HARARE (AFP) - Zimbabwe's main opposition party on Saturday vowed a repeat
of Kenya's recent election violence if veteran President Robert Mugabe rigs
joint presidential and legislative polls due in March.
"You saw and heard what happened in Kenya. It's nothing compared to what we
will have here if Mugabe rigs the elections again," said the Movement for
Democratic Change's secretary for information, Nelson Chamisa.
Clashes in Kenya following last month's disputed presidential polls have
left more than 600 people dead.
"You can't have a thief rob you twice and let him keep his hands," Chamisa
told hundreds of party supporters at the launch of their election programme
in a suburb of Harare.
"We are gathered here to launch the new Zimbabwe Campaign, a campaign for
free and fair elections and we want those elections to be free and fair."
Mugabe, in power since independence from Britain in 1980, was accused by the
MDC and Western governments of rigging the last elections in 2002.
While the MDC once posed the most serious threat to Mugabe's rule, it has
been severely undermined by internal divisions with nearly half of its
lawmakers no longer loyal to long-time party leader Morgan Tsvangirai.
Chamisa however said the MDC would mend fences and present a united front in
the March elections whose exact date has yet to be announced.
"We want a united front," he said. "We want the like of (rival faction
leader Arthur) Mutambara and Daniel Shumba to play their part."
Shumba, a former official in the ruling Zimbabwe African National Union -
Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF), launched his own party two years ago.
MDC secretary general Tendai Biti told the crowd: "ZANU-PF is a paper
construct, when you push it, it falls. We are going to push it and it's
going to fall.
"ZANU-PF has done what the war failed to do and that is to destroy the
Zimbabwe is in the throes of economic crisis with inflation last announced
at nearly 8,000 percent in September. Economists estimate that the real
figure is now closer to 50,000 percent.
Agencia de Informacao de Mocambique (Maputo)
12 January 2008
Posted to the web 12 January 2008
Electricity from the Cahora Bassa dam on the Zambezi began flowing to
Zimbabwe again on Saturday, after the Zimbabwean power utility ZESA had paid
off some of its debt.
The dam operating company, Hidroelectrica de Cahora Bassa (HCB) had demanded
payment of 10 million US dollars out of a total ZESA debt of about 19
million dollars. When repeated promises to pay in December were not
honoured, HCB threw the switches on 1 January, cutting off ZESA.
Juliao Pondeca, the advisor to the HCB board on strategic and commercial
development, confirmed to AIM that the ten million dollars has now been paid
and that electricity supplies to ZESA resumed at zero hours on Saturday.
He added that ZESA has also promised to pay off the remaining debt, and to
honour the monthly bills from HCB. Pondeca was sure that these promises from
ZESA had the backing of the Zimbabwean government.
HCB had clearly been irritated by ZESA's habit of promising to pay
"tomorrow" - but when tomorrow arrived the only thing HCB received from ZESA
was further promises, rather than money in its account.
According to Pondeca, before the 10 million dollar payment, ZESA's debt to
HCB stood at 18.7 million dollars, and a further four million dollars would
fall due by the end of January. HCB felt obliged to act because it did not
want the Zimbabwean debt to balloon into something unsustainable.
Zimbabwe has traditionally relied on electricity imports to bridge the gap
between what it generates (mostly at the Kariba south hydropower station and
at the Hwange coal-fired station) and what it consumes.
But Zimbabwe's chronic shortage of foreign exchange, and the worthlessness
of its own currency, have pushed ZESA into building up repeated debts, not
only with HCB, but also with Zambian and Congolese suppliers. As for the
South African electricity company, Eskom, not only has it demanded that ZESA
pay upfront, but currently power shortages in South Africa itself prevent it
from exporting electricity to Zimbabwe.
Sent: Saturday, January 12, 2008 4:31 PM
Subject: Nathaniel Manheru - Herald 12 January 2008 - Absolutely fascinating!
If one ever wanted confirmation of yesterday’s article in the Independent
this is it. This is either one huge cunning deception or an admission that
Zanu PF is about to tear itself apart. Either way it is damaging because it
has a full go at people within.
Call it a potpourri, a yoking together of violent contrarieties. Much like
my late old man’s span of draught animals. You notice I did not call it a
span of oxen, and here is why. Some years back in colonial Rhodesia, the
Manheru family hit upon very hard times, harder than rain-soaked,
heavy-wheel, compacted asphalt. The few thin cows my father had inherited
from his own late father — many of them, thanks to inbreeding, no bigger
than a widow’s goat, bonier than a village cur — had been impounded by his
angry in-laws. We were left with no draught power, making the thought of
yoking my mother’s cockerels quite a do-able practical prospect. The man I
called "father" had not settled long outstanding lobola, apparently happy
and contend to have paid the "your-daughter-is-here charges or
"tsvakiraikuno" in Shona. It was a remarkably paltry sum, a mere
five-and-six (equivalent of the current 25cents). Since that initial — and
as it turned out — his only payment, his name and fame prospe
When the fateful boast got too loud
We were all happy to pay regular visits to our mother’s people. Little did
we know this riled her brothers who got angrier with each son their sister
littered and delivered to the thankless Manheru family. We were too young to
notice, too happy to care. We visited more and oftener; they got more and
more angry, these my mother’s brutal brothers. Until one day they decided
enough was enough. They picked the most physical, the most unreasonable of
their lot, made straight to our home, mouths zipped, foreheads creased with
exhibited anger. Something was terribly wrong, and no interpreter was
needed. They had heard my father’s reckless boast, and sought to teach him
an unforgettable lesson. They went straight to the kraal and drove out
anything that purported to have four legs and two horns, before vanishing in
the direction which until now, I was so wont to associate with happy
tidings, tender care of my mother’s people. Suddenly, the direction assumed
a new significance: it became the abyss that had swallowed my father’s
wealth. Or my inevitable heirloom the day those who reside in the nether
would have sent for him. An frail and ailing man for many years, I always
knew his time would soon come and my primogeniture rights would confer on me
a sprint of a head-start in real life. In an angry instant, all that was now
gone, and a blank prospect stared me in the face, in our face as a family.
My mother put up a show of a wail, most probably calculated to pre-empt a
retribution sure to come from we-all-knew-who. After all, his brothers had
grabbed baba’s cattle, most probably with her tacit support, if blatant
instigation. Had she not murmured about men-who-do-not-marry, that day she
came back from Manzoto’s beer party, after one-a-too many of the witch-brew?
Sooner than later, baba would remind her first, before swiftly moving in to
exact quite some telling punishment on her fine body, possibly with lasting
consequences on her dental set-up.
Two cows and five donkeys
Except that would not decide how the big field of the giant Mushumha tree
would be tilled. All that remained in the kraal were big worms, big beetles,
all the time writhing and writing their valedictions to the soon-to-dry-up
cattle pen. Fortunately, on the day of the great tragedy, baba had loaned
one cow and its calve to a neighbour. Three donkeys had been borrowed by
another family to ferry their grain to a nearby grinding mill. This is how
these animals, later to become a rag-tag span for the season, were spared
and survived the wanton grab of angry uncles. With a very strange sense of
proportion, one only inspired by this baffling and stupefying predicament,
my father yoked together donkeys and cows, donkeys and calves that had
hardly dropped their umbilical, donkeys and cockerels that had hardly
started crowing. Quite a medley, a potpourri of breathing things only
justified by his hard-to-manage misery. The outcome could not pull a plough,
not even a wooden one. The outcome was neither a cattle nor a donkey span;
neither a cow nor calf span. Only Nathaniel’s strange father’s nondescript
span, one that emitted and smelt poverty. It was reckoned not by the medley
animals that constituted it; rather, it was called by whose it was. Going to
the nearby primary school was a forbidding prospect. What with girls from
infinitely less poor families, giggling and murmuring behind torn jerseys
about a soon-to-be-yoked-with-a-donkey boy from a nearby village. Having
been all along a bright and haughty boy who dominated the class, the girls
and bigger boys I had repeatedly humiliated in end-of-term results, had now
found a sure way of killing my soul, a good angle for mortifying
retribution. Then on, I walked with the limb and doubt of injured esteem.
Oh, those years of drought!
Calling it by its owner
There is a simple lesson from this sad story of my clan. What you cannot
name, whatever is nondescript, simply call it by its owner. Fullstop! Such
is the political nonesuch we now have, exactly only a month after Zanu-PF’s
Extraordinary Congress. Apart from yoking together the dissimilar,
apparently without the usual conceit known to British metaphysical poets,
the new political creature which the media has excitedly written about,
inhabits the arcane realm of the political parallel market, poignantly
neither bird nor animal, but flying with a loud farting flutter. Tomboti
chiremwaremwa nhai? A-ah bodozve, lets reckon it by its owners. For they are
many. The proposed National Front (NF) or National Patriotic Front (NPF) —
whichever name carries the day finally — is a whore of a political
formation. So many fathers mated its mother: the British, the Americans, the
Germans and, above all, the Swedes. And each of its runners incarnate each
of these semen. I leave you, gentle reader, to match each of these power and
nationality to each of the prime runners of this piece of political
grotesquely, starting with the easy Ibbo, right down to the Moyos and
Maweres. That is point number one: this is not a rebellion from within
Zanu-PF; it is an alien construct which worse than all the MDCs put
The Namibian connexion
Let me throw a little more light. Recall Hidipo Hamutenya, the Namibian
ex-SWAPO leader who hoped to step into the shoes of Nujoma, but failed? He
ended up creating a new party opposed to SWAPO late last year. That party
was supposed to draw heavily from disgruntled SWAPO people, thereby
transferring to itself all the signification of the Namibian struggle. The
whole party was a Swedish thought, funded by Swedish money and indeed, when
Hamutenya was smuggled to Zimbabwe, to Africa University in Mutare last
year, ostensibly to give a public lecture, Raylander domiciled him. In the
context of that visit, a local academic who is part of this whore party, was
in place to connect, to share and to be inspired into generating Zimbabwe’s
own equivalent, under exactly the same political and funding circumstances.
As with its Namibian counterpart, the new proposed party draws heavily from
the disgruntled, indeed a coalition of the bitter and disgruntled. Gentle
reader, you may recall that a few months back in 2007, I referred to
Raylander’s expectation of a momentous development before end of that year.
This was part of it. It is now official: Sweden has become a willing
destabiliser of liberation movements in Southern Africa, principally the
ANC, Zanu-PF and SWAPO. In part, this explains South Africa’s Lekota remarks
about infiltration of the region by foreign forces of regime change, and the
need to share intelligence among sitting governments. The difference between
Zimbabwe and Namibia is that in her calculation against Zimbabwe, Sweden is
only a minor, with bigger, greater anger of the British and Americans
playing a leading role.
Such an impressive, powerless throng
All decoys imaginable, all Trojan Horses available, have been employed in
this equation: bitter independent MPs, Liberators’ Platform and its Mhanda,
ex-Ministers including one who ran away from his job for America, who has
been moving in and out of the country, carrying Anglo-American booty for the
new party without knowing the authorities have been tracking, tracking;
business guys: one related to this ex-minister maritally, another in the
banking sector, yet another heading a well-known former parastatal, a
leading former legal officer of Government, a contingent of ex-servicemen to
give the experiment a patina of liberation respectability, high officers of
the ruling party including some controlling provinces and with business
interests. I could go on and on to enumerate this powerless throng. The
point is that it is not their thing, and unlike Kenya’s Rainbow Coalition,
it will not survive a day into the fight, let alone the aftermath. In fact,
the bicker has started, with a handful of defections already registered:
some from embitterment, from unmet expectations; others from sheer fear
inspired by the daunting prospect of Zanu-PF’s reaction. Remember some do
hold positions both in the Party and Government, and sooner or later their
present thin ambiguity will be harder to sustain. And where no firm position
promises have been made, they have been trying to weigh their chances with
an even hand. To secure their future in Zanu-PF’ inevitable victory, they
have started to inform on their colleagues. Which is why intelligence has
been so effortlessly easy.
So many angles, so many dimensions
I have so many angles I could give, including the fact that this proposed
whore party has sought to play on imagined bitterness of marginalisation of
Zimbabwe’s eminent persons and main tribes: rebels of the liberation
struggle, ex-ministers, ex-governors, ex-officers, ex-this, ex-that,
Karangas, Manyikas, Ndebeles, all against perceived Zezuru dominance. I
could write about that, write about who approached who in Government and
Zanu-PF, including yours truly, and on which day, and with what swaying
argument. I could carry the various responses from those approached. I could
connect all this to certain enervating developments in the economy,
including in the parallel market, dwell on TOYOTA VIGAs which have not
rested a minute since then, all the time delivering billions to provincial
structures which will soon be dissolved, rendering effete all that which has
been invested and put in place. Poor guys. Their rich reapings in the
parallel market are soon going to be in vain. The little boys who are
running media errands for these disparate forces. Yes, I could dwell on why
there was so much relief when Butau made good his escape; why he felt so
confident to say he could destroy this Party and Government from England,
indeed why he was so important that the British Lords only this week found
him so worthy a subject for debate. I could refer to Politburo members who
convene unilateral meetings in provinces, who seek to stymie any political
activity to give themselves unimpeded latitude to hold consultative meetings
at which ambiguous messages are given on the ruling Party’s presidential
candidate, at which moneys shower from above with no blessings. I could make
reference to meetings between the new American ambassador and some senior
Party and Government officials, all held outside the aegis of Foreign
Affairs, all facilitated by a senior UN official. Talk about overtures to
Tsvangirai, including a pact to ensure MDC does not field candidates in this
one province to my East. Many things I could talk about, including the
seemingly puzzling phenomenon where persons who were sworn enemies and
haunted each other out of Government during their Zanu-PF days, are now
sworn friends and allies, for now that is. I could write about attempts to
create will-of-wisps through the media, hoping to put people off scent. Many
things, I say.
Whys and wherefores
But I choose to focus on the owner of the span, identifying him, laying bare
his intentions, hopes and calculations. Eunuchs looked after the queen and
the royal courtyard; however seemingly powerful, however refulgent, they
were not the monarch. Zvitambapanashe! Let us get down. I have already
identified the owners of the rag-tag span. What is the goal? Angry
westerners reason that what happened between 1998 and 2005 owe to one man,
and is sustained by this one man: Robert Mugabe. Maybe true in part. I know
many moments when many within the ruling party would have succumbed, indeed
were inclined to deploy the police and army against the war veterans who had
occupied our land then under white control. They were many battles behind
the scenes. I know many who once they had got their own pieces of land and
had been well ensconced, would have called "halt!" to land reforms. They
preferred an augmenting and multiracialising of land ownership in Zimbabwe.
Not the empowerment of the vast majority. It is the I-am-in-so-close-the
door syndrome so typical of most failed revolutions. Yet others would want
to dispossess peasants and war veterans who staked claims on
rich-well-watered and well-infrastructured pieces, using the flimsy
arguments of land utilisation and specialisation. Indeed some of the guys
who are holding this foreign thing they now call a party, were a vocal part
of this counterrevolutionary argument, an had to leave government. Still
others staked land claims across provinces: from Mashonaland right through
to the conservancies of Matabeleland. They have since grown fat, grown round
and portly, grown too confident. Or bitter where such claims have been
challenged and reversed. Focus and determination owed to Robert Mugabe,
which is probably why one understands the West’s overbearing emphasis on him
as the sole carrier of Zimbabwe’s land reforms.
But after the first sweet harvest, the situation changed. Presently the land
revolution’s defences do not rest on any one man, much as it may still need
this one man for continued principled leadership. Everyone who is on the
land is a land insurgent-in-waiting, which is why the President has resisted
writing into the constitution a clause guaranteeing the irreversibility of
land reforms. Any fool could un-write such a clause the same way the present
visionaries would have. To that extent, R.G.’s legacy is indeed well
secured, and with it, our heritage. This whore political formation is
intended to oust this one man for the edification of the bitter British.
Indeed, the poor manifestos printed as news in both the Financial Gazette
and The Independent, pretty bring this out quite clearly. The whore
creature’s policies belong to RG’s Zanu-PF. So does its attempted name,
which is why one part of this made-up miscellany foolishly wants to fight
the forthcoming elections under the name Zanu-PF. It is as if they are
unaware of the electoral law’s copyright clauses which put a limit to naming
and symbols conventions. Or arrogate to the genuine Zanu-PF a tolerance
level for copy-cats which is so hard to fathom. But it’s their folly and let
us grant it to them. Their only point of departure is their rejection of the
person of the President, who must not be Robert Gabriel Mugabe. Major Mbudzi
calls such a rejection a revolution, showing he was not given that surname
for nothing. Maybe it is a genuine limitation of vocabulary.
Hating on behalf of Anglo-Americans
This is an attempted putsch, bereft of any recognisable principles, founded
on a recognisable persona hate, done on behalf of some foreign powers. When
Mhanda and his team accost former Governor Hungwe to deliver the Karanga
Vote in both Masvingo and Midlands, or when elements from Manicaland urge
their counterparts in Masvingo to support Dr. Makoni for Presidency, pulling
the argument that it is now their turn after Masvingo ate in an immediate
lower capacity in the Presidium for the past 23 years, the idea is to use
false entitlement claims founded on tribe to alienate Mugabe’s rural vote.
Or to divide it so a circumstantial rainbow emerges. The British, the
Americans, the Swedes, are playing the tribal card in this game and we need
to be very, very careful. The Kenyan mayhem beckons.They have invested
heavily in this type of politics in Matabeleland; they think they have now
found a formulae in Mashonaland, one dignified by so many faces of some
retired war veterans. From the standpoint of these politics, the Zezuru are
cast as Zimbabwe’s Gikuyus who have eaten, eaten and eaten, since 1980. And
yet this whore formation has visible Zezurus within its hidden leadership.
Party primaries strategy
Where courage to openly challenge President Mugabe fails, the strategy is to
use the avenue of Party primaries to get in as many of their candidates as
will ensure dominant western influence in post-March Parliament. This big
vote would then be used to block, to frustrate, to reverse, and eventually
to impeach, to pass a vote of no-confidence in the President in order to
oust him. This is then sold as democracy at work. Hence the huge monies
which are being dished in provinces. A new formation with visible members of
the ruling Party on the eve of the March poll, is a very good psychological
game against the ruling Party. It will confuse and dispirit its membership,
so they reason, these westerners. Beyond that, it will motivate the MDC
which begins to believe Zanu-PF has an equivalent and parallel weakness to
its own. What a strange way of "levelling the playing field"! But the
foreign powers will want more time to ensure the economy gets bad, worse and
worst, to strengthen rejection of Zanu-PF which is thought to be the same as
greater love for the whore formation. And you notice pleas for postponement
of polls to June are shared between the British, the MDC and elements of
this so-called reformist arm .
It was the substance of Brown’s accosting of Mbeki, Museveni and Rupiya
Banda in Kampala, during the Commonwealth. It has yielded humorous
summersaults: MDC which agitated for immediate polls soon after the
Goromonzi indication of a poll delay to 2010 (any day longer with Mugabe in
power, Tsvangirai told us, was "more" death to poor Zimbabwe), now find
March too soon. The British who did not want Lancaster House Constitution
changed for a whole seven to ten years, now want it thrown into and washed
away by dirty Mukuvisi. They are so unhappy with their constitutional
donation to the newly independent colony of Zimbabwe! What generous
revisionism! The whore formation’s runners think they have skilfully
deployed a plausible argument: what do we say to the people when things are
so bad? Why not postpone elections to June, they opine. The British June! So
what will have happened to the economy in the next four months, dear
turncoats? It is a very silly argument, and one always prefers a resourceful
Closing shop, spurning Bacossi
In the meantime, things are being done to the economy: around prices, around
supply of essentials. I was intrigued by a Financial Gazette report which
claimed a number of companies would not re-open next week after the
holidays, largely in the first show of the damage done to the economy by the
Zanu-PF Government! The attribution of agent is unmistakable, although the
political plan is not disclosed. This is an old plan, long agreed to by
corporates sympathetic to these politics, everything underwritten by the
owners of the span.
Bacossi was the response, which is what has removed the fig leaf. If you are
given free working capital by a non-shareholder at no cost to you to
produce, except for political reasons why would you not produce? And the
dizzying prices from cheap working capital? And the gratuitous attacks on
RBZ and the person of the Governor? It is all coming together, is it not?
Meanwhile the sponsored coalition of the bitter is hard at work, always
operating in a bleak political parallel market, the power brokering
correlative to the real parallel market. They are quite angry with me,
little son of Manheru. I made a loud fart that startled the quarry. The
hunter is hungry. And angry with me. I don’t care a hoot. Icho!
Saturday, 12 January 2008 05:48
HARARE- ZIMBABWE'S main opposition political party, the Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) factions have resolved to end their rivalry before
coming up with the sole candidate ahead of March general election, CAJ News
can reveal.Internal consultations between the two warring MDC factions have
begun and informal discussions are said to be at an advanced stage.
Both MDC factions' secretary-generals confirmed to CAJ News in separate
interviews that the two formations had indeed begun consultations on
there-unification process whose delay, according to analysts, would only
enhance Zanu PF's chances of remaining in power. Prof. Welshman Ncube and
his counterpart at the main faction of the MDC Tsvangirai, Tendai Biti,
confirmed the positive developments of the talks. The consultations come
amid reports that sitting MPs from either formations are agitating for
automatic retention, arguing that they would not have finished their terms
of office. They are also reportedly proposing that new aspiring legislators
contest in the newly established constituencies instead of standing against
them in party primaries. It has also emerged that former MPs Evelyn Masaiti,
Hilda Mafudze and fellow perty members Theresa Makone and Solomon Madzore
are seeking new constituencies in urban centres where they intend to contest
against incumbent MP's in Dzivarasekwa, Chitungwiza and Kambuzuma and Harare
North respectively where they expect to unseat incumbent fellow MDC
legislators. " We had already started choosing candidates for the
legislative polls in our formation, but after being approached by our
counterparts on the need to have a single presidential candidate, we are now
consulting our members. " We should come up with a date for the formal
meeting as well as the delegates who will attend the meeting," he said.Biti
also confirmed that the same process was taking place in his formation."
Yes, we are consulting our members on the issue before we meet formally," he
said, without elaborating much on the issue.Ncube said it was every member's
democratic right to contest as long as they were chosen through party
structures in terms of the constitution of the party. " The respective
district assemblies, comprising the youth, women's and main wing of the
party must sit together and choose candidates through secret ballot. The
winning candidates must get two thirds majority. That's the rule. That is
what is in our constitution and we must abide by it," he said. The
re-unification of the two formations has hit snags in the past following
differences on how candidates would be chosen and this has continued to
weaken the opposition. With only two moths before the March elections,
concerned party members say the continued split will only ensure work in
favour of Zanu PF. " The MDC has never been the same after the split over
the Senate reintroduction issue. Our party was strong and we are confused
about what is happening within the party leadership. " There is need for the
party leaders to resolve this crisis once and for all," said a grassroots
member, who said he was not on either side of the formations- CAJ News.
Saturday 12th January 2008
Dear Family and Friends,
This week electoral authorities in Zimbabwe again stated that combined
Presidential, Parliamentary and council elections will not be deferred and
are to be held on the 9th March 2008. It is hard to believe that Zimbabwe
will be ready for an election in just 56 days time. The logistics of an
election are enormous under normal circumstances but mammoth in a country
which has all but collapsed.
There is no fuel at filling stations, no food in the shops, extremely
limited supplies of bank notes, electricity only in the middle of the night
and water off or dirty most of the time. Telephone communications are in a
shocking state with new cell phone lines only available on the black market.
Roads are falling apart, postal deliveries increasingly erratic and in some
areas - including mine - house deliveries have not been made for three
months. In rural areas there are reports of roads and bridges washed away
due to heavy rains and flooding - and so the list goes on and on. Every
aspect of an election from the campaigning to the advertising, voting,
monitoring and counting is swamped with problems - not the least of which is
that so far there is only one candidate and one party to vote for.
Looking for sanity, even inspiration, in such bizarre times, I turned to a
book of poetry sent to me by an ex Zimbabwean. Every day of the year has a
poem and that prescribed for the 9th of March is by an unknown author.
Do not stand at my grave and weep,
I am not there, I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow.
I am the diamond glints on snow.
I am the sunlight on ripened grain.
I am the gentle autumn's rain.
When you awaken in the morning's hush,
I am the swift uplifting rush
of quiet birds in circled flight,
I am the stars that shine at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry.
I am not there, I did not die.
We are a country dying but not dead - we still have hope. Surely this poem
for the 9th of March holds some prophetic meaning.
Until next time, thanks for reading, love cathy.
12th January 2008
For Zimbabweans at home and in the diaspora watching the tragedy unfolding
in Kenya is rather like seeing past, present and future in one blinding
flash. We are forcibly reminded of our own recent past with its rigged
elections and we see what may well be our immediate future; the past and the
future are blended into the present reality of Kenya's cataclysmic upheaval.
Are there lessons to be learnt from Kenya's experience, Zimbabwe's political
analysts ask. The major difference between the two countries as I see it is
that superficially Kenya appeared to be a peaceful prosperous democracy with
a free press and a flourishing economy. Zimbabwe, on the other hand exhibits
all the signs of imminent collapse. No one expected Kenya to burst into
flames, that's what made the present upheaval so shocking, whereas most
observers are astonished at how Zimbabwe manages to stagger on.
For students of African politics, Kenya and Zimbabwe have always been
considered roughly comparable, sharing as they do a similar colonial
experience with settler occupation of huge areas of land and a bitter
struggle to gain independence. What unites the two countries now is the
shared experience of stolen elections and the ensuing sense of injustice and
unfairness felt by the mass of the population. When that happens, it is very
easy for politicians to tap into those deeply-held grievances and persuade a
suffering and impoverished people that it is all the fault of some other
ethnic group. It is the 'blame someone else' syndrome that we are so
familiar with in Robert Mugabe's rhetoric.
What we have not seen in the Zimbabwean situation, even after patently
rigged elections, is the rush of international big names eager to add their
voices to the so-called negotiations to bring about a peaceful solution.
This last week has seen Jendayi Fraser the US Assistant Secretary for
African Affairs, Desmond Tutu, Joachim Chissano, the former President of
Mozambique, and Ghana's John Kufor, the President of the AU, among others,
all rushing in to broker peace talks. President Kufor has now left Kenya
having failed to bring the warring sides to the negotiating table and his
role has been handed over to Kofi Annan, the former UN Secretary General. It
is hard not to conclude that the only reason all these big names are in
Kenya is the outbreak of violence following the rigged election. The
violence that these prominent people have all condemned is the very reason
they are there in Kenya; violence on the streets certainly concentrated
their minds. An estimated death toll of between five and six hundred people
and a quarter of a million made homeless is, one could argue, a strong
enough reason for international intervention. Zimbabweans, however, will
remember with some bitterness that Operation Murambatsvina made seven
hundred thousand people homeless, destroying their livelihoods and homes in
one fell swoop and causing countless numbers of deaths.
The world's response was a strongly worded Report to the UN - and that was
Kenya, it seems, is another matter; Jendayi Fraser remarked that there were
faults on both sides. She was talking about the highly suspect election
statistics but she must surely know that it was the Kenyan President and his
government, not the opposition leader Raila Odinga, who appointed the
Electoral Commission, organised the election and counted the votes? Joseph
Stalin is reported to have once said ' It's not who votes that counts – but
who counts the votes.' The fact is that without an absolutely impartial
election machine, democracy cannot begin to flourish.
It's hard to see how Kofi Annan or any other eminent person can bring a
successful conclusion to negotiations in Kenya unless there is an acceptance
that the count was rigged and the only way forward is a fresh election under
international supervision. Odinga has promised to keep up the pressure,
calling for mass rallies. 'Just provoking the government' say some
commentators but what other way does the opposition have of expressing the
people's profound dissatisfaction with the stolen election?
Meanwhile in Zimbabwe, our own negotiations between Zanu PF and the MDC
appear to have ground to a halt. Talks cannot resume, we are told, because
Mr Chinamassa, the Zanu representative, is having an extended Christmas
break. This, while ordinary Zimbabweans experience the unspeakable misery of
endless queues in the pouring rain for cash, for non-existent food and
non-existent transport. Worst of all are the unprecedented floods not only
in remote rural areas but in the urban high-density suburbs where house
walls collapse and flimsy shelters are swept away in swirling muddy water
and raw sewerage. But Mr Chinamassa is away on holiday and the crucial talks
that will determine the country's future are put on hold – again.
Chinamassa's boss, too, is away on his annual vacation, somewhere in
Malaysia we are told. Was it not Robert Mugabe who said two months ago, '
Their welfare is my welfare, their suffering is my suffering.' Ordinary
Zimbabweans are surely entitled to ask whether their leaders actually give a
damn about them. It's hard to believe that anyone in their right mind would
willingly vote for a party that has caused such desperate suffering and
shows such callous disregard for the people's welfare.
The Zimbabwe Election Support Network issued a report this week on voter
education and registration. The report revealed that Zanu PF is handing out
free ploughs to the people but there's a catch. The recipient must be a
paid–up member of the ruling party, able to produce a party card and chant
three party slogans. Furthermore, some villagers are being told that the
ploughs are free but only on condition the party wins in that area. No win,
If Robert Mugabe gets his way the elections in Zimbabwe are less than three
months away. Can anyone seriously believe that the elections will be free
and fair? If there is a lesson to be learned from Kenya it must be that
Zimbabweans themselves have the power to bring about change but we should
never forget that it comes at a high price.
Yours in the struggle. PH
Move likely to benefit Zimbabwe's ruling Zanu-PF party
Published 2008-01-13 01:22 (KST)
I've been informed that Zimbabwean opposition political party activist Maud
Lennard is no longer in the U.K.
In an e-mail, John O. of the National Coalition of Anti-Deportation
Campaigns said, "Maud has now left the U.K.; she was removed from the U.K.
on the eighth attempt on Friday 28th December. Maud says that she wasn't
given a deportation notice, just told to pack her belongings up and then she
was taken to the airport, not knowing where she was going."
The way the British government is treating anti-Mugabe activists like Maud
Lennard is tragic. It shouldn't be happening in a civilized society and it
sends mixed signals about repressive regimes, civil and political activists
and the right to seek asylum.
Maud Lennard's case and the cases of other Zimbabwean opposition political
party activists -- some of whom are currently being held in detention in
places like Yarl's Wood Immigration Removal Centre and who the Home Office
is planning to deport to countries like Malawi -- are disconcerting, immoral
The Home Office maintains that because some anti-Mugabe activists procured
and used passports from countries like Malawi and South Africa when they
fled Zimbabwe, they are not Zimbabwean nationals but are Malawians or South
Africans, depending on the passport they entered the U.K. on. This is in
spite of clear and irrefutable evidence that the activists are Zimbabwean
nationals who, other than being in possession of Malawian or South African
passports, have no real links with either Malawi or South Africa.
The Home Office is then subsequently deporting the activists to the
countries on whose passports they entered the U.K. In the process, it is
exposing the activists to the possibility of arrest, interrogation,
imprisonment and further deportation to Zimbabwe because, in a lot of cases,
the activists would have acquired the passports fraudulently.
Last year, the British government deported three Zimbabwean activists to
Malawi. I'm told that the three -- Maud Lennard, Rose Phekani and Amos
Chifamba -- were all active members of the Movement for Democratic Change
and that, when they fled Zimbabwe, they just barely managed to escape with
These three shouldn't have been deported. They and the other anti-Mugabe
activists who are being held in immigration removal centers in the U.K.
should have been allowed to settle.
Presidential and parliamentary elections in Zimbabwe are going to be held in
March of this year.
By deporting these activists, the British government is giving President
Robert Mugabe's regime more ammunition for its ongoing and relentless
assault on the long-suffering people of Zimbabwe.
In the past, Mugabe has accused Britain of trying to topple him and of
supporting and sponsoring the MDC. He has also accused the British
government of sending "agents of regime change" into Zimbabwe under the
guise of returning failed asylum seekers.
Mugabe is certain to pick up on these deportations and is likely to claim
that the deportations mean Britain has realized that the MDC is
insignificant and inconsequential as an opposition political party. He is
certain to pick up on the deportations and use them to bolster support for
his own re-election and for his party, the Zanu-PF.
12/01/2008 19:31 - (SA)
Harare - Birthday celebrations for Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe, who
turns 84 next month, are to be held in Beitbridge town on the border with
neighbouring South Africa, reports said on Saturday.
The celebrations, organised by the 21st February Movement, are held every
year in a different town or city.
Thousands of schoolchildren, youths and ruling party supporters are likely
to attend the event, which takes place in the depths of Zimbabwe's
worst-ever economic crisis.
"All youths will get an opportunity to learn from President Mugabe's
exemplary character," Absolom Sikhosana, the ruling Zanu-PFs secretary for
youth was quoted as saying in the state-controlled Herald newspaper.
Mugabe, who has been in power since 1980, will seek another five- year term
in office in presidential elections due in March. - Sapa-dpa
Sat 12 Jan 2008, 15:12 GMT
KARACHI (Reuters) - The Zimbabwe Cricket Union (ZCU) wants the International
Cricket Council (ICC) to ensure member countries fulfil their commitments to
play the team under the Future Tours Program.
ZCU chairman Peter Chingoka told reporters on Saturday in Pakistan, where
Zimbabwe will play five one-day internationals, that the ICC had to make
sure the FTP remained sacrosanct.
"Zimbabwe is looking to play more against other member nations as opposed to
excuses not to play against each other," he said .
British media reports have suggested Zimbabwe's tour of England in 2009 may
not go ahead as planned in protest at the policies of President Robert
The ICC has indicated that any directive from the British government to
scrap Zimbabwe's visit may force it to move the 2009 Twenty20 World Cup from
Chingoka said it was important all ICC member nations looked after each
other so that cricket grew bigger and stronger.
"If this does not happen than cricket is not moving towards true
globalisation," he said.
England pulled out of a World Cup one-day match in 2003 in Zimbabwe citing
security concerns. The Australian government ordered the national team to
cancel their tour of the African country in 2007.
Zimbabwe, who have had their test status suspended, play Pakistan in the
first one-day international on January 21 in Karachi.
Daily Mail, UK
By BILL DAY - Last updated at 20:23pm on 12th January 2008
Former Zimbabwe Test bowler Henry Olonga last night called on the British
Government to cancel Zimbabwe's planned tour to England next year.
The ECB have been dogged by the issue of playing against Zimbabwe since the
World Cup in South Africa in 2003 and yesterday the African country's board
chairman, Peter Chingoka, demanded that the other Test nations be forced to
fulfil their fixture commitments.
But Olonga, who has been exiled in England since leading a black armband
protest with Andy Flower 'mourning the death of democracy' at the 2003 World
Cup, is urging Prime Minister Gordon Brown to pull the plug on a tour
scheduled to precede the Ashes series.
The tour is set to include two Tests and three one-day internationals,
although Zimbabwe are currently suspended from the five-day game.
Speaking just days after Foreign Secretary David Miliband insisted it would
'send the wrong message' to allow Zimbabwe to tour England next year, Olonga
said: "Robert Mugabe has turned what was once a paradise homeland for us all
into a desolate wasteland.
"I'm delighted that Gordon Brown is prepared to take a more involved role
concerning Zimbabwe. Previously, Tony Blair sat on the fence, advising the
ECB not to send England teams to Zimbabwe without giving them any protection
from the draconian sanctions they'd face from the ICC for taking such
"Banning tours brought South Africa's dreadful apartheid regime into the
public consciousness around the world. It was the right thing to do then,
and it is as valid now in Zimbabwe.
"I would rather inconvenience a small group of Zimbabwe cricketers for the
greater good of millions who could ultimately benefit."
Olonga believes the ECB, whose chairman Giles Clarke met Chingoka at the end
of last year to try to solve the problem of the 2009 tour, should be
prepared to risk the loss of the 2009 Twenty20 World Cup, scheduled to be
held in England, for the benefits of a 'bigger picture'.