Posted by: housesofstone | December 6, 2008


“Enough is enough” that’s the message Prime Minister Gordon Brown had for Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe.


Gordon Brown has raised his concerns and opinions in a statement as Zimbabwe’s living conditions continue to deteriorate.


After a decade of hardship, starvation, money shortages and the recent outbreak of cholera that has killed 575 and left another 13,000 sick since August, it is finally considered an international emergency.



Why bother


What took so long to declare this emergency one wonders as it is clear to me that too many people have suffered with little action being made to recover the situation by Zimbabwe’s own government.


Although aid has been sent to Zimbabwe over the years such as £65 million grant from the Global Fund to fight Aids, Tuberculosis and Malaria in November, there comes a point when you give up offering help.


Especially when £4.5 million just happens to disappear from the fund and the governor of the Reserve Bank’s response in which it was deposited is that the “money was used for other national priorities”.


Urgent action


According to the Times Newspaper, Gordon Brown said there is a duty to give Zimbabwe’s people a “better future”.


This is by far one of the best statements that Gordon Brown could have given in relation Zimbabwe’s problems.


Not only does he highlight the significance of the issue but also shows that this will not be an easy task and that great care effort will be made to make Zimbabwean’s lives better.


Gordon Brown said: “This is now an international rather than a national emergency.”


“International because – not least in the week of the 60th anniversary of the universal declaration of human rights – we must stand together to defend human rights and democracy, to say firmly to Mugabe that enough is enough.”


“This declaration of international emergency could go a long way in helping Zimbabwe, but the key is that Zimbabwe must learn to help itself first by solving the never ending power sharing talks between Robert Mugabe and Morgan Tsvangirai.”












Posted by: housesofstone | December 3, 2008


Well done to Zimbabwe’s health workers, who today took a stand against the disaster that is Zimbabwe.

As they marched the streets of Harare there appeared to be essence of purpose in their mission to let not only Mugabe, but the world know that enough is enough.

Taking a stand

As riot police beat them with batons according to reports by Sky news, Zimbabwe’s doctors and nurses tried to continue their aim of having their voice heard in protest to the cholera outbreak.

Around 100 doctors, nurses and union workers were charged by ZImbabwean police for taking part in the demonstration, but none of that matters as the world might….. just might start to listen.

The cholera outbreak has claimed at 565 lives since August with more than 12,500 cases reported in the same period according to the latest statement from the United Nations Humanitarian coordination Office.

With a collapsed health system, it is near impossible to stop the death toll as basic medication is in short supply and many Hospitals closing down wards such Harare Central Hospital.

Contamination continues

It has been confirmed that Limpopo River, on Zimbabwe’s border with South Africa has been contaminated.

This goes  long way to adding stress to an already uncontrollable situation. As the Zimbabwean’s wait to see what effect, if any the march has on the country’s outlook, one can only hope that their actions may have got the ball rolling.

Posted by: housesofstone | December 1, 2008


An outbreak of Anthrax is adding to Zimbabwe’s cholera peril as the country already fed up population has yet another dilemma to deal with.

As if having the world’s highest inflation rate, food shortages, money shortages, contaminated water and a dysfunctional government was not enough. The latest problem does not help Zimbabwe’s dire situation.

The damage

The outbreak has already killed three people and threatens to wipe out livestock in northern Zimbabwe’s Zambezi Valley according to Save the Children Charity, a British non-government group.

Anthrax is a highly contagious infection that usually only affects livestock, especially cattle and sheep but can be transmitted to humans who handle or eat infected animals.

In a statement Save the Children said two children and an adult in Zambezi Valley have died of the disease, which also threatens to kill 60,000 livestock in the region.

Save the Children’s country director in Zimbabwe, Rachel Pounds said: “Many families in the Zambezi Valley are so hungry that they are taking meat from the carcasses of their dead animals, even if they know it’s diseased, and are feeding it to their children”.


Described by Pounds as the country’s biggest Anthrax outbreak in three decades, authorities have imposed quarantines to stop the disease spreading.

Despite this step to protect people, the Independent newspaper reports that traders have been seen taking potentially infected carcasses out of restricted zones to trade in Victoria Falls.

This is a serious problem as it risks that disease spreading across the border to neighboring country Zambia.


Save the children have warned the outbreak could have appalling consequences for Zimbabwe as it threatens to aggravate the food crisis.

Zimbabwe is already battling a cholera epidemic that has killed 452 people since last August and infected more than 11,000 according to official government statistics.

Posted by: housesofstone | November 24, 2008


As the cholera outbreak affects nine out of ten of Zimbabwe’s provinces, the countries health system is near collapse, as it cannot cope due to lack of facilities.

Once regarded as one of the best health systems in its region, the recent cholera outbreak highlights the level of disarray present within Zimbabwe’s health system.

Commenting on the situation, Erwin van der Borght, Director of Amnesty International’s African Programme said: “Amnesty International is concerned that Zimbabwean politicians continue to play political games while the country is collapsing.”

“ It is tragic that dozens of Zimbabweans are dying daily from preventable illnesses while politicians concentrate more on their plight than ending the suffering of ordinary people” –he added.


Zimbabwe’s main referral hospitals including Harare Central Hospital and Parirenyatwa Hospital are barely functioning with many of the wards closed.

That is just the beginning of the issue as two government maternity hospitals in greater Harare have been closed. This provides a serious problem as around 3000 women per month give birth in public hospitals in Harare, with some 250 of hem requiring lifesaving caesarean sections- according to Amnesty International.

Ordinary Zimbabweans are unable to access basic health care because of shortages of drugs, medical supplies and equipment failures.


Health workers who appear to have had enough of the situation attempted to present a petition to the Minister of Health and Child Welfare on November 18.

Heavily armed police reportedly disturbed their attempts as the health workers were calling for the government to take urgent action to restore accessible and affordable health care.

This video by Frank Donaghue, CEO of Physicians for Human Rights tells the sad tale that is Zimbabwe’s health system.

Posted by: housesofstone | November 23, 2008


The situation in Zimbabwe has reached a new low as nearly 300 people have been killed by cholera in recent weeks.

Reports by the World Health Organization (WHO) suggest that 6000 people have been hit by the cholera outbreak and they predict the disease could continue to spread because of poor sanitation.

The outbreak

WHO spokeswoman Fadela Chaib said that 6,072 cases had been reported between the start of August and November 18 with an upsurge in the past two weeks.

According the WHO the cholera outbreak is not being helped by the countries collapsing health care system as many hospitals are not functioning due to lack of basic resources.

In a statement the WHO said: “The outbreak is likely to continue as the water and sanitation situation is worsening, with severe shortages of potable water, sewage and waste disposal problems reported in most of the populated areas”.


Cholera is a waterborne disease that causes vomiting and diarrhoea and can lead to death due to dehydration.  It is spread by eating food or drinking water contaminated by cholera bacteria.

The WHO estimates that during any cholera epidemic approximately 0.2-1% of the local population will contract the disease.

Anyone can get cholera but infants and the elderly are more likely to die from the disease because they get dehydrated faster than adults.

Dire situation

Zimbabwe’s own government has reported that it has had 90 deaths caused by the disease. According to the BBC, Zimbabwe’s Health Minister David Parirenyatwa said this week that his ministry as “battling to control unprecedented outbreaks”.

It is hard to battle a disease outbreak with the country’s health system in the situation that it currently is.

Harare’s Central Hospital officially closed last week and Zimbabwe’s Association of Doctors of Human Rights highlighted the dire state of the health service.

It said according to a BBC report: “Our health delivery system, previously the envy of many developing countries, is now teetering on the verge of virtual collapse”.

“Sick people in need of medical attention are being turned away from Zimbabwe’s hospitals and clinics”.

As problems escalate there appears to be no end to Zimbabwe’s suffering.

Posted by: housesofstone | November 4, 2008


Robert Mugabe’s central bank is being accused of stealing aid cash meant to help millions of sick Zimbabweans- according to the Times newspaper.

An international aid agency froze its donations to Zimbabwe after£4.5 million was filtered out of £65 million grant from the Global Fund to Fight Aids, Tuberculosis and Malaria.
Missing millions
This is just another complication in the country that is Zimbabwe as millions are suffering from starvation, and water and cash shortages.

The money was discovered missing after an audit by the fund last month found that grant, deposited into the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe had disappeared.

50,000 people should have been trained with that money and it was also meant to buy drugs for a complex national anti-malaria campaign. To date only 495 people have been trained.

It is hard to believe that money could be used for other uses other than helping to cure the countries suffering people.

Wrong priority
The Reserve Bank’s governor, Gideon Gono stated that the “money was used for other national priorities”, reports the Times.

In a country where economic crisis is causing havoc it is not rational taking funds that will go a long way to resolving one of Zimbabweans recurring problems- malaria.

A senior western diplomat in Zimbabwe told CNN he believes the money was taken by President Robert Mugabe’s government to fund political activities.

Zimbabwe’s single largest donor, America will no longer send money to the country via its Reserve Bank.

America gave Zimbabwe £106 million of humanitarian aid last year but in an interview with the Daily Telegraph, the US Ambassador to Harare, James McGee said: “Right now, given the history of what has happened in the Reserve Bank, I think we would probably have to look at not putting any funds into the Reserve Bank.”

The spokesman for the group which is a leading international financing institution for diseases, John Linden told CNN “This could put millions of people in Zimbabwe at risk of malaria in the current malaria season.”Linden said the group has given Zimbabwe until Thursday to repay the money or else no more aid will be sent to the country.
Posted by: housesofstone | October 30, 2008


Once one of the best in Africa, Zimbabwes education system is now suffering as much as the countries economy.


The United Nations Childrens Fund (UNICEF) has called for urgent action to address Zimbabwes education system which is suffering due to low salaries, poor attendance by both teachers and students, and transport and food problems.


Combination of problems


According to UNICEF, routine monitoring in recent weeks shows that with national exams looming, only 40 per cent of Zimbabwe’s teachers were attending lessons.


The situation is made worse as only a third of pupils were reporting for classes and district education officers were ill equipped to run national exams.


According to the Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe, 25,000 teachers fled the country in 2007. And in the first two months of this year, 8000 more disappeared.


In the classroom the situation is bleak as according to the teacher’s union, text books are so scarce that 35 children must share one text book.


Lack of moral


In a country were the official inflation rate is 231 million per cent, teachers simply can’t afford to teach.


In an LA Times article, Zimbabwe’s teacher’s union president, Takavafira Zhou said: “ One hundred per cent of the teachers have resigned, mentally, even though they remain in schools, they’re no longer interested in teaching.”


The situation goes from bad to worse with plummeting education standards, the pass rate for secondary school exams fell from about 70 per cent in the mid 90s to just 13 per cent last year.


“The education system is a vital hub of the country. It has a ripple effect. In the long term the country will suffer very much” said Zhou.


As all this happens, one question remains unanswered. What sort of future does Zimbabwe have with an uneducated population?


Posted by: housesofstone | October 28, 2008


Zimbabwe’s political sagas continue as Morgan Tsvangirai’s party boycotted a regional summit because he was denied a passport.

The regional summit held in Swaziland, was meant to save the power sharing deal signed by Morgan Tsvangirai and Robert Mugabe a month ago.

However the latest antics by Mugabe’s Zanu PF and Tsvangirai’s Movement for Democratic Change have yet again delayed resolving the on going issue.

The Issue

Tsvangirai applied for passport back in June 2008 and is still waiting for a new passport in the mean time has to apply for a temporary travel document for every trip.

According to a MDC statement many other Zimbabweans have applied for and been granted passports since the date of Tsvangirai’s application.

Tendai Biti, MDC’s General Secretary is reported in The Times as saying “the issue of the passport is a symptom. The real problem is there is no readiness on the part of Zanu PF to engage in a cooperative government with Tsvangirai and MDC. They are keeping him imprisoned within the borders of the country.”

The Explanation

In their defence, Mugabe’s Zanu PF have dismissed MDC’s boycott as a gimmick reports The Times. Mugabe’s spokesman George Charamba said, “ Tsvangirai had not been given a passport because Zimbabwe was running out of paper… because of sanctions.”

As weird as it sounds it could be a plausible explanation, seeing as everything else in Zimbabwe i.e. money, food, water is running out. But if that is the case why is there enough paper to print numerous temporary documents for Tsvangirai?

Surely it is cheaper just to print off the passport once and for all. Think of all the paper it will save in the long run as the passport lasts longer.

No end in sight

With the current situations plaguing the country, one would think that Zimbabwe’s politicians would put an end to this drama.

There are people starving, unemployed and facing an uncertain future yet the countries leaders are more concerned with who has more power. Some action needs to taken fast to bring some sense of stability before it is to late.

Posted by: housesofstone | October 28, 2008

MPs sent home

Zimbabwes parliament has been adjourned until November 11 due to a lack of funds to run its operations.


Delays in setting up an inclusive government continue to paralyse national institutions, as the assembly which only started sitting earlier this month is the latest victim.




Acting leader of  Zimbabwe House, Mr Emmerson Mnangagwa of the ruling Zanu PF, announced the suspension of parliament.


The move came as legislators from feuding parties, Zanu PF and MDC came together in a rare moment of unity to declare Zimbabwe’s food shortages a national disaster.


In a statement he said: “Because of the constraints relating to the non-existence of the inclusive
government, the House will not be sitting for a while“.

“In the event measures are put in place, we may be able to call for the sitting of the House at a much earlier date.”


MPs were told that the government had run out of money to pay for their accommodation and allowances during the sessions.


Talks go on and on and on and…….


The talks to conclude the power sharing deal between Robert Mugabe’s ruling Zanu PF and Morgan Tsvangirai’s MDC are still on going to finalise the allocation of cabinet posts.


The setting up the all inclusive government has been in the works since the leaders signed a historic power sharing deal on September 15 to end Zimbabwe‘s political and economic crisis.



Problems with the deal stem from Mugabe allocating two of the most powerful cabinet positions  to his party. More or less going against the “power share” element of the deal.


Parliament is expected to approve a constitution amendment that will legalise the power-sharing arrangement. But the disruption of its business might further delay the process and this will not benefit any one.



Posted by: housesofstone | October 27, 2008

Going …going… and probably gone- Zimbabwe’s future

Children are fleeing the carnage that is Zimbabwe in search of a better life as South Africa offers better prospects.

With the economy at a standstill, hunger and unemployment figures reaching 80 %, Zimbabwe’s children are the latest victims as the Education system crumbles.

In search of hope

As the political debates between Robert Mugabe and Morgan Tsvangirai drag on, young Zimbabwean’s are looking across the border to South Africa for an answer to their problems.

According to Bishop Veryn speaking to Zim Online there has been a large increase in the number of children of school going age from Zimbabwe travelling to South Africa alone to seek shelter.

Bishop Veryn- who’s Central Methodist Church in Johannesburg provides food and shelter to homeless immigrants says his church is looking after 150 Zimbabwean children.

Despite the hope of a better Zimbabwe after Mugabe and Tsvangirai signed the Power sharing deal a month ago, it appears that Zimbabwe is growing impatient and losing hope.

Schools out for…..who knows?

Once a strong Education system, Zimbabwe’s children are now suffering as teachers refuse to work because of low pay. The high school fees also add to the problem as many parents cannot afford to pay them.

Speaking to IRIN Ronald Monash deputy representative of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) said “we have received with concern, continuing reports that some children (in Zimbabwe) are not going to school because there are no teachers.”

UNICEF keeps 150,000 Zimbabwean children at school by paying their fees but these efforts seem wasted as Zimbabwe’s political problems affect everyone.

Harare Secondary School teacher, Simon Chivanga told IRIN that it is impossible for him to carry out his duties on a monthly salary of Z$62,000 (US$1.10). That is just enough for two days worth of transport to and from work never mind food, clothing and bills.

Chivanga made his feelings clear saying “the year 2008 should go down in history as a year in which the Zimbabwe education system came to its knees. It should be recorded as a no-show year.”

According to IRIN an estimated 45,000 teachers have left the profession since 2004.

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