The State and its crisis of expectations – Tendai Biti

via The State and its crisis of expectations – DailyNews Live by Tendai Biti  11 NOVEMBER 2013

Wananchi, to the  majority of citizens the sole concern is to seek the mundane reproduction of their families and ordinary lives in these tough times.

It is tough and cold out there.

The ugly teeth of poverty are tearing apart the very essence of a nation’s existence.

The citizen is being turned inside and out, slalomed left and right by the corrosive power of a deep and intrusive sub existence.

Daily, the African is waking up and knotting himself into questions he has no answers for.

Like the colossus Plato or his student Aristotle, he ponders at the meaning of a life without life, a cruel existence without meaning. Form without shadows.

That 34 years after independence, many find themselves serving a sentence of this most excruciating of poverty is inexplicable.

But more depressing is the death of the dream among the citizen.

The cruel realisation that life will never be better, that the marginal optimum was attained briefly many years ago and that from here it is just down hill.

Put in simple terms ,the loss of hope. When the citizen realises that try as he might, his lot will never change for the better — that a pinnacle was reached, and that it is all down hill until his lord frees, the citizen dies at that moment.

There are millions of Zimbabweans arrested by this fatalism.

They look at themselves, they look at their grey past and their sterile future and understand the lie of their existence. That all along they have been zombies, devoid of life, but pretending to live.

Poverty does that. Some people call it reification. I call it death before death.

Where the citizen becomes helpless and hopeless he becomes a target for the opportunists and in Africa  they come no bigger and better than the State and its ruling elite.

In other words Africa’s crises of expectation generates the perfect condition for the flourishing of the patronage State.

Poverty and  huge seas of poverty create conditions where the poor Wananchi, has no choice but to turn to the same predators that created the crisis for support and assistance. The more they suffer, the more they get drugged by the smell of the crumbs dropping from the high table of the super looters and kleptocrats.

So in a very cruel twist of political economy, economic collapse, at least in the short run, does not collapse the dictator. It in fact sustains the same.

The point Wananchi, is — while the State is an arena of personal accumulation ,the dictator is the gate keeper of this eating frenzy of the loony.

The dictator determines who eats and who does not and what quantities thereof There is no license, no tender, no concession, no contract that can be made without  the dictators saying so. Herein lies the true reality of African politics.

Given this desperate situation it becomes imperative for Wananchi to organise themselves in their social movements and restore lives to the cadavers of poverty.

In this process hope is the key ingredient.

Hope is life, it is the belief that we will get there .It is the greatest fuel against tyranny  and suffering.

But that hope can not and should not be privatised by an individual ,a political party ,or an ethnic group.

It is a national asset, a national good for the wananchi.

It offers a carthasis, instant relief against the relentless onslaught of suffering brought about by the dictator.

That the struggle must be a collective project of the wananchi is key. A privatised struggle is a monopoly. As with all monopolies, the aim is not for real change.

It is a battle to change the faces of the oppressor, while retaining the apparatus of the oppressor.

We saw this happening in 1980. A captured struggle reproduces asymmetrically that which it is trying to remove. It is an elite capture of the people’s aspirations.

Under this construct, it is no longer about democratic change and real transformation,but a personal crusade for power and power’s sake.

When that is attained, the State enters into a  new vicious and accelerated form of accumulation. “It is our time to eat” so to speak.

But the African dream of change and democracy can not be allowed to die and will not die.

History teaches us that predation and oppression are not sustainable. States like Zimbabwe, modelled on the twin evils of coercion and patronage are not sustainable.

Patronage is not an inelastic resource even for wealthy African countries with huge resources like South Africa and Angola.

The thing with patronage is that,  you can never give sufficient money to all .So patronage, by its very nature is unequal and creates pockets of resentment and resistance.

On the other hand, coercion works temporally, particularly where the founding father is around.

In any case it is not generationally transmitted.

Moreover internal prosecutions, transitional justice frame works and international law, guarantee that the perpetrators of injustice will account for their sins one day.




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    Tafadzwa 9 years ago

    So true mwana wevhu. Thank you Biti for the words of encouragement. Sooner rather than later the chief looter will be gone. I say Mugabe is the chief looter since he refuses to take action against the looters. What never ceases to amaze me, is why even some who are not benefiting from this looting. Some of these are suffering just like the rest, will still support ZANU ?

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      Innocent 9 years ago

      Zikomo kwambili achimwene. Murimurume chose -indoda sibili!

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    zimbo 9 years ago

    And it is also true that for evil to thrive,good men do nothing!So what now Tendayi?

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    Tjingababili 9 years ago


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    Jeremiah 9 years ago

    Thanks TB. Indeed, a national struggle cannot and MUST not be privatised. What you say resonates with what I read on Time for ALL progressive Zimbabweans to pull in the SAME direction and REMOVE this dictatorship once and for all. You guys, reach out to each other and find ways of consolidating your efforts. Kuwanda huuya!!!

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    Bravo Tendai!! Today we are in this cul de sac because of poor judgment from your party’s leadership.

    You offer no solutions, just an explanation which many people will not understand because it is not written in plain and simple English.

    Who in Gokwe would know colossus Plato or his student Aristotle?

    What the people are asking is how do they survive another 5 years of military dictatorship?

    The people need leadership from the front and practical guidance on the way forward.

    High sounding prose as you have written above simply articulate what we already know. From what you have said, brings nothing new to the table and solves nothing.

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    puffydaddy 9 years ago

    its true TB .now lets focus on our enemy Zanupf full of promises and lies.we need Morgan Tsvangirai to remain the MDC leader.the infighting is Zanupf sponsered.get rid of the rotten tomatoes.lyk Mudzuri who is power hungry lyk Mnangagwa.

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    Jenandebvu 9 years ago

    If you keep you language simple yu ll communicate to more people than being “jargonistic” for naughty. This not a court document were you want to confuse everyone until the guilt turns innocent, this a daily newsletter, ready by poorly educated people like me. I notice you have done the same during campaign, Kura Tendai, wanzwa!

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    Promise 9 years ago

    It is time for us to look up to God. We should live lives centred on God in any case but what do we do, we run around creating all sorts of theories, constructs & paradigms frantically seeking to control a world whose origin we are not even sure of.

    We have borrowed a lot from ‘the west’ which we feign to reject. We have thrown them out of the farms & now are half way throwing them out of industry & commerce. But they also came with faulty religious constructs which we ‘religiously’ cling-to today. We will know them by noting that before Jan van Riebeeck & later Rhodes et al hit the Cape coast on his ‘broad mission’ they had these religious constructs as part of the broader mission.(Our fore-fathers had something else) We have clung to these while throwing out the rest. We need to introspect & ‘clear our account’ with God.

    It is clear to anyone who can be observant & meaningfully analytical that this outfit in government has been ‘voted out’ a couple of times already but they did not go. In a way God is telling us our ways do not work & we must seek counsel from Him. The future successful leader will be one who actively seeks God’s counsel. Pretenders (who are plenty, are not included here).

    Democracy is our creation & not God’s … we must remember! That is not God’s way of doing things. God chooses leaders & in our case especially more-so as a chosen people. The fact that they did not go does not mean that they have been endorsed by God. It is time for us to ask ourselves what God wants from us…. that is why all this logic is failing, all the conventions & laws are failing.
    Anyway let us watch because He is going to show His hand sooner than later & its not going to be what we think or what we plan.

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    Shebah 9 years ago

    Biti you think we are like zombies. If only you had not advocated and participated in the creation of Western sanctions and the American ZDERA. If only you had remained an alien so that you would not participate in our political space. If only the powers that be had not given you Zimbabwe citizenship.
    Regardless of your prophecy of doom Zimbabwe is on the mend and will recover. People like you should just step aside and stop interfering

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      I love the way Tendai Biti gets right up zanoid noses as his message goes right over their clueless zanoid heads as they hoplessly defend their tyrannical regime. Shebah is clearly a zanoid zombie.

      Well done Tendai!!

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      Rudadiso 9 years ago

      So, Shebah, the mighty America put sanctions on Zimbabwe because the MDC asked them to? I didn’t realise the MDC was so powerful that they could get the world’s only super power to do their bidding!

      There is no prophecy here, just simple straight forward facts.

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      Boss MyAss 9 years ago

      Will recover WHEN and HOW ?

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    Shebah 9 years ago

    Zhou where do you comment from. DIASPORA I suppose. Some of us are enjoying the land reform fruits

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      Yes I was forced to flee Zimbabwe in 2007. I was a farm worker when you zanoids came one night, gang raped my wife, beat my children and burnt down my home. We lost all our posessions were forced to live like animals in the bush with no food or shelter. When we went to get USAID food aid, you zanoids turned us away because we were known supporters of MDC.

      We had no option but to leave Zimbabwe.

      Since then, luck has come my way. I am about to complete university. I will soon return to join the people in the struggle to oust you zanu thieves from any more destruction of our country.

      Vanhu cha kunda!

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        Nzou…you are a big lier…you were just a mere worker in farm,you did not even own a single inch of that land you employed on…so what were they wanting to you?? I believe they were looking for the farm owners..not herd-boys like you…you just run away without an clue for what was happening in farm…sorry for that..are you staying in the Methodist Church in Smal Street(JHB)?? go back back home nothing will eat you..nothing at all…or are you a politician?? who rape your wife,did she told you??? sorry man you poor Nzou,sorry man…see you in Zimbabwe mukoma wangu……

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      Rudadiso 9 years ago

      So, Shebah, you are enjoying the fruits of land reform and yet you are not producing enough food so that the West can stop feeding hungry Zimbabweans whose number now stands at 2.2 million? Are you not ashamed to be buying maize from the same white farmers you drove off the land?

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    NANSI LENDODA 9 years ago

    Mr MBITI but the majority of Zimbabwe voted against your party. an you try to find out why without having to blame rigging. Mr Mbiti and Tsvangie Lies are not honest to your selves.

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    Until Zimbabwean understand what is happening and where the problem is coming from, Zimbabwe will be a better place. I see a lot of sucking up to the USA & UK. That is going to make our problems bigger and bigger. Of course most of you, don’t understand that.

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      Rudadiso 9 years ago

      MD, has our sucking up to the Chinese, surrendering national resources for a song and even allowing them to decimate our wetlands lessened our problems?

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    Nyoni 9 years ago

    Well done TB , well done. We must not be afraid to tell it as it is. PAMBERI NE ZIMBABWE AND ITS COURAGEOUS PEOPLE.

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    Hisexcellency 9 years ago

    Under the current regime and status quo, NO ONE would be willing to make any sort of business or invest in our country. It is so simple. If we were rich with a lot of money, would we ever invest money in Zimbabwe? OF COURSE NOT. Who would be so crazy to invest in Sahara dessert?

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    Shebah 9 years ago

    Now I understand you Nyoni. You dont know what you lost. Your fellow farm workers remained behind and got farms and are now employers, maybe they will employ you when you come back. By the way why would a black people be forced out of a farm. Are you not a white man with a shona name

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    Chiza 9 years ago

    Shebah:Some of us are enjoying the land reform fruits,ZANU PF muppert your statement proofs it,if land reform was a success all of zimbabwe should benefit not just some(ZANU PF)IDOIT

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      Hisexcellency 9 years ago

      f ever there is so surprising a thing is how Zimbabweans remain aloof despite all suffering they endure under the hands of Mugabe’s irresponsible governance.

      In the 80’s 20000 people were massacred in Matebeleland north and no one said a thing. When over 2000 people died of cholera, which never should have, people never gave a sigh. Health delivery service has deteriorated to unimaginable standards; still everything was normal to Zimbabweans. Zimbabweans live comfortably with burst sewer pipes: of late I have also witnessed people tossing used pampers out of moving vehicles.

      As the menacing two million percent inflation occurred, here we saw the Harareans at their best, changing and “burning money”, but never to complain nor hold the leaders accountable. Zimbabweans resort to stealing and taking advantage of each other whenever a crisis occurs. They never try to find the root of the problem, let alone try to solve it. There is nothing we Zimbabweans don’t find acceptable, however gross.

      Zimbabawean are passive when it comes to holding leaders accountable. They either suffer silently or engage in illicit dealings. As a result, our problems escalate. The evil Zanu pf well knows that the Zimbabwean people can be stretched to the breaking point but can still find odd ways to survive. Zanu pf is not under pressure to perform because the people take everything, even the worst. How convenient for poor performing Zanu pf. The level of cowardice and disunity among the Zimbabwean people is so appalling.

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    Shebah 9 years ago

    Chiza how do you want to benefit from the land when you did not que for the land. You thought it was a ZPF project with money going to get into your pocket. When the maize price is right we are going to feed you and prove to you that we are capable just like we have proven with the foreign tobacco.

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      Rudadiso 9 years ago

      Shebah, how many hectares of forest are disappearing every year because tobacco farmers do their curing using fire wood? In case you don’t know, its over 350 000 a year. Lets wait and see how sustainable this tobacco bubble will last. How are you going to deal with the ensuing desertification?

      I forgot that it is not in the nature of Zanu P.F. to plan for the future so you obviously have no idea that Zimbabwe’s forests are being decimated.

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    Bruce 9 years ago

    Land reform was a failure. Zimbabwe before land reform was bread basket of SADC. Now its begger in SADC. Which other country has lost its status in SADC except Zimbabwe, why? If sanctions were the cause, Zimbabwe was not selling maize or such food products to Europe or even farming in UK, Zimbabwe would still be doing that. Secondly Zimbabwe used to export flowers to UK, if sanctions affected exports why are we not exporting to China, the issue is there are no flowers to export. The land reform. Its sad to read some of the comments which are so in accuarate in material facts. Majority of all agro based industries retreched in droves, why? There are no raw materials to process. National Foods, Blue Ribbon, Olivines Grain Marketing Board, SCS, Dairy Board and Colcom and even Irvens, why. They were direct beneficiaries of agro products before land reform. Now they are not functional to their Smith Regime glory why? By the way in africa nay county that messy with land suffers, check Tanzania, Ujamah.

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    Zimmurungu 9 years ago


    Your comment is ridiculous
    “Your fellow farm workers remained behind and got farms and are now employers, maybe they will employ you when you come back. By the way why would a black people be forced out of a farm.”

    I had family and friends in the Banket area. One of my friends, a black Zimbabwean, had bought his farm in the 1990’s, and was making a good living as a registered commercial farmer, with tobacco, vegetable and flower exports.
    He was one of the first farmers invaded in the early 2000’s, and saw his family beaten, was forced to dance to the ‘Veteran’s’ tune, saw his children mocked and bullied, his wife man handled and groped, his dogs clubbed to death, and many of his farm workers beaten and banished. He was called a sellout, a puppet, when all he was, was an honest man, trying to make a difference.

    My brother-in-law had 56 ‘veterans’ invade and subsequently settle on his farm. He worked with them, and over the years they began to establish a working relationship, despite them slaughtering the two prize bulls for a pungwe, and setting fire to the mango orchard in the middle of a party. all of this was relatively minor, and things were reasonably peaceful, until in 2007, some chef (who I will not name here, but who was very public at the time) decided he would like the farm, because of the flower business on it. So the ‘green bombers’ came in, and gave everyone 24 hours to get out. My wife, and a couple of her sisters all rallied around to help, and we managed to get stuff done in the time limit. You’ve probably guessed that I am a white man, and I am, – a Proudly Zimbabwean White Man – still living in Zimbabwe. The sad thing here, is that not only was my family evicted, people who had lived here for three generations, but all 56 ‘veteran’ families, or ‘new farmers’ were also evicted, families that had previously had nothing, but had spent 5 years building up a something, were now cast out – brutally – with nowhere to go. The staff that had stayed after the first wave of settlement were also banished, with a few exceptions, also brutally. Many of them were of Malawian or Zambian descent, but could not go anywhere, nor do anything in this brutal new Zimbabwe.

    Nzou – makorokoto for taking tragedy, and making the use of opportunity. We need you back here in our beautiful country.

    Shebah, I suspect you are a younger man, not a veteran, but perhaps a wannabe, who has fully and energetically embraced the doctrine of the ruling party, and perhaps you are now a man of the soil as a reward for loyalty.

    “When the maize price is right we are going to feed you and prove to you that we are capable just like we have proven with the foreign tobacco.”

    A good farmer will be planting his maize and feeding people long before a ‘price’ is right. For 20 years AFTER independence, Zimbabwe was still feeding people all over Africa. What changed? We all know the answer to that.

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      Shamwari, rini Ndino uya shure , Ndino uya shure ku paradza ZANU-PF

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    Nyoni 9 years ago

    Sheba you idiot. Nyoni means what. And what language. You brainwashed tribalistic Zanu murderer.

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    LoudSilence BlindingDarkness DzimbaDzemabgwe 9 years ago

    Funny how when the reality of the stolen election became apparent to “Wananchi” and the expectation for leadership in a revolt was high ana Tendai were silent. Now mavekuda kubvisa Tsvangirai. You are a team. If Tsvangirai must go then you go too.

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    Shebah 9 years ago

    Zimmurungu You have facts. Some wrong was done in the process, all because there was marked resistance which brood hostility. The land process became a war situation and had to won. Now its the way forward, you need compensation and you can not get compensation because the govt cant afford because of sanctions. The bottom line is as long as conditions to enable govt to compensate are not there then you guys will never be satisfied and as long as you fight the process you are the loser. Age will never be on your side just like age was not on my father’s side – he died before the reform. You were luck you managed to get the land from us and made money out of it for a century, but remember, we were not happy about that -the reason why we went to war.

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      Rudadiso 9 years ago

      Ah,Shebah, you are not being honest. You know very well that not only were hundreds of thousands of farm workers driven from the land and rendered destitute, they were deprived of their citizenship too.

      Washington Matsaire, a black man who had bought his farm during the early 90s and invested hundreds of thousands of dollars into dairy farming and a state of the art chicken hatchery infrastructure was driven out by none other than the first family. He is one of many black farmers who were labelled sell outs and deprived of their land.

      The tragedy is, once agriculture collapsed, many down stream industries also went down the drain. By the time the land invasions happened, Zimbabwe had stopped paying its debts to the IMF and World Bank. We had squandered a fortune fighting a war which had nothing to do with us in the jungles of the Congo. Around that same time some $450 million dollars meant for compensating war victims was defrauded by Zanu P.F. top guns. We have not been able to pay our debts since then, i.e. 1997 and sanctions have absolutely nothing to do with it. You know that very well Shebah.

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    Zimmurungu 9 years ago


    I’m not looking for any compensation, nor is my family.

    Sanctions are a political smokescreen and irrelevance. I am in full agreement that the sanctions placed by the west to target 160 greedy and selfish ‘fat cats’ their families and business ventures, should be removed. This would completely reveal the ineptitude of the present regime to make any sane economic decisions.

    To the point:
    I was debating your comments about black men being thrown off the land – or not, as you claimed.
    In my limited experience, many black men, all of whom as well qualified as you to benefit from the land reform were thrown off the land. I include the 56 A2 farmers and their families who were given 24 hours to leave, before their new houses were burnt down. I include the over 200 farm workers and their families (some of whom had also lived on the farm for 3 generations). Close on 1500 people lost their homes in 2007, because a chef wanted the forex earning floriculture business on the farm.

    I am sorry to hear that your father has passed away. But by the reform, did you mean our Independence in 1980, or the invasions post 1999?

    Tendai Biti’s article is spot on, bemoaning the greed and avarice amongst a favoured few, that leads to hopelessness and despair amongst the many. That is the tragedy of Zimbabwe today.

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    msizeni silwelani 9 years ago

    Ours is a revolution were it a demolition we would be through by now. We are spared on by determination we fear no termination.

    We are fighting against the most dangerous evil who holds sole monopoly to the voter’s numbers records. We have to fight nikuved figures, an artificialised population pyramid, our relatives they murdered are brought back from the graves to fight us, such is the kind of the enemy in front of us.

    True, hopelessness and anger is all that engulfs those whose navals are burried in Zimbabwean soils.

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    stardust 9 years ago

    TB is on point on the issues raised in the article. we of our generation where raised with the belief of MILK and Honey as our beloved zimbabwe, only to discover the milk and honey is for a selected few. We need to espouse The Zimbabwean dream , that any child born in zimbabwe can have a dream of being a President and can run a Commnications company in Zimbabwe without fear of a shadowy world. Diaspora should be welcomed and worked with as brother and sisters in arms against poverty not arch enemy.

    Privatisation of this change should not be allowed or entertained. So I STAND UP AND WANT TO BE COUNTED for a change>

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    big solo 9 years ago

    Biti, u’re part of the problem to Zim crisis. Remember how the honorable min Biti boasted after refusing to increase salaries for civil servants.Your statements sir showed lack of political maturity and i warned u in one of my articles that u were heading for political demise. You in your personal capacity contributed the most in the downfall of the party which people had so much tipped to take over power. Shame on you comrade.

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    Chivulamapoti 9 years ago

    Shebah, isn’t Zimbabwe wealthy because there are traffic jams and vehicles everywhere. That is how to judge a country’s riches, in it’s number of cars ha! ha! You absolute ZPF fool! As for the other that blams MDC or TB for Zimbabwe’s ills, the only time Zimbabwe even saw a glimmer of hope was during the GNU years. And as for the Diaspors, if there were jobs, se

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      Chivulamapoti 9 years ago

      the Diaspora would return and the 2 million would vote MDC-T not ZPF, so you’d better pray Mugarbage keeps them out. Tendai Biti is right on!

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    Biti, you have hit the nail very well on the head, though in language many will need a dictionary to fugure out. After reading your article I went to the ZUNDE website and Lo!! there was the answer. Your analysis is brilliant . You clearly now understand ZANU PF. The question is what do we do. ZUNDE provides it. MDC or any other part does not provide the solution. Chances are we are waiting for another election which ZANU PF will rig again. Guys visit You will see what I mean. Zunde is the future. Ndapedza hangu

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    Pastor 9 years ago

    Wait for the Lord. Behave yourself manfully, and be of good courage. Do not be faithless, but stay in your place and do not turn back.You can judge the quality of their faith from the way they behave. Discipline is an index to doctrine.Don’t tell me what you believe in. I’ll observe how you behave and I will make my own determination.