Many of you have received some news reports that I have forwarded some time back. Some have not. Keep ALL of Zimbabwe in your prayers! Murder, beatings, burning, starving are common words in the news.
Conditions are terrible and getting worse–the food distributing NGOs have been told to stop–but appear to be going ahead anyway.
In our case, we have been releasing money to N— and retired Headmaster, M—, as they work through ecumenical church people to purchase food and supplies for displaced [those who were burned out and chased off Meikles Farm near Old Mutare] . They have used $1,300 for kapenta, cooking oil, blankets, etc. It is not easy, because helping these people is seen as a political action against the government. We are very grateful to those of you who provided some of that money.
Six of our high school scholars were from among the displaced families. As a result, we had to make emergency arrangements for them to board at Hartzell High School so that they could continue in school. Unfortunately, that meant buying a lot of equipment–trunk, blankets, Sunday clothes, etc–all expensive and difficult to obtain. I turned over $1,200 to C— for that purpose. I will deal with their fees, when that bill comes.
The Primary School continues to operate, and the usual 400 are having their fees paid [the rate is now 2 billion each!] and Shadreck is keeping the feeding going though it is not easy–a loaf of bread was selling for 1.2 billion dollars on Friday. Prices are increasing on the average of 10-15% each day. Though not easy, i am getting money to him for both the fees and the feeding.
Money has also been sent to the Bookshop to pay for needed texts and supplies for both Clare Hartzell Primary Schools. Over 250 uniforms are being made for the two schools by a local company, as well.
The need continues for emergency help. We are confident that people of good will are working to provide that help if we can provide the funds. in addition to the contacts that N— and his Conference Projects office has with the Ecumenical efforts in Mutare, S—, and others are organizing a more long term effort for help and relocation.
If you would like to help in these efforts, you are welcome to do so. Make out the checks to Ypsilanti First UMC or simply FUMC and send them to us 2856 Renfrew, Ann Arbor, Mi 48105.
There are many calls upon all of us for help in so many areas. Please don’t feel pressured in this case. We are fully able to continue. However, we did feel that we should report, especially to those who sent money without being asked, as to what we are doing.
S—‘s court date for allegedly undercounting 10 votes for Mugabe in the March 29 election is now set for this Friday, June 20. We paid for his bail and lawyers’ fees for the first time.
May peace and justice prevail!
According to an article in the June 4, 2008 issue of the New York Times, while Mugabe is in Rome at a United Nations conference on food, his henchmen at home are apparently telling international aid groups — CARE, Save the Children, and World Vision are mentioned in the article — to close up shop and stop distributing food and aid until after the presidential runoff election on June 27:
“Hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of Zimbabweans — orphans and old people, the sick and the down and out — have lost access to food and other basic humanitarian assistance as their government has clamped down on international aid groups it says are backing the political opposition, relief agencies say….
“On Friday and Monday, representatives of aid groups were summoned by administrators in four districts and instructed to cease all work in the field until a bitterly contested presidential runoff was held on June 27 between Mr. Mugabe, in power for 28 years, and the opposition leader, Morgan Tsvangirai…
“the police and the army warned the groups not to say anything publicly about their withdrawal and not to conduct any operations at night.
“Aid workers and human rights groups say the restrictions are meant to prevent them from witnessing attacks on opposition supporters, often in nighttime raids, amid the government’s increasingly violent and deadly crackdown on those it sees as a threat to its hold on power…
“Zimbabwean political analysts and civic leaders say that Mr. Mugabe and ZANU-PF, his governing party, are themselves seeking to use food as a political weapon in a country, once the region’s bread basket, where hunger now afflicts millions. The government recently bought 600,000 tons of corn. By barring NGOs from giving out food in some areas, the governing party controls food distribution and can use it to reward supporters and punish opponents.”
An article in today’s New York Times about how teachers and relief workers are apparently being targeted for questioning by police and in some cases are being charged with election fraud or even assaulted by thugs.
…Teachers, who served as nonpartisan supervisors at polling stations, have been systematically singled out, with 496 questioned by the police, 133 assaulted by thugs and 123 charged with election fraud, according to the Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe. Teachers who worked for the opposition also said they had been attacked.
An unsigned editorial in Saturday’s issue of The Herald singled out teachers as part of an elaborate British- and American-financed plot to rig the election and get rid of Mr. Mugabe.
The editorial described the teachers as having been trained in South Africa and by the National Democratic Institute, a nonprofit group based in Washington whose chairman is Madeleine K. Albright, the former American secretary of state. It said the teachers were fleeing “to avoid the long arm of the law.”
Quoting The Herald, even the New York Times has now mentioned (online in its 11 April 2008 issue) Shadreck Mufute’s arrest as an example of how “severe” the state’s move against election officials has been. To me, it also shows how petty it all is — 10 votes here or there for one candidate or another in a presidential election clearly aren’t going to affect the national outcome one way or another — not enough to refuse to release the election results, nor to summarily throw primary school headmasters in jail.
“…The state’s move against the election officials was severe. The Herald reported, for example, that the police arrested a primary-school headmaster, Shadreck Mufute, 47, ‘on allegations of depriving President Mugabe of 10 votes which he allegedly gave to Morgan Tsvangirai in the presidential race.’
The state opposed giving Mr. Mufute bail. The magistrate granted him bail of $600 million in Zimbabwean currency — only about 14 United Stated dollars on the black market — but required that he report to a police base every Friday from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. The Herald reported that Mr. Mufute’s lawyers denied the authenticity of the document used as the basis of the charge against him and said he had neither prepared it nor signed it.”
“…Shadreck Mufute (47) who is the Hartzell Central Primary School headmaster appeared in a Mutare court […]
Mufute was arrested this week on allegations of depriving President Mugabe of 10 votes, which he allegedly gave to Morgan Tsvangirai in the presidential race.
When he first appeared in court on Tuesday, Mufute had applied for refusal of remand but Mutare provincial magistrate, Mr Livingstone Zimuto Chipadza, dismissed the application.
The provincial magistrate however, granted Mufute $600 million bail and ordered him to continue residing at Hartzell Primary School until the matter was finalised.
Mr Chipadza also ordered Mufute who will appear in court on April 23 to report at Old Mutare Police Base every Friday between 6am and 6pm.”
From a blog called This is Zimbabwe (which looks like a very good source of information on pro-democratic organizations in Zimbabwe):
On an as yet unconfirmed date one Shadreck Mufute, a ZEC elections officer who was stationed at Ward 25 in Mutasa South was arrested in Mutare and charged with fraud under section 136(a) of the Criminal Code, alternatively contravening section 87 of the Electoral Act, as amended in that he allegedly willfully failed to perform his public duty. His warned and cautioned statement was recorded on 7 April 2008 but had not been finalized due to lack of power (ZESA) at the police station. He appeared in the Mutare Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday 8 April 2008 where he was represented by a ZLHR lawyer. The lawyer and the prosecutor initially agreed on bail, but in court the prosecutor opposed bail, advising the ZLHR lawyer that he had instructions to vehemently oppose bail due to the political sensitivity of the matter. Mufute was remanded in custody pending the handing down of the magistrates’ ruling today.
ZIMBABWE CAUTIONS – from an E-mail recently received from Andra Stevens, Information Offfice at Africa University
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This site is designed to provide news, photos, and information related to the November 2006 United Methodist VIM (Volunteers in Mission) trip to Mutare, Zimbabwe -- as well as our ongoing mission to the people and schools in that area.
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