|The ZIMBABWE Situation||Our
thoughts and prayers are with Zimbabwe |
- may peace, truth and justice prevail.
In a case such as the current set up, where there are primarily two major parties vying for a chance to form a government, what people expect is to see which one of the two appears to offer a credible and viable programme that has a reasonable chance of being implemented for their benefit.
While it is not merely a process of putting expressions of intent on paper, what is critical for the electorate is how much of the campaigning closely mirrors their manifestoes.
However, what the electorate has been subjected to are contests in denigrating each other. The fact that the ruling party started hurling insults at the opposition does not mean the opposition should descend to the same depths. If anything, doing the opposite would demonstrate how focused a party is in its determination not to be sucked into unenlightening mudslinging, being presented as campaigning.
President Robert Mugabe feels very strongly about how hard-done he has been by the British Prime Minister Tony Blair, but to make that the central theme of his party's campaign is to suggest that this is the main issue before the country during this election.
Last week he criticised the decision by the Electoral Court nullifying the results of the nomination court for Chimanimani. This is how the government has reacted to decisions against it during the past five years and this is what the next five years could be.
Yet, if anything, the preoccupation among the majority of Zimbabweans is whether there are prospects for employment or how real the threat of being thrown into the streets is and whether they will be able to provide for their families or face hunger. There are people who have lost hope of securing employment, while many others live in perpetual terror of whether or not their job is next on the line, and how, if that happens, they will make ends meet.
The fact that at just about every available street corner there are people selling identical basic commodities is not a measure of their entrepreneurial spirit. Instead, it is a mark of desperation, but at the same time a demonstration of their pride and determination in doing something for themselves. They are not content with being recipients of handouts.
The message for any political party that is serious and wants voters to support it is to ask itself: what can it do for the person who wants a job to support his/her family? What will it do in order to persuade those with resources to invest so that they can contribute to the development of the country, while at the same time creating jobs and providing opportunities for others to support or rival theirs? In making all these pledges there should always be a timeframe for implementation and completion.
If the commitment is to create more employment opportunities by attracting investors, then it is important to say how this will be possible, because what has happened during the past five years has been a sustained attack on foreign and domestic investment, to the extent that even domestic investors are uncertain whether they will not wake up tomorrow to find themselves being declared saboteurs or enemies of the State.
What is very clear about the state of the nation is that Zimbabwe is in this predicament because the ruling party has failed to deliver. It has simply run out of ideas to rejuvenate the economy.
During the period between 1980 and 1990 Zimbabwe performed well and the world agreed that it deserved all the support it needed in order to make a success of its experiment. But at the end of the first decade of independence, Zimbabwe had exhausted all its creativity. Unfortunately, instead of acknowledging this weakness and enlisting assistance, the government began to see conspiracies aimed at unseating it. And the more its failures became pronounced, the more it behaved like a cornered beast.
The collapse of companies and the subsequent rise in unemployment, now estimated at 80 percent, the collapse of the health sector best demonstrated by the plight of Harare Hospital and the flight of more than 25 percent of the population of this country into the Diaspora can all be blamed on the ruling party.
Its attempts at reducing everyone to a farmer are short-term and designed to buy breathing space for Zanu PF. Most agriculturally productive nations of this world have fewer farmers than Zimbabwe is trying to create. The people who produce America's and Europe's food mountains are only a small fraction of the populations of these countries.
The Movement for Democratic Change's main draw card has been that if the people of this country have put up with 25 years of Zanu PF, they will be prepared to experiment with a party that, on the basis of its performance at local government level, appears to offer a real alternative before Zanu PF came along and spoiled everything because it could not bear the thought of someone doing better where it had failed.
The MDC seems to labour under the belief that it will capitalise on a rejection vote for the ruling party. There are so many people who are beneficiaries of Zanu PF's patronage and a recent survey by Mass Public Opinion Institute (MPOI) would appear to support the extent of the ruling party's base. Those who have benefited from Zanu PF will fight to the finish to ensure their benefactor continues in power.
The task for the MDC is not merely accurately diagnosing the problem Zimbabwe faces. It is also about going beyond vague promises for the people of this nation to make an informed choice of who to entrust with the governance of this country for the next five years.
Zimbabwe opposition says to rebuild farm sector
20 Mar 2005 18:03:58 GMTSource: Reuters
Zimbabwe police summon activist over poll report
20 Mar 2005 15:09:56 GMTSource: Reuters
The Zimbabwean, the only newspaper available to Zimbabweans internationally, goes online on Monday at www.thezimbabwean.co.uk.
The publication, which was launched on February 11 with simultaneous weekly editions in the UK and South Africa, has been hailed as a major step in bridging the information gap between millions of Zimbabweans in the diaspora and their troubled homeland. It is also a vital source of independent and accurate information to Zimbabweans at home who have been snapping up the 10 000 copies shipped in weekly from Johannesburg in a matter of hours.
"The website is very user friendly. We have purposely kept it simple, quick to download and easy to access - specially for people in Zimbabwe where there is limited bandwidth. We are grateful to the Guardian Foundation, Guardian Unlimited and Kitsite for technical assistance and the design,” said the publisher Wilf Mbanga.
The entire newspaper will be available on the website free of charge. “We are indebted to the many people around the world who have already subscribed to the physical newspaper,” said Mbanga. “The online version is intended to be a complementary information source and will add value to the print version.”
Since its inception The Zimbabwean has attracted much opprobrium from the authorities in Harare. “All we want to do is inform people about what’s going on so that they, in turn, can make informed choices,” said Mbanga. “We are merely asserting the right of all Zimbabweans to freedom of expression and access to information.”
The tabloid weekly contains news from Zimbabwe as well as life in exile. The content includes politics, art and culture, business, sports, gender, human rights and social issues, news backgrounders and analysis. Letters to the editor and classified advertisements are key features.
The Zimbabwean is an authoritative and accurate newspaper of record and a reliable source of information for all those individuals, agencies and governments with an interest in Zimbabwe. A news blackout is dangerous for any society. The forthcoming general election scheduled for March adds urgency. Our coverage is accurate, fair and balanced. We endeavour to give all viewpoints, and everyone – including the government of Zimbabwe – has the right of reply,” said Mbanga.
The Zimbabwean Limited
Tel/Fax: 02380 879675
mobile Wilf: 07963963547
P O Box 248, Hythe, SO45 4WX
The female journalist, ranting and raving, said "The Standard had let down everyone" by carrying a story on Moyo when the former junior Minister of Information had done everything in his short-lived reign to make the lives of journalists - especially from the private media - hell on earth.
I pointed out to our lady of the pen that it was rich of her to now point out that Moyo was an evil man when over the years her ilk bent over backwards (no pun intended) to please the prickly ex-Minister of Information.
Never one to take a punch lying down, I told her in no uncertain terms that all those journalists at Herald House, Pockets Hill and at the Chronicle and the Sunday News were cowards who were so afraid of Moyo that they never raised a voice against his terrible policies. They allowed him to get away with murder, as they would say in the townships. When he insulted them at meetings and fired their colleagues every time he so felt, they were as meek as lambs.
The debate on whether Moyo should be given space in the media, especially the independent media, rages on. Just as when he was in power, the mad professor from hell still dominates our conversations.
I am, and have said so many times, against perpetuating Moyo's name in the media unnecessarily.
I feel the man has done so much harm to this country and its citizens that it is better we deliberately forget he is still living, and the best way to do that is to ignore him completely.
There are those who say such an attitude is similar to Moyo's who barred other voices from being heard in the State media during his reign.
My argument to all those holier -than-thou people out there is: WereHitler alive today would you give him a platform to explain his evil deeds and perpetuate his legacy?
While I agree with those hysterical anti-Moyo voices that have suddenly sprouted in the State media that we should do everything in our power to obliterate Moyo's memory among Zimbabweans by totally ignoring him, I feel they are the last people to try to educate anyone about responsibilities.
These hypocrites allowed Moyo to become a demi-God in this country and became cheerleaders when he insulted all and sundry and made life hell to all those who opposed his totalitarian ideals.
Before you get too pompous, let me tell you: you people in the State media are as guilty as Moyo - so please don't test our patience by trying to be objective all of a sudden.
YOU just have to give it to Tony Blair. The British Prime Minister is probably the only person in history who is fighting two elections in two different countries and in two different continents at almost the same time.
Here in Zimbabwe, Uncle Bob is telling his supporters - Zimbabwean voters and anyone within earshot - that the 31 March poll is an "anti-Blair" election.
Zanu PF youths and women are being seen sporting anti-Blair T-shirts all over town, and both State radio and TV are incessant that Blair is the enemy who has to be defeated in Zimbabwe on 31 March.
In the UK, British opposition parties are almost in agreement with Uncle Bob: Blair is the enemy who must be defeated in Britain come election time on 5 May (as the newspapers have predicted).
So Tony, as many people now call him in the UK, or "B-liar"- as Uncle Bob would say- is a unique man in history: he is probably the first man to fight two elections in two different continents in the same year.
While the polls in the UK say the new Labour leader is likely to scrape through given the mediocrity of the opposition he is facing, Blair - or "Blairites", according to Zanu PF - might not be so successful in Zimbabwe on 31 March.
According to a Woodpecker poll, Zanu PF will just scrape through on 31 March and the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) - whom Uncle Bob wants everyone to believe are "Blairites" or Blair ruling by remote control - will make a strong showing, especially in the ruling party's traditional stronghold of the rural areas.
All indications, though, are that the MDC would fail to get the majority in Parliament that would force a constitutional crisis in Zimbabwe and perhaps precipitate the early departure from State House of Uncle Bob. Whatever, our Tony really is a man of all seasons.
STILL on our theme on Zimbos in the so-called Diaspora, Woodpecker would like to say he was astounded by the hostility towards the "Homelink" concept exhibited by those that he met during his two-week stay in the cold isles.
Many Zimbabweans view the Homelink concept just as an idea by Zanu PF to steal their hard-earned pounds, while others said they had never heard of it, despite the high-powered delegations that were dispatched to London and other towns to sell the idea of an easier way to transfer money to relatives and friends at home.
While Woodpecker tried to urge friends and relatives to at least take advantage of Homelink to acquire properties in Harare for the day they will return home, what was surprising was that many brushed it off as just another way to con them or to shore up the governing Zanu PF's coffers. Food for thought, Gov.
A FRIEND of Woodpecker emailed this joke:
An old Arab has lived close to New York City for more than 40 years. He would love to plant potatoes in his garden, but he is alone, old and weak. His son is in college in Paris, so the old man sends him e-mail.
He explains the problem: "Beloved son, I am very sad, because I can't plant potatoes in my garden. I am sure, if only you were here, you would help me and dig up the garden for me. I love you ... Your father."
The following day, the old man receives a response e-mail from his son: "Beloved father, please don't touch the garden. It's there that I have hidden 'the THING'. I love you, too ... Ahmed."
At 4pm, the US Army, the Marines, the FBI, the CIA and the Rangers all descend on the old man's house, and take the whole garden apart, searching every inch, but can't find anything. Disappointed, they leave.
A day later, the old man receives another e-mail from his son:
"Beloved father, I hope the garden is dug up by now and you can plant your potatoes. That's all I could do for you from here ... I love you, Ahmed."