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Bishop Kunonga angers Anglicans

Zim Standard


      HARARE Anglican Bishop Nolbert Kunonga has ordered the closure
of all parishes in Harare today so that members of the church attend his
33rd wedding anniversary, The Standard can reveal.

      The move has caused an uproar among priests and ordinary church
members who accuse the controversial Bishop of "running the church like a
private business".

      Kunonga, who was elected Bishop of Harare Diocese in 2001, last
week, directed the closure of all parishes to enable the celebration of his
wedding anniversary with his wife, Agatha, at the National Sports Stadium

      But angry priests and ordinary members accused Kunonga of "using
Zanu PF tactics" to force them to contribute to the event, which has no
bearing to their livelihood.

      Kunonga, a known Zanu PF apologist, also ordered that the 40
Anglican parishes in Harare raise $500 000 (revalued) each towards the
event, which will also be used to fund-raise for the construction of Bishop
Gaul Theological College in Belvedere, Harare, which trains priests.

      "Every priest will be called upon to announce what has been
donated by his parish, a somewhat thoughtless command to impose upon one's
'guests', and one which may cause embarrassment," said one priest who
requested anonymity.

      Church members have been ordered not to wear their uniforms but
to put on African attire as well as bring numerous gifts.

      The Mothers' Union has been instructed to provide food and
drink, including maize-meal and meat at the ceremony, where television
personality Rebecca Chisamba, will be the best "girl".

      Sources said Chisamba was elected vice-president of the union
because of her closeness to Kunonga's wife.

      But they also pointed out that such a post could only be
occupied by the wife of an ordained priest. Chisamba's husband is not a

      A senior member of the Mothers' Union, who requested anonymity,
yesterday said most ordinary members of the church have resolved not to
attend today's ceremony.

      "But it is difficult for priests to do the same because they
will be victimised. They will either be fired or transferred to churches in
the rural areas and they don't want that. Kunonga is running the Anglican
Church like a private company," said the member.

       Chancellor of the Diocese of Harare, Bob Stumbles, was
suspicious why the anniversary had been combined with the launch of the Gaul
House College fund-raising exercise.

      Stumbles, who has been lawyer for the Harare Diocese for a long
time, said previous fund-raising events for the college by Kunonga led to
allegations of embezzlement.

       "Why must all the churches close their doors and why order
priests and congregations to flock to the party? All legitimately ordained
priests, including bishops, promise to comply with the Canons, Acts and
other laws of the Church," said Stumbles.

      "Bishop Kunonga swore on oath that he would govern the Diocese
of Harare in conformity with all the laws of the church. This includes
encouraging each parish to preach and teach the message of Christ to its
congregation, especially on Sundays. What the Bishop has ordered is
tantamount to a breach of his promise."

      Kunonga is also accused of nepotism, dissolving and dismissing
Diocese members of boards and committees, that had been elected in terms of
the laws of the Church and replacing them with his stooges.

      As a result of the purge, Stumbles said, three dioceses in
Zimbabwe have removed or stopped sending students to the college.

      Kunonga yesterday flatly refused to comment on the matter saying
he would only do so after the wedding anniversary.

      "I have nothing to say, I will only do so after my wedding,"
said Kunonga after The Standard put the allegations to him.

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Mugabe's livestock relocated

Zim Standard

      By Foster Dongozi

      THE First Family has begun moving cattle from its Gushungo Dairy
Farm in Mazowe to President Robert Mugabe's Highfield Farm in Norton after
The Standard revealed that the First Family were multiple farm owners.

      Cattle movement started on Monday in an exercise that will see 1
100 cattle being moved. About 500 are expected to remain.

      The relocation of the cattle follows reports of the Mugabe
family's ownership of more than one farm and may be part of efforts to avert
what could be a potentially embarrassing public relations disaster.

      In addition to Gushungo Farm, the First Lady is in charge at
Iron Mask Farm, an adjacent property, which she says will benefit
disadvantaged children.

      In another surprising development following publication of the
First Family's multiple farms, equipment at Iron Mask in Mazowe was
auctioned yesterday.

      The equipment included heavy-duty machinery such as combine
harvesters, feed mixers, vehicles, motorcycles, tractors, planters, ripper
frames, maize-shellers, trailers and a host of other equipment.

       President Mugabe set up two commissions of inquiry to
investigate multiple farm ownership and irregularities in the land reform
exercise. He has also publicly criticised multiple farm owners among his
colleagues in Zanu PF.

      Speaking at the National Heroes' Acre last month, the President
said: "We now need to distinguish capable and committed farmers from holders
of land who are mere chancers and who should be made to seek opportunities

      The use of agricultural experts and equipment from the
Agricultural Rural Development Authority (ARDA) by the First Family at their
farms in Mashonaland Central and Mashonaland West at the expense of the
taxpayer has raised eyebrows.

      In some instances, ARDA employees were working for the First
Family but ARDA was paying their salaries.

      ARDA falls under the Ministry of Agriculture where the minister,
Joseph Made, has made it his mission to regularly supervise work at the
First Family's farms. He however, denies allegations of working at the
Mugabe commercial farms.

       Gushungo Farm, previously known as Foyle Farm was bought by ARDA
from Ian Webster for $3.5 billion in 2002 and handed over to the First

      Those close to the Webster family told The Standard that as far
as they knew, not a cent had been paid following the take-over of what was
once one of the best dairy farms in Africa.

      Insiders said under the new arrangement, ARDA would "buy back"
Gushungo Farm to save the family from appearing at variance with government's

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Government unleashes army to raid farmers

Zim Standard

      By Vusumuzi Sifile

      THE government is deploying soldiers to raid farms and force
farmers to surrender their grain to the Grain Marketing Board (GMB), in yet
another desperate attempt to boost dwindling strategic grain reserves, The
Standard has established.

      This comes hard on the heels of Operation Maguta, a
government-sponsored project under which the army was deployed to takeover
farming operations on mostly irrigation schemes.

       The project, which has been described as a flop, produced less
than a quarter of the projected output of 2,3 million tonnes of maize, 90
tonnes of tobacco and 49 500 tonnes of seed maize last season.

      On Friday the GMB, the country's sole marketer and distributor
of maize, announced that soldiers would soon be deployed to compulsorily
search and seize maize from farmers, including villagers.

      "There will be a massive grain collection that would be carried
out in conjunction with members of the Defence order for GMB to
fulfill its strategic commitment of ensuring food security."

      Although the GMB has in the past offered to collect maize from
farmers, the involvement of the army has raised suspicion.

      Defence Forces spokesperson, Colonel Ben Ncube, could not
comment on the issue, referring enquiries to army spokesperson, Simon
Tsatsi, whose mobile was not reachable.

      Former GMB chief executive, Renson Gasela, who is now the
opposition MDC's Secretary for Lands and Agriculture said the move was an
indication of the government's "utmost desperation".

      He said: "This is evil, it's diabolic and a measure of utmost
desperation by the government. It is proof that there is no maize, as we
have said before.

      Why force people to surrender food they are keeping for their
own consumption and for their livestock? It is totally unacceptable."

      Gasela said the move could create problems for livestock
farmers, who usually keep huge volumes of grain as stock feed.

      However, Farmers' Development Trust executive director, Lovegot
Tendengu, said there was no problem with GMB collecting grain from farmers,
as this is part of a contractual obligation.

      It was not immediately possible to establish the position of
farmers' unions on the operation. Zimbabwe Commercial Farmers' Union (ZCFU)
president, Wilson Nyabonda refused to comment.

      However, Simon Pazvakavambwa, the Secretary for Agriculture
said: "There is an application procedure that has to be followed. All
farmers who want to keep grain for their livestock should apply through the
appropriate procedure."

      He however, could not justfy the presence of the army if this
was a normal grain collection exercise.

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Lodgers get raw deal as greedy landlords cash in

Zim Standard


      THE high demand for accommodation in Harare, triggered by
demolition of people's houses under "Operation Murambatsvina" in May last
year, has pushed rentals beyond the reach of ordinary workers as landlords
capitalise on the situation, The Standard has established.

      Tenants interviewed in Harare spoke of harrowing and traumatic
experiences at the hands of their greedy landlords.

      Some of the experiences, they said, are humiliating and
dehumanising but they endure them because they cannot find alternative

      Taking advantage of the crisis, most landlords no longer give
the mandatory three months' notice to tenants to vacate their lodgings.

      Tonderai Mutseyami, who rents two rooms in Harare's Sunningdale
Suburb, spoke of daily abuse from his landlord, a 65-year-old pensioner.

      He said apart from monthly rental increases, he is abused
verbally in front of his children.

      Mutseyami's animosity towards his landlord started when he
bought a four-plate stove a month after he moved into the house. The same
day the stove was delivered, he said, the landlord slipped a note under his
door, announcing a rental increase of almost 100%.

      "I heard him telling his wife that we can afford the new rent
because we had bought a new stove. Then I tried to reason with him but he
told me to pay up or move out," Mutseyami said.

      His rent had been hiked from $4 000 a room to $7 000.

      Apart from paying rent Mutseyami, a father of two, is expected
to contribute 12 rolls of toilet paper, 400 ml of liquid toilet cleaner and
floor polish every month.

       Ironically, the other three tenants at the house are also
required to buy the same items for the landlord every month.

      With the "loot" from the tenants, the landlord now operates a
small stall just outside his home selling the toilet paper and the toilet
cleaner in full view of his struggling tenants.

      "He sells about half of the 48 tissues the four of us buy a
month but we cannot complain because if you do that you will be thrown out,"
said Mutseyami, a lecturer at a private college in Harare.

      Obedience Nhamo, who stays in Kambuzuma high-density suburb,
also spoke of heart-rending experiences. His family, he said, could no
longer afford the luxury of meat or eggs in the presence of his landlord for
fear of impromptu rent increases.

      "One day he saw me with a loaf of bread and he said 'a person
who eats bread everyday these days is a real man'," Nhamo said.

      Two days later, Nhamo's rent was increased from $4 500 to $6 000
a room.

      Abuse of tenants is not confined to Harare's high-density
suburbs. It is equally prevalent in low and middle-density areas, where the
supposedly rich and famous live.

      Fidelis Mudziviri (36), an engineer with a local construction
firm, is not allowed to drive his car into the landlady's premises because
"carbon monoxide from the car" could damage her "beautiful" flowers.

      "Some of these things sound silly but they are happening
everyday. Lodgers are treated like sub-humans but it gives me the zeal to
own a house," said Mudziviri, who stays in Harare's affluent suburb of Mt

      The plight of lodgers in Harare worsened following the
internationally condemned "Operation Murambatsvina" in May last year which
rendered nearly a million families homeless.

      It is estimated that more than three million people desperately
needed accommodation before last year's government-sponsored operation.
There are just over 100 000 people on the council's housing waiting list.

      Sources said the Rent Board, which falls under the Ministry of
Local Government, is inundated with unsolved complaints lodged by tenants
who were unfairly treated during or soon after "Operation Murambatsvina".

      No official comment could be obtained from the Rent Board last

      But Zvikomborero Chadambura, a lawyer with the Zimbabwe Lawyers
for Human Rights urged lodgers to seek recourse from the courts whenever
they believe they have been treated unfairly.

      "We have handled several cases of tenants being thrown out
without notice but I would like to urge people to approach the courts for
justice to prevail," Chadambura said.

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Harare demo denounces Makwavarara

Zim Standard

      BY our staff

      ABOUT 400 residents of Harare yesterday staged a brief
demonstration outside Town House demanding better service delivery, an
accurate billing system and dissolution of the commission running the
affairs of the city.

      The demonstrators bearing placards denouncing the chairperson of
the commission, Sekesai Makwavarara, sang and danced at Town House before

      Last week irate residents from Budiriro and Dzivaresekwa
high-density suburbs in Harare dumped raw sewage and garbage at council
district offices in protest at the deterioration of service delivery in
their areas.

      The police were caught off guard as angry residents carrying
banners, refuse and buckets full of sewage, marched to the district offices
where they dumped the excrement.

      The demonstrators -numbering about 200 in Budiriro and 300 in
Dzivarasekwa- demanded immediate council elections, quick repair of burst
sewer and water pipes as well as regular collection of refuse.

      At Budiriro Shopping Centre, the demonstrators went around the
shopping complex denouncing the commission running the affairs of Harare,
which is headed by political turncoat, Makwavarara.

      Some of the placards read: "Let the District Officer taste it",
"Repair burst sewer pipes" and "We want elections now!"

      The residents also denounced the Minister of Local Government,
Public Works and Urban Development, Ignatious Chombo, who has
reappointedMakwavarara's commission several times despite protests by

      One of the residents who identified herself as Ms Mukandi from
Budiriro said by dumping raw sewage at district offices, residents wanted
council officials to experience what it's like to live with sewage on one's

      "It is a health hazard to live under such unhygienic conditions.
What we are saying is council should regularly collect garbage because we
are paying for the service every month," Mukandi said.

      Combined Harare Residents' Association (CHRA) spokesperson,
Precious Shumba, said the association was determined to see ratepayers
reclaim their city.

      "Residents are saying no to shoddy service by the City Council.
They are saying they cannot continue to see their children swimming in and
drinking raw sewage," said Shumba, who denied that CHRA organised the

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Mixed reactions to ruling on traditional healers

Zim Standard


      RECENT developments allowing licensed traditional healers to
grant official off days to people under their care have received mixed
reactions among employers, most of whom are sceptical, The Standard has

      The Ministry of Health and Child Welfare a fortnight ago said it
gave the traditional healers authority to grant official off days after the
enactment of the Traditional Medical Practitioners' Act and the formation of
the Traditional Healers' Councils.

      But Dr Paul Chimedza, the President of Zimbabwe Medical
Association, said there is need for wider debate and consultation before the
traditional healers are given the authority to give off days.

      "While we have respect for traditional medicine we see a lot of
challenges in the implementation of this whole thing. Issues such as who
qualifies to be a traditional healer needs all stakeholders to come together
and map a way to deal with that," Chimedza said.

      Callisto Jokonya, the President of Confederation of Zimbabwe
Industries said: "As business we go by the law. The Labour Act governs us
and I am not really sure if the authority given to them (traditional
healers) is in the Labour Act. If at all it is not then we do not see any
reason to abide by the directive."

      However, Professor Gordon Chavhunduka, the President of Zimbabwe
National Traditional Healers' Association said the latest development was
not new, and members of his association have always had the powers.

      "We have been having problems with some employers who have
always resisted our recommendations. But for the sake of them not being
duped by dubious people we urge them to approach our office for a register
of licensed traditional healers."

      The Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) said the
development was welcome in the face of skyrocketing medical fees.

      Wellington Chibebe, the secretary general of ZCTU, said: "We
have had members fired for consulting traditional healers because they
cannot afford to see a conventional doctor. This is welcome provided it is
backed by a legal instrument."

      But some business people are finding it hard to weigh the impact
of the directive by the Ministry of Health as indicated by president of the
Employers' Confederation of Zimbabwe, Johnson Manyakara, who switched off
the phone when The Standard contacted him.

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Veld fires: winners and the losers

Zim Standard

      By Special Correspondent

      FABION Zulu (52) an A1 resettlement farmer living 45km north of
Bulawayo is anxious to sell six cattle from his small herd. The source of
his worry is not the timing, but whether he will be able to reduce his
catalogue of debts.

      Last year Zulu earned Z$110 million from cattle sales. This year
he will be lucky if his animals can convince a discerning auctioneer to pay
more for them. Zulu and several of his neighbours lost hectares of pasture
to veld fires, which are a result of uncontrolled burning of the veld.
Matabeleland North province is appropriate for livestock ranching and
wildlife because of its low rainfall and seasonal droughts.

      Wild fires increasingly blight grasslands and woodlands. In
recent years veld fires have become a major environmental and social issue
globally because of their consequences for people and nature. They are a
major cost to the environment, economy and human beings. Yet human
activities are in most cases to blame for the detrimental fires. In as much
as fires may alter the environment, they are an important tool in managing
the environment.

      In Zimbabwe, fires have attracted national interest largely for
being associated with the destruction of vegetation and not for their
benefits to the environment. Could it be that wild fires are misconstrued
but yet are just a useful environmental management tool in the wrong hands?

      There are seemingly many losers and few winners from the current
way in which we use fire. In 2005, seven people, including school children
died after being caught in a blaze. So far in 2006 seven people have died in
veld fires.

      According to the Environmental Management Agency (EMA) in the
Ministry of Environment and Tourism, Zimbabwe wildfires have in 2006 so far
burned up 77 700 hectares of grazing land, forest plantations and gazetted
forests, causing damage to property worth $200 million. According to EMA -
who coordinate and manage fire protection issues in Zimbabwe - veld fires
have burnt about 30 500 hectares of grazing land in Matabeleland North and
South - Zimbabwe's cattle ranching heartland.

      Last year was one of the worst records for veld fire damage in
the country, with 11 504 hectares of grazing land being burned by veld
fires. In 2004, 10 925 hectares of grazing were burnt. In the last two
years, veld fires have burnt over 22 000 hectares of vegetation, which could
have benefited people in terms of grazing, grass and timber.

      "There has been a marked increase in veld fires looking at the
statistics," says Philip Manyaza, the EMA environmental education and
publicity manager, "Already this year more than 77 000 hectares have been
burnt. This is a reason for our concern because some of the causes are quite
nonsensical such as people who smoke out animals or throw a cigarette butt

      Launching the National Fires Protection Strategy this year in
the town of Marondera, 72km south-east of Harare, Environment and Tourism
minister, Francis Nhema said veld fires destroyed commercial timber worth
$1,5 trillion in 2005. This represented 12% of the national plantation
forests and an equivalent of three years' harvest.

      Emeli Sithole, a mother of two lost a whole season of thatching
grass harvested in mid- July. She had stockpiled the bundles by a busy road
as one enters Esigodini, on the highway to Beitbridge. A veld fire swept
through resettlement areas reducing her efforts to ashes and with it
prospects for income. The sale of thatch grass to tourism lodges and
individual builders supplements the income of her husband, a migrant worker
in South Africa.

      On the negative side, veld fires upset the way human beings
interact with other living organisms. On the positive side, veld fires
contribute to the regeneration cycle of plants, trees and grasses. New grass
provides better nutrition to livestock. In addition, controlled burning
contributes to the fertility of the soil before planting even though some
nutrients may evaporate during burning. There is also the argument that fire
is generally cheaper and easier to use than any other land-management tool,
more so if the broader environmental costs are discounted.

      Professor Peter Frost, until recently a Research Associate at
the Institute of Environmental Studies at the University of Zimbabwe says:
"It may be worthwhile noting that the problem is not usually one of the
occurrence of fire but rather a change in the frequency, timing, intensity
and extent of burning that is the problem; in other words, changes in 'fire

      "Fire is an ancient and natural phenomenon in many African
ecosystems. Prior to the emergence of humans and their ancestors (hominims),
fires would have been naturally started by lightning and other sources of
ignition." Veld fires are a common land management tool in a number of
countries in the 14-member Southern Africa Development Community region.
Lack of control of the veld fires has led to losses of biodiversity
especially in protected areas.

      Haka Game Park near Harare nearly lost all its wildlife to
frequent veld fires, which have killed eland, zebra, and gemsbok since the
beginning of the 2006. At Manzou Game Park property worth over Z$100 billion
was lost as a result of a wild fire in July 2006.

      A veld fire suspected to have been started by animal poachers in
the Matopos National Parks in 2002 displaced hundreds of animals and burnt a
large section of the vegetation.

      Border Timber Limited, a subsidiary of Anglo American
Corporation, reported in its six months results to December 2005 undisclosed
financial losses in its Chimanimani Forest caused by arson fires which
damaged 300 hectares of timber. The fires were started by illegal settlers
in the estates. According to the company the fires will affect the
availability of timber in Zimbabwe.

      Harvesting operations at the company's Chimanimani Estates were
disturbed by over 60 reported fires that personnel had to attend to. In 2003
the same company reported a loss of 755 hectares of timber, including 395
hectares of forest to a fire started by an illegal settler in one of the

       "Apparently, media adverts on dangers of veld fires have done so
little to completely deal with the problem. On the other hand, we have not
really seen a significant number of offenders who are being arrested for
starting uncontrolled fires," Minister Nhema, told a stakeholders meeting
called by the ministry last month to discuss how to deal with veld fires. In
Zimbabwe, voices against veld fires are growing and for a good reason: it is
difficult to catch culprits red-handed, harder still to use the law against

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Mugabe spooks spy on church leaders

Zim Standard

      By Foster Dongozi

      PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe's security unit recently prevented two
bishops from the Methodist Church in Zimbabwe from attending a pastors'
conference which coincided with his presence at the conference venue.

      Mugabe's security officers from the close protection unit told
the Methodist Church's secretary, Reverend Simon Madhibha, that Bishop Levee
Kadenge, Bishop Obert Shatai, Reverend Vimbai Mugwidi and Reverend Brian
Mugwidi were a security threat to the ageing Mugabe.

      They ordered the bishops to leave Mkoba Teachers' College, venue
of the Methodist conference.

      Mugabe was in the Midlands capital for the installation of a
Roman Catholic Bishop Martin Munyanyi. He was scheduled to have lunch at
Mkoba Teachers' College.

      Kadenge said he was shocked by the development.

      "What we do not understand is how bishops and pastors can pose a
security threat to Mugabe.

      "We understand that Mugabe is the Head of State and issues of
security and protocol have to be observed but I don't think people should
sink to such ridiculous extents. In any case, the conference venue was hired
long back."

      Madhibha declined to shed light on the issue. "There are some
situations that we as a church have taken care of but I cannot talk to you
on the phone," he said.

      The head of the Methodist Church in Zimbabwe, Bishop Simbarashe
Sithole, said he was not aware that some of his pastors had been ejected
from their conference. The conference is held every year.

      Kadenge is the convenor of the Christian Alliance, an
interdenominational organisation of church leaders which says it wants to
contribute to resolving the Zimbabwean crisis.

      On 29 July the Christian Alliance hosted the Save
Zimbabweconvention which was attended by political parties, and
representatives of labour, students, women's organisations, churches and
civic society.

      It culminated in the adoption of a loose coalition to confront
and topple Zanu PF.

      The other bishop and two ministers are also members of the
Christian Alliance.

      Recently, Kadenge, Pius Wakatama and Reverend Brian Mugwidi were
arrested and detained by police while coming from Bulawayo where they met
bishops from Matabeleland.

      A detective forgot his diary in Kadenge's car.

      The diary had details indicating that the bishop was under
24-hour surveillance and had even been followed when he made a private visit
to Hurungwe.

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Health, Aids experts denounce ruling on traditional healers

Zim Standard

      By Bertha Shoko

      HEALTH experts and Aids activists have warned that the decision
by the government to incorporate herbal medicines and traditional healers
into conventional medical services could create confusion in the sector.

      The government announced a fortnight ago it would incorporate
traditional and herbal medicines for use together with conventional methods
in the treatment of HIV and Aids, but this has met with mixed responses from
health experts and Aids activists.

      The Ministry of Health and Child Welfare made the announcement
during commemorations in Harare to mark African Traditional Medicines' Day.

      But experts say there is insufficient research on how to merge
these two practices without any long-term dangers to an infected person.

      They argue that the effectiveness of some conventional medicines
could be reduced if used simultaneously with certain herbs and traditional
medicines, a situation they warn could harm a patient's health in the long

       Dr Paul Chimedza, the newly elected chairman of the Zimbabwe
Medical Doctor's Association, told The Standard that while his association
does not doubt the effectiveness of some traditional medicines in treating
ailments, the government should invest more money in research that will help
everyone understand the dangers of certain herbs and traditional medicines
when used together with modern medicine.

      Chimedza said: "It is important that people have clear
guidelines to help them administer herbs and other traditional medicines. It
is important also that HIV-positive people have information on the possible
side-effects of each and every herb they are handling. It should be out in
the open.

      "In HIV treatment we know that some herbs and traditional
medicines may interfere with Anti-Retroviral Therapy (ART) and this is where
our concern is. We want medicines whose effectiveness has been proved
scientifically through research. Let's be clear about these medicines before
they are used in HIV management because it could mean life or death for our

      Aids activist, Martha Chizenga, who is also living positively
with HIV, says the mystery surrounding the administration of traditional
medicines and herbs must be eliminated first and their effectiveness tested,
researched on and well-documented before being institutionalised.

      Chizenga said: "Being HIV positive means my immune system is
very sensitive. Before taking any medicines, traditional or modern, I must
know their side-effects and what to do in case of a reaction or allergic

      "Unfortunately, there is so much mystery around traditional
medicine that we don't know side-effects, quantities to take, what to do in
cases of a reaction and because of that, for me this ceases to be an

      But Aids activists and Council Co-ordinating Mechanism (CCM)
member to the Zimbabwe Global Fund team, Lynde Francis, has welcomed the
move by government saying it was "long overdue".

      Francis said the effectiveness of natural medicines dates back
in time and believes that government's stance will ensure the survival of
the art of using traditional medicines. Herbs would not become extinct, and
would make Zimbabweans self-sufficient.

       "This is great news and about time too I must say," Francis
said. "Natural medicine is available, affordable and it must be preserved.
This is definitely a step in the right direction. It is good that government
has begun the dialogue between these traditional health practitioners and
conventional health practitioners."

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Don't be cry-babies, Msika tells residents

Zim Standard

      BY Nqobani Ndlovu

      BULAWAYO - Vice President Joseph Msika chided Bulawayo residents
and their leadership of being cry-babies who want development delivered to
them on the proverbial silver platter.

      Msika said residents and the local leadership cry over lack of
development instead of initiating development programmes for the city and
the rest of Matabeleland.

      He lambasted the residents at a function organised by the
Bulawayo City Council to bestow on him the Freedom of the City of Bulawayo

      "You are cry-babies," he said. "Don't cry. Unite and resolve to
bring development to the city. Don't be cry-babies. Don't cry for others to
come and do things for you."

      Msika said crying that development was concentrated in the
capital was not going to bring development to Bulawayo.

      "Don't cry and say that we are not being given opportunities.
Why do you want to be given opportunities, stand up and grab them," he said.

      Msika said the residents were failing to emulate leaders like
him that initiated development programmes for the region like the National
University of Science and Technology.

      Turning to water shortages in the city, Msika said he believes
one day Zambezi water will flow into Bulawayo.

      The statements by Msika come against complaints by Bulawayo
residents of being sidelined on issues of national development.

      The council said it conferred Msika with the freedom of the city
for his role during the liberation struggle and for working for national

      The function was attended by various Cabinet ministers,
provincial governors, senators, MPs and councillors from both the ruling
party and the MDC.

       Msika is the third person to be granted such an honour after the
then Prime Minister and now President, Robert Mugabe (1986) and the late
Vice President, Joshua Nkomo in 1992.

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MP bails out starving elderly

Zim Standard


      BULAWAYO - As many as 150 elderly people in Makokoba who had
gone for weeks without a meal have been presented with bags of maize-meal,
saving them from possible starvation.

      The donation of maize-meal by the MP for Bulawayo East,
Professor Welshman Ncube, comes against biting shortages of the commodity
that have hit Bulawayo over the past two weeks.

      The elderly residents who cannot fend for themselves welcomed
the timely donation and implored the MP to keep assisting them.

      Miriam Lungu, who is a widow, said after receiving her share: "I
am looking after orphans and last had a meal over a week ago. We have been
all over town hunting for maize-meal but today God has answered our prayer."

      Another elderly person, Eggy Phili, added: "I am very happy with
what Ncube has done for us today. He has shown that he cares for us, the
suffering majority in Makokoba and we hope he will continue assisting us as
we are struggling to put meals on our tables."

      Gifford Sibanda, the personal assistant to Ncube who presented
the bags, noted that the food handouts were an on-going programme to assist
the suffering elderly people.

      "This is an ongoing programme to assist the elderly and orphans
in your area," said Sibanda at the presentation ceremony held at Thabiso
Youth Centre.

      "We have set up a burial society to assist the vulnerable in
this constituency. We have also started a children's assistance programme to
pay fees for orphans," he added.

       Makokoba, the oldest and poorest suburb in Bulawayo, houses
thousands of elderly people,orphans and child-headed families who cannot
fend for themselves.

      The Senator for Bulawayo Makokoba Constituency, Sibangilizwe
Msipa said a door-to-door research in Makokoba revealed that more than 500
elderly people are unable to afford a meal a day.

      "We came out with more than 500 names but could not attend to
every need because of the current shortages of maize-meal in Bulawayo."

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PTA Bank pledges more support for Zimbabwe

Zim Standard


      THE Eastern and Southern African Trade and Development Bank (PTA
Bank) is set to increase its aid for projects and trade facilities in the
country, the bank's president Dr Michael Gondwe said on Tuesday.

      At the signing ceremony of a US$5 million facility between PTA
and the Zimbabwe Allied Banking Group (ZABG) Gondwe said: "Last year the
bank provided US$30 million for projects and trade facilities in the
country. We expect this figure to go up further this year, as we enhance our
support for local business community."

      The US$5 million facility signed on Tuesday is a short-term line
of credit provided by PTA Bank to ZABG for financially viable post-shipment
transactions in the agro-processing, manufacturing, mining and other export-
oriented transactions amongst ZABG's customers.

      Gondwe said that although the facility amounted to US$5 million,
"its actual impact is much more in real terms because the funding is of a
revolving nature".

      Gondwe said: "This post-shipment facility basically caters for
the export sector taking into account the need to grow foreign exchange
generation capability. Our partnership with ZABG should therefore be seen in
this light, in that this is a mutually beneficial relationship not just for
the two institutions, but for the business community and the country."

      Established in 1985, the PTA Bank is a developmental institution
that bridges any financial gaps that exists in member countries. The bank is
headquartered in Nairobi, Kenya, and has provided facilities amounting to
US$2 billion to businesses in the sub-region during the last two decades. In
2005, the bank's combined gross trade finance and project financing amounted
to US$245.50 million, a 26% increase over 2004. During the year ended 31
December 2005, the bank made a profit of US$3.22 million a 20% increase over
the comparable year's figure of US$2.69 million.

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New RTG hotel for Beitbridge

Zim Standard

      By Our Staff

      RAINBOW Tourism Group is to build a multi-million dollar hotel
in Beitbridge in anticipation of the 2010 Soccer World Cup.

      Work is already in progress with management having begun a
survey that should be completed in a month's time.

      RTG CEO, Chipo Mtasa, said the "exploration work" being done
would determine the feasibility of the project.

      "We are still doing a survey which will be completed shortly.
Work is still at an exploration stage and we are pursuing the project,"
Mtasa said.

      She however refused to give further details on the costs and
size of the project saying they would be released once the "survey was

       RTG has been on an expansion drive in line with the company's
restructuring and recapitalisation strategy designed in 2005 to enhance
performance. The project is the spin-off of the company's net profit
increasing to $40,7 billion in the first half of 2006. The figure is a
dramatic reversal of the $3,7 billion loss the company made in the
corresponding period in 2005. EPS also jumped to $24,74 from $8,63 but
occupancies dipped 30% due to the general downturn in the tourism industry.

      RTG is hoping to amend the drop in occupancies and continue with
its recovery path by spreading its wings to new markets.

      The company has its eyes on the Zambian market and plans on
opening a cash sales office in the neighbouring country in the near future.

      Mtasa said before that the group would be looking at
concessionary funding and internal resources instead of shareholder funds to
finance its projects.

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Fallacies that fuel myths of land reform

Zim Standard


      REALITY is a stubborn fact. Everyday turns up cases that
demystify the myths of the government's so-called successful land reform as
chaos abounds.

      Last week a school in Mhondoro, in Mashonaland West, opened its
doors for the third term without several classrooms after they were gutted
by a veld fire that swept through the area.

      Last month a game park in Mazowe was razed to the ground,
chalking up losses running into billions of dollars. It is still unclear how
many game animals perished or whether they are missing because they fled the

      The two cases are examples of the chaos that has followed the
government's "successful land reform programme". Vast black swathes of the
countryside bear testimony to the destruction wreaked by the government's
brave new farmers.

      Last year seven people, some of them children died as a result
of veld fires, while this year, with two more months before the onset of the
rainy season, seven lives have already been lost because of veld fires.

      The picture gets grimmer. So far this year, veld fires have
destroyed nearly 80 000 hectares of pastures, plantations and forests losses
which run into hundreds of millions of dollars.

      In Matabeleland provinces, where farmers are dependent on cattle
ranching veld fires have already burnt down more than 30 000 hectares of
grazing land. The loss of such vast areas of pasture land to fire has a
direct impact on the country's beef exports.

      Since the onset of the government's "agrarian reform programme"
the country has registered record devastation of the countryside due to veld

      In 2004 and 2005 more than 22 000 hectares of grazing pastures,
grass and timber were destroyed by veld fires. The loss to rural people and
the country in terms of flora and fauna, and tourism earnings is
immeasurable. Poaching is rampant, while the government turns a blind eye,
or is simply overwhelmed by the scope of the problem it created for itself.

      Yet a decade ago Zimbabwe was a leader in wildlife conservation
and management, raking in more than US$300 million a year.

      The government spoke of assigning environmental officers to new
areas "acquired" for resettlement but that is a statement long on rhetoric
but woefully short on practice. The loss of skilled professionals to other
countries is evident everywhere. Clearly the problem is beyond the

      There is an area of opportunity for non-governmental
organisations (NGO) and the international community to work together in
creating greater awareness of the dangers of veld fires and the cost to the
communities, the economy and the country.

       Just as they are providing field officers for the various
programmes being run by NGOs in the rural areas, there could be
environmental officers, operating as effectively as village health workers
or home-based care givers.

      There could be incentives for best land use and management
practices at district, provincial and national levels.

      For the school in Mhondoro and the game park in Mazowe, the
threat from veld fires has been brought closer to home, but the people
responsible for the veld fires are part of the community. Like rapists, they
do not deserve to be protected - ask the staff and school children in
Mhondoro or the game operator in Mazowe who experienced first hand the
effects of the veld fires and appreciate how costly and destructive the
lawlessness that the government celebrates has been.

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Freedom of expression under siege

Zim Standard

       Sunday Opinion By Pedzisayi Ruhanya

      THE use of repressive laws by the Zanu PF government to deny
citizens their right to freedom of expression exposes its liberation
rhetoric and has completely outwitted the former colonial administrators in
its concerted quest to oppress the citizenry.

      It is important to note that the use of laws such as the Public
Order and Security Act (POSA), the Broadcasting Services Act, (BSA) and the
Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA) by the state
assist to show the extent to which the government of Zimbabwe has violated
its Constitution as well as international and regional instruments
pertaining to the right to freedom of expression.

      One of the country's most oppressive laws, POSA replaced the Law
and Order Maintenance Act (LOMA) that was enacted in 1960 by the colonial
government to restrict freedom of expression, assembly and movement by
independence fighters. LOMA remained in place after independence in 1980.
However, the Supreme Court led by the late Chief Justice Enoch Dumbutshena
and dismissed Chief Justice Anthony Gubbay over the years struck down
several clauses as unconstitutional.

      POSA tightens restrictions on the independent media and gives
the police sweeping powers such as the authorisation of political
gatherings. In its report in 2003, Amnesty International pointed out that
since its enactment in 2002, POSA has been used by the authorities to target
opposition supporters, independent media and human rights activists and
specifically restrict their rights to: freely assemble; criticize the
government and President; and engage in, advocacy or organize acts of
peaceful civil disobedience.

      A Fact-Finding Mission report by the African Commission on Human
and Peoples' Rights on allegations of human rights violations by the
government released in 2004 also noted the adverse effects of POSA on the
fundamental civil and political liberties of Zimbabweans. The African
Commission report noted that: "There has been a flurry of new legislation
and the revival of the old laws used under the Smith Rhodesian regime to
control, manipulate public opinion and that limited civil liberties.

      "Among these, the Mission's attention was drawn to the Public
Order and Security Act, 2002 and the Access to Information and Protection of
Privacy Act, 2002. These have been used to require registration of
journalists and for prosecution of journalists for publishing 'false
information'. All of these, of course, would have a 'chilling effect' on
freedom of expression and introduce a cloud of fear in media circles."

      The African Commission then recommended to the Zimbabwe
government as a mark of goodwill to abide by the judgements of the Supreme
Court and repeal sections AIPPA calculated to freeze the free expression of
public opinion. It further called for the review of POSA.

      These findings by an African human rights body to which Zimbabwe
is a founding member assist to dispel the usual dismissals of allegations of
human rights violations by the authorities as instigated by Western European
governments. To show its disregard of the importance of freedom of
expression, until to date the recommendations by the African Commission
particularly as they relate to the review of laws that infringe on freedom
of expression have not been implemented by the government.

      Another contentious law that has greater impact on the right to
freedom of expression is AIPPA. The law requires among other things the
registration of media organisations and journalists practicing in Zimbabwe.
Since its enactment in 2002, most Western foreign correspondents
particularly from countries like Britain and the USA have been banned from
Zimbabwe for practicing without licences given by the government-controlled
Media and Information Commission, a statutory body created under AIPPA.

      To date five privately-owned newspapers, The Daily News, The
Daily News on Sunday, The Weekly Times, The Tribune and The Weekend Tribune
were banned between September 2003 and January 2005 for failing to meet the
requirements of AIPPA which requires media institutions to register with the
Media and Information Commission, provision of a business plan to the
Commission, denial of foreign investment in the local media among other
restrictions and to deny employment to unregistered journalists.

      It is my contention that some of the restrictions required under
AIPPA are at variance with the international law provisions, regional
provisions, the Constitution of Zimbabwe and the guidelines provided by the
Supreme Court of Zimbabwe. For instance, the Supreme Court of Zimbabwe in
the case of Chavunduka and another Vs Minister of Home Affairs and another
emphasised that any restrictions on freedom of expression must meet the
requirements prescribed by the Constitution among others, the protection of
the reputations of others, public health and morality as well as security.
Any other requirements as prescribed by AIPPA, in my view would be
unconstitutional and violates the principle of freedom of expression.

      With these facts on the media landscape in Zimbabwe, it would be
delusionary to talk about a free press in Zimbabwe except in the imagination
of the oppressors in Zanu PF.

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Controlling the army is the opposition's main challenge

Zim Standard

      Sunday View By Itai Zimunya

      AS the Zimbabwe crisis continues to deepen and widen as
displayed by the acute shortages of food, local and foreign currency, fuel
and jobs, calls for the resolution of the political crisis seem to be

       The most particular call of recent days is that opposition
political parties ought to unite and form a strong front that can
successfully challenge Zanu PF from power. However, after assessing the
current balance of power in Zimbabwe, we contend that it is not a united
opposition that is the missing link in Zimbabwe. While it has merit, it is
not the touchstone.

      Some celebrated political thinkers, including Masipula Sithole
(the late), Alfred Stepan and Jonathan Moyo prescribe that the opposition
need to engage a section of democrats in Zanu PF and move towards a process
of sustainable democratic transformation. The big question, however, is how,
when and by whom shall this materialise?

      To adequately answer the above questions, it is important to
analyse the balance of power in Zimbabwe, from which we will derive the
political formula. A close look at the outcomes of the 2000, 2002 and 2005
general and presidential elections reveal that Zanu PF does not have an
active majority. The opposition, despite its activists being targets of
political violence, has matched Zanu PF in every district. In fact, various
electoral reports to the 2000 and 2002 national elections state that, had it
not been the use of violence and manipulation, Zanu PF would have "lost

      One eminent political scholar, Brian Raftopoulos argues that
there are two political personalities that shape Zimbabwe's polity, Robert
Mugabe and Morgan Tsvangirai. As John Makumbe predicted, Tsvangirai is
leading in the "numbers game" but seems to have failed to capitalise on this
popularity. Various factors contribute to this failure. These include the
mere presence of a counter power, Mugabe and the threat of the manipulated
state killing machinery.

      This scale of demographic support to the MDC and Zanu PF
dismisses one aspect for calling for a united opposition because the problem
in Zimbabwe is not a numerical minority of the opposition supporters.
Sithole and Moyo agree that the power lies in the elite coercive apparatus,
the military, and this coercive apparatus is controlled by the ruling Zanu
PF elite. The challenge therefore is how to unlock this coercive power, the
military without a war.

      Stepan suggests that the opposition needs to focus more on
increasing the process of authoritarian erosion than focusing more on the
total collapse of the regime. In this thinking, he noted five groups in any
authoritarian regime in transition. These include, a) core supporters of the
regime, b) the coercive apparatus i.e, the military, intelligence and the
police, c) the regime's active opponents i.e the opposition activists like
the MDC, ZAPU etc. d) the regime's passive supporters, i.e the business
community and, e) the regime's passive opponents such as the educated
workers and academics and sections of the church.

      From the above classification, it can be argued that the power
in Zimbabwe lies in a zone that is beyond electoral formations. That is why
some political commentators posit that the MDC won the 2002 presidential
election but Zanu PF retained power.

      At present, the majority of Zimbabweans seem to be fed up with
the Zanu PF regime, but for many reasons, they passively put up with the
political rot. It is important to highlight that at Tsholotsho, the media
reported that six Zanu PF provinces had agreed that Mugabe should go. In
essence, these provinces agreed that there is a need for democratic reform
in Zimbabwe. The failure of the Tsholotsho Declaration may be that those
resolutions had no support of the coercive force, the military.

      After the Tsholotsho declaration, Moyo pointed out that there
was a bigger opposition within Zanu PF. Therefore other opposition political
parties, the Movement for Democratic Change specifically, needed to engage a
section of democrats in Zanu PF to finally rest the Zimbabwean crisis.

      Reactions to Moyo's proposition were negative. The proposal was
not dismissed because of its emptiness, but because of the anger of his link
to the promulgation of obnoxious pieces of legislation, the Access to
Information and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA) and the Public Order and
Security Act (POSA) during his stint as Minister of Information in Mugabe's

       In other words, Moyo is revealing that there are many people in
Zanu PF that have either degraded themselves or have been degraded from
active supporters of that party into passive supporters. It means, if there
were no fears of reproach, they would have left to join the opposition.
Sithole proposes solutions to this dilemma.

      Writing in the Public Eye, in The Financial Gazette of 8 January
1998, Sithole says: " . members of the coercive elite are the major agents
of change". He further states that a combination of democrats from both
inside and outside Zanu PF may well be the source of a more enduring
democratisation process.

       Therefore, it is the duty of the opposition to prove that an
alternative establishment is a viable option. This will most likely diminish
the Zanu PF fear of change and enlist them as active opponents leaving the
coercive force neutralised.

      Equally, it would be naïve for any of the two Zanu PF factions,
that of Emmerson Mnangagwa or Solomon Mujuru to think that they can go it
alone in the post-Mugabe era. Zanu PF, in whatever form needs to realise and
acknowledge the presence and permanence of opposition politics in Zimbabwe.
Wishes of a super Zanu PF in government must be taken as mere dreams. There
could be a motivation for democrats in Zanu PF to realise this and begin to
make strategic contacts with the opposition.

      In this case, the two Zanu PF factions have two options, and
time is fast running out on them. They either have to mend relations or
compete to make collective deals with the opposition, especially the MDC.
Option number one is almost impossible because of the levels of mistrust and
economic attacks that have been made including the purge on the financial
sector and the post Tsholotsho sanctions on pro-Mnangagwa actors.

      The second option is real but very risky, especially in the
presence of Mugabe. Mugabe has personally declared Tsvangirai and the MDC as
enemies that "must be crushed". He means it and anyone who entertains the
MDC is a sell-out who must receive the highest form of punishment. This is
why South African President Mbeki's quiet diplomacy failed. That is also
noted as the main problem behind the stagnation in political dialogue among
political actors in Zimbabwe. The main player of this option is therefore
Mugabe himself.

       Assuming Mugabe away, expectations of the army causing confusion
are, in this case, remote for several reasons. Chiefly, the army is viewed
as part of the succession jigsaw and there is no consensus at present among
the army generals of which Zanu PF faction to support. Secondly, ethnic
politics form an integral part of the Zanu PF succession debate and thus,
because the army is not immune to tribalism, it is affected. The third
factor is that the army is loyal and not naïve. They are loyal to Zimbabwe,
and support a peaceful political transformation, which they also highly
expect given the current economic downfall.

      These facts confirm perceptions that Mugabe is a stumbling block
to Zimbabwe's political transition, both within Zanu PF and at national
level. It is this perception (if not reality) that justifies the calls, both
within Zanu PF and in the opposition that Mugabe must go. He must rest and
pave way for intra-Zanu PF reform, which can not be disassociated with
national reform.

      In realisation of this Mugabe factor, Moyo, despite being a
political gymnast, argues that the political leadership in the opposition
must realise the existence of a big opposition currently sitting in Zanu PF.
It has to be strategically captured and this reflects a greater chance for
quicker and more stable political reforms. Should these talks fail, though
it is remote, there could be a super intra-Zanu PF agreement for power
sharing among the Mujuru and Mnangagwa factions. (To be continued).

      By Itai Zimunya, a former student leader and human rights

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Christian Alliance leads the Save Zimbabwe Campaign

Zim Standard

      Sunday Opinion By Pius Wakatama

      FOR the first time in Zimbabwe all opposition political parties
and major civil society organisations have joined together in a campaign to
resolve Zimbabwe's social, economic and political crisis.

      The campaign called the Save Zimbabwe Campaign is spearheaded by
the Zimbabwe Christian Alliance (CA). "It has been welcomed by Zimbabweans
and the international community as a significant development towards the
resolution of the country's serious crisis."

      The Christian Alliance is an organised network of Christian
leaders and organisations who felt called by God to be instrumental in
resolving the crisis in the country peacefully and permanently so that
Zimbabweans can again live in freedom, peace and prosperity. It was born as
a result of pressure from Zimbabweans who had become disillusioned on issues
of corruption and human rights abuses by the government, the security forces
and the militias.

      The CA was officially launched at St Mary's Anglican Church in
Bulawayo on 3 February, 2006. Over 200 pastors, priests and church leaders
from various churches and denominations attended the colourful all day event
marked by singing, praying and preaching. They came from across the country
as far as Mutare and Victoria Falls.

      Lawyer and Church pastor, Reverend Lucky Moyo, one of the
organisers of CA said about its work, "All dialogue will be pursued
following Christian principles of non-violence and ethical debate. The war
ethos prevailing in Zimbabwe must be broken. We are not going to war;
neither do we expect to be attacked. This is simply a platform to engage in
meaningful discussion for the greater good of all Zimbabweans."

      Convinced that the crisis in the country is an internal problem
that can only be solved by Zimbabweans themselves through dialogue, CA
decided to call a convention of all stake holders. The hope was that the
convention would set the tone for internal political dialogue which would
lead to a viable solution to the deepening crisis.

       The convention which was held in the gardens of the Rainbow
Towers Hotel, Harare was attended by over 500 invited and uninvited leaders
from the church, political parties and civil society representing 26
organisations. The ruling party, Zanu PF which was invited was conspicuous
by its absence. Leaders of CA chaired the meeting.

      At the end of the day, after speeches, presentation of papers
and group discussions leaders of all opposition parties, some of which had
been locked in violent rivalry, stood together on the podium, shook hands,
embraced and vowed to work together to achieve peaceful change in the
country. The convention then passed a number of resolutions. The most
significant resolution gave CA the mandate to form a broad alliance of all
the organisations present which would map out the way forward.

      A number of follow-up meetings were subsequently held which
resulted in the formation of a working task-force to lead what is now
popularly known as the Save Zimbabwe Campaign. A comprehensive freedom
charter was also tabled and is to be discussed and ratified at the next
meeting of the Save Zimbabwe Campaign stakeholders.

       Alarmed by this development the government press started to
publish spurious and misleading reports about the formation of a single
political party. Some leaders of CA, Bishop Levee Kadenge, Reverend Ancelom
Magaya, Reverend Brian Mugwidi and myself were arrested and interrogated in
an effort to intimidate us. Bishop Kadenge has also received several threats
to his life from unidentified people over the phone.

      Speaking about the Save Zimbabwe Campaign, Reverend Patson
Netha, Chairperson of Churches in Bulawayo and one of the founders of CA
said: "The Christian Alliance is best placed to lead this campaign because
we are non-partisan and not interested in contesting or delegating political
power. Our only interest is to see that Zimbabweans can worship and praise
their maker in freedom, peace and prosperity as God intended them to. We
could no longer sit and watch the people suffer and go to other countries to
seek better lives. We will, therefore, never tire or give up until the goal
is achieved.

      "We are not interested in forming one political party as some
are suggesting. Actually we believe that a harmonious multi-party system is
the best guarantee for freedom and sustained development. However, at
present all political parties and civil society need to forget the past, sit
down and work out a solution to our problems before things really get out of

      I asked the Convenor of CA, Bishop Kadenge about the
relationship between CA and the formal church umbrella bodies, the
Evangelical Fellowship of Zimbabwe, the Zimbabwe Council of Churches and the
Zimbabwe Catholic Bishops' Conference which recently met with President
Mugabe at State House and then gave televised support to the government. The
Bishop said: "We are aware that there are other initiatives seeking to solve
the Zimbabwe crisis. We welcome these efforts especially if they are by
fellow Christians. However, we must not be working at cross purposes or
fighting each other. This would not be in the spirit of the gospel which we
preach. If we are working towards the same goal of establishing peace and
justice in Zimbabwe there should be a time soon when our efforts should
converge for the common good."

      "What we need to realise," continued Bishop Kadenge, "is that
the devil is very cunning and would like to divide us. Paul said: 'Our
struggle is not against flesh and blood but against the authorities, against
the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in
the heavenly realms,' as we read in the book of Ephesians.

      "Our message to the President of Zimbabwe is that as a child of
God, who professes to be a Christian, we love him. He and the ruling Zanu PF
party, which he leads, should now stop treating fellow Zimbabweans, of all
colours, as enemies to be destroyed. They need to confess and repent of the
past before God and peacefully work together with the rest of Zimbabwe to
find a solution to the country's problems. The alternative, which is violent
confrontation, is just too ghastly to even contemplate."

      As one who has been a lone voice crying in the wilderness for a
long time I say, amen, to Bishop Kadenge and all colleagues in CA. You are
on the right track and God is on your side.

      He, who has ears to hear, let him hear.

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Zim Standard Letters

It's inflation, Dr Gono,not currency or zeros
      SO the Reserve Bank Governor, Dr Gideon Gono, believes slashing
three zeros from the local currency is the panacea to the country's economic
tailspin? Unfortunately, one needs no doctorate in economics to see that
Gono went for the wrong zeros.

      The zeros that hurt are the inflation zeros, not the currency
zeros. He could have removed up to six zeros from the currency and we would
still be in the mess we are in.

      Removal of two or even one zero from the inflation figure will
make the governor a hero in the eyes of many, otherwise he is still a big
zero that will probably need to be removed one day. Unfortunately the
inflation zeros cannot be removed by invoking the Presidential Powers
because no statutory instrument can work on them.

      To borrow former US President Bill Clinton's campaign adage,
what we in Zimbabwe are saying to the Governor is: "It's not the currency,
it's inflation, Stupid!" Deflate the inflation zeros and become a hero.

      I personally would not have removed the three zeros. Rather, I
would have removed the three Ms - Mugabe, Msika and Mujuru - and observed
the results.

      The economy would be better if the governor stopped
spread-eagling himself all over the place. He seems to be minister of
everything - buying fuel, buying fighter jets, buying tractors, selling
tobacco, selling gold, proposing, promulgating, promoting and policing laws.
The list goes on.

      The governor should concentrate on core central bank business as
he is fond of telling bank executives to desist from speculative tendencies
that fuel inflation and concentrate on banking business and leave other arms
of government to function normally.

      Is it not interesting that in sound economies such as the
Botswana, South African and UK that are not troubled by any zeros the
identity of the central bank governor can be a quiz question for secondary
school pupils? In Zimbabwe it is pointless asking even kindergarten

      Frank Mutavhatsindi


Possible strategies to oust Mugabe regime
      THERE are three effective but painful strategies that could (in
various combinations and sequences) begin the process of forcing this failed
and foul regime out - ultimately via negotiations/talks and a supervised,
free and fair election: First - Peaceful, street demonstrations;
non-partisan, under an umbrella organisation, staggered over at least one
month, co-ordinated with weekend demonstrations by exiles in e.g. Jo-burg
and London. The price would initially be bloodshed in the streets of
Zimbabwe's cities, of course.

      Second - A stayaway by themajority of Zimbabwe's workers for at
least one full week, accepting the brutal violence from the army, this would
cost us in the
      high-density suburbs.

      Three - SADC (especially South African/Mozambican) sanctions/go
slows - unofficial of course - covering for example fuel port/rail imports
and/or electricity. None of these three is easy to sell or achieve and is
unlikely to occur in the immediate future. The first two strategies will
require effective mobilisation and leadership of Zimbabwe's working class
together with a portion of its middle class.

      The third will probably require the prior, successful
implementation of at least one of the first two strategies. As we saw in the
pre-MDC era, a strong and effective ZCTU leadership is a vital component of
these strategies.

      These strategies have worked in other countries. There is
nothing extraterrestrial about Zimbabweans or our country. We may be
"domesticated", resourceful and buffered by what was once a strong and
relatively sophisticated economy and a significant population of educated
exiles sending money home - but these features are not unique to our

      For mainly self-serving or short-sighted reasons, all three
strategies have been and will continue to be opposed elsewhere within
Zimbabwe's family of classes - especially business.

      Ian Smith's downfall was his fanciful dream of mai taining a
minority, racist white regime in the middle of black Africa.

      President Mugabe's may well turn out to be his fan ciful dream
that an eco omy (including, for us, its agricultural base) can be
bludgeoned, arm-twisted, quick fixed, talked or bribed into serving his
personal political needs first and foremost, rather than serving certain
basic economic laws and pre-requisites for success.

      It is all a matter of time and circumstance.

      In this respect, the one good thing to be thankful for from the
last two years of Mugonomics is that they have accelerated our entry into a
period conducive for implementing the first two strategies.




            Vandalism, neglect destroy Mutema Irrigation Scheme
                  MUTEMA irrigation scheme is now in a coma. This
scheme was started in 1932 and for decades was responsible for thriving
agricultural activity in the area. However, of late it has been rendered a
wasteland due to neglect and vandalism.

                  In the beginning the scheme used flood irrigation
with the result that plot holders realised bumper harvests that paid
handsome dividends.

                  But after 2000 the mechanism began to collapse
because of poor maintenance. Today it is painful to witness the level of
collapse and to imagine this was once a thriving scheme - the centre of
economic activities for the surrounding areas.

                  Today the cultivated land is grazing land with tall
grass and tree shrubs, while the Zimbabwe National Water Authority demands

                  The plot holders have fallen on hard times yet they
could be busy with winter cropping that would be promising better returns.
This is a sight that will make you cry.

                  The collapse of the scheme is one example of how
Zimbabwe has suffered unprecedented decline over the past decade and why the
population is risking life to escape the poverty that traps them in this
country by seeking opportunities in countries in the region.

                  So serious and desperate is the situation such that
people risk being attacked and killed by crocodiles for crossing the Limpopo

                  Much of the exodus is because of the greed of the
leadership with the people being the victims. At this time when everyone,
particularly the newly resettled farmers are being exhorted to be productive
on the land, this is certainly a cause for concern.

                  Tennyson Marwa

                  Mutema High School



            Viomak attack missed the essence of debate on Zimbabwe
                  I don't know if Viomak is holding a brief from
Canadians to rubbish President Robert Mugabe but her music raises important
issues of love tolerance, spiritual liberation and the need for a political
and economic breakthrough starting with Mugabe himself.

                  She is calling on Mugabe to retire and stop the
suffering of masses. She talks about spiritual liberation and healing in
Zimbabwe and happens to be a Christian just like many millions. All this is
good for the country and has nothing to do with hate for Mugabe as a black
person or his refusal to be a pawn of the West.

                  I took issue with Kwabena Appiah's strong language
bordering on hate speech. It is such intolerance to differences of opinion
that has led to many senseless wars in Africa costing lives and progress.

                  His letter merely attacked Viomak personally and
failed to address debate about music. What is wrong with Viomak using
Western or any other media? Africans and I am sure Appiah included, are
using western media and learning from them for their own good. Please don't
shoot the messenger, address the message!

                  Appiah also seems to suggest that Mugabe is a symbol
of black consciousness and beyond reproach and Viomak has no right to finger
his wrongs in the interests of the struggle against imperialism.

                  Mugabe only started to brand himself as a
Pan-Africanist with the advent of the opposition MDC that almost ousted him
from power due to chronic bad governance. For him it was just a matter of
strategy not conviction.

                  When he was still welcome in Washington and London
(his favourite destinations) Mugabe butchered thousands in Matabeleland and
the Midlands while getting material backing from the West just like the MDC
is doing against Appiah's wishes.

                  The current stand-off is between Mugabe and the West
not Zimbabwe and the West. They barred him from setting foot in their
countries and why should he bother? He should be with us here in Mbare and
downtown Zhing-zhong shops in the country he is presiding over.

                  His policies have led to untold suffering that has
caused a great exodus of people into the Diaspora where they slave.

                  I take issue with African leaders wearing designer
suits, hosting Western-style dinners and driving the latest cars speaking in
English while their subjects wallow in abject poverty.

                  I live in Zimbabwe where the President has crafted
draconian laws to deny instead of promoting freedoms of fellow Africans
while making it a criminal offence for everyone who dares to criticise him.

                  I like his attacks on imperialists at international
forums but hate his failure to give people food, jobs and accommodation back
home. I become more confused when he demolishes poor people's homes and
small businesses (calling them filth) but gives them no alternative. My
heart bleeds when unarmed women are brutally crushed by riot police for
handing out flowers on Valentine's Day or demonstrating against unaffordable
school fees.

                  It makes nonsense of ubuthu to rush to the Chinese
so as to spite the British while destroying local productive capacity. What
do you make of African leaders who find comfort in blaming sanctions for the
suffering of their own people but doing nothing to counter them like Muammar
Gadaffi or Fidel Castro who were under real embargoes?

                  Viomak should continue singing about these issues
and more. Appiah should come and live here under a Pan-Africanist government
of Zimbabwe.

                   Chirandu Musharukwa



            Justice only for Zanu PF

            How many cases of people who are supporters who have been
brought before the courts only for their cases to fizzle out? If Roy
Bennett, the former MP for Chimanimani (MDC), had been a member of the
ruling party I am sure he would have gotten away with it in spite of
flooring Patrick Chinamasa.

            What worries me also is that as a society, we do not
believe that if someone holding a high office faces charges of breaking the
law, that individual should step down and clear his/her name first before
resuming his official duties. It demonstrates that we have no shame and
therefore we continue to behave as if everything is normal.

            M Moyo




            Viomak responds to Appiah attack

            I wish to say to Kwabena Appiah I have no problem with
white people. If he has something against them he should please leave me out
of it.

            All I am against is President Robert Mugabe and his Zanu
PF and he should please learn to respect my choice to do as I wish. It's my
voice and my mind and it's up to me to do what pleases me and what I believe
is right.

            I'm what I am now because of white people and not because
of your black President whose aim was to reduce me to a pauper. I'm not into
useless cyber fights with people I don't even know. So please stop insulting
me and please stop advertising your "Open letter to Viomak" unnecessarily.

            If you want a real fight you are free to get in touch with




      Residents sick and tired of Chombo's commission
            THE state of the City of Harare is a clear indication of
mismanagement and wastage of city resources.

            It is common knowledge that Sekesai Makwavarara, Tendai
Savanhu, a Zanu PF central Committee member, Jameson Kurasha, Prisca
Mupfumira, a Zanu PF Central Committee member, Musavaya Reza, the provincial
administrator, Engineer Noel Muzuva and Richard Mahachi, have failed to turn
around the fortunes of Harare as was widely publicised by the State media
when these commissioners were imposed on Harare residents.

            Their terms of office have been renewed on four occasions,
without any proof that they are doing anything at all.

            The other councillors of shame, Tapfumanei Jaja, Grandmore
Hakata, Francis Marisi, Joseph Madzudzu, Oscar Pemhiwa and Trymore Magamu
are still being paid allowances as rewards for betraying the residents of

            Considering the failure of the commission, the only
logical thing to do on the part of the Minister for Local Government,
Ignatious Chombo, was to remove them from office and allow the residents of
Harare to exercise their democratic rights through mayoral and council
elections. The minister reappointed the inefficient commission despite the
evident deterioration in quality service delivery in the city.

            Residents have made it clear that they are tired of
Makwavarara and her fellow puppet commissioners because they have failed to
deliver. We expected and still expect the minister to respect our opinions
and complaints. He has turned a deaf ear to the cries of the people.

            Potholed roads, which have made a large contribution to
the many accidents, decorate Harare. Tightening road regulations is not a
solution to the problem of road accidents. Addressing symptoms of decay is
just as good as applying lipstick to a frog.

            These roads are in serious need of urgent repairs so that
they can be safe for motoring and pedestrian traffic. Most streetlights have
not been working for years and we wonder where the ratepayers' money is

            Lately, the state media has been torturing us with reports
and pictures of the City of Harare workers cutting down trees, an act which
they regard as unsafe for road users.

            May I remind the illegal commissioner Makwavarara that
those are unnecessary and cosmetic developments that will contribute nothing
to the improvement of service delivery.

            It is surprising and very disappointing to note the
commission has the audacity to demand rates from residents. As if that is
not enough, the commission continues to increase rates to unaffordable and
unreasonable amounts.

            Residents want Town House to clarify the role of the
Zimbabwe National Water Authority (ZINWA) in the water affairs of Harare.
All we know about ZINWA is that it has increased water charges in an opaque
deal that smacks of corruption. Water has not been flowing in most taps in
residential and industrial areas. The quality of the water we are forced to
drink leaves a lot to be desired.

            Makwavarara and Chombo are taking us for a ride. Residents
should be the ones to conduct job evaluations of the commissioners because
they are the ones "receiving services" from Town House.

            Chombo has no right whatsoever to tell us that Makwavarara
has done a "good job" because he has no idea what residents have been
through. He has no right to impose incompetent people on residents. Down
with Chombo and Makwavarara!

            Loraine Mupasiri

            Msasa Park


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Zimbabwe Vigil Diary - 9th September 2006

A big day for Zimbabweans in the UK and also for the Vigil.  One of the
Vigil founders, Ephraim Tapa, has been elected Chair of MDC-UK at a meeting
in Oxford overseen by members of the leadership in Harare.

Ephraim, who for the past four years has been Chair of MDC Central London
Branch, aims to unite all Zimbabweans in the Diaspora.  The Vigil thinks
that he certainly has the credentials: a founding member of the MDC and head
of the Zimbabwean civil service trade union, he was spirited out of Zimbabwe
after being abducted, tortured for 21 days and almost killed in Mutoko while
on MDC duty during the 2002 Presidential elections.  We look to him to him
to realise the aims he articulated in his election manifesto:  "The MDC-UK
currently boasts of a membership of just over 1000 and my question is: where
are the hundreds of thousands of Zimbabweans living in the UK? Surely, they
cannot all be ZANU (PF) loyalists, if at all, neither is it true that they
lack concern over the situation in our country. They simply lack confidence
in our resolve and capacity to effect meaningful contribution to the CHANGE
agenda in Zimbabwe and to the thousands of our countrymen within our midst,
whose lives have become nightmare experiences. The MDC-UK needs to remould
its image from that of a poorly managed party (best known for infighting and
endless squabbles, and a general lack of direction) to a caring, purposeful,
united and an effectively run entity. Its programmes have to be tailored in
line with the needs of its membership, both potential and actual. My vision
is to see MDC-UK take its rightful place, not only within the Party but also
in Zimbabwe, as a major contributor to the CHANGE agenda, be an organ of the
party that makes the difference to the Zimbabwean political equation and
deliver on the PROMISE to liberate Zimbabwe. The MDC-UK must also be seen as
relevant to the needs and aspirations of the UK constituency (ie among other
things they need further education, legal immigration status, the right to
work, organisation, leadership, a sense of belonging and national pride and
above all, a free and stable Zimbabwe to return to).  People need to know
what's in it for them and be assured on the effectiveness of delivery before
they can join us!"

The Vigil was also pleased to learn that the Vigil spokesperson, Julius
Mutyambizi-Dewa, had been elected MDC UK Secretary.  Julius, a lawyer, has
worked tirelessly for the struggle, leading our efforts to put our cause to
the UK government and the international community while always remaining
accessible to Zimbabweans in difficulties.

Despite their new party roles, the Vigil is confident they will work
fruitfully with the non-party and other elements that make up the Vigil

Although we were somewhat depleted by supporters going to Oxford, it was an
exuberant afternoon, which was dedicated to the Zimbabwean student leaders
who have been arrested for planning protests next week.  Our supporters from
Free-Zim Youth in Brighton joined us with banners and flyers to express
their outrage.  They will join our solidarity demonstration on Wednesday.

The Zimbabwe Association also attended the Vigil and asked that if anyone
hears of anybody being deported please contact them immediately - 020 7549
0355,, 07951 725 758.

For the people who read the diary for a report of weather conditions in
London:  it was a benign late summer's day.  The Vigil children delighted
passers-by by joining in so well with the dancing and we had a little girl
showing real talent on the drums.

For this week's Vigil pictures:

FOR THE RECORD: 38 signed the register.

-   Monday, 11th September, 7.30 pm: Zimbabwe Forum. We'll be
discussing the progress of the multi signatory campaign, the results of the
MDC UK Congress in Oxford and the current situation on asylum. Please note
we will not be at our usual venue this week. Venue: The Rose and Springbok,
14 Upper St Martins Lane, WC2H 9DL. Map link: Nearest tubes: Leicester Square,
Covent Garden.
-   Wednesday, 13th September - the Vigil's Solidarity Demonstration -
for details, see our posting of 7th September.
-   Saturday, 16th September, 2 pm - 6 pm.  Open Forum 2006 Zimbabwe:
Skills and Reconstruction. Venue: University of London Union, Malet Street,
London WC1E 7HY.  For details check:

Vigil co-ordinator

The Vigil, outside the Zimbabwe Embassy, 429 Strand, London, takes place
every Saturday from 14.00 to 18.00 to protest against gross violations of
human rights by the current regime in Zimbabwe. The Vigil which started in
October 2002 will continue until internationally-monitored, free and fair
elections are held in Zimbabwe.

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UN should report on human rights situation in Zim says the IBA

By a Correspondent

LONDON - The Human Rights Institute of the International Bar
Association (IBA) has welcomed the resolution of the European Parliament on
the situation in Zimbabwe calling on the United Nations Security Council to
report on the human rights situation in the country.

The institute said it believed crimes against humanity are being
committed in Zimbabwe hence the need for the UN to take up the
recommendation by the EU parliament and report on the situation prevailing
on the ground in the crisis-ridden Zimbabwe.

In a statement, the London-based institute said it supported the EU
parliament's call.

The resolution adopted at the end of the parliament's plenary session
this week expressed concern that the 'appalling humanitarian, political and
economic situation in Zimbabwe continues to deteriorate' and condemns the
Zimbabwean Government for 'relentless oppression of the Zimbabwean people'.

MEPs urged southern African countries, the African Union and others to
take a robust stance against the Zanu PF government in their 19-point

'We hope that the Security Council will follow the EU's
recommendation. Our long-held view is that crimes against humanity are being
committed in Zimbabwe and a Security Council investigation is a crucial
first step to ensuring that those responsible are brought to justice', said
Mark Ellis, Executive Director of the International Bar Association.

'The protection of human rights requires all in the international
community to engage in unremitting efforts to end gross violations of
international human rights law wherever they occur, and the EU's persistence
in calls for high-level UN action on Zimbabwe should be supported', he

The IBA which comprises 30,000 lawyer members and over 195 bar
associations and law societies, influences the development of international
law reform and shapes the future of the legal profession around the world.

Its Member Organisations cover all continents and include the American
Bar Association, the German Federal Bar, the Japan Federation of Bar
Associations, the Law Society of Zimbabwe and the Mexican Bar Association.

In their resolution MEPs said urge the United Nations Security Council
to report on the human rights and political situation in Zimbabwe as a
matter of urgency.

The parliament also called on President Mugabe "to comply with his own
promise to stand down, sooner rather than later, which would be the largest
single step possible towards reviving Zimbabwean society, politics and
economy, and for the commencement of positive transitional negotiations
between Zanu PF, MDC parties and other opposition movements".

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London demo in solidarity with ZCTU protests

By a Correspondent

LONDON - The Zimbabwe Vigil is joining forces with the MDC UK to stage
a demonstration outside Zimbabwe House on Wednesday in solidarity with the
Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) countrywide protests over the
plight of the Zimbabwean workers.

The ZCTU's protests are meant to demand better wages for Zimbabwe's
long-suffering workers most of whom are having to walk to work because they
cannot afford transport and other costs.

Organisations such at the National Constitutional Assembly (NCA) and
other falling under the newly established Christian Alliance have pledged to
join the nationwide protests.

The opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) is also in the
process of planning nationwide protests seeking an end to the national
crisis. Yesterday massive protests were held in Harare under the banner of
the Combined Harare Residents Association (CHRA) with an estimated 2000
people in attendance.

The protest against the continued running of Harare through a Zanu
PF-appointed commission have bolstered those planning next week's ZCTU
protests. The Zimbabwe National Students' Union is joining forces, pressing
for reduced fees and improved conditions.

"We are happy with the numbers of the people that came out today and
hope the other planned mass actions through our various alliance partners
would yield far more improved results. Things are happening and the pressure
must be piled on Zanu PF," said one protester on the streets of Harare

Last week Tsvangirai, accompanied by about a hundred party supporters,
led a successful march to parliament. ZCTU boss, Lovemore Matombo, said the
workers will Wednesday start a new campaign of protests to fight for their
rights, especially better working conditions and wages.

In London the Zimbabwe Vigil said it will continue to support efforts
in Harare meant to alleviate the suffering of the ordinary people until
fresh free and fair elections are conducted in the country.

"The demonstration outside Zimbabwe Embassy is in solidarity with
countrywide protests called for that day by the ZCTU, Operation Tatambura
(we have suffered)," a spokesperson for the vigil said. The protests start
at noon.

Meanwhile there were demonstrations outside Zimbabwe Embassy yesterday
led by ZimYouth. The youths were protesting against the arrest of student
leaders in Zimbabwe.

Armed riot police descended on a workshop organised by the Zimbabwe
National Students Union and arrested eight student leaders in Harare on
Friday. The student leaders were having a strategic workshop ahead of
Wednesday's mass protests.

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Zimbabwe slams Amnesty slum blitz report


Sat Sep 9, 2006 11:04 AM BST

HARARE (Reuters) - Zimbabwe on Saturday condemned as "lies" an Amnesty
International report that criticised the Harare government for failing to
rebuild houses for thousands left homeless after a controversial slum

President Robert Mugabe's government used police and bulldozers to clear
slums and what it called illegal markets a year ago in an operation the
United Nations says destroyed the homes or sources of income of about
700,000 people.

Amnesty said on Friday that a Zimbabwe government housing construction
program meant to benefit victims of the slum demolitions was a public
relations exercise to mask "mass human rights violations".

Mugabe's government had only managed to build 3,325 houses -- some of them
uninhabitable -- against nearly 100,000 homes required for the homeless
victims, the rights group said.

"It's basically a mischievous report," Ignatius Chombo, minister for Public
Works and Urban Development, said on state radio on Saturday.

"These are lies, lies being peddled by Amnesty. When they see one person
sleeping at a bus stop they say they have no house," Chombo said, adding
that Zimbabwe's national housing program was one of the best in Africa.

He said the government would take criticism from people who have assessed
the housing program on the ground, but not from groups "which ... interview
discredited characters".

Amnesty said the few houses built by the government were incomplete -- 
lacking doors, windows, floors, roofs and some with no water or sanitation

The rights group condemned the government for asking people to pay for
incomplete homes or undeveloped housing plots, saying the slum demolitions
had driven the poor deeper into poverty.

Mugabe's government, which is struggling with a severe economic crisis, says
the slum demolitions were necessary to establish order in urban areas and to
pave the way for decent housing for the poor.

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Mugabe house promises 'are a sham'

The Times September 09, 2006

Thousands were left homeless in Harare last year when police tore down ''illegal dwellings'' (AFP / GETTY IMAGES)

Rights groups say that little has been done to help homeless victims of Zimbabwe's slum demolition

THE thud of masonry hammers reverberates across the valley on the northern outskirts of Harare, where 15 months ago police smashed 5,000 homes, two clinics, a crèche for orphans and two mosques under President Mugabe’s Operation Murambatsvina (Sweep out the Rubbish).

Groups of men are unearthing bricks and rubble from drains, dumps and pits where people were forced by police to bury them last year to hide evidence of the demolitions. The men stack the masonry into piles and pulverise it. Then they sell it as sand for people in Hatcliffe Extension to use to build new homes there.

This process is one of the marks of the failure of Mr Mugabe’s attempt to depopulate the country’s restive, opposition-dominated urban areas. It also exposes the Government’s lie that it would build a million new houses for the homeless.

On May 25 last year, thousands of police swooped on townships, destroying everything they declared to be an “illegal structure” and stamping on every vestige of the informal street trade that provides an income for 80 per cent of the country’s labour force.

International outrage followed a United Nations report that estimated that more than 700,000 people had been made homeless or lost their livelihoods. Shocked by the reaction, the Government said that it would build 25,000 new homes by August and 230,000 by the end of last year. More than a year later, the situation remains dire, says a report issued this week by the Solidarity Peace Trust, a Southern African human rights organisation drawn mainly from the region’s churches.

Yesterday Amnesty International, the human rights group, described the promised scheme as a government public relations sham “to cover up its mass human rights violations”.

In its report the Solidarity Peace Trust said: “Almost nothing has been done to house those who lost homes and livelihoods.” The victims “are sliding into an ever-greater abyss of poverty”. The trust established that 87 per cent of the homes smashed were not shanties, as the Government claimed, but “robust dwellings with access to safe water, sanitation and electricity”.

The report says that the operation was started after the Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO), Mr Mugabe’s secret police, “allegedly received intelligence of plans to escalate discontent” among the urban poor. Diplomatic and security sources say that there is no evidence to support this claim.

The purported housing project has built only 2,000 units to roof level, and most of them have been allocated to policemen, soldiers and CIO agents. Building fizzled out by February as contractors withdrew without being paid.

There are more people in Hatcliffe Extension now than before the blitz, Assalia Dube, 38, a resident, says. The Government built ninety-four of the single-room identical houses but only four are complete. “In January the UN was going to do an inspection of the houses, so the Government told people who were living in the open to quickly move into them so the UN would think the programme was OK,” she said.

Since her six-room brick- under-asbestos-sheeting house was razed last year, she has been through two winters and a rainy season with her husband — who has since lost his job — and six children successively in the open, under plastic sheets and in a leaky old tent.

The UN has begun an international appeal for an emergency housing programme, but is loath to build semi- permanent structures because of the likelihood that the Government will simply move in Mr Mugabe’s supporters.

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Spying Bill Betrays Zanu PF Desperation

By a Correspondent

HARARE - The proposed Interception of Communications law has been
described as a replication of desperate measures being taken by the ruling
Zanu PF government to maintain its stranglehold on power amid growing
discontent against its failure to resolve the country's socio-economic and
political woes.

Speaking during a public meeting organised by MISA-Zimbabwe political
analysts said the Interception of Communications Bill was part of a battery
of other existing repressive laws such as the Public Order and Security Act,
Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act and the Constitutional
Amendment (No 17) Act designed to stifle opposing views and perpetuate Zanu
PF hegemony.

Constitutional law expert Dr Lovemore Madhuku, said debate on the
constitutionality of the Bill should be taken in the context of whether
Zimbabwe is a functioning democracy with a democratic constitution.

Madhuku said the issue of whether the Bill is just, unjust or
constitutional in a democracy hinges on the type of constitution in place in
Zimbabwe and whether the country's Supreme Court as the final arbiter in
determining its constitutionality, is independent from the executive arm of
the state.

Leading human rights organisations, the business community, Media
Alliance of Zimbabwe (MAZ), which comprises MISA-Zimbabwe, Zimbabwe Union of
Journalists and Media Monitoring Project Zimbabwe and the Zimbabwe National
Editors Forum (Zinef), are pushing for the withdrawal of the Bill arguing
that its provisions are vague and unconstitutional as they violate the right
to freedom of _expression, privacy and business confidentiality.

The Minister of Transport and Communications Christopher Mushowe is on
record saying the government would revisit the Bill for purposes of removing
its contentious provisions. Mushowe made the undertaking when he appeared
before the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Transport and Communications
following submissions made to the Committee by MAZ, civic society
organisations and the business community.

The proposed law, which does not provide for judicial and
parliamentary oversight among other contentious provisions, seeks to empower
the chief of defence intelligence, the director-general of the Central
Intelligence Organisation, the Commissioner of Police and the Commissioner
General of the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority to intercept telephonic, e-mail
and cellphone messages.

The Bill also empowers state agencies to open mail passing through the
post and through licensed courier service providers.
Madhuku noted that the constitution empowers the state to interfere
with our freedoms provided that interference is reasonable, justifiable and
necessary in a democratic society.

"In discussing this Bill, the question then arises as to whether we
are a democracy. Clearly we are not a democracy hence my argument on the
limitations of whether the Bill is constitutional or not.
"What is required is a huge political reform process . a new
constitution and free and fair elections. Until we have a democratic
constitution our arguments on the constitutionality of the Bill will be
limited and not sufficient."

Political Scientist Dr John Makumbe and leading human rights lawyer
Jacob Mafume, concurred with Madhuku saying Zimbabweans should remain
focused on the need to bring about a new political dispensation. "We need to
stop this madness in a more direct political manner. The solution lies in
the departure of the current regime and give President (Robert) Mugabe time
to rest," said Mafume.

Bornwell Chakaodza, a veteran Zimbabwean journalist, said the voices
of civic society organisations were "tremendously important" as catalysts
for change. "The question that needs to be addressed is what it will take to
stop the insanity of these laws. It is important to continue speaking out
against these laws even if the government is not listening," said Chakaodza.

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Rites of Passage

Dear Family and Friends,

I think that like most people I have an intense love hate relationship
with Zimbabwe these days.

It seems you have to go through all manner of hardships and horrors in
order to truly be able to call yourself a Zimbabwean. These are Zimbabwe's
rites of passage and they are not for the feint hearted. Land seizures;
cancellation of title deeds; state acquisition of personal property and
equipment; being removed from the voters roll; being called an 'alien' in
the country of your birth and residence; having your own money seized from
you by the state; having to go and collect the police if you get burgled;
sitting in a petrol queue for at least one day; having to queue all night
in order to get a number on a bit of dirty cardboard which will allow you
- not to get a passport- but to stand in another queue to get a form to
get a passport. There are places too that you have to visit if you want to
say you are really a Zimbabwean. Places whose names bring to mind a whole
range of possibilities including: heat, dirt, dust, arrogance, rudeness,
bureaucracy, inefficiency and endlessly long queues. You just have to say
the words 'Makombe', 'Linquenda', 'National Registration' or 'Market
Square' to a Zimbabwean and the automatic response is a sympathetic groan
and an outpouring of empathy and friendship.

This week I have endured another rite of Zimbabwean passage. I have
thought long and hard about how to write this letter, about what I should
or should not say and in the end have decided to do what I've been doing
for 6 years and just tell it like it is. I woke up last Saturday morning
to find computers, cell phone, stereo, radio, TV and reading glasses gone
after a burglary in my home. In the days that have followed there has been
utter despair one minute and tears of humility the next. There has been
complete exhaustion too as sleep is hard in coming. To be honest, it is
hard to know how to carry on after this; small losses are devastating

There has been irony and absurdity in this week too - police who had to be
collected from the police station as they had no transport; the CID car
that had to be pushed as it had no starter; the glass that was ordered cut
and paid for and got home to find it was over a foot too short; only being
able to find "zhing-zhong" door locks that did not have a single standard
feature about them - they were too thin, too short and too narrow and in
order to use them I would have to buy new doors!

It took me five days to get to the point where I had the means to hear
even a local ZBC news bulletin on the radio. The irony of that first news
report is something I will never forget. The news reader said that there
had been a burglary of the Norton Police Station and the perpetrators had
got away with weapons, police uniforms and handcuffs. To be able to find
out what else was happening in the country was a real mission. I have
begun to understand how easy it is to bury your head in the sand in
Zimbabwe if you want to; accessing information is not at all easy:
independent newspapers only coming out once a week, independent radio
stations that are jammed and just incessant propaganda everywhere else.
In the week that I have been in the dark and quiet there has apparently
been a 200 strong MDC leadership protest march to parliament and trade
unions are calling for stay aways on Wednesday the 13th September. Perhaps
yet more rites of passage are looming for Zimbabweans.

I apologise for having been unable to reply to any of the emails that have
come from all over the world but am humbled and most grateful. Your
messages of love, concern and support have kept me sane and given me the
strength and courage to try and carry on. There were many people involved
in helping me get to the point where I could actually write and send my
letter this week and I thank you all for your kindness, patience and help.
Special thanks to my Mum and Sis who managed to make me laugh every day
and who have put their lives on hold to help me get mine back in order.
Until next time, with love, cathy. Copyright cathy buckle 9th September 2006

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With Protests Looming, Harare Bears Down on Labor, Student Leaders


By Blessing Zulu and Patience Rusere
08 September 2006

Authorities in Harare have placed senior officials of the Zimbabwe Congress
of Trade Unions under intense surveillance ahead of protests the labor
organization has called for on Wednesday across the nation to protest
plummeting living standards.

Police have warned the ZCTU against holding demonstrations without
permission. The trade union said it had notified authorities of plans, but
received no response.

Chief Police Superintendent Oliver Mandipaka of the Zimbabwe Republic Police
said authorities would not tolerate illegal activities. President Robert
Mugabe has warned that security forces would deal harshly with those
challenging his rule.

Meanwhile, a Zimbabwe intelligence source said that the country's Joint
Operations Command coordinating activities of the police, the army, and the
Central Intelligence Organization, is divided on how to respond to the
September 13 protests.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, the intelligence official said some
authorities are worried that crushing demonstrations could result in
bloodshed, bringing international intervention and encouraging Mugabe
government opponents to mount a campaign of civil disobedience along lines
seen in the Ukraine in 2004.

The ZCTU call for worker protests nationwide has been endorsed by the
European Parliament, the International Confederation of Trade Unions and the
Congress of South African Trade Unions.

For more on government surveillance of union leaders and protest plans,
reporter Blessing Zulu of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe spoke with ZCTU
Secretary General Wellington Chibhebhe, who said his union plans protests in
35 cities and towns.

While a number of civil society organizations have promised to join forces
with the ZCTU, questions have arisen as to the intentions of the Movement
for Democratic Change faction led by Morgan Tsvangirai, a former trade
unionist himself.

MDC sources said the party does not want to openly join the protests, as
this might give the government an excuse to crack down on the broad

The Independent newspaper of Harare quoted Tsvangirai faction spokesman
Nelson Chamisa as saying the MDC agenda is broader than the bread-and-butter
issues the union is pressing with its call to Zimbabwean workers to voice
economic grievances.

Reporter Patience Rusere sought clarification from Chamisa on the MDC

Chibhebhe declined to comment on the participation or non-participation of
the MDC. But other labor officials said keeping the MDC at arm's length from
the demonstrations is a strategic necessity, because Harare has told the
International Labor Organization it banned ZCTU protests in the past because
the union mixes labor and politics.

Elsewhere, police arrested eight officials of the Zimbabwe National Students
Union in Harare where they were planning participation in the ZCTU
demonstrations. Zinasu President Promise Mkwananzi said police raided the
Harare hotel where the student leaders had gathered for a strategy and
planning meeting.

An undetermined number of student union officers were rounded up in

Those arrested in Harare included Zinasu Secretary General Beloved Chiweshe.
Also taken into custody in the capital were committee members Milward
Makwenjere, Terence Chimavi, George Makoni, Farayi Magaza, Lawrence
Mashungo, Cleto Majava and Gideon Chitanga, said Mkwananzi.

Attorney Tafadzwa Mugabe of the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights,
representing the students, said they are being charged with meeting to
promote acts of violence.

Mkwananzi, absent from the hotel meeting when the arrests occurred, told
Patience Rusere his organization is undaunted and will proceed to join in
the protests.

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Minor quake rattles southern Zimbabwe

Xinhua 2006-09-09 20:47:20

    HARARE, Sept. 9 (Xinhua) -- The southern Zimbabwe was hit by a
minor quake which shook buildings and rattled windows on Friday afternoon,
probably caused by a blast rather than a geological fault, the official
newspaper The Herald reported on Saturday.

    The tremor was felt in Khumalo, Paddonhurst and the Central
Business District of Bulawayo, the country's second largest city at 2:54
p.m. (0054 GMT).

    According to the meteorological department's Goetz Observatory,the
monitoring station at Matopo recorded the tremor which lasted about four
seconds. The epicenter and the magnitude of the quake could not be
determined due to erratic signal from Matopo Seismic Station due to power

    But the quake was not included on an international magnitude four
or above which suggested strongly that it was below that level, the
newspaper said.

    The department of meteorological services assume the shaking could
have been caused by a blast.

    Zimbabwe has been hit by several quakes from the beginning of this
year. In February, a major earthquake hit South Africa, Mozambique and
Zimbabwe. The quake was measuring 7.5 on the Richter scale and was centered
on the north bank of Save River in Mozambique. Enditem

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The cost, curse and chaos of cronyism: lousy governance

By Bill Saidi

THE headline on the front page of The Herald one day this week, should

This would have captured the irony of the story. CHINAMASA ACQUITTED,
the headline used by the paper, was hardly riveting.It could have referred
to a story of the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs being
acquitted of a charge of drunken driving or tax evasion.

The sub-editor had clearly never heard of NO BAIL FOR THE JUDGE.
If Chinamasa had been found guilty, would the paper have used the

My suspicion is that they would probably have used the story at the
bottom of page seven, next to a glossy advertisement for condensed milk.

Patrick Chinamasa's charge arose out of an incident during campaigning
for a Zanu PF election in Makoni district.
 Both Chinamasa and Didymus Mutasa, the Minister of National Security,
have been pilloried as the "warlords" of the district.

Chinamasa holds a key portfolio: justice. Here he was being charged in
a court of law which, eventually, is answerable to his ministry.
The magistrate who eventually acquitted Chinamasa had not started
presiding over the case. Others, including prosecutors, had withdrawn from
the case. Although their reasons were put in so many words, one word would
have summed them up: fear.

Both politicians typify the cronyism of Zanu PF. Mutasa had a running
battle, a few years ago, with the then editor of government-owned Sunday
Mail newspaper, the late Charles Chikerema, as feisty a Zanu PF member as
Mutasa himself, although he was not your typical war veteran.

Chikerema was fond of speaking bluntly on anything he felt strongly
about: he felt very strongly about Mutasa's views. Their encounter, in the
columns of the paper, was explosive, as Mutasa too is given to calling a
spade a spade.

Mutasa has always raised hackles with a number of other people,
including Members of Parliament. When he was Speaker, he spoke of some of
them, publicly,  as "unwitty", which some of them translated as "dumb".

There was speculation that when he relinquished the Speaker's chair,
there was much merriment among a good number of MPs.
Mutasa is, of course, a big wheel in Zanu PF. Some people might
describe him as a crony of President Robert Mugabe. Others might describe
him simply as a "good friend" of the president, rather than a crony.

For some people, "crony" has a certain undesirable connotation.
"Cronyism" is thus considered a particularly obnoxious form of political
alliance. It suggests something bordering on political gangsterism, a league
of politicians who will stick by each other, no matter what.

Chinamasa does not have the political pedigree that Mutasa possesses.
He is a sort of "Johnny come lately". Yet he too has a history of
blunt-speaking worth recalling.

At the height of the set-to between the Judiciary and the Executive
over the land invasions, Chinamasa was clearly the president's flag-bearer
or trouble-shooter, leading the campaign to change the face of The Bench for
all time.

Many insiders have suggested that Chinamasa's piece de resistance in
that campaign was the forced retirement of Chief Justice Anthony Gubbay and
his eventual replacement by Godfrey Chidyausiku, under whose guidance The
Bench has achieved a political correctness which some allege is compatible
with Zanu PF's dubious commitment to both the rule of law and genuine
political pluralism.

The events leading to Chinamasa's case are not complimentary of him as
a politician or of Mutasa as a politician. The turf fighting in Makoni had
all the elements of political brawls recalling the early days of the
internecine war between Zapu and Zanu after the split in 1963.

For many analysts who cherish the ideal of clean political
campaigning, Chinamasa ought to have resigned as a cabinet minister once he
had been charged.

Certainly, Charles Chikerema - may his soul rest in peace - might have
called for Mutasa's resignation once his name had been dragged into the mud
in the same case.
We can only imagine how Mutasa would have responded to such a call.

Most Zimbabweans now accept that our politicians feel no obligation to
explain themselves or even to purge themselves of guilt, in public. They now
belong to an elite class, which can get away with almost anything.

This cronyism can be best exemplified in the two cases of Dzikamai
Mavhaire and Jonathan Moyo. The former was an outspoken critic of Mugabe,
calling publicly for him not to hang on to power indefinitely. At the time,
Mavhaire belonged to what was secretly called the Eddison Zvobgo camp in
Masvingo province. In reality, there were two political warlords in the
province,  Zvobgo himserlf, and the late Simon  Muzenda.

Mavhaire was given short shrift by Mugabe for his presumptuous
declaration against political leaders who believed they had a divine right
to occupy their positions in perpetuity.

Outside the cronyism created by his membership of Zanu PF, Mavhaire
found himself an outcast. To achieve the rehabilitation that resulted in his
inclusion among the Zanu PF beneficiaries of the ill-conceived Senate,
Mavhaire must have had to eat crow.

How Jonathan Moyo, whose transgression was almost equivalent to
Mavhaire's, bounced back as an elected MP, after his Tsholotsho debacle, can
be understood only in the context of the constituency.
If it had been anywhere but Matabeleland, he probably would not have
survived. .

Moyo may yet pay a high price for defying the cronyism that had
initially made him the darling of the party which, as a political columnist,
he had rubbished in very colourful language in a number of independent

Zanu PF's cronyism has blighted politics in Zimbabwe and almost ruined
any chance of good governance.

The events in Harare, triggered by the presence at the head of the
capital's administration of Sekesayi Makwavarara, are a shameful example of
how deeply cronyism can infect an entire city. If Zanu PF's higher echelons
were capable of shame at all, they would long ago have put a stop to this

For many citizens who were once proud of our independence, this circus
at the Harare Town House is an example of how Zanu PF has soiled and
corrupted what was once a proud moment for all Zimbabweans - 18 April 1980.

Edgar Tekere knows the curse of cronyism at first-hand. Even after he
had allegedly confessed the error of his ways and asked for forgiveness,
Zanu PF did not take him back, not without putting him through the
equivalent of a meat grinder.

Tekere is a stubborn man and may have told his former colleagues that
what they were asking him to do was beneath his dignity.
Personally, I think Tekere ought to leave well alone, unless he is
prepared to eat humble pie after humble pie before he is admitted back into
the party.

The cronyism in Zanu PF could be responsible, not only for the party's
filthy record of misgovernance, but also on its failure to accept that
Mugabe can be replaced as leader, without risking a bloodbath among the rank
and file.

Muzenda once warned that an open contest for the plum job, could lead
to bloody fighting. For that reason, he was suggesting - wasn't he? - that
Mugabe should be allowed to work out his own retirement plan.

Or was his suggesting that Mugabe name his own successor who should
then be endorsed by the politburo and the central committee?
Zanu PF is, of course, as different from the British Labour Party as
night is from day. Mugabe would never stand idly by while members of his
party resigned in protest at his insistence on staying in power until,
kingdom come - even with the majority of his party members being convinced
that he had failed, not only his party, but even his country?

Mugabe might not have an "Iraqi" element in his failure as leader of
this country, but he certainly is blamed for the tragic state of the

An admission by the Minister of Health and Child Welfare, Dr David
Parirenyatwa, that child malnutrition is once again on the increase, is the
latest indictment of Mugabe's reign.
Another is the accusation by Parirenyatwa's deputy, Edwin Muguti that
the National Aids Council has failed to account for much of the money given
to it to help people infected and affected by HIV/Aids.
They have spent most of the money on seminars and workshops and
expensive vehicles for themselves - not on ARVs.

That not one of the NAC officials has been jailed for embezzling its
funds must point again to the curse of cronyism.
They have friends in high places.

Zanu PF has, among its leaders, people who know what is wrong. They
know the party has let down the people very, very badly indeed, and ought to
make way for others to show their mettle.
What they need now is to accept that cronyism has been tragic for
Zimbabwe, if not for Zanu PF.

Mugabe may not be Blair, but even he can be told to his face that it
is time to go.

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G-20 Aim to Break Trade Talk Impasse

Washington Post

The Associated Press
Saturday, September 9, 2006; 5:01 AM

RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil -- Everyone meeting in Rio this weekend wants to
expand trade between rich and poor nations, but no one appears ready to do
what it takes to make it a reality.

Trade ministers from 21 developing countries gathered with representatives
from the United States, Japan and the European Union for two days of talks
starting Saturday.

The G-20 meeting is the first since five years of World Trade Organization
negotiations, known as the Doha Round, ground to a halt in July. And so far
there is no sign positions have softened.

Developing nations are demanding greater market access for their
agricultural products while developed nations complain of barriers in
emerging markets for their industrialized goods and services.

"There is not a great deal of room to maneuver and even if there was some
kind of motion toward talks, the mood in Washington is highly skeptical of
trade agreements that are more than sub-regional," said Roett Riordan,
director of Western Hemisphere studies at Johns Hopkins University.

Riordan said powerful farm lobbies in the U.S. and European Union were
unlikely to allow politicians to reduce the agricultural subsidies and
tariff barriers on agricultural products that the developing countries were

And developing nations appear unprepared to give in until that happens.

"The Doha talks broke down because of the failure of rich countries to live
up to their promises to cut agricultural subsidies and open markets. They
will only start again if rich countries resolve to improve their offers and
change the way they negotiate," said Amy Barry, spokeswoman for the
non-governmental organization Oxfam.

Still, the presence of U.S. Trade Representative Susan Schwab, E.U. Trade
Commissioner Peter Mandelson, WTO chief Pascal Lamy and Japanese Agriculture
Minister Shoichi Nakagawa underlined the importance developed countries
placed on these talks.

And U.S. representatives remained optimistic of the possibility of progress.

"I am actively seeking a new way forward for the Doha Round," Schwab said in
statement. "We need to add new voices to this dialogue and find open-minded
trading partners that share the goal of an ambitious round."

Analysts said the most that might be expected from the session would be a
call for a fresh round of bargaining for the 149-member WTO.

The trade talks, named after the Qatari capital of Doha where they were
started in 2001, are aimed at lowering trade barriers around the world.

Supporters say a successful round will boost the global economy and lift
poor countries out of misery. But opponents contend a binding WTO trade
treaty will simply reap more profits for multinational companies while
virtually enslaving workers in developing nations.

The entire process is rapidly running out of time because President Bush's
authority to "fast track" the trade deal expires in mid-2007. The fast-track
mechanism enables U.S. envoys to negotiate an agreement that can be
submitted to Congress for a yes-or-no vote without amendments.

The G-20, formed in 2003, includes Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, China,
Cuba, Egypt, the Philippines, Guatemala, India, Indonesia, Mexico, Nigeria,
Pakistan, Paraguay, South Africa, Thailand, Tanzania, Uruguay, Venezuela and

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Kunonga tells churches to close on his anniversary

From The Church Times (UK), 8 September

By Pat Ashworth

The Bishop of Harare, the Rt Revd Nolbert Kunonga, has decreed that all the
Anglican churches in the diocese are to be closed on Sunday 10 September to
celebrate his 33rd wedding anniversary. He has told everyone to be at the
National Sports Centre in Harare on that day, when those attending will be
expected to present him and Mrs Kunonga with gifts. The Mothers' Union has
been told to provide large quantities of food and drink. The function will
incorporate the launch of a fund-raising campaign for the Bishop Gaul
Theological College. The appeal will be made by a "building committee",
appointed by Bishop Kunonga. Priests will announce publicly what has been
donated by each parish. Bob Stumbles, chancellor of the diocese and deputy
chancellor of the province of Central Africa, writes: "There is no doubt
that the Bishop Gaul Theological College is in need of funding, and has been
for some time. A previous fund-raising exercise for the College during the
Bishop's chairmanship of the board unfortunately led to allegations that not
all the monies collected were accounted for." Mr Stumbles says that what the
Bishop has ordered is "tantamount to a breach of his promise to comply with
the canons, acts, and other laws of the Church. Dutiful devotions and
obedience to the Church and its laws seem to have been cast aside in the
interests of personal magnification. Who is going to be centre-stage at the
National Sports Centre - God, or man?" he asks.

Bishop Gaul Theological College was established to train students from
Zimbabwe for ordination as Anglican priests, and, until recently, the
bishops of all the Anglican dioceses in Zimbabwe were ex officio members of
the board of governors. "Bishop Kunonga carried out an unlawful purge,
dissolving and dismissing members of boards, committees and institutions who
had been elected in terms of the laws of the Church, and replacing them with
persons of his own choice," said Mr Stumbles. He understands that, as a
result of these changes, three dioceses in Zimbabwe have removed students or
stopped sending them to the College. "In these circumstances, perhaps
consideration should be given to resolving the question of control of Gaul
House first, before raising funds for a College whose objectives are being
thwarted," he said. "Furthermore, by reportedly ordaining as priests a
number of theologically untrained, unqualified priests, Bishop Kunonga seems
to be signalling that the existence of the College is no longer essential.
And he has exceeded his authority by dismissing, without a hearing, about 30
priests from the diocese."

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