The ZIMBABWE Situation

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In searching the internet for news on Zimbabwe, I came up with the following.
This beyond sad, folks. You think these people don't believe we are living in the end times.

An extensive and up-to-date website containing news, views and links related to ZIMBABWE, 
a country in crisis.

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1 U.S. dollar buys 1 million Zimbabwe dollars on black market
New Murambatsvina Wave Hits Kwekwe
Bar Mugabe from EU-Africa meet, say Nordic countries
Brown renews Mugabe boycott warning
Zimbabwe Suffers Hyperinflation, Shortage of Food
Zimbabwe Price Controls Cause Food Disturbances, Shortages
A Balancing Act Between China And the EU
Home-based care succumbing to economic burnout
Dangerous sex in "small houses"
Zanu PF chef accused of sexual harassment
Country Loses Bid to Host ITT's 2008 AGM
More problems for SA man nabbed in Zim
Free Youth Plan Demo On Country's Abuses

1 U.S. dollar buys 1 million Zimbabwe dollars on black market

International Herald Tribune

The Associated PressPublished: October 18, 2007

HARARE, Zimbabwe: The black market exchange rate for the U.S. dollar broke
the 1 million Zimbabwe dollar mark Thursday and the government announced
another sharp jump in inflation.

Worsening hard currency shortages more than doubled the price of the U.S.
currency in the past 10 days, pushed up by central bank buying on the
unofficial market, dealers said.

"People are asking for a million and getting it in big bank to bank
transfers. Cash for cash is anything above 750,000-1," as the country faces
shortages of local bills, said one dealer. "Technically, it's still

The official exchange rate is 30,000-1. In the first week of October, the
black market rate surged to about 520,000-1, up from 400,000-1 in mid

"There's too little foreign exchange out there and too many chasing it,"
including the central bank, said the dealer, who spoke on condition of
anonymity for fear of being punished by the government.

Today in Africa & Middle East

Those with foreign exchange "don't want to part with it as a hedge against
inflation," the dealer said.

Lengthy power and water outages linked to shortages of hard currency, spare
parts and gasoline occur daily.

Travelers returning home to Harare from shopping trips for soap, cooking and
other basics across the country's borders have reported central bank buyers
at the downtown bus terminal offering top black market rates for leftover
U.S., Botswana and South African currencies needed to pay for food, power
and gasoline imports.

Police raids on currency dealers at the terminal have stopped.

Central bank governor Gideon Gono said in a policy speech this month that
his bank saw the terminal as a source of hard currency and that the official
exchange rate was all but obsolete.

The state central statistical office announced official annual inflation
rose to 7,982 percent in September, up from 6,592 in August, already the
highest in the world. Independent estimates put real inflation closer to
25,000 percent and the International Monetary Fund has forecast it reaching
100,000 percent by the end of the year.

According to the monthly statistical review Thursday, the poverty line for a
family of five nearly doubled to 22.6 million Zimbabwe dollars (US$22.60,
€16.25 at the dominant black market exchange rate) in September, amid rising
prices and rampant black marketeering in scarce staples. Most essential
goods that have disappeared from store shelves.

A senior school teacher earns three-fourths of the benchmark for poverty —
about US$17 (€12), having received a 200 percent pay increase awarded after
a crippling strike closed down schools across the country earlier this

A regular police patrolman takes homes less that US$5 (€3.50) a month.

When available, a can of beans costs about 60 U.S. cents (about 40 euro
cents) at the black market exchange or US$15 (€10) at the official rate.

In a bid to tame inflation the government in June ordered prices on most
goods and services to be slashed but relaxed this as it merely worsened
already chronic shortages. On Friday, the government allowed a 300 percent
increase in the price of a loaf of bread.

An estimated 4 million Zimbabweans — one-third of the population — live and
work abroad and their remittances are the largest single source of hard
currency. Zimbabwe was once the region's breadbasket and Africa's second
largest exporter after South Africa.


New Murambatsvina Wave Hits Kwekwe

SW Radio Africa (London)

18 October 2007
Posted to the web 18 October 2007

Tichaona Sibanda

38 families from Amaveni in KweKwe were last week left homeless after
council officials from the town, accompanied by heavily armed police
officers, used sledgehammers to knock down their homes.

The latest crackdown against 'illegal' housing by the Zanu-PF led council in
the town has met with harsh condemnation from the local MDC MP Blessing
Chebundo, who described it as 'heartless' and politically motivated.

The demolitions were carried out last week Tuesday on a plot in Chiwundura B
where most of those affected had lived for more than 40 years. Chebundo said
reports they got were that anyone who tried to resist was dealt with

The MP said feelings are running very high in the area which is a known
stronghold of the MDC. Over 120 people are now living on the streets.

'This is political retribution against MDC supporters. The same people were
targeted in 2003 for voting MDC in 2002. In 2005 some homes in the plot were
demolished and now they have come back to ensure no one will be around to
vote in 2008,' Chebundo said.

While the constituency in KweKwe is held by the MDC, council operations are
still run by a Zanu-PF elected Mayor, assisted by officials appointed during
the reign of Emmerson Mnangagwa, the former Zanu-PF legislator for the town.

Chebundo defeated Mnangagwa in the 2000 parliamentary elections but not
before escaping death by a whisker during a bitter campaign when Zanu-PF
youths who had abducted him from his house doused him with petrol but were
unable to light a match.

'We are still dealing with callous and murderous Zanu-PF officials in the
town. The problem is they are fighting a losing battle, hence they resort to
all extremes to try and influence things in their favour,' Chebundo said.

The MP urged humanitarian groups to visit the area and help with food,
blankets and shelter. He said at moment they have only managed to raise
enough tents to shelter young members from the families affected.


Bar Mugabe from EU-Africa meet, say Nordic countries


Thu 18 Oct 2007, 18:16 GMT

By Ingrid Melander

LISBON, Oct 18 (Reuters) - Sweden and Finland on Thursday called for
Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe to be excluded from an EU-Africa summit
in December but left open whether they would join a British boycott if he
showed up.

Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen also said he had not decided
whether to attend the Dec. 8-9 summit in Lisbon if Mugabe came, adding that
serious discussion on Zimbabwe and human rights was a precondition for his

Pressed by competition for scarce resources with China, the European Union
wants to hold its first summit with African leaders in seven years in
December, but has not yet solved the thorny issue of Mugabe's attendance.

"We are asking the (EU) Portuguese Presidency to tell him that he should not
be here and he should certainly not be given a central role," Swedish Prime
Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt told Reuters on the margins of a meeting of EU
leaders in Lisbon.

Asked if he would consider boycotting the summit, Reinfeldt said the EU
should take a collective decision on the matter.

Separately, Finnish Prime Minister Matti Vanhanen said he would decide
whether to participate only after it was decided who would represent

"I hope that Zimbabwe can be at the meeting at another level (than Mugabe)"
Vanhanen told Reuters, noting arrangements for an EU-Asia summit last year
where the military leadership of Myanmar was represented only by a minister.

All three countries, which pride themselves on being pro-active in pushing
for respect of human rights around the world, said the EU-Africa summit was
crucial and that they wanted it to take place.

"We have not decided yet (whether to attend) but for us it is very important
to have this EU-Africa summit ... we have a lot of common interests, we have
a lot of very important issues to discuss," Denmark's Rasmussen told

Critics accuse Mugabe of rigging elections, human rights abuses and
presiding over the collapse of Zimbabwe's economy, now marked by the world's
highest inflation rate of about 6,600 percent and joblessness of about 80

Mugabe blames Western powers for the economic crisis and accuses them, and
former colonial ruler Britain in particular, of plotting with the opposition
to oust him. African leaders see him as an independence hero.

Mugabe is subject to an EU travel ban but the ban can be suspended to allow
him to attend the December summit in Lisbon.

The EU and Africa have failed to organise a summit for years because Britain
and other EU states refused to attend if Mugabe did, and African leaders
would not attend if he was barred.

Lisbon says it will invite all leaders this time, including Mugabe, but it
has yet to send the invitations. Portuguese diplomats have said the
invitations will be sent on Oct 30.

Officials say many EU states, pressed by competition from China in Africa,
back Portugal.

However Czech Deputy Prime Minister for European Affairs Alexandr Vondra
told reporters last week that his country was also considering boycotting
the meeting if Mugabe attends it.

Speaking ahead of the EU summit, Brown reaffirmed his insistence that he
could not sit at the same table as Mugabe.

"What has happened to Zimbabwe is a tragedy and we cannot give any comfort
to President Mugabe to be present at the same conference as him," he told a
news conference.

Brown has said neither he nor any senior member of the British government
will attend alongside Mugabe.

(Additional reporting by Mark John)


Brown renews Mugabe boycott warning

Yahoo News

 Oct 18, 2007

LISBON (AFP) - Prime Minister Gordon Brown renewed Thursday a warning that
Britain will boycott a summit of European and African leaders if Zimbabwe's
President Robert Mugabe attends.

Speaking shortly before the start of a European Union summit in Lisbon, he
said Mugabe had overseen a "tragedy" in the African country, a former
British colony.
"We will not participate in a conference that President Mugabe is at. We
cannot sit down at the same table as President Mugabe," he said, referring
to the planned December summit between EU and African leaders.

"We're not prepared to give any credence or credibility to someone who has
so ruthlessly destroyed human rights in his country."

Brown said Mugabe "is now responsible for four million refugees who have
left his country and are now in South Africa and where the levels of poverty
in his country are now running at something in the order of 80 percent.

"What has happend to Zimbabwe is a tragedy and we cannot give any comfort to
President Mugabe by being at the same conference as him."

The EU leaders were expected to discuss the European-Africa meeting on the
sidelines of the Lisbon summit, which is primarily to approve a new EU

Portugal's Foreign Minister Luis Amado, whose country currently has the EU's
rotating presidency, said last week that the guest list would be finalized
by the end of October.


Zimbabwe Suffers Hyperinflation, Shortage of Food


By VOA News
Bulawayo, Zimbabwe
18 October 2007

We bring you a rare look inside the troubled southern African nation of
Zimbabwe.  Today, this nation of between 10 million and 12 million is
teetering on the edge of what a member of its own parliament is calling "the
world's gravest humanitarian crisis."

But few outside Africa understand the depth of Zimbabwe's plight because the
government has declared independent reporting a crime.  There are harsh
penalties, including beatings and jail, for journalists working without
government approval.

But for several months beginning in June, a television reporter was able to
travel across Zimbabwe with a camera.  A correspondent for VOA, who must
remain anonymous for security reasons, files this undercover report from
Bulawayo. The report begins in a place well-known to many international

We are cruising the Zambezi River that separates Zimbabwe from Zambia, with
a boat-full of visitors from Europe, the United States and Japan.

It is called a "booze cruise" because the wine flows freely.  The captain
carefully maneuvers his boat into the shallower water -- better for close-up
photos of sleepy crocodiles lounging along the bank.

But here, even the thunderous roar of one of the seven natural wonders of
the world, Victoria Falls -- cannot overpower the more discordant voices -- 
now being raised in the less tourist-friendly parts of this troubled

Here -- a noisy public street protest against the government of President
Robert Mugabe, taking place in one of Zimbabwe's largest cities. This one is
staged by more than a hundred members of a group called Women of Zimbabwe

Minutes after this undercover video was taken, marchers were attacked by
blue-helmeted riot police.  Many of the women were beaten and arrested. One
said, "They come running with battle sticks.  They beat me, beat me all over
and then they beat me at the breasts."

Many tourists never hear or see this -- hundreds of Zimbabweans, desperate
to feed their families, pressed against the iron security bars of a butcher
shop, hoping to get in to buy a tiny ration of meat.  It is a commodity that
has basically disappeared from stores across the country. They shout at the
shop workers, begging to be let in, waving their $100,000 Zim -- notes worth
now only 14 cents U.S. each.

Other undercover video shot from a moving car shows Zimbabweans waiting,
hour after hour, in massive queues searching for necessities of life -- 
bread, maize meal, beans, meat.  They queue from first thing in the morning
until late in the evening.

The cruelest irony is that in a country with rampant poverty and an
unemployment rate approaching 90 percent, almost everyone on these streets
is technically a millionaire.

Inflation in Zimbabwe is now the worst in the world, acknowledged by the
government to be running at over 7,000 percent, although experts put it much

$1 Zim, once equal in value to $1 U.S. is now actually worth less than a
single sheet of toilet paper -- offered in one store in bulk for one and a
half million dollars per pack.

Robert Mugabe, Zimbabwe's president of 27 years, blames his country's
hyperinflation on a plot he says was engineered by Great Britain and other
western nations to sabotage the economy. He said, "Our detractors have
redoubled their efforts to achieve illegal regime change in order to reverse
our land reform program."

A woman shopping in the grocery store said, "One donut is $16,000." And so
in mid-June, instant coffee costs over a million dollars a jar and a chicken
sells for a quarter million.  Days later, Mr. Mugabe's government simply
ordered the price of everything sold slashed by 50 percent.

Zimbabwean police task forces were issued orders to force businesses to
lower their prices, regardless of what they pay wholesale -- causing
disorder on the streets, and forcing hundreds of businesses to close their
doors for fear of bankruptcy.

Now most of the shelves are empty and there is almost nothing left to buy or

"I think that one of the tragedies of Zimbabwe is that there are people who
are not going to survive this," says David Coltart, a member of the Zimbabwe

A leader of the opposition, David Coltart, was elected from a district that
is overwhelmingly black.

He says, "The only graphic evidence that one can give a journalist or a
visitor to this country of the devastation caused to people is by taking
them to cemeteries. When you go to cemeteries they look like the Battle of
the Somme [World War I battle in France, with more than one million
casualties], acres and acres of mounds of earth, freshly dug, freshly
filled, containing the bodies of thousands of Zimbabweans who are falling
off the edge of our society."

It is these graves -- now dug even smaller than a coffin-sized template -- 
that Coltart and others say bear strongest witness to the human cost of the
country's economic collapse.

This cold June in Zimbabwe, shortages include even the space that is needed
to bury the tiniest of the dead.


Zimbabwe Price Controls Cause Food Disturbances, Shortages


By VOA News
Bulawayo, Zimbabwe
18 October 2007

In late June of this year, the Zimbabwe government sought to curb the
country's rampant currency inflation, admitting it to be around 7,000
percent.  Other say it is much higher.  The government embarked on an
operation to control prices of all goods sold, slashing them by half or
more.  Zimbabwe police officers were issued orders to throw business owners
in jail if they did not comply and seize their businesses if they dared to
shut their doors.

A correspondent for VOA, who must remain anonymous for security reasons,
files this undercover report from Bulawayo.

It is early June in 2007, and prices in Zimbabwe are at an all-time high.
Instant coffee is selling for over a million Zimbabwe dollars a jar, roughly
$2 U.S.  And a small bag of tomatoes costs around $33,000.

One shopper said, "One donut cost $16,000." But Zimbabweans pay the high
prices, blaming the runaway economy and the worthless currency.

Abruptly, the Zimbabwean government, through its state controlled media
outlets, claims it has found the reason behind the country's inflation.  It
blames the entire problem on business owners, who it says have been

Government TV: "You are ordered to stop these things that you're doing

As the country's vice-president labels them "economic saboteurs," the
government orders the prices of everything slashed by 50 percent -- deeper
in some cases.  Police are issued orders to enforce the price cuts, and jail
any business owners who refuse to comply.

The result is confusion -- as evidenced by our undercover video taken at a
store in the second largest city, Bulawayo.  Hoards of Zimbabweans rush to
the shops to buy everything they can for the reduced prices.  They stand in
lines for hours for the cheap goods.

But weeks later, in early July, the operation has lost its luster.  One
butchery, whose refrigerated rooms were filled with meat at the beginning of
the price controls, has now run out.  The owner cannot afford to buy

Closed doors.  Bankrupt businesses.  Thousands of business owners jailed,
they cannot afford to replace their stock at the stipulated prices.
Inflation worsens and the people outside are hungry.

Video, shot from one of Bulawayo's high-rise buildings, shows a seething,
agitated crowd of people waiting for a delivery of sugar.  Fights break out,
and eventually the riot police are called.  Across town, two people are
killed at another shop by a stampede of people running to get sugar.

Back at the butchery, customers wait in line for a small ration of beef.
The owner had to close the doors for fear of a riot.  Patrons are only
allowed in 10 at a time.  They shout at the shop workers, waving $100,000

Afterwards, we spoke with the owner, who wishes to remain anonymous. He
said,  "If they come through, you're not going to stop them. Then what are
they going to do when they get through, anyway? They are angry. Those people
were screaming and shouting and only when the riot police came, and sorted
them out, did they get into their queues."

He explained how the police, called to calm the crowd, pushed to the front
of the line to get the meat themselves. "Because they are coming in first,
buying the meat, and then they disappear and leave us with the crowd," he
said. Officers also demanded free meat at other times as bribes to leave the
shop owners alone.

The government claims the price control operation is a success.

Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe said, "The prices must be affordable
prices and the people will buy.  If the people are ill-treated by suppliers,
producers and suppliers, we intervene as government."

In August, state media televised the nation's famous agricultural show, with
Mr. Mugabe posing with farm animals.  Critics called this a 'crude attempt'
to divert the country's attention from its real problems.

But the lines of people outside stores tell a different story.  In late
September, faced with a hungry, angry population, some prices were allowed
to rise incrementally.  But many businesses simply cannot afford to stock
shelves with goods people could not afford to buy.


A Balancing Act Between China And the EU

Inter Press Service (Johannesburg)

18 October 2007
Posted to the web 18 October 2007

Tonderai Kwidini

The Zimbabwean government's isolation from the international economic arena
has forced it to turn right while indicating left.

The country's deputy minister of industry and international trade, Pheneas
Chihota, recently made a startling admission when he said that the European
Union (EU), which imposed targeted sanctions against the Zimbabwean
political elite over its blighted human rights record, still remains the
troubled southern African country's key trade partner.

The Zimbabwean government stands accused of a string of human rights abuses,
including the arbitrary arrest, detention and random assault of perceived
enemies of the state.

The minister's remarks, made in the parliament's house of assembly, came as
a surprise to some since the government had in the past year earmarked the
Asian continent, particularly China, as its trade partner of first resort.
China has been granted approved destination status (ADS), which gives the
Asian country easy access to Zimbabwean markets.

The government even went a step further, launching the "Look East" Policy
which was designed to find new markets for the country's products. But this
move is yet to bear fruit, as former Zimbabwean ambassador to China, Chris
Mutsvangwa, has admitted.

He said that "local business people are reluctant to partner Chinese

Chihota's candid comment was seen as an admission by the government that the
"Look East Policy", derisively dismissed by Zimbabweans, has failed to
contribute any meaningful development to Zimbabwe's crumbling economy.

The government has seemingly realised that the EU remains a crucial market
for Zimbabwean products.

"The country is benefiting from trade with the EU and the EU is by far the
most important donor to this country," Chihota told the house of assembly
before the presentation of Zimbabwe's supplementary budget by Finance
Minister Samuel Mumbengegwi last month.

"Zimbabwe exports 55,000 tons of sugar to the EU every year. Our companies
are benefiting from sugar exports," Chihota added. He expressed support for
the economic partnership agreements (EPAs) currently being negotiated
between the EU and African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) states.

Chihota's comments come at a time when the EU's EPA offer includes the
phasing out of duties and quotas on sugar from ACP countries. The minister
used the time to rally parliamentarians around this process, which is
scheduled to start in January 2008 if the EPA talks are concluded.

Zimbabwe is a major exporter of sugar from its gigantic plantations in the
southwest of the country. Accepting the EPA, Chihota said, would ensure that
the country could export sugar at improved terms. The EU says low cost
producers like Zimbabwe and Malawi stand to benefit immensely from the
proposed liberalisation of the sugar trade market.

However, the cutting of duties and quotas also coincides with the EU's
decision to cut its minimum guaranteed price for sugar. The EU price will
drop by 36 percent between 2006 and 2009, which will bring it in line with
the world sugar price.

Producers in Malawi and Mauritius have expressed concern about the effect
the drop in prices will have on new investment which is planned in the
industries to capitalise on the lower duties.

IPS has reported that sugar prices could fall from 400 to 500 euros per
metric ton to just 335 euros per metric ton. The drop may continue even
further in 2009 when duty-free access will be extended with safeguards.
Quota and duty requirements will only be scrapped in totality in 2015.

Despite the political standoff with the EU and the U.S., official statistics
indicate that Zimbabwe's imports from the United Kingdom and Germany
totalled about 330 million dollars in 2006.

The EU was once the largest consumer of Zimbabwean beef, with more than
9,000 tons per year being exported at the peak of the bilateral trade
relations. It has since set stringent conditions for the importation of
Zimbabwean beef products.

Last month, the ministry of lands and agriculture suspended all efforts to
resume trade with the European beef market, saying that it was not worth
trying because it will not get a fair deal.

Exports to the two countries totalled about 100 million dollars last year,
while tourist arrivals from the EU and the US closed the year at about
140,000 in 2006. This figure is four times that of arrivals from the East
(including China), which recorded only 37,000 arrivals during the same


Home-based care succumbing to economic burnout

HARARE, 18 October 2007 (IRIN) - Zimbabwe's sinking economy and reduced
donor support are threatening home-based care (HBC) programmes for people
living with HIV and AIDS, according to a new report.

The survey, jointly produced by the Southern Africa HIV and AIDS Information
Dissemination Service (SAfAIDS) and the Health Development Network (HDN),
noted the impact of runaway inflation - officially pegged at more than 6,000
percent - on HBC schemes once considered models of their kind.

"One of the challenges is that we don't always have the capacity to give
clients everything they need; drugs are in short supply, and the basic issue
of money in their households is often a challenge," Red Cross care
facilitator Majulie Nyamhunga told IRIN/PlusNews.

Home-based care had its genesis in the mid-1990s as public health services,
facing cost-cuts demanded by economic reforms, struggled to absorb the
swelling number of AIDS patients. The end of free medical care hit the
poorest households hardest, reducing their access to health services,
triggering interventions by church and civic groups.

The extended family has traditionally been the first line of support but,
when it is unable to cope, community-centred HBC programmes staffed mainly
by volunteers have played a vital role in helping those in need. Caregivers
provide basic first aid and counselling, travelling long distances, usually
on foot, to reach affected households.

But Zimbabwe's economy has been in a steep nose-dive since 2000, with acute
shortages of foreign currency, basic commodities, fuel and water, and
unemployment hitting at least 70 percent. The public health system has been
crippled, unable to replace ageing hospital equipment or fleeing medical

Under these conditions, the need for an effective HBC system becomes all the
more apparent, but rocketing inflation has made it difficult to supply even
soap and gloves to caregivers who, even more critically, have become
exhausted by their caseloads in a country where almost one in five adults is
HIV positive.

"When you see a client, and you see she is very sick, it is very difficult
to quickly forget," care facilitator Gamuchirai Guvamombe explained.

"Community home-based caregivers have always been known to volunteer their
services. However, due to the harsh economic environment, caregivers have
suffered from burnout and some HBC programmes had to introduce incentives to
guarantee their retention," the SAfAIDS/HDN report noted.

Deteriorating conditions

Caregivers, especially men, have begun to drop out in increasing numbers;
the report recommended providing allowances, along with protective clothing,
uniforms and bicycles to stem the loss.

Zimbabwe's prevailing food insecurity, a consequence of drought and foreign
exchange shortages, has also hit HBC programmes, the survey pointed out.
Community caregivers have become preoccupied with fending for themselves and
their families before undertaking community activities.

As a consequence, some HBC programmes have been forced to scale back,
reducing their areas of coverage, said the report. To try and keep going in
such a difficult environment, care-providers have pooled resources or
undertaken joint fundraising with donors; dire shortages have sometimes led
to the substitution of orthodox medicine with herbal remedies in an attempt
to offer relief to ailing patients.


[This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations]


Dangerous sex in "small houses"

HARARE, 18 October 2007 (PlusNews) - There's a weekly television soap about
the phenomenon, and even a hit rap song, as Zimbabweans begin to own up to
"small houses" - long-term illicit sexual relationships - and their impact
on HIV transmission.

"The small house is a house of peace where I can rest mentally and
physically while being treated as a king. My responsibility is to pay the
rent and buy food. When I do buy the woman anything she is very grateful,
whereas my wife and children at the big house feel it is their right, and
might not see the need to appreciate what I do. Sexually, I can do at the
small house that which I do not necessarily do in my house," one man
commented frankly.

There is nothing new in extra-marital affairs, but what researchers are
beginning to appreciate is how casual sex is increasingly being replaced by
semi-formal relationships, in which safer sex is rarely practiced.

Two factors seem to be driving the "small house" phenomenon: Zimbabwe's
economic crisis, which has left women financially vulnerable and dependent,
and AIDS awareness, which has reduced men's appetite for casual sex.

"The desire for multiple sexual partners has convinced men that small houses
could be a safer way of continuing to enjoy sex with multiple partners,
rather than choosing monogamy and faithfulness, which are widely viewed as
Western ideals not applicable to Africans," Lois Chingandu, executive
director of the Southern Africa HIV and AIDS Information Dissemination
Service (SAfAIDS), said in a recent discussion paper.

Men interviewed felt secure that their new-found partners were faithful only
to them, and that using condoms would therefore be deemed an insult. But the
reality, Chingandu found, was that these were high-risk relationships.

"Zimbabweans must openly confront and condemn small houses, as they are a
form of high-risk, multiple, concurrent sexual relations. The current silent
diplomacy found in most families is silently fuelling HIV and AIDS, and
needs to be stopped to save lives and reduce the numbers of new infections,"
she wrote.

There is no single category of women involved in small-house affairs: they
range from young unemployed women to older single mothers and divorcees who
may well be looking for companionship and sex. But economic support - rent,
food, car payments or school fees - is often a key motivating factor, and
sometimes more than one man is required to cover all the bills.

"Sometimes it becomes necessary to have more than one person to meet my
needs, so that the responsibilities are shared. Once in a while we use
casual sex to generate the extra income," one woman said in a focus group.

Safer sex

The women acknowledged the risk involved in not practicing safer sex, "but
emphasised the need to appear trustworthy ... 'If you insist on condoms the
men will leave because they will believe that you are seeing other men. The
more trustworthy you look, the more you get'."

Anita Sanjala was a 21-year-old housemaid when her employer made her
pregnant; now aged 28, she is still his concubine. "He comes over now and
then to see how we are faring," Anita said of her lover, who rents a
two-roomed cottage in the upmarket Windsor Park suburb in the city of Gweru,
Midlands Province, for her and her son.

Although she does not deny he may well be seeing other women, she seemed
unfazed by it. "So long as he provides me and my son support while I enjoy
the freedom of living apart from him and his wife, I am not bothered much,"
she told IRIN/PlusNews.

Zimbabwe has managed to cut its HIV infection rate over the last few years
to 18 percent; small houses - and more particularly the lack of condom use
and gender inequality the relationships represent - threaten those gains,
with married women at particular risk.

"Married women continue to face the high risk of HIV/AIDS infection, because
it is difficult for them to persuade their partners to use condoms when they
suspect them of having extramarital affairs or relationships," said Caroline
Nyamayemombe, of the United Nations Population Fund Agency (UNFPA).

Most women "will claim not to know", even if they suspect their husbands are
cheating, said Chingandu. "Very few families will encourage the woman to
take responsibility for her own life and divorce. The fear of the taboo that
goes along with women taking the lead in getting a divorce supersedes even
their fear of dying from AIDS."

One posting on an electronic forum in response to her paper was scathing:
"As a married woman myself, who is faithful to her husband and who prays
that the husband is also faithful, I just think small houses need to be sued
because of the risk they are putting not only [on] themselves, but us, the
main houses, and the children we are getting out of all these unions," the
writer commented.

Chingandu said, "Gender programmes need to do more in empowering all women
to demand their right to safer sex, and to deal with the consequences that
might arise. Communities must be encouraged to support their ... [members]
who want to divorce or leave these high-risk relationships."


[This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations]


Zanu PF chef accused of sexual harassment

By Henry Makiwa
17 October 2007

Karikoga Kaseke, a top Zanu PF official and Zimbabwe’s tourism boss, was on
Monday publicly accused of sexual harassment by former beauty queen Sipho
Mazibuko, barely a year after he evaded charges of raping a minor.

Mazibuko who runs Strides Modelling agency and founded the Miss Rural beauty
pageant, told journalists in Harare that Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA)
chief Kaseke was now trying to block her business plans because she turned
down his sexual advances. But on Wednesday the former permanent secretary in
the Ministry of Transport and Communications dismissed Mazibuko as “mad”.

Mazibuko told stunned journalists at a press conference that Kaseke was
blocking the hosting of her pageant's finals after she refused to sleep with

She said: "I have called you so that you understand why we are postponing
the finals of the Miss Rural Zimbabwe pageant. We have been having problems
with the ZTA which wants to take over my pageant and is blocking the holding
of the finals because I refused to be Kaseke's girlfriend and to sleep with
him." According to the Zimonline news agency, Mazibuko was surrounded by
more than a dozen burly bodyguards at the press conference.

Kaseke’s ZTA, a quasi government body that promotes tourism, has the
authority to licence the hosting of all beauty pageants in Zimbabwe.

He has counter-accused Mazibuko of attempting to blackmail his organisation
through unfounded allegations.

He said: "I have contacted my lawyers to sue her for criminal defamation and
we will deal with her accordingly. She is well mad and is on record as
saying all men in Zimbabwe like her and she has insured her body for US$1
million. Now she is moving around with over 16 bodyguards, how crazy can one
be. I am not losing any sleep over it at all.”

Mazibuko, however insists she was harassed and has already filed legal
charges through her lawyers.

Kaseke is a former Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe chief executive and
known loyalist of Vice President Joyce Mujuru. He was last year forced to
resign from his post in government after he was accused of raping an
under-age orphaned girl, Nyasha Sonia Ndanga.

The case was quashed out of court after the intervention of Mujuru.

SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news


Country Loses Bid to Host ITT's 2008 AGM

Financial Gazette (Harare)

18 October 2007
Posted to the web 18 October 2007

Shame Makoshori

ZIMBABWE has lost the bid to host Britain's Institute of Travel and Tourism
(ITT)'s 2008 annual general meeting (AGM) in Harare, incurring a major blow
in its campaign to lure tourists from the lucrative European market, The
Financial Gazette can reveal.

ITT turned down Zimbabwe's bid because of the country's contentious
political situation, saying it could not be associated with the promotion of
the country as a safe holiday destination.

The decision also came with an accompanying snub to Zimbabwe's invitation to
the ITT's two seminars, as well as a "kind invitation to ITT members to have
drinks on your stands", during the World Tourism Markets (WTM) expo to be
held in the UK next month.

The ITT took the decision on the basis that the British Foreign and
Commonwealth Office had also advised against travel to "certain parts of the

The ITT communicated its position with the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA)
last week, saying the rapid deterioration of the political and economic
situation in the country meant that it could not work with the institution
to promote the country.

"There has been a general increase in the level of violent crime and a
serious deterioration in the economy and infrastructure," the ITT said in a
letter to the ZTA, read to The Financial Gazette by a source.

"I'm sorry that things have come to this and ITT is more happy to promote
Zimbabwe when things change," the letter, sent to the ZTA's Felcia Munjaidi,

ZTA chief executive officer, Karikoga Kaseke, confirmed the ITT's snub to
the ZTA's invitations, but told The Financial Gazette they would "not lose
sleep" due to the ITT's decision.

"We can only feel pity for our friends at the ITT who have decided to feed
on poison under the assumption that if they feed on poison themselves it is
Zimbabwe that will die," Kaseke said.

"That assumption is of course wrong, it cannot be like that and no miracle
can do that, only he who feeds on poison shall die, we cannot die on their

"They wanted to host their annual conference here next year but they have
said they will no longer come because they have failed to overcome the
volcanic and earthquake-like pressure they have taken from their media,"
Kaseke said.

More than 70 buyers from the UK alone have cancelled their participation at
the Zimbabwe International Travel Expo, which will kick off in Harare

Founded in 1956, the ITT seeks to develop and maintain professional
standards throughout the travel industry for the benefits of members.


More problems for SA man nabbed in Zim


    October 18 2007 at 10:44AM

Harare - A South African businessman appeared in a Zimbabwean court to
face charges of attempting to smuggle three rifles and 108 rounds of
ammunition, a state-run daily reported on Thursday.

McCallum Douglas Wayne, a 40-year-old tour operator, was arrested at
Harare International Airport after he was found with the firearms and
ammunition without a certificate, the Herald reported.

He was granted Z$30-million(€705, US$1 000) bail on Wednesday and
ordered by a Harare magistrate to report three times a week to police,
although he still remains in custody on a separate immigration warrant.

The prosecution said Wayne checked in at Harare international airport
on October 12 for a flight to South Africa but was detained after a Sako
rifle, Sauer rifle, a Mauser rifle and 108 rounds of ammunition showed up in
his luggage during security screening.


Free Youth Plan Demo On Country's Abuses

SW Radio Africa (London)

18 October 2007
Posted to the web 18 October 2007

Tererai Karimakwenda

The UK based pressure group Free Zim Youth has organised a demonstration
Friday to commemorate Africa Human Rights Day, and they plan to petition
African States to use more leverage on the Zimbabwe authorities, who are not
complying with the African Charter on human rights.

October 21st is the actual day set aside by the African Union to celebrate
human rights on the continent, but the group scheduled their demonstration
for Friday in order to target key embassies while they are open.

Free Zim coordinator Alois Mbawara explained that they will march to the
Zambian Embassy as the country currently chairs the Southern African
Development Community (SADC). They will also protest at the Ghanaian
Embassy, since Ghana currently chairs the African Union.

Mbawara said: "We thought it was important to go to their embassies while
they were open and petition them to put Zimbabwe's human rights on the
agenda. All 53 African countries ratified the African Charter, and Zimbabwe
is not living up to its protocol."

He added: "Zimbabwe is not respecting human rights. Negotiations are in
place but activists are being abducted and beaten. There is no African peer
review mechanism here." The youth leader was referring to the talks being
mediated by South Africa's President Thabo Mbeki, who also developed the
peer review mechanism that is supposed to see African states hold each other

Mbawara said Free Zim will also march to the home of the British Prime
Minister, to petition Gordon Brown to adopt a more engaging stance towards
the Mugabe regime. Mbawara said: "Britain needs to play a more engaging role
since they are being accused of agitating for regime change. We want to tell
Brown to not be so vocal because it gives Mugabe political leverage."

The demonstration on Friday will begin at 1:00 P.M. at the Zambian Embassy
at Palace Gates, Kensington. They will then march to Ghana's Embassy and to
Number 10 Downing Street.