Archive for June 11th, 2007

source: SW Radio Africa (London), allAfrica

11 June 2007
Posted to the web 11 June 2007

Tichaona Sibanda

It’s reported that Defence Minister Sydney Sekeramayi on Thursday confirmed that a number of soldiers are being held in military detention for what he called ‘misconduct.’ This follows reports of a coup plot against Robert Mugabe.

Wilf Mbanga, publisher of The Zimbabwean newspaper that carried the story, said Sekeramayi was not prepared to say anymore than that. Coincidentally Mugabe last week urged the country’s security forces to remain on high alert to thwart attempts to topple his government by the opposition and what he called his western foes.

The Zimbabwean reported on what they said was the secrecy surrounding the recent arrest, court appearance and imprisonment of a group of army and police officers charged with plotting a coup. It added that the group was arrested at an office in central Harare last week, following a tip-off to the Central Intelligence Organisation and police.

‘We actually stumbled on the story when our reporter happened to be at Rotten Row magistrates court where some of these soldiers were put on trial, but the court case was held in camera,’ Mbanga said.

Another weekly independent online paper, The Zimbabwe Times, published the names of two senior defence forces commanders who they said were ringleaders of the attempted coup plot, Air Vice-Marshal Elson Moyo from the Airforce of Zimbabwe and Major General Engelbert Rugeje, the Quartermaster General at Army Headquarters.

The Zimbabwe Times also reported that another senior army officer, Colonel Ben Ncube has also been fingered in the attempted coup but his whereabouts were still unknown as of Thursday. Citing a source still in the army they also say 360 junior soldiers have been placed under arrest as investigations spread.

We have been unable to get any sources of our own to confirm these details. SW Radio Africa, allAfrica

Company recalls ARVs

source: BOPA
11 June, 2007

GABORONE – The Ministry of Health is to negotiate with F Hoffman-La Roche, a drug-manufacturing company, for a refund after the company recalled some HIV/AIDS medication found to contain a chemical impurity harmful to patients.

Director of Health Services, Dr Loeto Mazhani, said in an interview Saturday that the company has recalled all batches of Viracept formulations such as Viracept film-coated tablets, Viracept plain tablets and Viracept oral powder, which are currently on the market at patient level.

Dr Mazhani said the ministry has therefore made an urgent appeal that all patients treated in government or government assisted facilities who are on any of the above stated medications return these medicines to the nearest hospital or health facility where they must be switched to another ARV drug called Kaletra with immediate effect.

He stressed that patients on any of the above-stated medications should contact their doctors immediately, adding that health workers and caretakers have also been asked to assist by returning the Viracept medication to the nearest hospital or health facility with immediate effect.

He explained that the chemical impurity found in the medication is a methane sulfonic acid ethylester, which could be harmful to patients.

He said the Ministry of Health, received a letter dated 6th June 2007 from the Switzerland based company recalling batches of Viracept, a second line antiretroviral drug, also commonly known as Nelfinavir.

Dr Mazhani said according to information from the company, some [continue reading]

 source: IOL
Lyse Comins
June 11 2007 at 07:59AM

South African dairy producers say the price of milk products will rise, but not too dramatically, as the national shortage is likely to be felt until the end of the year.

The shortage is being fuelled by local economics and a global shortage of diary products which has pushed the price of imported milk through the roof, say producers.

Etienne Terreblanche, managing director of the Milk Producers Organisation, which represents 3 300 dairy farmers countrywide, said milk prices should not rise excessively despite possible increases in the price farmers receive for raw milk products.

“I predict the shortage to continue until the end of this year but consumers will be able to find fresh milk somewhere. It might not be in a supermarket but in a smaller shop.

“If the price of dairy increases by a rand to the litre there is no reason milk on the shelves should go up by R4 a litre.”

“A two-litre carton of milk that may be selling for around R11.50 should go up to a maximum of R13.50 and not to R18 which is what we are already seeing on the Highveld,” Terreblanche said.

He said the shortage was mostly in Gauteng. Coastal areas like Durban and Cape Town have not been so hard hit, although consumers have experienced difficulty finding long life milk in stores. “Consumers might find no [continue reading]

source: International Herald Tribune 

By Christopher Swann and Janine Zacharia Bloomberg News
Published: June 10, 2007
PRETORIA: Robert Zoellick, who has been nominated to become the president of the World Bank, said over the weekend that he would make Africa his top priority and defended lending to China despite its record currency reserves and the fastest economic growth of any major economy.

In his first interview since he was nominated last month, Zoellick on Saturday also emphasized the need to consult with employees and member countries. Hostility from the staff of the World Bank helped push out Paul Wolfowitz as its president after he faced a rebellion over his management style and a pay increase for a bank employee with whom he was romantically involved. Wolfowitz is scheduled leave the bank at the end of the month.

“It’s been a period of turmoil,” Zoellick said as he wrapped up the African leg of a three-continent tour. “There’s a time now to sort of try to calm the waters and get people back on track.”

Zoellick, 53, is set to take over at the World Bank as it seeks to raise more than $28 billion from rich countries to help the poorest. The leadership change has also renewed questions over whether the bank should lend to countries like China, India and Mexico, which can easily tap capital markets. China’s economy has expanded at least 10 percent in the past four years.

Zoellick said the bank should continue to make loans to middle-income countries like China and not just offer advice.

“China has grown a tremendous degree, but if you get out in the countryside you still see there’s an [continue reading]

source: allAfrica
Zimbabwe Standard (Harare)

10 June 2007
Posted to the web 10 June 2007

Caiphas Chimhete

THE cash-strapped Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (Zesa) has unofficially introduced up to 20-hour daily power cuts, virtually turning cities into villages.

Zesa last month announced the blackouts for households across the country to allow supplies to be shifted to the winter wheat crop in order to beat the current food shortages.

The parastatal was quick to make a u-turn after protests from consumers.

But over the past week, there has been clear evidence that the almost insolvent national power utility has been switching off electricity in most parts of the country as early 4AM, restoring it only around 9PM.

At times, power supplies were disconnected for more than 24 hours.

Angry urban dwellers said the long, unannounced power cuts had severely affected their lives.

The vice-president of the Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce (ZNCC) for Matabeleland region, Charles Chiponda, said industry was in a “state of dilemma” because of the power cuts.

He said they had approached Zesa to see if the parastatal could guarantee electricity to companies in Matabeleland during the night, when national power consumption would be low.

“We asked Zesa if they can also guarantee us electricity as they did with the wheat farmers, but they said it’s not possible,” said Chiponda. “So we are in a dilemma.”

He estimated industry to be operating at between 20% and 30% capacity because of the power crisis.

“Unless something is done urgently, industry will continue to suffer and people will continue to lose their jobs,” he said.

But the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries (CZI) president Callisto Jokonya said the power cuts had only affected manufacturing industries in the smaller towns.

Jokonya said the most affected towns were Chegutu, Kadoma and Kwekwe.

Reports say other towns such as Zvishavane, Chinhoyi, Marondera and Nyanga have been equally hard hit.

“Manufacturing industries in major towns such as Harare and Bulawayo have not been affected by the recent technical problems at Hwange,” said Jokonya. “Zesa has not been switching us off that much but industries in smaller towns have been seriously affected.”

Hardest hit are urban dwellers.

They said they could no longer buy [continue reading]

source: IOL
June 11 2007 at 12:41AM

After another impasse in the public service wage talks, independent mediators on Sunday came up with their own proposal of what a comprehensive wage offer should look like.

Mediators Charles Nupen and Meshack Ravuku, who have been mediating the talks since Friday, drew up a document which was handed to government and union negotiators late on Sunday night.

“We had an opportunity to be with both parties, to interact with them, and out of that we have come up with proposals we believe that will be able to appease the parties to reach settlement,” said Ravuku.

Government’s chief negotiator Kenny Govender and the unions’ chief negotiator Shireen Pardesi both assisted the mediators in coming up with the new proposal.

Details of the proposal were not made public but it’s believed to contain proposals on all the major sticking points including the wage percentage increase, housing and medical aid subsidies, and the date of implementation of occupation-specific dispensations.

The mediators gave negotiators until Tuesday to discuss it with their constituencies before returning to the Public Service Co-ordinating Bargaining Council.

“The future of dispute really lies in their hands,” Nupen said.

He said the mediators would convene Tuesday’s meeting.

The negotiators were instructed not to [continue reading]

source: IOL
June 11 2007 at 04:37AM

By Barry Bateman

“Crass, cruel and unconstitutional”, is how Finance Minister Trevor Manuel labelled the intimidation and victimisation of patients seeking treatment at public hospitals.

Manuel and his colleagues in the public service, education and health departments met on Sunday at the Union Buildings to issue a statement on the current levels of violence plaguing the strike that is entering its second week.

Manuel said it was ironic that the people currently striking for better medical aid packages were now denying poor people, who could not afford private hospital fees, access to public hospitals.

“How can you prevent a paramedic from providing emergency care?” he asked. “We cannot allow this to happen.”

Public Service and Administration Minister Geraldine Fraser-Moleketi said the industrial action had seen unprecedented levels of intimidation and violence.

She said that although the numbers of employees participating in the strike had declined, there was an increase in the acts of intimidation and obstruction.

“We have seen educators failing in [continue reading]

source: allAfrica
Zimbabwe Standard (Harare)

10 June 2007
Posted to the web 10 June 2007

Walter Marwizi

A visitor might think it’s a farm garage. There is a broken down tractor, old, rusty stoves. An ancient deep freezer lies nearby. A closer look would compel the visitor to think twice. There are piles and piles of decrepit school furniture — chairs, desks and drawers.

You don’t expect to find broken-down chairs at a farm where productivity is in full swing. Forget the guesswork. Welcome to Cranborne Boys High in Harare. Years ago, the school was the pride of both administrators and students.Now it’s a microcosm of the decay and disaster that has befallen our education.

One teacher said: “Cranborne is in an advanced state of decay.” The classroom walls are dirty, the desks and chairs broken, the floor tiles have peeled off. Most worrying, all locks, bulbs and sockets in the classrooms in the secondary block are missing — stolen?

There was once a giant swimming pool, full of clean, sparkling water. Now, it’s half-filled with dirty water. Only frogs and mosquitoes find pleasure here.

The Standard has established it’s not just this former group A school that is collapsing.

From classrooms, sporting facilities and grounds, there is evidence most public schools in Harare are at various stages of decay as the economy continues its free fall. It’s the fate of most government institutions today.

Raymond Majongwe, secretary general of [continue reading]