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World team to probe Zim diamond theft

Zim Standard

  A FIVE-MEMBER team of experts from
the Kimberly Process (KP) is expected in the country this week amid
allegations that senior Zanu PF politicians are smuggling rough diamonds out
of the country.

This follows complaints by the World Diamond Council (WDC) in December
that Zimbabwe's diamonds might have been traded illicitly, flouting
international rules guiding the world trade in diamonds.

Chairperson of the Kimberly Process Working Group on Monitoring within
the European Commission (EC), Stephane Chardon,confirmed a team from the KP
is scheduled to arrive in the country  "shortly to assess Zimbabwe's
compliance with the KP Certification Scheme (KPCS)".

He said the dates for the visit would be announced as soon as final
arrangements had been made.

"We will inform the media about the trip shortly. There are some
issues that need to be finalised before that trip is made," said Chardon
from his base in Belgium.

Correspondence between the EC and the government, seen by The
Standard, show the team will be led by Sergey Oulin, the vicepresident of
Alrosa of Russia,and is expected this weekend.

The other members are Martin Sorby (Norway's deputy directorgeneral in
the Ministry of Foreign Affairs), Jacqueline Lenka (South African Diamond
Board),Ernest Blom (vice-chair of the World Diamond Council) and Christine
Gordon (an independent journalist and researcher of the diamond industry).

The team will tour and inspect major diamond mining concerns,
including the controversial River Ranch Mine, Marowa Diamonds and the
Chiadzwa diamond fields.

The KP focal person in Zimbabwe is John Makandwa, the Minerals
Development Officer in the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development. Last
week he declined to comment on the visit.

But Amos Midzi, the Minister of Mines and Mining Development,confirmed
the visit.

"Yes, they are coming next week and we invited them.

They are not only coming to Zimbabwe but they will also monitor other
countries, which trade in diamonds," Midzi said.

Earlier this year, the EC summoned River Ranch officials to a meeting
in Harare to respond to allegations of diamond smuggling.

The officials have refuted the allegations that they smuggled diamonds
to South Africa where they are being mixed with "blooddiamonds" from the DRC
and traded on the formal market.

Smuggling and illegal trade in diamonds is a breach of the Kimberley
Process, which can lead to Zimbabwe's diamonds being blacklisted.

The Kimberley Process is an international agreement based on agreed
technical requirements to control diamond production and trade between
participating countries,including Zimbabwe.he process was established in
2003 to prevent rebel groups and their rivals from financing their war aims
from diamond sales. It was set up to try to assure consumers that by
purchasing diamonds they were not financing war and human rights abuses.

Several Zanu PF officials have been implicated in the looting and
smuggling of diamonds in the country.

William Nhara, a senior government official was arrested at the Harare
International Airport for allegedly trying to assist a Lebanese woman
smuggle diamonds out of the country.

Scores of illegal panners, dealers and smugglers have invaded the
Marange diamond fields in Manicaland since last year selling the precious
mineral on the black market.

Security forces have since cordoned off the fields but reports say the
looting has not stopped and there are violent running battles with
poverty-stricken villagers.

Reports from Marange say that the security agents are now implicated
in the smuggling syndicates as the situation deteriorates.

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Graduate bonding sparks outrage

Zim Standard

  ORGANISATIONS representing colleges and
university students have expressed dismay at the government's decision to
bond graduates in ministries facing critical manpower shortages.

Under the system, to become effective next month, students who
graduate after studying on government loans and grants will be forced to
join the civil service for a specified period before joining the private

The years spent in bondage will be determined by the period of
government funding.

The Secretary for the Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education,
Washington Mbizvo, in announcing the plan, said it was designed to address
the critical manpower shortage in government departments.

The public sector had suffered a massive brain drain as thousands of
skilled personnel flee economic misery at home.

In a statement, the Zimbabwe National Students' Union (Zinasu)
national co-ordinator Washington Katema, described the new scheme as another
direct attack on the right to education enshrined in the African Charter on
Human and Peoples' Rights and the International Covenant on Social, Economic
and Cultural Rights.

Both the charter and covenant state that "every individual shall have
the right to education with no conditions attached".

Katema said with more than 95% of the civil servants living below the
poverty datum line, bonding college and university graduates would
automatically turn them into paupers."Students, therefore, refuse to be
turned into objects of cheap labour by a government that has destroyed the
economic infrastructure of this country," he said.

The vice-president of the Students Representative Council (SRC) of
Bindura University of Science Education,Chiedza Gadzirai, said the move
showed the government's desperation.

"They are trying to solve the issue of brain drain from the top,
instead of tacking the root cause, the economy.If the economy is managed
well no one will run away from the country," she said.

Dr Eldred Masunungure, a University of Zimbabwe lecturer, said it
would be "very difficult" for the programme to succeed, as civil servants
were paid "peanuts".

"If there is no incentive, as is the case here, it is going to be
extremely difficult," he said. "The enforcement has to be harsh or
impossible; otherwise they will have to take extreme measures, such as
confiscating the travel documents of those bonded. Many graduates would not
resist the temptation to go into the private sector, where they are paid

Former University of Zimbabwe vicechancellor Professor Gordon
Chavhunduka said the new system would only affect students from poor
backgrounds since politicians and business people send their children to
universities and colleges outside the country.

"Apart from limiting the students' freedom,this system enslaves the
poor who can't afford to pay for themselves, while those from rich families
are not affected at all," said Chavunduka.

Chairperson of the Parliamentary Committee on Education, Sports and
Culture, Fidelis Mhashu, said instead of bonding students, the government
must increase funding for education.

"Bonding is too strong a motion. It will force the students to remain
in the country against their will. We should worry about the current
standard of education and not what the students will do after college,"
Mhashu said.

Shepherd Kuringenyika, a second year Social Work student at the UZ
said: "They first have to address the issue of low salaries in the public
sector and that is the only way they can attract graduates."

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Foreigner abducted in farm ownership wrangle

Zim Standard


BULAWAYO - The fight for ownership of two thriving ostrich farms in
Nyamandlovu has taken a new twist with the recent kidnapping of an
Indonesian citizen by a settler.

A Tsholotsho court was told last week the settler then handed the
Indonesian to the Central Intelligence Organisation office in Bulawayo.

Zanu PF supporters invaded Bubi Dollar Block and Mimosa Park in the
Nyamandlovu commercial farming area at the height of the land invasions in
2000 and have been resisting eviction.

Both farms are owned by Dollar Bubi Block (Pvt) Limited and are
covered by a Bilateral Investment Protection and Promotion Agreement
(BIPPA) with the Indonesian government.

There has been growing tension between the farm invaders at Mimosa
Park and Dollar Bubi Block, a joint venture company between Indonesian
investors and a Zimbabwean company, PT Royal Ostrindo.

Tsholotsho magistrate Toindepi Zhou was last Wednesday told that on 17
May,Joseph Ngwenya, one of the settlers, saw Harold Lian, an Indonesian
business consultant,aking photographs at Mimosa Park. With him was Edrich
Hove, a PT Royal Ostrindo manager.

Ngwenya allegedly forcibly took the keys of the car in which the two
were travelling.

He is alleged to have detained Lian for almost an hour before driving
to Bulawayo,about 30km away, with the two men.

Ngwenya was driving his own vehicle, while Lian and Hove followed him
behind in their own car.

Ngwenya took the men to the CIO offices in the city centre but they
were referred to the Umguza district administrator,Ennety Sithole.

Lian was eventually freed after almost five hours and immediately
reported the incident to the Nyamandlovu Police Station.

Ngwenya was not formally charged during his initial appearance and was
released on $1 million bail. He is due in court on 11 June.

In February, the Minister of National Security, Land Reform and
Resettlement, Didymus Mutasa, shocked the Indonesian investors during a
visit to the farms when he told them to "co-exist" with the Zanu PF

The Indonesians have accused the settlers of rearing poultry on the
farms, which they allege spread disease to the ostriches.

About three years ago,there was an outbreak of the deadly bird flu on
the farms,which led to the suspension of profitable exports of ostrich

Mimosa Park boasts the largest ostrich hatchery in the world,
producing 500 000 chicks every year.

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Starvation 'disaster' looms in Mat-South

Zim Standard


BULAWAYO --Thousands of villagers in Matabeleland South have run out
of food and now need urgent assistance from donors as the government has
failed to provide drought relief, a Member of Parliament has warned.

Speaking at the official opening of a nursing school in Brunapeg near
the Botswana border on Friday, Mangwe MP Edward Mkhosi said a disaster was
"imminent" in his constituency as many villagers did not harvest anything
this season.

He was speaking at St Anne's Brunapeg Mission Hospital,about 115km out
of Plumtree.

The construction of the nursing school was funded by the Canadian
Embassy at a cost of CDN$34 000 while the local community provided bricks
and other building materials.

Mkhosi said the food situation was worsening in the region,which is
prone to droughts.

"Only 5 000 tonnes of maize were realised this year in the province,
mainly due to the poor rains. We have a shortfall of over 150 000 tonnes of
maize in this region," Mkhosi said.

"Aid agencies must urgently make food available to the province to
avoid disaster."

Matabeleland South governor, Angeline Masuku, has already applied for
the province to be declared a "disaster area".

The government has declared 2007 a drought year after another
disastrous agricultural season blamed on shortage of inputs and farm

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ZINWA take-over leaves council a 'shell'

Zim Standard


SENIOR Harare city council officials allege the take-over of its water
reticulation system and assets by the Zimbabwe National Water Authority
(Zinwa) has reduced it to a "shell".

The officials, who requested anonymity for fear of victimisation, said
because of the take-over "no credible financial institution in the world"
would lend money to the council.

Zinwa, a parastatal, did not pay to take over the council assets.

Among council assets transferred to Zinwa are motor vehicles,
buildings, waterworks and the reticulation system itself.

"The council has been reduced to just a shell," said one senior
official. "All the assets have been taken over by Zinwa, without paying a
cent to the council. As a result, the council is no longer eligible to
borrow money from any financial institution."

Another official predicted that soon all local authorities would be
unable to finance the maintenance of schools, roads, public lighting and the
provision of drugs in clinics after being deprived of their "cash-cow"- the
revenue generated from their provision of water and sewer services to
thousands of residents.

According to a recent report of the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee
on Local Government, the Bulawayo City Council borrowed about $53 599
797.90, the Municipality of Chitungwiza $200 million while the City of
Harare borrowed $251 868 483.63.

All these loans were sourced from local financial institutions to
improve service delivery to the residents in the major urban centres.

To pay them off, the councils must raise revenue, which will be
reduced when Zinwa takes over the water and sewer provisions.

Zinwa chairman Willie Muringani defended the take over, insisting the
parastatal would not disadvantage residents.

"Zinwa and the city council are both government entities and if we say
Zinwa should pay for the assets it means it's the residents who are going to
pay again," said Muringani.

He said Zinwa was a custodian of the assets and did not own them.

Asked if the take-over would not affect local authorities' ability to
borrow, the former mayor of Chegutu referred this newspaper to Mutezo's
chaotic ministry.

"As Zinwa we get directives: so the best (you can do) is talk to the
secretary to the Cabinet or our parent ministry," he said.

Both Mutezo and his deputy, Walter Mzembi, were said to be locked in

The former Harare mayor, Engineer Elias Mudzuri, said last week the
take-over "was not (sound) in law" and was meant to starve the Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) councils in the urban areas of revenue, then to turn
around and blame them for failing to run local authorities.

"It's a political strategy by Zanu PF," the former mayor said. "If the
councils, which are MDC-dominated, fail to deliver because of lack of
revenue, the government will blame the councils."

Mudzuri, dismissed by the government on what his party described as
"flimsy" accusations of mismanagement, said the strategy would soon backfire
as angry residents would soon mobilize against the government due to the
shoddy service provision.

The Combined Harare Residents' Association (Chra), has demanded the
immediate return of water and sewer reticulation services to the city
council, in line with Parliament's recommendations.

"Chra is opposed to the commodification of basic services and
especially the de facto privatisation of our water resources for the
enrichment of a few individuals," said Chra in a statement.

Chra has accused the Minister of Water and Infrastructural
Development, Mutezo, and Zinwa of "acting in bad faith" about the water
situation in Harare.

"These accusations follow hard on the heels of yet another disastrous
action by Mutezo. The reshuffling of the Zinwa Board on 25 October 2006 by
Mutezo was clear confirmation that Zinwa had failed to perform, even to the
low standards expected of parastatals," said Chra.

In a report the chairperson of the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee
on Local Government, Margaret Zinyemba, said recently the Cabinet should
"reconsider" its decision to transfer water and sewerage reticulation
services from the local authorities to Zinwa, "because the water authority
lacked capacity and mandate".

It said Zinwa should retain the responsibility of supplying raw bulk
water only.

"The government should make financial resources, local and foreign,
available to the local authorities so that they can fulfill their mandate,"
the committee said in its report.

The committee also urged the government to give priority to the
construction of Kunzvi Dam for the City of Harare, Gwaai/Shangani Dam for
the City of Bulawayo, Tokwe/Mkhosi Dam for the City of Masvingo to solve the
problem of water supply in the country.

Despite these strong recommendations, the government has virtually
done nothing to correct the situation, strengthening Mudzuri's argument that
the take-over was political.

Since the take-over service provision has become erratic and residents
are not happy.

"Water cuts have become so frequent that I feel it is better to return
water reticulation to the council because, at least, it was sensitive to our
problems and would attend urgently to burst pipes," said Mary Motsi of

There are fears that senior Zanu PF officials might soon asset-strip
Zinwa in the name of "privatisation".

Harare City Council spokesperson, Percy Toriro, was said to be on

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MDC smells a rat over new forex duty on cars

Zim Standard

  By Foster Dongozi

MOVEMENT for Democratic Change secretary general, Tendai Biti claimed
last week the government decided to charge duty in foreign currency on
imported products after learning his party had ordered many trucks for use
in next year's elections.

Biti said upon realising that the opposition was preparing seriously
for the presidential and parliamentary elections, the government came up
with Statutory Instrument 80A of 2007.

It was contained in an Extraordinary Government Gazette in which the
Minister of Finance, Samuel Mumbengegwi, announced duty on imported cars
would be paid in foreign currency.

"Payment of customs duty and value added tax on the importation of any
item of goods designated as luxury items shall be payable in United States
dollars, euros, or any other currency denominated under the Exchange
Control," said the notice.

Many Zimbabweans were shocked that family cars were designated as
luxury items.

Biti said: "Zanu PF heard that we were planning to import trucks and
they tried to counter that by declaring that all vehicles being imported
should be paid for in foreign currency.

"They are hoping to cripple the MDC by charging us duty in foreign
currency but what Zanu PF is now doing for political expediency in their
fight with us is to affect the livelihoods of many families who depend on
cross-border trading."

Although he declined to say how many trucks were being imported, it is
believed they are more than 200.

Since the new measures were announced, desperate Zimbabweans have
abandoned their vehicles at Beitbridge border post as they battle to raise
enough foreign currency to pay the duty.

A car dealer in Harare said despite the Extraordinary Government
Gazette, there appeared to be no clear policy on charging duty in foreign

"There is a lot of chaos and confusion," he said. "The Zimbabwe
Revenue Authority has not given us an account for paying duty in foreign
currency and the message circulating in the motor industry is that the new
requirements might be lifted as soon as the MDC is made to pay duty in
foreign currency for its trucks."

He said up to now, he did not know of clients who had paid duty in
foreign currency to Zimra.

MDC insiders said if all the vehicles arrived, the plan was to deploy
at least three trucks in each district.

MDC spokesman, Nelson Chamisa said: "Zanu PF is behaving like a bandit
movement in panic mode. That is why they continue to brutalise and detain
our members in their desperate bid to remain in power. They realise that we
are very serious about our preparations for the elections and that is why
they are arresting and detaining our leaders in order to derail our

The Minister of Information and Publicity, Sikhanyiso Ndlovu,
dismissed the MDC allegations.

"They are now telling lies because they are afraid of losing the
elections next year," he said. "The charging of duty in foreign currency is
not related to elections at all. It has been under discussion for more than
two years. The logic was if some companies were able to import cars using
foreign currency, surely they would be able to pay duty in foreign

Ndlovu added: "If the MDC wants to import cars, then they should do so
and pay duty in foreign currency which they get from their foreign
paymasters in the UK and the USA."

Zanu PF has embarked on a campaign to raise $100 billion for next year's
elections under which each province would be allocated $10 billion, to
include the purchase of vehicles.

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Convicted minister granted right of appeal

Zim Standard


Bulawayo - A deputy minister facing a jail term of one year after
being convicted on a charge of insulting and threatening a former Gwanda
mayor has won an appeal to have his case reviewed by the High Court.

Abednigo Ncube who holds the Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare
deputy portfolio, was told by the Gwanda provincial magistrate, Lungile
Ncube, last Monday he could appeal to have his case reviewed.

Ncube alleged unfair treatment by the magistrates' court.

Ncube, the MP for Gwanda, was earlier this month convicted by the same
magistrate for using "abusive and threatening language" against then acting
Gwanda mayor Petros Mukwena.

The magistrate had postponed sentencing the minister under the
Miscellaneous Offences Act after the prosecutor said he wanted time to check
if Ncube had a previous conviction.

Ncube faced a one year jail term, a fine or both.

The magistrate did not pass the sentence after the minister applied
through his lawyer Galen Masiye of Masiye and Associates for a re-trial at
the High Court.

Mukwena had told The Standard in October 2005 that Ncube had led
heavily armed anti-riot police in evicting gold panners who had discovered
rich deposits at a gold claim that he wanted to take over.

The minister reacted angrily to the accusations and stormed into the
mayor's parlour where he insulted and threatened Mukwena.

Meanwhile, a Zanu-PF councillor in the Gwanda rural district council,
Matabeleland South, allegedly stole three head of cattle belonging to a
local businessman and tampered with their brand marks, a court heard last

Jeffrey Moyo, the councillor for Ward 6 appeared before Gwanda
provincial magistrate, Lungile Ncube last Wednesday on two counts of stock
theft. He had languished in remand prison since his arrest on 19 May.

According to the state, Moyo, at an unnamed date, stole three cows
from the businessman and drove them to his Sigodo village homestead in

Moyo has denied the charges, but was remanded in custody to 12 June.
Khumbulani Ndlovu prosecuted. Moyo was elected into office last year and was
serving his second term.

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Living with HIV/Aids: living on borrowed time

Zim Standard

  By Bertha Shoko

RITA Gada was featured in Standardhealth sometime in April this year.
Many will remember this sad story about how Rita's husband ill-treated her
because of her HIV positive status. He refused to sleep in the same blankets
with her or share the same utensils with her and, even held a gun to her
head to force her to leave their matrimonial home. But Rita has stayed on
because she has nowhere else to go and argues she has every right to that
home, as much as he has. She is unemployed and survives on a weekly food
pack from a local support group because her husband has stopped providing
for her.

As though her marital problems were not burdensome enough, Rita is
presently living dangerously on a CD4 Count cell of 51 and has no access to
Anti-Retroviral drugs (ARVs). A healthy body requires a CD4 cell count of
200 or more. After reacting to the first and second line ARVs, doctors say
Rita now needs third line combinations and these are not available in
Zimbabwe and many parts of Africa.

Although a local pharmacy offered to import the drug for her, Rita
cannot afford the cost. Exit Rita: Enter Samuel Mushoriwa from Chitungwiza
who tested HIV positive in 2004. Samuel is also living dangerously on a CD4
count cell of 49.

Unlike Rita's spouse, his wife is very supportive. She tested HIV
negative and they have agreed to live positively.

But Samuel's problem is that he cannot access the free ARVs and has
been on the waiting list of state-run programmes since December 2005. Having
lost his job due to continued absenteeism as a result of ill-health, Samuel
cannot afford to buy ARVs from the private sector. As the economic and
political situation in the country worsens, access to ARV treatment and
general medical care for people living with HIV and Aids (PLWAs) is still
not assured in most cases.

This is the reason why Rita and Samuel were among the hundreds of Aids
activists gathered at Chitungwiza town centre on Wednesday as part of the
Global AIDS Week of Action commemorations arranged by organisations such as
the Social Forum and Zimbabwe National Network of People Living With HIV and
Aids (ZNPP+). The Global Aids Week of Action is commemorated each year from
20-25 May. The week provides an opportunity for activists to unite, generate
political pressure and demand a stronger response to HIV and Aids from their
respective governments.

The Global Aids week began with the International Aids Candlelight
Memorial Day. On this day activists light candles in recognition and memory
of those who have died of Aids around the world.

And, if the government of Zimbabwe fails to heed these activists' call
for action, then PLWAs like Rita and Samuel could be living on borrowed

Speaking at the commemorations on Wednesday, Sebastian Chinhaire,
ZNNP+ provincial chairperson for Harare province, called for greater
commitment by the government and the National Aids Council to make available
treatment to hundreds of
PLWAs in need of ARVs.

Chinhaire said in the run-up to the 2008 March elections PLWAs would
be looking to vote for a political party with the most attractive package
that aims to mitigate the effects of the HIV and Aids. His fellow activists
cheered as the tough-talking Chinhaire called for the government to ease the
plight of people living with HIV and Aids:

"We want access to treatment, ARVs (first, second line and third line
combinations, all of them), we want reasonably priced antibiotics to treat
opportunistic infections that flood our weak immune systems. We want
paediatric formulations for children who are infected.

"Many of us have lost our jobs because of ill-health; we want to
improve the quality of our lives. We must be given an opportunity to start
our own income-generating projects.We are going to vote for a party that
sympathises and feels our pain."

Standing next to Rita and Samuel as they raised their hands and joined
the clapping, whistling and ululation I felt deeply moved. Their voices
echoed with so much hope that it was hard to believe. Their frail and weak
bodies surprisingly let out so much energy that I was left cursing myself,
feeling the shame of a system that has betrayed brave men and women.

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'Political crisis causing donor fatigue'

Zim Standard

  By Bertha Shoko

The United Nations Children's Fund (Unicef) last week urged Western
donors to ignore political problems in Zimbabwe and support the health,
nutrition and education programmes in the country. Standardhealth
understands that after Unicef's appeal for US$13.8 million six months ago,
only US$2,6 million had been received.

This donor fatigue, according to Unicef, had left many of its
program-mes grossly underfunded; which the organisation believes could be
political. Zimbabwe is presently going through its worst economic and
political crisis since independence in 1980.

This economic meltdown has been largely blamed on the
maladministration of the government of President Robert Mugabe.

As the economic and political situation worsens, statistics from the
child rights organisation show that nearly one in three children has stunted
growth as a result of malnutrition.

This situation, according to Unicef is the "worst since 1988".

Speaking at a news briefing after meeting officials from donor
countries, Unicef deputy representative in Zimbabwe, Roeland Monasch, urged
donors not to punish children because of the political crisis in the
country. Monasch was quoted by international media organisations as saying:
"The message we are trying to convey is that, yes, there is a standoff
between the government of Zimbabwe and several parties inside and outside,
but the children should not suffer.

"If you are concerned, for whatever reason, about channelling money
through the government, as Unicef we are able to reach the children."

James Elder, Unicef spokesperson in Zimbabwe reiterated Monasch's
statements. "Zimbabwean people don't understand why they're living in a very
difficult political and economic situation and yet through no fault of their
own they're being punished by the rest of the world who seem to be
abandoning them," he said.

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Zvobgo's son bares soul over estate

Zim Standard

  THE son of the late veteran politician,
Eddison Zvobgo, born out of wedlock, last week described how he and the
other children like him, were struggling to survive after being shut out of
a thriving family business empire. Jonas (43), is the eldest son of the
founding member of Zanu PF, who died in 2003.

Jonas told The Standard he was selling vegetables to survive, yet the
High Court had ruled that he and his siblings, Esther,Tendai and Farai were
legitimate beneficiaries of their father's vast business empire.

The four should be sharing Zvobgo's estate with Eddison, Kerina and
Tsungi,Zvobgo's offspring with his late wife, Julia.

Zvobgo held a 44% stake in Zvobgo Holdings which runs hotels and other

But almost three years after Zvobgo's death, the children born out of
wedlock are yet to receive their fair share of the estate. The business
empire is being run by Eddison Jnr. He has been accused of refusing to
produce audited financial statements covering a three-year period.

The charge is made in a court application filed in the High Court by
the executor of the estate, Cecil Madondo,three weeks ago. Madondo is asking
the court to compel Eddison Jnr to produce the information to enable him to
make a second distribution of the estate.

In the first distribution of the estate conducted by Zvobgo in his
individual capacity, each of the seven children received $18 million in
October last year.

Some of the children used the money to complete their studies.

The second distribution involves billions of dollars,The Standard was

Eddison Jnr claimed two weeks ago that the executor had withdrawn his
application,but an official at the executor's office insisted the
application remained in the courts.

Jonas said last week he grew up in the Zvobgo family in Chisipite,
Harare, and later joined the army.

He then went to the United Kingdom to study automotive engineering,
funded by his father.

Following his father's death, he raised enough money to fight the
legal battle which ended successfully as he and his siblings were declared
beneficiaries of the Zvobgo estate.

He returned in December hoping to get his share of the estate.

"I don't know why there is this fear to produce the audited
statements. We don't know why but what I can say is that things are bad. We
are struggling to survive, I sell onions to survive.

The other children need money for their studies.

They too are struggling,even for their upkeep.

"We are not looking for a favour from Zvobgo Holdings.

We want our shares so that we can do our own thing," said Jonas from
Bulawayo where he is staying.

The other beneficiary, Esther (21) is at the Midlands State
University, completing her degree programme.

Tendai (24) is about to graduate in Cape Town with a law degree, while
Farai (21) is pursuing studies in Canada.

Tendai and Esther both last week declined to comment on the estate

A close family relative said, while he was alive,Zvobgo granted the
children their every wish.

Things changed when he fell ill and seemed to deteriorate after his

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ZCTU calls strike as fuel price shoots up 40%

Zim Standard


AS the price of a litre of petrol shot up to $45 000 last week, the
powerful Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions announced it would call for
another nationwide strike in July if workers' wages were not raised to match
inflation 3 700%, as of last week.

Lovemore Matombo, the ZCTU president, said the militant body would
demand salaries linked to inflation,the highest in the world.

"We will organise a two-day job action in July unless the salaries are
linked to inflation," Matombo said.Last year, as he and other ZCTU leaders
prepared to stage a protest march against declining living standards,they
were seriously "bashed" by State security agents.

Earlier this year, the ZCTU staged a strike in protest at poor wages
and the continuing economic decline,which was only partly successful.

Last week, urban transport operators responded to the 40% increase in
the fuel price by raising their fares by between 30% and 100%.It now costs
between $10 000 and $15 000 for a single trip into the Harare central
business district (CBD) from most residential areas.

But commuters from Chitungwiza,25km from the city, now fork out $20
000 a single trip and need $880 000 a month for transport alone.

Other commuting workers from suburbs nearer Harare now require $440
000 a month for transport alone.

With 80% of the country's workforce reportedly earning between $350
000 and $500 000 a month, this means the majority of the workers will be
working to sustain their transport costs to work alone.

The poverty datum line now tops $1,7 million, according to the
Consumer Council of Zimbabwe.

Abel Munesu of Glen View said transport costs alone now consume most
of his monthly salary of $512 000 a month.

"For the whole month, I now need $440 000 for transport alone. It
means I will be left with $72 000 for food,rent, school fees and other basic
needs," said Munesu, who works for a printing company in Harare.

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Prayers held for 'tsunami' victims

Zim Standard


BULAWAYO - Churches in Bulawayo yesterday commemorated the second
anniversary of government's widely condemned Operation Murambatsvina, which
left close to one million people homeless.

Victims of the "clean up operation", nicknamed "The tsunami", gave
moving testimonies of their plight, saying the winter season during which
temperatures drop drastically, had once again found most of them without

The commemoration held at the Baptist Church in the city centre was
attended by Christians from all denominations.

They prayed for divine intervention in the aftermath of the crisis
which left nearly a million people homeless and affected the livelihoods of
1.2 million others.

After destroying what it called illegal structures, the government
embarked on Operation Garikai, ostensibly to provide shelter to the victims
but most of the houses that were built under the programme were given to
Zanu PF officials and civil servants.

Juliet Sihlangu, mother of three, is a vendor. She said the past two
years had been "very difficult" for her family as they had failed to secure

"We still have no accommodation and life is very tough," Sihlangu
said. "We have to play hide and seek with the police as we sell our produce,
since we have no alternative source of income."

Pastor Raymond Motsi,the spokesperson for the organisers of the
commemoration,said the churches had carried the major burden of assisting
the victims, with little assistance from the government.

"We have been in touch with these people from the beginning,assisting
them with food, projects and accommodation," he said. "Their situation
continues to deteriorate and most of them are worse off than when this
operation was carried out because they have failed to rebuild their lives."

A recent report by Human Rights watchdog, Amnesty International,
marking the second anniversary of the operation noted that the plight of the
victims was worsening due to the government's failure to provide decent

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With no teachers schools fail to open for second term

Zim Standard


BULAWAYO - Three schools in Mangwe and Bulilima districts of
Matabeleland South are yet to open for the second term as most of their
teachers have skipped the border into South Africa.

Others are said to have failed to turn up on opening day, claiming
they had no money to travel to the remote districts where their schools are

A number of schools in Bulawayo and the two Matabeleland provinces
have been crippled by a massive teacher exodus amid revelations that most of
them now concentrate on providing tuition to examination classes to mitigate
their financial crisis.But reports that Butshe secondary

school and Tsukulu and Mambale primary schools in Bulilima and Mangwe
respectiverly have remained closed because of a teacher shortage indicate
the situation has reached crisis levels.

Civil servants, including teachers have reportedly rejected a 200% pay
increase offered by the government, citing galloping inflation which
breached world record levels a long time ago.

This comes a few weeks after the government was forced to review
upwards allowances for nurses following complaints by the Minister of Health
and Child Welfare, David Parirenyatwa that the health workers were no longer
reporting for duty because they could not afford bus fare.

On 18 May education officers visiting Mambale primary school to assess
the situation were reportedly chased away by angry parents.

"The headmaster invited the education officers from Plumtree to come
and assess the situation for themselves, but after they suggested they would
look into the matter, the angry parents chased them away," said one parent.

Matabeleland South provincial education director, Sipho Khumalo was
not immediately available for comment and the Minister of Education, Sport
and Culture, Aeneas Chigwedere said he had not received any report about the

But he acknowledged that teachers were running away from remote
schools "because of poor living conditions, lack of safe drinking water
sources and transport."

"We have no shortage of teachers as a country but we have problems
with teachers who are running away from remote areas," said Chigwedere.

According to a recent survey by the Progressive Teachers' Union
(PTUZ), 4 500 teachers had left the country between January and April,
fleeing from low salaries and poor working conditions.

Most of them crossed the border into South Africa and Botswana,where
they are even prepared to do menial jobs. Contrary to Chigwedere's
assertion, even schools in urban areas have been affected by the staff

Teachers earn $500 000 a month but the Consumer Council of Zimbabwe
estimates that a family of five now needs $1.7 million a month to survive.

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Farmers report new farm invasions

Zim Standard

  ZIMBABWE's white commercial farmers have
reported an increase in invasions on their farms ahead of a deadline for
them to leave land due to be taken by President Robert Mugabe's government.

Mugabe's government,which went on a drive to acquire white-held land
to resettle landless blacks in 2000, has given hundreds of white farmers
until August to vacate the farms.

White commercial farmers and blacks illegally occupying some farms
were given deadlines between July and August to leave.

The Commercial Farmers' Union (CFU), which represents the interests of
most of Zimbabwe's remaining white farmers,says its members had reported new
invasions ahead of the deadline.

"There has been an increase in purported new beneficiaries coming into
farms demanding that farmers leave immediately, leaving equipment, which is
contrary to ongoing court proceedings and guidelines

issued by the ministry," CFU spokeswoman Emily Crookes said.

Crookes said the government's district land committees were going
around farms "conducting inventories of crops and equipment"."We hope this
will lead to the issuance of offer letters to farmers who applied for land
many, many months ago."

Mugabe's government has told farmers whose land has been listed to
apply for new land, with allocations being done through offer letters issued
by the lands ministry.

The first wave of farm invasions in 2000 was marked by violence which
left several white farmers dead as veterans of Zimbabwe's liberation war and
Zanu PF supporters moved onto farms in chaotic attacks.

No violent incidents have been reported in the latest round of
invasions.Official figures say between 500 and 600 white farmers remain,
down from about 4 500 when the programme began.

Crookes said although not all white farmers had been given notice of
eviction,disturbances on the farms had hit the sector, with the crucial
winter wheat crop being most affected.

"The planted commercial wheat crop is under 10 000 hectares this year
because of the ongoing disturbances, ZESA power supply problems and less
water in the dams due to the poor rains."

Mugabe's government says Zimbabwe, which has a huge maize deficit
after another poor summer season, faces bread shortages as farmers planted
only 10% of the country's wheat requirements in part because the majority of
new black farmers lacked farming inputs.

Agriculture Permanent Secretary Shadreck Mlambo last week told a
parliamentary committee that only about 8 000 hectares of the targeted 76
000 hectares had been put under wheat ahead of the 31 May planting deadline.

Mugabe defends his land policy, saying it was necessary to redress
colonial imbalances that left 70% of Zimbabwe's prime land in the hands of a
small white minority. - Reuters.

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AirZim to resume flights to Masvingo,Lowveld, Hwange

Zim Standard

  AIR Zimbabwe says it
will resume routes to Masvingo, the Lowveld and Hwange beginning end of May.

The airline suspended services to Masvingo and Buffalo Range in the
Lowveld in the late 1980s when they stopped using the BAe 146 aircraft.

Services to Hwange were suspended in the late 1990s after the
withdrawal of the Fokker 50 from the airline's fleet.

The airline is returning to the routes using its Chinese MA 60 turbo
prop aircraft, promoting a new product called Skylink.

Before and after independence, the Lowveld was serviced by Viscounts,
57-seater turbo prop aircraft known for reliability, hardiness, efficiency
and flexibility.

The airline said the MA60, whose introduction into the Zimbabwe skies
has been dogged by controversy,were just as reliable.

Said Air Zimbabwe: "The 48 and 52-seater MA60s which have been in use
at the airline since May 2005 have proved reliable, cost-effective and ideal
for short-haul operations on domestic and regional routes".

The airline says a combination of dwindling passenger figures and
unmanageable maintenance and operational costs for the aircraft resulted  in
the suspension of services.

Air Zimbabwe says the decision to re-open the routes came with the
realisation that tourism was improving.

"Situations are changing. Visitor figures to Zimbabwe have been
improving over the past year. The Zimbabwe Tourism Authority and the tourism
industry in general are very optimistic that tourism is turning a corner.

"There is also the 2010 World Cup tournament in South Africa, which
offers tremendous opportunity for our industry and the country at large.

Skylink is the product we expect to revive the potential of tourism in
Masvingo province," the airline said.

The Lowveld and Masvingo routes will provide the much-awaited gateway
to the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park (GLTP) famed for its inaccessibility
and bad transport network.

Stakeholders in the tourism industry have in the past expressed
concern over the poor transport network to the GLTP and recommended that
stakeholders expedite improving the road network to attract investors.

Air Zimbabwe says it expects Skylink to link up the country's major
tourist destinations with the exception of the Eastern Highlands, where the
city of Mutare will later in the year join up with Buffalo Range and
Masvingo. Reminiscent of the airline's Flame Lily tourist package, Skylink
will link up the Lowveld, Masvingo, Harare, Kariba,Hwange,Vic Falls and
Bulawayo. - Our Staff.

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Zimbabwe fights ivory trade ban

Zim Standard

Jennifer Dube

THE Parks and Wildlife Management Authority has mounted a vigorous
campaign to counter a drive which could lead to Zimbabwe facing a 20-year
ban in ivory trade.

The management's campaign includes the compilation of a document
detailing Zimbabwe's elephant situation, the target of criticism that the
country has mismanaged its jumbo population.

Leading the attack are Kenya and Mali, which have so far published
proposals for a ban on ivory trade in Zimbabwe.

The two African countries are expected to present their proposals at
this year's Convention of International Trade Endangered Species of Wild
Fauna and Flora (Cites) meeting in The Netherlands in June.

Kenya has argued that if Zimbabwe is allowed to trade in raw and
finished ivory, this could increase elephant poaching in the country.

In an interview, parks spokesperson Retired Major Edward Mbewe said
the authority on Wednesday lodged the document with the Minister of the
Environment and Tourism, Francis Nhema.

The document is to be distributed to a number of ambassadors in the

"We are working on an interactive electronic CD and a DVD on the same
document," said Mbewe.

"The DVD will be flighted on national television early next (this)
week and we hope other international TV stations will screen something on
the situation as they came here and took some pictures."

Mbewe said the document focused on the value of elephant trophy
hunting, the biological status of elephants and elephant ivory accumulation
and disposal in the country.

"In the document, we are basically explaining such things as how we
collect and dispose of our ivory and also state the type of ivory we
collect, for the embassies to see our security measures.

"The document supports our argument against the proposal (to ban ivory
trade in the country).

We want everyone in and outside the country to know the story behind
the Zimbabwe elephant situation.

We are saying Zimbabwe has no case to answer as far as trading in
ivory is concerned."

Mbewe said there was enough evidence for Zimbabwe to continue with
trade in ivory.

"There are so many problems the country is facing due to the large
elephant population. There is an increase in cases of people being trampled
to death by

elephants. In some areas the elephants have totally destroyed crops
and in others people cannot go to the pastures with their livestock because
of fear of the elephants.

The elephant herd has grown so big it has become difficult to
 contain," he said.

Zimbabwe and the other Southern African Development Community (Sadc)
countries have held a series of workshops and meetings to work out
strategies against the ban since Mali and Kenya's proposal last March.

Mbewe said two workshops were held in Botswana, one in South Africa
during Indaba and a fundraising dinner for the compilation of the document
was held in Zimbabwe recently.

"We are doing all we can to defend ourselves. Apart from the document,
the minister (Nhema) together with our director of conservation and our
director general are talking one-on-one with the ambassadors. We hope they
will disseminate the information to their respective countries.

"The document will also be distributed to delegates at The Hague come
3-15 June.

We have also talked to several non-governmental organisations which
have a bias towards conservation and we are glad to say that they approve of
our security measures as far as ivory trade is concerned," he said.

Mbewe said they had also sought the support of World Wildlife Fund
(WWF), International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN),Africa for
Wildlife Foundation and Traffic among others.

"Late last year, the Cites inspectorate was here to inspect how we
conduct trade and they concluded that our security measures were tight.

"We thus wonder if Kenya and Mali really did their homework before
making the proposal. We hope Cites will not take these countries' wrong
route since by so doing,they would have rewarded people who have failed in
conservation and punished those who have succeeded over the years," Mbewe

He said his authority would like to see Zimbabwe continuing to trade
locally as this benefited local communities.

"Some of the proceeds from ivory trade are ploughed back into the
communities and have been of significance in as far as poverty alleviation
is concerned. If the proposal sails through, a lot of people will be
affected in such areas as employment," he said.

It is estimated that Zimbabwe could lose about US$15 million a year if
the Kenya-Mali proposal was implemented.

Zimbabwe has the largest annual hunting quota of 500 elephants in the
world and has been selling raw and worked ivory over the years as it is a
member of Cites.

Of the 500 elephants, on average,an elephant costs US$30 000 for a
21-day hunt and this amounts to about 75% of parks revenue.

Zimbabwe has at least 120 000 elephants with an annual mortality rate
of 5%.

Cites is a United Nations body,based in Geneva, Switzerland,and
currently has a membership of 169 countries.

Cites is beneficial to member countries as they can regulate wildlife
trade and help protect endangered species from trade.

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Africa's support should be for the people, not rogue regimes

Zim Standard


RECENTLY the government of Zimbabwe has achieved what it regards as
spectacular victories on the diplomatic front. At the United Nations,
Francis Nhema, the Minister of Environment and Tourism, was named the new
chairman of the UN Commission on Sustainable Development.

In Shanghai, at a meeting of the Chinese government and the African
Development Bank (ADB), a Zimbabwean was named to represent the Southern
Africa Development Community (Sadc) at its headquarters in Abidjan.

Midweek the government was honoured with the vice-chairmanship of the
Common Market for East and Central Africa (Comesa).

It could only score such successes with the support of the African
bloc. None of these posts will ultimately change the direction of world
trade or improve relations between Africa and the rest of the world, but for
Zimbabwe they are important, if symbolic, victories.

It is essential, nevertheless, to point out that if some members of
the African bloc view these strides on behalf of Zimbabwe as constituting
more notches in their battle against the West's hegemony then they need to
be warned that there will be a heavy price to pay. It is called the
contamination effect.

Zimbabwe is suffering the worst economic meltdown experienced in 27
years of independence under Zanu PF and President Robert Mugabe.

Inflation is the highest in the world; unemployment is probably the
worst in Africa except for countries plagued by civil war - Sudan, Somalia
and the DRC.

Even the government and its supporters now concede, grudgingly, that
the health and educational systems are in danger of total collapse.

But the deterioration of human rights is as serious as in the other
sectors. There have been abductions, political killings and brutal beatings
of government's opponents. An opposition MP was battered to within an inch
of his life at Harare International Airport in March - a shocking
advertisement for a country that expects benefits from the 2010 World Cup.

There have been other serious cases of "bashing" as President Mugabe
calls it. Yet, so far, the perpetrators have not been arrested or even

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There is a danger of being inured

Zim Standard

  sundayopinion by Bill Saidi

SOME of the reaction to our front page picture of the battered,
bruised "Joan of Arc" of the legal fraternity, Beatrice Mtetwa, reminded me
of the initial inertia with which Africans reacted to the Federation when it
was imposed in 1953.

The word I prefer to use is "inured" - to be accustomed to, to be
habituated. We are slowly being habituated to the gratuitous violence
against unarmed civilians by the government of President Robert Mugabe.

The people of Iraq, Lebanon, Palestine and Israel, Somalia, Darfur in
Sudan and the DRC, may have all become so accustomed to death, you can
hardly expect them to exclaim "My God!" at the sight of a legless, armless,
headless corpse on the street, unless it is that of their relative or

Zimbabwe has not descended to those depths of carnage. But it's early
days yet.

The first press conference I covered as a cadet reporter was in 1957,
held by Lord Home, then a very big noise in the Tory government of Harold

It was in a vast conference room of what is now called Munhumutapa

Lord Home was later to become prime minister Sir Alec Douglas-Home.
Under an arcane British custom the House of Commons is for the "common
people", the House of Lords for the "lords". It wouldn't be cricket for a
"lord" to sit with the commoners, even as prime minister.

I was being tutored by a senior reporter of The African Daily News.

Lord Home must have spoken about Federation. It was four years old
then, and had already got up the nose of most of the Africans of the three
countries, on which it had been virtually foisted.

But they had to lump it until it was dissolved in 1963. My feeling, in
retrospect, is that we became inured of all the grief that federation caused
us. We became accustomed to it and its political domination by the racist
government of Southern Rhodesia.

The first federal prime minister was Lord Malvern who, as Sir Godfrey
Huggins, was once prime minister of Southern Rhodesia. Huggins was really
bad news for most Africans; some of us thought he was the Dr Malan of the
country. In South Africa Malan was such a racist a song about him had this
line: Doctor Malan ulemthetho enzima (Dr Malan has hard laws).

But for 10 years, the Federation was allowed to run its course. The
last prime minister was a virtual clone of Huggins: Roy Welensky, a former
railway man and boxer from Northern Rhodesia.

It was in 1959 that the Africans got so thoroughly fed up with the
Federation, they just literally blew their tops. After the state of
emergency was declared in all three territories, the British knew the
Federation would not last, not as long as the Africans believed its primary
mission was to deny them all their rights, perpetually.

I thought of all this after Mtetwa's photograph appeared in the paper.

There were such comments, as "This is obscene!" while others
spluttered almost incoherently "Has she no shame?" or "How could her husband
allow her to make such a public spectacle of herself?"

The shock, amazingly, was not at the brutality of the assault on this
woman, but rather on why she would "debase" herself by letting a perfect
stranger - the photographer - take a picture of her deshabille.

Beatrice is probably scarred for life, if not physically then
definitely spiritually and psychologically.

Zimbabweans may have witnessed unspeakable acts of brutality during
the 27 years that Zanu PF has been in power.

Yet this cannot have numbed their senses to the extent of reacting,
not with revulsion at the sight of a woman brutalised so savagely, but with
the typical male chauvinistic indignation of a woman baring all to
"titillate" the male of the species, like a stripper.

"Where are the real men in Parliament?" one woman asked, apropos of
the lack of indignation at the assault on this wisp of a woman. "Perhaps
Margaret Dongo was right, after all. Perhaps there are only somebody's wives
in Parliament."

Which must make us all wonder at the loud silence, not only of the men
and women in Parliament and elsewhere, but of the people at large.

Gift Tandare was killed by the police, according to all the reliable
accounts of the events of 11 March. Tandare was given a
"government-assisted" burial - again according to all the reliable accounts
of that bizarre episode.

Have we become so habituated to such weird twists of role-changing we
are no longer stirred to protest?

It would seem that only a spectacle as gory as the 1989 carnage on
Beijing's Tiananmen Square would rouse us from a stupor of inurement.

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Things fall apart at University of Zimbabwe

Zim Standard

  sunday opinion by Trevor Murai

MOST of us now find it repugnant to expend time and ink in a
non-productive exercise of capturing and articulating the ideological
debates surrounding the socio-political and economic sewage that University
of Zimbabwe (UZ) finds itself in.

However the culture of silence and inaction, within which we are
encased, as history abounds with evidence, can never change the situation. I
have a role to play, that of informing the world about the truth, of
reflecting accurately to millions of people in the world the real economic
and social sewage that characterises UZ and of contributing to knowledge.

This letter proffers some pragmatic solutions that can only be
accomplished through consolidated efforts by all stakeholders.

It costs Z$4 000 to commute from town to the UZ. Being a non-resident
student this makes the lives of more than 8 000 commuting students an
unbearable nightmare.

Never think that students are only under physical surveillance. The
relative stability and peace among students that saw the Vice-Chancellor
Professor Levi Nyagura being accorded Manager of the Year award ought to be
attributed to intricate control mechanisms meted out to students. There is a
draconian, repressive and oppressive Ordinance 30 that fosters docility and
passivity among students because any form of expression may be interpreted
as violation of the provisions of the ordinance.

Students are reluctant to express their genuine grievances due to fear
of expulsion and suspension. The Student Executive Council is rendered
dysfunctional and irrelevant due to these control mechanisms with its
radical approach to issues. Further the SRC has been systematically stripped
of its capacity to fundraise for student mobilisation by the administration.
The media has also not done the SRC any good by disregarding adequate
coverage of the student movement.

However the lecturers are not as divided, fragmented, docile and
passive as the students. They are a vibrant lot, led by the Association of
University Teachers (AUT). However three of the AUT members including its
president are suspended because of the on-going strike action.

The Labour court had instructed AUT and the University to engage in
negotiations and gave the 30 April 2007 as the deadline. However, the two
parties are not negotiating in good faith and this is to the detriment of
students. Julius Nyerere, the celebrated pan-Africanist, coined the famous
adage: "When elephants fight it is the grass that suffers and when they make
love it is again the grass that suffers." In this case students are the
grass. Now over two months have elapsed since the commencement of the strike
action and students continue to suffer.

Students at the university fully sympathise with the plight of the
lecturers and believe that the job action is most noble and prudent thing to
do under the circumstances.

The effects of the kind of meals proffered by catering services have
far-reaching repercussions in as far as the general health and academic
performance of students is concerned. The health of the students is
deteriorating, malnutrition is looming, and students are getting thinner and
saliva-flecked mouths are a common feature.

According to a survey I conducted, out of a total of 36 toilet
chambers in New Complex One (NC1) hostel only three were functional - but
extremely disgusting with dirt. In other male hostels that I visited the
situation is almost the same. Bathing rooms are flooding and water flows
along the corridors. Corridors stink with the odour coming from the
ablutions. The ablution floors are seldom dry.

The number of cleaners should be increased from the current average of
three per hostel to six. The workload per worker is simply unbearable. There
is need for proper cleaning equipment such as brooms, disinfectants and
gloves for use by cleaners.

The salaries of cleaners and other incentives and benefits should be
revised upwards. Allocation of toilet paper to resident students should be
re-introduced. I have observed sadly that students throw a whole newspaper
centre spread into the toilet. Students genuinely have no capacity to
purchase toilet paper.

Water pressure in some hostels, for example New Hall, should be
improved. Due to lack of adequate pressure water does not get into the
cistern tanks on the first and second floor in some hostels. The authorities
should ensure that necessary maintenance and repairs are carried out.
Further the erratic water supply should be rationalised.

Most of the toilets and corridors lack adequate lighting or have no
lights at all. Stair cases are the worst affected.

Corridor garbage bins should be empted on a regular basis. Fire might
start from the mountains of papers that normally get to the extent of
submerging the bins.

The collection of sanitary pads bins in female hostels should be
improved. What is happening currently is disappointing especially the sight
and odour of the disposed sanitary pads that spill onto the floors.

To curb squatting efforts should be made to acquire more buses for
regular use by non-resident students at subsidised costs. I also challenge
the government to bring back the pay outs. It is utter social
irresponsibility on the part of the government to collect taxes and preside
over the fees charged at UZ whilst it fails to subsidise operational costs
and grant meaningful loan facilities to the majority of students.

The Capernaum Trust, Women in Business and Management, Student
Solidarity Trust, Churches, British Tobacco Company, Catholic Commission for
Justice and Peace and other such organisations and individuals should be
commended for their continued financial and material support to a number of
needy students.

*Trevor Murai is Acting Vice-President UZ Student Representative
Council Treasurer General UZ SEC.

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Zim Standard Letters

Opposition need to come up with effective strategies for 2008

WHEN one looks back at the tail end of events leading up to Zimbabwe's
Independence, there was something of a coming together that occurred in the
late 1970s - such as the intensification of the war by ZANLA forces from
Mozambique and the CHOGM of 1979.

It is also difficult to ignore the impact that a few, key individuals
can make on world events, as exemplified by the catalytic roles played by
people like Andrew Young at the United Nations, Margaret Thatcher, and key
Frontline States leaders such as Presidents Julius Nyerere and Samora

As we entered the new millennium, it became clearer and clearer that
we had handed over the reins of power to a ruthless tyrant who was not
prepared to get off our backs.

If one now tries to look into the crystal ball, President Robert
Mugabe's regime seems secure for the immediate future from
2007-8 but one senses that we are approaching a watershed. Zimbabwe's
acce-lerating economic decline coupled with failure of the fast-track
resettlement programme, as well as national and international exposure of
Muga-be's near total disregard for Zimbabweans' human and political rights
(as exemplified by Murambatsvina and the recent brutal repression of the
opposition and lawyers) have all begun to overshadow Mugabe's effective
exploitation of the land question.

Another useful propaganda platform, world disaffection with the
Bush/Blair partnership initiatives on Zimbabwe due to their roles in Iraq is
likely to change with the departure of Blair and then Bush not long

With the upcoming departure of President Thabo Mbeki following on that
of Presidents Joaquim Chissano in Mozambique and Benjamin Mkapa in Tanzania,
we will see a very different breed of leaders in SADC and the region -
particularly with respect to personal relationships with Mugabe.

It is a pity that the current and refreshing chairmanship of the AU by
President John Kufuor of Ghana could not have been delayed by a year.

Should we see the likes of Tokyo Sexwale taking over in South Africa,
we may soon see the critical mass of leaders in place after 2009, analogous
to what we saw in 1979.

Given these scenarios,one is forced to consider what the best
strategies are for opposition forces, if we are to make the best progress
with our struggle to emancipate ourselves sooner rather than later. One
obvious question is what to do about the 2008 elections.

Based on our past experiences, most would agree that free and fair
elections are virtually impossible under Mugabe. Recent events in Nigeria
will have encouraged this regime; if any encouragement was ever needed.
Through its control of the leadership of the ZBC, RBZ, police, CIO and army
among others, this regime remains, on the surface, strong. Before any "final
push" can even be considered, this regime will need to be weakened further,
blow by blow.

Elections in 2008 should be seen as an opportunity and not a threat;
an opportunity to weaken this regime further, as we approach the likely
watershed that lies from 2009 onwards. These elections will force Mugabe to
continue to oversee the destruction of our currency and economy as he clears
a path to Election Day.

The printing presses under the control of our eager, central banker
must be allowed to print on, further fuelling inflation, the damage to the
economy itself is incalculable adding to the continued suffering of the man
on the street and village path? If one wants to make an omelette, one has to
break eggs. It is from this perspective that strategies such as stay-aways
versus their economic impact or demonstrations versus personal safety must
also be seen in this light. The economy will recover fast one day, as did
agriculture after the liberation war of the 70s.

Many Zimbabweans seem to want God to whisk this regime away without us
enduring any pain or suffering. This is not possible. Freedom has never been
free. And we would have, again, learnt nothing. There should be no talk of
pulling out of the elections . . . not yet and certainly not during 2007.

B Mhlanga


 Mugabe owes rural folks apology for patronising remarks
WITH all due respect, President Robert Mugabe was wrong in patronising
rural people when he claimed they were more tolerant to hardships than urban
people. These are hardships caused by his mishandling of affairs of state.
Mugabe made these claims during a radio/TV broadcast recently.

The President is now really out of touch with reality. How can rural
people be tolerant of hardships when they are as human as the next person in
the country? The hardships faced by urban people are just as bad for rural
people if not worse. Can rural people tolerate hunger and poverty?

The President owes the rural people an apology for his utterances. If
he hopes to divide Zimbabweans as Ian Smith did then he is terribly
mistaken. His failed governance has affected everybody in the country and no
one can tolerate that. Rural people should not be used to prop up a failed
leader and his government. The President must be totally oblivious of the
fact that the assumed tolerance of rural people towards hardships is due to
the support given to them by urban workers.

Zimbabweans should unite and remove the current government from power
so that the country can start afresh and develop in prosperity for
everybody. Disgruntled Zanu PF members should be encouraged to join hands
with other concerned forces to form a united front that will bring change
for the better.

Without change the country will continue in its downward spiral.

The irony of the President's utterances is that the rural people are
now living on one meagre meal a day. This is not because the rural people
are tolerant but it is because they can no longer afford to buy food even if
they can find it in shops. Their children can no longer attend school
because of skyrocketing school fees. Pregnancies among rural school children
are alarmingly high because young girls have nothing to do except
patronising beer halls at growth points.

No Mr President, rural people are not tolerant to hardships but they
are silently desperate because of your governance.

Time for change


 The problem with Africans is their fear of the leadership
I am writing this letter in response to Bill Saidi's article - Africa
must fast-track itself to progress.

Your reasoning and comparison of Africa with Europe is wrong.

That Europe has a head start of "a few" thousand years is not correct.
Your whole reasoning is based upon the idea that Europeans are now a
civilised and peaceful people who respect their leaders, so the European
leaders can respect their citizens. Completely wrong. European leaders
respect the democratic institutions simply because they fear their subjects.
Democracy emerged as a formal way of organising the state in ancient Greece.
The history of Greece is one of many wars,bloodshed, and rebellions. Later
the Romans would adopt the same system.

Roman history is also very bloody and littered with uprisings,
executions, battles, wars. At that time the Celts had an unwritten but
existing democracy. Same story: aggression, war, etc. In the Middle Ages the
Magna Charta was signed in England. In fact, the king had no option: it was
that or . . . war with his own barons. The French revolution was triggered
by three consecutive crop failures.

The French were hungry and someone would pay for that. They didn't
blame the weather nor  "sanctions". They blamed their own aristocracy.

Democracy was invented to canalize all that aggression. The Greeks as
well as the Romans killed many of their leaders. One step too far, one step
too close to absolute dictatorship and the local population burst in

Such a rebellion more than once proved to be unstoppable. The result
was always similar: widespread destruction of the possessions of the rich
upper-class and many dead. Implementing democracy had as a purpose to
prevent all that. So the upper-class could not always be blamed for
mismanagement. The people chose their leaders, so when things went wrong,
the population could only blame itself. Without democracy, the problems are
stockpiled until a bloody revolution destroys the complete country.

Europeans are very well aware of that. They tend to react before it
comes so far, by turning against their own leaders. Most of them do not want
to lose what they worked for. By contrast, I have the impression that the
African populations wait too long.

Europeans are quick to rise against whatever or whoever they don't
like. And if they are not allowed to express their feelings in a democratic
way, then they take up weapons. They are prepared to die for their ideas.

The problem in Africa is that the black Africans are way too tolerant,
especially towards their own leaders. This was the very reason why Africans
were imported as slaves into the USA.

They allow their masters, leaders to exploit them. They allow their
governments to build armies to repress them, to keep them poor and stupid.

Michael Goormachtigh,


 Appetite for diplomats?
IN 2005 a Japanese diplomat was attacked and killed by lions at the
Lion and Cheetah Park.

Recently an Australian diplomat was attacked and had to be
hospitalised in South Africa. Why do these animals seem to like attacking

It is advisable for visitors to view these creatures while they are in
their fences. There should never be a chance for contact with them.

I visited the Lion and Cheetah Park with a group of people. We looked
at these animals while they were in their fences. There were no incidents.

This recent attack must be the last one. People must be content to
view these vicious animals only when a safe fence separates them from the
lions. Never gamble with life by trying to get close to them. They kill.
Life is precious.


Mabelreign, Harare

 Gono, causer not fighter of inflation LAST week alone, the State media
reported that Reserve Bank Governor, Gideon Gono, is to dole out $90 billion
to institutions to manufacture agricultural implements and another $102
billion towards the so called "Operation Maguta".

Apart from the fact that this is money being printed without
corresponding tangible wealth to back it up, the hyper-inflationary effect
of this recklesslessness is incalculable.

But then what can we expect from a man who thinks it is fine to
disregard time-tested rules of economics because those who crafted economics
text books never experienced Zimbabwe's land reform. Of course, no
reasonable person could ever have anticipated such unmitigated chaos!



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