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Why I am not a stooge of the West — Morgan Tsvangirai, Zimbabwean Opposition Leader

Vanguard, Nigeria
Written by Jide Ajani, Political Editor   
Friday, 25 April 2008
Morgan Tsvangirai flew into the country, arriving in the very early hours of Monday, April 21.  He headed straight to Obasanjo Farms, where Olusegun Obasanjo, Nigeria’s immediate past president, has his country home. There, Tsvangirai held a press briefing with a few journalists.
Vanguard got there, and by providence and creativity, got this exclusive interview with Tsvangirai.
For a man whose election victory had become a matter of unrighteous disputation, his visit to Nigeria, a leg in the multi-legged internationalisation of the Zimbabwean struggle for the enthronement of democracy, was a suggestion that Obasanjo, even out of power, remains a rallying point of sorts for matters beyond Nigeria.

Tsvangirai, who pleaded with Vanguard to make the interview very brief because of a flight schedule he had to keep, spoke in a manner which signposts him as an individual with a clear vision of what he wants, how he wants to get there and, most importantly, how to work with fellow Zimbabweans including, if it comes to that, Robert Mugabe, the man who has ruled the country for all of 28 years.

*Tsvangirai and Obasanjo at Otta Farms
When he was asked what would happen if a compromise arrangement were to be worked out, Tsvangirai attempted to parry the question.  But he had to answer the question:

Were the Kenyan situation to emerge out of the Zimbabwean imbroglio, what would be you reaction, that is, a sort of power sharing arrangement between your party and Mugabe’s party.?
It would be a lesson....It is an African solution with an African problem. But I will say that I hope the Zimbabwean crises does not escalate like that of Kenya in the interest of the people.

My question subsists, would you be agreeable to such an arrangement putting in mind that Mugabe had always...?

"I am sure that at the end of the day any transition has to be by negotiation. I think it can be negotiated. I think it should be negotiated for a win-win situation for every body in Zimbabwe."

At the end of the session, Tsvangirai made a huge impact. Which is that, even as you engage an advocacy and activist agenda, there is need for equilibrium between the desire accomplish and the capacity to deliver.

In fact, bringing that aphorism (need for equilibrium between the desire accomplish and the capacity to deliver) closer home, the opposition struggle in Zimbabwe is one which Nigeria’s opposition politicians should draw lessons from.

Whereas Tsvangirai made himself available to the people of Zimbabwe through his many struggles and battles with Mugabe, not engaging Mugabe because he lost out in a major power game but because he had the interest of Zimbabweans at heart and has remained consistent, not wavering or attempting to negotiate his way through, the agenda of mind-bending was solely relied upon by the opposition.  To some extent, the approach succeeded. 

But it may be crumbling as the only means of relevance today is a constant reaction to every government policy.  Even the issues which require sobriety are quickly politicised for sake of publicity.

But the opposition in Nigeria too has tried in its own little way to assist in the enthronement of true democracy.  It’s strategy, however, remains, largely, self-serving and the people are beginning to see through all these (see story on Adamawa State gubernatorial elections):


People are wondering why it has taken Zimbabweans this long to vote out President Robert Mugabe?

It is a process. You must understand that Mugabe came from the liberation history. And not until a whole generation who are not part of the liberation process had emerged, this mind-set or paradigm would not have come up.

Talking about African leaders, there was time when Robert Mugabe was to be sanctioned by the European Union, insisting that he would not be allowed to be part of a meeting with the EU, but African leaders refused and rebuffed the EU, demanding that unless Mugabe was part of that meeting, they were not going to participate, they would boycott. What does this say of African leaders and what is happening in Zimbabwe today, especially against the backdrop of the opposition to Mugabe?

I think it is informed by leadership solidarity of African leaders.
I think that what is important is that African leaders must find a way to bring erring leaders to order. We can not expect anybody else to tell us who is erring or not. We have to take that responsibility on ourselves.

Some will look at you and feel very appreciative of your efforts, having been able to eyeball Mugabe all these years, what is that thing that keeps you going?

I am inspired by the determination of the people.
I am inspired by their patience. I can tell you that the people of Zimbabwe are still determined to usher in a new era.  

When I see the hope in the eyes of the old and young Zimbabweans, I feel inspired.  
I am also driven by the overwhelming belief they have in the Movement for Democratic Change, MDC.

But then there are allegations that you are a stooge of the West?

That is not true. The fact that I enjoy the support of the people of Zimbabwe, what they stand for, what they represent, what they desire and what they aspire to become, does not mean that Zimbabweans are stooges.
The people of Zimbabwe know what they want and they have given me their mandate to deliver them.

Mugabe, before the elections swore that it will be over his dead body for you to become the president of Zimbabwe?

The statement shows that he doesn’t respect the will of the people.
It means that he is destroying the will of the people. Is that what is demanded of a good leader?
He is not committed to democratic principles. It means that the will of the people is defiled.
And what does Africa say of people who defy the wishes of the people?

Were the Kenyan situation to emerge out of the Zimbabwean imbroglio, what would be you reaction, that is, a sort of power sharing arrangement between your party and Mugabe’s party.?

It would be a lesson. It requires early intervention for people who are not full time in their job to come to Zimbabwe for a negotiation. It is an African solution with an African problem.
But I will say that I hope the Zimbabwean crises does not escalate like that of Kenya in the interest of the people.

My question subsists, would you be agreeable to such an arrangement putting in mind that Mugabe had always...?

I am sure that at the end of the day any transition has to be by negotiation.
What is at stake here is a dispute not around the election, but Mugabe’s resolve not to allow for transfer of power.I think it can be negotiated. I think it should be negotiated for a win-win situation for every body in Zimbabwe.

But the Zimbabweans who voted for you might at the end of the day not agree to such an arrangement because of some inherent contradictions, would you think that will be in the best interest of Zimbabwe?

It will be in the best interest of Zimbabweans to have a peaceful transition.
Even if it will mean an all inclusive process.   I think it will be necessary. Hence it will worsen the leadership crisis in Zimbabwe.

At the end of the day when you look at what you and Zimbabweans have gone through, what lessons do you think Africans can draw from it?

I think that Africans will realise that democracy is something that needs the commitment of everybody.

It means that we have to move away from our paradigm of concentrating on power and not respecting the will of the people.  That is one lesson.

Another lesson is that we are going through so many things. - economy and politics is in this one. But we should focus on what to do in order to bring prosperity to our people.
We should also focus on how to make them economically prosperous.

Were you to assume power fully without sharing  with anybody, what are those fundamental things that you would put in place in your first few weeks as president?

There are two things. First is the governance issue. That is the freedom of the Zimbabwean people. The return of power to the people and not an individual. We need to make sure that there is a constitution that respects and is respected. That is where the rule of law comes in. And it is very critical.

The economic recovery progarmme is essential. We do have a plan that will address the economic needs of the people.

At the end of the day when you look at what Zimbabweans have been put through and your presence here today, how does that fit into the entire arrangement of wrestling power from Mugabe?

It's all part of the game.It’s part of ensuring that we have a smooth transition. Africa will play a part.
We will play our part. And at the end of the day we must find a formula that will bring about a win-win for a peaceful transition.

Were you invited to Nigeria or you came here on your own volition to seek former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s support?

No we requested for it as part of this whole process.

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Pope called to intervene in Zimbabwe crisis

Dispatch, SA

Apr 25 2008 2:19AM


AN INTERNATIONAL children’s rights organisation yesterday
called on Pope Benedict XVI to try to persuade President Robert Mugabe, a
Roman Catholic, to reject violence and uphold democracy.

In an open letter to the pope the Geneva-based
International Federation Terre des Hommes called on the pope to put pressure
on Mugabe to recognize his country was in crisis and to respect the wishes
of his people.

Nobel peace prize winner Archbishop Desmond Tutu yesterday
called for an arms embargo on Zimbabwe in order to avert the escalation of
violence in the troubled nation .

“I join the worldwide calls to stop the supply of weapons
to the country – by land, sea or air – until the political crisis is
resolved,” Tutu said in a statement. — Sapa-AFP

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Sadc Gets 'dossier' On Violence

Zim Independent

Thursday, 24 April 2008 21:20
CIVIL society organisations in Zimbabwe this week submitted a dossier
to Sadc detailing alleged state-sponsored violence against hundreds of
opposition supporters since the March 29 elections.

The dossier was handed to Sadc Observer Mission head José Marcos
Barrica and the director of the regional bloc’s organ on politics, defence
and security, Tanki Mothaey, on Tuesday.

It contains photographs of injuries sustained by victims of the
violence and affidavits they wrote to vouch for the alleged torture at the
hands of state security agents, Zanu PF militia and war veterans.

The photos showed victims’crushed hands and legs, broken arms,
haematomas of buttocks, missing teeth and other bodily harm.

In a report released by civil society, Barrica — Angola’s Sport and
Youth minister — condemned political violence, adding that the Zimbabwe
Electoral Commission (ZEC) should not hold Zimbabweans hostage by failing to
announce the presidential election outcome and stretching the recount of
votes in 23 constituencies longer than anticipated.

“The minister said that it was necessary to look for ways and means to
end the suffering of the people,” the report said.

“Some people would speak about the necessity of a military
intervention. Others would ask for a violent uprising.

Some politicians were speaking about a war.”

Barrica, however, stressed to civil society that the objective was to
ensure that no war situation would arise in Zimbabwe.

Civil society representatives at the meeting claimed that Zimbabwe was
now in a “war situation”.

“The civil society organisation representative pointed out that it was
not a question of observing elections any more, but that it was a question
of peacekeeping,” the report said.

It was suggested during the meeting that Sadc should not be limited to
election observation, but would have to find a way of stopping and
preventing the violence in Zimbabwe.

Meanwhile, the Morgan Tsvangirai-led MDC has appealed to the
international community to press the Zimbabwe government to meet its five

The opposition party wants the government to immediately demilitarise
the country by withdrawing the army and other security agents from
townships, villages and farms and the police should conduct its duties in a
non-partisan manner and arrest all perpetrators of politically motivated
violence without fear or favour.

The MDC also wants Zanu PF to immediately stop its campaign of
violence and says the government should allow non-governmental organisations
to conduct their humanitarian activities without interference.

The party demanded the immediate release of the presidential election
results by the ZEC and that Mugabe should concede defeat to Morgan

By Lucia Makamure

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Civil Society Calls For Broader Panel On Zim Crisis

Zim Independent

Thursday, 24 April 2008 21:18
AFRICAN civil society leaders are pressing for the appointment of a
Pan-African panel of eminent persons to intervene in the Zimbabwean
political crisis triggered by delays and refusals by authorities to release
results of last month’s presidential election.

The civic leaders, among them lawyers, trade unionists and academics,
met in Dar es Salaam this week and challenged the African Union (AU) to
appoint a panel of eminent persons to tackle the Zimbabwe crisis.

The meeting was organised by the East Africa Law Society, Open Society
Initiative for East Africa, and the Open Society Initiative for Southern

In a communiqué released after the meeting, which was characterised by
emotional pleas for the international community to intervene in Zimbabwe,
the civic leaders asked the AU to send a team of eminent persons to lead an
initiative to resolve the southern African country’s crisis.

The communiqué was later presented to Tanzanian President Jakaya

The civil society leaders said the AU should intervene in Zimbabwe in
line with the organisation’s constitutive laws which provide the continental
group with the right to intervene in a member state when certain violations
are perpetrated by the state.

“We call on the African Union to protect the Zimbabwean population
against the military and paramilitary retribution that communities are
currently being subjected to for voting President Mugabe out of office,” the
communiqué read.

Speaking at the opening of the meeting, Ellenor Sisulu, from the
Zimbabwe Crisis Coalition said Zimbabweans were currently witnessing a state
of organised political violence.

Sisulu told the gathering that dozens of people had been injured while
thousands of others had been displaced as a result of the political

Pictures of brutalised Zimbabweans were screened during the meeting to
show the magnitude of injuries sustained by opposition supporters.

“Zimbabweans are witnessing a state of organised violence where we
have seen people being injured while others are displaced as a result of the
destruction of their properties,” Sisulu said.

“The major crisis we face right now is a humanitarian crisis and what
we need is for the civic society to help put a stop to the violence.”

She, however, bemoaned the lack of condemnation of the violence by
African leaders and urged civic organisations on the continent to play a
pivotal role in exerting pressure on the leaders to speak out on the
Zimbabwean situation.

Wilfred Mhanda of the Zimbabwe Liberators Platform told the meeting
that Mugabe had militarised state institutions and, therefore, it was
difficult for Zimbabweans to deal with the situation on their own.

“African leaders and the EU and even the UN should speak out on Mugabe
and the big problem is that Mugabe and his government are at war with the
people of Zimbabwe.

They have stolen an election, are perpetrating violence and there is
the issue of the illegitimacy of the Zimbabwean government,” Mhanda said.

The civil society leaders said there is currently a blocked process in
Zimbabwe with Zanu PF attempting to stay in power through coercion.

Participants at the one-day meeting were drawn from Kenya, Uganda,
Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi, Zimbabwe, Sierra Leone, Cameroon, Botswana,
Angola and Democratic Republic of Congo.

Others came from Mozambique, Namibia, Lesotho, Zambia, Malawi,
Swaziland and South Africa.

While the civil society leaders were meeting in Tanzania, doctors and
human rights groups in Zimbabwe reported an increase in political violence
against opposition MDC supporters allegedly being perpetrated by government
security agents, Zanu PF militia and war veterans.

Zimbabwe Association of Doctors for Human Rights reported that since
April it has attended to 323 people assaulted and tortured by security
forces, Zanu PF militia and war veterans.

By Loughty Dube

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Terror Campaign Leaves Behind Broken Limbs And Charred Homes

Zim Independent

Thursday, 24 April 2008 21:14
HUNDREDS of people from rural areas throughout Zimbabwe have fled
their homes and sought refuge at the MDC headquarters in Harare amid reports
that state-sponsored political violence is spiralling.

The post-election disturbances are allegedly taking place despite this
week’s denial by Justice minister Patrick Chinamasa of political violence
against MDC supporters by government state security agents and the ruling
Zanu PF militia.

Zanu PF on the other hand accuses the MDC of fomenting violence and in
the process delaying the release of the presidential election results by the
Zimbabwe Electoral Commission.

On Tuesday scores of people, mostly from Mashonaland East, could be
seen at Harvest House narrating to the opposition party’s acting president
Thokozani Khupe how they were assaulted and tortured by Zanu PF militia and
war veterans.

According to an MDC-T official who requested anonymity, 240 people
from all over the country slept at the party headquarters on Tuesday, while
several others sought refuge at the party’s provincial offices and at “safe

One of the assaulted MDC supporters at Harvest House, Poshie
Pfiranimata (22) of Mudzi South, said he was tortured a fortnight ago and
sitting down has become an excruciating experience for him.

Pfiranimata was assaulted on his buttocks and abdomen, resulting in
serious injuries and was this week receiving medical attention at a private

“I am in pain whenever I try to sit down and I wish I could be well,”
said Pfiranimata.

He explained how he was attacked.

“Zanu PF youths came to our homestead on April 11 and asked me to
attend an MDC rally in our area.

They (Zanu PF supporters) started beating me up when I refused to
attend this fake meeting because I knew who they were,” he alleged.

“They dragged me to Donzwe Primary School where they were based. I was
thoroughly beaten by large sticks all over the body.

I eventually passed out.”

He alleged that a headman in his area and war veterans ordered members
of Zanu PF’s youth league to inflict pain on him because he voted for the
MDC in the March 29 elections.

A doctor who examined Pfiranimata said he sustained an inflamed tissue
on his buttocks known as abscess and cellulites.

Mashonaland East MDC youth chairperson Samuel Kamundarira alleged that
senior government and army officials were inciting violence in the province.

He claimed the perpetrators were using vehicles without numberplates
and belonging to the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC).

“Unmarked Rhino CAM vehicles belonging to ZEC are carrying Zanu PF
youths and armed war veterans who are beating up our people from Murehwa to
Mudzi,” Kamundarira alleged. “Several people have fled their homes because
of the violence.”

Among those at Harvest House were children of school-going age who
also claimed to have been victims of the state-sponsored political violence.

A 12-year-old boy (name supplied) from Shamva, who sought refuge at
the opposition party’s headquarters with his parents, said he sustained a
deep cut on his shin when Zanu PF members allegedly attacked his family’s
home and stoned them.

“We were attacked by some people who were dressed like gold panners,”
said the boy. “We fled when they torched our houses and I was stoned when we
were fleeing from the attack,” he said.

By Tuesday the boy was yet to get medical attention.

According to Ndaipa Kaphazi, a losing council election candidate in
Shamva, more than 50 homes were set on fire last Sunday and livestock were

  “We lost the elections, 150 broilers and 29 goats,” Khapazi said. “I
wonder why they (perpetrators) continue persecuting us.”

Lovemore Mafemera, who was an MDC polling agent at Nyamaganhu-Charehwa
ward in Mutoko North, fled to Harare soon after 300 suspected Zanu PF youth
and war veterans stormed his home and assaulted him for supporting
Tsvangirai and the opposition party.

Another victim of the ruling party violence, Phineas Nyandoro of Gutu
West, Masvingo, said when the nation was celebrating 28 years of
Independence, he was battling for his life at Gutu Hospital after Zanu PF
supporters mobbed his homestead and struck him with an axe for supporting

The 60-year-old man said he was abducted for two days before seeking
medical attention and he lost his property when the perpetrators set his
home on fire.

He alleged that a known war veteran in Gutu was among those
responsible for his injuries.

Didymus Bande, a winning councillor in Harare’s peri-urban settlement
of Epworth, said he came to his party’s headquarters to seek night refuge on
Tuesday after four unidentified man driving an unmarked new Isuzu twincab
truck visited his home and threatened to “eliminate” him.

He, however, vowed to continue meeting his party members to ensure
that there was no further victimisation.

“As a leader, I will continue visiting my ward to ensure that I’m
updated on the current incidences of violence as well as to encourage the
supporters to soldier on,” said Bande.

Another MDC member who spoke on condition of anonymity said his home
had become a no-go area since April 13.

He claimed that a Zanu PF businessman at Jaravaza shopping centre in
Gokwe shot him on his leg after they quarreled over his support for the MDC.

“It is now close to two weeks since I last saw my family, but I am
informed that my wife and children have returned to her maternal home,” he
said. “I was shot on April 13 and since then I’ve never returned home.

The businessman who shot me told me that MDC members were not allowed
in the ward.”

He now walks on crutches.

Consoling the victims, Khupe said the MDC was lobbying the
international community to speedily attend to the “humanitarian crisis” in
the country.

She encouraged party activists to pray and promised that the MDC would
compensate the victims if it comes to power.

“We are going to fight to the finish through prayers and by informing
the international community about the political violence,” Khupe said. “Our
government will set up a fund that will compensate all victims of political
violence from Gukurahundi to this day,” she promised.

Tsvangirai on Tuesday met United Nations secretary-general Ban-Ki Moon
in Accra, Ghana, on the sidelines of a UN meeting and told him of the
alleged state-sponsored violence.

However, police spokesperson Wayne Bvudzijena professed ignorance of
the scores of people who have sought refuge at the MDC headquarters.

“We are not aware of these people at Harvest House,” Bvudzijena said.
“I don’t want to make any political statements but it would be a responsible
action for the MDC to make these reports known to the police.”

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Famous Brands On The Way Out

Zim Independent

Thursday, 24 April 2008 21:37
ZIMBABWE’S collapsing economy is threatening key product brands that
local and international companies have built and developed over years.

As the economic crisis worsens companies are increasingly uncertain
about their survival and the quality of their brands.

With an industry capacity utilisation of below 10%, companies are
struggling to maintain the visibility of their brands on the market.

Their survival too is on the line.

Big companies like Olivine, Unilever and Natfoods have stopped making
some of their popular brands because of lack of raw materials.

Brands like Buttercup (Olivine), Geisha (Unilever) and Redseal
(Natfoods) have vitually disappeared from the market.

Blue Ribbon’s products — especially those made from flour — are also
not available on the market.

Marketing expert, Douglas Mamvura, said the main challenge for most
companies was not only about their own survival but also keeping their
brands alive.

“It’s a huge challenge not only for those servicing the local market
but also those that are exporting,” Mamvura said.

“There is a crisis in the marketing sector.

The question is how you keep manufacturing the same quality product
under the same brand with the current pricing regime and the lack of raw

Companies that have already started experiencing the problem include
those that hold international franchises that have high standards of

International franchising companies are not only interested in the
franchise fees but also the level of brand representation in specific

“The idea of a franchise is to create uniformity in terms of the
quality of services and product quality.

These must be the same everywhere,” said a branding expert with a
local advertising company.

The Wimpy brand which is owned by

Famous Brands of South Africa has been damaged in Zimbabwe as the
local franchise holders try to expand their business in order to survive.

Wimpy is known for its burgers but the local franchise holders have
expanded the menu to include what they call “traditional food”.

The Steers franchise held by Innscor in Zimbabwe but also owned by
Famous Brands is also struggling. The menu has shrunk over the past few
months as Innscor battles to secure key raw materials that meet the Steers
brand standards.

There are neither starters nor children’s dishes on the menu.

Every Steers in the world has them.

The menu which is supposed to have more than 10 dishes has shrunk to
less that four at any given time.

The local quality has also deteriorated. The brand was developed over
48 years.
It’s dying in Zimbabwe.

Officials at the company said they cannot make some of the dishes
because of the lack of raw material and pricing structure that has been
implemented by the National Incomes and Pricing Commission (NIPC).

Nandos — a South African brand with a Portuguese theme — is also
reeling in Zimbabwe because of the economic crisis.

Nandos specialises in chicken dishes with either lemon or herb.

Internationally its menus are varied but in Zimbabwe the local
franchise holders have failed to keep a wide selection of dishes.

At most they have three dishes on offer at any time.  The problem
again is the economy and NIPC.

Clothing companies, Edgars and Truworths, are also facing the same

Edgars Zimbabwe which is controlled by South Africa’s Edgars is
struggling to maintain quality stock because of the pricing system.

The company has been the victim of NIPC’s unsustainable pricing

“The owners know the situation in Zimbabwe but they are now concerned
that the local subsidiary is no longer representing the brand,” said a
senior Edgars official.

Edgars no longer has the wide range of cosmetics and perfumes it used
to sell. The variety of merchandise has been severely reduced.

Truworths also controlled by South Africans also faces the same
predicament: They can’t maintain quality merchandise in the current

The top-end brands like Gucci and Hugo Boss that they used to sell at
Truworths Men have virtually disappeared.

They have no foreign currency to import any. The approved prices are
also too low.

“Even if we have them who would afford a suit for $80 billion,” said
one salesman at one of the shops along First Street.

The Bata shoes company which is headquartered in Lausanne,
Switzerland, is also in trouble.

The brand which has been developed since 1894 is being compromised
locally because of the crisis.

International brands like Marie Claire (for women) and Bubblegummers
(for kids) are not found in Bata shops in Zimbabwe.

Other brands like Debonairs, Woolworths, CNA and Discom have packed
their bags.

The problem is also affecting even local companies. The quality of
Lobels’ bread for instance has deteriorated.

Mamvura said there will be huge problems when the economy turns

“Those that let their brand lie dormant or compromise on quality now
will pay heavily when things turn around.”

OK Zimbabwe and TM, the largest retail shops in Zimbabwe, have never
been the same since the price blitz.

Makro and Jaggers no longer represent their wholesale structures.

Products at all shops have become fewer.

By Shakeman Mugari

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Zimbabwe: A Little Perspective

Zim Independent

Thursday, 24 April 2008 19:44
ALL praise to the South African Transport and Allied Workers Union,
which refused for four days to unload a shipment of Chinese arms destined
for landlocked Zimbabwe.

That was long enough for a South African court to issue a judgement
refusing to let the 77 tonnes of weapons be shipped across the country to
Zimbabwe, despite the South African government’s unwillingness to intervene.

Of course, the Chinese ship then just sailed up the coast to Angola.

The Chinese weapons, which were shipped three days after President
Robert Mugabe lost the Zimbabwean election on March 29, will still reach his
army, police and party militia in time to terrorise the voters into
reversing last month’s verdict in a  run-off presidential election.

But it was nice to see some fellow Africans take a stand against his

All praise also to former United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan.

After meeting Zimbabwean opposition leaders in Kenya on Friday, he
asked bluntly: “Where are the Africans? Where are their leaders and the
countries in the region, what are they doing?” The answer, as Annan knew
very well, is next to nothing.

But why not?

Robert Mugabe, who has ruled Zimbabwe since Independence 28 years ago,
is now attempting to steal back last month’s election.

Three weeks later the results of the presidential race have still not
been published, almost certainly because he lost by a wide margin to
opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai.

But Mugabe has already said that there must be a run-off election even
before the votes are “re-counted”.

Meanwhile the militia of Mugabe’s Zanu PF party, the so-called “war
veterans,” are using the records from the polling booths in rural areas to
identify villages that supported the opposition, and conducting mass
beatings in those villages so that the residents vote correctly next time.

Hundreds of people are in hospital with broken limbs after these
beatings, and some are dead.

Then there is the economic disaster of Mugabe’s Zimbabwe, a country
where unemployment is 80% and inflation is 165 000%.

Almost 70% of working-age Zimbabweans have fled the country in search
of work, and those still at home mostly live off their remittances.

But they don’t live very long: life expectancy in Zimbabwe is in the

This is in glaring contrast to the countries that surround Zimbabwe,
which have reasonably healthy economies, free media, democratic politics and
the rule of law.

Mugabe’s regime is not only hurting Zimbabweans; it is doing huge
damage to the region’s image in the rest of the world.

So why does the main regional organisation, the Southern African
Development Community, not take a stronger stand against Mugabe?

Why did South African President Thabo Mbeki insist that there is “no
crisis” in Zimbabwe, when obviously there is?

It’s all about perspective.

Mugabe may be a monster, but as one of the last surviving leaders of
the independence generation he is a sacred monster.

Moreover, many other African leaders are half-seduced by Mugabe’s
claim that he is facing a re-colonisation attempt by Britain.

It’s a comical notion for anybody who knows modern Britain, but in
post-colonial Africa it has a certain resonance.

The fact is that Zimbabwe was once a British colony (called Rhodesia),
and that Britain did nothing when the local white minority illegally seized

It took 15 years of war and tens of thousands of African lives to
overthrow the white minority regime, and at the end Britain promised to
provide large amounts of money to buy out the white farmers who still owned
most of the country’s good land.

Then it reneged on its promise.

In 1997 Clare Short, the International Development Secretary in Tony
Blair’s new government, wrote a famously stupid letter to the Zimbabwean
government in which she said: “We do not accept that Britain has a special
responsibility to meet the costs of land purchase in Zimbabwe.

We are a new government from diverse backgrounds without links to
former colonial interests. My own origins are Irish and, as you know, we
were colonised, not colonisers.”

Mugabe was understandably enraged by a British politician of Irish
origin claiming equal victim status with black Zimbabweans, and using that
to repudiate Britain’s treaty obligations to Zimbabwe.

Whether that explains his decision to drive the white farmers off
their land without compensation three years later (and thus to wreck
Zimbabwe’s economy) remains to be seen.

But the prominence of those same white Zimbabweans in the opposition
movement that sprang up after 2000, however understandable, certainly fed
his paranoia.

The other disturbing thing, from an African point of view, is the
disproportionate interest that the Western media take in the Zimbabwean

A US-backed occupation of Somalia by Ethiopian troops has plunged the
country back into war, killing thousands and turning hundreds of thousands
into refugees, and it barely gets mentioned in the Western press.

Nor does the West seem to mind the striking absence of democracy in
Angola, from which it buys a lot of oil.

But about Zimbabwe, for some reason, it cares.

There is no Western plot to “re-colonise” Zimbabwe.

Southern African countries need to bring pressure on Mugabe to accept
his defeat in their own long-term self-interest.

But they bring their own perspectives to the problem, and that makes
it harder for them to act.

Gwynne Dyer is a London-based independent journalist.

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Mugabe Taking His Morning-after Pills

Zim Independent

Thursday, 24 April 2008 19:33
I DO not have any intimate knowledge about unnatural contraception.

I am Catholic and so we do not plan our children.

I always marvel at those who claim to.

I cannot imagine sitting down with my wife, with an agenda for the day’s
meeting, a minute taker and the resolutions book.

There is certainly a good reason in nature why most animals cannot
breed in captivity. Catholics have their point, but do not ask me why I
still have two children.

Many women will tell you that if they engage in an activity that may
result in them falling pregnant against their will, they rush to the nearest
pharmacy presumably  the next morning and purchase the wonder pills named
the morning-after.

The pills are designed to prevent breams and tiger fish in the Zambezi
River’s upstream flow from finding a hospitable valley of fertility.

For the medicine to gather and put back the bolting donkeys in the
stable, it must be taken within 72 hours of the activity.

The pharmacist is ethically required to give some counselling before
dispensing them. The woman must be told that this is not a regular

Put in another way, it is an “emergency kick-out panel”.

The Pope and others consider this murder still.

If you do not take it within the required period, you risk giving
birth to a baby or more with clenched fists and a naughty smile.

When you undo the clenches, you may find the progeny holding the
belated morning-after pills.

Like election results posted outside polling stations!

The tragi-comedy that engulfs the presidential results shows that
Mugabe has decided to take his morning-after pills long after the 72 hour

How else do you explain fraud charges against Zimbabwe Electoral
Commission (ZEC) officers in Binga?

Some of the charges according to the state-owned Herald of April 16,
allege that they recorded Tsvangirai as having 16 492 votes instead of 16
493, a difference of one vote! It is alleged that they recorded the Zanu PF’s
candidate as having 2 794 votes instead of 2 798, a difference of four

In another instance it is alleged that they gave Langton Towungana, a
presidential candidate, 107 votes instead of 111?

Can anyone seriously prove any criminal intent to defraud?

What happened to innocent counting errors? I thought the law has a
rule expressed in Latin as, de minimis non curat lex?

This means that the law does not concern itself with trivialities.

What will the morning-after pills achieve now?

Mugabe either has to abort the foetus or give birth to an unwanted

A rerun will not reverse all the risks that unprotected polling

Even  ten thousand generals with freshly imported Chinese ammunition,
a supine state press, a marauding militia, comical spokespersons, a
lame-duck South African President, designer clothes and 400 motor vehicles
driven by medical doctors will not help. A fatal disease may have been

Liberation movements have shown consistently that they cannot easily
change from the autocratic military movements to democratic parties demanded
of modern governments.

This is why I prophesy that whatever happens, Zanu PF has contracted a
disease that will claim its life.

Kenneth Kaunda’s Unip has virtually disappeared in Zambia.

It has about two seats in the current parliament.

Kaunda will outlive it.

Kamuzu Banda’s Malawi Congress Party is dying in Malawi.

Jomo Kenyatta and Daniel arap Moi’s Kanu is dying in Kenya.

Chama Chama Mapinduzi of Tanzania has survived because it has managed
to change.

When Julius Nyerere threw in the towel on his own terms, Ali Hassan
Mwinyi took up the mantle, followed by Benjamin Mkapa and now Julius

In Mozambique, they are on their second president since the death of
Samora Machel in 1986.

On Seretse Khama’s death, Ketumile Masire took over in Botswana. He
was succeeded by Festus Mogae.

Mogae has just stepped down one and a half years before the end of his
second term, to allow Ian Khama the chance to prove that he can lead the

Zanu PF has no succession plan.

Like an old fractured horse, it may need to be put down.

Rumours abounding amongst its zealots indicate that they want a rerun
after taking some contraception.

They may dispense with the need for morning-after pills this time.

It is said that after some 18 months, someone will take over from

However, they may have already contracted the fatal disease.

Like its sister change-resistant liberation movements across the
continent, Zanu PF detests democracy, the intelligent and the young.

The next crop of “leaders” by age is Bright Matonga, Patrick Zhuwawo
and Saviour Kasukuwere.

They make me laugh.

Not-so-Bright Matonga makes people who watch him on international
television news channels laugh at me as a Zimbabwean.

When rumours of alternative candidates to Mugabe were spreading last
year, Oppah Zvipange Charm Muchinguri, the Zanu PF Women’s League leader,
threatened to strip naked if anyone dares challenge Mugabe.

She was walloped in the parliamentary elections on March 29.

Makoni’s late challenge cost us a strip show.

His upmarket Harare underwear business would have benefited from this

And people say he has business acumen! You would have thought
Muchinguri, who witnessed the death of the legendary Josiah Tongogara had
learnt some principle. No, it’s all profanity.

In order to defeat the fatal disease, anti-retrovirals may have to be
taken by Zanu PF.

But with its tendency to postpone bitter medicines, they may be given
too late to the patient. By the time Gono buys the foreign currency at
Harare’s 4th Street mobile alternative exchange bureaux necessary to import
the anti-retrovirals, they may indeed be more dangerous to the body than

As the dead cockerel party walks up the banks of the mythical River
Styx on its way to Judgment, it may be faced with the true revolutionaries
who once doubted Mugabe’s leadership waiting to ask a few questions?
“Jonathan who?” “Gideon who?”

Why did we reduce this “glorious revolution to a feudal agrarian
enterprise?” “Is this what we fought for?”
Someone will have a sobering thought and say, “Firstly, he should not
have polled. And the morning-after pills came too late”.

A High Court judge will say it was not an urgent matter.

Any girl will tell you, you do not need morning-after pills if you
have behaved responsibly.

As the late musician Paul “Dr Love” Matavire put it, majichimbo-chimbo
anofara musi wafa kondo ziso! (Prey celebrates the demise of its predator).

By Tererai Mafukidze

Tererai Mafukidze is a Zimbabwean lawyer based in Johannesburg, South

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Mugabe Should Just Quit

Zim Independent

Thursday, 24 April 2008 19:19
 IT is abundantly clear that President Mugabe is trying by all means
to extend his tenure of office despite the fact that he lost the March 29
election to Morgan Tsvangirai.

The president is even willing to risk further humiliation in a runoff
election, in the dim hope that a concerted campaign by his henchmen will
spring a surprise reversal of the March 29 loss.

That President Mugabe would risk even the little credibility he still
has is not surprising. It is common cause that his greatest aspiration would
have been to be a life President of Zimbabwe.

Over the 28 years of his rule, the president probably developed the
false notion that Zimbabwe was his kingdom rather than the republic that it
is supposed to be. As such, the possibility of handing over the reins of
power to someone else, particularly to Tsvangirai, who he so much despises,
is, therefore, completely unfathomable to the president.

What is most worrying is that he and his henchmen completely fail to
see that, even if he were to gain an extension of his mandate, there is
virtually nothing good that President Mugabe could do for Zimbabwe in the
next five years.

Two factors, namely, his capacity level to manage national affairs,
and the international context in which we live, make President Mugabe
completely impotent in solving Zimbabwe’s deepening economic and political

President Mugabe and Zanu PF are fond of emphasising the international
context, particularly the so-called sanctions, as the main impediment that
has stalled Zimbabwe’s turnaround efforts.

The international context is indeed an impediment to Zimbabwe’s
turnaround efforts.

It has to be.

The international community does not owe Zimbabwe anything. By crying
about sanctions, Zanu PF is behaving like spoilt brats, who go thumbing
their noses at the international community and then expect to be treated
with kid gloves.

“Madoda sibili” would not cry, but would effectively implement
policies to alleviate the deleterious effects of the so-called sanctions.

Unlike the government of Fidel Castro that has been in a tussle with
the world’s superpower for half a century, Zanu PF’s efforts in this regard
have been completely ineffective.

If the March 29 election results are manipulated in order to extend
Mugabe’s tenure, the situation will get worse.

The country’s pariah image will be exacerbated and Zimbabwe will find
itself with fewer and fewer friends, and unable to pull itself out of the
current crisis.

On the issue of capacity, in many respects, the resolution of the
crisis that Zimbabwe faces requires organisational and entrepreneurial
skills that President Mugabe simply does not have, and cannot possibly
muster in this 23rd hour of his life.

Even the contextual issue requires managerial competencies that he and
Zanu PF have not exhibited in the last 28 years.

In their lame argument, Zanu PF and President Mugabe cite the year
2000 as the turning point with regard to the economic crisis that we
currently face.

This is a convenient way to attribute all the country’s problems to
“racist reactions to legitimate efforts to empower the dispossessed majority
of Zimbabweans”.

This is complete hogwash.

This explanation is anachronistic and reverses the causal relationship
of the two issues.

What started was President Mugabe and Zanu PF’s failure to manage
national affairs. If truth be told, the real turning point was in 1997 when
our currency collapsed.

At that point, President Mugabe also lost his ability for autonomous
action as an executive president.

Extra-state players like the War Veterans Association assumed undue
responsibility in deciding and managing the affairs of government.

The ill-planned and haphazardly implemented land reform programme and
other empowerment programmes were an attempt to mask the organisational and
managerial failures of the Zanu PF government and extend President Mugabe’s
stay in power.

The strategy was to shift the spotlight to the emotive issue of
ownership in order to absolve the government of its culpability for
presiding over a progressively decaying economy, and collapsing physical and
social infrastructures and public services.

In the eight years since the year 2000, Zanu PF has continued to
overplay the ownership card. In fact, it is the only card they have played.

They even went angling for international enemies in order to
legitimise the requisite victim image and hoodwink Zimbabweans into thinking
that their misfortunes were caused by foreign enemies.

Meantime, the country’s economy continued to sink, and the
infrastructures continued to decay.

What President Mugabe and Zanu PF failed to realise, and which we hope
Zimbabwe’s new government will realise, is that the legitimate issue of
ownership needs to be balanced with the equally important issue of
organisational and entrepreneurial capacity.

Any attempts to resolve the substantive issues of ownership, will be
hollow unless effective organisational and managerial craft kick-in in order
to ensure successful effectuation of those substantive issues.

In Zimbabwe, the unfortunate thing is that both issues have not been
effectively dealt with.

Patronage was used as the basis for deciding on the empowerment issue,
resulting in lopsided programmes that benefited only Mugabe’s henchmen.

To make matters worse, many of those receiving this largesse did not
have managerial and entrepreneurial capacity to fully utilise the resources.

So, effectuation has been a total fiasco.

A good example is land ownership.

In this case, Zanu PF has committed capital-cide by allocating
valuable national resources to the president’s henchmen who do not have the
necessary capacity to effectively use them.

A lot of our prime agricultural land is now a dead asset.

A turnaround will not succeed unless this issue of capacity is
successfully resolved.

As with his other programmes, the president did not realise that
ultimate success depends on effective management in four main areas, namely,
clear articulation of the results to be achieved, definition of the
procedural and structural requisites for achieving the results, actual
effectuation of the program, and continuous evaluation and innovation to
ensure that the programme is on target.

This is not an emotional issue. It is an issue of cold calculation
which requires Zimbabwe’s chief executive officer, the president, to have
capacities to plan, direct, innovate, and lead the operation.

Clever people in the corporate world, realising that they lack the
requisite capacity, farm out this role to experts who posses those skill

Even the contextual issue that Zanu PF has so much harped upon
requires effective management.

Many countries in the world have a colonial history similar to that of
Zimbabwe. Effective leadership in most of those countries has ensured
economic and social prosperity without any compromises on the issue of

As such, Zanu PF’s tunnel vision in international relations has no
other explanation but to mask President Mugabe’s incapacity to manage the
affairs of the nation.

By Paul Vurayayi Mavima

Professor Paul Vurayayi Mavima leads the US-based financial services
company, First Group Investments.

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Counting The Cost Of Voting Against Mugabe

Zim Independent

Thursday, 24 April 2008 19:13
TAPUWA Mubwanda’s epitaph should read that he was murdered in cold
blood on April 12 in Hurungwe, Mashonaland West, by alleged ruling Zanu PF

His crime — voting for the opposition MDC led by Morgan Tsvangirai in
the March 29 elections.

“They identified him (Mubwanda as an MDC supporter and) without
wasting time, they rushed to him and they gave him no chance,” claimed
Hurungwe Central losing MDC candidate Biggie Haurobi to a civil society
network last week.

“They stabbed him with a very long dagger in his ribs. Straight away
he fell on the ground and within five minutes he was no more.”

The reported murder of Mubwanda and nine other opposition supporters
throughout the country, according to the MDC, is part of a Zanu PF terror
campaign to coerce the electorate to back the ruling party in the
anticipated presidential election run-off between longtime protagonists,
President Robert Mugabe and Morgan Tsvangirai.

The MDC alleged besides the killing of its 10 supporters, more than 3
000 families have been displaced in rural areas and over 800 houses burnt
throughout the country since polling day when it emerged that Zanu PF lost
its parliamentary majority to the opposition.

However, police deny that there was any post-election violence and
challenge anyone with such information to furnish them with the details.

While acknowledging that the alleged deployment of soldiers, war
veterans and youth militia in the countryside was intimidating, analysts
said it wouldn’t change voting patterns as the electorate was determined to
see an end to Zanu PF’s misrule.

“The so-called Operation Mavhoterapapi (where did you vote?) will not
work,” political commentor Michael Mhike said. “The electorate is resolute —
Mugabe must go. No amount of murder, torture and assault will discourage the
people of Zimbabwe from voting out Mugabe and Zanu PF.”

Mhike said the electorate would reject Mugabe in the same way the
Matabeleland region has rejected him after Independence in 1980.

“Despite unleashing the Gukurahundi in the 1980s in Matabeleland,
Mugabe and Zanu PF lost each and every election that has been held in the
region,” Mhike said. “This time around, the electorate throughout the
country has rejected Mugabe and the same will apply in the run-off the
regime is forcing on the people.”

During the Gukurahundi era, over 20 000 civilians were killed by the
North Korean-trained Five Brigade in what the government claimed was a
counter-insurgency operation against PF Zapu dissidents.

Mugabe is yet to apologise for the disturbances despite the fact Zanu
PF and PF Zapu in 1987 became a united party.

The closest he came to offer an apology was when he described the
Gukurahundi era as a “moment of madness”.

Mugabe’s ardent critic and University of Zimbabwe political science
lecturer, John Makumbe, said the alleged Zanu PF violence campaign was meant
to instill fear in the electorate ahead of the run-off.

“The international community should rein in Mugabe,” Makumbe said. “He
should be told to stop the state-sponsored violence to avoid this country
plunging into chaos.”

Makumbe said the electorate had spoken against Mugabe through the
March 29 elections and the “old man” should leave.

“Mugabe must go, but he doesn’t want to go easily. If the run-off is
going to take place, it must be supervised by the international community
and I can assure you that if that happens, Mugabe will lose,” the former
chairperson of Transparency International Zimbabwe said.

The National Constitutional Assembly (NCA) spokesperson, Madock
Chivasa, said it was clear that Zanu PF was spoiling for a fight ahead of
the run-off.

He said it was worrying that Sadc facilitator in the MDC-Zanu PF
talks, South African President Thabo Mbeki, declared that there was no
crisis in Zimbabwe when the government was preparing for war as revealed by
the foiled arms cache delivery at Durban Harbour destined for Zimbabwe.

“The NCA is concerned that in a situation where most citizens are
facing starvation the Zanu PF government was busy buying weapons that raise
suspicion of where they would be used,” Chivasa said.

“It is also NCA’s deepest concern that regardless of Mbeki claiming
there was no crisis, the purchasing of ammunition at this point in time
raises worry that there was a crisis in Zimbabwe that Mugabe and his kitchen
cabinet are preparing to thwart through the use of lethal weapons.”

The NCA urged the United Nations Security Council to urgently enter
Zimbabwe and make sure that citizens were protected from the “bloodthirsty
regime” of Mugabe.

 “The NCA fears that if no immediate measure is taken the people of
Zimbabwe will see a repeat of the Gukurahundi of the 1980s that saw an
estimated 20 000 of Zapu supporters being killed,” Chivasa added.

Police spokesperson Wayne Bvudzijena was this week quoted by the
public media refuting claims that 10 MDC supporters were killed.

“It is being said that 10 people have been killed. Four names were
given,” Bvudzijena said.

“I have personally investigated these cases.

Of those four, three have no basis whatsoever while the fourth is
still under investigation and will be concluded soon.”

He said it was unfortunate that these reports of violence were only
surfacing on the Internet with no formal reports being made.

“We respond to information supplied to us by the public and we have
nothing to hide,” Bvudzijena said.
But the MDC-Tsvangirai insisted that political violence was rampant in
the countryside.

“The MDC has been on the receiving end of Zanu PF attacks but the
police have been turning a blind eye and instead intensifying arrests of MDC
members,” an opposition spokesperson claimed.

“Among the deceased are Tapiwa Mubwanda who was stabbed by Zanu PF
supporters on Saturday, April 12 in Hurungwe East, Murunde Tembo from Mudzi
North, Tendai Chibika, Mutoko East, and Moses Bashitiyawo from Maramba

While Bvudzijena denied the alleged state-sponsored violence, Mubwanda’s
alleged brutal murder still haunts his wife and the solution to the Zimbabwe
crisis seems to be still very far as Mugabe continues to tenaciously cling
on to power.

“We were on our way from Masikote (in Hurungwe),” Mubwanda’s widow
remembered. “They grabbed my husband and said you are the MDC people. I want
to fix you today.”

She said she ran away and hid her child before returning to where she
had left her husband and his captors.

“When I got back my husband was lying down, bleeding from the mouth
and stomach. I removed my blouse and put it on his stomach to try and stop
the bleeding and make him better.”

By then Mubwanda was dead.

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Cohesion Imperative In New Zim

Zim Independent

Thursday, 24 April 2008 18:47
IT is my wish to bring the attention of my fellow Zimbabweans to the
need to value national unity and for us all to converge on the ideal of
being Zimbabwean, now more than ever in our history.

The events of the last four weeks have solidified the fact that
Zimbabwe will never be the same again in terms of the socio-political

The recent electoral upset against Zanu PF in the least expected area,
that is the rural areas, has expressly highlighted to all who are not
delusional that Zimbabweans are ready to move on from the politics of
patronage and keen to enter a new era.

The incumbent regime is obviously dissipating slowly despite their
best efforts to reverse this.

Moreover the irreversible winds of change are blowing while there is a
national clamouring for leaders who can turn the tide of Zimbabwe’s waning

It is imperative at this point therefore to let cooler heads prevail
in the reconstruction of a new Zimbabwe, particularly amongst those who lead

There is need for the fusion of all the progressive elements across
the political spectrum so as to bring a real new era of peace and

For much of our history a handful of the population has been
benefiting at the expense of the majority.

Therefore it is a wonderful opportunity now, when no one political
party has outrightly won the election, that a multiplicity of interests can
be served and no one section be taken for granted through a government of
national unity.

 I urge all Zimbabweans to come out of their comfort zones of
prejudices and tribalism and give this new Zimbabwe a chance considering
that it offers so many positive possibilities.

The alternative is there for all to see.

Flame, Harare.

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Erich Bloch: The Mother Of All Disasters

Zim Independent

Thursday, 24 April 2008 19:06
THE unmitigated gall of government knows no bounds.

By now there cannot conceivably be any in Zimbabwe who do not know
that the 2007/2008 agricultural season has been a disastrous failure, but
nevertheless the state-controlled media continues its endless trumpeting
that it is (or was): “The Mother of All Agricultural Seasons”.

How government can so brazenly continue with such blatantly specious
propaganda is incomprehensible in the extreme.

The hard, distressing facts are that as against a national need for at
least 1,8 million tonnes of maize, and as against government’s pre-season
confident forecasts of a crop of at least 1,5 million tones, actual
production is well under 500 000 tonnes.

Once again, Zimbabwe (which used to be the breadbasket for the entire
region) has to resort to vast maize imports in order to feed the populace.

And it is not only the maize crop that is a failure.

As against government’s forecasts (which it claimed were conservative)
of a tobacco crop of at least 110 million kg, the tobacco industry now
envisages that, at best, the harvest will be 70 million kg, and could well
be significantly less than that.

Similarly, Zimbabwe is confronted with pronounced scarcities of sugar,
milk, eggs, poultry, meat, vegetables, and of most other agricultural

It was Shakespeare who said “Methinks thou doest protest too much”
(admittedly, some slight poetic licence with that quotation!), and that is
undoubtedly doubly so insofar as the Zimbabwean government is concerned.

The first of its pronouncedly false, recurrent protests is that
Zimbabwe is enjoying “The Mother of All Agricultural Seasons”.

All those connected with the agricultural sector, even if only
remotely so connected, and all consumers, know otherwise.

They know that irrefutably Zimbabwe is experiencing yet another
catastrophic agricultural season (and even a government that is so arrogant
as to believe that whatever it says will be accepted as fact, knows that it
would lose all credibility — if it has any — if it sought to blame the
appalling outturn of this latest season upon climatic conditions).

Therefore, it unceasingly resorts to its second protest, which is a
nauseatingly frequent, vitriolic contention that Britain wishes to
recolonise Zimbabwe and that, to that end, it does everything it can
conceivably do to destroy the Zimbabwean economy, impoverish the Zimbabwean
populace, and reduce the lives of all Zimbabweans to boundless misery and
distress and, in order to do this, and to achieve its Machiavellian
objectives, Britain is aided and abetted by the malevolent European Union,
US, and many Commonwealth countries.

But even the most gullible cannot give any credence to such blatantly
false allegations.

Not only would it be contrary to Britain’s interests to destroy
Zimbabwe and its economy, if it really wished to acquire Zimbabwe as a
colony, but for over 60 years Britain has been ridding itself of all its
colonies and, instead, has vigorously promoted the concepts of the
Commonwealth, founded upon commonality of interests and reciprocally
beneficial interactions, with substantive assistance from the developed and
well-endowed countries to the under-developed, developing, and less-endowed
member states.

But Zimbabwe’s government would have one believe its wild fictions, in
order to divert attention from its near total culpability for Zimbabwe’s
distraught conditions.

That culpability includes innumerable ill-considered,
counterproductive policies and actions, some driven wholly by crass
political objectives and policies, and others by pathological craving for
power of omnipotent proportions, or — in the case of many — self enrichment.

And, of all of these, the most destructive has been, and continues to
be, Zimbabwe’s land policies.

None can convincingly deny that Zimbabwe was in desperate need of land

The abominable Land Apportionment Act which, for almost half of the
last century barred any of the black population from owning land in rural
areas should never, ever have been enacted and, having been unjustly and
racialistically promulgated, should have been very rapidly repealed.

The tragedy is that that rectification was not effected
constructively, but extraordinarily destructively, and without any regard
for justice, with contemptuous disregard for human and property rights, and
devoid of any consideration for economic realities.

In order to create a façade of legality for the intended acts of
expropriation and theft, the Land Acquisition Act, and subsidiary
legislation, was progressively enacted.

More than three-quarters of the experienced, productive farmers were
summarily deprived of their farms, their homes, their equipment, and most of
their personal assets.

In many, many instances such deprivation was effected not even under
the enacted legislation, and without compliance with the legislation’s
provisions, and without government’s required authorization.

Instead, individuals driven only by whim and fancy, and by intents of
very rapid self-enrichment, supported by “law unto themselves” war veterans
(actual and pseudo), or by high-ranking military, arrogantly helped
themselves to the farms, and to their contents and crops, all identified
solely by their covetous eyes.

Other lands were acquired by the state (but without compensation, it
alleging the liability for compensation being that of Britain,
notwithstanding more than 40 million pounds provided by that country for
land acquisition shortly after Zimbabwe’s Independence, conveniently
forgotten by the Zimbabwean government, and much of it unaccounted for!).

Some of the acquired land was then distributed by government, albeit
only under non-transferable leases, without any entrenched security of
title, and without collateral value, but millions of acres of land remain

Some of those who had unilaterally expropriated farms, and some of
those “lawfully” settled upon farms have, and are, working the farms, but
very many are not.

Instead, the farms have been denuded of all that was of value thereon,
and they have since lain fallow, the “new farmers” having sought only rapid,
unearned wealth.

Some have wished to use the lands, but had not the resources with
which to do so and, with rare exception, had little chance of access to
those resources, unless they had the “right” political affiliations, or
appropriate sycophantic relations with political hierarchy.

The result of the dictatorial eviction of productive farmers, and
their reduction to near poverty, and of inequitable and irrational
redistribution policies, concurrently with blatant condonation of land
piracy, was the destruction of the very foundation of the Zimbabwean

That which had provided employment for over 300 000 farm workers, a
livelihood for nearly two million people, food to sustain the whole nation
and much of the region, and very considerable, critically needed, foreign
exchange, was decimated cataclysmically.

That which was a major fuellant of other economic sectors, including
industry, the distributive trades, financial services, sand others, was
brought to near-total destruction levels.. That which had been the
foundation of the Zimbabwean economy was shattered by governmental action
and inaction of severe earthquake proportions.

But a government which believes that it is both omnipotent and
infallible cannot, even tacitly or implicitly, admit to error, and therefore
Zimbabwe’s government persists in its claims of having restored wealth to
the people, undermined only by imaginary diabolically contrived actions of
Britain and its allies.

Thus, when immediately following the so-called free and fair,
democratic elections of March 29, 2008 yet others, with avaricious intents,
took the law into their own hands by forcing more than 30 of the few
remaining white farmers to abandon their farms, and once again government
did nothing to halt them from so doing but, to all intents and purposes,
tacitly approved.

By its dogmatic defiance of the fundamentals of justice, that which
government has heralded as “The Mother of All Agricultural Seasons” is
actually “The Mother of All National, Man-Made, Disasters”.

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Muckraker: Zim's Great Chinese Takeaway

Zim Independent

Thursday, 24 April 2008 18:51
AFTER three weeks of pernicious propaganda including what were
manifest lies about the opposition preparing to take over, the Herald
finally decided to make a clean breast of things and admit it got the story
from the Internet.

This, it felt, excused it from any responsibility for republishing the
fake stories about whites reclaiming farms, generals recruited from
Australia, Germans at the Reserve Bank and Morgan Tsvangirai approaching the
British for military intervention.

It took a letter from Tendai Biti’s lawyers to get the Herald to
confess that the stories were cooked up.

And the British Embassy pointed out that the letter from Gordon Brown
to Tsvangirai pledging help with regime change was also a fabrication.

The Herald splashed it across Page 2 of last Thursday’s edition.

“The fact that the (Biti) document did not emanate from Tendai Biti or
the MDC (Tsvangirai) was brought to your attention,” Mbidzo, Muchadehama &
Makoni wrote to the editor of the Herald.

“This notwithstanding, you went ahead and published stories or
articles purporting that the document was authored by Tendai Biti and MDC

The lawyers pointed out what everybody else, including this columnist,
had observed: “They (MDC) say that the document was so poorly drafted,
concocted and so unintelligible (that it could not) have possibly emanated
from them or their offices.”

So what is the provenance of this document, the so-called Biti
Memorandum, one of the worst forgeries since the Protocols of the Elders of

We recall Tsvangirai being the victim of a mugging when arriving at
his venue from Johannesburg airport a few months ago.

Among the things taken was a laptop.

This, we can safely assume, contained correspondence.

It didn’t take much of a resourceful mind to extract names and dates
to concoct a “memorandum” from this material and add the state’s
well-practised spin about regime-change.

Which obviously raises questions about who organised this theft.

And what has the Media and Information Commission, the clumsy
instrument of the state in its war with the independent press, got to say
about such an obvious fabrication knowingly carried by the public media?

Is this the sort of professional conduct we should expect from the
public media? Did not one of the editors involved ask himself if this story
was true, especially given the mileage ministers and individuals like
Jabulani Sibanda were getting from it?

What have Patrick Chinamasa, Didymus Mutasa and Ignatious Chombo got
to say for themselves now?

There were no white farmers moving around warning they were coming

It was all part of a fictitious document circulated on the Internet
and published by the state media, used to justify farm invasions and the
myth that war veterans were defending Mugabe’s land revolution.

Chinamasa called Tsvangirai’s behaviour “treasonous” on the basis of
“correspondence” which the British Embassy has said was a forgery.

All these fabrications were part of Mugabe’s run-off strategy. He
would once again pose as the nation’s champion against the threat of British
and American depredations. Except they were all based on a
state-manufactured falsehood.

The only threat to Mugabe was a democratic election.

We hope Biti’s lawyers are watching carefully to see which big-mouthed
idiots are repeating the Goebellian big lie despite their letter of warning
carried by the Herald last Friday.

The Sunday News for instance is continuing to peddle the document. So
is Sikhanyiso Ndlovu.

We know it takes a while for news to reach Bulawayo but that is no
excuse for ministers and newspapers to propagate manifest falsehoods.

 Muckraker thought readers might be interested in this account from
the Sunday Times of the events surrounding the arrival of the arms shipment
at Durban harbour last weekend.

“The Sunday Times has established that this week’s Chinese shipment of
arms turned away from Durban harbour on Friday was just one of several
botched attempts by the embattled Mugabe regime to buy arms this year.

One well-placed Zimbabwean defence industry official told the Sunday
Times: ‘In the first three working days after the election, there were
queues of people outside (arms procurement) offices — police, the
presidential bodyguard unit, army, the CIO.

I saw 20 to 30 officers in a single waiting room, all begging for new
weapons and ammunition. (But) most of the orders could not be filled,
because the Reserve Bank doesn’t have the forex.

“And on March 20, military intelligence chiefs sent a full detachment
of the presidential bodyguard to escort a small shipment of 70 000 rifle
bullets after it was mistakenly believed to have gone missing when the
driver ‘went drinking’, causing panic among Mugabe’s military intelligence
chiefs, who believed the MDC had seized the shipment.

Another police order for 25 shotguns and ammunition had to be amended
to exclude the shotgun cartridges for lack of hard currency, while a
US$4,1-million tender for anti-riot equipment was abandoned when the
Zimbabwe Reserve Bank failed to raise the forex.

“A revised tender of US$2,2-million was abandoned for the same reason.
Finally, a US$200 000 purchase of Chinese equipment was made after personal
intervention by Mugabe.”

The ship sailed from Durban harbour on Friday with its six
container-loads of arms still on board, after the Durban High Court ordered
the seizure of the weapons.

We can safely conclude from all this that the instruments of
repression are being put in place so Mugabe can ensure there is no
opposition to his electoral “victory”.

And it confirms the sinister role played by China in aiding and
abetting the Zanu PF regime.

Cosatu played a key role in ensuring the cargo would not be unloaded
at Durban.

Let’s not forget those Cosatu officials who were arrested and deported
from Zimbabwe a couple of years ago.

What goes around comes around.

It’s now payback time.

The same goes for all those insults hurled at Zambia in the last
couple of weeks by Mugabe’s acolytes.

Now Levy Mwanawasa has repaid the favour.

The shipment will not be transported across Sadc member states, he

Solidarity, it seems, cuts both ways.

The Zimbabwe Prison Service has been prominent among those advertising
its loyalty on the occasion of the Independence Day celebrations.

“Together we have remained resolute and steadfast in safeguarding our
sovereignty…” its message proclaims.

“May this spirit of oneness prevail over the machinations of our
determined detractors.”

That was obviously a reference to the people of Zimbabwe who know all
about tractors.

They are determined to get rid of those professionally-challenged
service chiefs who cannot imagine a Zimbabwe without the dark shadow of
Mugabe presiding over them.

Let’s hope they grow up and understand their professional duty before
the machinations of the people of Zimbabwe catch up with them just as they
are catching up with their patron.

Arda, a failed parastatal, features a field of tobacco in the same
Independence Day edition. It is not clear who it belongs to.

The board and management of the IDBZ offer their congratulations but
omitted the word “bank” from their advert so it became the “Infrastructure
Development of Zimbabwe”.

Zinwa’s ad showed a generous flow of water which the nation is unable
to share while Zimpapers should update their picture of the president.

After all, they are supposed to be in the news business when they are
not advertising fictitious plots.

‘It is unfortunate that these reports of violence are only surfacing
on the Internet with no formal reports being made,” police spokesman Wayne
Bvudzijena was quoted as saying in Tuesday’s Herald.

“We respond to information supplied to us by the public and we have
nothing to hide.”

That’s good.

Now perhaps he will tells us who killed Tichaona Chiminya and Talent
Mabika and why that person has not been brought to justice.

That would be a good start.

Then we could move on to the cases of Martin and Gloria Olds, and
Tonderayi Machiridza, not forgetting David Stevens and more recently Edward

Patrick Chinamasa also needs to be asked about these cases the next
time he denies the existence of state-sponsored violence.

“People should ask the MDC to give the names, addresses and other
details of those it says have been killed,” Chinamasa said.

First of all he should tell us about those killed since 2000.

Then we can deal with this year!

Home Affairs minister Kembo Mohadi last year “challenged” the
opposition and civil society to come forward with information on
state-sponsored political violence.

They did not do so, he claims.

In fact the MDC handed over a bulky dossier of crimes to which he has
never replied despite their reminders.

The police, Chinamasa said, arrest people regardless of their
political affiliation.

If you have a complaint just go to the police, he said.

But he didn’t tell us what happened to Morgan Tsvangirai, Ian Makone
and Sekai Holland last year when they did just that.

They were accused of “provoking” the police and were severely
assaulted at a police station. They deserved to be bashed, Mugabe commented.

Chinamasa, we are told, chairs Zanu PF’s information sub-committee.

What is that outfit exactly and how long has Chinamasa been chairing

Why has it just been sprung on an unsuspecting public?

And what happened to Sikhanyiso Ndlovu?

Chinamasa is evidently happy to be used as the public voice of the

But he should be careful not to be held in the same high regard as
Mutasa, Ndlovu and Chombo. It is one thing to be a serial loser, quite
another to be one of the president’s clown jewels.

We were interested to see Mugabe will be opening the Zimbabwe
International Flea Market this year.

They evidently couldn’t find anybody else.

Is there no head of state who is prepared to grace this occasion?

What about asking the ICC if they can spare Charles Taylor for the

He would feel right at home with the violence and the vote-rigging.
But mind your limbs!

Hifa has what promises to be an impressive programme this year.

Needless to say, some performers have proved a tad skittish, given the
publicity surrounding Zimbabwe, and cried off.

But we were rather surprised by the well-known Zimbabwean actor and
playwright who said he couldn’t come because his children were worried about
his safety.

And he lives in South Africa!

We reported last week how merciless the South African press was with
Thabo Mbeki over his facile remarks in Harare.

And how he deserved the excoriating criticism he got.

But he won the ultimate accolade last weekend by being accorded
Mampara status in the Sunday Times’ Hogarth column.

South Africans have concluded their president really is from another
planet, Hogarth wrote.

“HIV/Aids, rampant rape, child murders, unemployment, kleptomaniac
health ministers, and bent police chiefs don’t exist where he comes from…But
when he flies to Harare to be humiliated again by sulky Bob; when we see him
on television stroking the hand of the last mad dictator and smiling into
the cameras: ‘Crisis, what crisis?’; when he calls an election marred by
broken heads, shattered limbs and bleeding faces “normal”; when he takes our
common national pride to New York to chair the UN Security Council and
forgets to mention Zimbabwe as an African challenge; when he tells the world’s
press he can’t imagine where they got the idea he had ever denied the
Zimbabwean crisis; when he makes us fools together on the world stage, then,
at last we must reluctantly conclude that the President of South Africa is a

Meanwhile, back in Zimbabwe.

Interviewer: “Mr President, are you ready to say farewell to the
people of Zimbabwe?”

President: “Why, where are they going?”

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Editor's Memo: It's Payback Time

Zim Independent

Thursday, 24 April 2008 18:41
WHAT goes around comes around! This old adage is currently haunting
the embattled President Mugabe.

It is payback time for organisations and institutions which in the
past he persecuted and harassed on the pretext that they were agents of the
imperial West.

The saga surrounding the Chinese ship carrying weapons destined for
Zimbabwe has brought to the fore the extent to which the regime of Mugabe is
now isolated and is being made to pay back for its past sins.

Ships could not dock in Durban this week because the South African
Transport Workers Union — an affiliate of Cosatu -— refused to unload the
ship following loud protestations from civic society in that country.

This week outgoing Justice minister Patrick Chinamasa wondered why
“there was all this hullabaloo about a lone ship”.

He said Zimbabwe as a sovereign state had every right to import
weapons and defend itself.

But like his colleagues in Zanu PF, he appears blind to the fact that
the sovereignty of any state is also dependent on how it treats its

Zimbabwe has failed in this area.

The reaction of the region to the importation of the weapons is clear
testimony that not many doubt the fact that the Zanu PF administration
requires force to remain in power, even if it means fighting the citizenry.

Chinamasa should not be surprised by the “hullabaloo” surrounding the
importation of the arms.

He should be alive to the fact that it is no longer business as usual
for the Zanu PF administration.

The chickens are coming home to roost.

Zanu PF alienated itself from the powerful Cosatu after it barred
labour leaders from visiting the country on fact finding missions.

Leaders of Cosatu were declared persona non grata in Zimbabwe.

In 2006, then Cosatu secretary-general Zwelinzima Vavi, together with
a group of trade unionists, was barred from entering the country to attend a
labour conference.

A year earlier, Cosatu had also been ejected from the country after
the government claimed the labour body’s visit was an “attempt to stir up
anti-Zimbabwe and anti-President Robert Mugabe sentiments”.

Among those ejected was Gwede Mantashe who is now ANC

It is little wonder that his statements on Mugabe’s government to date
have not been terribly complimentary!

“The reality of the matter is that there is a crisis in Zimbabwe and
that’s how we see it,” Mantashe said recently.

“It does not need a rocket scientist to see that. If in the ‘80s the
Zimbabwean dollar was R1,50 and today it is less than a cent, you can’t
quantify it. There is a crisis in that country.”

It was not surprising therefore that the transport union campaigned
against the shipment of arms through South Africa.

The embarrassing incidents at Harare International Airport in February
2005 when the labour leaders were turned back have become key factors in
shaping relations between Zanu PF and the ANC and ultimately between South
Africa and Zimbabwe.

In 2005 Cosatu threatened to blockade Zimbabwe in retaliation for the
expulsion of its officials.

This could be the beginning of a bitter fight and the arms shipment
saga appears to have provided the labour body with a handy platform to hit

As Cosatu spokesman Patrick Craven said this week: “This is just the
beginning of the campaign; the fight is however not yet over, as the ship
heads in the direction of Angola.

“Cosatu is doing everything possible to alert African transport
workers in both the maritime and road freight industries not to allow the
vessel to dock nor to handle or transport its cargo.”

While Zimbabwe’s arms this week remained at sea as the Chinese ship
sought a port to drop anchor and offload its foul cargo, Zambia was leading
a diplomatic offensive to ensure that Sadc states do not allow the weaponry
to reach Zimbabwe.

We all recall the government’s attack on Zambian leader Levy Mwanawasa
last week on spurious allegations that in calling for a regional summit on
Zimbabwe he was somehow pursuing the agenda of the West.

Mwanawasa’s position prevailed this week as Mozambique and Angola also
said the ship had no authority to enter their respective ports.

The bold statement by the region is commendable and leaves Mugabe not
only isolated but humiliated by comrades who only last week he thought
supported his continued stranglehold on power.

Just like the arms shipment, he is completely at sea. His diplomacy is
floating in the sub-region like a lost spirit looking for someone to

But his peers appear steadfast in their determination to exorcise the
spectre of such pernicious influence.


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Comment: Tsvangirai Should Tread Carefully

Zim Independent

Thursday, 24 April 2008 18:12
THE Movement for Democratic Change is currently riding on the crest of
regional discontent with President Mugabe over the delay in releasing
presidential election results and the incumbent’s sabre-rattling about
wanting to die in office.

There is also a lot of goodwill in the region for the MDC to
capitalise on as demonstrated by the solidarity of dock workers and civil
society groups who this week prevented an arms shipment into the country
from China.

We however do not believe that the MDC leadership is making the most
out of the amity that regional leaders and civic society have for the people
of Zimbabwe and the concomitant impatience with President Mugabe’s

For the first time in the eight-year history of the country’s crisis,
leaders in the region have adopted a resolute stance against the
degenerating situation in the country.

They believe there is a crisis in Zimbabwe and they want to help.

We have often raised concern with the failure by the MDC to take
advantage of political opportunities under their noses to further the cause
of positive change in Zimbabwe.

It is more worrying when the party takes an obtuse move at this
important stage of its struggle to form the next government.

Party leader Morgan Tsvangirai has of late not disguised his
irritation with Sadc-appointed mediator Thabo Mbeki who two weeks ago
pronounced a “no crisis” verdict on the Zimbabwe situation.

Tsvangirai’s frustration with Mbeki — which many Zimbabweans share —
is understandable in as far as the South African leader, as mediator, has
not only failed to nudge President Mugabe’s government to release the
outcome of the presidential poll but has also failed to comment on the
post-election violence that has gripped the nation in the past three weeks.

Amidst this anger however, Tsvangirai’s subsequent call to have Mbeki
removed as mediator and replaced by Zambian leader Levy Mwanawasa was not
tactically astute.

“We want to thank President Mbeki for all of his efforts, but he needs
to be relieved of his duties,” Tsvangirai said.

Sadc and Mwanawasa were quick off the blocks to reject this call by
Tsvangirai and reaffirm that Mbeki remained mediator in the talks.

Tsvangirai should have trod with caution on this one by reading the
mood among Sadc leaders regarding Mbeki’s mediation. In Lusaka, two weeks,
ago, they renewed his mandate to mediate and they have not condemned his “no
crisis” statement either.

The significance of this scenario is that the leaders in the region
still believe that Mbeki can do the job better than the other heads of

To the regional leaders, their view of mediator is neither a
Mugabe-basher nor someone who will show partiality to the MDC.

They want a mediator who can maintain engagement between the MDC and
Zanu PF.

They are aware that any mediator anointed by the MDC as arbiter will
be ridiculed by President Mugabe and Zanu PF.

The Zanu PF mocking team was quickly scrambled last week to pour scorn
on Mwanawasa for calling an extraordinary summit to discuss Zimbabwe.

We shudder to imagine their reaction to Mwanawasa taking up the
mediation role on the recommendation of the MDC!

Tsvangirai we believe should have been more circumspect in calling for
Mwanawasa to replace Mbeki.

Also the MDC here should have weighed its options carefully before
showing Mbeki a red card.

The move means the party believes it can succeed in isolating Mbeki in
the region and putting him in the same bracket of infamy with President

The second option is working to lobby the region and unite the leaders
to isolate Mugabe. The “Mbeki bad, Mwanawasa good” standpoint presupposes
that the MDC can divide the region to achieve political ascendancy in

The party has very little chance in achieving victory on two fronts,
against Mbeki on one hand and against the real target, Mugabe, on the other.

President Mbeki could have blundered during the course of the
mediation process but his peers in the region believe he can achieve a
measure of success in Zimbabwe.

He is prepared to continue with the mediation but the MDC has given
him the thumbs-down.

We see the MDC in a dilemma here.

If the party believes that positive change can be achieved by lobbying
leaders in the region, then Mbeki remains key.

Dumping Mbeki would mean a complete change of strategy, which should
still achieve the same result — a negotiated settlement with Mugabe.

We believe that the way forward to unlock the current logjam and ease
the constitutional crisis is through a negotiated settlement, whatever the
result of the presidential election.

But this requires Tsvangirai to put his best foot forward.

He seems to have difficulty doing that.

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Candid Comment: The Zuma Honeymoon Will Be Shortlived

Zim Independent

Thursday, 24 April 2008 18:05
I HAVE been reading some responses mainly in the South African media
to President Thabo Mbeki’s “not a crisis” comment.

(Never mind that even those who can’t read now wantonly quote Mbeki’s
“not a crisis” completely out of context.)  A newcomer to the region who
didn’t know of the hatred for Mbeki because of his failure to “deal firmly”
with President Mugabe would think Mbeki was the leader of the opposition in
Typically, Zimbabweans are latching on to this rubbish. With Mbeki as
their lightning rod, they don’t need to do anything, just wallow in their

What I found sad is the exaggerated difference by the media between
what Mbeki on the one hand and the ANC and its leader Jacob Zuma on the
other said about the presidential election debacle.

The ANC said the situation in Zimbabwe was “dire” while Zuma said it
was “unacceptable”.

This, the journalists concluded with exuberant wishful thinking,
represented a break with Mbeki. Mbeki had been left “isolated”.

This would be risible if it were not for its treachery in giving
ordinary Zimbabweans false hope of an imminent end to the ongoing violence.

Nothing could be further from the truth than journalists rummaging the
Internet for preferred soundbytes which are then presented as a fundamental
shift in the ANC’s relations with Zanu PF.

The ANC, in a speech presented by Zuma in Berlin on Monday, on current
global challenges, said: “We have voiced our views on the need to uphold the
will of the people in Zimbabwe, as the ANC.

We reiterate that election results should be released without delay …
The ANC regards Zanu PF as a fraternal liberation movement and an ally in
the effort to improve the lives of the people of Southern Africa.

We speak on Zimbabwe not because we favour our comrades in Zanu PF, or
because we side with opposition parties.

We speak out to promote democracy, peace and stability, and also
because as all democrats know, no government can justly claim authority
unless it is based on the will of the people.”

The truth is that no language, no matter how forcible, will produce
the result which Zimbabweans are looking for as against the quotable quotes
sought by tendentious Western media.

Zuma was forthright that the ANC was speaking as a neighbour “directly
affected” by the deepening social and economic crisis in Zimbabwe.

Never did the ANC pretend that “megaphone diplomacy” or military
adventurism was the solution to the Zimbabwean crisis.

African leaders who attended the AU summit in Mauritius at the weekend
came to the same conclusion, endorsing Mbeki to continue his mediation

That is unless they want Mugabe to drive a wedge through Sadc as he
did to the European Union ahead of Lisbon last year, much to “militant”
Gordon Brown’s embarrassment.

My reading of the ANC’s statement yields two perspectives: the
continued violence in Iraq, Afghanistan and Somalia does not speak well for
the efficacy of the military “solution” so beloved of the US and Britain.

Secondly, that approach has “isolated” the “global north” from
influencing events in Zimbabwe where all eyes are focused.

None will admit that militarism as a policy option has been a disaster
which cost Tony Blair his job and will cost the Republicans the presidency
in the US.

To them it sounds macho. It delivers corpses to their television

Zuma noted that one of the challenges facing conflict resolution is
the “strength, integrity and capacity of multilateral institutions” set up
by the AU “to promote multilateral, peaceful and sustainable solutions to

He observed: “But, as with the United Nations, the effectiveness of
these forums depends on the willingness of member-countries to accept the
forum as an instrument for addressing international problems.

Specifically, it depends on the capacity of these forums to temper the
impulse of powerful countries to impose their will, mainly by use of arms.”
(my italics)

That is the position of the ANC. It explains Mbeki’s position
vis-à-vis the Zimbabwean crisis at the UN — to avoid giving the US and
Britain a pretext for military intervention.

Those who care to interpret events and admit inconvenient truths will
soon realise that the West’s patronising attitude towards Africa premised on
the provision of “aid packages” and foreign investment will no longer
influence African governments’ policies; it will be viewed with scorn.

After Lisbon last year, it is difficult for these blandishments to
work again.

What does all this mean?

Simply that white capital’s anxiety in South Africa will not end with
a Zuma presidency despite all the cajolery.

It will deepen.

It means as poverty unravels in South Africa and Zuma gets into his
element, he will be forced to convert part of his popularity into populist
policies to meet the expectations of the poor whom Mbeki is accused of
having neglected because he is “aloof”.

At the end of the day there will be a keener convergence of sentiment
between the ANC, Cosatu and the South African Communist Party, forcing Zuma
to lean further to the Left than Mbeki, closer to the uncomfortable
realisation that, despicable though Mugabe’s methods are, he is far from
being a rebel without a cause.

Zuma is Mugabe’s son more than Mbeki can ever be.

If South Africa’s land inequalities are not speedily resolved, Zuma
may soon after getting into power find himself portrayed as the next Hitler
in the neighbourhood.

Let those in denial pray that he escapes conviction and jail; that he
becomes president and faces a sterner reality than song and showmanship.

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Zim Independent Letters

Zimbabwe About To Reward Failure
Thursday, 24 April 2008 18:36
THE impasse created by the electoral commission in Zimbabwe, through
withholding the presidential election results more than three weeks after
the elections is a recipe for disaster.

The “no crisis in Zimbabwe” statement by President Thabo Mbeki and
church leaders calling on Zimbabweans to “be patient” marks a sad moment for
the country.

The body that was entrusted with the duty of administering our
elections is playing truant with the results, because Robert Mugabe has been

Surprisingly, it is even taking them long to decide how to manipulate
the results, to the suspicion of the public.

The Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace rightly notes that “at
the centre of this mystery is the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC)”, a
constitutional body mandated to conduct elections and referendums
“efficiently, freely, fairly, transparently and in accordance with the law”.

This mandate has failed in the way ZEC has behaved in the release of
the much-awaited presidential results.

There is much anguish because of ZEC’s notorious behavior — to make
public issues out of defeat-denial by Mugabe their concern. They have
created uneasiness in the country and the international community at large.

ZEC has failed! People did not vote in vain to watch ZEC meddle in
political gerrymandering.

Zimbabwe must vigorously begin to work out an alternative with
strategically scaled and coherent objectives, to demand our rights and
destroy Mugabe’s desire to steal our votes.

This is no more a battle against Zanu PF, but against Mugabe.

In choosing to release the results of the parliamentary elections and
withholding the presidential results, he obviously seeks to make a
distinction between his party’s defeat and his personal defeat.

The terrifying repression has been justified in the name of
efficiency, recounting and verifying results with the aim to emerge Mugabe

Some misinformed church leaders had the courage to chat with George
Chiweshe and come out announcing loud that the nation should be patient.

They claim the ZEC is justified in holding the country at ransom, a
corrupt ploy meant to steal votes.

They override the manipulation of the constitution to suit Mugabe. The
church’s calls for patience indicate that the conscience of the nation has
lost track of events.

They never questioned the circumstances that led to this three week
long impasse. Constitutionally, the results must be released within a
reasonable period of time! Are these church leaders impartial or are they
are stooges of Mugabe?

There are no more prophetic voices, after the silencing of Pius Ncube
by Mugabe’s government last year.

When Pius was being attacked by Mugabe’s political forces, the same
church leaders never dared defend him, yet today they defend thugs.

The church must speak against injustice, corruption, murder, disregard
of the rule of law and speak for the poor and the oppressed, not to defend
Mugabe’s disastrous desire to impose himself in State House.

The eviction notice given him is enough and to aid him to stay a
minute longer is fraud.

To suggest a run-off is notorious for, constitutionally, that should
be held (last) Saturday, 21 days after the Election Day.

We are yet to see a manipulation of the constitution.

The institutions of justice and democracy have been by-passed by the
fundamental decision of those who wield power.

ZEC has institutionalised injustice by meeting Mugabe’s demands.

A combined assault by both ZEC and Mugabe has been the obstacle to
progress and rebuilding a new Zimbabwe.

But, however plausible ZEC’s rationalisation and however ingenious the
passing reassurances, hardly anyone is deceived.

Clyde B Chakupeta,
Georgetown, Guyana.

Zanu PF Taking Voters For Granted
Thursday, 24 April 2008 18:32
IT is disdainful for our outgoing leadership to pretend to Zimbabweans
and the international community that there is no election crisis in this

Why is government attempting to massage the minds of the electorate to
the idea of a run- off, even before the announcement of the presidential
poll results?

Whether we like it or not, history repeats itself and by the look of
things we now have a de facto UDI firmly in place, and a kleptocracy riding
roughshod over the will and determination of the people to free themselves
from abject poverty.

We now get the impression that the liberation war was fought solely
for one man to rule Zimbabwe.

The argument that has been advanced concerning the opposition that it
intends to return farms to their former white owners is a pathetic attempt
to buy sympathy and support when it is common knowledge that Mugabe’s
ministers are multiple owners of the farms.

A recent story in a weekly newspaper of a nephew of the president who
has four farms is a testament to this.

It is no secret that Zanu PF bigwigs fear losing their multiple farms
once the opposition wins.

For the same reason they are resorting to doctoring information and
publishing forged documents concerning the opposition.

It is futile however because the people have unequivocally spoken.

Zanu PF is a party of accomplished liars.

Many of those multiple farm owners have become the archetypes of the
very white farmers they replaced because they also had multiple farms.

As I write, the people in the rural areas are being beaten left, right
and centre for having voted for the opposition whilst President Mbeki
maintains there is no crisis in Zimbabwe.

He seems blind to the fact that there are over two million Zimbabweans
in South Africa for all the wrong reasons.

Vulcan, Budiriro

Sibanda And Chinotimba Misled Mugabe
Thursday, 24 April 2008 18:30
JABULANI Sibanda and Joseph Chinotimba misled Robert Mugabe into
believing that he still has the people’s support, not knowing that they were
digging a very deep political grave for him through the so called “million
man march”.

The bogus march was meant to suppress all notions of a leadership
change within Zanu PF as advocated by the likes of Simba Makoni, Dumiso
Dabengwa and most of the politburo members.

It seems Mugabe did not bother to look beyond Sibanda and Chinotimba
to check whether the atmosphere was in his favour or not.

Sibanda and Chinotimba are therefore the architects of Mugabe’s
political demise and the suspicious mood within the police, army and CIO
contributes further to his downfall.

Whoever participated in the marches has contributed to Mugabe’s woes.

Kurauone Chihwayi,

Government or no government?
Thursday, 24 April 2008 18:23
ZIMBABWE has limped along for over three weeks now with no official
government in place.

It looks like we may well limp along for many more weeks and even
months yet before this current constitutional crisis is resolved.

Robert Mugabe dissolved cabinet the day before the March 29 election
as is normal practice and as required by the constitution in preparation for
the elections.

Despite the “government statement” on April 9 and the “reaffirmation
of the position” by Sikhanyiso Ndlovu, former Minister of Information,“that
all cabinet ministers are still in office until such a time that a new
cabinet is appointed to conduct government business,” this is not the case.

A dissolved cabinet is a dissolved cabinet!   They can pretend among
themselves as much as they like that they are still in office, but they are

The majority of Zimbabweans are still waiting for the new cabinet to
be announced.  We are well aware that there is no substantive government in

The danger, however, is that because of lack of independent media,
especially in the rural areas, people will start to accept and even act upon
the lies put out by “government”.

It is a well-known phenomenon that if something is said by an
“authority”, that statement will be accepted and even acted upon.

Remember the psychology experiment where someone turned up the
electric voltage to way beyond the point where the recipient was screaming
and would have died in reality, simply because he was obeying the person in

The myth of the former Zimbabwe government continuing is even being
spread by international media, who ought to know better.

Recently the Mail & Guardian referred to Bright Matonga as the Deputy
Minister for Information and Publicity, presumably because they too have
fallen for the lie.

While we could be right in thinking that this situation proves that we
could get along fine without the former government being in power, clearly
we do need a substantive, constitutionally appointed cabinet, and as soon as

Neither our constitution, even the defective and much-amended
Lancaster House version, nor the Electoral Act ever made provision for such
an unthinkable hiatus following an election.

This hiatus looks set to last for an indeterminate period, especially
if we have court cases, appeals, challenges and so on, which is bound to

In the case of the 2000 elections, some 36 court challenges were filed
and several MPs, including Kenneth Manyonda, were found not to have won
freely and fairly, but those MPs appealed to the Supreme Court and remained
sitting in parliament, passing laws for the full five-year term!

The mind boggles — but meantime we and the independent media all need
to do everything in our power to stop this lie (and others!) from spreading.

By Trudy Stevenson

Stevenson is the former MP for Harare North.

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