News - June 2009





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A new year message

Chinhoyi Arrests

Moral negligence

Who will be answerable for hungry people?

Under cover of darkness

A night of terror


Human Rights Group under attack

Another farmer attacked

Zim Independant
The Standard
Human Rights Forum
ZW News
Eddie Cross letters The Zimbabwe Situation


Chinhoyi Arrests

Moral negligence

Who will be answerable for hungry people?

Under cover of darkness

A night of terror

Daily News
Zim Independant
The Standard
Financial Gazette
Human Rights Forum
ZW News


NEW - Innocent victims- click hereClick here to buy on line in UK

Gold and diamonds

27th June 2009

Dear Family and Friends,
A few months ago a friend was approached by a vendor who had a large walnut -sized transparent stone. The vendor didn't want to say where he'd got the stone from but claimed it was a diamond and he was trying to sell it. The stone had a sharp edge which made a deep scratch in a steel drill bit without damagaing the stone.Was it a diamond? Who knows but there are plenty of stories like this doing the rounds. People in Mutare tell of deals going down all the time, men in dark glasses, cars with tinted windows and little bundles changing hands. Some talk of clear stones, others are grey or cloudy but whatever the colour we are all wondering just who died while digging for these stones.

A chilling report has just been released by Human Rights Watch implicating Zimbabwe's military in horrific abuses at the newly discovered diamond fields in Chiadzwa. Human Rights Watch collected evidence of violence, murder and forced child labour at the diamond deposits in Marange. The report talks of military helicopters gunning people down, of teargas being thrown into shafts and of people buried alive. It says that at least 214 people were killed during a three week military operation in October 2008 and of people buried in mass graves. Press reports quote Georgette Gagnon, Africa director at Human Rights Watch as saying: "The police and army have turned this peaceful area into a nightmare of lawlessness and horrific violence."

Human Rights Watch says that: "Zimbabwe's new government should get the army out of the fields, put a stop to the abuse, and prosecute those responsible."

It is incomprehensible that this is going on even now as Prime Minister Tsvangirai tries to persuade the west that we have changed and are deserving of their money.

The Human Rights Watch report could not be more damning, or more to the point when it notes:

"The government could generate significant amounts of revenue from the diamonds, perhaps as much as $200million US dollars per month, if Marange and other mining centres were managed in a transparent and accountable manner. This revenue could fund a significant portion of the new government's economic recovery programme."

There remains little doubt in anyone's mind just exactly why Zanu PF refused to concede defeat in the 2008 elections: from farms and wildlife to gold and diamonds.

Until next week, thanks for reading, love cathy.

What wheat crop

Saturday 13th June 2009

Dear Family and Friends,
The first little seed of truth was planted in the government controlled Herald newspaper this week. In a report about the country's annual wheat crop, we were finally told in writing what we already know and can see with our own eyes, which is: What wheat crop!

The Vice President of the Zimbabwe National Farmers Union, Garikai Msika said the winter wheat cropping programme was a total failure. The report cited the usual litany of plaintive excuses including a lack of money, seed, inputs and the change to US dollars. The report said that the Zimbabwean government should immediately start mobilising funds to import wheat.

Tragically, the report did not even mention the continuing farm seizures or the effect they are having on food production in the country.

We are still trying to take in the news that an American doctor, resident in the USA for the past 30 years and with an established medical practice there is trying to take over the remaining 60 hectares of a Chegutu farm. The doctor has not lived in Zimbabwe since Independence three decades ago and yet now she says she is merely correcting an 'historical imbalance.' Even harder to comprehend was the doctor's own admission that it was her sister, a church Pastor, who had tried to evict the farmer. I am reeling still, to think that a woman of the church would be involved in this and cannot help but wonder what example this is for the parishioners in her church.

Most distressing of all is that 4 months into Zimbabwe's unity government this madness is still going on. As fast as Prime Minister Tsvangirai and Finance Minister Biti persuade the world to give us money, farm grabbers are just as fast sabotaging all attempts to pull the country out of starvation. Daily we hear of maize crops being stolen by the truckload, of export oranges and mangoes being looted or going rotten in cold rooms and all because there continues to be no law and order on the farms.

The UN said recently they expected to have to feed 7 million Zimbabweans by the end of this year. We have wasted our chance to grow a winter wheat crop and the Red Cross are even having to feed our prisoners. While this goes on non resident doctors, church Pastors, politicians and security personnel continue to ravage Zimbabwe's few productive farms. Surely the time has come for Prime Minister Tsvangirai to put a stop to this.

I am delighted to close with the news that my book "African Tears" is at last available again, as an E-book. Have a look at my website and follow the links if you are interested. Until next week, thanks for reading, love cathy.

Walking amongst us

Saturday 6th June 2009

Dear Family and Friends,
Life is strange, almost surreal, in Zimbabwe this winter 2009. A week into June and the weather still can't quite decide if its winter or not. Mosquitoes, usually long gone by now, continue to emerge at dusk and come into our houses, sitting on ceilings and roofs waiting for victims. The weather isn't the only thing that's weird at the moment.

Deputy Prime Minister Mutambara came to our town this week. One port of call was the local government hospital which has been in a state of near collapse for a couple of years. Gaping potholes that littered the road leading to the hospital were hastily filled before the Deputy PM's visit but the patching stopped a couple of metres past the main entrance gate. You fall into the holes on this main road just a corner away. The mentality of making things look good just for the leaders and only when VIP's visit, continues to haunt us and the rights and needs of ratepayers and members of the community remains elusive.

There's a notable increase in the amount of big 4x4 vehicles belonging to international charities on our roads. UN departments, food programmes, medical organizations, religious charities. We hear this week that the ICRC are feeding our prisoners, providing inmates with blankets, soap and clothing. Unicef are drilling boreholes at the University and our supermarkets are filled with South African goods.
'Zimbabwe for Zimbabweans,' the much quoted Mugabe mantra, is never more hollow than now.

So destroyed is our agricultural foundation and so collapsed our production at home, that imported South African goods are cheaper than home grown food. Imported frozen chickens continue to be 2 US dollars (20 SA Rand) cheaper than birds grown in our back yards. Its a surreal situation not likely to improve any time soon as farm grabs by senior political and security men continue unashamedly even as we try to put the country back together again.

Perhaps the most surreal and frightening thing of all is that 4 months into Zimbabwe's unity government, truth, justice and accountability is simply not featuring. The very men and women who led us to this diabolical state; the ones who stole, beat, burnt and killed are walking amongst us untouched - as if nothing happened. Zimbabwe cannot be allowed to move on without truth, justice and accountability.
Until next week, thanks for reading, love cathy.

Buy African Tears
Ebook online for only $9.95!!

African Tears is now available as an eBook

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