ZANU PF stalwart commits suicide Wed 13 April 2005
HARARE - Ruling ZANU PF party stalwart and veteran nationalist Enos
Chikowore yesterday committed suicide at his Harare home. He was
There were unconfirmed and conflicting reports last night as to
why Chikowore took his life with some suggesting he took an overdose of
unknown tablets after President Robert Mugabe broke a promise to appoint him
to Parliament and pave way for his return to the Cabinet gravy
But others suggested the veteran of Zimbabwe's anti-colonial
struggle might have killed himself because of pressing personal problems
unrelated to his fading political career.
Zimbabwe Broadcasting Holdings' Newsnet television reported on its 8 o'clock
news bulletin last night that Chikowore, a former energy minister, had died
but did not give the cause of death as it normally does when reporting
deaths of prominent ZANU PF figures.
Senior ZANU PF officials
gathered last night at Chikowore's home in Harare's Umwinsdale suburb told a
ZimOnline correspondent there that he had requested a meeting with Mugabe
sometime last week.
At the meeting Chikowore, one of
the few people in ZANU PF reputed to have been personally close to Mugabe,
is said to have told the President that he had hit hard times since being
forced to resign from Cabinet five years ago for allegedly mismanaging
Zimbabwe's then beginning fuel crisis.
Mugabe allegedly promised he
would do something when he appointed the 20 non-constituency Members of
Parliament he is constitutionally entitled to nominate to Parliament. The
President is also said to have hinted he might give Chikowore, who served in
the government for many years at a senior level, a lesser Cabinet post to
ensure he got "a salary, just something to get by," one of the officials
Chikowore allegedly decided he had had enough when Mugabe
omitted him from the list of people appointed to Parliament. Without a
parliamentary seat, it was virtually impossible for Chikowore to get any job
in Cabinet as only people who hold seats in the legislature must be
appointed ministers or deputy ministers.
Others added that what
appeared to have irked him most was the fact that Mugabe had left him out
although he had rescued other ZANU PF senior officials such as former
parliamentary speaker Emmerson Mnangagwa whose political careers appeared
stuck after losing last month's election.
"What we hear is that
sometime in the afternoon today (Wednesday), he telephoned one of his
sisters or relatives telling them he had had enough of politics," said one
ZANU PF official, who insisted on not being named.
He added: "It
appears after the phone call nothing was heard from him until he was
discovered by another relative lying unconscious in one of the
The relative reportedly summoned an ambulance to take
Chikowore to hospital. But unfortunately he was pronounced dead on arrival
at Parirenyatwa hospital.
Chikowore, who during his heyday was
well known for his love of televiosn cameras, delaying officiating at public
ceremonies until the camera crews were in place to cover the event, was
unfairly blamed for mismanaging Zimbabwe's ongoing fuel crisis at its onset
Made the scapegoat, he was forced to unceremoniously quit
his energy ministry post after the country had run dry of diesel and petrol
for several weeks. The fuel shortage was however more because of a shortage
of foreign currency to pay foreign oil suppliers after the International
Monetary Fund had cut balance-of-payments support to Harare in late
As secretary for lands in ZANU PF's inner politburo cabinet,
Chikowore stunned delegates during the party's congress last December
issuing a frank report admitting that newly resettled black farmers were
failing to maintain production on former white farms.
Chikowore's report also exposed that fewer families had been resettled on
former white farmland than the exaggerated 300 000 claimed by the
He will most likely be declared a national hero
according him a state funeral at the national hero's acre shrine in Harare.
Retribution campaign hits food distribution Wed 13 April
2005 HARARE - Government youth militias and self-styled veterans of
Zimbabwe's 1970s independence war have taken over control of state food aid
in many parts of the country, denying food to opposition supporters,
ZimOnline has established.
In yet another clear case of
retribution after last month's disputed poll, the militias and war veterans
- blamed by churches and human rights groups of torturing and murdering
opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party supporters - vet food
aid beneficiaries preventing suspected MDC members from getting
cheaper-priced maize from the state Grain Marketing Board
For example, at Watsomba rural business centre in the
eastern Manicaland province, ZimOnline reporters witnessed as war veterans
told all known MDC supporters to leave a queue of people waiting to buy
maize saying they would not be allowed to purchase the staple food because
they voted for the opposition party in the March 31 election.
"We know all the MDC supporters here so don't bother standing in the queue
because we will flush you out. Some of you are buying ZANU PF cards to get
food but you voted for the MDC. There will be no grain for you," one of the
war veterans said to the horde of hungry villagers who had gathered at the
depot to buy maize.
A senior official at the depot later explained
how the war veterans and youth militias had taken over distribution of maize
soon after last month's election.
The official, who did not
want to be named for fear of victimisation, said: "Even though we are the
managers, we don't have control over who gets the grain anymore. These guys
(youths and war veterans) run the show and we are just there for the
logistics, not the actual distribution."
GMB chief executive
officer Samuel Muvuti refused to take questions on the matter when
contacted, while Social Welfare Minister Paul Mangwana could not be reached
for comment. But Mangwana has in the past insisted that food is given to all
hungry people regardless of their political affiliation.
Robert Mugabe, speaking after his ZANU PF party's controversial landslide
victory in the election, also said the government would fairly distribute
food to all deserving people.
But villagers from Manicaland and
other parts of the country such as Mashonaland West province and the
southern Matabeleland region interviewed by ZimOnline reporters this week,
said they were being prevented from buying maize from the GMB if suspected
of having voted for the MDC.
"Those being denied food are mostly
people who were known to be MDC supporters or those like myself who were
campaigning for MDC candidates in the last election," a villager from
Hurungwe West constituency in Mashonaland West province said. He did not
want his name published for fear of further reprisals.
Bulawayo, Zimbabwe's second biggest city and the major centre in
Matabeleland, Catholic archbishop Pius Ncube said he has also received
reports from the church community that ruling party cadres had taken over
food distribution from government workers.
"Starving women with children on the backs came to me crying because they
had been denied food on the basis that they were MDC supporters. Before the
election, it was food for votes and now the same food is being used as
retribution against those who sympathise with the opposition.
"Now it is clear why Mugabe doesn't want food donors here. He wants to use
food to reward his supporters and starve to death opposition members. Anyone
in his right senses would not refuse to have his people fed especially when
he can't feed them himself."
Mugabe, who repeated soon after his
party's election victory that Zimbabwe has enough resources to ensure all
its 12 million people are fed, told international food relief agencies to
take their help elsewhere because the country had enough food.
But a subsequent probe by Parliament revealed that claims by Mugabe and
Agriculture Minister Joseph Made that Zimbabwe harvested 2.4 million tones
of maize from the 2003/2004 season were over exaggerated with only about 600
000 tonnes of the staple in the country by the end of last year and much
more needing to be imported.
Zimbabwe consumes about 1.8 million
tonnes of maize per year.
Critics say Mugabe banned outside food
aid groups to ensure his government could manipulate food aid to reward its
supporters and to punish those of the opposition by denying them access to
food. - ZimOnline
New Speaker extends hand of peace to MDC Wed 13 April
2005 HARARE - Pacifist ruling ZANU PF party chairman, John Nkomo, took up
the parliamentary speaker's chair yesterday with a call on the government
and opposition sides to co-operate and focus their energies on national
Nkomo, backed by powerful former army general Solomon
Mujuru and tipped to take either the vice-presidency or the top job when
President Robert Mugabe and his first Vice-President Joseph Msika step down
in 2008, also vowed to turn Zimbabwe's toothless legislature into a "modern
Current second Vice-President Joyce
Mujuru, wife to Solomon, is another key contender to succeed
"I take over during the most challenging time of turning
around the economy. We will seek to consolidate efforts made to transform
the institution from a colonial to a modern democratic institution," Nkomo
Political analysts say the loss of influence by radicals like
former state propaganda chief, Jonathan Moyo and Justice Minister, Patrick
Chinamasa, to doves like Nkomo and Joyce could pave way for a negotiated
political settlement between the government and the MDC.
MDC significantly did not oppose the nomination of Nkomo to the speaker's
chair by ZANU PF and the opposition party's vice-president and leader in the
House, Gibson Sibanda, paid surprisingly glowing tribute to the ZANU PF
chairman on his appointment to head Parliament.
Nkomo, from the
minority Ndebele tribe like the bulk of MDC parliamentarians and top
hierarchy, is also expected by some to use the tribal link to reach out to
the opposition party to bring it more into co-operation with the
Sibanda said: "I worked with John Nkomo when he was
President of the International Labour Organisation (ILO). I experienced your
firmness and principles during that time and I hope you will use the same to
lead this August House. I know that you are fair-minded and as the MDC, we
congratulate you for being elected speaker of parliament."
Mugabe hinted soon after his ZANU PF's disputed landslide victory in the
March 31 parliamentary election that his government was prepared to resume
dialogue with the MDC, abandoned in 2002.
Zimbabwe Council of
Churches bishop Sebastian Bakare, who led an unsuccessful initiative by
religious leaders to bring ZANU PF and the MDC back to the negotiating
table, also told ZimOnline this week that religious leaders had been in
touch with the two political parties and would be soon attempting to revive
dialogue between them.
Political analysts say Mugabe and ZANU PF,
now comfortably in control with a two-thirds majority in Parliament, might
be more than ready for dialogue with its opponent if only to placate key
Western nations that have condemned the party's controversial election
victory and looks set to keep lines of credit and aid locked until there are
major concessions by Harare. - ZimOnline
Embattled manufacturers plot way forward Wed 13 April
2005 HARARE - Zimbabwean manufacturing firms were last night locked up in a
meeting to discuss viability problems after a government order last week to
reverse price increases to last month's levels.
The firms, are
meeting under the auspices of the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries
(CZI), the biggest representative body for business and industry in the
country. The meeting comes amid plans by the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply
Authority to hike tariffs which will compound further viability problems for
"That (price adjustment) is one of the main items under
discussions. That is all I can say at the moment because of the sensitivity
of the issues," CZI president Pattison Sithole told ZimOnline before the
Prices shot up by up to 100 percent almost immediately
after President Robert Mugabe's ruling ZANU PF party won a controversial
landslide victory in a parliamentary election on March 31.
Basic commodities also rapidly disappeared from shop shelves as panicking
buyers stocked up in case supplies would totally run out.
and Trade Minister Samuel Mumbengegwi immediately ordered the firms to
revert to prices which were there during the pre-election period. Some of
the firms have abided by the government order but goods remain scarce in
shops although readily available on the black-market where traders charge
more than thrice what shops charge. - ZimOnline
Downtrodden voters accept their lot April 13,
The recent Zimbabwe elections have dominated the editorials
for some time now, with an emphasis on the glaring irregularities of the
electoral system of that country.
I accept this as one reason
for the surprising landslide victory of a party that has brought economic
chaos to a once prosperous country. However, I have wondered at the
psychological aspect of the result in terms of those who voted Zanu-PF
despite the chaos around them. In some respects this could be equated to
vulnerable and dis-empowered women trapped in an abusive
The logic is that they should get out of the
relationship, but many choose to stay in spite of the huge personal
sacrifice. Perhaps a similar rationale is at play when people who are
essentially vulnerable and abused by abject poverty vote for continuation of
Taking this notion further I have observed among rural
people where I work that there is a pervasive acceptance of one's lot in
life. I work in a district where unemployment and poverty are still
Although there is infrastructure and services, there
are severe shortcomings in the quality and regularity of these services.
When I ask community members what they think of this situation 10 years
post- democracy, the answer is almost standard that they have voted their
political leadership for what it is historically, the prominent
anti-apartheid liberators (including the personality cult of Nelson Mandela)
and have very little expectation for what can be delivered to them as
individuals today or in the future. They accept their lot in life and hope
that they can get by from one month to the next.
very little acknowledgement that the vote has the potential to change the
status quo for the better. One lady even went one step further and told me
that she did not vote for the UDM (even though she is a member of the
Holomisa clan) because Mandela gives her a child support grant from his own
purse which would be stopped if the ANC were voted out of power.
How can one call this democracy?
This is simply the age-old
acceptance of one's lot in life, ignorance and vulnerability. I suspect that
there is a similar psyche at play in Zimbabwe and that many more people
voted for the Zanu-PF than is suspected. At least that way they have a
marginal chance of scoring the few bags of maize being handed out to
supporters, better than nothing at all.
The people of Zimbabwe recently voted in a general election with the result
that Robert Mugabe's ZANU PF party remains in power. Most European countries
and the United States condemned the election as illegitimate, un-free and
unfair, yet the South African government and Zimbabwe's other neighbours
endorsed the election. South Africa's ringing endorsement of and loyalty to
the Mugabe regime raises a troubling question: can South Africa go the same
way as Zimbabwe?
The Mugabe Way?
Robert Mugabe was voted in as President when the first democratic election
ended years of minority white rule by Ian Smith's government. Mugabe turned
what was a repressive and racist Rhodesia into a democratic and freer
Zimbabwe. Mugabe oversaw a relatively peaceful Zimbabwe during his first
decade of rule, his government improved healthcare and education
immeasurably, and the economy continued to function.
the decade was not peaceful if you were a Matebele, a member of the major
tribal group in the south of the country. There is no love lost between the
Matabele and the Shona, the other major tribe. Mugabe is a Shona, and
shortly after his election, Mugabe sent his troops (trained by North
Koreans) into Matabeleland. The troops killed thousands of Matabele in an
attempt to crush any form of political dissent.
Mugabe took power, Britain gave Zimbabwe considerable funding for land
reform in Zimbabwe so that Mugabe's government could return land to the
millions of Zimbabweans dispossessed by Britain's colonial rule. Instead of
rectifying this great wrong, Mugabe increased it, parcelling the land out to
his political allies and parcelling out the land reform funds to his
Mugabe continued his destruction of
property rights over the decades, culminating ultimately in the chaotic and
often violent land grabs from white farmers beginning in 2000. In destroying
one of the most fundamental institutions of the free society, Mugabe also
destroyed the economy.
Not content with destroying property
rights and the economy, Mugabe also destroyed another fundamental
institution of a free society, the rule of law. Mugabe ignored the high
courts, intimidated those judges that passed judgements unfavourable to the
government, and replaced judges with his yes-men. The Zanu PF led Parliament
passed a host of laws outlawing free speech and freedom of association, and
the police have extraordinary powers to detain people without
Squandered Moral Capital
laws that Mugabe uses to retain power are remarkably similar to the laws
that the Apartheid government used in South Africa in their attempts to
crush political opposition. The African National Congress (ANC), which is
now in power in South Africa, fought a long and hard struggle, with many
sacrifices, to give South Africans the fundamental human rights that Mugabe
has taken away from Zimbabweans. One would have thought, therefore, that
South Africa would defend the institutions of a free society and condemn
Mugabe's actions. Yet President Mbeki and his government lack principles and
moral courage when it comes to Zimbabwe
The leader of the
Southern African Development Community (SADC) observer mission to the recent
election, Minister Mlambo-Ncugka, is South Africa's Minister of Minerals and
Energy Affairs. After the election she declared, "It is SADC's overall view
that the elections were conducted in an open, transparent and professional
manner. The electoral authorities of Zimbabwe displayed not only a
professional discharge of duty but also a high sense of gender equality and
youth representation in the electoral process."
It is a
depressing measure of the political climate in South Africa that one of the
government's most senior ministers is so impressed by the gender and youth
sensitivity of Mugabe's government that she can overlook the, violence,
intimidation, repressive laws and horrific human rights abuses ongoing in
that country. Perhaps Mlambo-Ncugka is impressed that Mugabe's secret police
and party thugs torture and rape both men and women equally. She should be
equally heartened then that Mugabe's government also withholds food and
medical services from the young and old alike if they cannot prove they
belong to Zanu PF.
South Africa's endorsement of the Mugabe
regime has eaten away at the international moral capital the country earned
after the 1994 democratic elections that put Nelson Mandela and his party in
power. Is the ANC's support of the Mugabe regime a sign of things to come in
It is crucial to be reminded of the fact that
South Africans today enjoy more freedoms and democracy than ever before,
thanks in large part to the ANC. We have enjoyed free and fair elections and
violent abuses of government are a thing of the past. Unlike during the
period of Apartheid, people are not arrested without charge, tortured in
dank basements and then made to disappear.
Yet despite these enormous advances in freedom, the
ANC's pro-Mugabe's stance is disquieting and unfortunately is accompanied by
some other worrying trends. One could argue that the ANC's support for
Zimbabwe demonstrates that, just like the Nationalist Party that created
Apartheid, the ANC does not really respect, nor believe in the institutions
of a free society.
Last year the ANC made vague, but
nonetheless ominous, threats towards the judiciary, potentially undermining
their independence. Although the ANC has not yet directly attacked the rule
of law, the grindingly slow legal system and an often corrupt police force
make for a de facto assault on the rule of law.
Although there hasn't been a direct threat to property rights in South
Africa, the government's policy of Black Economic Empowerment forces
companies to hand over equity to black shareholders. Like Mugabe's "land
reforms" in Zimbabwe, this system of "empowerment" is a partial taking that
undermines a key institution and enriches a tiny, politically powerful
elite. It has increased the risk of investing and has probably slowed
South Africa enjoys a free and vibrant
press, even though the state TV and radio broadcaster shows signs of
becoming an ANC mouthpiece, just as it was a National Party mouthpiece in
the past. More worrying is the way the ANC and in particular President Mbeki
make vitriolic, personal attacks on individuals who criticise the
government. Leading businessmen and even Archbishop Desmond Tutu have been
subjected to Mbeki's spitting rebukes. The result may well be that people
self-sensor themselves for fear of being attacked by the country's most
Add to these worrying signs the recent
comments made by a senior and influential academic, Professor Malegapuru
Makgoba of the University of KwaZulu Natal. In a recent column ranting
against white males, he concluded that "[the white South African] must soon
accept, value and imitate the things that matter dearly to Africans. The
sooner this white male gets out of his denial mode, the sooner he will
receive treatment and proper African rehabilitation"
South Africans, black or white, don't need rehabilitation or treatment. They
need to be able to live peaceful and prosperous lives free of interference
or coercion from government. The ANC government greatly increased freedoms
for most South Africans, but then so did Mugabe's government when it first
came to power.
There are of course some important
differences between South Africa and Zimbabwe. As Jonathan
Katzenellenbogen, international affairs editor of South Africa's Business
Day newspaper points out "the crucial difference is that SA has a liberal
constitution and a far more active union, business, and civil society
movement than Zimbabwe."
When it comes to Mbeki's policy of
'quiet diplomacy' on Zimbabwe, Katzenellenbogen explains that this policy
"has to raise questions about the democratic future in SA and even the
Communist party has said as much. By not criticising Mugabe openly and
early, while there were screams from the west, Mbeki lost the ground on
which to do so, as the rhetoric of external opposition became western and
white. As politics in South Africa still has a large racial dimension it
would have been difficult for Mbeki to criticise
The crucial test going forward will come with
future elections in South Africa. South Africa has had unimpressive per
capita economic growth, unemployment at around 40% and vocal and
increasingly critical labour movement. This, along with the country's
growing HIV/AIDS problem that the government has done its best to ignore,
means that South African voters may turn away from the ANC. If and when this
happens, one hopes the ANC will do the right thing, and allow South Africans
to make free choices. South Africa has an awful lot going for it, but the
government's disgraceful behaviour over Zimbabwe is a frightening warning
that the hard-won freedoms that South Africans enjoy may be on the way
Mapenzauswa Last updated: 04/13/2005 08:19:01 ZIMBABWE swore in new
members of parliament Tuesday, including 30 unelected ruling party loyalists
that guarantee President Robert Mugabe a crushing majority following
disputed elections last month.
The main opposition Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC), which accuses Mugabe's ruling ZANU-PF of rigging
the March 31 vote, lodged the first of what it said would be a series of
court challenges to the vote results.
But MDC MPs still took the oath in
the new parliament, dispelling speculation that the party might boycott the
legislature to show its displeasure.
There was a moment of high drama
when President Robert Mugabe's former spin doctor Jonathan Moyo took his
seat for the first time on the opposition benches sandwiched between the
leader of the opposition Gibson Sibanda and the MDC secretary general
Moyo stood as an independent in Tsholotsho constituency
in Matabeleland North. He consequently lost his Cabinet post, and was also
stripped of his Zanu PF membership.
Zanu PF won 78 of the 120 elected
seats in the March vote, and is guaranteed a further 30 under constitutional
provisions which allow Mugabe to directly appoint 20 legislators and draw
another 10 from Zimbabwe's traditional leaders - known as Zanu PF
The total puts ZANU-PF well above the two-thirds majority it
needs to change the constitution at will.
Among those appointed to
seats were Vice President Joseph Msika, who did not stand in the election,
and outgoing Speaker Emmerson Mnangagwa who received another presidential
appointment after posting his second consecutive loss to an opposition
candidate in his district.
The ruling party successfully nominated its
national chairman John Nkomo as new speaker of parliament.
"May I ...
appeal for the fullest co-operation of all members of parliament ... Though
we belong to different political parties, there is need for us to be guided
by national interests," Nkomo said in his acceptance speech.
The MDC has
cited "serious and unaccountable gaps" in vote tallies to back its
accusations, supported by Western powers, that Mugabe's party rigged the
election. ZANU-PF denies cheating and African observers said the poll was
free and fair -- Reuters
MDC to challenge poll in court, perhaps on
streets Jonathan Katzenellenbogen
AS THE main opposition party in Zimbabwe, the Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC), took up its 41 seats in parliament yesterday, it
detailed its allegations of a stolen election in what it hinted may be a
prelude to a call for mass action.
MDC spokesman Paul Themba Nyathi
said in Johannesburg yesterday that while the party was taking up its seats
in parliament, it would consider pursuing a range actions within the
framework of Zimbabwe's constitution.
The MDC has yet to have one of its
cases contesting previous elections heard, but legal spokesman David Coltart
said it would soon launch court challenges against a result for a
constituency in each province, to show "the systematic nature of the
Pointing to a series of "unexplained discrepancies" in the
results, Coltart said he was disturbed that SA's official observer mission
and that from the Southern African Development Community (SADC) had not
responded to the allegations.
A nearly 60-page MDC report includes
letters outlining complaints of electoral malpractice to the Zimbabwe
Electoral Commission and the state-owned broadcaster, for what it alleged
was unfair treatment of the party.
The allegations include: denial of
access to polling stations for MDC elections agents; about 10% of voters
(133155) were turned away in six of 10 provinces; and counting started late,
creating a gap for manipulation.
Yesterday the MDC called for the
commission to release immediately the voters' roll in electronic form,
polling station returns and an independent results audit.
claims that it was denied access to the data before the election.
says total voter numbers released by the electoral commission at 7.30pm on
election night do not match the collective count on the days following.
Between the close of polling and the announcement of results over the next
48 hours, a further 250000 votes appeared. The commission has refused to
give total figures for 48 constituencies.
In another violation of
Zimbabwe law, the MDC says voting figures were not released at polling
stations. In addition, the ink used to identify people who had voted had
rubbed off easily, enabling people to vote more than once.
Zanu (PF) old guard incapable of novel solutions Dumisani
WHILE Zimbabwe's ruling Zanu (PF) mandarins
celebrate their disputed triumph in the recent general election, their
Pyrrhic victory has thrown the country's economic recovery agenda into
It is now clear to everybody - except perhaps President
Robert Mugabe and his adherents in perpetual denial - that Zimbabwe's
structural economic problems cannot be resolved without fundamental
Although in theory the border between politics and
economics is open, the reality is that politics and economics overlap.
Often, bad politics and policies breed economic failure. Politics affects
economics and vice-versa.
Zimbabwean leaders are
either off message or are deliberately ignoring this crucial link. That is
why Mugabe seems to entertain the delusion that he can resolve the economic
crisis without cleaning up the political mess first.
problems in Zimbabwe are clear. The country has a ruling party suffering
from the malaise of a highly repressive former liberation movement that has
failed to renew itself and is now unable to cope with new political and
Analysts generally agree Zanu (PF) needs to open
up and renew its closed leadership structure, repackage itself, and catch up
with a society that has moved too far ahead of it.
But the party
appears unable to adjust to changing political and socioeconomic conditions.
It has resorted to coercive measures to maintain its faltering grip on a
society rejecting its antiquated philosophy and discredited ideological
Zimbabwe's leadership, policy and institutional failures, as
well as shifts in the global political economy, largely created the current
crisis. This led to the emergence of a new political formation which managed
to rope in most other social forces gathering against the ruling
The socioeconomic conditions and attendant political
instability created a number of key social formations that later coalesced
into the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC). The main labour
movement was instrumental in this and that is why most MDC leaders came from
The present political impasse was caused by the three disputed
elections since 2000. While Mugabe still claims the MDC is a front for
western powers, his argument has long lost credibility and no longer sells -
even to his closest allies, including SA.
This means Mugabe must
get real and recognise he cannot wish away the MDC unless he performs an
economic miracle to eliminate the conditions in which it
Mugabe's argument against the MDC has been riddled with
fundamental contradictions inherently built into it by his antiintellectual
attempt to reason through conclusions. On the one hand, he says the MDC is
driven by protest votes, meaning he appreciates the local environment that
created it, while on the other he claims it is by definition a
British-sponsored party. This leaves a huge credibility gap. But all the
same he has used this reasoning to reject talks on political reforms with
Without political consensus, fashioned out of a
negotiated political settlement, economic problems will remain. This is the
grim reality Mugabe is scared of facing. The past week demonstrated that
Mugabe and his government are either unwilling or simply unable to resolve
A few days after the election, shortages of
basic commodities - including bread, milk, sugar, and maize meal -
resurfaced. The fuel crisis also returned. Other problems remain and will
continue unless there is a dramatic intervention.
But Mugabe and
Zanu (PF)'s reaction to the situation was, to say the least, pathetic.
Instead of moving with calculated urgency to ease the troubles, they
resorted to populist excuses and threats.
Mugabe's party met last
Wednesday and on Sunday, but the economy did not feature in its
Zanu (PF) is preoccupied with pursuits such as piecemeal
The party old guard is retreating to
certainties of the past and digging in, while reciting slogans and
demagoguery as a substitute for sound policy. This reactionary posturing
will not change anything, except for the worse.