Tuesday, 8 April 2008
Interview by Thomas Hunter:
By David Blair
Last Updated: 2:31am BST 08/04/2008
Robert Mugabe's response to his apparent defeat in the first round of
Zimbabwe's presidential poll springs directly from the unofficial manual of
electioneering pioneered by Zanu-PF.
To guarantee his survival, Mr Mugabe will now rob the whites, beat the
blacks and rig the rules in his favour. These methods saved him from
oblivion after he lost a referendum in February 2000. Everything indicates
that Mr Mugabe is now resorting to them once again.
Robbing the whites is well under way. The white farmers have been
reduced to a rump of about 200, almost all of whom own only portions of
their previous land.
This last handful has now been singled out, with organised invasions
overwhelming at least 20 farms. The aim is to offer white-owned land as a
reward for supporting Mr Mugabe.
But all Zimbabweans know that the land grab was largely completed five
years ago. In 2000, Zimbabwe had about 4,000 white farmers. By 2003, that
total had fallen to its present level.
So Mr Mugabe is now trying a new propaganda line. He claims that
unless he stays in power, white farmers will return and reclaim their
property, evicting any blacks who were settled on their land.
"There have been widespread reports of white former farmers flocking
back into the country," claimed The Herald, a state newspaper, yesterday.
Mr Mugabe has urged Zimbabweans to "safeguard their land" and said:
"The land is ours, it must not be allowed to slip back into the hands of
Reinforcing this battle-cry are the veterans of the war against white
rule, who led the first farm invasions in 2000. They will be used to
assault, torture, rape or murder any blacks who oppose Mr Mugabe, in
accordance with the second chapter of Zanu-PF's manual.
As for rigging the vote, the law requires that Mr Mugabe must face the
election's second round by April 19. He may decide that he needs more time.
Fortunately, under the Presidential Powers Act, passed as a "temporary
measure" in 1986, he can amend any law at will. He may employ this device to
delay a second round for weeks or months.
Zimbabwe's last white farmers were "preparing for the worst" yesterday as their leader predicted that they would all be forced to leave their properties by President Robert Mugabe's latest land invasion.
Chanting gangs of veterans of the war against white rule have
occupied at least 27 farms since Saturday, with about 12 falling victim
yesterday morning alone. Only about 200 white farmers are left in Zimbabwe -
five per cent of the total eight years ago.
One white farmer, who declined to be named, was tipped off that squatters were about to overrun his property. He gathered his wife, their three children, aged seven, nine and 11, and his elderly parents and left immediately.
His homestead was duly invaded on Sunday. Trembling with emotion, the farmer said: "I have wondered what this day would be like, whether it would come after all these years. Now I am wondering if this is it, or if I will be able to get back."
The farmer survived the land invasions of 2000 and the official seizure of white-owned properties that began in earnest in 2002.
However, Mr Mugabe's apparent defeat in the first round of Zimbabwe's presidential poll may have led to his dispossession. To extend his 28-year rule, the president is fanning racial tensions and holding out Zimbabwe's last acres of white-owned land as a vote-winner in the election run-off that must take place by April 19.
"I have been so lucky to last this long, and I don't know why I did," said the farmer. "I have just grown the best crop of my life."
He produced about 500 acres of soya beans this summer, half of which was due to be harvested right now.
The invasions began on Saturday in Masvingo province, about 160 miles south of the capital, Harare. Five farmers were forced to flee or were trapped inside their homes by drunken mobs. A game lodge was also seized.
Then the occupations spread to Centenery, once Zimbabwe's agricultural heartland where the guerrilla war against white rule began 36 years ago.
More invasions have also taken place in Shamva district, north of Harare.
The opposition Movement for Democratic Change has appealed to the High Court to order the authorities to announce the results of the presidential poll. Yesterday, a judge heard its case and postponed a ruling until today.
Meanwhile, Mr Mugabe's Zanu-PF party has denounced the electoral commission and threatened to purge its leading members.
Didymus Mutasa, Zanu-PF's hard-line administration secretary, called the running of the election the "worst" he had ever known. In a sign that the regime was trying to further undermine the validity of the election results, police arrested seven election officials last night, charging them with under-counting votes cast for Mr Mugabe.
Morgan Tsvangirai, the MDC's presidential candidate, arrived in South Africa yesterday. But he will not meet President Thabo Mbeki, who is visiting India.
The stated aim of Mr Mbeki's "quiet diplomacy" towards Zimbabwe was to secure an undisputed election.
Instead, for possibly the first time in electoral history, this presidential poll is being disputed by both contenders before its official results have even been released.
Tuesday, 8 April 2008
Interview by Thomas Hunter:
DESPITE President Robert Mugabe’s diversions and smokescreens, his defeat is
final. Polling stations show that Zimbabwe’s Movement for Democratic Change
won last Saturday’s presidential and parliamentary elections. Should the
dictator and his minions attempt to deny this truth, injustice may win a
minor victory. But it has already lost the war.
So let us take a moment to consider what the new government’s agenda would
be if and when it takes office.
Many factors have already emerged. For one, there has been an overwhelming
rejection of Mugabe and his Zanu- PF party, not only in the major urban
centres but also in the country’s rural constituencies, which used to
provide the basis of Mugabe’s support. Now they have abandoned him, even
those in his heartland of Mashonaland.
It’s clear that the entire electorate demands a transparent and accountable
Another factor is the dire state that Zimbabwe is in and the monumental task
that lies ahead.
With an economy destroyed, a social infrastructure decimated and a national
spirit utterly exhausted, managing expectations becomes perhaps the biggest
There are no easy answers, yet neither are these insurmountable problems.
Zimbabwe is showing that it has the capacity to remove a cancerous regime,
peacefully and democratically, and that alone gives courage to all of us who
are charged with shepherding its re-emergence among the nations.
But how might success be achieved?
Most importantly, the new government would bring the return of the rule of
law. The judiciary will once again be free of the dead hand of the state.
Justice will be at the core of the new Zimbabwe.
This does not mean opening the door for recrimination and victimisation.
No-one will be singled out for vilification. Law and justice will prevail.
Mugabe himself would face no special legal tribunal sponsored specifically
by the new government. He will simply be required to follow the law of the
land like anyone else.
No-one will be dispossessed of his or her land.
Instead, all Zimbabweans will be given a stake in our abundant natural
resources. There are no white farmers, nor black farmers, only Zimbabweans.
Breaking the racist stereotypes upon which Mugabe has built his incendiary
policies will be one of the most significant tasks in order to set the
country on a course of modernity and growth.
Economically, we reach out to the world to help us to take this journey out
of the darkness of our pariah status. We encourage foreign investment,
especially in sectors such as mining and energy.
We propose to reprise Zimbabwe’s role as the breadbasket of southern Africa
by putting to use fallow fields laid to waste by Mugabe’s supporters and
A programme of public works, driven to some degree by international
investment, will restore the all but dissolved infrastructure of the economy
and provide work for those millions of Zimbabweans who have no jobs or who
have fled overseas in search of employment.
This we propose to do sustainably and responsibly. Zimbabwe will be no
playground for rapacious investors seeking to destroy and pillage before
moving on to the next target and opportunity.
Industries need not be nationalised. We are in favour of an all-inclusive,
market-driven approach. As a social democratic government, we would be
mindful of our workers’ roots in unionism and of the need to gather all
Zimbabweans to the task of restoring our broken country.
We stand today at the dawn of a new day in Zimbabwe and perhaps in Africa.
The end of the Mugabe era is like the lifting of a decades-long burden from
the shoulders of each and every Zimbabwean.
The pain we have endured is immense, the sacrifices heroic.
The coming months and years will remain challenging.
It is likely and regrettable that many will be asked to bear yet more pain,
carry more burdens, wait longer.
But rebuilt it will be. Zimbabwe will thrive again in the wake of the
inevitable demise of Robert Mugabe.
But it will be a task for all hands and strong hearts.
Eliphas Mukonoweshuro is the MDC’s International Affairs Secretary and newly
elected MP for Gutu South, Zimbabwe
By Margaret Mutyambizi and Nkosilathi Ncube ⋅ April 6, 2008
The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission is under siege. Suspected members from
Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) raided the Zimbabwe Electoral
Commission’s provincial offices in Plumtree, Mutare and Masvingo. All
results and paperwork relating to the presidential, parliamentary and
senatorial elections was confisticated.
The raids at Plumtree were carried out on Sunday evening,while in Masvingo
on Friday,it is unclear when the raid in Mutare was executed.
It is reported that the Zanu-PF party has become suspicious of the electoral
body. ZANU PF secretary for administration Didymus Mutasa has since accused
ZEC of rigging elections in favour of MDC.
The announcement of the presidential election results has been delayed for a
week and ZANU PF has since endorsed Robert Mugabe as the Zanu-PF candidate
for a run-off election.
The news comes amid reports that a presidential run-off committee which
comprises central bank chief Gideon Gono, Mugabe’s spokesman George
Charamba, ZANU-PF national commissar Elliot Manyika, trained secret service
operative and ZANU-PF legislator Saviour Kasukuwere and a top army general
has been set up.
On Friday night Manyika held a meeting with the leaders of the war veterans
and collaborators for “serious briefing” on how Mugabe’s campaign will be
“The groundwork is being laid as we speak. You can not rule out coercion and
violence,” said the source, who is among senior politburo members who failed
to convince Mugabe at last Friday’s politburo meeting to negotiate a safe
exit with Tsvangirai.
It is understood the committee’s terms of reference are to raise money for
Mugabe during what would be an intense three weeks of campaigning ahead of
the presidential run-off.
Despite being suspended from ZANU-PF, war veterans leader Jabulani Sibanda
has been re-called to lead the campaign in rural areas and is using the
ZANU-PF headquarters in Harare as the war veterans’ command centre.
Some war veterans have already been given Chinese-made pick up trucks and
have been cited in rural provinces to prepare the groundwork for what could
turn out to be another violent campaign.
Reports on Sunday said war veterans and militant ZANU PF youths had begun
seizing some of the few remaining white-owned farms, especially in parts of
the southern Masvingo province.
Three cattle ranchers said they were forced off their land on Saturday while
a fourth farmer was on Sunday reportedly still holding out, with about 50
militants threatening to break down his farm gates.
a.. d by Maggie | April 6, 2008, 7:03 pm
a.. ah vatotanga so!
Posted by lindy | April 6, 2008, 7:29 pm
a.. Forcing himself on the same population he is supposed to work for and
report to, is tantamount to rape.Where is democracy here?Mugabe,whatever his
name is should realise that Zimbabwe is not his personal property and the
will of the people should be respected and will prevail.What an evil man.I
wait for the day when he and his cronoies will be held accountable for their
Posted by Jimo | April 6, 2008, 7:33 pm
a.. This situation seems to be getting worse by the minute. Many of us in
the U.S. are on edge - what will happen next? We are praying for all of you!
Posted by Bear | April 6, 2008, 8:44 pm
a.. enough is enough we are tired of Mugabe’s anarchy zimbabwe needs a new
ideology and party now 28 years is enough, it just goes to show that he
realises his faults and now he is afriad of the fact that the president and
party will prosecute him and his cronies. ZANUPF move aside it is time for a
Movement for Democratic Change.
Posted by sindi | April 6, 2008, 11:06 pm
a.. mugabe akutoita se pwere.vakuru ava dei vambo edzawo to act his age.
does he not see and realise that the people havachade.pesoas are tired of
him.why not just bloody vacate the state house.or maybe the old man does not
have a house in which to leave.let him say so then we build him one.but just
leave and go.outa Mugabe
Posted by musvetu | April 6, 2008, 11:27 pm
a.. zimbabweis no longer have any democracy.TheUNITED NATIONS MUST INTERFERE
RIGHT NOW AND TAKE THAT OLD MAN TO THE ICJ WITH IMMEDIATE EFFECT.TSVANGIRAI
MUST BE CLEVER BECAUSE HE CAN BE ASSASINATED VERY SOON.I DON’T WANT TO TALK
MUCH. THANK YOU
Posted by villa | April 6, 2008, 11:35 pm
a.. Ndashaya neremuromo nemaActions aBaba Chatunga. surely l dont believe
kuti white farmers are coming back to the farms if so why is it ZBC is just
talking and not showing any photos like they always do.zimbabwe this is
another way to get people to vote for them pare-run, zimbabwe dont be fooled
this guy is out.he has been raping us for the past 28yrs its time for him to
As for Morgan what is it that we are hearing pathose shit news.You want a
government of national unity with zanu unechokwadi here iweMorgan.we dont
want these guys next our new government.dont worry about re-run coz its
concluded already zanu is dead.
Surely a week no results what is it with zimbabwe,all the other leaders
vakatonga pamwe nababa chatunga vakasiya zvigari long back but ava vakuru
hameno chokwadi mwari ndiye anoziva.thot my vote will make me change my mind
and stay in zim but heyi guess pamberi nemaSAQA
Posted by GUSHT | April 6, 2008, 11:52 pm
a.. ndeyekwake Bob. Ngaachiregoita zvinoita kuti tizofara mustreet kana
afa.Takamuvenga hedu asi akaramba odenhaka!!!
Posted by h mpofu | April 6, 2008, 11:55 pm
a.. Nhai iwe Villa you say zimbabwe nolonger have democracy as if we once
had it,baba zvedemocracy totomirira mwari our vote failed to bring
democracy.Zanu being rigged this is a joke of the year.
Posted by GUSHT | April 6, 2008, 11:58 pm
a.. Mugabe wachembera why can’t u step down you are running the country like
a tuckshop.God is watching.
Posted by Netsai | April 7, 2008, 12:11 am
a.. Mugabe wants to furstarate us. There is clearly no democracy in Zim. Why
does he want to be that cruesl. Please EU, UN and SADC intervene into this
country. We are suffering in the hands of a tyranny
Posted by CALL FO INTERNATIONAL INTERVENTION | April 7, 2008, 12:11 am
a.. when ppl vote they have the right to their results,we need a new
president,28yrs is not a joke..all these raids are a sign of defeat,the last
thing we need is violence,we need peace and we need sum1 who will restucture
the economy…so lets have those presidential results,if there is a rerun let
it be done in peace whoever wins would have won
Posted by sexy chrissy | April 7, 2008, 12:17 am
a.. what i dont seem to understand is why there are talks of re-counts and
runoffs when we dont even have the results? Does it mean mateacher akatadza
kuverenga mavotes akanyora zvisirizvo pamav11 forms? Saka anogona kuverenga
wacho asina kupfuura nemumaoko e those same teachers ndiyani? Someone,
anyone enlighten me.
Posted by bootilicious | April 7, 2008, 12:34 am
a.. Oh I am smelling a rat here. I am sorry to say this. Things are not
looking good. I dont want to sound pessimistic but as things stand now we
are yet to see the real Mugabe.The truth of the matter is that Mugabe has
been routed by Morgan.Morgan has secured the required 50%+ of the vote.If
there is a run off why is it that the results are not forthcoming.I would
like to believe that there are disagreements within the ZEC as some are
loyal to ZANU while others are sympathetic to MDC. There must be a serious
rift within ZEC. You must bear with ZEC because they have been infiltrated
by known assailants.Why did Matonga visit the Command Centre?The truth of
the matter is that they want to ‘recount’ the presidential ballots and play
with figures to necessitate a run off but as things stand now Mugabe has
been defeated.However, i am quite aware that most civil servants want a run
off because they are certain to pocket more money from the run off.But the
sad story is that the economy will further slump to the lowest as a result
of this run off. Where to my beloved Zimbabwe? Cry my beloved country. Why
only you among so many nations? What wrong have you done to deserve this?
Did you kill Jesus?God do you have any special place for your children in
Zimbabwe? Some are even preaching that the world is coming to an end but
what do preachers in America, Asia, Australia,Europe and some parts of
Africa say? Zimbabweans are suffering? Almighty, in thy hands i place
Zimbabwe.It is finnished.
Posted by ambassador percy | April 7, 2008, 1:13 am
a.. Zanu pf ndibaba namai, ndiani asingadi zanu iyeye?
Posted by TANABE | April 7, 2008, 3:06 am
a.. Varume yambiro yakanaka… musazobata magetsi muchiziva moto unouraya
usapukute meso nemaoko abva mukubata mhiripiri….. Enough is enough guys… its
time for a change.I dont think South Africa would want to let the 2010 go to
australia, Zambia has already started streamlining Zimbabweans, Mozambique
now has AU troops to safeguard its border and is willing to shut down and
Botswana and South Africa are prepared to off load Zimbabweans back home.Ko
iyo run off inogotanga kutaurwa ma official results acho asati avepo sei? Do
you think if it was a ZANU (PF) victory it coulf have taken this long….All i
know is God appoints leaders and its about time he Intervenes in Zimbabwe…
vakatadzeiko ma Zimba? Mwari pindirai vana venyu vari kuchema zvamunoonawo
imi mega.PINDIRAI tumirai GRASIYA inyaradze nyika yanyura….
Posted by Chabvondoka | April 7, 2008, 3:27 am
a.. Nyika yamaichemera… Hona yaita mamvemve… Thomas Mapfumo akaimba wani
mukamudzinga muno… Zanu pf yakaora kare iye zvino yoda kuodza nyika yedu..
Posted by Music Inotaura | April 7, 2008, 3:39 am
a.. Kana Zanu Pf iri baba namai vanouraya vana nenzara zviri nani vasiire
ubaba neumai kuvana ivo voita vana vanoriritirwa.Baba namai ivava
vangatochengetwa zvakanaka nevana.
Posted by zvazviri musharukwa | April 7, 2008, 4:09 am
a.. now the CIO has confiscated voting material, how are we to trust that
material for a recount? life down here is hard. we are in big trouble. we
are not war like people, we are too peaceful, may the UN come bail us out
before these people drive us to war.
Posted by pasi nezanupf | April 7, 2008, 5:51 am
a.. guys lets face reality here, ana baba chatunga wont leave office
peacefully, we have to fight for our democratic right, we have the right to
choose, n morgan is the man, now what kana waba ma votes,what are we gonna
do…guys ini ndamama ne zanupf yema hure iyi, n sick n tired of it, can we
plan ahead, n case plan a fails what is plan b. one thing for reall is that
zanu lost the elections but the wont leave office, zvevarungu inhema dzoga
idzo, hatisi vana ve grade, even wakadzoka tinebasa rei nazvo what we want
is mugabe out of office fulstop. what next.
food for thought.
Posted by Wezhira Tichakunda | April 7, 2008, 6:18 am
a.. Why are you guys now growing cold feet,let the games begin.
Zanu PF here we come, we ll trounce this guy even more.DOnt gaze in awe at
your opponent but prepare to fight back. And get some good facts.
Matebeleland registered on average 30% voter turnout, now all united MDC
efforts should be to get at least 50% turn there & maintain previous %
elsewehere and out of zimbabwe goes evil Mugabe, thats it. The same is true
for most urban voter turnout, just increase a bit.Rural areas already have
exhausted their turnout, it was their best.
Posted by Bhinikwa | April 7, 2008, 12:50 pm
a.. Mugabe fighting to postpone defeat
By Liberty Mupakati,
The ruling Zanu-PF party definitely lost the March 29 elections, while
President Robert Mugabe was thoroughly thrashed by opposition Movement for
Democratic Change leasder, Morgan Tsvangirai. The delay in announcing the
election results confirms it.
Having worked in the Civil Service in Zimbabwe and having taken part in the
election processes that were being run under the aegis of the much maligned
and discredited Tobaiwa Mudede, I find it inconceivable that the newly
constituted Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) is coming up with flimsy
excuses to justify their utter failure to announce the victor in the
The real reason why the results have not been released is to enable Mugabe
and his party to explore alternatives, specifically to increase the number
of votes that he received in the just ended elections. Forget the mantra
about Morgan Tsvangirai failing to attain the 50 percent plus 1 majority
that would curtail the need for a run-off. Forget everything that Zanu-PF is
saying to the contrary, such as the absurd claims that MDC bribed election
officials. Even die hard Zanu-PF people talk openly about Mugabe having
comprehensively lost to Tsvangirai.
As I write members of the top echelons of ZEC are more or less under house
arrest as they are not allowed to leave the cosy confines of their hotel
which also doubles up as the collation centre and are literally under CIO
I find it absurd that Utoile Saigwana, a former education officer in the
Army Education Corps, with little or negligible experience in running
elections, has the audacity and temerity to attribute the delay to the
difficult terrain that they have to access to get the results from the
various polling stations in the country, citing as an example Binga
District. What I find difficult to understand is why they were previously
able to get the results from these same areas without any trouble when the
elections were in favour of Mugabe?
It beggars belief that Saigwana could tell such a white lie when he is fully
aware that this statement cannot withstand any scrutiny and that there are
people in ZEC who know that this is patently untrue. He would have saved
himself from ridicule by asking Japhet R Murenje, ZEC’s Director of Polling
Logistics and Ignatius Mushangwe, the Director of Training who between them,
have run several elections in their former capacities as Provincial
Registrars for Mashonaland East and Masvingo Provinces respectively. In
those ancient times, elections were not transported to district centres, but
were counted at the polling stations and results relayed to the district and
provincial centres, either by telephone or radio.
The then PTC would commandeer telephone lines from other establishments to
the district and provincial centres that were dubbed “hotlines” as they
could not be used to make any telephone calls to other numbers. Where there
no were telephones, results were transmitted to the various centres through
DDF and ZRP radio systems. In this day and age of mobile phone technology
and with Zimbabwe being touted as one of the fastest growing markets for
mobile phones in Sub-Saharan Africa, it would be treasonous to let Saigwana
and Lovemore Sekeramayi (formerly Deputy Registrar General) get away with
such lame excuses.
The CMED would also commandeer all government vehicles and hire others from
parastatals for use during the elections and these were at the disposal of
logistics teams, whose remit was to move around the polling stations in a
constituency collecting results and taking them to the nearest centre where
there was a telephone.
Zimbabweans know that the reason why the election results are being held up
is to enable Mugabe to prevent the winner of those elections from winning an
outright majority. They also know that the people who have been running the
election machinery are the same despite the change of name.
They also need to know that the National Collation Centre is the same as the
National Elections Directorate (National Command Centre) that is staffed by
Mariyawanda Nzuwa, the Chairman of the Public Service Commission, Tobaiwa
Mudede, Defence Forces Commander, Costantine Chiwenga and his Chief of
Staff, Major-General Martin Chedondo, Air Force Chief, Perence Shiri, Police
Chief, Augustine Chihuri, the Secretary of Local Government, Patson Mbiriri
and his two deputies, Killian Mupingo, in charge of Local Authorities and
Fanuel Mukwaira, in charge of Traditional Leaders, (chiefs and headmen),
Secretary of Home Affairs, November Melusi Mtshiya, CIO Director General,
Happyton Bonyongwe, Fortune Zengeni, the Officer Commanding Support Unit,
and Godwin Matanga as well as the ZEC senior staffers (Chiweshe, Saigwana,
Murenje and Mushangwe) and a host of other senior staffers from the
The public should also know that the intimate and minute details of the
elections are discussed by a cabal of military officers without the
knowledge of the civilian staff as the current sidelining of Murenje and
Mushangwe attests to. This same structure is replicated at the provincial
and district levels, with provincial and district administrators chairing
them, although during the 2002 presidential elections, this situation was
tenuous as the CIO and the military, with the tacit approval of the highest
office in the land, were flexing their muscles and I am told that any
civilian staff that remain in the election machinery is only for window
dressing purposes as real power rests with the CIO and the military staff
seconded to these committees.
I would imagine that by now the provincial and district structures have been
disbanded and that the staff that would have been seconded to the elections
has since returned to their normal places of work, leaving only a skeleton
staff to wind up the process.
I can testify that late on Sunday I was informed by one of these officials
that Mugabe had been beaten by Tsvangirai by 57,8 percent of the poll to
39,9 percent. Armed with these results Chiwenga, Chihuri, Bonyongwe, Shiri
and Paradzai Zimondi of prisons then approached Mugabe at State House.
Mugabe, in a state of shock, sent them back to Chiweshe to ask him to
reverse the result. Chiweshe told them he was bound by his professional
ethics as a lawyer and could not reverse the election result. They pleaded
with him to try his best to save the situation. Chiweshe tried his best –
the results of the presidential election have not been announced since
then - for a week.
I participated in three elections in Zimbabwe in various capacities and to
the best of my knowledge results are always relayed, first to the district
centres which in turn forwarded them to the provincial centres for onward
transmission to the national command centre.
In those days, there was no mobile phone coverage in most parts of the
country, yet results were always religiously announced by Mudede on ZTV
throughout the night without fail and we would almost always know the winner
of the elections within 18 to 24 hours of the close of polling.
The current prolonged delay in announcing the election results is a clear
testament that Robert Mugabe lost the lections and that Zanu PF is using
this window to strategize. Witness how, its foot soldiers, the war vets were
hastily commandeered to march in the streets of Harare without any hindrance
from the police, immediately before the Politburo meeting on Friday. They
were commanded by Jabulani Sibanda who apparently was recently allocated a
beautiful house in Borrowdale and a four-by-four vehicle. The march itself
is an ominous precursor of the intimidation that is going to be brought to
bear on the courageous people of Zimbabwe for having had the valour to vote
Zimbabweans are now confronted by, perhaps, a first in the world, a
situation where a defeated incumbent refuses to accept defeat and insists on
presiding and crafting his way back into power through the back door.
I saw, first hand how the whole state machinery was rolled out in full and
brute force to subdue the will of the people and cajole as well as coax them
to vote for Mugabe. After the near defeat of Zanu-PF in the 2000
parliamentary elections, a new department was created in the Ministry of
Local Government, the department for Traditional Leadership (Chiefs and
Headmen) and this became the basis of enlisting the village headmen and
chiefs’ services to work for Zanu-PF. In an instant, village headmen became
salaried officers of Rural District Councils and in the presidential
elections, were required to ensure that their “subjects” voted for Mugabe.
They were made to queue according to villages and were called into polling
booths to vote according to villages. It is likely that Zanu-PF is going to
revert to this same method in its bid to remain in office. Part of the 2002
strategy was also to attach a war veteran to each village who was meant to
act as their chaperone. Local government administration was rolled back to
the early 1980s when hoards of war veterans were employed as Local
Government Promotion Officers, a meaningless job whose real purpose was the
propagation of Zanu-PF ideas and propaganda, albeit at no cost to the party,
as their salaries were met by the state. Post the 2000 referendum, soldiers
and war veterans were hired to act as Administrative Officers although in
real essence, they were and still are Zanu PF commissars.
Mutasa was quoted in the local and international press last week as saying
that Zanu-PF would be challenging results of 16 constituencies because the
MDC had allegedly bribed ZEC officials.
This is a blatant lie. There is such thorough vetting (by both the ZRP and
CIO to ascertain where their political loyalties lie) of all people who are
engaged, especially at constituency registrar level. Zanu-PF actually sits
in the planning meetings through their Provincial Chairman, Provincial Women’s
League Chairwoman, Youth Chair and this is replicated at the district level
with the District Coordinating Committee Chairman sitting in the planning
meetings. I know of several people whose appointments to the role of either
Constituency Registrar or Senior Polling Officer were vetoed by Zanu-PF
officials and in the rare occasions that they would have made it to the next
level, by the Governor as he had the final say.
I simply cannot imagine that anyone would slip through the net especially
now, given the militarization of the civil service and how everything has to
be run through the President’s office, even in districts and provinces.
Furthermore, such appointments are made at the provincial level and with the
tight security that exists in polling centres and constituency offices; I
doubt that anyone would endanger their life by tampering with the figures as
Mutasa would glibly want us to believe. In my experiences, I found it was
always the other way round, as figures tended to be inflated in the presence
of members of the National Elections Directorate led by Mariyawanda Nzuwa.
The modus operandi was that if there were fears that a Zanu-PF candidate was
at risk of losing an election, these chiefs would land in their helicopter
and frighten the hell out of the polling officers who would just watch as
the deed was done.
Nzuwa, by virtue of being the Public Service Commission chairman, could make
or break a career and many a career was broken during elections and
conversely others made it to the top, thanks to toeing the line. He
instilled fear in any civil servant and his word carried the day. The
presence of military officers in full military regalia did not help matters.
In the 2000 parliamentary elections, Dr Sydney Sekeramayi won against
Didimus Munhenzva of the MDC courtesy of this method. He had lost the
election and was declared the winner by a margin of only 10 votes. As for
the 2002 Presidential elections, handichatauri (I need not go into detail).
The same situation is repeating itself, especially with the results that
have been announced in parliamentary elections in Uzumba and Maramba. Jerry
Gotora, he of the Campfire and Local Government Association fame hails from
there and unless he has recently retired, was the Council Chairman of UMP
Rural District Council. Need I say more?
Now that there is likely to be a run-off, the MDC should be extra vigilant
to the spectre of ghost voters. In the referendum elections of 12/13
February 2000, I was aware of many Zimbabweans who were already in exile but
were said to have voted. Impeccable sources have told me that there already
is a team trawling though the records to ensure that there is a large number
of “Diaspora votes” for Mugabe.
“Your Governor””, Gideon Gono and the holder of the Western Union franchise
in Zimbabwe, are said to be critical players in this plan as they are
allegedly playing an integral role in the remittance industry. Gono has a
vested interest in the outcome of this election, specifically the possible
departure of Mugabe as he has amassed enormous wealth beyond anyone’s
His interests are predominantly in the lucrative horticultural sector. Of
all of Zimbabwe’s economic sectors this sector enjoys the most favourable
benefits from the foreign currency retention policy. I need not explain that
the author of these economic and monetary policies is, of course, none other
than “Your Governor”.
Is there conflict of interest here? The foreign currency retention policy is
hugely skewed in favour of the horticultural industry because Gono owns a
swathe of farms that transcend both Mashonaland East along Shamva Road,
Chabwido Farm in the Enterprise area and in Bromley next to Surrey Farm). He
also owns the magnificent Kintyre Estates along the Bulawayo Road, just
before the Norton turn-off. He subsided this vast estate and let out
sections to fellow indigenous entrepreneurs and friends.
He continues to export horticultural produce to the EU through some
unscrupulous middlemen who are resident in the UK and the Netherlands in
clear breach of the EU trade policies with members of the Zanu-PF regime.
Gono knows that he stands to lose everything should, as expected; an MDC
government come to power. He would rather, work strenuously hard for the
maintenance of the status quo, hence his decision to play a role in the
Diaspora vote. Zw Times
Posted by Bob Mboko | April 7, 2008, 12:50 pm
a.. Our time has come to rule. No matter what Bob does, we shall not give in
unless tsvangson is in the statehouse. After all, how many stupid warvets
are behind Bob? Its a handful losers. The real warvets are with us. They
know that they did not fight to starve, fail to educate their kids etc.
Posted by Alaska Maweni | April 7, 2008, 1:02 pm
Los Angeles Times
With the inflation rate at 100,000%, educators simply can't afford to teach.
They are fleeing to take menial, but better-paying jobs -- leaving students
From a Times Staff Writer
April 8, 2008
The first to go was the English teacher. Six months later, the commerce
teacher followed. The next year, 2005, the trickle turned into an exodus. By
2007, the departures from Mufakose 3 High School were like bricks in a
collapsing building: math, science, accounting and many other teachers, all
leaving their careers behind to work as cleaners, shop assistants, laborers
in other countries.
Zimbabwe's education system, once the best in Africa, is being demolished
teacher by teacher.
Some of the teachers at Mufakose 3, outside the capital, Harare, called in
sick and were never seen at the school again. Others didn't bother to call
and just disappeared.
"You'd come to school and someone's not there and next thing you hear, he's
gone," said Knox Sonopai, 43, a history teacher at Mufakose 3.
In 2007, 25,000 teachers fled the country, according to the Progressive
Teachers Union of Zimbabwe. In the first two months of this year, 8,000 more
disappeared. A staggering 150,000 teaching vacancies can't be filled. The
Education Ministry sends out high school graduates with no degree or
experience to do the job.
In a country where the official inflation rate is 100,000%, teachers simply
can't afford to teach.
Before last month's national elections, teachers went on strike to protest
salaries of 500 million Zimbabwean dollars a month -- about $10. Their
salaries went up 700% to end the strike (paid, perhaps not coincidentally,
just before the vote) but the raise is being gobbled by hyperinflation.
"One hundred percent of teachers have resigned, mentally, even though they
remain in schools," said the teachers union president, Takavafira Zhou.
"They're no longer interested in teaching. They're just looking for
somewhere to go.
"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."
Francis, a teacher at neighboring Mufakose 1 High School who declined to
give his last name for fear of dismissal, said 60 of 110 teachers there left
"Every holiday we lose more teachers," he said.
Last October, history teacher Sonopai and a colleague, Clever Mudadi, 33,
gambled their lives crossing the crocodile-infested Limpopo River into South
Africa. They tried to get work as teachers but ended up as laborers digging
foundations for about $15 a week. In the end, humiliated by the work, they
turned around and went home.
"It was bad," Mudadi said. "We lost a lot of weight. We felt hurt. I can't
"We never expected to do that kind of work, but we had to do it," Sonopai
said. "We had no option. We were stranded."
Mudadi, whose first name, Clever, seems to have shaped him from birth to be
a teacher, has a young, boyish face and pauses thoughtfully before putting
anything into words. Sonopai's face is long and mournful. He is the more
talkative of the two.
They're men with calm, cautious voices and soft hands used to chalk dust,
not spades and blisters and days of toil. When the pair talk about their
South African adventure, they seem almost pained by the memories. There are
soft sighs. They stare vacantly. Teachers used to be some of the most
respected people in Zimbabwean communities, but now "you are the
laughingstock of the community," said primary school teacher Richard Tshuma,
"When you are going to the shops because it is payday for teachers, people
laugh at you and say it's better to be a street vendor selling vegetables.
You'll make more money."
At rallies before the elections, which saw the ruling ZANU-PF party lose its
parliamentary majority for the first time in 28 years of power, President
Robert Mugabe made a point of giving out computers to teach children
At Mufakose 1 High School, 10 new computers were donated last year by the
government. But only one is still working, and students never get to touch
it. It's been taken over by school office workers for typing letters.
In most schools, computers are a dream. Even textbooks are so scarce that 35
children must share one, according to the teachers union. Children sit
crammed 80 to a classroom, sometimes on the floor.
At Mufakose 3, schoolboy Bernard Tinashe stared straight ahead with dreamy
eyes as he painted a 10-year-old's vision of someone in a white coat curing
the dying and the sick. He recited his hopes and dreams in a singsong
classroom voice, as if learned by rote.
When there aren't enough teachers or there's a strike (a frequent occurrence
these days), children are sent home or spend the day outside playing.
"School's boring," Bernard said, "because there are no teachers and we don't
learn anything. You just sit and read books but the teachers are not there.
Sometimes we are just sitting on the ground or sitting waiting for our
parents to come and get us and then we'll go home."
He said some of the children were mischievously delighted when classes were
canceled, but not him: "It makes me feel unhappy. I'll never get to be
educated. I'll never get to be a doctor. I'm not learning."
With education standards plummeting, the pass rate for the high school exams
called the O-levels fell from about 70% in the mid-1990s to 13% last year.
The higher education system is equally troubled, starving Zimbabwe's
hospitals of doctors and the mining sector of engineers. Zimbabwe's mining
sector, the country's last significant source of exports, needs 1,100
"The technical institutions have been smashed," said Tony Hawkins, an
independent economist. "We can't regenerate our own skills.
"There are these myths about Zimbabwe having this highly educated workforce.
Well, we did, but they have all gone. The second myth is that they will come
back with a change of government. But the more skilled you are, the less
likely you are to return."
Catherine Mangwaira, 31, of Mufakose despairs for the future of her
14-year-old daughter, Privilege, a bright child who wants to be a flight
attendant. It's a dream Privilege feels slipping through her fingers.
"She had good results in grade 7," Mangwaira said. "She says, 'I love
school, but l'm not learning anything.' She's even forgetting the things
she's learned before."
Sandra Chiramba, 13, is so shy that she can barely whisper her hopes. She
wriggled and looked away in an agony of embarrassment. She has trouble
articulating her fears of how a poor education is ruining her future.
"I'm worried," was all she could whisper. There was a long, painful silence.
And suddenly her tears spilled, too many to catch on her fingertips.
April 08 2008 at 07:16AM
By Moshoeshoe Monare and Sapa-AP, AFP
Harare - A faction of Zimbabwean war veterans broke ranks on Monday
and demanded that "tyrant" President Robert Mugabe be sent packing.
They also demanded that MPs and senators - who were announced as
winners in the past week - should be sworn in immediately to oversee the
possible presidential rerun.
The Zimbabwe Liberation Veterans Forum, which claims to represent 60
percent of the "genuine" war veterans of "the third phase of chimurenga",
has also attacked the Zanu-PF aligned War Veterans Association.
Secretary of the forum's board of trustees, Wilfred Mhanda, told
reporters on Monday that they were ready to "side with the people of
Zimbabwe, the MDC, civil society and all progressive forces" against Mugabe.
"We are determined to send the tyrants packing, like their
predecessors, to the dustbin of history where they belong... The people of
Zimbabwe have overwhelmingly delivered a resounding no to Robert Mugabe's
tyranny. And who is Robert Mugabe to impose his will against the voice of
the people of Zimbabwe?" asked Mhanda.
He said it was high time that SADC and the African Union leaders
raised their voices in "support of the popular will of the people of
"The ball is entirely in their court and they cannot escape the
responsibility of any consequences arising from the constitutional crisis
through their inaction. Zimbabwe is not Mugabe's farm over which he holds
the title deeds, nor did he single-handedly liberate this country," said
He attacked Zanu-PF for talking about a presidential runoff without
the results 10 days after voters went to the polls.
"Should the election results point to a rerun of the presidential
election, we demand that members of parliament and the senate be sworn in
immediately to oversee the rerun, as the House of Assembly will have the
casting vote in the event of a tie in the outcome. Furthermore, the rerun
should be conducted within 21 days of the date of the election as stipulated
in the Electoral Act," said Mhanda.
He sharply criticised the other faction of war veterans, whose leader,
Jabulani Sibanda, has been threatening to "defend Zimbabwe's sovereignty"
against enemies of Mugabe.
"We note with concern the strange and discordant noises coming from
paid state agents and rogue elements purporting to be speaking on behalf of
the former liberation war fighters.
These sycophantic and misguided political misfits have no statutory
role in Zimbabwe and no say whatsoever in the conduct of the elections."
Sibanda could not be reached for comment on Monday.
But Mhanda called on "the people to remain calm, vigilant and
steadfast in defence of their vote and their sovereign right to choose the
Bernard Manyadza, the forum's board treasurer, said they represented
former senior commanders of Zanla and Zipra, former military wings of Zanu
and rival Zapu.
Militant ruling party supporters invaded at least 23 white-owned farms
on Monday, a day after Mugabe urged Zimbabweans to defend seized land,
fanning fears he would stage a violent crackdown to retain power.
Invasions that began on Sunday worsened on Monday. Intruders entered
at least 23 farms in southern Masvingo province and northern Centenary, said
Trevor Gifford, president of the Commercial Farmers Union.
"In Masvingo where the police have been very co-operative, every time
they remove invaders, within five, six hours they're reinvading," he told
The Associated Press.
"It's very apparent that this is being co-ordinated from higher up the
chain of command."
MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai, who claims to have won the March 29
election outright, was in South Africa yesterday where he apparently met
Local Government Minister Sydney Mufamadi, who is a member of President
Thabo Mbeki's negotiating team on Zimbabwe.
Tsvangirai's party was cagey about the visit, refusing to explain its
purpose and only confirming that the opposition was holding private
"He is attending private meetings and going back this evening," Roy
Bennett, an MDC spokesperson, said.
There were also unconfirmed reports that he had a meeting with ANC
President Jacob Zuma.
Tsvangirai's visit comes as a Harare court postponed until Tuesday his
party's legal bid to force the official declaration of the poll results.
Meanwhile, some 200 exiled Zimbabweans gathered outside the government
offices in central Pretoria demanding the immediate release of the results.
"We want an urgent release of the election results. We cannot wait any
longer," said Simon Mudekwa, head of the anti-Mugabe Zimbabwe Revolutionary
SA's foreign ministry said it was not aware of any official
engagements lined up for Tsvangirai.
President Thabo Mbeki is on his way to India after attending a weekend
summit in Britain where he described the situation in Zimbabwe as
This article was originally published on page 1 of Cape Times on April
08 April 2008
DURING last year’s Group of Eight summit in Germany, I had a fierce argument
with a fellow hack from Zimbabwe, who was unsurprisingly fed up with
President Thabo Mbeki’s quiet diplomacy approach towards the political and
economic crises in his country.
To cut a long story short, while I agreed Mbeki’s approach had definite
shortcomings and that he should be criticised for it, I also argued that
fundamental change in Zimbabwe had to be driven by Zimbabweans if there was
to be long- term stability.
So what is to be done in Zimbabwe now? Sending in troops is not the answer.
My point to my Zimbabwean colleague — that SA could not “liberate” Zimbabwe
from Mugabe by sending in troops — still stands, no matter the
sabre-rattling coming from Harare in the aftermath of Mugabe’s electoral
defeat. Saddling up and invading another sovereign country George Bush-style
would result only in greater tragedy, not least for SA. While many
Zimbabweans want change, foreign troops, even if they are from Africa, are
not going to be a welcome sight on the streets of Harare or Bulawayo. And
considering how long it took Mbeki to convince his Southern African
Development Community (SADC) counterparts that the Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC) is a legitimate political entity, the possibility of sending in
a SADC peace-keeping force will simply not fly.
Moreover, the Zimbabwean army — however weakened and divided it may be — is
not the Lesotho Defence Force. The conditions in Zimbabwe are very different
and sending in troops could well lead to an escalation of the crises.
Interestingly, the MDC has also put out feelers to sections of the military,
which explains in part why there have not been more overt efforts to
orchestrate a coup from the side of the armed forces in Zimbabwe.
Those who are calling for tougher action need to take their cue from forces
actually doing battle with the Mugabe regime. While I support strong action
against Mugabe, sending troops to that country, even under the auspices of
SADC, is not the answer. These elections have been terribly flawed, but they
have yielded important gains that needs to be expanded. These small
victories opened space that now needs to be defended, with solid
organisation on the part of all Zimbabweans who are opposed to Mugabe’s
It is instructive that the MDC continued to participate in the elections
even though there was rigging. The conditions were far from ideal, but they
gave it their best shot and beat Zanu (PF) at its own game. That is an
important victory for a party that had to go up against a 28-year-old
political institution. The MDC did not throw out the proverbial baby with
the bath water.
Its decision to challenge Mugabe in court, despite the shortcomings of the
judicial system, points to important nuances in the political landscape
there. Those in the judiciary who can now see the inevitability of change
will have the opportunity to use the law to accelerate change for the
better. In reality the MDC did not only contest the elections, it is also
beginning to occupy the political space that has opened up as a result of
Of course, threats by Mugabe diehards should not be underestimated. They
pose a real danger to the democratic gains. But talk of sending troops to
Zimbabwe will surely play into Mugabe’s hands and only undermine the moral
and political high ground of the opposition. The MDC and civil society must
be strengthened on the ground. Building democracy in postcolonial Africa was
always going to be a tough task that involved grassroots mobilisation and
solid organisation across all sections of civil society.
This mobilising offensive against Mugabe needs to go beyond just elections.
It means building broad-front politics and alliances around a minimum
programme, with the first order of business being Mugabe’s defeat in the
election runoff. It might not be as dramatic as sending in the troops, but
it will yield a higher dividend in the long term.
.. Brown is political editor.
By Morgan Tsvangirai ⋅ April 7, 2008
Once again, Robert Mugabe and his cronies are attempting to maintain their
grip on power in Zimbabwe. While disheartening, this act of political
thuggery does not diminish the victory of democracy over dictatorship in a
country ravaged by misrule and ignorance. Ultimately, this is a victory for
the strong hearts and sturdy backs that have carried us here: a victory for
But democracy is an orphan in Zimbabwe. Since the infamous universal
declaration of independence in 1965 made by the white government of Ian
Smith in what was then Rhodesia - in an effort to block the extension of
suffrage to the country’s black majority - the cry of democracy has been
ignored. Mugabe’s 28-year rule has similarly undermined the development of
Adept at stealing elections from the hands of voters, Mugabe is now amassing
government troops; blocking court proceedings where we have attempted to
seek an order simply for the electoral commission to release the final tally
of the March 29 poll; raiding the offices of the Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC); and casting a pall of suppression and gloom over the country.
The feared militias, made up of misguided activists and the same war
veterans who pushed for and benefited from the disastrous land confiscations
from the late 1990s, are being mobilised. This can only mean, despite some
earlier evidence to the contrary, that sanity has been discarded along with
truth in the offices of Zanu-PF.
The parliamentary majority the MDC has already attained has clearly been
replicated in the presidential results. The MDC has tracked every polling
station and recorded the results as they are released, and we can guarantee
that Zanu-PF and Mugabe have met their demise in the face of Zimbabwean
democracy. As official results will confirm when at last released, a mooted
presidential run-off (initiated if no individual reaches a 50% threshold) is
a sham. Our country is on a razor’s edge.
How can global leaders espouse the values of democracy, yet when they are
being challenged fail to open their mouths? Why is it that a supposed “war
on terror” ignores the very real terror of broken minds and mangled bodies
that lie along the trail left by Mugabe?
This is a time for strong action. We urge the International Monetary Fund,
at its meeting this week, to withhold the £1bn of aid to Zimbabwe unless the
defeated ex-president accepts the election results in full and hands over
the reins of power. This is also the time for firm diplomacy. Major powers
here, such as South Africa, the US and Britain, must act to remove the
white-knuckle grip of Mugabe’s suicidal reign and oblige him and his minions
We have assured Mugabe that the new government will not pursue him legally
through government offices. The work ahead is monumental and we need no
further self-made distractions. Recrimination is not on the new government’s
job list. Our agenda is to restore the rule of law and good governance; to
face up to our dire health problems, including an HIV-Aids epidemic; to
reconstruct our once cutting-edge education system; to bring our abundant
farmlands back into health; to tackle rampant inflation and over 70%
unemployment; to encourage foreign investment and public works spending; to
depoliticise our security services; to stamp out corruption and graft. Every
day the new government is denied, these problems each get worse.
The new leadership is committed to nurturing democracy in Zimbabwe and to
begin rebuilding our shattered country. It is time to make a stand.
· Morgan Tsvangirai is president of the Movement for Democratic Change
Wall Street Journal
By BRET STEPHENS
April 8, 2008;
In 1986, the University of Massachusetts at Amherst awarded Robert Mugabe an
honorary degree. This was several years after Zimbabwe's anticolonialist
"liberator" had deployed his notorious Fifth Brigade – trained by his North
Korean allies – to murder an estimated 20,000 members of the Ndebele people.
Mr. Mugabe is tribally Shona.
Mr. Mugabe's accolades from Western intelligentsia – he also received
honorary doctorates from Michigan State in 1990 and the University of
Edinburgh in 1984 – are worth recalling as Americans memorialize the 40th
anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.'s assassination. Morally,
philosophically and politically, King and Mr. Mugabe stand at opposite ends
of a spectrum, the former a champion of liberalism's best convictions, the
latter of the totalitarian impulse inherent in the politics of "liberation."
So how is it that so many of the same people – liberals, "progressives," the
bien pensant – who see themselves as heirs of King's legacy were, until
fairly recently, Mr. Mugabe's fellow travelers, excuse-makers and
I used to have a simple answer to this question: In conflating the rights of
the individual with those of the collective, liberals were guilty of what
logicians call the fallacy of composition: the notion that what is true of a
part must also be true of the whole. In American politics, this goes back at
least to Woodrow Wilson, and his fixation with "national
self-determination" – the view that individual freedom was contingent on
group freedom, which in turn required ethnic or cultural homogeneity,
political sovereignty and the mechanisms of state to control both.
There is an element of truth in that view, and an element of falsehood.
There is also a considerable margin for abuse, particularly when recognition
of the differences between nations slides into a posture of moral and
"Clearly, human rights and the rule of law have to continue to be central in
the bedrock of our relationships but we have to understand the local
context," said then Secretary of State Madeleine Albright during a meeting
with Mr. Mugabe in 1997. "We have to realize the difference in these
countries and the various evolutions they are going through and it is only
appropriate that the United States, while pressing our agenda, respect the
agendas in these countries." At the time, Mr. Mugabe had just ordered a
bloody crackdown on a demonstration and beaten up Morgan Tsvangirai, the
apparent winner of the recent presidential election.
Still, this explanation goes only so far in explaining the left's long love
affair with various "liberators" – if no longer with Mr. Mugabe himself
(Edinburgh revoked his degree last year, while UMass formally "rebuked"
him), then, at various times in various places, with Che Guevara and Yasser
Arafat and Marwan Barghouti. Could it be a function of guilt, specifically
After Mr. Mugabe began seizing white farmland in the early part of this
decade, Matthew Sweet of London's Independent offered the view that the
Zimbabwean dictator could hardly be blamed for the looming disaster. "It was
[Cecil] Rhodes who originated the racist 'land grabs' to which Zimbabwe's
current miseries can ultimately be traced," wrote Mr. Sweet.
Rhodes, the founder of Rhodesia, died in 1902. Invoking his name as the
source of Zimbabwe's woes a century later has the quality of invoking
original sin, albeit one from which Mr. Mugabe is somehow exempt.
There's no doubting that Rhodes was a racist, and that Zimbabwe's whites
were long the beneficiaries of the order he established. But simply because
a complaint is not without merit does not justify a campaign that is without
merit, and one that guarantees ruin for its ostensible beneficiaries. This
is obvious. So why were people like Mr. Sweet so quick to excuse, if not
quite to advocate, Mr. Mugabe's politics of ruin?
Maybe the question is better put this way: Why is it that "progressivism"
seems so prone to nihilism? Friedrich Nietzsche, who knew something about
nihilism, had an answer: "Man," as he famously concluded in his Genealogy of
Morals, "would rather will nothingness than not will." Ultimate freedom,
complete liberation, demands that man overthrow every constraint, or what
Nietzsche called "a revolt against the most fundamental preconditions of
life itself" – including life itself. In this scheme, nature and the natural
order of things become subordinate to the mere act of willing. This is the
essence of totalitarianism, a political order that recognizes no higher
authority, no limits and no decencies.
Which brings us back to Martin Luther King Jr. In his 1958 essay "My
Pilgrimage to Nonviolence," King described his encounter with, and rejection
of, Marxism. "Since for the Communist there is no divine government," he
wrote, "no absolute moral order, there are no fixed, immutable principles;
consequently almost anything – force, violence, murder, lying – is a
justifiable means to the 'millennial' end. . . . I am convinced now, as I
was then, that man is an end because he is a child of God."
Unlike some of his counterparts in the civil rights movement, King not only
accepted the American political system, he demanded it. He did not seek
racial retribution: "Our aim must never be to defeat or humiliate the white
man, but to win his friendship and understanding," he said in 1965. "We must
come to see that the end we seek is a society at peace with itself." His
political genius, like that of the Founders, was to lead a revolution in the
name of restoration – the restoration of God's given order for all men,
irrespective of race.
There is a final ironic contrast here between King and Mr. Mugabe. Though a
political nihilist, Mr. Mugabe, at 84, clings almost impressively to what
remains of his power, and his life. On the day before his murder at age 39,
King was a man at peace. "I'm not worried about anything. I'm not fearing
any man," he said. He was liberated. Mugabe, the "liberator," is not.
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