Zimbabwean side resulted in the tripping of the Kariba North power station and high voltage transmission lines from the power station to the capital, Lusaka.
"The tripping is a design protection measure to avoid damage to the generation and transmission equipment," said Chibulu.
He said that after Kariba North power station went off, Kafue Gorge power station and part of Victoria Falls power station also tripped because they could not contain the load.
SW Radio Africa, 6 June
By Tichaona Sibanda
About 700 families, mostly second generation Zimbabweans whose grandparents migrated from Botswana half a century ago, have asked to be repatriated. Its believed the dire economic situation in Zimbabwe has forced the families from Nswazwi in Bulilima district of Matebeleland South to request permission from authorities in Gaborone to allow them to migrate to the birth place of their ancestors. Themba Nkosi, our correspondent in Bulawayo, said officials from Botswana’s ministry of Foreign Affairs have been in Zimbabwe to screen the villagers before allowing them back into their country. The regime in the country has given its blessings to the repatriations. ‘That exercise was completed on Monday and the villagers should be moved back to Botswana anytime from now. Most are complaining about the hardships they are facing as a result of the economic situation. Before that, when Zimbabwe was a land of milk and honey they had no problems at all,’ Nkosi said. Historians have told our correspondent that the group is part of a legion of immigrants who fled Bechuanaland (Botswana) in 1947 at the height of tribal conflicts between the Kalanga in the northern parts of that country. The majority of immigrants returned when Botswana attained independence from the British in 1966 but some who had married decided to settle down and have families.
June 07, 2006, 17:45
Aziz Pahad, the deputy foreign affairs minister, says government's intention to give a loan to the cash strapped Zimbabwean government have not moved forward this after Zimbabwe denied asking for a loan, saying the issue was initiated by South Africa.
Addressing Parliament's committee on foreign affairs, Pahad has repeated South Africa's calls for a diplomatic solution to the impasse over Iran's nuclear plans. Pahad said such a solution is important to ease tensions in an already volatile area. South Africa joins the powerful UN Security Council as a non-permanent member next year. A seat it will occupy for two years.
South Africa says the UN Security Council needs to focus on the needs of all its members not only to its biggest financial contributors. Pahad says the organisation's major thrust has to be more effectively implemented especially on development issues.
News24 (SA), 6 June
Cape Town - South Africa is not in talks with Zimbabwe's cash-strapped government for a financial package, Finance Minister Trevor Manuel said on Tuesday. His statement contrasts with comments last month by deputy foreign affairs Minister Aziz Pahad that Manuel and Reserve Bank governor Tito Mboweni were continuing to discuss the possibility of a $1bn bail out to President Robert Mugabe’s government. "No, I am not currently engaged in any talks with my Zimbabwean counterpart regarding a loan to Zimbabwe," Manuel said in a written reply to a parliamentary question. "Neither has the South African government made any loan to Zimbabwe," Manuel said, adding that the central bank was also not in talks with Zimbabwean officials. Zimbabwe is in its worst economic crisis since independence in 1980 marked by acute fuel and foreign currency shortages, and an annual inflation over 1 000% - the highest in the world. South Africa's cabinet last year approved in principle a loan to help ease the economic crisis. Zimbabwe has repeatedly denied asking for the $1bn loan, saying the issue was initiated by South Africa. Critics say South Africa has been too soft on Mugabe, whom they accuse of human rights abuses and economic mismanagement. The veteran Zimbabwean leader denies the allegations, and in turn accuses domestic and Western opponents of demonising him and sabotaging the economy over his seizures of white-owned farms.
The Herald (Harare)
June 7, 2006
Posted to the web June 7, 2006
A new wave of farm takeovers in the Lowveld is threatening sugarcane production while the current shortage of sugar on the formal market is a result of unchecked exports, the House of Assembly heard yesterday.
Chairperson of the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Lands, Land Reform, Agriculture, Resettlement and Water Development Cde Walter Mzembi told the House that there was need for land audit in the Lowveld. Cde Mzembi was presenting the committee's report on the viability of the sugar industry. "Your committee learnt that there has been an emergency of what are called A5 farmers. There has been a fresh wave of farm takeovers in the Lowveld where these so-called A5 farmers with the assistance of land officers in Chiredzi and Masvingo were seizing plots with ready to harvest sugarcane crops. "Farmers told your committee during the stakeholders meetings that they were tired of being moved from one farm to another. "Ministry officials were cited as the culprits in these movements.
"Greedy people must not be allowed to harvest where they did not sow," he said. The committee recommended that there should be an impartial and independent board to carry out the land audit in the Lowveld, especially for sugarcane growers. Cde Mzembi said there were also multiple farm owners and in some cases the land was being allocated to those without the knowledge of sugarcane farming. The committee, he said, noted that there was no provision of inputs to sugarcane farmers by the Government yet this was supposed to be regarded as strategic crop.
Farmers were accessing inputs such as fertilizer and chemicals at high costs from the millers while the delay in finalising the issue of the 99-year leases was slowing down investment in the industry. Turning to the shortage of sugar, Cde Mzembi said this was not a result of low production but of illegal exports by both consumers and producers. Milling companies, he said, were producing more than enough for the local market. "Your committee came to the conclusion that manufacturers were exporting more at the expense of the local market. "Milling companies told your committee that they export 70 percent of the total production and 30 percent is for the local market," Cde Mzembi said. The lawmaker said the committee was concerned, however, that the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe had never mentioned how much revenue was being generated from sugar exports, adding that there was need for the Government to intervene in such matters of economic importance.
Cde Mzembi, said the legislators were surprised to hear stakeholders in the sugar industry complaining about the price of sugar, which they said was low yet they were the ones who determined the price. The price of the commodity is determined by the Zimbabwe Sugar Sales which comprises of directors of Triangle Limited, Hippo Valley Estates, Zimbabwe Commercial Farmers Union and Chiredzi Sugarcane Farmers Association. The Ministry of Industry and International Trade has no input in determining the price of sugar as it plays a monitoring role.
Contributing to the debate, Chief George Chimombe of Manicaland said the Government should speedily deal with the cor rupt allocation of land in the Lowveld. He said the recommendations of the committee should be taken seriously as some ministers had adopted a business-as-usual approach to serious recommendations pertaining to their ministries that would have been put forward in the House.
Copyright © 2006 The Herald.
The Times of Zambia
By Times Reporter
ZIMBABWE has declared that there will be no backtracking on the controversial land reform programme and scoffed at suggestions that the Southern African nation is wallowing in deep political and economic crisis, describing the assertions as rantings of Western imperialists who do not mean well.
Zimbabwean High Commissioner to Zambia, Kosho Dube, said the land re-distribution exercise embarked upon by his government was the best independence gift for indigenous Zimbabweans who waged a protracted war to break the yoke of colonialism that deprived people of their birth right to land.
Dr Dube said in an interview in Lusaka that independence could only be meaningful if indigenous people controlled major resources such as land.
Zimbabwe was land, and land was Zimbabwe, and as such the sovereignty of the country would be incomplete without local people taking charge of resources like land, which colonialists had predominantly controlled, he said.
He dismissed assertions that local people empowered with previously white-owned farms had failed to put the land to productive use.
He said persistent drought that had hit Zimbabwe for four years had caused the food deficit in his country.
The Zimbabwean envoy said his government had taken measures to respond to food production challenges that included developing irrigation systems and extension services aimed at equipping farmers with appropriate means for sustainable food production.
Dr Dube also called for enhanced regional integration and focus on re-generation of economies in the region.
He said there was need to strengthen regional bodies like the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) to make them more responsive to current development challenges facing the region.
The coming of a common tariff regime in the next two years would give impetus to the economic development of the region.
“We must begin to integrate more and more now, and encourage investment among ourselves so that we can compete on the world market,” he said.
The Herald (Harare)
June 7, 2006
Posted to the web June 7, 2006
Harare City Council yesterday said it was demanding reimbursement of the salaries and benefits paid to its former director of health, Dr Lovemore Mbengeranwa, who now chairs the Health Services Board, from Government and not from him.
The city's spokesman Mr Madenyika Magwenjere could not disclose the amount being demanded but could only say the demands were being made to the Ministry of Health and Child Welfare under whose ambit the Health Services Board falls. He said Dr Mbengeranwa had complained that the impression created by the story carried in this newspaper yesterday had dented his image. The full commission minutes approved last Thursday did not mention the Government but only indicated that council wanted the money recovered.
"That the acting city treasurer recovers salaries and benefits paid to the employee during the period of secondment (1 June 2005 up to March 2006)," read part of the full commission minutes. Mr Magwenjere yesterday issued a report compiled by town clerk Mr Nomutsa Chideya to the council executive committee, which clearly spelt out that the money was being demanded from the Government. "That the executive committee authorises the recovery from the Ministry of Health and Child Welfare of all monies paid to Dr Mbengeranwa in salary and benefits for the period of his secondment (1 June 2005 up to the month of March 2006) for which council has been paying his salary and benefits and for which no services were being rendered to council," reads part of the report.
Mr Magwenjere said Dr Mbengeranwa had indicated he was not receiving a salary from the Health Services Board but when this reporter contacted Dr Mbengeranwa on Monday he confirmed he had left the city and referred all questions to the Minister of Health and Child Welfare, Cde David Parirenyatwa, who was unavailable for comment.
Copyright © 2006 The Herald
The Herald (Harare)
June 7, 2006
Posted to the web June 7, 2006
The Government is monitoring the Tourism Recovery Plan (TRP) targets to ensure that its proposals are being implemented, a Cabinet minister has said.
In an interview last week, the Minister of Environment and Tourism, Mr Francis Nhema, said the Government was monitoring the implementation of the TRP to restore viability. "The Tourism Recovery Plan is being monitored by our ministry as each and every stakeholder in the sector is doing his or her part to achieve success," he said.
The programme seeks to increase foreign tourist arrivals to improve export receipts. Figures showed that foreign tourist arrivals in the country have decreased by 55 percent from 1999 to 2005, with most revenue coming from the domestic market. Mr Nhema said the TRP targeted marketing the country in strategic markets, and would complement the Government's Look East policy in Asia.
The shift in focus to the East Asian markets came after a drop in tourist arrivals from traditional markets such as Germany, the United Kingdom and United States over negative publicity. Organisations such as the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority, the National Parks and Wildlife Authority, Hospitality Association of Zimbabwe, Zimbabwe Council of Tourism are involved in the monitoring of the TRP initiatives. Some of the issues to be addressed under the TRP include marketing systems, human resources development, product pricing, infrastructure developments, tax and tackling of any factors that hinder the growth of tourism.
The Government is also monitoring the performance of tourism attaches in key markets in creating a positive image for the nation. At its peak in 1998, the tourism sector accounted for 8 percent of the Gross Domestic Product, 12,5 percent of formal employment and about 11 percent of foreign exchange earnings for the country.
The Herald (Harare)
June 7, 2006
Posted to the web June 7, 2006
NON-COMMUNICABLE diseases are now a growing major public health concern in Africa, worsening the disease burden level of this continent battling against other communicable diseases such as malaria, HIV and Aids and tuberculosis.
Non-communicable diseases (NCDs) are those diseases that are, in simple terms, acquired over a period of time due to what people eat and how they live. The most prominent NCDs include heart diseases, cancer, diabetes, hypertension, obesity, gout and chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases among others.
Health experts say NCDs are linked to common preventable risk factors related to lifestyles. These factors, they say, include tobacco use, an unhealthy diet and physical inactivity. Many people in Africa are now consuming a lot of refined foods which are convenient but contain too much salt, sugar and fat but have not enough fibre, vitamins and minerals. They now eat less fresh fruit and vegetables than in the past, a change in food intake, which health experts say increases the risk of lifestyle nutrition related diseases such as cancer and heart diseases.
African ministers of health who met recently on the sidelines of the just-ended World Health Assembly, expressed concern ov er the steady rise of NCDs on the continent calling for more action and strategies to fight them. "If we do not take action now, these diseases, also known as silent killers, will pose to us a very big problem in the near future," Health and Child Welfare Minister Dr David Parirenyatwa was quoted saying. "We realise that a lot of attention is being given to HIV and Aids, which is not a bad thing, but focussing all our energies on Aids does not mean we should forget that there are other dangers out there -- like these non-communicable diseases."
There is growing awareness among the health experts on the continent that whilst the diseases of poverty remain new and emerging infections and NCDs are giving rise to the burden of disease. Health experts say diseases such as malaria, HIV and Aids, and tuberculosis -- the major killers on the continent -- are worsened by chronic hunger, nutrient malnutrition, and unequal distribution of food, something which impacts negatively on cog nitive development and school attainment of children.
At the other end of the scales, rising income levels among certain sections of the African population, poor food choices and lifestyle changes, overweight and obesity pose an increasing threat to heart diseases, diabetes and other NCDs. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), NCDs contributed almost 60 percent (31,7 million) of deaths in the world and 43 percent of the global burden of disease in 1998 alone. Based on the current trends, WHO experts say these diseases will account for 73 percent of deaths and 60 percent of the disease burden by 2020.
Low and middle income countries such as South Africa suffer the greatest impact of NCDs with that county recording a rising number of cases related to obesity. In many countries across the continent, the rapid increase in these diseases disproportionately affects the poor and disadvantaged populations and contributes to widening health gaps between and within countries. In 1998, 77 percent of the total number of deaths caused by NCDs occurred in developing countries and 85 percent of these diseases was borne by low and middle income countries. "The rapid rise of non-communicable diseases is threatening economic and social development as well as the lives and health of millions of people in Africa," a Harare-based community health expert says. "It represents a major health challenge to Africa's development in the coming years. We have to adopt strategies to fight these diseases. Failure to do so, will affect the continent's development in future."
In August, African scientists will meet in Accra, Ghana for the 2nd Nutrition Epidemiology Conference to discuss ways of enhancing research in nutrition and public health interventions with hope of providing solutions to some of the problems related to both communicable diseases and non-communicable diseases. Health experts say there is need for African countries undertaking situation analyses o f NCDs, capacity building in early detection and treatment of cervical cancer, in the epidemiology and management of diabetes, in the care of the elderly, traumatic treatment techniques as well as in preventive oral health care.
Many African countries still lack data and information about NCDs, something which makes it difficult for policy makers and other health experts to determine the prevalence of the diseases and what strategies could be adopted to mitigate them. Good nutrition is not only important in preventing health problems but it is a critical part of managing diseases among those who are already infected or are receiving treatment. All along, NCDs were thought of as conditions that affect populations in Western countries were food is relatively abundant and led to such conditions as obesity, cancer, diabetes and heart disease.
In Africa, traditional foodstuffs have for a long time played a critical role in keeping NCDs under control but urbanisation, poverty and other factors have led to a rise in these diseases. Zimbabwe is now grappling with diabetes, heart diseases, gout and cancer owing to the changing diets which is increasingly becoming Western in many aspects. To tackle these challenges, health experts say there is a need to develop national guidelines on nutrition, equitable distribution of food, to enhance public awareness and to promote healthy lifestyles.
"Our people do not exercise. They do not even know the benefits of being involved in some form exercise and it is high time we educated them," Dr Parirenyatwa says. "We agreed as African ministers of health to implement awareness programmes as soon as possible so that people can know more about these lifestyle diseases. "Promoting healthy lifestyles is one sure way of preventing and controlling NCDs."
Other health experts, say simple everyday life approaches can be helpful. "The answer to the challenge of poor nutrition and inadequate diet is to go back to what we used t o do to support our families and grow our own vegetables and fruits," says one health expert. "Growing vegetables and fruits can improve your family's diet adding vital nutrients at a little cost. Studies have shown that a high intake of vegetables and fruit reduces the risk of certain diseases such as cancer, heart diseases, diabetes and constipation. Diabetes is now emerging as the new pandemic of the 21st century with an estimated 150 million people suffering from the disease worldwide.
It is projected that the number will double by 2025 according to WHO. Promoting traditional African diets, equitable distribution of food, public awareness programmes and strengthening the research capacity of African scientists can make a difference in the fight against NCDs. And, as Africa rises to the challenge posed by major communicable diseases -- tuberculosis, HIV and Aids and malaria -- the continent must not neglect some of the major NCD that are increasingly becoming a major cause of death on this continent of close to a billion people.
Zimbabwe: Emirates Airlines to Service Harare Route
The Herald (Harare)
June 7, 2006
Posted to the web June 7, 2006
Emirates Airlines intends to introduce a direct flight to Harare, a development which could immensely benefit the country's tourism industry.
Aviation sources confirmed this week that air service bilateral agreements have already been signed between the Arab nation and Zimbabwe. "Negotiations are progressing very well," said sources, adding: "We hope the deal will materialise." Emirates Airlines belongs to a federation of seven states which include Abu Dhabi, Dubai Sharjah Ajman Umm Al-Qaiwain Ras Al-Khaimah and Fujairah. The wealthy oil-producing nation is a potential tourist destination and enquiries were already flowing in. "They are rich and are good holidaymakers," sources said.
UAE visitors usually take their holidays between June and September when temperatures in their desert country soar to between 45 and 60 degrees Celsius. An economic powerhouse in the UAE, Dubai could also become the entry point for various economic opportunities in the Arab world. Herald Business understands that the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority has started the ball rolling by embarking on tourism promotional missions to UAE. The finer d etails could, however, not be established at the time of writing.
Apart from UAE, Government was also keen to lure back airlines which terminated flights to the country citing low business and erratic fuel supplies. The national airline, Air Zimbabwe, currently flies to Dubai via Entebbe once a week.
Associated Press, 7 June
Angus Shaw in Harare
Bread prices in Zimbabwe soared by 40 per cent yesterday, the third increase this year as the African country's economy lies in tatters, with inflation of 1,043 per cent - the world's highest. A standard loaf of white bread was selling for 130,000 Zimbabwe dollars, while better quality loaves cost about a third more. Bakers blamed the rise on wheat shortages and the soaring costs of ingredients. Burombo Mudumo, the head of the independent Bakers' Association, said: "We have to increase the price of bread to save the industry from collapsing." The worst economic crisis since independence in 1980 has seen the collapse of many local industries. This has led to brisk black-market trading in scarce commodities and spurred the sales of cheaper, usually poor-quality, clothing, footwear and manufactured goods from Asia. Yesterday, a consumer watchdog warned of consignments of counterfeit black-market toothpaste that left users with bad breath or worse. The Standards Association said that samples of a toothpaste masquerading under an international brand lacked mint flavour and contained excessive yeast and bacteria that could cause ear, nose, throat and chest infections. The scam has already brought complaints from consumers. More than 90 cases of the counterfeit toothpaste were found at a Harare warehouse and more shipments were reportedly on the way from Asia, the association said. The retail price of brand-name toothpaste made locally reached a record 780,000 Zimbabwe dollars a tube this month. Many poor people in the country are resorting to salt as a substitute for toothpaste.
The Herald (Harare)
June 7, 2006
Posted to the web June 7, 2006
Government has injected $320 billion towards the construction of two border posts here, which would facilitate passenger movement through the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park.
The world's biggest wildlife sanctuary will link parks in Mozambique, South Africa and Zimbabwe. In an interview yesterday, Dr Patson Mbiriri, the Secretary for Local Government, Public Works and Urban Development, said work on the project has commenced. He said the border posts were being constructed at Shashe (Mapungubwe), some 120km west of Beitbridge town, while another one was at Chitulipasi, some 156km east of the border town.
Dr Mbiriri said they had last year received $10 billion funding for the same cause which was used for some preliminary works which included clearing the area and some topographical surveys. "A team of officials from the Ministry of Local Government, Public Works and Urban Development is currently on the ground and they have covered much ground," said Dr Mbiriri. He said construction of houses and an office block has commenced at Shashe and is expected to be complete at the end of this month.
Dr Mbiriri said his ministry had engaged the Zimbabwe National Water Authority to supply water to the construction site. He said work was progressing well but the road to the site -- which is in a bad state -- was a hindrance. Construction of staff houses is expected to be complete by the end of this year. Dr Mbiriri, however, said progress was slow at Chitulipasi, with two sites having been cleared. He said they were expecting construction to start as soon as South Africa and Zimbabwe agreed on a site.
If complete, the border posts would enable smooth movement between South Africa, Mozambique and Zimbabwe. The mega park will incorporate Gonarezhou National Park in Zimbabwe, Giriyondo in Mozambique and South Africa's Kruger National Park. The opening of the Giriyondo Border Post linking South Africa and Mozambique's components of the park is expected soon. Environment and Tourism Minister Cde Francis Nhema has since welcomed the move saying it would benefit Zimbabwe's tourism industry.
He said the development of the mega park was being done in phases and soon the three countries would converge to open the Giriyondo Border Post. Zimbabwe needs more than $2 trillion to develop the whole of its side of the mega park. Logistics to have a bridge between South Africa and Zimbabwe over the Limpopo River are said to have reached an advanced stage.
June 07 2006 at 07:04PM
Zimbabwean rights groups are preparing to fight a new bill that would allow state agents to eavesdrop on private conversations and monitor faxes and emails.
The Interception of Communications Bill is the latest in a series of laws critics say are meant to crush government opponents and emasculate the country's once vibrant independent press.
"If it is passed, it will be yet another repressive law to further restrict the ability in Zimbabwe to communicate with each other to receive and impart information," said Irene Petras, spokeswoman for Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights.
"We will oppose this bill either by litigation or by presenting our submissions to the parliamentary committee on transport and communication," Petras told AFP on Wednesday.
The bill was published on May 27 in the government gazette, the last stop for draft laws before reaching parliament, where President Robert Mugabe's ruling Zimbabwe African National Union - Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) enjoys a majority.
It would establish a "communication centre to intercept and monitor certain communications in the course of their transmission, through a telecommunication, postal or any other related service system."
The minister of transport and communications would also be granted authority under the new legislation to issue an interception warrant to state agents "where there are reasonable grounds for the minister to believe, among other things, that a serious offence has been, is being or will probably be committed or that there is a threat to safety or national security".
Telecommunication service providers will also be compelled to install devices to enable interception of phone conversations, faxes and emails, a provision that Petras said placed a heavy financial burden on Internet service providers.
"If passed into law, the bill will have huge implications on our business because nobody knows to what extent their communication will be monitored. People might end up feeling unsafe using certain means of communications," said a manager with an Internet service provider who declined to be named.
Zimbabwe in early 2002 passed a tough media law which has been invoked to expel foreign correspondents, shut down four independent newspapers including a popular daily renowned for its anti-government stance.
A security law passed around the same time prohibits political gatherings or marches without police clearance.
The Zimbabwe Law Society said the Interception of Communications Bill is "generally speaking, not an acceptable piece of legislation and ought to be opposed."
"What has been the great social need for this legislation and what mischief is sought to be addressed?" the Law Society said in a paper analysing the proposed law.
It noted that the bill was in violation of constitutional provisions that provide for freedom to exchange ideas and information. - Sapa-AFP
By Babongile Dlamini
07 June 2006
British Ambassador to Zimbabwe Andrew Pockock, visiting Bulawayo, said Tuesday that he is committed to engaging the government of President Robert Mugabe to mend currently strained relations between London and Harare.
Though Zimbabwe and the former colonial power have had many issues to deal with since the country gained independence from white minority Rhodesian rule in 1980, in the past five years bilateral relations have been increasingly rocky over land reform, economic management, governance and British sanctions on senior officials.
Pocock's remarks follow reports and diplomatic signals that pressure is increasing on President Robert Mugabe to agree to deal brokered by the United Nations for him to step down early in return for an international economic bailout package. Harare has dismissed the notion that Mr. Mugabe might consider an early exit, but has said it wants to engage Britain in talks on lifting U.K. sanctions on Zimbabwe's elite.
Correspondent Babongile Dlamini filed a report from Bulawayo.
By Ndimyake Mwakalyelye
07 June 2006
A Zimbabwean government spokesman rejected findings of a U.S. State Department report released this week which listed the country among the offenders in the area of trafficking in human beings. It said Zimbabwe, downgraded from second tier to third tier status in 2006, had lacked the “political will” in 2005 to address the problem.
The report issued by the U.S. Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons states that: "Zimbabwean children may be trafficked internally for forced agricultural labor, domestic servitude, and sexual exploitation. Trafficked women and girls are lured out of the country to South Africa, China, Egypt, and Zambia with false job or scholarship promises that result in domestic servitude or commercial sexual exploitation. There are reports of South African employers demanding sex from undocumented Zimbabwean workers under threat of deportation. Women and children from Malawi, Zambia, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo transit Zimbabwe en route to South Africa. Small numbers of South African girls are trafficked to Zimbabwe for domestic labor."
The report said that, "The Government of Zimbabwe does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking and is not making significant efforts to do so."
But William Nhara, a spokesman for President Robert Mugabe as principle director of public and interactive affairs in Mr. Mugabe's office, countered the report saying that Zimbabwe neither abets nor promotes human trafficking as the U.S. alleges. He said Zimbabwe does not serve as a transit country for traffickers moving their victims to South Africa, saying that Harare enforces tough immigration and visa laws.
Zimbabwean nongovernmental organizations such as the Girl Child Network said they were were not aware of human trafficking, specifically that of women and children.
But a former chairman of Transparency International Zimbabwe said he believes there is substance to the charges. John Makumbe, also a University of Zimbabwe lecturer, spoke with reporter Ndimyake Mwakalyele of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe.
Zimbabwe Test star Charles Coventry is regaining his love for the game of cricket – at United Services.
Two Test matches against India and 11 one-day internationals served notice of his potential.
But a falling-out with national coach Kevin Curran and the chaotic state of Zimbabwean cricket had soured his enjoyment of the game.
But that feeling is fading. And that's bad news for his Southern Electric premier league opponents this summer.
Coventry signalled his arrival on the Portsmouth club cricket scene with a swashbuckling 134 against Hambledon on his Burnaby Road debut.
His knock included 12 fours and seven sixes as he revelled in stepping down a few levels. The 23-year-old from Bulawayo just wants to play cricket with a smile on his face again.
'The balls that I did get, they weren't the greatest,' he said.
'I wasn't trying to hit them for six I just sort of hit them and it happened.
'But, you know, it is all about the experience. I am not used to playing over here.
'It doesn't matter what level you are playing at, it is always nice to get runs.'
Two summers ago, Coventry played a summer for Wickham in Newcastle.
And the batsman is delighted to get another chance to play in England.
'I always wanted to come and play a bit of cricket in England,' he said.
'I was here last time in Newcastle and I'd like to keep coming back over in the summers.
'I enjoy club cricket. You meet lots of people and make lots of friends.
'To be quite honest, in the past few months I haven't really been enjoying my cricket.
'I had a bit of a falling out with the Zimbabwe coach. I was disagreeing with a lot of things back there on the cricket side.
'I'd got to the stage where I wasn't happy playing cricket in Zimbabwe. I don't even know if I want to go back to Zimbabwe to play cricket.'
07 June 2006
Archbishop Pius Ncube, revered by many in the country but loathed by Zanu PF for being too critical of the party.
By Bill Saidi
HARARE - THE BIBLE says the Lord told the people the truth shall set you free . For many Zimbabweans, a more vexatious question is: who will free the truth?
In other words, between President Robert Mugabe and Archbishop Pius Ncube of Bulawayo, who will unleash the truth so that it can free the people from what many of them believe is the bondage of Zanu PF s disastrous policies?
Recently, Mugabe has increased the stakes against the Archbishop. His meeting with church leaders, excluding Pius Ncube, seemed to have buoyed the President s self-confidence in his set-to with the Archbishop. In essence, these two Catholics are fighting over what is the truth about Zimbabwe s political, economic, social and even religious situation?
Pius Ncube has gone public with his condemnation of Mugabe s policies. It is highly controversial to assert, as Mugabe did, that Ncube has called for the Lord to strike him down.
What Ncube might have meant, figuratively, was to have the Lord work in His customary, mysterious ways to cause Mugabe to lose the next election in this case, for the Zanu PF candidate, whoever he or she may be, to lose the 2008 presidential election.
If the truth be told, there must be millions of other Zimbabwean voters, apart from Pius Ncube, most of them weighed down with the enormous burden of the highest inflation rate in the world, who are just itching to put an X in the box of whoever is standing against Zanu PF come 2008.
Archbishop Pius Ncube might feel that the meeting Mugabe held with a selected group of church leaders could have sealed his own isolation, that Mugabe has swayed most of the clergy against the Archbishop.
What is even more is that Mugabe might feel that, within the Catholic church itself in Zimbabwe, he has spiked the Archbishop s guns, that, henceforth, every priest or bishop will speak out from every pulpit in support of Mugabe and Zanu PF.
By the calculation of many neutral analysts, this would be a forlorn hope. The Catholics in Zimbabwe outnumber the rest of the Christian worshippers, including the VaPostori, who have publicly made a great show of supporting Mugabe and his party.
At the ceremony commemorating the anniversary of the Catholic Silveira mission in Bikita, in Masvingo province, last week, the official media highlighted the massive attendance as perhaps indicating that the Catholic masses were fully behind Mugabe.
Mugabe spoke proudly of my church and seemed to bubble with the self-confidence of one who had scored a major hit against his opponent.
Archbishop Pius Ncube chose the name of a Pope who, during World War II, was reviled by many Protestants and even Catholics, as being sympathetic to the Nazis. Pius XII, perhaps more than any other Pope in modern history, has been condemned as having condoned the Holocaust, in which Hitler ordered the extermination of six million Jews throughout Europe.
When he was elected pope in 1938, a year before the start of the Second World War, he was apparently praised as one who would stand up against the encroaching Nazism in Germany, which had begun with Hitler s ascendancy in 1933.
But Archbishop Ncube has been courageous in his stand against Mugabe and Zanu PF s terrorism against the people, beginning with massacres of Gukurahndi in the early 1980s.
Ncube is not a politician. He is not another Abel Muzorewa, who began his political career as a courageous opponent of the racist regime of Ian Smith. In 1972, he rallied the black people to vote No to any extension of racist rule on the Pearce commission.
Later, for reasons perhaps related to his inherent pacifist philosophy as a man of God, he seemed to collaborate with the Smith regime, until he ended up as what many people called a puppet prime minister in the ill-fated, short-lived Zimbabwe-Rhodesia of 1979.
Other religious leaders have not fared so badly in their brief sorties into politics. In Zimbabwe, there was Rev Canaan Banana, who became the first ceremonial president of the republic. Even if he ended his life in circumstances approximating the ignominy of someone quite unsavoury, he did make his mark.
Elsewhere in the world, there was Cyprus s Archbishop Makarios, Northern Ireland s Ian Paisley, and Iran s Ayatollah Ruhollah Komeini. Garfield Todd also comes to mind; he did come to the country as a missionary and ended up as one of the most liberal prime ministers of Southern Rhodesia, losing the job in 1958 because of policies which the white racist voters found absolutely anathema to their dream of another apartheid regime.
Guy Clutton-Brock was another missionary who succeeded in winning the recognition of the people with whom he fought against racism Zanu PF buried him at its hallowed Heroes Acre.
There must be some speculation as to his unstinting support for the violent implementation of the land reform programme, in which one of his students, Didymus Mutasa, has featured in not-so-praiseworthy light.
In the history of the world, both rightwing and leftwing politicians have tried to use religion to boost their ideological positions. The extreme leftist position is that of the communists, that there is no God, that religion is the opium of the masses, that it is the direct antithesis of the dictatorship of the proletariat.
Mugabe is an avowed Marxist-Leninist and is no way apologetic about his being a devout Catholic into the bargain. Yet there are signals in his political conduct to cast doubt as to his sincerity as a faithful adherent of Catholicism.
It was an Anglican clergyman who called him a caricature of the typical, boorish, tinpot African dictator, in the mould of Idi Amin, Jean Bedel-Bokassa and Macias Nguema.
Archbishop Desmond Tutu has never withdrawn that characterization of Mugabe. The president s official media has tried, in revenge, to besmirch Tutu s character. But the upshot of the contest is that nowhere in the world is Tutu featured on any black list of personae-non-grata.
Among African heads of state, Mugabe is probably the only one whose entry is prohibited into many more countries around the world than any other.
And all this has absolutely nothing to do with what either Tutu or Pius Ncube has said of him.
At the root of Mugabe s opprobrium is, basically, his rather cavalier treatment of the truth. Most of his pronouncements on the eve of independence, for instance, have turned out to be less than sincere.
The policy of reconciliation is dead and buried. The commitment to a democratic system of government has been breached time and again. The events preceding Gukurahundi demonstrated an intolerance for dissent which was more compatible with one-party system than with any democratic dispensation under the sun.
The political and economic isolation which was spawned by these Lone Ranger policies have brought us to our present crisis, in which the government prints more and more money because our exports can no longer earn us the foreign currency with which we were able to boast, with justification, that we were the breadbasket of the region.
In the stand-off with Archbishop Pius Ncube, Mugabe can come out as the winner only if he is willing to do the godly thing and confess that his real enemy is not that bespectacled clergyman, but the scourge of hunger in his country.
Mugabe is, unfortunately, at his best, in political combat, which brings no tangible benefits to the majority of the people.
In combat which entails providing leadership for a campaign to resuscitate the economy, he prefers to let people like Gideon Gono and Herbert Murerwa have their way as long as they don t do anything that threaten his popularity with his people, but particularly with his party, Zanu PF.
For Mugabe, the truth must be kept in jail. It must not be unleashed on the people, lest they gird their loins, at long last, and decide to confront him head-on.
It is hardly likely that, at the head of this confrontation will be Archbishop Pius Ncube himself. Yet the catalyst role he has played thus far could ensure that his adherents will be prepared for a long haul against those who would keep the truth languishing in prison.