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RAINMAKER GETS OFFICIAL BACKING

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Zimbabwe's water resources and development minister has thrown his weight behind an attempt by a mystic rainmaker to end the worst drought facing the country this century.

Herbert Ushewokunze, acting in his capacity as president of the Zimbabwe Traditional Healers' Association, gave money to Kenneth Manatse Mutasa for a three-day rainmaking ritual, the national ZIANA news agency reported Monday.It quoted Mutasa in the eastern border city of Mutare as saying he had started the ritual Saturday and promising heavy rains from Tuesday.

Traditional tribal chiefs in Zimbabwe blame President Robert Mugabe's government for the drought.