Sunday, July 19, 2009

A Visit to St Giles

I went to St Giles last week and saw something that touched me and that compelled me to write this article. I feel we could do some thing to help. I am not good at writing so I will write what I saw and hope it moves you too.

Little Denzel can not see or talk but can only hear. Through dedicated teachers from St Giles, Denzel can take part in sports and other co-curricular activities at his school. St Giles will be having their Sports day on Friday 31 July 2009. I am encouraging those who can to offer help in cash or kind to in preparation for the sports day to do so.

Denzel is one of the many disabled children to participate. Categories for the events include the blind, the deaf, the crippled and handicapped. 4 houses: Red, Blue, Green and Gold will be competing in different sporting disciplines. Other school children are encouraged to attend the sports day to cheer these young energetic and humble kids at St Giles.

At the present moment, they are preparing their fields but due to their disabilities, it might take long to have the grounds in order.

We would like to encourage those who can to register to help prepare the grounds. Please call me on 011 412575. I am making arragnements to set a date and time for people to come togethetr and help prepare. Donations in cash or tangible goods are also welcome. Those who wish to donate can go directly to the headmistress of St Giles and hand their donations.

I spoke to Mr Muzavazi, a teacher at the school, who said that they have problems with people who ask for donations on behalf of them but these donations never reach their destination. To prevent this from happening, I am requesting that all donations be handed directly to the school head.

Incidentally, Mr Muzavazi has a music group he teaches at the school. The group took part at this year's Harare International Festival of the Arts.

The school is located the suburb of Milton Park along Clayton Road.

I hope to see you there on 31st July, 1000hrs. Bring food, bring laughter, bring love but most importantly bring yourself.

Yours sincerely
Tendai Chimuriwo

Cde. Chinotimba et al. shine in halting the all stakeholders conference

They were led by Zanu PF MP and Politburo member Saviour Kasukuwere, who splashed water at the Speaker of Parliament, Lovemore Moyo.
Cde. Chinotimba, joined by other ZANU-PF luminaries like Savoiur Kasukuwere, successfully halted the All Stakeholders Conference.

Zanu PF thugs on Monday disrupted the Constitutional All-Stakeholders’ Conference at the Harare International Conference Centre and hurled abuse at the Speaker of Parliament, bringing the proceedings to a standstill.

The thugs reportedly hurled water bottles, chairs and furniture at MDC MPs, members and civic society activists, who all maintained their composure despite the provocation.

They were led by Zanu PF MP and Politburo member Saviour Kasukuwere, who splashed water at the Speaker of Parliament, Lovemore Moyo. The MDC said in a statement that also leading the thugs were President Robert Mugabe’s nephew, Patrick Zhuwawo, self-styled war veterans leader Joseph Chinotimba and former Hatcliffe MP, Nyasha Chikwinya.

"The Zanu PF-induced chaos is obviously meant to derail the Constitution-making process and to prevent the people of Zimbabwe from writing their own Constitution".

"Zanu PF has chosen to disrupt a Constitutional process enshrined in the Global Political Agreement. Zanu PF has not only walked out but disrupted a roadmap clearly defined by SADC and the AU as the only route to having legitimate leadership in Zimbabwe. It has clearly relapsed into its violent mode to fight a legitimate national programme," said the MDC.

Cde. Chinotimba, in his element, said that the All Stakeholders conference was not needed as the Kariba Draft was the best constitution Zimbabwe can have this point and time.

The party said judging by Monday’s events, Zanu PF MPs and the party’s delegates were clearly reading from a script whose sole agenda is to derail the Constitution-making process.

"First it was the failed attempt to foist the Kariba draft on the people. Second was the attempt to cheat on the accreditation process by bussing thousands of innocent old men and women to the venue. Now they have publicly declared war against the people of Zimbabwe who want a Constitution by themselves and for themselves.

"The plot is clear. The idea is to derail the Constitution-making process so as to delay the holding of free and fair elections which will inevitably see Zanu PF confined to the archives. We urge SADC and the AU to immediately intervene to save the Constitution-making process which is under threat from Zanu PF thugs who have consistently shown their disdain of the GPA, to which they have appended their signature," said the MDC.

Zimbabwean aid workers kidnapped by Somalian gunmen

Somalian Gunmen: Residents said two of the staff were from Zimbabwe and Pakistan, while the third was listed as European.

NAIROBI - Three foreign aid workers from the Action Against Hunger group have been kidnapped in Kenya and taken across the border into Somalia, officials said.

About 10 gunmen crossed from Somalia to abduct the workers from the border town of Mandera.

Residents said two of the staff were from Zimbabwe and Pakistan, while the third was listed as European.

Kidnappings are not uncommon in the region and most of the people abducted are released unharmed.

Two French hostages were seized earlier this week in Somalia's capital, Mogadishu, and have been handed to a Somali Islamist group.

'Guard shot'

In the latest incident, the three aid workers were taken from their office in Mandera, in north-eastern Kenya.

The country director for Action Against Hunger confirmed there had been an incident but would not give details.

Two Frenchmen were seized from this Mogadishu hotel on Tuesday.

 Aid workers and journalists are particular targets for kidnappers and are often released after ransoms are paid.

One official told Associated Press that a security guard had been shot in the head during the abduction and was being treated in hospital for "life-threatening injuries".

The two French hostages have reportedly been handed to the al-Shabab militant group, which has carried out public executions.

A source in the Somali presidency said: "If they are in the hands of al-Shabab it is very, very serious".

The two security advisers, who were training government troops, were seized from a Mogadishu hotel on Tuesday.

The BBC's East Africa correspondent, Will Ross, says the kidnappings are a result of the general lawlessness in war-torn Somalia.

But he says even in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi, there has been a spate of kidnappings in recent weeks - all for ransom.

Somalia has not had a functioning national government since 1991.

Moderate Islamist Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed was sworn in as president in January after UN-brokered peace talks.

He promised to introduce Sharia law but hardliners accuse him of being a Western stooge.

Smuggled Zimbabwean ivory impounded in Kenya

Robert Mugabe's sidekick Emmerson "Ngwena" Mnangagwa

NAIROBI - Robert Mugabe’s blue eyeboy Emmerson Mnangagwa is linked to illegal dealings in ivory, and Kenyan wildlife authorities have impounded elephant tusks and rhino horns worth nearly US$1m smuggled by poachers from Zimbabwe, and bound for illegal ivory markets in Asia.

Sniffer dogs found the nearly 300kg of ivory, one of Africa’s biggest ivory hauls, at Nairobi’s Jomo Kenyatta Airport in crates coming from Mozambique on a Kenya Airways flight, the director of the Kenya Wildlife Service said on Tuesday.

“The rhino horns are freshly cut and one of them has a bullet wound,” Julius Kipng’etich said. “It’s a sad moment. Remember all wildlife, wherever it is, is a world heritage. So if we lose any, it’s a loss to all of us as a human race.”

Kipng’etich suspects the animals were poached from not only Zimbabwe, but other southern African countries such as Tanzania, SA. However, Mozambique hardly has any elephants or  rhinos.

According to the WWF conservation group, the whole continent has about 18000 rhinos left, while sub- Saharan Africa has 690000 elephants at most — where once there were millions.

Ivory demand in Asia was stimulating poaching by international criminal rings, wildlife experts said.

“In the last year we have witnessed an upsurge in poaching for trophies, especially elephants and rhinos,” Kipng’etich said.

“In the last year alone, Zimbabwe lost 100 rhinos and SA 162. This to me is the tip of the iceberg.”

Kipng’etich said the illegal shipment was bound for Laos, but that China was more likely to be the final destination. “From our own experience of movement of wildlife trophies, definitely this was going to China.”

Rhino horns are used in traditional Chinese medicine . Elsewhere, ivory is in demand for carving into dagger handles and other ornaments.

Kipng’etich said a kilogram of rhino horn was worth about 5000 on the black market, while a kilogram of ivory sold for 3000, meaning the haul seized in Kenya, comprising 280kg of elephant ivory and 18kg of rhino horn, was worth almost $1m .

A Kenya Wildlife Services ranger shows elephant tusks intercepted from poachers during a commemoration of the 1989 ivory burning at the Nairobi National Park July 18, 2009. In 1989 tons of ivory were torched by then president Daniel Arap Moi in an effort to combat elephant and rhino poaching. Kenya remains opposed to the lifting of the international ivory trade ban.

A Kenya Wildlife Services ranger guards a shipment of elephant tusks

A Kenya Wildlife Services (KWS) ranger holds a stuffed leopard's head at the KWS storage room in Nairobi National Park July 18, 2009. The room holds over 65 tonnes of illegal wildlife trade artefacts confiscated around the country and intercepted while on transit to other countries.

The tusks are on display to show the increase in poaching since the ivory trade ban was temporarily lifted two years ago. Kenya wants the trade of ivory permanently banned.

A Kenya Wildlife Services (KWS) ranger holds a stuffed leopard's head at the KWS storage room in Nairobi National Park July 18, 2009. The room holds over 65 tonnes of illegal wildlife trade artefacts confiscated around the country and intercepted while on transit to other countries.

Kenya Wildlife Service wardens with ivory ornaments displayed at Nairobi National Park, Saturday July 18, 2009. The ornaments were recently recovered at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in the capital, Nairobi.

Zanu PF terrorist militias bases resurfaces 

HARARE, – Home Affairs Co-Minister Giles Mutsekwa will next week embark on a nation wide fact finding mission following reports of resurfacing ZANU PF funded militia bases.

There are several reports from former ZANU PF strongholds, that militia bases have resurfaced and that the youths are harassing Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) members who refused to join ZANU PF after the controversial June 27 2008 Presidential run off election.

Mutsekwa said in an interview this week that he would be visiting all the concerned provinces to verify the reports.

“I will from next week begin touring the areas where reports of the resurfacing of militia bases are coming from to find out the truth.

I want to assure you that if I find the existence of such bases I will dismantle them and bring this violent practice to a stop once and for all, and as the minister of Home Affairs, ensure that those involved are brought to book.

“What we want is to create a free and peaceful Zimbabwe where no one is harassed and victimized for their political affiliation. We want a nation, which is peaceful, where people freely express themselves and associate with whoever and whichever political party they like.

I understand that they are office bearers who are ignoring these reports and professing, which is why I have decided to personally investigate the reports,” said Mutsekwa.

According to a recent comprehensive report shown to our reporter by a top MDC official, who cannot be named for security reasons, ZANU PF militia bases have resurfaced in Mashonaland West, East, and Central - with the youths being deployed to schools to harass teachers and declare no go areas for MDC activists.

It is reported that in Mashonaland Central Province there is a base at Muzarabani growth point where recently, ZANU PF provincial commissar, a Mudambanje, held a meeting together with one uniformed soldier, only identified as Kamusengezi.

The two reportedly summoned MDC members who refused to join ZANU PF last year after the June 27 elections and threatened them.

Five bases were also singled out in the report in Mashonaland East, Mudzi North and west are said to be located at Kachimana, Madzivanhanga, Chimukoko, Dzivaretsanga primary schools and Nyagupe Dam. A war veteran, known as Foroma and his lieutenants namely Charles Nyamuchigu, Tiger Nhamodzevarume, and one Chamboko who are giving MDC supporters a torrid time, is reportedly commanding the bases.

In Zvimba, Mashonaland west, bases are reported to be located at Madzorera and Mabvure schools with at least fifty party youths having been deployed to force villagers, children and teachers to attend rallies.

“The official who unveiled the report is worried about continuous harassment of people sympathetic to MDC after the formation of an inclusive government which brought hope among Zimbabweans, most of whom were victimized last year in June. Most of the youths harassing villagers are the same people who harassed villagers last year.

“Most of the cases have been reported to the police and local government in the respective areas but no responses have been received and we are disappointed. We are also not confident that the government is doing anything with regards to national healing otherwise we would not be seeing these things happening,” said the official.

The Progressive Teachers Union recently complained about the resurfacing of militia bases at schools. The union told journalists that two bases at schools in Masvingo and Chiredzi have been identified, with headmasters of the respective schools being forced to give youth militia offices to operate from.


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