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Zimbabwe Villagers Stage Sit-In As Hunger Bites

05/04/2010 10:18:00

Zaka, April 05, 2010 - Hundreds of villagers- including women with young
children strapped on their backs, from the drought-perched Benzi communal
lands in Zaka on Monday staged a sit in at the Grain Mareketing Board (GMB)
depot at Jerera Growth point demanding urgent food relief to avert possible
starvation of their families in the impoverished district.

The villagers-who were singing songs denigrating the inclusive government
staged a six hour sit at the GMB depot before marching to the District
Administrator's office where they handed over a petition demanding urgent
food relief or else they would take unspecified action.

At least 90 000 people in Zaka are in need of urgent food aid as most of
their crops were written off following a prolonged dry spell and non
governmental organisations had been providing food assistance to the
villagers since the beginning of the year.

Some of the villagers who staged a sit-in at the GMB depot blasted the
inlcusive government for prioritising what they called petty issues when the
majority of people we er starving.

Others blasted President Robert  Mugabe for wanting to cling to power yet he
was not able to feed starving villagers who were always saved by non
governmental organisations.

''We want to make it clear to the inclusive government especially Mugabe
that we are fed up he is busy prevaricating on implementing the GPA fully so
that we get food relief from foreign donors but he has failed to give us any
assistance we are starving with our families here and that message should be
loud and clear to Mugabe,''said Rainos Panganai from Rudhanda village in the

GMB officials at the depot refused to comment and referred all questions to
their head office in Harare.

Zaka district administrator Nyasha Zindove said there was urgent need for
food relief in  Zaka to avert starvation.

''Indeed we need food aid as of yesterday as at least 100 000 villagers are
vulnerable but I am not aware that there are people who staged a sit-in I am
still on holiday get in touch with me after the Easter holiday,''said

Some of the villagers who staged a sit in vowed to continue until they get
food relief.

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Push to curtail powers of the police

April 5, 2010

By Our Correspondent

HARARE - A parliamentary committee is seeking to further curtail police
powers after proposals submitted by legislators suggesting the current
Public Order and Security Act (POSA) Amendment Bill still left the law
enforcers with room to violate human rights.

The Amendment Bill that was moved by MDC Mutare Central legislator Innocent
Gonese seeks to vest powers to prohibit public gatherings in the courts as
opposed to the police.

The Bill also seeks the re-training of law enforcement agents.

It also aims to reduce the number of days organizers of public gatherings
need to notify the police from the current seven to three days and allow
demonstrations at courts and Parliament, among other far-reaching changes.

But a report by the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Home Affairs and
Defence in the hands of The Daily News suggests even more changes must be
effected to curtail powers of the police.

"Your committee has also made the following recommendations - the Act be
reviewed beyond the current Bill as proposed by the mover; the proposed
amendments by members of the public to be incorporated into the Bill," says
the report.

"The powers currently reposed in the police should be reviewed and generally
curtailed; the discretion that the police have on matters affecting
fundamental rights must be reviewed.

"The Act should make provision on how the police can be held accountable for
improper and illegal conduct and the use of excessive force.

"Whenever one or more police officers use force to disperse a gathering or
prevent public disorder at a gathering, the police officer or senior police
officer concerned, as the case maybe, shall without delay, within four days
thereafter prepare a report."

It adds that the police report should indicate whether firearms, tear gas or
button sticks were used and should include the names of the officers who
used such force.

The report said although Harare lawyer Bryant Elliot successfully challenged
the requirement that police ask for ID documents from people - after they
demanded one from him - the law enforcement agents were still flouting the
law by continuing with the practice.

The police, invoking POSA, have been accused of the brutal suppression of
protests against President Robert Mugabe's government.

The police have also been accused of acting with impunity.


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Third order for seizure of RBZ assets

April 5, 2010

By Our Correspondent

HARARE - The High Court has issued a third order for the attachment of
Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) assets after the central bank failed to
settle a US$1,5 million debt for seeds supplied by a South African company
in 2006.

High Court judge Justice Lavender Makoni ruled that the central bank must
pay Advance Seed South Africa (Pvt) Limited US$1, 55 million with interest
at 5 percent per annum or have its properties seized.

Harare lawyer Thembikosi Magwaliba, who is representing the South African
company, on Monday confirmed the latest development.

He added that the judgment was passed at the end of March.

"We have since issued a writ of attachment against attachment of RBZ
property," said Magwaliba. "It has been sent to deputy sheriff Harare for
attachment of property."

Advance Seed South Africa joins two other companies Farmtec Spares and
Implements and Seed Co who have successfully sued the central bank over
unpaid money.

Last month, Farmtec Spares and Implements started auctioning the central
bank's assets in a bid to recover a $2 million debt while Seed Co has
attached property to recover US$4 million for unpaid seeds.

The developments have been a source of embarrassment for RBZ governor Gideon
Gono. He has been accused indulging in quasi-fiscal activities to please
President Robert Mugabe and Zanu-PF.

At the height of his influence, Gono dished out free farming implements and
inputs but in February this year he said beneficiaries must start paying

"Having gone for over 30 months post-commencement of the programme, it is
now time farmers, beginning the 2010 harvests, start to pay for the
equipment they received," Gono said in the statement.

"Beneficiaries under the Farm Mechanisation Programme will, therefore, be
receiving detailed statements and invoices, along with the payment
modalities which will be delivered to each farm gate."

Most beneficiaries of the programmes have been Zanu-PF supporters allocated
land after a chaotic land reform exercise which started with violent farm
invasions 10 years go.

The so-called Farm Mechanisation Programme was a response to criticism that
the government had parcelled out pieces of land to people with neither the
knowledge nor the resources to work the land.

Gono assumed the role of sourcing the farming inputs, a function critics say
should not be undertaken by the governor of the central bank.

Speaking at his farm during ANC youth leader Julius Malema's visit at the
weekend, Gono said: "I can speak with certainty that nobody has come to
where he is without the helping hand of this Governor.

"I know how painful it is to support a cause and get punished for it. My own
children had to be expelled from schools abroad because of my support of
this Government."

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NUST lecturers strike over allowances

April 5, 2010

By Our Correspondent

BULAWAYO - Lecturers at the National of Science University and Technology
(NUST) last week embarked on a strike after the university's management
stopped giving them transport and food allowances.

NUST lecturers had been on go-slow for the past week as negotiations over
the allowances with university authorities were underway.

Last year, the NUST management decided to give lecturers transport and food
allowances of US$180 per week on top of their US$200 monthly salaries.

However, from March 1, the allowances were cut; the authorities say the
university is facing serious financial constrains.

On Thursday, the negotiations collapsed and the lecturers embarked on a
full- fledged strike saying they would only return to work if the management
backed down on the allowances.

"We will only go back to work if they give us money for food and transport,"
said Albert Muzvuve spokesperson for NUST Lecturers Association.

When contacted for comment Felix Moyo, NUST Director of Information and
Public Relations, confirmed the lecturers had embarked on strike after
negotiations collapsed.

But he described the strike as illegal.

"The lecturers did not give us the 14 day notice before embarking on strike
as required by labour laws," said Moyo. "Therefore the strike is illegal and
we won't recognize it."

Meanwhile, last week NUST students sent a petition to the Vice-Chancellor
Lindela Ndlovu demanding the Student Representative Council (SRC) elections.

"We hereby write to demand SRC elections with immediate effect, as the
absence of students' leadership has grossly affected building of bridges
with the administration and indeed your respected office," reads part of the
petition signed by more than 150 students.

In February NUST authorities expelled student leaders, banned student
activism on campus and imposed a curfew at the university.

SRC president Brian Mtisi and committee members Mlungisi Dube and Jorum
Chikwadze were expelled for defying the order.

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Boy, 2, killed by rampaging elephant

05/04/2010 00:00:00
by Lebo Nkatazo

AN elephant flung a two-year-old boy three times into the air as the tot's
horrified mother watched.

Helpless Lillian Nyamandu, 26, has working in her sorghum field in Guruve,
Mashonaland Central, when the elephant emerged from the woods and charged at

Realising the danger, the mother picked up her baby and started running
while being pursued by the animal.

National police spokesman Superintendent Andrew Phiri said the woman
tripped, leaving behind her baby.

From a safe distance, the powerless woman saw her baby picked off the ground
by the elephant and tossed into the air three times. The tot, named as
Cleophas Muzeya, never stood a chance against the giant animal.

Villagers retrieved the tot's body from the scene after Nyamhandu raised the
alarm. By then, the elephant had slipped back into the bush and was never

It was not clear what caused the elephant to turn violent. Elephants seldom
attack humans without provocation, but increased settlements near Zimbabwe's
game reserves has increased human encounters with the world's largest land

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Mugabe, Malema discuss Terreblanche murder

Cde Malema I Presume ... Mugabe meets the ANC Youth League president on Monday

05/04/2010 00:00:00
by Lebo Nkatazo
E mail this to a friend Printable Version
Murdered ... Eugene Terreblanche

PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe and ANC Youth League president Julius Malema have discussed the murder of South African white supremacist leader Eugene Terreblanche during talks in Harare.

Mugabe met Malema -- who was concluding a four-day visit to the country as a guest of Zanu PF -- at State House for over two hours on Monday.

With reporters present, Mugabe spoke to Malema at length about Zimbabwe's land reform programme and what he said was Britain's failure to honour its obligations to white farmers whose properties were seized for resettlement.

Mugabe also praised South Africa as an unstinting ally against what he said was a global crusade by "imperialists" to remove his government through economic sabotage and propaganda.

Then the Zimbabwean leader, who returned from a trip to Senegal on Sunday, turned to Terreblanche's murder, asking Malema: "I hear they are trying to blame you?"

Before Malema could answer, Mugabe's press secretary George Charamba stepped in and asked reporters to leave the room.

South Africa's pro-white opposition Democratic Alliance has sought to draw a link between Terreblanche's murder, apparently by two farm workers he refused to pay, with Malema's insistence on singing a liberation song "Dubul' ibhunu", which means "shoot the Boer".

DA MP Juanita Terblanche said: "This happened in a province where racial tension in the rural farming community increasingly is being fuelled by irresponsible racist utterances by .... Julius Malema and the North West COSATU Secretary, Solly Pheto.

"An attack of this nature can be regarded as an attack on the diverse components of the South African democracy. The DA calls for people to remain calm and on the ANC to strongly condemn racist utterances which has become synonymous with Malema and his ilk."

The ANC Youth League has rejected the accusations, with Malema set to make his first public comments on the matter on his return to South Africa later Monday.

Terreblanche was killed as he slept on his bed at his farm outside the town of Ventersdorp, North West Province.

Police said the 69-year-old was beaten to death by two farm workers after a dispute over unpaid wages.

President Jacob Zuma has appealed for calm, saying the killing should not incite racial hatred.

Terreblanche, who campaigned for a separate white homeland, came to prominence in the early 1980s as the champion of a tiny minority determined to stop the process that was bringing apartheid to an end.


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ANC To Coach Zanu PF Youth On Violence Free Election

05/04/2010 17:41:00

Harare, April 05, 2010 - Controversial African National Congress (ANC) youth
league president Julius Malema claimed Monday that he had advised Zimbabwean
iron fisted President Robert Mugabe to desist from using violence to win
elections as this usually backfires.

Speaking at State House in Harare after a closed door meeting with Mugabe,
Malema said the Zimbabwe leader understood his message. He said they would
teach Zanu PF how to win elections democratically and peacefully.

For the four days that Malema and his delegation have been in Zimbabwe
trying to prop up failed and discredited Zanu PF polices like the land
reform programme and the indigenization and empowerment law, he was warning
Zanu PF against violence.

"We have agreed with President Mugabe to help strengthen the structures of
the party. We want Zanu PF to become strong again. We have agreed to engage
Zanu PF in practical examples of how to win elections peacefully and
democratically. We will invite their youths to South Africa for council
elections and we will show them how it is done," said Malema.

On Saturday evening Malema castigated Zanu PF and warned that their
continued use of violence to win elections will make them more unpopular to
an extent that people will end up revolting against them.

Malema was addressing the Zanu PF youth leaders at Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe
(RBZ) governor Gideon Gono's farm after a tour of the vast property by the
South African delegation.

"Violence is not an option. Even if you lose power tomorrow you need to take
two, three steps backwards and strategise and say this is how we are
recapturing power. We must fight the battle ideologically on the ground, we
need ground forces, and we need foot soldiers equipped with political fuel.
Its  not  about how you shout slogans and  how you can exercise violence or
use AK47 on your  people.

"Once you do that you are inviting an invasion. The US is forever ready for
you, they want to come here and if you give them the opportunity to come
here you will have failed our revolution.

"They  will attack you and after  finishing  you  by  virtue  of  being the
superpower with all the  machinery all of  us  here will never say anything.
We will just keep quite because we will be killed. They want to destroy this
party and if you give them the way in the form of militants you are going to
compromise all of us," charged Malema.

On Saturday Malema was the guest of honour at a function hosted by the Zanu
PF aligned Affirmative Action Group (AAG) where he again implored on Mugabe's
party to win elections peacefully.

"You must do like the Americans. They won't beat you up to listen to them,
they don't cut your hands for you to listen to them - they use propaganda
through newspapers, internet and television and you end up believing them.

"If you use violence and the people revolt, you will never stop them even
with the whole army. Engage the people ideologically and persuade them to
vote for you," said Malema

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36 killed on Zimbabwe’s roads in Easter holiday accidents

NAM NEWS NETWORK Apr 5th, 2010

HARARE, April 5 (NNN-NEW ZIANA) — Fourteen more people have died in 205
accidents reported throughout Zimbabwe since last Wednesday night, the eve
of the Easter holiday break, police said here on Sunday.

The new deaths brought the holiday toll so far to 36, most of them Easter
holiday travellers. Police said 279 other people were injured in the
accidents which have made this holiday season the bloodiest East break in
Zimbabwe’s history.

Zimbabwe Republic Police Spokesman Superintendent Andrew Phiri attributed
the accidents to speeding, drunken and reckless driving.

He said the use of road vehicles which were not roadworthy had also played a
part in the accidents, and police had impounded many such cars.

Supt. Phiri urged public transport operators to avoid speeding and
overloading their vehicles. “For instance last night a truck collided with a
Nissan pick-up which was carrying 21 which resulted in seven people dying on
the spot near Marondera,” he noted.

Transport, Communication and Infrastructure Development Minister Nicholas
Goche said this was already the bloodiest Easter holiday in the history of
the country and the government has declared the three accidents which killed
33 people last week as national disasters. — NNN-NEW ZIANA

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'Idolatrous' Senegal statue unveiled

Published Date: 05 April 2010
By Andy Sullivan

SENEGAL this weekend inaugurated its giant "African Renaissance" monument,
brushing aside complaints that the personal project of President Abdoulaye
Wade was a waste of money and un-Islamic.
One imam in the mainly Muslim West African state issued a fatwa on Friday
condemning the statue, of a man, woman and infant, as idolatrous, a charge
dismissed by Mr Wade's allies.

Slightly bigger than the Statue of Liberty, the $28 million (£18.4
m) copper monument overlooking the capital Dakar has been criticised as a
waste of money in a country with crumbling infrastructure and welfare

More than a dozen heads of state, including Zimbabwe's Robert Mugabe and
Ivory Coast's Laurent Gbagbo, attended the statue's inauguration, which
coincided with the country celebrating 50 years of independence from France.

"Every architectural work sparks controversies - look at the Eiffel Tower in
Paris," pro-Wade senator Ahmed Bachir Kounta said.

Mr Wade, 83, who has confirmed he will seek re-election in two years' time,
has said he was personally involved in designing the statue. Critics have
said it is more Soviet-style realism than traditional African art form.

The 50m-tall monument has been built by North Korean labourers, another
source of discontent in a country where formal employment is scarce.

Many Dakar residents, struggling with increasingly frequent power cuts,
disintegrating city roads, rising living costs and scarce formal employment
have mixed feelings about the monument.

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Zimbabwe Vigil Diary – 3rd April 2010

Vigil supporters were not surprised by the squirming of Zanu-PF when confronted by the reality of implementing the Global Political Agreement. We don’t think it came as a surprise to President Zuma either and we look to him to make Mugabe honour his word. Zuma must know that South Africa’s credibility is at stake.


To underline Zimbabwe’s dependence on South Africa for freedom from tyranny we plan to mark the thirtieth anniversary of Zimbabwe’s Independence Day at our Vigil on 17th April by placing candles on the steps of the South African High Commission. Our ‘lights for freedom’ will be carried there by groups of supporters at intervals during the Vigil. We hope to be joined at that Vigil by Lovemore Matombo – President of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions, Irene Petras – Executive Director of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights and Gabriel Shumba – Executive Director of Zimbabwe Exiles Forum. The three will be attending a conference ‘Zimbabwe 30 years on: Rights, challenges and opportunities’ in London that day organised by Action for Southern Africa, the successor to the Anti-Apartheid Movement. ACTSA are encouraging their visitors to attend the Vigil from 4 pm. (See Events and Notices for more information about the ACTSA conference.)


We are pleased to say that the equipment paid for by a generous donation to the Vigil from pupils at the Dolphin School in London has now been delivered to four schools in Zimbabwe selected by Vigil management team members. We earlier reported pupils and staff at Gwinyai Primary School (selected by Fungayi Mabhunu) were delighted to receive sports equipment and stationery.  Arnold Kuwewa’s brother delivered a package to Southerton Primary School and Arnold reports that there was a special assembly to celebrate the delivery. Moses Kandiyawo similarly reports that the Gumbo Primary School was delighted to receive the sports equipment and stationery. These three schools are in the Harare area but the fourth Baring Primary School is in Mutare. Again a special assembly was held.  The children of all four schools are very keen to make contact with the children of the Dolphin School and start penpal friendships.  The Vigil will get in touch with Steve Garvey the teacher who organised the donation to facilitate this.


Other points:

·           Thanks to Sue Toft for standing in for Vigil Co-ordinator Rose Benton and to Kimpton Samkange and Reginald Gwasira for making sure the Vigil paraphernalia was delivered safely. 

·           The special Prayer Vigil for Zimbabwe outside the Zimbabwe Embassy on Sunday 4th April (Easter Day) was attended by about 100 people. It took place after a procession from nearby St Martin-in-the-Fields with a big banner ‘Release (in Shona, Ndebele and English) Zimbabwe’. Vigil supporter Josephine Zhuga led the choir. Bishop Michael Doe who returned from Zimbabwe about 4 weeks ago talked about his ministry there.  He said the lockout of Anglicans from their churches was widespread affecting many large towns including Harare, Bulawayo, Mutare and Masvingo.  The funeral service for Bob Stumbles, the prominent Zimbabwean lawyer, had to be held in a school hall.


For latest Vigil pictures check: For the latest ZimVigil TV programme check the link at the top of the home page of our website.  For earlier ZimVigil TV programmes check: 


FOR THE RECORD: 114 signed the register.



·       ‘Lights for Freedom’: Zimbabwe Independence – 30th Anniversary. Saturday 17th April.  Vigil supporters to place candles on the steps of the South African High Commission.

·       ‘Zimbabwe 30 years on: Rights, challenges and opportunities.’ ACTSA Independence Day Conference. Saturday 17th April at 11.15 am. Venue: Unite, 128 Theobald’s Road, London WC1X 8TN. Speakers: Lovemore Matombo – President of Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions, Irene Petras – Executive Director of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights and Gabriel Shumba – Executive Director of Zimbabwe Exiles Forum The conference will examine the country’s current challenges and opportunities for the future from a diaspora, trade union and human rights perspective.

·       Swaziland Vigil. Saturdays from 10 am – 1 pm. Venue: Swazi High Commission, 20 Buckingham Gate, London SW1E 6LB.  Please support our Swazi friends. Nearest stations: St James’s Park and Victoria. For more information check:

·       Zimbabwe Association’s Women’s Weekly Drop-in Centre. Fridays 10.30 am – 4 pm. Venue: The Fire Station Community and ICT Centre, 84 Mayton Street, London N7 6QT, Tel: 020 7607 9764. Nearest underground: Finsbury Park. For more information contact the Zimbabwe Association 020 7549 0355 (open Tuesdays and Thursdays).

·       Strategic Internship for Zimbabweans organised by Citizens for Sanctuary which is trying to secure work placements for qualified Zimbabweans with refugee status or asylum seekers. For information: or contact:


Vigil Co-ordinators

The Vigil, outside the Zimbabwe Embassy, 429 Strand, London, takes place every Saturday from 14.00 to 18.00 to protest against gross violations of human rights in Zimbabwe. The Vigil which started in October 2002 will continue until internationally-monitored, free and fair elections are held in Zimbabwe:


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Pitfalls of National Consciousness and the Crisis of the National Project in Zimbabwe

Written by Dr. Sabelo J. Ndlovu- Gatsheni.
Monday, 05 April 2010 14:53
The signing of the Global Political Agreement in September 2008 and the
installation of the Inclusive Government in February 2009 provided hope to
the poor and underprivileged in Zimbabwe, who had experienced not only
violence but numerous problems ranging from shortage of basic commodities,
endless electricity cuts, water shortages, devastating cholera outbreak and
endured a bizarre situation of having to buy the few available goods in
foreign currency while being paid in worthless Zimbabwe dollars. Indeed
there is no doubt that the Inclusive Government has made commendable strides
towards restoration of normalcy in Zimbabwe.
While money is still in short supply, basic commodities are now available,
violence has subsided, schools have opened and the national economy is
showing signs of revival albeit a painstaking one. In spite of all these
positives, Zimbabweans must be cautious not to engage in pre-mature
celebrations. We still need to know why our country reached such low ebb. We
cannot expect a brighter future beyond this crisis, without clearly
understanding why we experienced an unprecedented crisis in the first place.
Our leaders must know and accept that critics are not necessarily enemies of
the nation but concerned citizens who want to see right things being done
for the sake of the nation. It is in this spirit that I still feel as a
nation we have not given ourselves time to do a thorough, deeper, sober and
honest explanation of why Zimbabwe plunged into crisis at the beginning of
2000. This is not a mere intellectual exercise, but is necessary if the
nation has to avoid a similar crisis in future.
This exercise is pertinent because within the Inclusive Government there is
no consensus on the causes of the crisis leading inevitably to a lack of
consensus on what is to be done to transcend the crisis. The former ruling
party (ZANU-PF) still insists that the crisis was caused by imperialist
sanctions. The MDC factions insist on the culpability if not responsibility
of ZANU-PF for the political and economic melt-down that left Zimbabwe a
shell of its former stature. In short, as a nation we are not yet beyond the
simplistic politics of denials and blaming each other. The full
implementation of GPA is hostage to this retrogressive politics.
The key question is what went wrong in Zimbabwe? Unless our leaders look
beyond the useless politics of denials and blaming one another, they will
miss the big picture. The Zimbabwe crisis is largely an African crisis. A
crisis emanating from what Frantz Fanon termed 'the pitfalls of national
consciousness' that leads to national tragedy. Its roots are traceable to
the limits of decolonisation and the poverty of the social basis of African
nationalism as an emancipatory project. In order to simplify things, I will
call it the crisis of the Zimbabwe national project. It is a crisis that
emerges from unresolved modes of accumulation; unresolved definition of the
authentic subject of liberation; unresolved problems of belonging;
unresolved racial nationalism and contested teleology of decolonisation.
Academics like Brian Raftopoulos and others are clear on these issues but I
am not sure that our leaders and citizens realise the salience of these
issues. ZANU-PF reduced these complex issues to the land question and their
solution was a confused one of 'conquest of conquest' in which those defined
as natives had to be allowed to re-conquer those considered settlers. It is
from this understanding of the Zimbabwean situation that some people see the
country progressing through a series of Zvimurenga from 1896 to 2010. This
wrong methodology plunged Zimbabwe into what Fanon described as the
nightmare of repetition without difference. In this case, Zimbabwe found
itself repeating and practising the cannons of racial nationalism (reverse
racism) as a solution to the problems rooted in white settler racial
colonialism. This went hand in hand with the politics of destruction of
people in the name of things particularly in the former white owned
commercial farms. The Black Nationalist bourgeoisie found themselves
organising themselves in the same manner in which white settler bourgeoisie
did into what I would call 'loot committees.' All this was covered under the
noble gloss of either Africanisation of civil service, nationalisation of
means of production or indigenisation of the economy. The colonialists
called it pacification of barbarous tribes and civilising mission. The
nationalists call it Chimurenga and liberation. While the colonialist did
not conquer Africa to be poor, the nationalist did not fight for liberation
of Africa to be poor! What a paradox? Is this not manifest in the way the
land reform programme was hijacked by 'native bourgeoisie'?  Are we not
witnessing this in the manner in which Chiadzwa diamonds are being extracted
and sold? Is clinging to state power at whatever cost not linked to the
politics of accumulation?  Who then can deny Frantz Fanon's critique of
decolonisation as resulting in 'repetition without difference'? Are we not
repeating the crude ways of primitive accumulation that has its roots in the
unfolding of Western modernity which eventually resulted in imperialism and
colonialism? Indeed we have not escaped the laws of repetition and have
failed the test of ethical based notions of being free and empowered.
Like Fanon, I think the key failure of decolonisation lay in the hands of
the class that led the nationalist revolutions in Africa. The bourgeoisie
class that led nationalist movements suffered terribly from what Fanon
termed 'intellectual laziness.' It is a disease of failure to transcend the
immanent logic of colonialism together with its re-production of racism and
ethnicity. It is a failure in the bourgeois class to commit class suicide
and be truly representative of workers and peasants. Just think of the
Lancaster House Conference. Just visualise Joshua Nkomo, Robert Mugabe and
Abel Muzorewa, squabbling over decolonisation of Zimbabwe with the British
and Americans as moderators. Then one would see the limits of the elites
that led us to where we are today. One would easily see where the revolution
lost its way. At least Nkomo and Mugabe pretended to be together only to
plunge the country into crisis barely two years into independence.
The colonially produced bourgeoisie were and are a liability to the African
emancipatory project. Either they degenerate into open tribalism and plunge
young African nation into ethnic cleansing or they fall headlong into
embarrassing compromises with the colonialists and again plunge the workers
and peasants into non-freedom. At another level, they degenerate into
narcissism and victimhood and die railing against imperialism and
colonialism while butchering their citizens and looting national resources
ahead of peasants and workers. Indeed the crisis of Africa is that 'the
beautiful ones are not yet born.' The 'other of bourgeoisie' that is
currently contesting power from the nationalist bourgeoisie produced by
colonialism also suffers terribly from ideological confusion. They tend to
imbibe lock, stock and barrel, notions of good governance, democracy, human
rights and even life-style audits unquestioningly. They find themselves
being blamed for being lackey of imperialism and colonialism. The recent
example of life-style audits being debated in South Africa for instance does
not take into account the hidden hand of those focused on criminalisation of
black accumulation of wealth and deflection of popular focus from real
causes of inequality bedevilling post-apartheid period. The worst level is
when black people engage in what is termed 'black-on-black' violence as part
of the struggle to achieve freedom. Xenophobia that rocked South Africa is a
case in point. 'Election cleansing' that engulfed Zimbabwe between April and
May is the second example. That level of degeneration of consciousness is
not forgivable.
The challenge is how to renew the African national project without
necessarily falling into the tragedy of trying to turn our backs on the
world and trying to go it alone. Hatred of the world is not the answer.
Militarisation of state institutions is not the answer. Violence is not the
answer. Tribalism is not the answer. Racism is not the answer. We need to
guard against the pitfall of imagining the nation in racial terms and
fragmenting postcolonial states into tribal fiefdom(s). We still need to
think hard about terms of peaceful co-existence founded on ethical politics
of fair and just distribution of available resources. If we think broader,
they questions of the day revolve around three pre-occupations: the search
for freedom development and material welfare; acceptance, belonging and
citizenship; and finding ethical conditions of human peaceful coexistence
where diversity and difference does not result into inequality and
Not only Zimbabwe had to rethink what it means to be free in the first
place. South Africa is experiencing a similar challenge. The current debates
in South Africa about 'life-style' audits and the Zimbabwean debates of
indigenisation and empowerment are all reflective of the African search for
a language to articulate pathologies of inequalities and quest for ethical
founded politics of fair distribution of wealth. A recent presentation by
Achille Mbembe on Fanon and decolonisation held at the University of
Witwatersrand set me thinking harder about the trajectory of the African
national project in general. Mbembe's presentation touched on key current
debates on wealth and property; and rights and entitlements in Africa that
translates into idioms of relations between people and things; opulence and
hunger, and manipulation of state control as an avenue to accumulation
versus pathologies of distribution. This is the challenge of our time and we
need to think carefully on these issues and thread cautiously over the
pitfalls of national consciousness that breed such tragedies as xenophobia,
racism, tribalism and genocides that have disunited the masses of our people
and limited our quest for universal emancipation. We long for a new humanity
where African hatred of the self dies. It is African hatred of the self
induced by colonialism that enable the thirsty to 'annihilate' and
'de-capacitate' one another easily whenever we are hungry and whenever there
are elections.

Dr. Sabelo J. Ndlovu-Gatsheni is a Zimbabwean academic writing from
Johannesburg in South Africa. He can be contacted by email:

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