Friday, February 26, 2016

Long Zimbabwe Drought is Over

Been a long time since the Globe made a peep about it:

"Drought-stricken Zimbabwe declares state of disaster" Associated Press  February 05, 2016

MASVINGO, Zimbabwe — Cattle, thin like their owners, wander in a parched riverbed. Desperate villagers barter a few fish for maize because there is no money for food. In this drought-stricken area of Zimbabwe, some people allege that who you know determines whether you’ll get state food aid, with those out of favor with local officials going hungry.

I'm wondering why that last part was edited out of print, American (hint, hint).

Underscoring the severity of the drought linked to the El Nino weather pattern hitting much of southern Africa, Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe declared a state of disaster Thursday, with the hope of speeding up the flow of aid to needy communities.

The drought has devastated cropsThe situation is especially acute in Zimbabwe, where a declining economy and rising unemployment have made life hard for many people in a country once known as a regional breadbasket.

Mugabe’s declaration makes it easier for the World Food Program and other agencies to mobilize assistance for Zimbabwe, Eddie Rowe, WFP country director, said Friday. Lack of such a declaration puts Zimbabwe on the periphery, given the competing demands for humanitarian assistance worldwide, Rowe said. 

Mugabe must be senile to be letting them in.

The number of Zimbabweans in need of urgent food aid has spiked to about one quarter of the population of 13 million people, according to the WFP, a United Nations agency. That number could go even higher and the food crisis could spill into next year, said Prisca Mupfumira, Zimbabwe’s minister for public service, labor and social welfare.

Families are going up to two weeks without a solid meal in Madan’ombe, a village in Masvingo province in southern Zimbabwe.

Loveness Ndlovu and her six children prepare smoked fish on a fireplace in a round hut devoid of any other food. The children, who last tasted meat a month ago, know better than to salivate over the six catfish caught in a lake by their father, Zimaniwa.

‘‘They can only touch the fish, they cannot eat,’’ Ndlovu said. ‘‘It’s two weeks now since I last had a proper meal. If it gets worse, I will have to beg from other villagers so I can at least feed my kids.’’

The parents plan to barter the fish for other foodstuffs such as maize. Ordinarily, the entire family would be busy in the fields, weeding a knee-high maize crop. Now they can only watch as skinny donkeys graze on failed crops. Vast fields lie dry and fallow.

A nearby shopping center is packed with food items such as rice, the staple maize meal and cooking oil, mostly imported from neighboring South Africa. 

That's interesting, because most South Africans are worried about from where their next meal will come.

But with mines and other industries closing because of economic problems, people can’t afford to buy them. 

Does that ever sound familiar!

Some villagers, however, trade maize for fish.

‘‘There is not much circulation of cash here so we have to rely on barter trade,’’ Zimaniwa said.

Most Zimbabweans rely on agriculture for a living, and Mupfumira, the Cabinet minister, said the government plans to import 700,000 tons of maize to distribute to the needy.

Some Zimbabweans believe they won’t get a share because they don’t know the right people. Mugabe has been in power for decades, his government holding a tight grip amid periodic accusations of human rights abuses and voter fraud.

‘‘Only those close to the (district) councilor get to eat,’’ said Sydney Makabe, a resident in Masvingo province, whose capital has the same name.

‘‘Rations that are coming now are supposed to be given to the elderly. But many times, we see young people who don’t qualify getting the food,’’ said Makabe, adding that he is not involved in politics.

The Zimbabwe Peace Project, a non-governmental group, said reports indicate food is being used in some cases as a political weapon to punish the opposition. It cited 135 cases of ‘‘food violations’’ from September to December. 

That is where the print ended, and tell it to the United States (Albright said half-a-million kids was worth it) and Israel (is what they are doing to Palestinians with their sieges). 

There was a flood more on the web though:

In Gwanda, a town southwest of Harare, the residents’ association is encouraging people to buy ruling ZANU-PF party membership cards and attend party meetings to enhance chances of getting government-funded food aid.

In January, dozens of villagers from rural Mutasa district, east of Harare, reportedly stormed a government grain warehouse, demanding an end to the politicization of food aid. Police later summoned and questioned local lawmaker Trevor Saruwaka of the main opposition MDC-T party.

Mupfumira promised to act against any distribution problems.

‘‘As government, we are responsible for the welfare of all citizens. Anyone politicizing food aid will be punished severely, but we have not received any such reports yet,’’ Mupfumira said.

Most people, however, are likely to be assisted by donors rather than the cash-strapped government. Despite icy relations with the West, Zimbabwe has averted food crises for the past decade due largely to Western assistance. The United States and the European Union said last month that they are increasing humanitarian funding. 

Was it that long ago that they were calling him a monster (he must have come around and got back on the private central banking treadmill as well as letting the arms flow again. That's why he no longer a problem)?

The WFP has said it has mechanisms to ‘‘mitigate against the politicization of food assistance in Zimbabwe as elsewhere in the world’’ and that it works closely with Zimbabwe to ensure food and cash assistance ‘‘reaches only those vulnerable people for whom it is intended.’’

Jonathan Manyowa, a an 87-year-old resident of Gondo village in Chivi district, spends his days in a tree’s shade, warding off any animals that stray into the field where he has struggled to grow a maize crop.

‘‘The last time I witnessed such a catastrophe was when I was a very young boy, and it was not even this disastrous,’’ Manyowa said.

Down to the last drop.


So did Nestle contract for the water rights in Zimbabwe like they did in California, or..... ?

"US plane impounded in Zimbabwe; body and cash found on board" Associated Press  February 16, 2016

HARARE, Zimbabwe — Zimbabwean aviation authorities impounded a US-registered cargo jet, a senior official said Monday, after a dead body later believed to be a stowaway and millions of South African rand were found on board.

So who was looting the South African bank? 

The stowaway looks like what we used to call an old-fashioned decoy. Ma$$ media pays more attention to that than the suitcases full of loot.

The Herald, a state-run newspaper, reported that the MD-11 trijet was traveling from Germany to South Africa ‘‘with millions of rands.’’ At today’s exchange rate, 1 million rand is worth $62,500.

Authorities here learned the money belonged to the South Africa Reserve Bank, the country’s central bank.

Maybe they were trying to bring it back? 

Could the world financial $y$tem truly be on the verge of complete collapse, as has been long prophesied.

The plane had landed in Harare for refueling, said Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe general manager David Chawota. He said the jet, registered with Western Global Airlines, was impounded at Harare airport on Sunday. Western Global Airlines is based in Estero, Fla.

Hate to say it, but it looks like a CIA outfit

Of course, I must be crazy.

The airline on Monday said the cargo belonged to the South African Reserve Bank and the body was presumably that of a stowaway. Zimbabwe police said it was still investigating the matter.

The crew did not know there was someone else on the plane, police said.

It appears from photos on social media that the dead person had sneaked into the plane’s landing gear, which severed his arm when it contracted, causing blood to splatter onto the fuselage and arousing the suspicion of the ground crew when the flight landed here.

Western Global Airlines said the plane was leased to Network Airline Management, a customer based in the UK that was handling the bank shipment.


And then Sunday brief was quietly released (not):

"Zimbabwean authorities have released a U.S.-registered cargo jet that was impounded earlier this week after a dead body and cash was found aboard. Police spokeswoman Charity Charamba said Saturday that police and immigration officials allowed the crew to return to South Africa. She said the plane was transporting 67 tons of South African currency, belonging to South Africa's central bank. Charamba said the money was also returned to South African authorities. Charamba said the MD-11 trijet, owned by Florida-based Western Global Airlines, was travelling from Germany to South Africa when it stopped in the Zimbabwean capital Harare to refuel. Authorities noticed blood dripping from the plane. Charamba said the dead person was likely a stowaway. A post-mortem report found that the person had died from asphyxiation."

Since we are headed back to South Africa:

"South Africa to prosecute 4 apartheid-era cops for murder" by Christopher Torchia and Andrew Selsky Associated Press  February 09, 2016

JOHANNESBURG — The body of a young anti-apartheid activist who was kidnapped and tortured in 1983 by South African police has never been found, her family never able to mourn at a grave, her killers not sent to prison.

Now, more than three decades later, prosecutors plan to charge four police officers for the murder of Nokuthula Simelane after Simelane’s family went to court to force the National Prosecuting Authority to press charges.

The new move against the former policemen goes to the heart of long-running tension in South Africa over the push for reconciliation among the country’s racial groups and the desire to punish perpetrators of human rights abuses during the traumatic decades that preceded multi-racial elections in 1994.

Is that why AmeriKa in a state of turmoil? 

Because we have not had that?

But the case is murky, with some of the officers involved having admitted to kidnapping and torturing the young woman, but claiming they released her after she agreed to be an informant.

The word murky means cover-up in newspeak, and when informants are involved....

The 23-year-old, freshly graduated from university, had been a courier for the armed wing of the then-banned African National Congress when she was snatched by the police and tortured for weeks, according to the officers’ own testimony 16 years ago to South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

I was wondering if that CIA jet above was a plane used for renditions, yeah.

But the policemen insisted that they had succeeded in ‘‘turning’’ Simelane through the torture, convincing her to work for them.


Torture DOES work!

The police said officers had driven her to Swaziland, where she had been living and attending college before she was kidnapped, to be their informant against the ANC.

She was never seen in Swaziland by relatives or friends after she was purportedly dropped off at the border. The police indicated that anti-apartheid fighters might have eliminated Simelane themselves.

Luvuyo Mfaku, a prosecution spokesman, said the decision to prosecute was based on the ‘‘strength of the evidence and the merits of the case.’’

Here's more to the case that my print copy didn't give me:

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission, which could grant amnesty to those who fully confessed to human rights abuses committed during apartheid, recommended that more than 300 cases be prosecuted, but the Simelane murder is ‘‘one of the only’’ cases pursued by prosecutors, according to a statement from an attorney for Simelane’s family and a lawyer for the Southern Africa Litigation Centre, which is involved in the case. 

Maybe that is the way to go -- if it gets Bush, Cheney, Rice, Rumsfeld, et al, in a jail cell.

The suspects are Willem Coetzee, Anton Pretorius, Frederick Mong and Msebenzi Radebe, the statement said.

‘‘For us, as a family, this has been a long way coming,’’ said Thembi Nkadimeng, Simelane’s sister and mayor of Polokwane, a city in northeastern South African.

‘‘We are hopeful that this step will bring us closer to the truth,’’ Nkadimeng said in a telephone interview with The Associated Press. 

It is what people want, nay, crave everywhere.

Simelane’s father had described to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission how he and his wife, trying to learn what had happened to their daughter, had been rebuffed by the ANC, which at the time was the main anti-apartheid movement and which has been South Africa’s ruling party since white rule ended in 1994.

‘‘I know she was being used and sent as a courier of ANC and suddenly thereafter she disappeared, but what hurts the most is that they never told me the truth and also that they never sent her, they pretended as if they did not know Nokuthula at all,’’ the father told the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in 1997. 

And they are the "good guys."

He has since died; Simelane’s mother is 75 years old.

Simelane had been an ‘‘underground operative’’ for the ANC’s military wing, called Spear of the Nation, according to prosecutors. 

The same wing as Mandela.

She was abducted and was illegally held by the Soweto Special Branch, a police unit, for a week at a police barracks in Johannesburg, where she was tortured under questioning, prosecutors said. Simelane was then interrogated and tortured at a farm for several weeks, they said.

‘‘The method of assaults was to hit her with a flat hand through her face; to punch her with a fist in the side and in the back; and to suffocate her by means of a bag which was used in prison cells, to pull the bag over her head until she began to gasp for breath,’’ according to testimony presented at the truth commission in 1999.

‘‘So you hit her with conviction?’’ the chairperson of the commission hearing asked Coetzee all those years ago.

‘‘Yes, I hit her hard,’’ he said, having already described Simelane as a slender woman.

The four suspects are due in the Pretoria Magistrate’s Court on Feb. 26, the National Prosecuting Authority said Monday.



Dentist who killed Cecil the lion won’t be charged in deer herding complaint

US moves to protect lions from big-game trophy hunters

Also see:

"The number of grizzly bear deaths or removals in the Yellowstone region climbed to an all-time high in 2015, but biologists say they’re not worried about the animal’s long-term survival in the area."

Hey, if rhinos can survive it....