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37 arrested as police use patrol dogs to block NCA demo

By Tererai Karimakwenda & Violet Gonda
08 March, 2007

Members of the National Constitutional Assembly took to the streets of
Harare Thursday in a peaceful demonstration for a new people driven
constitution, despite the ban on public gatherings in all cities. An NCA
official said the police responded with brutal force and used patrol dogs to
disperse the crowd. One NCA member was allegedly injured by the dogs and
many were assaulted with baton sticks.

The NCA official, who chose to remain anonymous, said about 37 NCA members
were arrested and loaded onto police trucks. As of late Thursday afternoon
they were being held at Harare Central police station and had still not been
charged. NCA members who visited said the arrested were all seated on the
floor, some with handcuffs on.

In a message to the police the NCA said it's a pity that they are among the
least paid civil servants yet they allow themselves to be used by the
government to suppress people demonstrating for better living conditions.

The NCA said the demo was a clear indication that people are ready to fight
for their rights and will continue to defy the illegal ban on
demonstrations. The group was pleased that they managed to distribute fliers
demanding a new constitution and others advertising a rally scheduled for
Sunday and organized by the Save Zimbabwe Coalition.

On Wednesday WOZA members had marched through the streets of Mutare and
launched their People's Charter without any reported arrests.

In other news on arrested demonstrators, 9 members of WOZA who were arrested
Monday in Gweru, while taking food to others in custody, appeared in court
late Thursday morning. They were released on bail and were remanded to 23rd
March. No other WOZA members are in detention in Gweru.

In Masvingo the 20 WOZA members who were arrested Tuesday are still in
police custody. It is not clear what they are being charged with.

Meanwhile all the activists who were arrested on Wednesday in Mutare during
a Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition meeting, have been released. The coalition
had defied a government ban and tried to hold a meeting in the eastern
border town, when riot police blocked the peaceful gathering. One of the
Crisis officers Itai Zimunya said the spirit of defiance was electrifying.
Zimunya explained that when the police came in two Mazda B2200 trucks armed
with AK47's and teargas, people would have runaway under normal
circumstances. But in this case everyone in the hall just sat down in
defiance. "Normally the police take advantage of the stampede and start
beating people but yesterday people stood their ground."

The coalition said about 90 human rights activists had been briefly

Zimunya said they noticed that within the police force in Mutare there were
some professional officers who wanted to do their duty without mixing
politics. These brave officers had even tried to reason with the batch of
riot police that came to arrest the activists by telling them that they had
been monitoring the meeting and nothing untoward had happened. "But we
understand that the other group (riot police) that came around 11am had been
phoned by the Commissioners that were appointed by Dr. Ignatius Chombo to
run the affairs of the City of Mutare . They were also phoned by some
unscrupulous ZANU PF elements that had noticed that some meeting was taking

SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news

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Chaos as riot police try to force university students into class

By Lance Guma
08 March 2007

Chaos reigned at the University of Zimbabwe Thursday after riot police tried
to force students participating in a class boycott to attend lessons.
Promise Mkwananzi who leads the National Students Union (ZINASU) says
students were milling around the Bond Shopping Centre in Mount Pleasant
close to their campus when riot squads descended on them and tried to
frogmarch them to their lecture halls. Police allegedly beat up everyone in
sight, resulting in injuries to over 50 students. ZINASU has vowed to press
on with the national boycotts until exorbitant tuition fee increases are
reversed or student grants are increased to help them pay the fees.

In Masvingo students who had initially not taken part in the boycotts owing
to what ZINSAU says was a communication breakdown, joined in the action on
Thursday. Mkwananzi says students left classes in response to a call by the
student leadership. A nationwide strike by lecturers demanding increased
salaries has also given the boycott added momentum. In Bulawayo the
President of the United College of Education student's representative
council, Cosmas Gwature is still missing after last being seen in a police

Over 20 students were arrested on Tuesday in Bulawayo according to ZINASU
and 16 of these were released the following day Wednesday. Another 4 were
released later in the evening the same day. No charges were levelled against
the students and their release followed frantic pressure from Zimbabwe
Lawyers for Human Rights. Gwature's whereabouts have worried the union who
say police are refusing to co-operate in locating him. Officers have said he
is over 18 years and cannot be regarded as a minor. This means he can only
be classified as missing after 7 days. The students maintain the police know
where he is.

A general meeting by students at the National University of Science and
Technology was disrupted Wednesday. Although no arrests were reported,
police officers allegedly beat up students indiscriminately using baton
sticks and firing teargas canisters. ZINASU has meanwhile dismissed an offer
by government to offer financial support to 'deserving' students. The union
says authorities want to use the facility as a political tool to
discriminate against those that did not support the ruling party.

SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news

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ANALYSIS-Zimbabwe crisis puts heat on African neighbours


Thu 8 Mar 2007 17:30:18 GMT

By Andrew Quinn

JOHANNESBURG, March 8 (Reuters) - Zimbabwe's accelerating economic collapse
is bringing pressure on its neighbours to end their long resistance to doing
something about the crisis.

Analysts say Zimbabwe, once one of the strongest countries in Africa, is now
a real threat to regional economic stability and has raised the spectre of
frightening bloodshed.

Millions of economic refugees have already fled from Zimbabwe's chaos into
neighbouring states.

But despite signs of a gathering storm, Zimbabwe's southern African
neighbours have in recent years done little publicly to address a crisis
already rippling across their borders.

Political analysts say the speed and severity of Zimbabwe's downward
spiral -- and President Robert Mugabe's new plan to extend his term in
office by another two years to 2010 -- may now finally force some action.

"The last two years have definitely seen an acceleration of the crisis,"
said Chris Maroleng, a researcher on Zimbabwe at South Africa's Institute
for Strategic Studies. "It has reached a point where everybody is afraid."

Mugabe, 83, is regularly lambasted by critics for human rights abuses,
intimidating opponents, stealing elections and running his country to
economic ruin.

The ageing leader, who despite problems at home remains an icon for many
veterans of Africa's liberation struggle, says he has been targeted by the
West for putting blacks in control of the economy -- although critics say
this has been a cover for widespread graft and economic patronage.

Analysts say Mugabe has exploited what he calls a "racist preoccupation with
Zimbabwe" by highlighting poverty rather than mismanagement as the region's
main problem, hobbling regional leaders who fear being seen as agents for
his Western opponents.

But that may be starting to change.


Once southern Africa's breadbasket, Zimbabwe now suffers 1,600 percent
inflation, 80 percent unemployment, severe shortages of food, fuel and
foreign exchange, and rising unrest.

Fearing renewed protests to unseat Mugabe, the government last month slapped
an open-ended ban on political rallies.

The influential International Crisis Group (ICG) this week compared the
situation in Zimbabwe to the final months of former Zaire President Mobutu
Sese Seko, who was driven from power in 1997 after a chaotic and bloody
Congolese civil war.

"A political and economic crisis that has reached its seventh year is
pushing Zimbabwe towards total collapse," the think tank said in a report,
which noted that the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and,
importantly, South Africa were under pressure to get involved.

"South Africa and other SADC nations are increasingly tired of the crisis,"
the report said.

Mugabe's ZANU-PF said the ICG was interfering in its affairs and dismissed
suggestions of regime change in Harare this year.

"For the ICG to say that there are ZANU-PF elements who are working with the
MDC to effect regime change unconstitutionally is more than political
hallucination," Information Minister Sikhanyiso Ndlovu said in a statement
on Thursday.

South Africa, the regional power, has a patchy record on Zimbabwe and a
lukewarm relationship with the country's opposition, led by the Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC).

President Thabo Mbeki long promoted what he called "quiet diplomacy" to deal
with Mugabe. But with no visible results, commentators are increasingly
pushing for a change in tactics.

"Our complicity in sustaining and deepening the crisis should prevent us
from walking away," Sunday Times editor Mondli Makhanya said in an editorial
this week. "We should care about Zimbabwe because it is hurting us."

SADC is widely expected to take the lead in any regional effort to promote
change in Zimbabwe, though the Botswana-based grouping is not widely
regarded as a diplomatic powerhouse.

It has nevertheless appointed Namibia, Tanzania and Lesotho to spearhead a
Zimbabwe policy, spurring new hopes for results that have eluded prior
regional diplomatic efforts.

"SADC is doing everything possible to resolve the issues," said Malawi
Deputy Foreign Minister Henry Mumba. "But the Zimbabwe problem is an
internal one and we have limits on how far we can go."

Those limits are being tested, as millions of Zimbabwean job-seekers flood
into neighbouring states and trade withers.

Maroleng of the Institute for Strategic Studies said it may be some time
before Zimbabwe's neighbours find the courage to openly confront Mugabe -- 
but the time appeared to be coming.

"In the past SADC has not shown the political will to try this with
Zimbabwe. They don't need to reinvent the wheel, they just need to find a
consensus that it needs to be done," he said. (Additional reporting by
Mabvuto Banda in Lilongwe, Shapi Shacinda in Lusaka)

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Zimbabwe's central bank takes over Golden Kopje gold mine


By: Frank Jomo
Posted: '08-MAR-07 17:00' GMT © Mineweb 1997-2006

BLANTYRE ( --A subsidiary of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe,
Carslone (Private) Limited, has taken control of the Golden Kopje mine
situated in the Chinhoyi greenbelt in south-eastern Zimbabwe after paying a
total of Z$4 billion (US$ 16 million) to the owners.

The mine closed in 2006 due to financial constraints, rendering 150 workers
at the mine, formerly owned by businessman Macdonald Chapfika, jobless.
After the closure, a Zimbabwean parastatal,
Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation (ZMDC) announced that it would take
over operations of the mine. However with the latest development, media
reports indicate that ZMDC will only come in as a technical partner.

The State-owned Herald newspaper reported today that the acquisition of the
mine by the central bank should lead to the resuscitation of mining
activities there soon. According to the paper, Golden Kopje has a lifespan
of over 15 years and that before its closure it was producing between 300kg
to 400kg of the yellow metal per month.

"Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) was supposed to finance the transaction, but
there is now a shift from the initial arrangement. RBZ through Carslone is
now in charge," Herald quotes an unnamed source. "ZMDC may now come in as
technical partners."

According to the paper, Golden Kopje becomes the second gold mine to be
owned by Carslone after it acquired Midlands gold mine. It said ZMDC Chief
Executive Officer (CEO) Dominic Mubayiwa refused to comment on the latest
turn of events.

Zimbabwe has registered a decline in its gold production from 13.45 tonnes
produced in 2005 to 10.96 tonnes in 2006. According to RBZ, this has been as
a result of mass smuggling dogging the gold industry in the country,
although others put problems down to the country's dire economic situation
leading to power outages and unavailability of spare parts and new

Herald quotes RBZ Governor Gideon Gono as saying the country was losing
between US$40 million to US$50 million per month from smuggling of the
country's mineral wealth, mostly gold.

The bank, which is also the sole buyer of gold in the country, says its
venture in the mining industry is intended to bring sanity to an industry
which has gone haywire.

Meanwhile, British business tycoon Nicholas Van Hoogstraten has disposed off
57 percent of his equity in Falcon Gold, a mining company which has numerous
interests in this southern African country. The sale of the shares saw him
raking in US$4.5 million.

Van Hoogstraten who was the majority shareholder in the mining firm told the
media that he decided to disinvest from the company "because we had been
offered a good value for the shares".

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Zimbabwe runs out of maize

Zim Online

Thursday 08 March 2007

HARARE - Zimbabwe has run out of maize with the state-controlled Grain
Marketing Board (GMB) last week being forced to shut down for days its
biggest milling plant at the Aspindale depot in Harare.

Sources within the GMB told ZimOnline yesterday that most silos around the
country were virtually empty describing the food security situation in the
southern African country as "critical."

The sources added that the GMB Aspindale milling plant was virtually shut
down for the greater part of last week because there was no maize triggering
fears of widespread shortages of maize-meal across the country.

Maize-meal is the staple food for the majority of Zimbabweans.

 "For four days, the plant was shut down because we had nothing in the
silos. The situation is critical.

"Unless the country imports more maize in larger quantities, we will soon
run out of maize-meal," said a senior official at the depot who refused to
be named because he is not authorised to speak to the Press.

Zimbabwe, which has battled severe food shortages over the past seven years,
has been importing maize from Zambia and South Africa since late last year
following poor harvests the previous farming season.

But the maize imports are said to be failing to satisfy rising demand.
Between three and six truckloads of maize are said to be arriving from
Zambia every day.

The GMB official said although they expected maize to start trickling in at
the end of March and beginning of April when the harvest season begins, the
situation was not expected to improve significantly because most farmers are
reluctant to sell because of the maize prices stipulated by the government.

GMB chief executive Samuel Muvuti downplayed the looming maize-meal shortage
saying only the southern parts of the country were facing shortages.

He said the GMB was mobilizing resources to ensure that enough maize reached
the southern parts of the country.

"I want to assure the nation that people should not panic as we are making
frantic efforts to import maize. We also have local maize still coming into
our depots so there is nothing to worry about," said Muvuti.

Zimbabwe, which was the breadbasket of southern Africa, has grappled severe
food shortages over the past seven years after President Robert Mugabe
seized white-owned farms for redistribution to landless blacks.

The farm disturbances slashed food production by 60 percent resulting in
most Zimbabweans relying on food handouts from international donors for

The food crisis is only one of many acute symptoms of Zimbabwe's seven-year
old economic meltdown that has also spawned shortages of fuel, electricity,
essential medicines, hard cash and just about every basic survival
commodity. - ZimOnline

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Mbeki urged to break 'curious' silence on Zimbabwe

Zim Online

Thursday 08 March 2007

Own Correspondent

HARARE - South Africa's main opposition Democratic Alliance (DA) party on
Wednesday urged President Thabo Mbeki to break "his curious" silence on
Zimbabwe and deal firmly with the crisis in the troubled southern African

The DA's call comes after statements by Zambia's foreign affairs minister
Mundia Sikatana on Tuesday that southern African countries must stop
pretending that "all was well in Zimbabwe".

Sikatana said Southern African Development Community (SADC) leaders must
acknowledge the crisis in Zimbabwe and press President Robert Mugabe to
accept dialogue to resolve the country's seven-year old crisis.

In a statemen on Wednesday, DA spokesperson Joe Seremane, hailed the remarks
by the Zambian foreign minister as "one of the most frankest, most upfront"
so far by any political leader in southern Africa.

"President Mbeki, now more than ever, needs to break his curious silence on
the deteriorating political and economic situation in Zimbabwe or face
further ridicule in this regard," said Seremane.

The DA said SADC, particularly South Africa, had a responsibility to make
"President Mugabe realize that he needs to enter into dialogue" with the
main opposition Movement for Democratic Change party to resolve the crisis.

Zimbabwe is in its eighth straight year of an economic recession that has
manifested in rampant inflation of nearly 1 600 percent, widespread
unemployment and poverty.

SADC leaders have in the past refused to openly criticise Mugabe, in power
for the past 27 years, preferring to take on the veteran Zimbabwean leader
behind the scenes. - ZimOnline

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The other African genocide


Killing Them Softly
by James Kirchick
Only at TNR Online | Post date 03.08.07

Less than ten miles from Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe's mansion in
Harare--the largest private residence on the African continent--Cleophus
Masxigora digs for mice. On a good day, he told me, he can find 100 to 200.
To capture the vermin, he burns brush to immobilize them, then kills them
with several thumps of a shovel. This practice has become so widespread in
Zimbabwe that, as a Zimbabwean journalist informed me, state-run television
has broadcast warnings against citizens setting brush fires. Masxigora began
hunting mice to support (and feed) his wife and three children soon after
Mugabe began confiscating thousands of productive, white-owned farms in
2000, a policy that has since led to mass starvation. Not long ago,
Zimbabwe, the "breadbasket of Africa," exported meat and produced what was
widely considered to be Africa's finest livestock. Today, Masxigora tells me
that each mouse nets $30 Zim dollars, about 12 cents, which makes him a
wealthy man in Zimbabwe. "This is beef to us," he told me in August.

The conditions Mugabe rendered in Zimbabwe do not merely stem from
idealistic economic and social policies gone awry. He has undertaken a
campaign of violence and starvation against political opponents, the fallout
of which is killing tens of thousands, if not more, every year. In 2005,
there were roughly 4,000 more deaths each week than births, a rate that the
famine has surely increased. This is worse than brutality. The United
Nations says that "deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life
calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part"
constitutes genocide, and that is exactly what Robert Mugabe has wrought.

he genocide in Zimbabwe is not as stark as others. There are no cattle cars
and gas chambers. There are no machete-wielding gangs roaming the
countryside. There are no helicopter gunships or Janjaweed. The killing in
Zimbabwe is slow, oftentimes indirect, and not particularly bloody. But
Mugabe's campaign of mass murder against those who oppose him has been no
less deliberate than any of the other genocides in human history.

It all began with Mugabe's land seizures in 2000, in which he booted white
farmers from the property they owned and replaced them with political hacks
who have no interest in agriculture. The results were disastrous. Zimbabwe
annually requires 1.8 million metric tons of maize. Yet, in 2006, for
instance, it faced an 850,000 metric ton deficit -- of which planned imports
would cover just 60 percent, with only 28 percent of that delivered by
December. The country also requires 400,000 tons of wheat annually, yet,
last year, it produced only 218,000 tons by the government's count --
meaning the true total was likely far less. As early as 2002, the BBC was
reporting that people in Matabeleland, the southern region of the country
where the minority Ndebele tribe lives, were starving. That same year, on
the eve of a massive drought, the Minister of Zimbabwean State Security
said, "We would be better off with only six million people--with our own who
support the liberation struggle. We don't want all these extra people."
Today, according to the World Food Program, 38 percent of Zimbabweans are

The fallout has rippled through society: Zimbabwe has the world's highest
inflation rate (1,600 percent annually, expected to hit 4,000 by the end of
the year) and an HIV prevalence of at least 18 percent, and probably higher.
It also has the lowest life expectancy, by far, in the world: 34 for women
and 37 for men (it was 62 in 1990). Last year, 42,000 women died from
childbirth; less than a decade ago, this figure was under 1,000. The weekly
death rate exceeds Darfur's.

Meanwhile, Mugabe's party, ZANU-PF, is wielding the food shortage as a
weapon against the opposition. The government's Grain Marketing Board
frequently denies food aid to people in districts that voted against Mugabe
in recent elections; only those with ZANU-PF membership cards are able to
get rations. Several people I spoke with in Harare's poor township of
Hatcliffe told me that the army and the police regularly interfere with food
distribution from USAID, UNICEF, and other international aid groups. In
2002, USAID director Andrew Natsios publicly scolded Mugabe for manipulating
American food aid, a practice that has continued unabated. And a 2004
Amnesty International report warned that "[T]he government has used the food
shortages for political purposes and to punish political opponents."

Then, as if starvation weren't bad enough, Mugabe unleashed more destruction
in May 2005. Operation Murambatsvina (Shona for "Drive out Filth") aimed to
"re-ruralize" some 1 million Zimbabweans--mostly poor, urban shanty dwellers
from areas that voted against Mugabe in parliamentary elections just weeks
earlier. Mugabe's henchmen forcibly cleared the slums. A United Nations
report filed by a special representative of the secretary-general, found
that the operation was "carried out in an indiscriminate and unjustified
manner, with indifference to human suffering, and, in repeated cases, with
disregard to several provisions of national and international legal
frameworks." The Fourth Geneva Convention considers the "deportation or
forcible transfer of population" to be a crime against humanity.

There is historic and legal precedent to warrant calling these policies
genocide. In 1996, U.N Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali declared that
Rwandan Hutu refugees living in Zaire might be potential victims of
"genocide by starvation." In December of 2006, the former Ethiopian dictator
Mengistu Haile Mariam (also known as the "African Pol Pot") was found guilty
of genocide by a court in his own country after a twelve-year trial. His
government was convicted of having "conspired to destroy a political group
and kill people with impunity"--not only through actual murder, but by
creating and prolonging the 1984 Tigray famine, in which some 1.5 million
people died. In 1991, Mariam escaped from Ethiopia, finding asylum in, of
all places, Mugabe's Zimbabwe.

Incidentally, the starvation and transfer of Mugabe's opponents isn't the
first time he has has unleashed a genocidal campaign against his own people.
Not long after taking power, in the mid-'80s, Mugabe's North Korean-trained
ZANU-PF army killed an estimated 25,000 Ndebeles (the minority tribe to
Mugabe's own Shona majority) in an operation known as the Gukurahundi (Shona
for "the early rain which washes away the chaff"). The Matabeleland massacre
ended, once and for all, any Ndebele challenge to Mugabe's power.

eople are finally beginning to call it like they see it in Zimbabwe. R.W.
Johnson, an Oxford-trained academic and for many years the London Sunday
Times' southern Africa correspondent, declared in a recent dispatch that "A
vast human cull is under way in Zimbabwe and the great majority of deaths
are a direct result of deliberate government policies. Ignored by the United
Nations, it is a genocide perhaps 10 times greater than Darfur's and more
than twice as large as Rwanda's." (Johnson reported the widely published
number of three million Zimbabwean refugees in South Africa and one million
who have fled elsewhere, leaving a population of 14 million in Zimbabwe. But
the government itself publishes an official figure of 12 million citizens,
leaving 2 million people "missing.") And Arnold Tsunga, chairman of the
Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition (an NGO devoted to democracy and the rule of
law in Zimbabwe), called Mugabe's policies "smart genocide," because they
have taken place unnoticed by governments, aid organizations, and the
international press.

Will anything come of it? This month, South Africa took over the rotating
U.N. Security Council presidency. Although it's a perfect opportunity to
publicize Mugabe's crimes, South Africa, the regional power, has emboldened
Mugabe by endorsing every instance of his election-theft (flying in the face
of international observer teams), supplying him with economic aid, and
strengthening the countries' military alliance. So it's likely nothing will

Last month, Mugabe and 10,000 of his supporters gathered in a soccer stadium
to celebrate his eighty-third birthday--gorging on giant cakes, tons of corn
meal, and 38 cattle slaughtered specifically for the event. "We are terribly
disappointed," one man--who brought his wife and children to the event but
was not allowed in--told the Guardian. "This was an opportunity for us to
get a proper meal." So, while Mugabe feasts, men like Cleophus Masxigora
continue to scour for mice.

James Kirchick is the assistant to the editor-in-chief

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Bracing for a seventh year of hunger

JOHANNESBURG, 8 March 2007 (IRIN) - After months of erratic weather, relief
agencies are again predicting widespread food shortages throughout southern
Africa, where cyclones, extreme drought and flooding have devastated the
harvests of millions of people.

"All indications are that southern Africa could be heading for yet another
year of critical food shortages," said Amir Abdulla, Regional Director for
Southern Africa of the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP), in a
statement released on Thursday.

Torrential rains have drowned ripening harvests in Angola, Madagascar,
Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia and Zambia under flooded fields, while crops in
Lesotho, Namibia, South Africa, southern Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Swaziland
have wasted away in unusually long, hot, rainless periods.

According to the WFP statement, flooding has "destroyed tens of thousands of
hectares of crops during the most critical growing stage [and the] dry
spells have withered and killed crops or reduced their development. Lesotho,
for example, is expecting up to a 60 percent decline in agricultural output
over last year's harvest."

In Swaziland, one of the countries worst affected by the dry spells and
facing a sixth consecutive year of poor harvests, "recent storms depressed
crop yields and current expectations are that maize crops will be 20 percent
below last years poor harvest", according to the latest Humanitarian update
by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs

"Reports received from our representative stakeholders in the affected areas
reflect that the disaster task force should brace itself for another bad
year. Weather conditions that would enable farmers to salvage whatever they
can from the devastated crop have not improved," Ben Nsibandze, Chairman of
the Swaziland National Disaster Task Force, told IRIN.

Abdoulaye Balde, WFP's Representative in Swaziland, commented, "The impact
of the drought on the nation's food supply will be determined by a
comprehensive look at the extent of crop failure, but indications are that
the situation is the worst it has been in 15 years." WFP has been supporting
about a quarter of Swaziland's 1.1 million people with food assistance since

Parts of Zimbabwe are of particular concern, but "the production outlook is
mixed, with the northern half facing moderately improved prospects, while
the drier southern half faces a less favourable outlook in view of the
below-normal rains received since the start of the season," OCHA's update

Reduced harvests as a result of weeks of extreme heat and drought in some
parts of South Africa could adversely affect the response to regional food
shortages: the country is usually the largest producer of maize in southern
Africa and one of WFP's procurement points for food aid.

Other parts of the region might provide alternatives. "Despite the erratic
weather, Malawi is expected to yield a bumper harvest again this year, while
Zambia and northern Mozambique are also likely to produce good harvests that
will represent buying opportunities for WFP, as in previous years," the WFP
statement said.

Exacerbating the situation, Cyclone Favio moved across the region at the end
of February, destroying crops and displacing 133,670 people in Mozambique
after holding back relief efforts as it scratched the southern tip of
Madagascar. Seven cyclones have hit the Indian Ocean island since the
'cyclone season' began.

According to Madagascar government estimates, this year's rainy season
flooded large areas that were populated and cultivated, displacing almost
33,000 people and destroying 90,000ha of agricultural land. The government
has appealed to the international community for US$242 million but has so
far only received $1 million.

"We are watching the region very closely to see what assistance may be
needed to help the poorest and most vulnerable people through the months
ahead," Abdulla said. "Assessments need to be carried out as soon as
possible to determine the impact agricultural losses may have on these
groups, but already the early indications for several countries are

After six years of chronic food insecurity in the region, the WFP is facing
a critical funding crisis. Even without the additional challenges of another
year of poor harvests, WFP faces a funding shortfall of about $97 million
for current operations until the end of 2007 in southern Africa.

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Floods, drought threaten food shortages in southern Africa: WFP

Monsters and critics

Mar 8, 2007, 17:14 GMT

Johannesburg - The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) warned Thursday
recent erratic weather in southern Africa, which has seen heavy rains and
flooding in some areas and drought in others, could spark widespread food

Flooding in parts of Angola, Madagascar, Mozambique, Namibia and Zambia has
washed away tens of thousands of hectares of crop, while a prolonged dry
spell in parts of Lesotho, Namibia, southern Mozambique, Swaziland, Zimbabwe
and South Africa has damaged or destroyed harvests of the staple maize crop.

One of the countries worst affected was Swaziland, where 1.1 million people
are already receiving food aid from the WFP and which is facing a sixth
consecutive year of poor harvests, Amir Abdulla, WFP Regional Director for
Southern Africa, said.

'Early indications are that this could be the worst agricultural year in
Swaziland due to drought since 1992,' Abdulla said.

Lesotho was expecting a 60-per-cent decline in agricultural yields over last
year and crops in southern Zimbabwe had been decimated by weeks without

Drought in parts of South Africa, usually the largest producer of maize in
the region, was also cause for concern as the WFP sources supplies in the
country and shortages are starting to drive up prices.

On the other hand, Malawi and parts of Zambia and Mozambique not affected by
devastating recent floods were expected to produce good harvests.

The WFP currently assist 4.3 million people in southern Africa and is
appealing for donations to make up a funding shortfall of about 97 million
dollars through the end of 2007.

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Update from Sekai Holland

SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news
Thursday 08 March

Today we celebrate the State’s withdrawal of its charges against our Secretary General Tendai Biti, Deputy Treasurer Elton Mangoma, Deputy Secretary for International Affairs, Grace Kwinjeh and Harare Province leaders, taken into Police custody recently and released on $50 000 bails. The eleven Mabvuku Youths, picked up, and badly beaten up in their homes as they were dragged into Police vehicles, on Saturday at dawn, were yesterday released from Harare Central Police Station, and sent home without any charges against them. While in Police custody they say that they were further badly assaulted in cells. Another four youths held at Borrowdale, Mt Pleasant, and Avondale Police Stations, since last week Friday were today taken to Court, and each given hefty $500 000 bails, which were paid. They are out of Police custody on bail. We still await details of their names, portfolios and constituencies, if they hold any.

There is the case of Peter Pambeni, our strong Youth Assembly Party activist, MDC Deputy Secretary for Ward 7, Epworth in Harare South constituency, which we are still following. Domboramwari Police, in Epworth picked up Pambeni and badly tortured him on Saturday. While this torture went on from that night, on Sunday night 8 ruling Party Youths visited Pambeni’s parents in their home to accuse their son, who this lot was participating in beating up in Police cells, of stealing one of their friend’s cell phones. The perturbed parents, siblings, Peter’s wife and children, whose main concern was his safety, wanted to know details of how he stole the cell phone, where and when, to which the youths did not answer with the required detail. Zimbabwe Human Rights Lawyers on being informed of this case on Monday night went to Domboramwari Police Station at once, to find out details of what was going on this time, so soon after the debacle with Penfold Gudoricharima.

The lawyer Alex Muchadehama explains the sad story that Peter Pambeni was walking in the road with some friends, when one ruling Party youth claimed that he was the one who must have stolen his cell phone. Pambeni gave an alibi, with witnesses, that he was nowhere near Epworth when the alleged theft took place. The complainant, it was discovered by Police had been found drunk in a sweet potato patch, naked, on the morning of the alleged theft. He had no recollection of events the night before, or the morning, as he was drunk. In-spite of this, Police and accusers went ahead and badly tortured Peter Pambeni, until intervention by Muchadehama of the Zimbabwe Human Rights Lawyers. Pambeni was finally released today. According to the lawyer he is in a bad way physically from the torture. He was released late today, on checking why he was not at a hospital, the Lawyer was told about the constraints of people traveling at night, where there is no reliable transport, and where families are frightened of further assaults on their loved ones. The tragedy it seems is that families, faced with these ongoing anomalies, out of love and concern may prefer to withdraw their sons and daughters from political participation for their safety. In this case the Pambeni family sent his brother to offer that they as a family pay the complainant, $200 000, the suggested cost of the cell phone. The lawyer explained the folly of such a move, pointing out that Pambeni had proved to the Police and complainant, that he was nowhere near the scene of the crime. The legal route would clear their family member’s name. Eventually the lawyer’s advice was taken and the legal route followed.

Confidence is being steadily built up in our communities when NGOs, and in this case, Zimbabwe Human Rights Lawyers step in and explain people’s rights and obligations under the law. People really appreciate that each torturer is held personally responsible in Zimbabwe for any form of torture on anyone, including torture of people in Police custody. This advice eventually wins people over to take legal action. After Peter Pambeni’s hospital review, we will catch up with his story for an update.

Grace Kwinjeh’s story continues to unfold as Tobias Mudede, Registrar General, wrote back to the Zimbabwe Human Rights Lawyers, in response to Tafadzva Mugabe’s letter about Grace Kwinjeh’s experience last week.

I misreported events of what happened to Grace Kwinjeh, whose birthday it is today. Kwinjeh was indeed in the line from 7 am. Two men approached her and asked if her name was Grace Kwinjeh. She responded in the positive. They invited her into what they told her was the Registrar General’s office, implying that she might be given a passport. This was before they gave her any travel document. On getting to that office, they told her then that her case was under review, and that she would hear from that office by Wednesday, which is today, and it is her birthday. Having all her personal documents, they must have seen that today was her birthday. The cruelty of the Mugabe regime takes all dimensions. The meetings to which Grace Kwinjeh is invited abroad to attend and address begin tomorrow.

Below is the letter that Mudede wrote.

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3 jailed for Aussie's murder


08/03/2007 15:40  - (SA)

Harare - Three Zimbabweans who kidnapped the Australian accountant of a
British-based tea company and force-fed him a fatal dose of acid have each
been sentenced to 40 years in jail, it was reported on Thursday.

Philip Laing was killed in December 2003 after he and eight other employees
of Eastern Highlands Tea Plantations were kidnapped at gunpoint from their
offices in Honde valley in the eastern Manicaland province.

They were held hostage in a bushy area for more than six hours, driven away
in a company car, severely assaulted and forced to drink acid. Laing died as
a result of the attack.

Judge Rita Makarau convicted former Zimbabwe National Army lance corporal
Gift Munetsi and brothers Stanslous and Custom Tsatsa of culpable homicide,
robbery, kidnapping and administering a noxious substance, reported the
Herald newspaper.

The judge said the prosecution had failed to prove murder charges, added the

Makarau said: "We, however, hesitate to find that the death was actually

One of the witnesses said the men had approached her looking for chloroform,
which she did not have.

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Mugabe never makes idle threats

New Zimbabwe

By Mary Revesai
Last updated: 03/08/2007 23:29:16
FOLLOWING the extension by the European Union of the targeted sanctions
against President Robert Mugabe and his closest lieutenants, Zimbabweans
should brace up for a long period of hearing government officials and
apologists speaking in tongues - forked tongues.

This is because the ostrich mentality that calls for the burying of heads in
the sand and pretending that insulting and denouncing imagined enemies will
resolve problems now pervades all spheres of government policy.

Quite simply, the Zimbabwean government is so clueless as to how to tackle
the myriad economic and social problems it has brought upon the country that
it now places all its faith in the power of its totalitarian form of
propaganda to do the trick.

On the question of sanctions, government officials and spin doctors now harp
endlessly on the theme that these sanctions are hurting ordinary Zimbabweans
but conveniently neglect to mention what caused the sanctions to be imposed
in the first place and what needs to be done for them to be lifted.

The targeted sanctions were imposed in protest against Zimbabwe's descent
into tyrannical rule and the only way to convince the EU and its allies to
drop them is for the authorities to address the governance and human rights
abuses they have been accused of. The onus is on the individuals against
whom the personal sanctions have been imposed to examine their consciences
and their role in the events that have obliged the international community
to resort to these measures.

If President Mugabe and his cronies in government really cared about the
plight of the ordinary people as they pretend to do, they would make a
genuine effort to address the concerns voiced by the international community
about the closing of democratic space and the crushing of dissent through
draconian and repressive laws such as those pertaining to freedom of
expression and assembly.

The government's trademark reaction to these concerns as shown by its
current crackdown on opposition groups has always been to turn the tables on
its critics and project them as the villains responsible for the country's
problems and the people's suffering. To hear the head of state speaking, a
visitor from Mars would be forgiven for concluding that rather than rampant
official corruption, record unemployment , grinding poverty affecting the
majority and record- breaking inflation, the biggest challenge for the
country was safeguarding its sovereignty.

This sovereignty is supposed to be under threat from western imperialists
personified by British prime minister Tony Blair and American president
George Bush who are regularly denounced for plotting to effect regime change
in Zimbabwe.

Mugabe returned to this favourite theme while addressing thousands of
revellers who turned up in Gweru at the weekend to partake of the sumptuous
food and drink laid on by the 21st February Movement to mark his 83rd
birthday. Unable as usual to resist the temptation to grandstand, the
octogenarian blamed everyone else but his government for the country's
troubles. The culprits included homosexuals, the British and Americans,
economic saboteurs and leaders of the opposition.

Mugabe's cousin, the late respected nationalist James Chikerema, once gave a
useful insight into the chararcter of Zimbabwe's head of state when he told
of a pattern of behaviour he noticed when they were both growing up.
Chikerema described how his cousin dealt with conflict while they were
herding cattle with other boys. Whenever things did not go his way,
Chikerema said, the young Robert Mugabe would round up his animals and spend
the rest of the day sulking a distance away from the rest of the group.

Alas, Zimbabwe's leader has not outgrown these juvenile quirks and character
flaws and the sovereignty he harps on so relentlessly refers to his right to
do as he pleases regardless of national interests and aspirations.

He is still someone who needs to display a bravado that proves his
infallibility and invincibility' hence his inability to negotiate,
compromise or back down. This is shown by his often suicidal all-or-nothing
rhetoric and decisions.

The tragedy is that Mugabe has been so adept at dispensing favours and
patronage that vast numbers of people in the establishment who are supposed
to positively influence the course of national discourse and events have
become spineless "yes" men and women only too eager to do the leader's
biding to keep their lucrative sinecures. This is how Mugabe's
idiosyncrasies have been allowed to become the determinants of national
policy and actions.

Ordinary Zimbabweans continue to pay a heavy price for Mugabe's foibles.
More than 20 000 civilians were massacred in Matabeleland in the 1980s in
what Mugabe himself once described as "a moment of madness" but he has
neither apologised for the episode nor taken the trouble to atone for the
atrocity by promoting healing and reconciliation. If anything, his
continuing heavy-handed crushing of dissent is a constant reminder in the
nation's collective subconscious mind that this man's threats to deal
ruthlessly with his opponents are anything but idle.

Those who accuse Zimbabweans of being too docile in the face of Mugabe's
tyranny often miss this point .Supporters of the opposition Movement for
Democratic Change who were on the receiving end of Mugabe's fury a week ago
when the police were ordered to scuttle MDC rallies in Harare and Bulawayo,
including one that had been sanctioned by way of a court order, will attest
to the gruesome reality of official brutality.

The weekend orgy of violence against the people was followed by a blanket
clampdown on the holding of rallies in urban areas that are considered to be
opposition strongholds after which reports have surfaced of widespread
abuses by the police. This rampage by the police came as opposition to
Mugabe's plans to extend his tyrannical rule to 2010 apparently mounted
within his own party and on the heels of the extension by one year of EU
targeted sanctions.

Mugabe's new Minister of Information and Publicity, the otherwise
level-headed and humane Sikhanyiso Ndlovu, was obliged to act as his master's
voice when he dismissed the EU measures as a non-event. This is vintage
Mugabe. Before the EU announced the renewal of the embargo, the government
propaganda machine had gone into overdrive to show how ruinous the sanctions
were and to denounce those who were falsely blamed for campaigning for them
to be imposed. This desperate subterfuge enabled Mugabe to maintain a veneer
of being right all the time.

The prevailing record-breaking inflation that has turned hardworking
ordinary Zimbabweans into paupers who can no longer feed, clothe or educate
their children can be traced back to the violently and vindictively
implemented land reform programme which has destroyed agricultural
productivity. A lot that was not done correctly when farm invasions were
instigated at the highest official level could have been corrected along the
way without abandoning the initiative or compromising production.

All that would have been required was to implement the exercise in phases.
If this had been done, the government would by now, seven years later, have
acquired all the land it needed without causing all the disruptions,
acrimony, violence and loss of human life that has been witnessed since

Above all, the economy would not be in such a shambles. But, admitting that
mistakes had been made would have wounded Mugabe's pride and so the debacle
has to be touted as a resounding success. How long can this continue? Past

Mary Revesai is a New columnist and writes from Harare.

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No judges to hear MDC election challenges

New Zimbabwe

By Staff Reporter
Last updated: 03/08/2007 23:34:36
ZIMBABWE'S Electoral Court is in limbo as there is no judge to hear an
electoral petition filed recently following last year's declaration by the
Supreme Court that judicial appointments to the court were unconstitutional,
High Court registrar Charles Nyatanga said Thursday.

The Supreme Court last year nullified all the appointments to the Electoral
Court after the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) petitioned.

It was the court's finding that Chief Justice Chidyausiku's appointment of
the Electoral Court judges in consultation with the Judge President, as
required by the Electoral Court was unconstitutional, as the constitution
requires that the judicial Services Commission (JSC) be consulted.

Nyatanga made the revelation during a visit to the High Court by members of
the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Justice chaired by Zanu Makoni East
MP and former Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) boss, Shadreck

Judge President Rita Makarau whom the MPs had also sought to question,
diplomatically refused to entertain their questions.

"As you know, as the judiciary, we are almost at par with Parliament. I
think the Master, as a civil servant can answer your questions. He is the
village head here," said Makarau, who was not asked any more questions.

The judge shortly left and did not accompany the legislators on a tour of
the premises.

On the election petition, Nyatanga said: "As of now we are in a limbo. Two
days ago we received an election petition. It requires a judge. We are in a
dilemma. We are raising this because it is a matter for Parliament."

He did not say who had filed the petition, but it is mostly likely to be a
challenge to Zanu PF's recent win in Chiredzi.

The Master of the High Court went on to paint a grim picture of the collapse
of the administration wing of the court, due to lack of funds.

"Recently, we got donations of computers and laptops for judges, that is too
little. It's insufficient," he said.

He added that if he had his way, he would have first provided assistance to
support staff, before judges.

"My staff cannot produce 30-page judgments on Remington typewriters," he

Nyatanga said lack of funds for stationary and lack of computers results in
appeals lodged in the Supreme Court taking up to seven years before being
heard, as they would be preparing for the records.

At times they tell lawyers to take documents for photocopying or binding
even though that is supposed to be done by the courts.

He said they were also having problems with postage stamps that sometimes
they have to depend on word of mouth to spread messages.

"If there is a magistrate going to Mutare, and there is something for Gonese
law firm, we say go there and spread the word," Nyatanga said.

On the High Court law library used by judges he said: "The library is empty,
there is nothing. Everything is not up to date. That is all about the
library with archive information."

Nyatanga, who has sided with widowed Pamela Tungamirai in her wrangle
against Solomon Mujuru, over the late Josiah Tungamirai's estate, said it
was disturbing to have high ranking officials who should understand the law
better to involved in such disputes.

"Our office is inundated with lots and lots of inheritance cases because
someone did not write his will or did not do it properly. I have always said
that those who live complicated lives, leave complicated estates," he said.

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International Women's Day - Zimbabwe Celebrates

Zimbabwe is today celebrating with the rest of the world, International
Women’s Day,  8 March. A big victory is that this year's theme is 'Ending
Impunity for Violence against Women'.  According to the UN statement for
today's celebrations:

'This day serves to highlight the fact that securing peace and social
progress and the full enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms
require the active participation equality and development of women; and to
acknowledge the contribution of women to the strengthening of international
peace and security.'

Zimbabwe's Liberation movements attended the first NGO Preparatory  meeting
for 'UN Women's Summits' for the first one, Mexico (1975) held in Goteborg
(1974) Sweden. As an independent country NGOs have participated fully in the
process of the 'Decade for Women' which stretched to 20 years in Beijing
(1995) which closed that format. This all important process resulted in
standardisation of women's basic needs, strategies to achieve these in the
different circumstances women find themselves in, the world over.

Countries celebrate this day in their way although themes are generated
through United Nations Channels using women's organs. These bring women
together at government and civil society levels where they deliberate on
common concerns, to establish policies and programmes in set time frames.
This year's theme is particularly relevant to Zimbabwe where the ruling
party with impunity uses State resources and institutions to sponsor
violence against the majority of its citizens to protect and promote
interests of a small elite. State resources and institutions are to protect
and  promote everyone's welfare and well being, a key objective of the
Liberation struggle.

The fight to end violence against women in Zimbabwe focusses on domestic
violence, unhappilly ignoring State violence against citizens particularly
women. This focus reflects our society's unease with women's participation
in decision making especially in Politics. This year's UN theme was
discussed in today's celebrations of Women's Day held at Holiday Inn by the
Women's Coalition, under the theme 'The Road we have Travelled'. Focus was
on celebrating passing of the 'Domestic Violence Bill' into an Act of
Parliament, a major victory in our country. The new Act needs a lot of work
to be done to benefit Zimbabweans. This will no doubt happen when applied to
save lives.

'Women in Politics' have a significant victory to celebrate this year. A new
virtual network by a coalition of organisations has established an on line
library for 'Women in Politics' called 'iKnow Politics' with 400 reports,
handbooks and training manuals. Challenges facing this category of women can
now be tackled by accessing this facility and also networking with similar
groups for progress.

When the MDC National person was tortured in the Trade Union march against
wages and workers' conditions late last year, there was silence among sister
colleagues whose focus was, and is on Domestic Violence. Eventually some
efforts were made by a few to break this separation to open ways to deal
with violence against women in all its manifestations, together as one

The real challenge facing women in almost all areas is economic
disempowerment. The way forward must have at its centre women's empowerment
for our society to hold. At the moment women carry out their traditional
roles, men's, without measures to empower them to perform. In the present
struggle for 'Change' women have taken leadership in activities to ensure
success. In all marches today, there are visible numbers of women as
compared to the past, when Politics was an  'all male' preserve.

This year's theme if properly analysed (we have a whole year to do that) and
formulated into simple implementable  programmes could put us well onto the
Road to a new Zimbabwe, for violence in our country remains at the centre of
all our lives.

National Women's Assembly Chairperson Amai Lucia Matibenga has been invited
to be a speaker at Trafalgar Square in London. Each year she writes her
powerful statement for us on International women's day. This year we
remember that most of this past year she talked about psychological abuse of
women in politics carried out with impunity by male colleagues, by women on
women, in that field. This phenomenon, she argues must be exposed by us and
dealt with, along with physical abuse of all, wherever that takes place.

In Zimbabwe, women and youths suffer from inaccessibility of ARVs in our HIV
AIDS pandemic environment today. This denial of availability is a form of
violence exercised with impunity. We must work to eliminate violence in all
its forms from our lives, from our world. It is a disease. This year we have
an opportunity to formulate parameters to stamp out violence wherever it
manifests itself in our homes, work places, public and private spaces.

Sekai Holland

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ZCTF report 6.03.07


6th March 2007


After circulating our last report about the slaughter of the baby elephant,
we have received the following response from Ivan Carter:

Dear kathi ,
Thanks for emailing me the story that has appeared in the zimbabwe press.

Sadly, once again it is a case of very poor reporting .

I was in fact hunting in the Omay in October last year , that is true and we
came across Mr Dave Lemon .. Father of Graeme Lemon , a close friend of mine
who used to guide in Matusadonna. Who was , in fact walking from Kariba to
Binga , we spent some time with him and in fact he was looking pretty tired
and we gave him some of our supplies , ( we had come to the lake in search
of elephant just to "spike camp " for a day as we had been hunting Omay
south , some 80 miles south of where he was) to my knowledge he did not
speak to my staff , but in fact spoke to me personally , and , having
nothing at all to hide, we told him exactly what we were doing , hunting
elephant..we didn't in fact shoot an elephant bull on that safari as we didn't
find one that could be considered to be of the trophy quality we were after.

As far as being threatened by hunters, Dave Lemon is a great guy , with a
lot of bush experience and a real pleasure to be with in the bush, we had a
very amicable chat and while I don't believe he is a hunter , he understands
the economics of hunting and the reality of it. I simply don't believe that
he was threatened by hunters and removed by parks .weather or not he had
permits to be walking through Parks Estate or not may have been more to the
point .

It must be remembered that the Omay is a communal area with several thousand
residents , many of whom have firearms. It is an area where there is ,
always has been and always will be a degree of poaching .

You will note from the photo that the baby elephant in question is not
actually thin looking, however had possibly been photographed some distance
from the herd as they spread out to feed on the foreshore . the second baby
that was "speared to death" and butchered ..again there is no proof of what
happened here , had that been killed by hunters it would most certainly not
have been speared.

I had been hunting with a good friend and client from the states , I would
like to point out that in Zimbabwe , in an area like Omay there is no
hunting season per se , and seasons are governed by useability of roads ,
hence the Zambezi valley closing at certain times as the roads are
impassable . Elephants have no breeding season and breed throughout the year
and thus there is no fixed "season" per se.

We were it is true hunting elephant bulls and we had shot one cow at that
time, in omay south, as the crow flies some 90 miles south and east of where
we had met Dave Lemon.a long way for an orphaned elephant calf to travel. In
addition, we had a videographer with us at all times, I would be more than
happy to share video of the  kill shot and scenario with anyone who would be
interested to prove that we did not at any time shoot any cows that were
with calf ,I was wearing a wireless mic and it is very clear how carefull we
are to avoid shooting the "wrong" cow. We later shot a second cow ( also on
film) .also in Omay South some 50 miles from where we met Dave Lemon. Of the
two cows  one cow was actually alone and the other was an old cow that had
no calf though there were calves in the group .I actually have several
occasions on film where we avoid certain elephants who are with calf .

In both cases the cows were shot with one shot at close range in the brain
and so the disturbance factor to the remaining elephants was limited.

As  Professional hunter I believe we will always be dealing with this kind
of reporting .when a trajedy is discovered in the bush such as this , often
in a desperate attempt to understand who , why and when , people jump to
conclusions.we need to stand together and ensure that our reputation remains
at the high level it is , this kind of reporting can be damaging to the
whole industry . I believe hunting elephant is a priveledge and something
not to be taken lightly, in order that a high degree of integrity is
maintained we need to stay together and strive to make sure the truth gets
out ..there are , without question , people who are less than ethical , and
sadly we all at some stage or another get tarred with that brush ..

I will be more than happy to answer any questions or share further
information with anyone who is interested ,

Please feel free to contact me on
 Johnny Rodrigues
Chairman for Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force
Tel:               263 4 336710
Fax/Tel:        263 4 339065
Mobile:          263 11 603 213

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MDC hails SADC plans to discuss Zimbabwe crisis

By Tichaona Sibanda
8 March 2007

The Tsvangirai MDC has hailed the Southern African Development Community
(SADC) plans to discuss the Zimbabwe crisis at its Lusaka summit in August
as a step forward. The MDC' secretary for Foreign Affairs Professor Elphas
said SADC has been jolted into action because Zimbabweans had reached the
point of open defiance and possible rebellion against Robert Mugabe.
Mukonoweshuro was also critical of the long delay the regional bloc took to
realise that all was not well in Zimbabwe, as pointed out by the Zambian
Foreign minister Mundia Sikatana on Tuesday.

Mukonoweshuro said current events in the country have 'alarmed a few
governments within SADC and it explains why there is a sense of urgency and
renewed interest that a solution must be found to ensure that the country
experiences a soft landing from this crisis. He added that the speed and
severity of the countrys' downward spiral has become a real threat to
regional economic stability and has also raised the threat of bloodshed,
forcing SADC to insist on putting the Zimbabwe issue on its annual summit
agenda. Despite the clear signs of the gathering storm in Zimbabwe SADC
leaders have in the last six years done little publicly to address the

'The Zambian Foreign minister has been very courageous to speak about the
Zimbabwe issue publicly and I hope this becomes the new position of their
government. But during our visits to many SADC capitals this position has
been routinely expressed to us privately by the heads of state and
government and this gives us hope that the issue will dominate the Lusaka
summit,' Mukonoweshuro said.

Faced by more vigorous attempts to stop Mugabe from extending his rule by
two more years, the regime has responded by slapping an open-ended ban on
political rallies and protests countrywide. The opposition and all
pro-democracy groups in the country accuse Mugabe, who turned 83 last month,
of gross human rights abuses, intimidating opponents, stealing elections and
running the country into economic ruin.

SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news

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Zimbabwe among least attractive countries for tourists

Zim Online

Thursday 08 March 2007

      By Hendricks Chizhanje

      HARARE - The World Economic Forum has listed Zimbabwe among countries
with the least attractive environments for the tourism and travel industry.

      The troubled southern African country was listed at number 107 out of
the 124 countries that were surveyed in the inaugural Travel and Tourism
Competitiveness Report released this week.

      The report measures factors that make it attractive to develop the
travel and tourism sectors of countries looking at the regulatory framework,
the business environment and infrastructure as well as human and natural

      With a score of 3.48, Zimbabwe was lumped in the same league with
countries such as Suriname, Bolivia and Burkina Faso and Chad.

      Tunisia received the highest ranking in Africa at number 34 while
other African countries such as Egypt and Morocco also performed favourably
on the rankings.

      The report said Switzerland, Austria and Germany had the most
attractive environments for developing the travel and tourism sector.

       "The Index will encourage governments to understand the importance of
travel and tourism and create an economic environment, which will help this
economic activity to create entrepreneurs, jobs and careers.

      "It will also stimulate the public and private sectors to play leading
roles in the issues the world is facing in terms of environmental, social
and cultural challenges," said Jean-Claude Baumgarten, President of the
World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC).

      Zimbabwe's tourism sector is in the doldrums following President
Robert Mugabe's violent land reforms seven years ago. Tourists have since
2000 shunned Zimbabwe because of political violence spearheaded by the
ruling ZANU PF party against political opponents. - ZimOnline

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Eyebrows raised over Rushwaya's appointment

Zim Online

Thursday 08 March 2007

      By Tinotenda Zhou

      HARARE - Zimbabwe Football Association (ZIFA) have disassociated
themselves from the appointment of Henrietta Rushwaya as the association's
chief executive officer saying the appointment was done behind their back.

      Rushwaya, who has no known football experience, was last month
appointed ZIFA chief executive officer in yet unclear circumstances.

      A ZIFA board member who refused to be named said President Robert
Mugabe's governent had imposed Rushwaya on the association to keep a firm
grip on the popular sport.

      Before her appointment to the top post, Rushwaya was working in the
office of Vice President Joseph Msika but with no specific job title
resulting in speculation in the capital that she was a Central Intelligence
Organisation (CIO) agent.

      Rushwaya has denied the allegation in the past.

      She was also the co-coordinator of the Warriors Fund-Raising

      The ZIFA board member said Rushwaya's appointment had brought fear and
mistrust into the association.

      "I just read it in the newspapers that she had been appointed to the
post. Even some fellow members of the board were not aware of her

      "We have tried to speak to the chairman (Wellington Nyatanga) to
explain the circumstances leading to her appointment but he is refusing to

      "But there is nothing we can do because she is well connected and who
would dare challenge her? Effectively she will be running even the board
because she is well connected politically," said the board member.

      Rushwaya could not be reached for comment on the matter last night. -

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Undocumented kids alone in a new country

HARARE, 8 March 2007 (IRIN) - A rising number of unaccompanied Zimbabwean
children are entering South Africa, according to a nongovernmental
organisation (NGO) that provides assistance to refugees and displaced

South Africa Women's Institute of Migration Affairs (SAWIMA), which liaises
with the government's Lindela Repatriation Centre, outside Johannesburg,
where undocumented and illegal foreigners are held before being repatriated,
said it picked up at least five unaccompanied minors from the centre every

"What is of grave concern is that the children are getting younger - they
are aged between 10 to 14 years now," said Joyce Dube, a member of SAWIMA.
"This week we picked up a four-year-old from the centre, who we managed to
reunite with relatives."

Some of the unaccompanied minors have been sent for by their parents, who
have settled in South Africa, but Dube said most others had been driven
across the border by hunger. "Many children cannot afford to go to school
any more - they just hang around doing nothing, and have no means to earn
money, to eat - so they cross the border illegally to find work."

Unable to raise funds for a passport or visa, they often trade sex with
truck drivers or taxi drivers for smuggling them across the border. "They
end up as child labour, working for small wages or, at times, for nothing at
all," said Dube.

Taxi operators plying across the border charged about US$200 per head, paid
by Zimbabwean parents to have their children brought to South Africa. "If
they [children] are apprehended, we help to reunite them with their families
here," Dube explained.

Figures released by humanitarian agencies showed that more than 2,100
children - a daily average of 14 - without birth certificates or any other
form of identification were deported from South Africa to the border town of
Beitbridge in southern Zimbabwe in the first five months of 2006.

According to the International Organisation for Migration (IOM), in the last
six months of 2006 almost 950 unaccompanied children passed through a
reception and support centre in Beitbridge, which has a child centre to
accommodate deported children pending family reunification. The centre is
jointly run by the IOM, Save the Children (Norway), United Nations
Children's Fund (UNICEF) and Zimbabwe's Ministry of Public Service, Labour
and Social Welfare.

"These young people are doing it [crossing the border illegally], perhaps
because they feel there is a lack of opportunities at home. Some of the
15-to-16-year-olds will be looking for financial opportunities to look after
their siblings back home," said James Elder, the UNICEF spokesman in

Child trafficking and illegal migration needed a more holistic approach,
said Elder. "It is obvious these children can't find employment, and risk
being exploited in the most grotesque manner. They have no skills, and have
to compete with adults for job opportunities across the border."

The European Commission's Head of Delegation to Zimbabwe, Ambassador Xavier
Marchal, said the EU considered the promotion of child rights a priority and
has provided $1 million to help children access legal documents and create
awareness about illegal migration. "Tackling child trafficking and illegal
cross-border migration would help to address commercial sex work involving
girls living on the streets in major towns and cities," he said.

Since July 2006 the EU has bolstered support for the child centre in
Beitbridge, which has provided food, clothing, blankets and psychosocial
support services to 1,000 children.

Part of the EU donation will also be used to train traditional leaders,
guardians and community members about the risks of crossing borders without
documentation, and a second child reception centre at Plumtree, on the
Botswana border in southwestern Zimbabwe, is planned.

Funds will also go towards increasing the number of children with birth
certificates by 25 percent in Zimbabwe's 10 districts over a period of two
years, to meet a major objective of the National Plan for Orphans and
Vulnerable Children. Besides providing migrating children with legal status,
the birth certificate programme will help other vulnerable children in

"Without a birth certificate, children are often denied their rights and
cannot enroll in school or gain access to basic health services. The
problems is exacerbated for orphans, for they risk [losing] all inheritance
from their deceased parents when there is no proof of lineage," said

UNICEF's representative in Zimbabwe, Dr Festo Kavishe, said children without
birth certificates were invisible to society. "Such children lack the basic
protection against abuse and exploitation: they are highly vulnerable to
unscrupulous child traffickers, abusive employers or illegal deportation

He pointed out that "A birth certificate is a ticket to citizenship in a
country; birth registration alone will not eliminate exploitation, but it is
the essential starting point for citizenship."

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Christian Agencies Condemn Zimbabwe Ruling on Human Rights Work

Christian Today

British aid agencies have spoken out on a crackdown by the Zimbabwean
government on church groups carrying out human rights work.
by Gretta Curtis
Posted: Thursday, March 8, 2007, 12:05 (GMT)

British aid agencies are speaking out on Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe's
ruling ZANU PF party on Zimbabwean church groups carrying out human rights

Mugabe's ZANU PF is putting pressure on human rights groups, with a recent
arrest of eight church leaders and the closure of the office of a
church-based human rights organisation - funded by Christian Aid - in

Christian Aid and Christian humanitarian agency Tearfund are speaking out on
behalf of these church groups following a recent spate of violence and

Most recently, the leaders from the Zimbabwe Christian Alliance (ZCA), a
Christian network which is trying to tackle the worsening crisis in
Zimbabwe, were arrested at a church gathering in Kadoma.
Following interrogation, the eight men were accused of preaching incitement
to violence - a charge ridiculed by the ZCA who were watching a video of
Martin Luther King at the time.

"This harassment is unacceptable," said Christian Aid's Africa policy
manager, Babatunde Olugboji.

"State services have all but collapsed in Zimbabwe and the poor have limited
access to healthcare, education, clean water, food and other essentials. Aid
agencies are playing a major role in keeping people off the bread line,"
said Mr Olugboji.

"The physical assaults, the intimidation and arrests of our church partner
organisations are outrageous - it puts people's lives at risk."

Tearfund's Karyn Beattie said: "Churches and NGOs must be allowed to
continue the work they are doing to help the poor. They are filling the
vacuum left by the actions of a dysfunctional government, and cannot simply
stand by and watch while people are robbed of their fundamental human

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