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Saturday, May 25, 2013

Smoking and other comments

Re Health Conscious citizen: The largest single source of forex to the Zim economy, with the possible exception of Diamonds, is Tobacco.
Tobacco pays your bills, so think about this the next time someone lights up close to you, and maybe focus on the drinkers who may run a red light or beat up their wives when they get home! There is no concrete evidence linking passive smoking to cancer, despite the legislation and the hype. Much like the thinking that  the ‘’bad air’’ (mal aria) from the swamps was the cause of Malaria when it was of course the mozzie! FYI obesity now kills more people than smoking!
To: Health Conscious Citizen. I hear you loud and clear. I do understand that the matter of smoking is unavoidable in ‘pub’ or ‘club’ type environments, however I feel very strongly about the subject of smoking in restaurants and in particular ‘family’ restaurants.  We are a family of four and it makes me furious on the very occasional time that we go to a restaurant, not only does the restaurant not cater for separate smoking and non-smoking areas, but the total arrogance and ignorance shown by other patrons when they pick up cigarette after cigarette with no consideration of the fact there are small children sitting in close proximity. I am an ex-smoker myself and so no-one can tell me I am not able to empathise with smokers, but we are all well aware of the proven dangers of passive smoking and it is really not going to cause serious hardship to someone to step outside for two minutes for a cigarette, or indeed wait until after the meal to smoke.  Besides, Zimbabwe falls well behind the first world on smoking regulations, so it is about time we took the effects of smoking more seriously and in particular where it offends and affects others.  Even if you take out the health issues, if I am going out to enjoy a meal, the last thing I need is to have someone blowing smoking across my table.  Let’s just hope that people will start to think about their actions and consider those around them.  From “Lets considers others”.
Having read ‘Health Conscious Citizen’s comments on restaurants allowing smoking – I would like to say that I lived five years in Australia, recently returning to this country and I find it absolutely refreshing that all types of people are tolerated here, including smokers, and that we can still express our individual freedom.  Although I’m not a smoker and never have been, I’m happy to see people being allowed their rights to do as they please.  I personally found first world countries almost suffocating in their rules and regulations to the point where people are no longer allowed to think for themselves – our country might have its problems but at least we’re still allowed some freedom of personal expression here, so I love the way our little country is still stuck in the archaic times as it means we take responsibility for ourselves as individuals.
This country’s economy is based largely on tobacco growing and I’m always fascinated that tobacco is branded as bad for one’s health but no mention is ever made of the exhaust fumes that pour out of millions of vehicles constantly.  An interesting fact is that it was noted that the longest living Asian people smoke pure tobacco every day of their lives and live well into their hundreds. May I suggest that Health Conscious Citizen find a restaurant or cafĂ© that doesn’t allow smoking and frequent that one. Letusbewhoweare……
Reading your mail of the 20th, I’d like to advise that we had intruders in our house in Milton Park (Old Hararians area) in the early hours of Tuesday morning.  They climbed over our gate into our yard and forced entry through a locked security gate into our kitchen with a 6 lever security lock on it, then forced through a stable door with a 3 lever lock on it.  Absolute brute force with a strong metal object must have been used.  Fortunately we were unaware of the intrusion until I got up around 4.45 a.m. when I saw torchlight and heard voices.  They departed having taken a wallet with a small amount of cash and 2 very ordinary cellphones.  We were shaken but unharmed and were relieved that the thieves left the wallet (empty of cash) with id and driver’s licence cards and the 2 sim cards from the phones!  Sixty Something.
I am also a resident in Strathaven.  We had intruders try to take the gate motor a couple of weeks ago.  We have now welded everything down!!  I have now ordered a Wireless perimeter alarm which monitors movement outside the house. An inside alarm is ineffective these days.  You want to stop the intruder before he gets into the house.  This alarm can be bought in separate units and built onto if necessary.  So for peace of mind you can start with one or two covering the front and back entrances.  Then get additional as you can afford it. the consultant was very generous and concerned about ladies on their own and he says he can offer a payment plan. I am also linked to Safeguard reaction, so at least some one will come if the alarm triggers. I would never go outside at night if there is a disturbance. My friend was attacked when he went to switch off the generator at 7 pm at night. I also keep the dogs inside the house as they are usually poisoned by intruders.  Don’t become a break in statistic!
Please inform your appalled anti-smoking correspondent that restaurants do not allow smoking indoors. There is usually a place outside for smokers. I would advise him to go inside and stop complaining. Allow the remaining smokers to have their meal in peace without being frowned upon.    Smoker.                                                                                                                                                  PS Or continue his healthy travels abroad.  
Yet again I was on the road to harare from chinhoyi and yet again I was appalled by an incident on the road. About 20km from the dyke my wife, who was driving, noticed an ambulance flashing at her to allow him passed. Naturally she slowed right down and pulled over to allow the emergency vehicle past as we had just passed an accident scene where a vehicle was being recovered from the road side. As we reached the mutorashanga turn off just before the dyke I was disgusted to see the very same ambulance pulled over, back doors wide open and in the time it took us to drive past, at least 3passengers boarded the vehicle while others from this popular informal bus stop flocked round hoping for a ride also. I instructed my wife to let me know when the ambulance caught up. Lo and behold at the level crossing, over a double line and on a blind corner, he overtook us again with his lights flashing. Happily I was prepared and made use of my cellphone to snap the attached picture of the perpetrator, licence plate quite visible. I think we should use the cellphone as a tool to present evidence to companies and police of poor and dangerous driving on our roads. It keeps passengers alert and involved in the journey which in turn helps the driver stay more alert. Sick of poor drivers.
Please note that these are all readers comments and I do not necessarily agree with any or all of them – Mike G

Thursday, May 23, 2013



We are moving into the winter season and it seems that the incessant power cuts are back on a daily basis  …… this is the time to make sure that all alarms, remotes, gate motors and ALL security that runs off the power have a form of backup system to keep our homes, families and business premises safe …… this is a high priority.  Use the alarm at all times, even in the day light hours, keep gates locked where possible, police the traffic in and out of your premises at all times. Keep domestic animals inside at night this prevents any attempted poisoning, and dogs are more protective of property inside a home than outside.
There have been armed robberies reported with money being the main commodity asked for followed by laptops, mobile phones, IPods, cameras and jewellery …… not all of these break-ins occurring at night, some in broad day light.  Swimming pool, borehole pumps and gate motors are still in high demand, please check on a regular basis the cages and locks on these …. It is advisable to have an alarm sensor fitted nearby to alert you on any activity in the yard when the alarm is activated.

Travelling to the Airport at night seems to be another hazardous journey ….. not only are the car parks badly lit, there seems to be no or very little evidence of security on the ground.  The authorities hopefully are looking into the safety of passengers and their visitors and will make an effort to improve the Airport Security.  Surely this is also a concern for the Tourist Industry for would be tourists visiting our Zimbabwe?   This is not a good window to our country if you lose your luggage and belongings before you start your visit.  Be warned and be alert …..

Be vigil and wise when stopping on the roads to help those in need or those stranded, make sure you and your vehicle are safe and locked on stopping. Assist by all means, phone for help or the nearest Police Station and assist where possible but do not put yourself in jeopardy …. We are a caring nation; let’s keep it that way …. But make sure you are safe !  

We all need to play a part in the Security and safety of all ……. 

Let’s ALL fight this crime together  - stay ALERT and SAFE ! 


Community notices

Just to let you know that we had a break in on Tuesday night, Strathaven area. At 02:30am I was woken by my Miniature Daxie barking inside the house. I let him outside then went around the house checking doors etc. I saw a male at my back kitchen door. He was wearing blue dust-coat/overalls and blue cap. He ran away and I let off a loud Black Widow squib which sounds like a gunshot (sorry yes it woke the whole neighbourhood's dogs!) and I thought that he/they would have been frightened off. I don't have a gun and am alone with my two teen daughters during the week. I went around turning lights on in the house, turned TV on in bedroom as there was no way I would get any sleep after that. I must've dozed off as the sun was coming up, but woke at 05:15am and found my younger daughter & I were locked in the passage, keys hidden. We had to get a friend round to break the door down, found they must have returned and continued as the backdoor was point of entry, crowbar succeeded, my two miniature Daxies were poisoned outside. The cars had been raided, my laptop was stolen from the office (Acer) with my external  256G HDD, my daughter's Sony Vaio
(pink) laptop and her brand new Sony Erricson cellphone, the cables upstairs on the TV & decoder were cut. I must have disturbed them again. Thankfully us 3 girls were unharmed throughout this.
On Saturday afternoon 3 (or 4) young black men broke into a house in Strathaven via a forced pedestrian gate and then forced the back door lock and three latches. They hit the 66 year resident, (who had been taking a nap) on the hand he was trying to raise a tazer with and then twice on the head with an iron knobkerry  and chucked the bedcover over him. They asked if he was Chinese and his name was Mr Lee to which he replied “I am a  white African” and told  them his name. They actually apologised that they had the wrong address, when they were told there was a road with almost the same name in Marlborough,  but they did leave him tied up and bleeding and steal all the jewellery they could find and a wallet with very little cash in. They actually left behind all the cards in the wallet (very convenient) but thank the heavens for no permanent damage. Be vigilant and stay calm -
There has been a spate of burglaries in Belvedere, Lincoln Green and Ridgeview of taps from the  gardens. My friend was broken into 3 times.  She heard a noise in the middle of the night, got up
and saw 3 guys running through her garden. Next minute she could hear water gushing, she got her  son up and had to tie up the taps to prevent a flood. Please note there are too many break- ins at
the moment in the above areas. What are the police doing about this???? Concerned Citizen 
As an owner driver of a small Toyota Starlet am I the only one in a small car line this who gets REALLY IRRITATED by many of the drivers of fancy twin cabs or 'cruiser' 4x4 type of vehicle drivers. Roads in Harare are often full of pot holes or collapsed edges and yet it amazes me how me traveling in my low-off-the- ground little car (that does not have 4 wheel drive or even high road clearance) I always gets forced OFF the road by these huge cars traveling in the opposite direction, often at high speed m as if they own the road. These fancy vehicles all have higher clearance if not 4 x 4 ability, and so knowing the initial capital outlay for purchase of their vehicles was significantly higher than that of my little starlet that would give the indication that said owners probably have more funds to be able to replace their wrecked tyres, shocks, CV joints, suspension etc from having to hit pot holes or go off the edge of the  road to avoid a collision than the owners/drivers of little cars like the starlet and other small car brands. Small does not mean we don't matter - so please drivers of bigger vehicles, don't treat us like we don't count on the roads - we have as much right to be there as you do and some size and damage consideration would be appreciated!!
I have been travelling to UK and South Africa over the past 3 months and then returned to Harare. Having been in countless shopping malls and restaurants/coffee shops while away, it is appalling to return home and have to eat a meal in a restaurant or coffee shop while someone at a table near you puffs on a cigarette. We all know the dangers of even second hand smoke. You, me and many others spend hours swimming or cycling or running or gym to keep fit and healthy and then have no choice but to have to breath in these harmful fumes. It is especially aggravating when you have little children with you. In most, if not all 1st world countries and many African countries,  it is illegal to smoke in any building or public place as they have understood the long term effects of passive smoking on the health of the workforce and ultimately the negative impact this has on the economy of a country. Unfortunately we here in Zimbabwe are still archaic in our attitude to health and the general smoking public are very inconsiderate of others.  Do others support this view or am I a lone voice in the wilderness. Health Conscious Citizen.
We took our Boerboel to SPCA to get two growths removed, we had heard good reviews about SPCA so we decided to support them. They were fantastic! Our dog is fairly large, strong and can be cheeky at times as well as causes chaos amongst other dogs, I warned the staff of this and they were so accommodating, allowing me to go into the surgery through the back entrance, allowed me to walk with him to put him in the cage ready to be prepped for surgery and very kindly advised that they would contact us when we could pick him up. Again they were so accommodating when it came time to remove the stitches on the wounds which are healing so nicely and neither of the growths have since grown back! The staff doted on my dog, they were so caring and gentle. I found all the staff from the receptionist to the assistants and vets to be very polite, professional and the customer service was second to none. The building is currently going through renovations which will look stunning when it is finished. The consultancy rooms and reception were very clean and there was a very relaxed atmosphere of people just doing what they love and genuinely caring for the animals they tend too. There is no doubt that I will continue to support SPCA. Thank you once again to the staff for taking care of (as they all named him) ‘the shumba’.
Having driven back from Kariba yesterday (Sunday), and nearly having a serious accident near Banket your email about the driving standards here was very topical. Silver Pajero was tailing me, trying to overtake & crossing the line several times. When there was less than even half a chance he overtook and if I had not been paying attention he would either have had a head-on or side-swiped me trying to get back into the left lane. If he has a death wish he should go and practice this in an empty field somewhere, NOT on the open road. The amazing thing is - when we got to the Westgate roundabout he was 3 cars in front of me; so much for getting home earlier with foolish overtaking.  I feel the 'Highway Patrol' should be just that - a Patrol vehicle travelling along our roads & pulling people over for poor driving, rather than police stopping vehicles every 50km at road blocks.
Two comments:
1. Re the border incident, I hope the family concerned has taken the matter up with the SA authorities. The behaviour of the SA immigration person was totally unacceptable!
2. Re the motorcyclist accident, the motorcyclists also need to be careful. On more than one occasion I have had motorcyclists overtake me on the left while I am in the left lane and then cut in front of me. Also concerned.

Cochrane, Ian: and David John Atkinson death notices

Cochrane, Ian: beloved husband of Carol, passed away suddenly in Scotland, on Sunday 20th May at 08,30 am. Messages may be sent to Carol at

David John Atkinson: passed Away: on the 17th May 2013 from a heart attack.  Please note a memorial service will be held for him at Athol Evans at 11am on the 24th May 2013.  The wake will be held at 4 Burlington Road Highlands where Tea and Coffee will be served.  Please would ladies provide a plate of snacks.  Should you wish to have a drink please feel free to bring your own cooler box.  Please Contact Michelle Exton on 0772 855 444 or for further details.