Friday, February 23, 2007

)GAMBIAN PREZ.(P. For perseverance), ZIMBABWE CHIVHU. OLL.P.(P. for Perpetrators),

Gambia Expels UN Envoy Over Criticism of AIDS Treatment
By VOA News
23 February 2007

President Yahya Jammeh pours his secret herbal remedy to treat HIV/AIDS patients, 21 Feb 2007
Gambia has ordered the expulsion of the country's top United Nations official after she criticized claims from President Yahya Jammeh that he can cure AIDS using natural herbs.

Officials say the U.N. representative, Fadzai Gwaradzimba, has been asked to leave Gambia by Sunday.

In an interview with Britain's Sky News, Gwaradzimba questioned whether there was any scientific proof that the president's AIDS treatment can work.

She also suggested that people may engage in more sexually-risky behavior if they believe there is a cure for the disease.

President Jammeh's treatment regimen requires patients to stop using anti-retroviral drugs, which are used worldwide to delay the onset of AIDS in people infected with HIV.

The president has refused to allow samples of his herbs to be taken out of Gambia for testing.

The 42-year-old Mr. Jammeh has ruled the west African nation since 1996. He won re-election last year.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and AP.

Concoction lands trio in hospital

By Ruth Butaumocho

THREE family members from Hokonya communal lands in Chivhu were last week detained at Chivhu General Hospital for three days after they went hysterical after being forced to drink a concoction at a witch-hunting ceremony.

Messrs Robson Maganye (68), Serima Jani (50) and Hosiah Zifa (in his early 70s) were admitted into the hospital after hallucinating and suffering temporary loss of memory.

Mr Maganye and Mr Jani have since been treated and discharged but are reportedly seeing a traditional healer.

Mr Zifa, whose condition has not improved, has been transferred to a hospital in Mutare for further treatment.

In an interview, the Officer Commanding Crime in Chivhu, Superintendent Flamington Maurice Mushawevato, said police had since arrested three people in connection with the witch hunt.

"The three are assisting police with investigations. We have since sent a sample of the concoction for forensic examination and we are yet to get the results," he said.

Supt Mushawevato warned members of the public to desist from witch-hunting ceremonies, saying they often lead to deaths of innocent people.

"Those who are found perpetrating this, will certainly face the full wrath of the law," he said.

Seeing no improvement in the condition of their father Mr Mekiya Zifa, who is bedridden, after having him undergo medical treatment for a long time, his three children teamed up and decided to consult a self-styled prophet to weed out "witches" allegedly responsible for the illness.

On arrival at the Zifa homestead, the "prophet" ordered members of the Zifa family, totalling 20, to drink the concoction, which would enable them to see a "vision on the walls" of those behind the "misfortune" that had befallen the family.

Soon after whole group had drunk the concoction, 17 of them started vomiting, which was interpreted as a sign that they had been exonerated from dabbling in witchcraft.

On the other hand, the other three started hallucinating, speaking unintelligibly about "visions they were seeing".

They were reportedly doing this while crawling on all fours on the ground.

Pandemonium and mayhem broke out as other villagers tried to stop Mr Mekiya’s Zifa three children from assaulting some family members who had refused to take the concoction on the grounds that it was against Christian principles.

Police had to be called in and immediately arrested trio who had sanctioned the cleansing ceremony.

Mrs Eveline Zifa, the wife of Hosiah Zifa, one of the victims, said she only got to know that her husband had drunk the concoction when he saw him crawling on his fours amidst the confusion that had gripped the whole village.

"Takazongoona baba vokambaira vachiuya kumba, vachitaura zvisinganzwisisike. Pandakabvunza ndipo pondakanzwa kuti vanwiswa muteyo, havana kurutsa (I only got to know that he had also taken the concoction after seeing him behaving strangely. On asking, I was told that he had been forced to drink the concoction but had not vomited.)"

Mr Obert Zifa (38) who together with his two sisters invited the prophet, maintained that the trio had done nothing wrong despite the outcry from other villagers.

"We did not do anything wrong. Taida kuchenesa musha, zvinova izvo zvatakaita (We wanted to cleanse the village; that’s all we did).Police were called in. We were arrested and appeared in court, but the magistrate did not pursue a case against us.

"The case was referred to the chief, who is yet to summon us," he said

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