Monday, October 31, 2005




Deaths in Kenya political riots.

Denis Otieno,20, says he was shot by police in Kisumu. Police in Kenya have confirmed that three people died in clashes with riot police in the south-western city of Kisumu on Saturday. But the chairman of a local hospital told the BBC that 10 bodies were brought to the hospital's mortuary.
The unrest appears to be linked to a rally called on Saturday in support of new constitutional proposals. Kisumu is a centre of opposition to the proposals, which critics say will leave too much power with the president. A police chief in Kisumu, Bakari Omar Jambeni, said 47 people were arrested in the riot and would be charged on Monday. Internal Security Minister John Michuki said on Sunday the government would deal ruthlessly with people causing chaos.
Minister accused "(They) should know that there is an elected government firmly in place whose cardinal duty is to protect its people," he said during a pro-constitution rally in the capital, Nairobi.
'No' supporters blocked the main Kisumu-Nairobi roadMP Maina Kamanda said Roads Minister Raila Odinga should be arrested for questioning over the Kisumu violence, Kenya's Daily Nation newspaper reports. Mr Odinga is part of the ruling coalition but has joined with the main opposition party, Kanu, to campaign against the proposals, using the symbol of an orange.
President Mwai Kibaki's government is leading the "Yes" campaign under the symbol of a banana. If the new constitution is approved on 21 November, it would be the first major overhaul of Kenya's constitution since independence from Britain in 1963.
Critics of the draft say it fails to establish a strong prime minister's post, which they say would prevent the president abusing his powers. Instead, the premier is appointed and can be dismissed by the president.


Lecturer Arnold Moyo (not his real name), 31, explained why he currently lives and works illegally in neighbouring Botswana.

I left Zimbabwe in January of this year because I could not get a job. The year before I had completed a MBA degree at the National University of Science and Technology in Bulawayo but still could not find employment.
Arnold lives and works illegally in neighbouring Botswana. The reason why I opted to come to Botswana is because they do not require that Zimbabweans have a visa. It is also nearer to Bulawayo - Zimbabwe's second city where I am from. My journey was easy. I took a bus, public transport, to Francistown in Botswana. The authorities at the Plumtree border post were fine. They stamped my passport, allowing me to stay for 90 days. Within only two weeks I had found a job lecturing at a college here in Francistown. Generally I cannot complain. I am now earning around 2,000 pula a month through lecturing and various extra part-time jobs. Sometimes I provide consultancy services for companies. There are also many people studying via distance learning courses here and so I tutor a lot of them.
Viewing the current situation in Zimbabwe, I don't want to go back. But if things changed then I would. Home is best. It is better to be at home with your relatives and friends. Arnold travelled home for this year's election but was unable to vote as his name was not on the register. I am married and we have one son. He is 10-years-old. I miss them. Especially certain times, like today which is pay day. I wish I was able to take them out and make them happy. Instead all I can do is send them money, and they really depend on that money now.
I travel home when I can but it is difficult because my days are over now - I am here illegally. I hitchhike when I return as public transport is too risky. Thankfully because the policemen are broke I am able to take advantage of the situation and bribe my way. To get through roadblocks I pay 20 pula. The Botswana border is all right as the guys at the gate are not that tight. It is very easy to bribe your way through. However once I am on the Zimbabwean side I have to jump the fence. But there are certain areas where no-one checks and so with colleagues we climb over the fence together. We do not go alone. I stay about a week and then come back the same way. It is very different here and I would rather be home. But generally when you look at it, some things are better. One is able to actually plan, to sit down and budget for even up to three months at a time. Prices don't go up.
Arnold wants the Botswana government to stop its citizens from taking advantage of ZimbabweansBeing a foreigner in a foreign land though, it worries me. At any time I could be forced to leave. I am always worried about that situation. I share a room with four others, all Zimbabweans. They are not professionals and take whatever work they can get. Unfortunately they, like a lot of other Zimbabweans, are subjected to harassment by Botswana citizens. Often they will work for almost a month. Then just before they are due to be paid someone arrives to check their work permit papers. As they don't have the right papers they then get deported. This is not fair and it is really a problem. Motswanas are taking advantage.
They are the ones that hire these people, without papers, and then they are the ones that get away without paying for their services when the Zimbabweans are caught and deported. I think that the people who hire the illegals should pay the fine when and if their workers are deported.

Human rights organisations should address this, and so raise the eyebrows of the Botswana government.

Sunday, October 30, 2005




Counting begins in Zanzibar polls. The ruling CCM party faces a strong challenge. Counting is under way after polling in presidential and parliamentary elections on Tanzania's semi-autonomous islands of Zanzibar. There have been reports of sporadic violence and accusations by the opposition that some people have been prevented from voting. But the extreme violence that marred previous polls has so far been absent. More than 30,000 security forces have been deployed. Some 500,000 people were expected to cast their ballots.
President Amani Karume's main challenger in the election, Seif Hamad, said members of his staff and some party officials were abducted, leaving them unable to vote. The BBC's Karen Allen in Zanzibar says there is no independent verification of the claim, but it adds to a general sense of mistrust about how the polling is being carried out. Mainland poll suspended.
Mr Karume was among the first to cast his vote and said he was optimistic of his party's continued success.
Population: Nearly 1m
Area: 2,461 sq km (950 square miles)
Major languages: Kiswahili, English
Major religion: Islam
Main exports: Cloves, seaweed, coconut, copra.

He is running for a second term after winning elections in November 2000, while Mr Hamad was runner-up in Zanzibar's 1995 and 2000 presidential elections. As well as casting their ballots for a president, voters were choosing 50 members for the legislature and 139 local councillors. Mr Karume's ruling Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) party is disputing the polls with Mr Hamad's Civic United Front (CUF), the islands' largest opposition party.
Voting on the mainland has been postponed due to the death of opposition vice-presidential candidate, Jumbe Rajab Jumbe. Zanzibar voters will now have to wait until 18 December to vote in nationwide presidential and legislative elections. There was uncertainty for a while about whether the polls on the archipelago would proceed. But the Zanzibar Electoral Commission said the province was not bound by national electoral rules and voting could go ahead.





Shots fired at Gbagbo protesters.

Protesters held a rally at a sports stadium before the trouble. Riot police in Ivory Coast have fired warning shots and used tear gas to disperse hundreds of opposition protesters in the main city of Abidjan. Opposition militants were threatening to remove President Laurent Gbagbo after his failure to step down. His five-year mandate was supposed to end on Sunday. But scheduled elections have been postponed and the UN decided to keep him in power for another year.
The country has been in turmoil since rebels seized the north in 2002. More than 10,000 French and UN troops patrol a barrier zone between the northern rebels - known as the New Forces - and the militias who support President Gbagbo in the south. Laurent Gbagbo says rebels must disarm before any elections
The BBC's James Copnall, in the main commercial city Abidjan in the south, says the division of the country has made it impossible to hold elections to find a successor to Mr Gbagbo. Electoral rolls have not been drawn up, he says, and it was no surprise when elections were postponed.
Several thousand opposition supporters attended a rally in Abidjan to demand that President Gbagbo leave office. Women wearing white face paint danced round in circles while young men loudly shouted their rage at Mr Gbagbo. Riot police fired in the air and used tear gas when some demonstrators tried to march to Mr Gbagbo's residence in the city centre and set alight wooden barricades.
There were no immediate reports of casualties. The leaders of the opposition's youth wing had called for calm but were unable to control their supporters, our correspondent says. Similar rallies are being held in the north. Supporters of President Gbagbo, known as the Young Patriots, have postponed a rally they were going to hold in Abidjan due to fears about clashes between the rival groups.
In March last year, more than 120 opposition supporters were killed by the Ivorian armeforces as they tried to demonstrate, according to a UN report. The UN Security Council has demanded that a new prime minister acceptable to all be appointed, with reinforced powers. However, our correspondent says it is not yet clear who could fill the role, nor how he and President Gbagbo will share power.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Cathy Buckle's Letter From Zimbabwe.

Dear Family and Friends,

A friend of mine recently had occasion to visit a commercial farm that had been seized by the government for re-distribution. Just five years ago every acre of the farm had been involved in intensive agricultural production. Eggs, tobacco, beef, maize and mutton had come off this land every year. Over 50 men had been employed on this farm less than five years ago and these men, with their wives, children and extended families had lived and thrived on this property. And now, my friend who visited this farm recently, said that what he had seen was so painful that it made his "heart sore with shame."
My heart is also sore to have to relate this story as I too knew this farm, this piece of land, the owners and many of the farm workers and their families who had made such a good life and living on this land.The boundary fences surrounding the property are mostly non existent, the wire stolen, the poles long since taken for fire wood. The chicken houses have been stripped, wire mesh gone, tin roofing sheets removed and all that remains is the concrete floors - cracked, chipped and with grass crawling through in tough runners. The farm house, my friend says, is"finished". The ceilings have gone. There is no longer electricity in the house; electrical wires and their conduits have literally been dug out of the walls, along with the wall plug sockets, light fittings and connections. Windows are just holes in walls as window frames and burglar bars have gone, chiseled out of the walls. There is no longer water in the house; the bathroom and kitchen geysers have gone, the stainless steel kitchen sinks have been removed and in the bathroom the taps have been taken. Outside, on the land, there is little activity. Aside from a few little scratches where rape and tomatoes are being tended near the dam, there is not much else going on. Big fields are unploughed, seed does not wait stacked in the sheds, fertilizer and chemicals are not piled in workshops.In less than two weeks Zimbabwe's rainy season will begin and tragically what my friend saw is not an isolated incident. The Governor of theReserve Bank is repeatedly pleading for massive increases in production on seized farms.
Vice President Joseph Msika keeps on threatening to remove farmers who are not using the land they were given but hints that this is a delicate process. Barely a month ago Vice President Joyce Mujuru said:"If you are not farming properly, this is sabotage at its highest level....We want farmers who work the land for maximum production, not incompetents and idlers who just sit and do nothing." Zimbabwe's main growing season is right now. Little is happening. In the supermarket this week piles of seed maize sits on the shelves. People cannot afford to buy it and have no no fuel to transport it.
People talk of how new farmers are becoming multi billionaires this October - they queue for their government fuel allocation which they buy at 30 000 a litre and then sell for 100 000 a litre on the black market. You certainly can't make that much money farming so why even bother?
Until next week,love cathy.
Copyright cathy buckle, 29 October 2005. http:/

Friday, October 28, 2005



Writer Mr. C. HOVE pleads for books!

African writer wants books, not bridges.
Exiled Zimbabwean writer Chenjerai Hove explains why he thinks Africa's reading habits are in decline. A critic of the Mugabe government, he currently lives in Norway, and his published work includes poetry, novels, essays and reflections. Chenjerai says books should not be subject to the same sales and duty taxes as other commoditiesI signed books until I developed blisters on my fingers once at the Zimbabwe International Book Fair. But that was not only my experience.
Other writers and poets such as Yvonne Vera, Chirikure Chirikure, Charles Mungoshi and Shimmer Chinodya (Ben Chirasha) were also busy signing dozens of books. It was in the early 1990s and the public, thirsting for new books, had flooded the National Gallery Gardens to meet the writers and see the books. Not so today.
A few years ago, I was busy signing autographs on newspapers and pieces of paper. No-one could afford the books anymore. African governments have not put in place well-planned book development policies. Books are subject to the same sales and duty taxes as other commodities. Materials for producing books, like inks, newsprint, printing plates, and the essential technology, are all taxed on the same rate as bolts and spare parts for cars.
During colonial days when I was a teacher, books used to have an especially low postal rate, almost free. So students could order books from the National Free Library in the country's second city of Bulawayo. Books have the same postal rates as any other article in the mail. As a result, only those who are within walking distance of the National Free Library can go to borrow a book.
The absurdity of taxes on books is in that governments in Africa are the biggest buyers of school textbooks. Ministries of Education give money to schools or the responsible authorities as an annual book allocation. The Ministry of Finance then taxes the books bought by the Ministry of Education in order to give schools grants for the following year.
"New illiterates"
Sadly, most education systems in Africa are also examination-oriented. Students are never taught to read books as a pleasurable experience in itself without thinking of exams.Universities and colleges are producing what I call the "new illiterates".They have their degrees and diplomas, but hardly take time to sit and enjoy reading good books. In some countries, literacy campaigns have been put in place, but it does not help because soon the new literates have nothing more to read. They decline back to illiteracy. The campaign becomes a futile exercise.
Bridges not books
Effective book development policies mean affordable books will be available on a continuous basis in order to make reading a habit in the heart and soul of every reader in every country. It is sad when I realise that African books are read more outside the continent than inside. African governments only view development in terms of bridges, school buildings, clinics, hospitals and roads.
The African mind is the least of their priorities.

Thursday, October 27, 2005



Famous Blue Train in Crash.

SA's luxury Blue Train in smash

The Blue Train travels through some spectacular landscapes. South Africa's luxury Blue Train has been involved in a head-on collision with another passenger train. At least 10 people were injured when the Trans Karoo express collided with the Blue Train in the central Karoo region on Wednesday night.
Reports say the Trans Karoo was diverted onto a track where the Blue Train was stationary. The Blue Train carries mostly foreign tourists between Cape Town, Johannesburg and Pretoria. The Trans Karoo is the regular passenger service on the same route. The accident took place shortly after 2300 local time (2100 GMT), 20 km from the railway junction of De Aar. No deaths have been reported, and there are conflicting reports concerning injuries.
A spokesman for the partly state-owned transport company Transnet told South African Broadcasting Corporation radio that 10 people were injured, including some railway employees.
Earlier reports suggested a greater number of injuries. Two Japanese tourists are reported to be among the injured.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005




Kenya maths paper fails to add up

The exams board said the pupils would not lose marks. Kenyan pupils taking their school leaving certificate on Monday were stumped by a maths paper that contained questions impossible to answer. Two questions referred the high school candidates to wrong tables and a third had no table at all. "We panicked. There is no doubt about it," one schoolgirl in Nairobi told the Standard newspaper.
The national examining board said the mix-up had occurred at the printers and it would not affect students' results. More than 260,000 pupils took the Maths 1 compulsory paper on Monday morning, as part of their Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education - their last exams before university. "I assure you that the error will not affect any candidate, hence they should go on to write out papers without fear," Kenya National Examination Council's Reuben Mugo is quoted by the Daily Nation paper as saying.
While no marks will be deducted, some pupils said they wasted a lot of time struggling to find an answer to the impossible questions and so their result would be affected. Delays were especially long at some schools in remote areas because they were unable to telephone KNEC for guidance, The Standard reports.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

My Trip to China

We went to see the Terracotta Army.
This is an amazing place. Very difficult to describe really. We were told that a farmer when digging some years ago came across the first soldier. It has taken years of hard work excavating this one section. It covers a huge area this particular site, and there are others still to have work started on them. There are horses as well as the soldiers. They were buried under poles of wood going across as beams and this can be seen on the photo by the indentations on the ground. To me they all look rather fragile and I just hope being exposed to the weather they dont deteriorate and break down. Posted by Picasa

Monday, October 24, 2005


MDC 'got illegal foreign funds'.

Leader Morgan Tsvangirai denies the MDC received the funds. An MP from Zimbabwe's opposition Movement for Democratic Change says his party received $2.5m in foreign funds.
MP Job Sikhala says the money, from Taiwan, Ghana and Nigeria, is the real cause of current divisions in the MDC. MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai denies his party received the foreign donations, which are forbidden under Zimbabwe law.
The MDC is currently divided over Senate elections next month. Mr Tsvangirai has announced a boycott, while some officials want to take part. "It's true and I can confirm that the Movement for Democratic Change received funding from Ghana, Nigeria and Taiwan," Mr Sikhala told the AFP news agency, following earlier reports in the state-owned Herald newspaper. "All this fighting in the party is over money," he added.
Mr Tsvangirai's spokesman William Bango said Mr Sikhala was "out of line" for making the allegation about the funds. "Mr Tsvangirai knows nothing about the alleged funding. He is surprised that Sikhala would make such false allegations," William Bango told AFP. Zimbabwe's Political Parties Act outlaws the foreign funding of political parties. Senate elections were called after a recent constitutional change reintroduced an upper house into parliament. Government critics say the change was introduced to strengthen the hold on power of President Robert Mugabe's Zanu-PF party.
The MDC believes violence and fraud have made previous elections unfair. Zimbabwe has had a single-chamber parliament since 1987, when Mr Mugabe abolished the Senate. But the government now says the reintroduction of the Senate will boost the authority of parliament. The Senate will comprise 10 traditional chiefs, 50 senators elected on a constituency system and six appointed by the president.

Where is the Truth?

Nigeria - where the truth is hard to find.
The confusion surrounding the weekend place crash in Nigeria - when officials at first confidently said that many people had survived, before later back-tracking - shows how difficult it is to get accurate information in Africa's most populous country, writes the BBC's former Nigeria correspondent Anna Borzello.
Getting accurate information is notoriously difficult in Nigeria. It may seem astonishing to anyone who hasn't visited Nigeria that a plane on a main commercial route can disappear, and for nearly a day no-one knows where it has gone. How can an aircraft come down in a crowded part of the country without news of the crash spreading to the cities within half an hour? How can officials confidently tell reporters there are survivors, when everyone is dead? Reading the report of the crash on the BBC News website, all the frustration I used to feel trying to get to the bottom of stories in Nigeria came flooding back.
I was reminded of the time, about a year ago, when onlookers crowded onto a Lagos beach, convinced a plane had just plunged into the water killing all on board. There were eye-witnesses, the story ran on CNN, and a police helicopter whirred overhead. But the aviation authority said it had no record of a flight plan, and the wreckage was never found.
After a few days, the story was simply forgotten.

BBC News Report by Anna Borzello.

Sunday, October 23, 2005



Saturday, October 22, 2005

Cathy's letter from Zimbabwe

Dear Family and Friends,

For six months we have not had a drop of rain in Zimbabwe and now, as we
wait for the first thunderstorm, the atmosphere is exceedingly strained.
Daytime temperatures are way up in the thirties Centigrade and the skies
are mostly clear and still. During the day we battle with flies which seem
to be everywhere and at night the mosquitoes whine and wheedle
incessantly. The mozzies, as we call them, are very bad already, even
before the rains have started, and they are going mostly unchecked as even
a simple tin of insecticide is now over quarter a million of dollars and a
luxury that few people can afford.

In Marondera this week we've gone two days without water, one day without
electricity and every day without petrol and yet, amazingly enough, we
muddle through one day after another. I have found it almost unbearable to
watch and follow Zimbabwe's politics this week as it seems the opposition
have lost their way, forgotten their reason for being and become intent on
squabbling over the chance to get a seat in a Senate which they themselves
said was not wanted and an unacceptable financial burden on a population
stretched way beyond the limits. Night after night state owned television
have announced with growing glee that that "the rift in the MDC is
widening" and have shown opposition party officials issuing opposing
statements and publicly contradicting each other. For six years we have
seen almost no coverage of the opposition party on national television but
this week the film footage has been incessant as the ruling party have
gloated, crowed and chortled at what Mr Mugabe calls "that irrelevant

I pray that by the time you read this letter, the MDC will have come to
their senses. I cannot believe that any one of them has forgotten the
rapes, arson, torture, beating, brutality and murder that have littered
our lives for the past five and a half years. I cannot believe that any of
them are happy and contented that their families are spread out all over
the world, in political and financial exile. I cannot believe that any one
of them will be able to look at themselves in the mirror and feel good
about earning a living as a Senator. It will be a living that ordinary
people are dying, literally, to give them. I cannot believe that any of
the MDC leaders, even one of them, think that these elections will be
different - clean, unrigged, free, fair and transparent. Multiple
hundreds of thousands of people are already disenfranchised, either
through forced removal from their homes and constituencies through one
government policy or another or by having been declared aliens in the
country of their birth.

On Friday Registrar General Tobaiwa Mudede announced on ZBC TV that people
displaced by Operation Murambatsvina would not be eligible to vote unless
they had re-registered in their new constituencies. This announcement was
followed shortly afterwards by an advert advising that voter registration
would close just 48 hours later on Sunday.

And so, while it is agonising to watch the MDC tear themselves apart,
ordinary people are left feeling betrayed and bereft and asking why we
have all endured so much, suffered so much and lost so much. Certainly not
to become part of the gravy train. We are waiting for the rain in
Zimbabwe, and for democracy and an end to oppression, unemployment, hunger
and soaring inflation. Until next week, love cathy
Copyright cathy buckle 22 October 2005. "African Tears" and
"Beyond Tears" are available from:



Maybe, like me, many of you are finding it hard to read Cathy Buckle's weekly letters from Zimbabwe. Maybe, like me, you are feeling uncomfortable at having a normal everyday kinda life, compared to everyone in Zimbabwe. Maybe, like me, you have tried to get their message out to as many people as you can. Maybe, like me, you are desperately sad that there seems to be so little we can do to help. Maybe, like me, you wonder why so much aid can be sent and given to other countries in need, but that the people in Zimbabwe are being forced to die of starvation, illnesses, and lack of shelter. Maybe, like me, you wonder how on earth would you manage living in a country as Zimbabwe is now.

Maybe, like me, you are angry that nothing and no one seems to care about the women and children in Zimbabwe. Maybe, like me, you want to beg the men in Zimbabwe to take stock of the situation they find themselves in and DO somthing about it. Maybe, like me, you wonder why the men folk in Zimbabwe seem to show no concern whatso ever about the women and children, and to change and DO something for them. Maybe, like me, you wonder what the children will grow up into, having had so little of of normal childhood - they are the future of the country after all. Maybe, like me, the ache in your heart does not ever ease, but seems to get worse as each year goes by. Maybe, like me, you are indebted to Cathy for her continual contact with us in the outside world. Maybe, like me, you continue to pray that one day, their day will come, and the suffering of all the good people in Zimbabwe will stop and God's country will return to normal. Maybe, like me, you wonder if that is too much to ask?

Friday, October 21, 2005


Zimbabwe frees trade in currency.

The Zimbabwean dollar has plummeted in value this year. Zimbabwe's central bank is to allow the Zimbabwean dollar to trade freely, a move seen as a way to aid both exports and stocks of foreign currencies. The move is also seen as a means to reduce the vast difference between the official and black market values of the Zimbabwean dollar. The currency has been pegged against the US dollar for several years, recently at Z$26,000 per US$1. The black market rate for the Zimbabwe dollar can be as high as Z$90,000. Under the new system, exporters will be allowed to trade 70% of their foreign currencyearnings at the "market-determined rate", but 30% will have to be surrendered to the central bank, the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe.
The government hopes this will encourage businesses to increase exports. Inflation in Zimbabwe is rampant, increasing by 360% so far this year, according to the government's own figures. Analysts say the liberalisation of trading in the Zimbabwe dollar will initially further increase inflation, until the official and black market values move together. "We should see the Zimbabwe dollar trading at around 60,000 (per US dollar) in the first week, while will be followed by a gradual depreciation to within parallel market levels, that's where it should settle," one Harare commercial bank told the Reuters news agency.
Economist Eric Bloch said Zimbabwe's exporters would benefit from the changes - but not immediately. "This move is going to be positive but it's not a quick fix to our problems," he said. "There is a time lag for [exporters'] response and I can't see that happening until around April next year." Zimbabwe's economy has been reeling from six years of recession caused, critics say, by the land reform policies of President Robert Mugabe.
Since 1999, the government and its supporters have seized white-owned farms, leading to widespread food shortages. Zimbabwe now has to import at least 37,000 tons of maize a week to help feed its population. The government blames the food shortages on poor rains in recent years.
However, in recent months the government has made renewed efforts to reduce its overseas debts, including making US$135m in payments to the International Monetary Fund (IMF). The IMF had earlier threatened to throw Zimbabwe out of the organisation, and continues to say it could return to this threat in the future.





SA acts against spies in ANC row.

Mr Macozoma is seen as part of the president's inner circle. South Africa has suspended its top three intelligence officials. Media have linked the suspensions to the split in the governing ANC party, between President Thabo Mbeki and sacked Deputy President Jacob Zuma.
The suspensions follow allegations that Saki Macozoma - a prominent businessman and close ally of President Mbeki - had come under surveillance. Intelligence Minister Ronnie Kasrils suspended intelligence agency director general, Billie Masethla, on Friday. "I complained to the minister and he confirmed it was the NIA that was involved" said Saki Macozoma.
This followed the suspension on Thursday of the National Intelligence Agency's deputy director general, Gibson Njenje, and general manager, Bob Mhlanga. The NIA officials are alleged to have placed Mr Macozoma under surveillance illegally. Mr Macozoma told the Mail & Guardian newspaper: "It is correct they did survey me. I found out because it was an overt and in-your-face kind of thing. "I complained to the minister and he confirmed it was the NIA that was involved," Mr Macozoma added.
Mr Macozoma is a member of the ANC's National Executive Committee and is seen as part of the president's inner circle. It is believed he could wield influence in the appointment of a successor to Mr Mbeki, who is to step down from the ANC leadership in 2007 and from the national presidency in 2009. Mr Zuma, previously seen as the natural successor to Mr Mbeki, was sacked by the president in June, and was later charged with corruption. The charges have caused deep rifts within the ANC, with two factions identified respectively with Mr Mbeki, and with Mr Zuma, who remains deputy president of the party. Mr Zuma retains widespread popular support, and was cheered by hundreds of ANC supporters when he appeared in court last week.

Thursday, October 20, 2005




Divisions deepen in Zimbabwe MDC.

The MDC leadership is no longer standing together. New evidence has emerged of a major split within the leadership of Zimbabwe's main opposition party. Movement for Democratic Change vice-president Gibson Sibanda has accused party leader Morgan Tsvangirai of violating the MDC's constitution. The party has been thrown into chaos over the issue of whether to boycott next month's elections for a Senate. Last week the MDC voted narrowly in favour of taking part, but Mr Tsvangirai insisted on a boycott. Mr Sibanda accused Mr Tsvangirai of "wilfully violating the constitution of the MDC" and breaching its code of conduct.

MDC's changing fortunes -
1999: Founded by Morgan Tsvangirai
2000: Wins 57 parliamentary seats
2002: Tsvangirai loses presidential challenge
2003: Mass protests quashed by security forces
2004: Says will not contest 2005 election
2005: Contests election, wins 41 seats

After meeting Mr Tsvangirai on Wednesday, Mr Sibanda rejected suggestions that the party was about to split. "We are still seeking a solution. We never said we were going to split and there are no signs of a split, it is simply that there is some differences in issues and the approach to those issues," Mr Sibanda told the AFP news agency.
MDC supporters say the party will survive, but they acknowledge that it has been seriously weakened, and that it may be time for a change in leadership. Correspondents say there is a strong desire among the southern Ndebele members of the MDC to take part in the senate elections and not hand victory on a plate to Robert Mugabe's Zanu PF party. But in the northern Shona-speaking areas of the country, the MDC is less organised and is ill-prepared to contest elections.
Meanwhile, the National Constitutional Assembly (NCA), a coalition of pro-democracy groups, has added its voice to the call for a boycott of the Senate election, calling it "meaningless" and a "waste of time and resources". "The NCA urges ordinary Zimbabweans to refuse to be complicit in Zanu-PF's exploitative grand scheme for diverting national and international attention from the root cause of suffering in Zimbabwe, that is a failed government," NCA spokeswoman Jessie Majome told journalists. Elections were called after a recent constitutional change reintroduced an upper house into parliament. The MDC has argued previous polls were rigged.
Government critics say the change was introduced to strengthen the hold on power of President Robert Mugabe's Zanu-PF party. The MDC believes violence and fraud have made previous poll results unfair. Zimbabwe has had a single-chamber parliament since 1987, when President Mugabe abolished the Senate. But the government now says the reintroduction of the Senate will boost the authority of parliament. The Senate will comprise 10 traditional chiefs, 50 senators elected on a constituency system and six appointed by the president.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005


Zambia tests HIV 'herbal remedy'.

One in six Zambians is thought to have HIV/Aids.
Zambia has begun trials of three herbal medicines to see if they can be used to treat HIV/Aids, it says. Twenty-five people with HIV will take part in the three-month trial, which the health minister said conforms to World Health Organization guidelines. The United Nations estimates that one in six Zambians has HIV/Aids. An Aids charity spokesperson was sceptical about the trials, saying the only known effective treatment was anti-retroviral (ARV) drugs.
At a press conference in the Zambian capital Lusaka, Health Minister Sylvia Masebo said: "It is a momentous occasion for Zambia which establishes a partnership between conventional medicine and traditional medicine." Dr Patrick Chikusu, principal investigator of clinical trials of traditional herbal remedies, said 14 natural remedies had been narrowed down to three to be submitted to the final stage of clinical trials.
One of the three drugs is a formulation mixed by a former government minister and constitutional lawyer, Ludwig Sondashi. The cost of ARV drugs, which have been shown to be effective in suppressing the effects of the virus in the West, are too expensive for most people in developing countries to afford. Genevieve Clark, of the British charity Terence Higgins Trust, said: "I can understand why people are desperate to find anything that helps." "Anything that boosts the immune system helps... Anything you can do in terms of eating healthily and being healthy is to be welcomed."
But she added: "Herbal remedies have not been proven to help... The only thing proven is anti-retroviral treatments." She also expressed concern that the test sample of 25 people was not large enough to be a "proper clinical trial".



Many still homeless in Zimbabwe.

Some displaced people say they have nowhere to go. Many thousands of Zimbabweans whose houses were destroyed earlier this year remain in rural areas without proper homes, say a group of church leaders.
Speaking in Johannesburg about Zimbabwe's Operation Murambatsvina, priests from various churches said evictions were still continuing. The government crackdown targets informal traders and buildings the authorities deem illegal. The Archbishop of Bulawayo warned that some 200,000 were threatened by hunger. A United Nations envoy said 700,000 people were affected by Operation Murambatsvina.
Archbishop Pius Ncube said that according to his estimate, about 200,000 people would die by early next year because they no longer had money to buy food, and because the population was affected by HIV-Aids. "Hunger is due to the Zimbabwe government refusing food aid," Archbishop Ncube added. "Even if there are good rains this year, the government is so bankrupt that it has very little to spend on seed, and there is no fertiliser." "Eighty percent of those displaced people who were sent to rural areas have not yet acquired any permanent settlement," said Pastor Albert Chatido, the logistical co-ordinator of church aid efforts in Bulawayo. "They are dwelling with relatives or in the headman's homestead. NGOs are only allowed to supply food to a certain area."
Pastor Ray Motsi, chairman of the Combined Churches of Bulawayo, said that "out of the 700,000 the UN was talking about, between 300,000 and 400,000 have been displaced to rural areas". "The tragedy is that many had no rural background and made their way back."
However, Shari Eppel, human rights advisor to Archbishop Ncube said that while the UN figures on displacement were credible, there were no reliable figures on how many had ended up in the rural areas. "Where people are now we just don't know," she told the BBC News website. Church leaders say it is not possible to get an accurate number of the number of people forcibly displaced to the rural areas, since they are widely dispersed. A survey published in a report by the Solidarity Peace Trust - a South African-based group working in Zimbabwe - suggests that of the people whose homes were destroyed in Bulawayo's Killarney squatter camp, 70% said they had nowhere else to go.
Pastor Chatido said between 500 and 1,000 people were still living in the open in various parts of Bulawayo. He said that a group of people of Malawian descent, interviewed by the BBC News website in August, were still living in the bush in the Bulawayo suburb of Cowdray Park. "One of them died recently," Pastor Chatido said. He added that demolitions were continuing in Killarney, after people rebuilt the shelters that had earlier been demolished.
People have become dependent on aid from churches."Killarney Village 2 was recently squashed for the third time," he said. In Killarney Village 3, Pastor Chatido said informal settlement dwellers had come up with a novel way of beating the demolitions: "They take down their corrugated sheets in the morning, and then reconstruct their shelters in the evening." In Victoria Falls, Pastor Chatido said people were living 15 in a small house, after the destruction of outbuildings forced people to share the available accommodation.



BIRD FLU - Are they over acting on this?

Bird flu set to hit Africa soon.

Europe has already been hit by the potentially lethal virus.

East Africa needs urgent help to combat the bird flu virus which could soon spread there, the United Nation's food agency, the FAO is warning. Confirmation that the potentially deadly H5N1 bird flu virus has already arrived in Turkey and Romania suggests it is being carried by migrating birds. These known routes end in East Africa's Rift Valley where farming patterns closely resemble those in Asia.

Veterinary services there would struggle to cope, the FAO says. The FAO says the first birds could arrive in North Africa and then East Africa in the coming weeks. The fear is the virus will quickly take hold in domestic chicken flocks and prove extremely difficult to eradicate. "The countries urgently need international assistance to build up basic surveillance and control systems," FAO chief veterinary officer Joseph Domenech said.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005






Meet Ms Beatrice Mtetwa.

Zimbabwe's feisty freedom fighter.

Beatrice has used the law to secure justice. The BBC News website's Justin Pearce profiles Zimbabwean human rights lawyer Beatrice Mtetwa, recipient of one of the 2005 Press Freedom Awards by the New York-based campaign group the Committee to Protect Journalists. "I didn't do anything other than my job," says Beatrice Mtetwa, reacting to the news that the CPJ has honoured her with one of its annual Press Freedom Awards.
The Zimbabwean lawyer has defended the rights both of Zimbabwean journalists and of foreign correspondents working in the country, and the CPJ award reflects the fact that internationally, Ms Mtetwa is best known for her work in defence of the media. But she says she also takes a lot of cases involving constitutional law, mostly in the area of human rights.
Seeing her in action was quite amazing. She goes for it and never lets anything pass her by Dolores Cortes, wife of deported journalist "My most important work never gets near the media," she told the BBC News website, adding jokingly: "You guys just like to report on yourselves."
In one of Ms Mtetwa's better-known cases, she rushed to Harare airport having obtained a court order to prevent the deportation of Guardian correspondent and US citizen Andrew Meldrum in 2003. Mr Meldrum had been abducted by the police after an earlier court ruling had granted him leave to remain in the country. His whereabouts were unknown for some time until he appeared at the airport.
She is the kind of person who has a love for the job - something we need to see more of in a country fighting for democracy Columbus Mavhungu, Zimbabwean journalist. With the new court document in her hand, she talked her way through immigration and airline officials and ran onto the airport tarmac, just too late to prevent the plane from taking off.
"Seeing her in action was quite amazing," says Mr Meldrum's wife, Dolores Cortes, who witnessed the incident. "She goes for it and will never let anything pass her by." Beatrice Mtetwa continues her work despite having been arrested on trumped-up charges, beaten and tortured by the police.
For several years she represented the Daily News, an independent and often critical paper that was subjected to criminal defamation charges by the government, before finally being closed down in 2003. Ms Mtetwa is continuing with the case of 45 former Daily News journalists who have been charged with working without official accreditation in the period before the paper was shut down.
"She is the kind of person who has a love for the job," says Columbus Mavhungo, an executive member of the Zimbabwe Journalists' Union, and a former Daily News staff member. The [legal] space has become narrow, especially in the superior courts - especially when appointments are made not on the the basis of expertise but of political patronage.
Beatrice Mtetwa "That is the kind of person one would like to see more of in a country fighting for democracy." As someone who has used the law to secure justice, often against the interests of the government, Beatrice Mtetwa is concerned at the erosion of the independence of Zimbabwe's judiciary.
"The space has become narrow, especially in the superior courts - especially when appointments are made not on the basis of expertise but of political patronage," she says. "She is equally worried by government moves against the independent press: "The media space has also shrunk. More and more violations are occurring and are not getting exposure." She maintains not only her dignity but also a wicked sense of humour and a love of life that are a delight to experience
Toby Harnden, foreign correspondentShe believes that these days, the best chance of securing justice is in the magistrates' courts, which are less likely than the higher courts to be swayed by the political needs of the government. "The magistrates are ordinary civil servants, without perks. There is now a situation in Zimbabwe where it is in the lower courts that people are most likely to get a fair hearing." "The state say they will appeal but they seldom follow through. It's done more to please their political masters than anything else."
It was in a magistrate's court that Beatrice Mtetwa won her most recent battle in favour of foreign correspondents: Toby Harnden and Julian Simmonds of the British Sunday Telegraph, who were arrested during presidential elections in April. Toby Harnden describes her as a "heroine". "Despite the constant harassment and a brutal beating, she maintains not only her dignity but also a wicked sense of humour and a love of life that are a delight to experience," he says.
"If it wasn't for Beatrice, Julian Simmonds and I might still be languishing in jail with another year to serve."
Report for the BBC Website by Justin Pearse.

My Trip to China

I have recently got back from my trip to China and I am still trying to come to terms with all of it. It was/is such a culture shock, and it was totally amazing to say the very least. I am so thankful that I did the trip as it truly was an experience of a lifetime.

The contrasts of their life now and how it used to be, the big city, modern large very efficient airport dealing with hundreds of people all arriving at the same time. Brand new trains/old trains and the Beijing Railway Station is almost an airport in itself. Big city life and agriculture out in the country as if the wheel had only just been invented. Fields of corn right up to the roads, fields and fields of vegetables, some of which I did not even know. Corn being dried on the roadside and even on the roads, and which cars took care to avoid driving over. People going about their business in small markets. How there are so many people up and about so early in the mornings. (My regret is that I was not able to join in with the T'ai Chi as I was viewing from a train).

The number of cars, now in millions and hardly an old banger to be seen, on wonderful motorway roads. Hundreds and hundreds of people on bicycles, which all seemed to be on their last legs, and which were carefully padlocked when left. There would be people sitting at the rear, or a child held in front of them as they rode on the small roads. There were people walking everywhere, and the driving, well that can be a post in itself.

How so clean almost everything is. How big everything seems to be. How colourful everything is. It was very noticeable how very few small children were around, and of those I did see, they were very confident. It seemed very strange that there were hardly any dogs or cats to be seen. I was told that people were only recently allowed to walk their dogs, and only small dogs. On visiting families, where there are 4 houses in a walled enclosure, I was interested to see that they had very colourful and talking birds in cages, and small dogs playing around.



Monday, October 17, 2005


Analysis: Is nuclear power the answer?.

With Prime Minister Tony Blair calling for an "open-minded" debate on the future of nuclear power in the UK, the BBC's Alex Kirby explores the pros and cons of atomic energy.

Sizewell B, the UK's newest reactor, was built in the 1980s. Nuclear power looks as if it should be the answer to all our energy conundrums, and perhaps even to climate change. It provides a steady stream of energy, and does not depend on hydrocarbon supplies from unstable regimes. It is the nearest thing we have to a non-polluting energy source, apart from natural renewables. But it still engenders massive distrust, so much that many people say it can never be part of the way to avoid a disastrously warming world. Nuclear energy has always had its proponents, their ranks swollen now by people who dislike the technology but believe it may be essential. They point out that a reactor emits virtually no carbon dioxide (CO2), the main greenhouse gas released from human activities (though of course building the power station produces a lot of CO2).

Supplies of cheap domestic gas are running low.
Oil and gas prices have risen dramatically.
Government aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 20% of 1990 levels by 2010.
Nuclear generates 20% of the UK's electricity.
All but one of UK's nuclear power stations are set to close by 2023 and no more are planned.
They say nuclear power is safe, and that the 1957 Windscale fire in the UK.
Three Mile Island in the US in 1979, and even Chernobyl have killed massively fewer people than the oil and coal industries.

Beyond that, they say modern reactors are inherently far safer than those built 20 or 30 years ago, reducing a small risk still further. Supporters say uranium prices have remained steady for decades, meaning nuclear energy is far more secure than fossil fuels can ever be. And they argue that modern nuclear power systems are far more economic than the older versions, and are therefore a good investment. And yet their opponents insist that, if nuclear power really is the answer, then we must be asking the wrong question.

There is an inevitable link between civil and military atoms, they retort. If we say we need them to stave off climate change, then so can countries like Iran and North Korea - and there is no impermeable barrier between electricity and bombs.


French suspend general over death.

Gen Poncet led 'Operation Unicorn' for more than a year. The former commander of French troops in Ivory Coast has been suspended for allegedly covering up the death of an Ivorian held by French forces. Gen Henri Poncet and two other soldiers - who were also suspended - committed "serious breaches" of military law and orders, the defence ministry said.

The death occurred in May, when the three were stationed in Ivory Coast as part of France's peacekeeping mission. Gen Poncet commanded the force from May 2004 to June this year. The 4,000-strong French contingent, supported by UN troops, is enforcing a fragile truce between northern rebels and the government.

The country has been divided in half since the rebels tried to overthrow President Laurent Gbagbo in September 2002.




Anger over Mugabe tirade in Rome.

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe has drawn applause and anger for a speech denouncing the UK's Tony Blair and US President George Bush at a UN event. Mr Mugabe described the leaders as "unholy men" at the meeting in Rome. The European Commission responded by saying the tirade justified a travel ban that the European Union imposed on the Zimbabwean leader. The US accuses Mr Mugabe of starving his people and has said his presence at the food summit is "disheartening". Mr Mugabe defended his land reforms that have seen thousands of farmers evicted and said rich nations' farm subsidies were "crippling" the poor. Some delegates to the Rome meeting applauded Mr Mugabe's condemnation of the Western leaders on several occasions during his speech and then at the end.

The Rome conference is being held to mark the 60th anniversary of the UN's Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO). Though officially banned from travelling to EU countries, Mr Mugabe is allowed to visit them when on UN business. "Is this the world we desire? A world of giants and international terrorists who use now their state muscle in order to intimidate us" said Robert MugabeEuropean Commission spokesman Amadeu Altafaj expressed regret over Mr Mugabe's "unconstructive" statements. "What he has been saying in the last days and hours can only confirm the decisions that the European Union took concerning Zimbabwe," Mr Altafaj said.

The US ambassador to the FAO, Tony Hall, said Mr Mugabe, as well as Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez who also criticised Western policy, "chose to politicise an event that was meant to be about feeding the hungry people of the world". Zimbabwe is struggling to feed an estimated 3.8 million people in the rural areas, and has to import at least 37,000 tons of maize a week. Mr Mugabe used his speech to lambast President Bush and UK Prime Minister Tony Blair, whose governments have been among his severest critics.

Millions now need food aid in Zimbabwe.
"Must we allow these men, the two unholy men of our millennium, who in the same way as Hitler and Mussolini formed [an] unholy alliance, form an alliance to attack an innocent country?" asked Mr Mugabe, apparently referring to Iraq. "The voice of Mr Bush and the voice of Mr Blair can't decide who shall rule in Zimbabwe, who shall rule in Africa, who shall rule in Asia, who shall rule in Venezuela, who shall rule in Iran, who shall rule in Iraq," he said.

Mr Mugabe said his land reforms, which enabled the government to seize hundreds of farms owned mostly by white Zimbabweans, had been part of a process to correct colonial injustices. He blamed agricultural subsidies offered to farm produce from developed countries for crippling "the development of agriculture in developing countries".

Sunday, October 16, 2005



African Migrants Deported

Morocco deports African migrants.

Migrants have been deported to Mali throughout this week. Morocco has completed an operation to repatriate hundreds of west African migrants from a holding centre near the border with Algeria. More than 1,500 people from Mali and Senegal have boarded special flights over the past week from Oujda town.

Some told the BBC they were tired and defeated after spending up to three years trying to reach Spain. The move follow attempts this month by thousands of migrants to break into the Spanish enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla. The European Commission has estimated that 30,000 migrants from sub-Saharan Africa are in Morocco and Algeria, waiting to cross into Europe.


De Beers Diamond Sales.

Threat to De Beers diamond sales.

De Beers is the world's biggest diamond producer. Diamond giant De Beers is to go before South Africa's parliament on Wednesday to fight attempts to open up its tight grip on diamond distribution. The firm's marketing arm, the Diamond Trading Corporation (DTC), ships South African gems to London to be mixed with stones from elsewhere for onward sale.
It is the world's largest source of raw diamonds, and dominates world markets. The government wants restrictions on raw gem sales eased, to encourage the domestic jewellery business. But De Beers says the move could mean the end of its trading arm - and could harm smaller diamond mines.
"The Diamond Bill will have the effect of compromising the DTC's future viability," said Anglo American, the giant mining group which owns 45% of De Beers. De Beers produces about 60% of the world's diamonds.

BBC Business Report.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Nigerian e-mail frauds targeted

Nigeria is blamed for most of the e-mail scams. Microsoft and the government of Nigeria have joined forces to crack down on e-mail scams, many of which are known to originate from the African country. In the most common type of fraud, e-mail recipients are asked to pay a fee in return for a much larger sum of money - which they never receive.
The new agreement involves training and sharing information.
Nigeria's Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) is currently investigating hundreds of suspects. Nuhu Ribadi, executive chairman of EFCC, welcomed the partnership. "They (Microsoft) will help us with one of the difficult areas, particularly when it comes to technology, and we will do the physical work of enforcement," he told the BBC. "We have worked with them for the last six months now, and as a result of the work we have done, we are now going to bring a couple of companies to justice. Some people are being prosecuted right now."
'Generous' reward
The Nigerian government is also considering making spamming a criminal offence punishable with jail terms of up to three years. The EFCC says that many of the fraudsters have fled the country and are now based abroad, mainly in Spain and the Netherlands, making it more difficult for the Nigerian authorities to prosecute them.
In the most common e-mail scam, criminals send out millions of e-mails asking people to pay an advance fee or give their bank account details to help move large sums of money abroad. In return, they are promised they will receive a share of it.
Mr Ribadi advises recipients of such scam letters not to reply, but to forward them to law enforcement authorities in their own country who, in their turn, will forward the messages to the EFCC.



Malawi in Crisis.

Malawi issues food crisis appeal.

Donors are being urged to prevent a repeat of the Niger crisis. Malawian President Bingu wa Mutharika has declared a national disaster over the food shortages which are threatening almost half the population. In a radio and TV broadcast, the president said the crisis had worsened and the country needed more help. UN estimates suggest about five million people will need aid after Malawi's worst harvest for more than a decade.
Mr Mutharika had been criticised for denying reports of deaths from hunger-related illnesses in Malawi. Crisis 'escalates' Mr Mutharika said all 28 districts of Malawi were affected by shortages. Malawi needed an extra 144,000 metric tons of food on top of 300,000 tons expected to be imported from South Africa, he said. "The food crisis has escalated and we need more assistance," the Malawian leader said.
"We are facing a national disaster affecting the lives of our people." The shortages are blamed on poor rains, a lack of seed and fertiliser during the planting season, and the effects of HIV and Aids. Mr Mutharika's announcement follows increasing criticism from the opposition and church leaders, who urged him to do more to highlight the problem. Correspondents say it comes as a dramatic turnaround for a president who three weeks ago said his government was in control.
The president's declaration was welcomed by the UN World Food Programme. A spokesman for the agency said it reflected the growing seriousness of the problem. The hope now is that donors will be more generous in their response to a WFP appeal for $88m for Malawi, says the BBC's African affairs editor Grant Ferrett. The deputy head of the agency, Sheila Sisulu, complained during a recent visit to the country that donations tended to be made only when images of large numbers of emaciated children began appearing on television screens around the world.
She said Malawi need not suffer the sort of severe hunger experienced earlier this year in the west African state of Niger, but warned that donors should come forward now. It is not just Malawi which is threatened - across southern Africa, the UN estimates that 12 million people will need help in the coming year.

Friday, October 14, 2005


Held US envoy 'lucky not to have been shot' From Jan Raath in Harare.

The American Ambassador to Zimbabwe was arrested briefly by troops this week while taking a stroll in the capital’s National Botanic Garden near President Mugabe’s residence, state radio reported last night.

The incident happened on Monday when Christopher Dell was seen in the popular spot adjoining Mr Mugabe’s heavily guarded home. The Defence Ministry said that Mr Dell “has the men on duty to thank for their restraint” in not shooting him.

Members of Mr Mugabe’s presidential guard, in full combat gear and carrying automatic rifles with fixed bayonets when on duty, are notorious for harassing passers-by, including children walking to school. A Foreign Ministry statement accused Mr Dell of ignoring “no entry” signs and said that he had “intended to provoke an unwarranted diplomatic incident”. “He risked being shot,” the statement said. “He was well aware a similar breach of his security in his country would not be tolerated.”

The arrest is the latest in a string of incidents in which Western diplomats have fallen foul of Zimbabwean security men or ruling party militia and suffered assault, abuse or arrest.


Has the Green dream wilted?
By Sam Wilson - BBC News.

Europe's most famous Green politician is no longer in office. Only half a decade ago the future of Europe looked greener than ever before. Green parties were part of the governments of five European countries, pushing the environment closer to the forefront of policy-making.
"Some had the impression that a luminous sunflower was hanging in the grey sky," wrote Juan Behrend,
the former secretary general of the Green federation in the European parliament. But that era is now over.
With the cementing of a grand coalition in Germany this week, Greens have lost their last toehold in western European government, and their most recognisable figure, former German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer,
is out of office.
And this at a time, says Mr Behrend, when "the current climate is asking for Green politics". Having been ejected from government in Finland, France, Italy, Belgium and now Germany, it would be no surprise if the Greens' optimism, like the imaginary sunflower, had wilted.




East African Railways Deal.

Kenya-Uganda rail deal is sealed.

South African expertise is coming to east African railways. A South African-led consortium
has won the right to run Kenya's and Uganda's railways for the next 25 years.
Rift Valley Railways, owned by South African parent company Sheltam Trade Close Corp,
beat a rival bid from a group led by an Indian company.
Rift Valley won by offering to share 11.1% of freight revenues with the two governments -
more than the other bid. The firm is allowed to buy new equipment, but the two governments
retain ownership of the infrastructure.
Rift Valley is expected to sign a final agreement with both governments next month and take
over management of the railway companies by the end of March 2006.

Thursday, October 13, 2005




Missing Beethoven score for sale.

Grosse Fuge is one of Beethoven's few compositions for piano duet. An 80-page handwritten manuscript by Beethoven which was missing for 115 years has been put up for auction. The score of Grosse Fuge, which has the composer's changes, was found by a librarian at a US religious school.

It is expected to fetch up to £1.5m when it goes on sale at Sotheby's auction house in London on 1 December. Sotheby's says the score, which was last seen at an auction in Berlin in 1890, is "the most important Beethoven manuscript to appear in recent memory".

The buyer at the 1890 Berlin auction is now believed to have been an industrialist from Ohio who took the manuscript to the US. The German composer wrote Grosse Fuge while contending with deafness. The score dates from 1826, the year before he died.

Dr Stephen Roe, head of Sotheby's manuscript department, said the discovery was "an amazing find".




MDC divisions over Zimbabwe poll.

The MDC leadership have been walking to work in protest at fuel shortages. Zimbabwe's main opposition party is in turmoil, divided over whether to boycott next month's Senate elections. On Wednesday, Movement for Democratic Change leader Morgan Tsvangirai said the MDC would boycott the Senate vote.

But MDC spokesman Paul Themba Nyathi said a majority of the party leadership voted in favour of participation and said they would be doing so. Mr Tsvangirai's spokesman William Banga told the BBC this was the most serious crisis the party has faced internally.

He said the next 48 hours would be important for the party as they sought to resolves the row and he hoped "that emotions would give way to reason".


Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Mr Jacob Zuma's Trial set for 31st July 2006

SA's Zuma to stand trial in 2006.

Zuma is still hoping to be South Africa's next leader. Former South African Deputy President Jacob Zuma is to go on trial in the Durban High Court on 31 July next year. The date for the High Court trial was set following discussions between Mr Zuma's lawyers and the prosecution. On Tuesday, hundreds gathered in Durban as Mr Zuma appeared in a magistrate's court, charged with corruption. Mr Zuma maintains his innocence. His case has split the ruling ANC party and many South Africans still hope he will be the country's next president.

The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) welcomed the decision to proceed with the trial in July. "As the NPA we are very pleased with this as it offers us what we wanted all the time - which is enough time to prepare for this case," spokesman Makhosini Nkosi said. It is in Mr Zuma's interest to conclude the case by 2007, when the ANC elects a new party leader, who is then almost certain to be the party's presidential candidate in the 2009 elections. Mr Zuma's legal representative, Michael Hulley, said he was "perfectly happy" with the July 2006 trial date, "given the time constraints and nature of the [court] roll".

During Mr Zuma's appearance in the magistrate's court on Tuesday, the state and his lawyers reached an agreement that the prosecution must present an indictment by 12 November this year. Outside the court, about 1,000 people carried placards and sang songs in support of Mr Zuma, insisting that the former deputy president is innocent. Many in the crowd had kept an all-night vigil outside the court, before Mr Zuma arrived just before 0900 local time (0700 GMT) in a motorcade. Mr Zuma was sacked in June, after the corruption trial of his financial adviser, Schabir Shaik, appeared to leave unanswered questions about the then deputy president's own conduct.
BBC News Report.



Zimbabwe Senate Elections in November.

Zimbabwe MDC plans Senate boycott.

The MDC's leader is also walking to work protesting at fuel shortages. Zimbabwe's opposition Movement for Democratic Change says it will boycott Senate elections due in November. The elections are the result of a recent constitutional change that reintroduced an upper house into Zimbabwe's parliament. Government critics say the change was introduced to strengthen the hold on power of President Robert Mugabe's Zanu-PF party.

The MDC believes violence and fraud have made previous poll results unfair. "After intense debate and discussion, whereupon the guiding question was whether we compromise with or take on the Zanu-PF dictatorship... the council resolved to stay out of the Zanu-PF senate project," MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai told a press conference in Harare. The MDC has been divided over whether or not to participate in the Senate elections. According to one report, the party council was split evenly on the issue, and Mr Tsvangirai exercised a casting vote in favour of a boycott. Zimbabwe has had a single-chamber parliament since 1987, when President Mugabe abolished the Senate. But the government now says the reintroduction of the Senate will boost the authority of parliament.

Elinor Sisulu of the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition - a non-party political group - welcomed the announcement, saying civil society organisations were against the constitutional change that had brought the Senate into being. "The Senate will be a tool of manipulation, putting more gravy for Zanu-PF," Mrs Sisulu told the BBC News website. "It will be highly expensive and serve no real purpose." At the weekend, Mr Tsvangirai said at a rally that the conditions did not exist for a fair vote on 26 November, when Zimbabweans are due to elect the new Senate. The Senate will comprise 10 traditional chiefs, 50 senators elected on a constituency system and six appointed by the president.
BBC News Website Report.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005


Mozambique after 2010 Nations Cup.

Mozambican President Armando Guebuza is backing the bid. Mozambique's government has given its seal of approval to the country's bid to host the African Cup of Nations in 2010. Government spokesman Luis Covane said President Armando Guebuza's cabinet approved the bid on Tuesday. The Mozambique Football Federation (FMF) plans to submit its proposal to the Confederation of African Football (Caf) before the deadline of 31 October.

The southern African nation joins Nigeria, Morocco, Zambia, Botswana and Zimbabwe in expressing an interest in staging the competition. The 2010 Nations Cup will be held in the same year that South Africa becomes the first African nation to host the World Cup finals. Like other countries in southern Africa, Mozambique hopes to cash in from a boost in tourism and other promotional activities related to the World Cup being held on African soil.
FMF Secretary General Manuel Monteiro said the organisation was preparing a detailed proposal including three new stadiums and other facilities. "It's a vast project," Monteiro explained. The project will be in the capital Maputo in the south of the country, Chimoio in the central region and Nampula in the north of Mozambique, situated on the Indian Ocean coast.

Caf will announce the successful candidate next year.





Blogs vie with news for eyeballs.

Can blogs sit alongside traditional media? Bloggers are gaining a higher profile alongside traditional news sources with Yahoo including blogs in its expanding news search system. The decision could reignite the debate over what constitutes news reporting and whether blogs are as valuable a source of news as that from professional journalists.

So-called citizen journalists are increasingly dominating the headlines. User-generated content has proved invaluable in breaking news stories. Yahoo sees its plans, which will include photos from users, as enriching the news for everyone.

Maasai Local Authority to Run Amboseli.

Kenya wildlife haven downgraded.
By Adam Mynott BBC News, Nairobi

Amboseli brings in about $3.3m a year from park fees. More than 20 wildlife groups have urged Kenya's president to reverse a decision last week to downgrade Amboseli National Park to a game reserve. This means control of the Rift Valley wildlife haven will move from the Kenya Wildlife Service to a local authority, run by the area's Maasai community.
Opponents of the change say it is an attempt to win Maasai votes ahead of next month's constitution referendum. But supporters say the Maasai will now benefit from Amboseli's revenue. They say it corrects what they say was the "theft" of Amboseli 31 years ago, when the land was taken away from the Maasai people who had lived on it for generations.
Amboseli, internationally renowned as a haven for wildlife, particularly the huge herds of elephants that tramp across the grasslands, covers an area of nearly 400 sq km in southern Kenya. The Maasai community will now benefit from Amboseli's revenue.It is famous for the stunning views of Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa's highest mountain, in neighbouring Tanzania.
The open letter to President Mwai Kibaki from the Born Free Foundation, the International Wildlife Coalition, the East African Wildlife Society and others says the move, known as de-gazetting, "sets a most unwelcome and potentially catastrophic precedent that could lead to the disintegration of Kenya's much envied national parks system".
Amboseli brings in about $3.3m a year from park fees and related tourist activities. This money helps administer Amboseli and other national parks in Kenya. Wildlife tourism is one of Kenya's main sources of foreign revenue and international prestige. Now the income from Amboseli will be administered by the Olkejuado County Council following its members' meeting with the president last week. [It's a] desperate measure to secure Maasai votes
Cabinet minister William ole Ntimama
The decision to de-gazette Amboseli has come in the middle of a fractious political battle over a proposed new constitution for Kenya. President Kibaki leads the campaign for a 'yes vote' in the forthcoming referendum. Kenyan cabinet minister William ole Ntimama described the Amboseli decision as a "desperate measure to secure Maasai votes" in the referendum on 21 November. The Maasai leaders of Olkejuado County Council are delighted to have control of such a lucrative source of income. Opponents also claim that the move to de-gazette is illegal.

Long Wait to Vote in Liberia

Liberians queue for historic vote.

It is taking people hours to vote in the capital, Monrovia. A high turnout is predicted as voters in the West African state of Liberia queue to cast their ballots in historic polls to choose a president and MPs. With long queues under a searing tropical sun, there is frustration at the slow pace of the voting process. Poll officials announced that voting would be extended until midnight. There are 22 candidates standing for president, including ex-football star George Weah and former United Nations official Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf.

Many have used umbrellas to protect themselves from the sun and complained of waiting for more than five or six hours to vote. In one polling station in the capital, Monrovia, just 50 people had voted in two hours, as hundreds of people waited outside. UN forces, first deployed after a peace deal in 2003 which ended a 14-year civil war, are helping calm tempers. The BBC News website's Joseph Winter in Monrovia says queues are starting to get shorter now, and one woman told him it only took her seven minutes to queue up and vote. Election officials told the BBC a long wait for many was inevitable.

They said the process of voting itself took a long time, as each voter has to mark three ballot papers. Voter education efforts as people reach the polling stations are also said to be slowing the process down.

BBC News Report by Joseph Winter in Monrovia.

Monday, October 10, 2005

World Football Cup Finals

Four nations into first World Cup.
By Martin Davies.

Tunisia, Angola, Ghana, Ivory Coast and Togo have booked their places at next year's World Cup finals in Germany.
With the leadership of groups changing hands constantly on Saturday, African football will send four debutants to the World Cup. Angola were the first side to make it through, but only when a late goal from Fabrice Akwa secured a 1-0 victory over Rwanda in Kigali in Group Four.

Until then Nigeria, who secured a 5-1 victory over Zimababwe in Abuja, were ready to profit from what might have been an Angolan slip-up had the Palancas Negras drawn in Rwanda. Had Angola drawn, the Super Eagles would have been in line to register their fourth trip to a World Cup finals in a row. But the Angolans' victory and superior head-to-head record in matches against Nigeria was enough to see the Palancas Negras through.

In Group Two, Ghana went into the final day as the best-placed of all the group leaders and they ensured their maiden trip to the World Cup finals with ease. An early Sulley Muntari goal was followed up by three further Black Stars strikes to see them through 4-0 against Cape Verde in Praia. Group One leaders Togo had a rollercoaster of a ride in Brazzaville.

Togo fans will be celebrating their country's World Cup qualificationThey ended up 3-2 winners against Congo, but twice the Hawks had to come from behind before they were able to secure victory. Senegal's comfortable 3-0 win over Mali in Dakar would have been enough but proved futile and the 2002 World Cup quarter-finalists are out. Yet the most dramatic qualification came in Group Three. It was literally in time added on that the group qualifier for Germany was decided.
In Yaounde, where Cameroon were hosting Egypt, a penalty had been awarded to the home side, who had beed pegged back to 1-1 following an early Rudolph Douala strike. Up stepped Pierre Wome, who hit the winning penalty for Cameroon at the 2000 Olympics, but this time he struck his kick low, left footed and beyond the goalkeeper's reach but - to the horror of Indomitable Lions fans - the ball hit the post and went wide. In Khartoum, Ivory Coast had done enough to secure a World Cup berth should Cameroon have slipped up as they beat Sudan 3-1.

Previously only 9 African countries had ever qualified for the World Cup and now that number has swollen to 13. The final World Cup place went to Tunisia as they drew 2-2 with Morocco in Group Five in Tunis on Saturday night.
Morocco took an early lead through Marouane Chamakh before Jose Clayton drew Tunisia level from the penalty spot. Chamakh then restored the lead for the visitors only for Charlton's Talal El Karkouri to score an own goal in the second half that gave Tunisia the draw that they needed to qualify for Germany.
BBC Sports News Report.

Death of Milton Obote.

Former Ugandan leader Obote dies.

Mr Obote was independent Uganda's first head of state .The former President of Uganda, Milton Obote, has died at the age of 80. Mr Obote took Uganda to independence from Britain in 1962, but was overthrown nine years later by an army officer, Idi Amin. He returned to power in 1980, but was again overthrown and fled to Zambia in 1985, where he remained in exile until his death.

Mr Obote died of kidney failure in a hospital in Johannesburg, his family announced to the media. The BBC's Barnaby Phillips, in Johannesburg, says that when he took power in 1962 as a young, charismatic politician from the north of the country, Mr Obote embodied the hopes of one of Africa's most promising countries. But our correspondent adds that while Uganda prospered, Mr Obote grew less tolerant of opposition.

In 1971 whilst attending a Commonwealth summit in Singapore, he was overthrown by Amin, whose time in office was marked by the killing of hundreds of thousands of political opponents. Mr Obote's return to power in 1980 was supported by the Tanzanian government that had forced Amin out. His security forces spent five years fighting a rebel force headed by Yoweri Museveni, who seized power in Kampala in 1986 and has led the country since.

As president, Mr Museveni warned Mr Obote against returning to the country, saying he would face prosecution for the deaths of thousands of people during the early 1980s. Our correspondent says that Mr Obote lived out his last years in the Zambian capital, Lusaka, a bitter and frustrated man. But he adds that Mr Obote's supporters, mainly in northern Uganda, never lost faith in their champion, and as news of his death spread, they described him as a democrat and hero of African liberation.

Cathy Buckle's Letter From Zimbabwe.

Dear Family and Friends,

I went grocery shopping at the biggest wholesale supermarket in Marondera on Friday. In a town with a population of probably nearly a million people, there are only two wholesalers and this one used to be jam packed,wall to wall with people. Just a couple of months ago you would wait, sometimes for half an hour, just to reach the front of the queue to payfor your groceries. All that has changed in the last couple of weeks as Zimbabwe's inflation has soared and it has now become almost impossible for businesses to replace their goods as the prices are going up so rapidly.I spent the first ten or fifteen minutes just walking around the wholesaler looking first at the prices and then at what wasn't available. Aside from potatoes there were no vegetables at all to buy; none, not even the common and easy to grow things like carrots, tomatoes, cabbages or beans. Aside from seven small punnets of strawberries there was no fruit at all to be bought - not a banana or even one single orange. There was no bread of any type or any other bread products like rolls or buns. There was no milk, cheese, eggs, margarine or yoghurt. There was no sugar, maizemeal or flour. Whew, basic shopping for the family has become a nightmare. Eventually, after walking around and picking things up and putting them back, I did eventually buy a weeks worth of groceries and it was frightening. A four pack of one ply local toilet paper had increased in price from thirty seven to fifty two thousand dollars in just six days. My groceries, with no dairy produce, vegetables, meat, alcohol or confectionery, cost the same as a four bedroomed, two bathroomed house on an acre of land with a swimming pool had cost just four years ago.

How utterly absurd that this is the situation on the ground in a small Zimbabwean farming town, where the day time temperatures are in the high twenties celsius and the farms are right there, on our front and backdoorsteps. How ridiculous too that in these circumstances Zimbabwe has this week been hosting a UN conference on food safety and security in Africa. One day during the week I switched on local television to see if I could find some coverage of the food safety conference. Mr Mugabe's speech to the delegates was being replayed, the one where he defended his governments seizure of all white owned commercial farms over the past five years. "Land, land, land" he said, "means food, food, food to the people." That speech was followed by a couple of minutes of film footage showing elaborately dressed women delegates with amazing head gear, acres of yellow flowing tablecloths, and people sipping delicately from their bottles of pure spring water. It did not show desperate ordinary people in Zimbabwe trying to bring food safety into their own homes as they scour the supermarkets for anything they can afford to buy.

So, while Mr Mugabe is adamant that land, land, land means food, food,food, ordinary people like me are saying tick tock, tick tock, how much longer can this situation hold. It feels like a time bomb which is ticking down, faster and faster. Please remember the ordinary people of Zimbabwein your thoughts and prayers. Until next week, love cathy.

Copyright cathybuckle 8th October 2005http://africantears.netfirms.comMy books "African Tears" and "Beyond Tears" are available

Saturday, October 08, 2005


Zambia fuel crisis minister fired. Zambian President Levy Mwanawasa has sacked Energy Minister George Mpombo amid a fuel shortage that has crippled the key copper mining industry. Lack of fuel has also halted public transport and led to the suspension of food supplies in some areas.

Fuel shortages began after technical problems forced the closure last month of Zambia's main oil refinery. The country's largest copper mine says its operations may be suspended if the fuel situation does not improve. Inspection Mr Mwanawasa travelled on Thursday to inspect the Indeni Oil Refinery in the Copper Belt, 300 km north of Lusaka.
The refinery has been closed since last month, and repair work is reportedly behind schedule. During his visit to the Copper Belt, the president announced the energy minister had been sacked from his cabinet seat. "I have removed Honourable Mpombo from his position," Mr Mwanawasa told journalists in Ndola. Konkola Copper Mines (KCM), Zambia's largest copper mining company, says key operations at its mines may be suspended if the fuel situation in the country does not improve.

Among the key areas of operation include a smelter and furnace which process copper ore before it is exported to other countries. The company uses a substantial quantity of diesel in its daily operations and has not had fresh supplies delivered to the company because of the shortage the country is experiencing. KCM is currently rationing fuel at its mines, with operations scaled down to about 50% to keep the mine operational. Other copper mines have equally been affected by the fuel shortage and have also cut back their operations.

The BBC's Musonda Chibamba in Lusaka says Zambia depends heavily on copper mining exports for its foreign exchange earnings, and any problems in the sector could have countrywide effects. The copper mines employ the largest number of workers in the country The companies are concerned that the shortage of diesel also prevent them from transporting miners to their places of work, which would also affect production.

KCM announced that it had sent a delegation to South Africa to try and source the petroleum products it desperately. Government has announced that would allow oil marketing companies to directly import finished products in order to end the crisis, until maintenance works at the Indeni refinery are complete.




Zimbabwe M.P.'s Arrested.

Zimbabwe MP held for fuel protest.

Opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai is also walking to work. A Zimbabwean opposition member of parliament and 16 supporters were arrested on Wednesday for walking to work in protest at fuel shortages. Police released the group, all supporters of the Movement for Democratic Change, in the evening. MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai, who was not among those arrested, started walking 8km to work two weeks ago as a protest gesture.

A foreign exchange shortage has led to Zimbabwe's worst fuel crisis. Police arrested Gilbert Shoko, the MDC MP for Budiriro in Harare, and a group of MDC supporters as they were walking to central Harare, lawyer Alec Muchadehama told the AFP news agency. The police said there was plenty of fuel and rounded them up saying they were demonstrating against the government

MDC spokesman Maxwell Zimuto "They have since been released," Mr Muchadehama said later. "The police said they were going to continue their investigation. If they do not find any evidence against them, it means they will not take them to court. It will be the end of the matter."

MDC spokesman Maxwell Zimuto the MP and his supporters were confronted by the police, who asked why they were walking as a group. "They told the police they had no other means of transport because of the fuel crisis but the police said there was plenty of fuel and rounded them up saying they were demonstrating against the government," Mr Zimuto said.


Friday, October 07, 2005



Malawi's Hunger.

Hunger grips in Malawi maize crisis.
By Karen Allen BBC East Africa correspondent, Malawi.

The main government maize market in Mulanje is packed. It is seven o clock in the morning and many Malawians we stumble across have been queueing for days. Queueing on empty stomachs and with bare feet. Tired and hungry Malawians often have to queue for days to get food. Mothers whose breast milk has dried up due to lack of food, jostle for space, their babies strapped to their backs in the traditional African way.

Occasionally a scuffle breaks out as some hungry person, accused of pushing in, is plucked from the queue by police officers. These are Malawi's poorest people - unable to buy maize on the open market where prices have doubled in recent months. Stocks in the main government markets are diminishing fast, so they're starting to impose rations. The worse harvest in a decade and failed rains are being blamed for what aid agencies warn is a rapidly emerging food crisis. What is making matters worse is HIV-Aids. One in seven people in Malawi is affected and it is fuelling the problem of extreme hunger.

Money that households would normally spend on buying seed and fertiliser, is being spent on transporting the sick to hospital and buying basic medicine instead. Malawians, particularly in the parched south of the country, are well used to hardship, but their ability to cope is being severely eroded.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005


Security forces deploy in Lagos.

Soldiers and policemen are undertaking joint patrols in Nigeria's main city, Lagos, after a running battle between them on Tuesday left three dead. President Olusegun Obasanjo has called the army and police chiefs to the capital for a meeting to clear the air. He wants the two sides to resolve their differences over the clash.
The dead were civilians caught in the crossfire of a battle that began when a soldier and policeman argued over who had the right to a free ride on a bus. The police officer hit out at the soldier, who raised the alarm at a nearby barracks, sparking violence. Soldiers and police then exchanged live fire across the main highway in Lagos, the country's largest city.
Some 60 vehicles, including 20 police cars, were set ablaze during the clashes. Troops were reported to have stormed a police station, setting it on fire and freeing scores of prisoners. Very few people have fond memories of encounters they have with armed policemen "They were shooting at the police and the police were shooting back," local resident Kanayo Azubogo told the Associated Press.
"The soldiers went to the Western Avenue police station and set it on fire." One police officer described the scene as "like a war". The situation there was tense on Wednesday as policemen counted the cost of the mayhem. The BBC's Sola Odunfa in Lagos says that there were several different versions of how the violence began, but the most common account was that the soldier and policeman came to blows after disagreeing over which of them had the right to a free ride in a bus.
The established practice is that one member of the security forces does not have to pay a fare on any bus. The violence that followed was the worst of its kind in recent years, he said. Law enforcement throughout Lagos broke down for about five hours, as uniformed policemen deserted streets across the city for fear of being attacked. Senior officers eventually visited the scene of the clashes and re-asserted control.
The governor of Lagos, Bola Tinubu, and Police Commissioner Ade Ajakaye appealed for calm from all sides. Tensions between the police and army are not new. In July, last year there was a similar fracas between policemen and members of the Nigerian Air Force in Lagos. A report of the inquiry into that fracas was not published.
BBC New's Report from Sola Odunfa in Lagos.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Zimbabwe Hungry Soldiers

Zimbabwe soldiers tell of hunger.

Millions now need food aid. Soldiers in Zimbabwe have spoken of being sent on forced leave, as the army was unable to provide them with food. The country is already struggling to feed an estimated 3.8m starving people in the rural areas, and has to import at least 37,000 tons of maize a week.
The army denies that the forced leave was the result of food shortages. According to soldiers in Bulawayo, the food shortages began early this year which forced their superiors at times to buy maize on the black market. The soldiers told the BBC's Focus on Africa programme there were serious shortages of food in barracks. They believe that 300 soldiers have been forced to take leave in Bulawayo, and 2,000 countrywide. "Sometimes we are forced to buy our own food for lunch because of shortages," said one of the soldiers from Imbizo Barracks, 20 km from Bulawayo.
Imbizo Barracks produced some of the best infantry soldiers and fighting units of the Rhodesian army during Zimbabwe's independence war. "Some of our colleagues have been told to commute to work everyday because of food and transport problems facing the army," said another soldier from Imbizo. A large number of soldiers have also been affected at Braddy Barracks, which trained soldiers who fought for Britain in World War II. An army spokesman, Agrey Wushe, denied that the soldiers were sent on forced leave because of food shortages.
In an interview with the weekly Standard newspaper he said the soldiers were only asked to take their leave days in order to rest. "We have enough food to feed the soldiers until our next financial year. It's not true that there are shortages of food," he told the newspaper. Soldiers who spoke to the BBC dismissed the army's version. The Zimbabwe government has a regular army of 30,000, supported by 5,000 militiamen who support the governing Zanu-PF party.
Elinor Sisulu of the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition described the situation in the country as "catastrophic". Mrs Sisulu told the BBC of acute shortages of fuel, a breakdown in garbage collection, and police so short of food they have taken to looting from ordinary people.
Reports from Zimbabwe also say the food shortages in prisons are getting worse, with relatives of prisoners being told to bring food in for inmates regularly. Armed prison guards are commonly seen walking with prisoners on the way to court, because of fuel shortages.

Report from BBC Focus on Africa