December 14th, 2008
This sms just received:
A quiet and honest journalist was abducted from his home in Harare today.
His name is Andrisson Manyere. There is extreme concern. He is an accredited
Posted by Sokwanele
December 15, 2008
Prominent Zimbabwean human rights activist, Jestina Mukoko and two senior
MDC officials are being held in a remote location in Kariba and ZANU PF
plans to use them as ransom to force the MDC to enter into an all inclusive
government, a source tellsMetro.
"They are still alive,at least for now", the source said, but refused to
reveal the exact location where the captives are kept but told us that its a
remote location in the Kariba area where the government also keeps anyone
suspected of espionage,working for the CIA or M16.
The plan according to a source is that Mugabe's regime wants Tsvangirai to
be back in Zimbabwe and be sworn in as Prime Minister as they are fears that
he is making a lot of progress outside of Zimbabwe.The regime desperately
wants the MDC to be part of government as they feel they can contain that
than the changing wave of opinion and leadership in the SADC region.
"You will notice the abductions started when Tsvangirai left the
country,that is why he will never get a passport as long as he does not
become Prime Minister, right now they will do anything to make him come back
including making it uncomfortable for any country in the SADC to keep him,
any country which keeps him will be accused of working with west to topple
the government", revealed the source.
The recent abductions of MDC officials are calculated to cut the flow of
information from Tsvangirai to MDC personnel so as to frustrate him and
force him to return. State agents are reportedly interested in abducting one
ZANU PF 's plan also includes limiting the dissemination of information to
SADC, as they feel this is weakening their hand.
"They are really worried about what countries in SADC are getting from the
media,they do not care about the west that much. You will notice in the next
few weeks an effort to muzzle anyone suspected to providing information and
reporting for the international media, that is why Mukoko was seized-to warn
Jestina Mukoko, director of the Zimbabwe Peace Project (ZPP),disappeared in
the past six weeks and was seized when the government learnt that leaders in
SADC were relying on her organisation's reports for information on human
Within days, other abductions were carried out by groups of between six and
nine armed men in civilian clothes using unmarked vehicles without number
plates. On 7 Brodrick Takawira and Pascal Gonzo, both of the ZPP, were
abducted. Earlier Chris Dlamini the MDC Director for Security was seized
then on 10 December, Gandhi Mudzingwa, former Presidential Director for
Morgan Tsvangirai, was kidnapped just outside Harare.
Mukoko's organisation the ZPP, is funded by the Dutch and Canadian
governments, is one of the most respected groups in Zimbabwean civil
society. Its reports have been used in confidential diplomatic briefing
One of the greatest fears of Mugabe and those involved in this year's
election-related violence is that the UN Security Council will call for an
International Criminal Court investigation, as it did over Sudanese
President Omar el-Bashir's involvement in the Darfur killings.
by Own Correspondent Monday 15 December 2008
HARARE - Zimbabwe's opposition MDC will block a proposed constitutional
amendment to create a power-sharing government because it was not consulted
before the draft law was gazetted and because its demands for equitable
power sharing have not been met, a senior official said Sunday.
"We will block this Bill in Parliament for the obvious reasons that ZANU PF
(President Robert Mugabe's ruling party) did not consult us and because of
the well known outstanding issues," said the official.
The MDC official, who did not want to be named because he did not have
permission from the party to speak on the matter, said party secretary
general Tendai Biti would today enunciate the reasons behind the move to
block the draft constitutional amendment at a press briefing in Harare.
The decision by the MDC to block enactment of Constitution of Zimbabwe
Amendment Number 19 Bill - gazetted by Mugabe on Saturday - could deal a
killer punch to a fragile September power-sharing pact between Zimbabwe's
rival political parties.
Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa told state media at the weekend that
refusal by any of the political parties to back the Bill in Parliament would
mean an end of the power-sharing pact and the country would have to hold
fresh presidential, parliamentary and local government elections.
The Morgan Tsvangirai-led MDC controls 100 seats in the 210-member lower
house of Parliament, while ZANU PF won 99 seats. A breakaway faction of the
MDC led by Arthur Mutambara holds 10 seats with the remaining seat in the
hands of an independent member.
The three main political parties that all agreed the details of the draft
constitutional amendment during talks in South Africa last month must
cooperate to ensure a two thirds majority required for the Bill to pass.
The agreement between Mugabe, Tsvangirai and Mutambara had brought hope that
the troubled southern African nation could finally emerge from its crisis.
But the agreement brokered by former South African President Thabo Mbeki had
in recent days looked increasingly in danger of unravelling as Tsvangirai
and Mugabe wrangle over distribution of key government posts.
Recent abductions of MDC members and human rights activists by unknown
people but who are thought to be agents of the government's feared spy
Central Intelligence Organisation added to doubts over the agreement.
MDC spokesman Nelson Chamisa told the media at the weekend that unresolved
political issues needed to be tackled first before dealing with the
constitution amendment that would pave way for appointment of Tsvangirai and
Mutambara as premier and deputy premier in a government of national unity.
He said: "What we are saying is that these political issues will stand in
the way of the legal process. We need to clear the political issues first
before moving on to the constitution."
Among the sticking issues that the MDC wants resolved are the allocations of
ministerial portfolios, the appointment of provincial governors and the
constitution and composition of the National Security Council.
A meeting of the MDC's decision-making national council last Friday resolved
that the party would not be: "part of a government of national unity unless
and until there is an amicable settlement on the outstanding issues of the
equitability and fairness in the allocation of ministerial portfolios and
The opposition council said it also wanted the issue of the constitution and
composition of the national security council and the enactment of
Constitutional Amendment No. 19 resolved while it also called for Mbeki's
recusal as mediator.
Once prosperous Zimbabwe is in the grip of a severe economic and
humanitarian crisis that critics blame on mismanagement by Mugabe and seen
in a cholera outbreak that has killed close to 800 people since August, amid
acute shortages of medicines, food and every basic commodity.
United States (US) Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is this week expected
to hold talks with key players at the United Nations to push for more robust
action by the Security Council to address mounting crises in Zimbabwe.
US President George W. Bush, the West and some African leaders alarmed by
rising deaths in Zimbabwe due to cholera have in recent weeks stepped up
calls for Mugabe's resignation. However, the African Union has opposed such
calls. - ZimOnline
December 14, 2008
By Our Correspondent
BULAWAYO - Zanu-PF deputy political commissar, Richard Ndlovu and two war
veterans were last week forcibly evicted from a farm by armed police from a
farm in Matabeleland South which they were occupying in violation of last
month's court order directing that they vacate the farm,
Ndlovu and war veterans, Leonard Nzima and Esthel Ndebele occupied McGee
Lucky Tweedale farm in Figtree after evicting the owner from the land, one D
Drury in 2000.
Numerous court applications to have the trio evicted since then had failed.
Harare High Court Judge, Justice Susan Mavangira, issued a final order on
November 19 but this was also resisted by the trio.
Authoritative sources, told The Zimbabwe Times that the farmers, armed with
the court order directing that they reclaim their land, were forced to seek
the help of the District Administrator ( DA) for Bulilima, Ethel Moyo and
the police on Thursday to force the eviction of the Zanu-PF political
commissar and the war veterans.
"The DA led more than 12 armed police officers to the farm where they
removed Ndlovu, Nzima and Ndebele's properties from the farmhouse and
dumped them along the Bulawayo- Plumtree highway.
"On the day of the eviction, the DA had met the local traditional leadership
from the area and they had unanimously agreed that Ndlovu and the war
veterans were staying on the farm illegally," a police officer who was part
of the eviction team said.
When contacted for comment yesterday Ndlovu reacted angrily, "I am going
back to my farm and stop wasting my time."
Ndlovu had occupied Subsection 3 of McGee Lucky Tweedale Farm while Nzima
and Ndebele had occupied Subsection 1 and 2 respectively.
In the High Court Justice Mavangira declared that "the applicant Drury
owns McGee Lucky Tweedale Farm and is subject to the full protection of the
law and security in accordance with the provisions of Section 16(9b) of the
Constitution of Zimbabwe"
Justice Mavangira further declared that the offer letter dated 3 March 2006
in favour of Ndlovu and Nzima was "invalid and of no force".
The government last week said it would push ahead with more farm seizures
until all white owned land was transferred to landless blacks. The
government said this in reaction to a SADC court tribunal that ordered that
the state not interfere with operations at white owned farms. The government
said the ruling sought to reverse the gains of the land reform programme.
Posted to the web: 15/12/2008 03:22:23
ZIMBABWE scaled up its diplomatic war with Botswana on Monday, saying there
was "compelling evidence" that it had trained bandits in preparation for a
military invasion to overthrow President Robert Mugabe's government.
The sensational claims were made by Zimbabwe's Justice Minister Patrick
Chinamasa, who said evidence that Botswana had "rendered itself a surrogate
of Western imperial powers. and that it has decided to be a destabilising
factor in the region" had been handed over to the Southern African
Development Community (SADC)'s Organ on Politics, Defence and Security.
Botswana has previously denied allegations by the Zimbabwe government that
it had recruited former elements of Zimbabwe's security services and youths
from the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) led by Morgan
Tsvangirai in preparation for a military offensive.
Relations between the two neighbours are at an all-time low. Last month,
Botswana's foreign minister invited the ire of Zimbabwean officials when he
called on regional countries to close their borders, and squeeze President
Mugabe out of power.
Chinamasa said: "You are aware that the last time the SADC Organ on
Politics, Defence and Security met in Harare, we lodged a complaint against
Botswana. Botswana has availed its territory, material and logistical
support to MDC-T for the recruitment and military training of youths for the
eventual destabilisation of the country with a view to effecting illegal
"Compelling evidence has already been proffered and the matter is now in the
hands of the (Sadc) Troika and it is not for us to say how the matter will
proceed. The Troika is now in charge of the matter and we all await their
"What evidence is there establishes that Botswana has rendered itself a
surrogate of Western imperial powers, that it is acting contrary to its past
role as a Frontline State, and that it has decided to be a destabilising
factor in the region.
"My plea to (Ian) Khama and his government is to think carefully about the
irreversible harm they have been plotting to unleash on the region."
Speaking to the state-run Herald newspaper, Chinamasa said the Botswana
government had put itself "on a course that is bound to bring a lot of
suffering on Zimbabweans and the region, including the population of
Chinamasa, the Herald said, declined to say what evidence had been found.
But the paper said its sources indicated that Botswana had recruited former
Zimbabwe security personnel who had "spilled the bins after gathering
sufficient information from inside".
It said the plot was "to train groups of bandits who would instigate
instability that would give the West a pretext to get the United Nations
Security Council leeway to authorise a military invasion of Zimbabwe".
Tsvangirai currently remains in Botswana where he says he will not leave
before he is issued a passport by the Zimbabwe government. He left on a
travel document which has since expired.
Tsvangirai's MDC has threatened to block a constitutional amendment paving
the way for a unity government with Mugabe's ruling Zanu PF party from
passing in parliament in a dispute over the control of the security
portfolios in the new government.
But Chinamasa said Tsvangirai's party had been negotiating in bad faith,
"talking peace while preparing for war".
"As far as we are concerned as Zanu PF," he said, "we have done all we can
to ensure peace and stability in the country which are prerequisites for
economic recovery. MDC-T, on the other hand, is bent on foisting war on the
country and the region. It has become evident that MDC-T is negotiating in
bad faith and has engaged in dialogue as a ploy to string us along. They
"We now have evidence that while they were talking peace they have been
preparing for war and insurgency, as well as soliciting the West to invade
our country on the pretext of things like cholera.
"We can look our people in the eye and say 'enough is enough'. Our backs are
now to the wall and a day may soon come when each and every one of us may be
called to defend our revolutionary gains and our sovereignty."
Chinamasa said last week that if the MDC vetoed the constitutional
amendment, that would lead to a collapse of the power sharing agreement
signed on September 15 and new elections would be ordered.
No comment was immediately available from the government of Botswana on
Zimbabwe's latest claims.
By Lindie Whiz
Posted to the web: 14/12/2008 23:21:49
A GERMAN company has used a bilateral agreement to evict a black Zimbabwean
farmer in the prime farming area of Figtree, Matabeleland South Province.
N & N Farming (Pvt) Ltd obtained an eviction order through the High Court in
Harare on November 19. Justice Mavangira granted the order.
The Deputy Sheriff enforced the eviction order on Leonard Nzima, who was
offered the piece of land, identified in court as Subsection 1 McGee Lucky
Tweedale, through a government offer letter dated March 3, 2006.
The Deputy Sheriff, in the company of police officers, swooped on the farm
last week Tuesday to carry out the eviction.
Esthel Ndebele, described in court as the wife of a late senior civil
servant in the district, was also evicted, although she was not cited as a
respondent in the court papers.
Nzima was cited as a third respondent in the matter, with the Ministry of
State Security responsible for Land, Land Reform and Resettlement, the
Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Attorney General's Office also added to
the court application as respondents.
Nzima is a beneficiary of the controversial and chaotic land reform
programme in which started in 2000. Twelve white farmers were killed as
marauding war veterans and landless villagers marched onto their farms.
None of the respondents in the application turned up for a hearing on
February 28, and the judge made an order based on their default and after
lawyers for N & N Farming addressed the court on the merits of the
Nzima and his lawyer, Thabisa Sibanda, of James, Moyo-Majwabu and Nyoni deny
being served with the notice of the hearing and plan to appeal against the
But a major legal hurdle, which was the thrust of N & N Farming's
application, is a bilateral agreement between the governments of Zimbabwe
and federal government of Germany.
Justice Mavangira declared that the N & N Farming owns the remainder of
McGee Lucky Farm under Deed of Transfer No 2308/00 (Newlands).
"Newlands is subject to the full protection of the law and security in
accordance with the provisions of Section 16 (9b) of the Constitution of
Zimbabwe as read with the agreement between the Government of the Republic
of Zimbabwe and the Federal Republic of German concerning the Encouragement
and Reciprocal Protection Investment that was entered into on 14 April 2000.
It continues to subsist and is binding to the Government of Zimbabwe," reads
Justice Mavangira further declared that Newlands has not been competently
and validly acquired by the Government of Zimbabwe under the provisions of
section 5 (1) of the Land Acquisition Act or with regards the provisions of
section 16B of the Constitution of Zimbabwe.
The section concerns the expropriation of property and the judge adds that
any purported acquisition of Newlands is null and void for want of
compliance with "mandatory and peremptory prior requisite set out in the
agreement between the two governments".
The judge further declared that the offer letter dated 3 March 2006 in
favour of Nzima was incompetent, invalid and of no force or effect by reason
of the subsistence of the Bilateral Protection and Investment Agreement in
favour of the applicant.
The Harare judgement comes hard on the heels of a SADC Tribunal Court ruling
that Zimbabwe's violent land reform exercise did discriminate against 78
white commercial farmers who had filed a group application challenging the
seizure of their farms.
The President of the tribunal, Judge Lius Mondlane, ruled that Zimbabwe was
in breach of the SADC treaty with regards to discrimination when it seized
Robert Mugabe has already rubbished the ruling, saying it was "an exercise
December 14, 2008
BULAWAYO - Former Zanu-PF politburo member Dumiso Dabengwa, elected leader
of revived PF Zapu on Sunday, has described President Robert Mugabe as an
unrepentant leader who believes in violence to maintain his hold on power.
Dabengwa, who left Zanu-PF before the March elections, was elected as
president of PF Zapu after leading a breakaway from Zanu-PF. Dr Canswell
Nziramasanga of Mashonaland West was elected vice-president.
Dabengwa said Mugabe ignored advice from other Zanu-PF members to cease
violence. Mugabe argued that Zanu-PF's continued hold on power could only be
fully secured through coercion, he said
"When I was in government and in Zanu-PF, I used to tell Mugabe not to
victimize and use violence against the MDC but he did not listen," said
Dabengwa at a press conference soon after his election.
"He refused to stop using violence against the MDC saying that the power
base of Zanu-PF was threatened. He was unrepentant and believes violence is
Disgruntled Zanu-PF senior officials, mainly from the southern region - led
by Dabengwa - officially broke away from the ruling party and revived PF
Zapu at a two-day convention held at MacDonald Hall in Mzilikazi suburb.
The move effectively ended a political marriage between Mugabe's Zanu-PF and
PF Zapu sealed through a unity accord in 1987.
PF Zapu was forced to sign the accord following a crackdown on its main
support base in Matabeleland. The operation, codenamed Gukurahundi, resulted
in the death of about 20 000 civilians, according to the Catholic Commission
of Peace and Justice (CCJP).
Dabengwa also urged the MDC to pull out of the power-sharing talks and push
for a new constitution before fresh polls to solve the political impasse are
"The MDC should pull of the power-sharing talks as they have failed to
produce the desire result and failed to solve the political crisis," said
Dabengwa, a former minister of home affairs.
"It is clear that Mugabe does not want to share power with Tsvangirai. The
MDC should announce the talks are dead and pull out.
"Fresh elections are the only way out of the political crisis. However, the
MDC should refuse to participate in such polls if there is no new
constitution. An election under the current constitution will produce a
defective result as it allows Mugabe to bend the rules.
"The MDC should start pushing for a new constitution now to avoid a repeat
of the current crisis, where a defective constitution in June produced a
On Thursday, Mugabe's government threatened fresh polls if the MDC did not
join his government following the signing of a power-sharing deal between
Zanu-PF and the MDC in September.
The implementation of deal has stalled after Mugabe refused to cede some key
ministries and posts to the MDC.
Another drenching day. Our tarpaulin collected gallons of rainwater which we
periodically unloaded by prodding it with umbrellas. It was a bedraggled day
for our partners, the Zimbabwe Association, who were marking it as a
'singing for our supper' day in towns all over Britain. To quote them,
'After years of being stranded in the limbo of a seemingly endless asylum
process, hundreds of Zimbabweans in the UK are now destitute and without
support. Those attempting to support themselves are faced with
criminalisation for working without permission. In this season of goodwill
desperate Zimbabweans ask for their status as refugees to be recognized, so
that they can stand on their own feet, support themselves, pay taxes and
rebuild their lives.' The Vigil was happy to join the Zimbabwe Association
choir singing carols in the rain in English, Shona and Ndebele. Money
collected from passers-by will go to help destitute Zimbabweans in the UK
and to assist with the cholera crisis.
The Vigil's own carol day will take place next week when we are mounting a
media stunt on the last Saturday before Christmas. Our Mugabe impersonator,
Fungayi Mabhunu, will make an appearance as Father Cholera dressed in the
traditional Santa Claus suit and wearing our Mugabe mask. He will hand out
presents labelled cholera, anthrax, starvation, violence, murder, rape,
torture, greed etc, etc. Passers-by will be invited to light candles before
a Cross in the doorway of the Embassy. Yes, we know, a Cross at Zimbabwe
House! There is bound to be an angry complaint to the police from the devil's
own Ambassador. The Vigil wishes to show the passing public the horrors of
the Zimbabwe Christmas this year in contrast with our Western Christmas even
during the current economic downturn.
Fungayi today had a trial run with his Father Cholera outfit and was
interviewed by CNN, who filmed the Vigil. The Vigil is always asked to put
forward people to speak about the Zimbabwe crisis and Fungayi earlier this
week appeared on France 24 TV. Luka Phiri of the Zimbabwe Association and
the Vigil appeared on BBC television. Ephraim Tapa was interviewed by
Deutsche Welle Radio on Human Rights Day about his torture experiences.
The plight of Zimbabwean human rights campaigner, Jestina Mukoko, and other
activists who have been abducted in Zimbabwe has prompted international
concern. The Independent Catholic News has set up a petition (see
http://www.indcatholicnews.com/petition324.html). They asked us where they
can submit it and we are putting them in touch with SW Radio Africa's page
of recommended action from Amnesty International -
For latest Vigil pictures check: http://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/
FOR THE RECORD: 94 signed the register.
FOR YOUR DIARY:
· Central London Zimbabwe Forum. Monday 15th December at 7.30 pm.
The speaker is Dr. Farai Madzimbamuto, a Director of Zimbabwe Human Rights
NGO Forum, who will talk about the cholera epidemic. Venue: The Cole Room,
Fabian Society, 11 Dartmouth St, London SW1H 9BN (020 7227 4900). Nearest
station: St. James' Park.
· ROHR Wolverhampton Christmas Party. Saturday 20th December. Venue:
Heath Town Community Centre, 208 Chervil Rise, Wolverhampton WV10 0HP.
Contact: Colleen Maredza 07733394648, Nancy Mangwandu 07727019329, Tendai
· ROHR Brighton Christmas Fundraising Party. Saturday 20th December.
Venue: St Leonard Church Hall, 12 Glebe Villas, Hove, Brighton BN3 5SL.
Admission £5 (one plate of Isithwala/Sadza and two drinks free). Contact:
Sinikiwe Dube 07824668763, Seph Mpofu 07786164808, Phyllis Chibanguza
· Next Glasgow Vigil. Saturday, 20th December 2008, 2 - 6 pm. Venue:
Argyle Street Precinct. For more information contact: Patrick Dzimba, 07990
724 137, Tafadzwa Musemwa 07954 344 123 and Roggers Fatiya 07769 632 687
· Zimbabwe Association's Women's Weekly Drop-in Centre. Fridays
10.30 am - 4 pm. Venue: The Fire Station Community and ICT Centre, 84 Mayton
Street, London N7 6QT, Tel: 020 7607 9764. Nearest underground: Finsbury
Park. For more information contact the Zimbabwe Association 020 7549 0355
(open Tuesdays and Thursdays).
The Vigil, outside the Zimbabwe Embassy, 429 Strand, London, takes place
every Saturday from 14.00 to 18.00 to protest against gross violations of
human rights by the current regime in Zimbabwe. The Vigil which started in
October 2002 will continue until internationally-monitored, free and fair
elections are held in Zimbabwe. http://www.zimvigil.co.uk.
by Lachlan Carmichael
WASHINGTON (AFP) - In the Bush administration's last month, Secretary of
State Condoleezza Rice is due in New York Monday in a bid to keep Mideast
peace talks on track and turn up the heat on Zimbabwe's Robert Mugabe.
During talks at the United Nations, Rice will also discuss how to tackle a
surge in piracy off Somalia's coast, check Iran's nuclear ambitions, and
deal with the fallout from the terrorist attacks in India, officials said.
Her two-day visit to the heart of world diplomacy highlights many of the
daunting challenges President George W. Bush's administration will hand over
to Barack Obama's when the White House switches occupants on January 20.
Palestinian-Israeli peace remains a priority for the Bush team, which hoped
the parties could clinch a deal in a year when it revived the negotiations
in Annapolis, Maryland in November last year, after a seven-year hiatus.
But it is now settling for just keeping the process going as Rice meets
Monday with UN chief Ban Ki-moon, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and
European Union foreign policy chief Javier Solana.
Former British prime minister Tony Blair is also due at the talks as the
The United States, the United Nations, Russia and the European Union make up
the Middle East quartet, which has endorsed a roadmap for a Palestinian
state to coexist peacefully alongside a secure Israel.
"We can review where we are," a senior US official told reporters on
condition of anonymity, adding the quartet meeting is an opportunity to
"keep sustaining the momentum."
No tangible progress has been made on resolving the core issues of
Jerusalem, the future borders of a Palestinian state and refugees since the
Annapolis process was launched.
But the Bush administration argues that both Israelis and Palestinians are
paving the way for peace as the Palestinians improve their ability to stop
violence and the Israelis allow greater movement for Palestinians.
In closed-door consultations, Security Council envoys on Saturday weighed a
US-Russian draft resolution to fully involve the Security Council at a
crucial moment of transition in Middle East peacemaking.
And it welcomed the diplomatic quartet's consideration, in consultation with
the parties, of an international meeting on the Middle East in Moscow next
The 15-member UN Security Council is due to hold a closed-door meeting on
Zimbabwe as Rice, Bush and other leaders step up the pressure for Mugabe to
The United States blames Mugabe for Zimbabwe's political deadlock, economic
meltdown and humanitarian crisis, including a deadly cholera outbreak.
State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said Washington has been talking
to Zimbabwe's powerful neighbor South Africa and other Security Council
members about how to "start a process that will bring an end to the tragedy
that is unfolding in Zimbabwe."
Countries with leverage should use it to press for change in Zimbabwe,
A senior US official, speaking on condition of anonymity, proposed Thursday
that Zimbabwe's neighbors, particularly South Africa, close their borders
with the country.
McCormack said piracy will also be a hot topic as Somali pirates hold at
least 17 ships, including an arms-laden Ukrainian cargo vessel and a Saudi
supertanker carrying two million barrels of crude oil.
The United States has circulated a draft resolution allowing to chase
offenders even on Somali soil, diplomats said.
McCormack said Rice will also likely discuss continuing efforts to stop Iran
from enriching uranium, which Washington fears will be used toward building
an atomic bomb rather than peaceful nuclear energy, as Tehran claims.
Rice will probably discuss the deadly attacks last month in Mumbai when she
meets British Foreign Secretary David Miliband, McCormack added. "I'm sure
that she will touch on the issues related to India and Pakistan."
15 December 2008
Florence Chitauro, remember her? Well British newspaper The Observer reports
that the former Minister for Labour, Public Service and Social Welfare in
Mugabe's government is now living in London and travels to and from Zimbabwe
without any hindrance.
As Labour Minister she helped brutally suppress strikes against workers in
the country. The Observer reports that she lives in a plush town house in
West London with husband James Chitauro, himself a former senior civil
servant in Mugabe's regime. The Chitauto's have a son and daughter who also
live in the United Kingdom.
Confronted over her past and current free movements, Chitauro told the
paper, she was now a 'private citizen.' Asked whether she now denounced the
Mugabe regime, she replied: 'No, I'm not going to say that.' She also
claimed she had lived and contributed to the UK for a long time.
Labour MP Kate Hoey slammed the UK Border Agency for being, 'obsessed with
trying to meet targets on asylum seekers and keeping out any Zimbabwean who
they think might not return home. But they need to spend more time checking
out some of the Zanu-PF apparatchiks who have been coming in and out for
years and who are personally responsible for what is happening in Zimbabwe
December 14, 2008
By James Makuvise
President Robert Mugabe's press secretary, George Charamba, scrambled with
feigned anger last week to undo the damage his boss had caused by declaring
in public that cholera had been contained.
In his mind, President Mugabe probably did believe that cholera had indeed
been contained and that it was being used by his enemies, the British and
the Americans as reasons why they should invade his country. George and our
own Comical Ali, Sikhanyiso Ndlovu, are trying to outdo each other in
defending their boss.
George is winning by a mile. First he speaks and writes better English - the
jaw-breakers as they used to call them in those days gone by. Secondly he
sees The Boss every day, briefs him about the state of the world and puts
any spin that Gushungo wants to hear. Thirdly he dresses better, in dark
suits like HE really loves to see "his people" appear in public in and is
formal. Fourthly, George has got all the editors of the public media by the
shorts and curlies.
George can be intimidating when he wants to turn on the charm. One day he is
inviting the editors or mere reporter to his farm to be mesmerized by his
great farming prowess and next moment he could be intimidating with "simple"
questions like "ko iwe urikusevenzera ani?" No, you are translating it wrong
in your mind. The translation, according to George, is "We are paying your
salary and you are stuffing us?" Reporters and editors have left his
presence thoroughly humiliated. Not so with Comical Ali. Last week they
could afford a guffaw and giggle or two in his very presence when he spoke
about cholera having been planted by the British.
The real sad story here is that more and more these two gentlemen are
painting a true picture of a President under siege, a man who is now
completely detached from reality and a man who is battling, not any more
with his own demons, but with normal age affecting the brain. The ministers
will tell you the sad story about HE dozing off in mid-sentence when
chairing Cabinet meeting and none of them will dare wake him up. They will
all pretend to read their papers, speak in hushed tones and send text
messages until he wakes up again. Then everybody will pretend they saw
One feels they are complicit in the destruction of Zimbabwe. But others do
believe there will be no end to this until the entire population has been
coerced to turn into party zealots. Didymus Mutasa is particularly upset
that most of the population is turning into a bunch of ingrates. The party
liberated them from the yoke of colonialism and now they are turning against
it. Once he more than suggested that the country would be better off with a
population of six million of the party faithful. If you thought that was
said in jest think again. Recently some ministers, including Stan Mudenge,
have said they did not care very much about the people dying with cholera.
"They are not our people," he famously said. Meaning that the people in the
cities were MDC and therefore deserved to die.
Both George Charamba and Comical Ali were at home more than suggesting that
the cholera outbreak was the work of the British and the Americans. After
all, the Americans more than admitted it when they said they had been
preparing for this emergency for some time. Well, I have news for George.
The Centre for Disease Control (CDC) in Atlanta was set up to track not only
potential diseases that would affect Americans and be prepared to deal with
them. It was set up to serve whoever else. And if the Mugabe regime really
didn't anticipate this outbreak then the situation is worse than we thought.
Cholera is only a symptom. It's the water and sanitation and garbage
collection stupid! Deal with that and you don't have cholera. Period.
It is difficult to imagine a government more out of touch with reality. It
deals with money shortage with the short term solution of printing higher
denomination notes instead of printing, if printing is the solution, of more
lower denomination notes. Only an idiot fails to understand that the prices
will climb to the highest note in inflation. There is no change so the loaf
of bread is 500 million. Soon that note will not be good enough for a tip
and we will go to a billion dollar note and the taxi ride will be two
billion, or three or
The government has to come to terms with reality. Morgan Tsvangirai has
thrown them a lifeline by agreeing at all to the GNU. He did win the
elections you know, and he does deserve more than he is being given by the
losing party. But now he is facing the decision of his life. He hangs on to
his party's principles and more people suffer and die or he goes in with the
devil knowing full well there are no long folks at the table. Yet Mugabe is
banking on the same thing, that with deaths and more deaths, kidnappings and
murder, Morgan will be forced to blink...first.
There should be no thought of The Hague for Mugabe. He is old and already
displaying signs of Alzheimer's. But what about the younger ones in his
intelligence service, the police and the military? Many already have cases
to answer for with the estimated 20 000 deaths in Matabeleland. They will
still be around when Gushungo goes. There are already more cases made -
Murambatsvina, cholera and the diamond fields called Chiyadzwa. And that
story is yet to be told in full. Just how the Reserve Bank has recruited
Lebanese, South Africans and Nigerians as runners.
One gets away with anything in Zimbabwe today if one has powerful enough
"principals". The media can write all it wants, expose the shenanigans of
Gideon Gono and fuel imports, but there will not be so much as a suggestion
for an investigation. Jestina Mukoko disappeared because she was reporting
the un-reportable and the government is unfazed by the blah blah all over.
More continue to disappear and Zimbabweans feel very much like Argentineans
under the generals.
Many colleagues believe Jestina's kidnapping may be the too-big-a-chew that
will finally get stuck in Mugabe's windpipe. The security forces cannot now
suddenly produce her after the police swore she was nowhere in their
custody. The Securitate is in a bit of a twist right now. Do they release
her or just make her disappear like so many others before her? The answer,
putting oneself in their demented heads, is chillingly obvious.
But these bloodhounds are simply getting out of hand, in some cases plainly
settling scores for some other politicians. The beginnings of a War Lords
society are there for all to see. Liberia, Somalia. Is Zimbabwe to follow?
Zimbabweans have this perpetual denial about things real. No, it can't
happen to us. We said so about the economy, our fantastic administration and
education. Our health system was second to none in the region and we laughed
at "makwacha" in the face of Zambians.
The late Julius Nyerere, a clever man who saw it coming and decided to leave
just as his country was scrapping the bottom of the barrel, and Samora
Machel told Mugabe right at the start: don't make the same mistakes we made.
Not only did Mugabe make the same mistakes, and more. He never so much as
admitted it. And he wants to go to the grave with the country itself.
And Zimbabweans will continue to blame everyone else but themselves for not
removing this man. This is the reason why, defecting in thinking as he may
be, Morgan Tsvangirai and Simba Makoni will be my Man of the Year awardees.
Zimbabweans should demand that Mugabe step down and save human beings in
Zimbabwe from further harm.
Clapperton Chakanetsa Mavhunga*
15 December 2008 01:06
Tony King is right, but his reference raises questions about whether this
intervention is against and because of cholera or a general shift in
approach that is only using cholera as a pretext? I err on the side of
pessimism for a host of reasons.
Notice that the most powerful player in this, South Africa, still can't
bring itself to actually say to Mugabe, 'Grandpa, you are the problem. Step
aside or be pushed'. They are still epileptic about it, talking about
"politicians" needing to put the interests of their people first. Tutu has
cut right to the chest, but he's a clergyman that Mugabe has in the past
called "That Little Bishop". Odinga has said it as prime minister but Kibaki
is silent as president. Only little Botswana has had the balls to say it.
The US and Britain "can't" say more than they have because, many say, they
carry such extra luggage. Zimbabweans inside the country can't say 'Go or
It's War'. Those outside can, but will have to count the chances of what
happens to their relatives inside the country. Like they used to say in
Kenya, 'It is treason to imagine the death of the president'. Let alone war
against his entire system of patronage. But the temperatures are rising
towards such a conclusion to the point where even heads of state and
government are saying it, thereby offering assurance to Zimbabweans hitherto
unsure where a rear base might exist for a struggle from outside to imagine
So thus far, the problem for Zimbabweans has been that unless you build a
strong coalition of allies ready to offer space for landing, training, or
launching such an undertaking, it's not possible from inside the country
unless there is a mutiny. Which, as I said earlier, is something that the
regime in all probability stage-managed last week in the hope of ensnaring
one or two gullibles. Contrary to earlier claims that it has rested its case
that the opposition was training insurgents in Botswana, the state is still
actively ratcheting that narrative up with the SADC Troika on Politics and
Defense. So the search for a smoking gun is still on.
If Pretoria does 'a Botswana' (threaten to 'lock Mugabe in' by closing the
borders while saying no to military basing on its soil), then it's a
game-changer. Yes it's a step for SA to say we will not give you R300m in
aid. Yes it's a start to go in and feed 'the people' and not give aid to
'the state'. But this is just an exercise in 'first aid', a band-aid. The
real cure lies not in tackling the chronic symptoms, but to use such
intervention as a platform for a cure.
Even as a band-aid, and notwithstanding that Quiet Diplomacy rescued Mugabe
from the numerous tight corners into which Zimbabweans had driven their own
tyrant, I don't quite have faith in the competence of the medic. Unless the
South Africans are going to distribute the aid in ways different from past
trends, I don't quite see how Pretoria will differentiate between what is
"the state" and what is "the people".
In the past we have seen that the same thugs who masquerade as chiefs and
local structures and whom you wouldn't put the label "the state" on, are
precisely the capillaries of Zanu (PF) on the ground. Are the South Africans
going to insist, for example, that, 'no, we will rather work with NGOs'? Or
are they going to bring this relief together with an entire manpower
infrastructure that says, 'okay, the Zimbabwe state--stand there and do
nothing. Just watch us in action?' I have my doubts. So on paper this
logistic intervention is going to circumnavigate the state. In practice, it
will feed into the network of patronage that is Zanu (PF). In the end,
Pretoria will do the opposite of what it is saying. Thanks for the food
Pretoria, but your job was to prevent Mbeki from taking us where we are to
start with. Now you fear cholera contagion and want to hurry everybody up?
Not so fast.
One of the biggest problems talking to South Africans, including those who
either consulted for and advised their government has always been their
conceited sense of cleverness about the Zimbabwean issue. This idea that
they are the ones that know what exactly Mugabe is thinking and how best to
"handle him". I lived in South Africa during the heady days of Thabo Mbeki
and his stupid quiet diplomacy. You just have to have been there when they
talked about his maneuverings as if it was some chess game.
So too with the rest of Africa: it was hard to take a contrary position on
the Zimbabwe question at African fora. One colleague once even threatened
me: "People like you should be made to disappear the moment they touch down
at Harare International Airport". To criticize Mugabe and be a
Pan-Africanist (depending on whether you mean the old or the new), let alone
an African, was like mixing water and oil. Some even said, "What's wrong
with you Zimbabweans? You get a leader like Mugabe who gives you land and
you support that traitor (Tsvangirai)! Give us your president and we will
gladly offer you Mwai Kibaki". I was attending a scientific conference in
Nairobi on that occasion.
All these are symptoms of a brilliant Mugabe plan to use land as a
smokescreen to hoodwink the rest of Africa and its diaspora into focusing
its attention on the white farms and make race the central subject of
discussion. And the concert was sold out well before tickets went on sale.
Meanwhile, our tyrant unleashed his thugs on dissenters--who happened to
include the white farmers. It isn't surprising that Africanists were
ensnared in their discourse to hold conferences upon conferences on the land
question. The problem of separating land and democracy vexed not just the
international audience of Mugabe's concert, but even us, the Zimbabweans.
Only now are we seeing more clearly that we aided and abated our own tyranny
through our propensity to believe that the white man's misfortune is the
black man's fortune. The white farmer's once thriving land now leveled flat
of any trees or crop equates with the black man's flat stomach-and
dysentery-dripping rectum. I don't mean that land isn't important. It is. I
don't mean pasts mustn't be righted. They should. But let's concede that
Mugabe picked his spot and used it to divert the world and Africa from his
growing unpopularity. Only then can we make sense of the cholera before us:
I mean Mugabe, not the pathogen.
To many Africans used to geriatrics, Mugabe's age and its correlation to
democracy was never of any consequence. It was another slick move--bring in
an entirely powerful and irresistible issue to distract people's attention
from the president's age, so that little will be read into an old man
running for the umpteenth time. Fixated on land, few people ever looked up
to see Mugabe grow older and older from 76 to 84 years old hurtling towards
In the meantime, his "peers" were coming into power and egressing, but
Mugabe was still there. Today he looks around himself: all he sees are his
(great)grandsons. Mbeki's hair has joined the white camouflage his eyebrows
had already endorsed, but Mugabe is still looking black.
So then the other day we saw people calling themselves "the Elders"
(emphasis on "the" because they were convinced they must be 'the ones'). No
wonder why Mugabe could not see them. Jimmy Carter was born the same year as
Mugabe (1924). But Carter was born on 1 October, eight months later than
Mugabe, who was already crawling around the yard at Kutama. Kofi Annan was
born 14 years later-possibly when Mugabe was already seeing the girls. Graca
arrived into this world as Graca Simbine in 1945, long after Mugabe had gone
through the regular initiations of bachelorhood perhaps. No wonder Mugabe
saw no reason why these boys and girls were coming to see him other than the
mischief of their youth.
Age matters because the paradigm of "African solutions for African problems"
rests on cultural norms that respect age as wisdom. By contrast, the
postcolonial etiquette of diplomacy holds that heads of state, mostly
presidents elected through the ballot (regardless of whether a census of
their gray hair has already been concluded), have equal weight at the table
of nations. And then you have this patriarch, who looks like grandpa
surrounded "by the boys". Barack Obama is 47, Mugabe 84. Even if you play
games and switch the numbers such that 47 = 74, Obama is still 10 years
And then you have the sentimental associations that Africa enshrines
Mugabe's immortality, this inedible creature called anti-colonialism and
Pan-Africanism. This old type which Mugabe ratchets up as a shield, a
smokescreen to excite even the most intellectual of all and render them
stupid and ridiculous in the eyes of Zimbabweans. And when cholera strikes,
there is a sense of outrage that "things have really fallen apart"? It is as
if a people who were struggling against their tyrant all along were speaking
No they were not. The academics was looking somewhere else, hearing the
voices they had associated with a long trajectory of oppression that was en
vogue as they grew up, which conditioned them to be decidedly opposed to
anyone who challenged their anti-colonial struggle heroes. The resentment of
colonial oppression underwrote Mugabe's tyranny, and gave him carte blanche
to bludgeon, rape, and torture, all in the name of pan-Africanism.
So now, as people's bowels empty out the little ounces of life left in their
besieged bodies, it is either time to cut Mugabe loose as a "rogue
pan-Africanist", an anti-thesis of what pan-Africanism must stand for, or to
see him as the two-legged manifestation of a revolution that lost its way.
Mugabe is Pan-Africanism and its foundations-anti-colonialism-on trial.
There is an effort to dismiss this rogue pan-Africanist as deviance, in
which case the question will emerge: 'When those who were cautioning on its
trajectory towards this tiredness and corruptness, what did its fiercest
defenders say about both pan-Africanism and its its critics?' Or are we
saying that pan-Africanism, the basis for Africa's stoic defense of him to
the West, is okay but has the wrong ambassadors? In which we may ask: 'What
does the correct ambassadors look like? Is the definition time-sensitive and
prone to expire and decompose just like the human condition that Mugabe
If we cast Mugabe as pan-Africanism on trial, the issues (land,
anti-colonial record) have become the veil that EITHER hides the person
(dictator), which is what his defenders would say, OR the person who enveils
his cruelty in issues, which is what Zimbabweans on the ground who now drip
with cholera see. In which case, what we make of pan-Africanism or the
"father-figures" is not escaping this two-way dialogue between issue and
persons. Africa seems to be struggling with that.
So who is this Mugabe that 'intellectuals who matter' have been peddling and
defending, absorbing with such religion his "popularity" among "the
grassroots"? Let's narrow down his constituency, his popularity right now,
which would be his closest relatives, his ministers, some of the party
chefs, top brass in the security forces, some phony or corrupted war vets,
those who have skeletons in their closets, outsiders who have heard, but not
felt, him as a person through tyranny, and so forth. It is a very tiny and
dwindling minority that still things Mugabe at 84 is interested in changing
the lives of anybody including even himself. Because quite honestly, the
version of Mugabe that some among academia often peddle about our tyrant is
not exactly the same one we see. Our own "president" is an illegitimate
tyrant who has caused us deep pain at a very personal level. We have paid
for Mugabe's popularity in the eyes of his admirers' through the blood of
our own siblings and parents and children and our own flights into exile-4
million out of 12 million Zimbabweans living away from their country, the
crème la crème of academia. The anthills of the countryside are now full of
graves of people who are dying because of a tyrannical system that prevents
people from getting drugs, food, and transport.
Some academics have swallowed Mugabe's propaganda that sanctions are causing
the suffering. You have to marvel at the precision with which the
intellectual arguments are driven home. Missing from such high-handed
theorizing is the voice of the people whose stomachs drip dysentry as we
speak, the hundreds of thousands of orphans, some 8 years old but already
the breadwinners of their own households. This is the major challenge we as
Zimbabweans have had: even those who must know how tyranny works thinks we
are crazy. They think the rural poor are simpletons who do not get the
"larger picture", that this is being done for their own good, for the future
of their children. That it's all about land in Zimbabwe, nothing. That's
what our lives have become-less important than a grain of soil.
Well, the children some of this academics speak of will be dead by then.
Because of the disruptions to HIV programs, the wanton rape by Mugabe's
militias and so forth, most children are being born with HIV/AIDS. Public
health gurus rush for calculators, buying the junk that Zimbabwe has reduced
infections and is on top of the AIDS pandemic. But what percentage of people
still visit hospitals when they know there are no drugs, nurses, and
doctors? Yet the hospital records are the basis of such infuriating claims.
Ask any Zimbabwean near you about how many relatives have either died of or
have Aids? In many families like mine the number is five and counting, to
speak nothing of entire villages that have been clean out of breadwinners.
In any case, the state deliberately distorts figures and claims it is
succeeding in containing Aids so that it can receive more donor funding. The
most recent case was when the Health Minister said cholera was under control
and only 300 people had died. Many NGOs declared that a false
characterization, even more citizens phoned Zimbabwean internet and
shortwave media based in exile to say it's a lie. The figure can never be
known because the 300 are those who died at the dysfunctional hospitals. The
full extent of the catastrophe, and the true measure of it, is not the
written sources or the government: it is at the family level, when we
receive phone-calls that 'so and so has died, can you send $150-300 for the
To say these things is not to suggest that Zimbabweans have not been doing
anything. You may know that countless mass protests of varying magnitudes
have come to naught. The violence used to crush them has been brutal. Short
of armed struggle, or a revolt within the state security apparatus, it is
not likely that the people of Zimbabwe will risk their lives. That's the
hard fact; there is a strong element of urban cowardice in this. The rural
people experienced massive violence when they overwhelmingly voted for the
MDC, and when pushed into mountains they fought back. The urbanites looked
on with tails between their legs. I think the diaspora has done a lot of
work to transform the mindset in certain sections of the international
community through enterprising uses of the internet. These cyber-guerrillas
have established short and medium wave radio stations beaming into Zimbabwe
(voanews.com's 'Studio Seven' and SW Radio Africa), internet radios (there
are tens and tens of these), online newspapers, blogspots, and projects to
gather evidence in preparation for a post-conflict justice, truth, and
My own assessment is that these efforts could achieve much more with each
and every one of you's help. First, I think the Zimbabwean diasporas--the
significant ones being in the US, Britain, Canada, Australia, New Zealand,
and neighboring South Africa, Botswana and Namibia--are grossly
uncoordinated. If they were, then there could be ways of mobilizing them as
a critical force for transformation in Zimbabwe. One way to do this would be
for academics to establish discussion forums and start up 'Zimbabwe
chapters' for common action. Not just action in terms of signing online
petitions, but discussing in particular how Zimbabweans themselves are
funding Mugabe's tyranny at home and how they can stop doing so. The money
they send home to sustain their parents is changed on the black market which
has been heavily infiltrated by state agents. Government is busy printing
worthless paper, which it uses to take the hard-earned money we are sending
home. It gets the money and uses it to oil its system of patronage towards
the fat cats, or to buy instruments of violence. The alternative would be
for people to do something with this money, like routing it via countries
that are supportive of the democratic struggle in Zimbabwe, from which
deliveries of food can either be sent by companies based there into
Zimbabwe, or where the diaspora's relatives can travel to get the money, buy
food and other necessities and return home--without the forex. I believe
that if well-coordinated, a system like this could take very little effort
to communicate to both the diaspora and its host governments. Academics
could be important resource persons in that endeavor.
I also think that the information coming out of Zimbabwe could still be
further improved in the interests of rolling back the propaganda upon which
some seminal works on Zimbabwe is based. This would go some way towards
influencing the often dubious policies of western and African governments
towards Mugabe which we might blame on lack of a contrary subject position.
In conclusion, I do want to say that it doesn't make sense to do research in
Zimbabwe, talking to people today and writing 'fascinating' texts, and then
to leave those very same people to their own devices against tyranny. If it
is possible to have scholarship that focuses on the state, surely it is also
possible to write against the very same state, to listen very carefully to
the suffering of people, not only in Zimbabwe but also in eastern Congo and
Darfur, and say: 'Enough!' I am not urging fellow academics to throw away
the chalk and grab hold of an AK-47, but I am saying that we may have
grossly underestimated the power of the pen to change the world we write
about. I have yet to see a university, even on Zimbabwe's borders, where
entire faculty, let alone students, put down their chalk and books and
marched onto the street to demand that that their local councillor,
parliamentarian, governor, minister, president, prime minister, or king,
take action, no matter how symbolic to demand that Mugabe step down and save
human beings in Zimbabwe from further harm.
So far, Zimbabwe is a foreign policy issue. When will it be "an issue"?
* Clapperton Chakanetsa Mavhunga, Assistant Professor of Science, Technology
& Society Massachusetts, Institute of Technology (MIT)
If he's offered a quiet exit with judicial immunity Zimbabwe's leader might
just be tempted to go
Monday 15 December 2008
The substance of Zimbabwe's horror stays the same. Only its miserable form
keeps changing. Alongside hyperinflation, shanty-town evictions, mass
unemployment, police-sponsored election violence and murder,
badly-administered farm takeovers, rampant food shortages and the abduction
of human rights activists, there now comes the latest manmade disaster -
cholera. Close to 800 lives have already been lost. Thousands have fled to
South Africa to try to avoid it or, if already afflicted, at least to get
As the horror mounts, calls for action grow. A few verge on the risible.
"Bush steps up pressure on Mugabe", says the headline on a wire service
report of a White House statement calling on Zimbabwe's leader to resign.
Pressure? The worst US president in living memory is almost through the door
himself, with what remains of his political authority draped round his
Statements from European leaders suffer from the repetitive predictability
syndrome. Gordon Brown says "Enough is enough" and Nicolas Sarkozy declares
"Mugabe must go", while the EU adds 11 new names to the list of 168
Zimbabwean officials who are banned from entering.
The significant shift is a chorus of calls for the use of force against
Mugabe, and most of them are African. Archbishop Desmond Tutu - a Nobel
peace prize winner no less - says the time has come to overthrow Mugabe. So
too does Kenya's prime minister, Raila Odinga. Cheated out of victory in
presidential elections earlier this year, he only got the prime ministership
thanks to a power-sharing deal brokered by outsiders. What has angered him
particularly is the way Mugabe seems to be wriggling out of a similar pact
in Zimbabwe. Odinga wants the African Union to send "peacekeeping" troops,
but without Mugabe's consent they would actually be war fighters.
John Sentamu, the Archbishop of York, and a refugee from Idi Amin's reign of
terror in Uganda in the late 1970s, takes a similar view. "Mugabe and his
henchmen must now take their rightful place in The Hague and answer for
their actions. The time to remove them from power has come," he says. He
does not spell out who should conduct the removal, but hints that Zimbabwe's
neighbours are the ones. He recalls Julius Nyerere's "courage" in sending
Tanzanian troops to topple Amin, and argues that the starvation and
suffering in today's Zimbabwe far exceed the horrors of the Ugandan
The most recent convert is Jimmy Carter, the former US president who is
distinguished by a four-year term in which he only once ordered troops into
battle (a bid to rescue US hostages in Tehran). After recent briefings on
the country's humanitarian disaster from Zimbabwean NGO activists and UN aid
agencies, he says force may have to be used against Mugabe "as a last
The temptation to go to war for regime change is often beguiling, especially
when intervention seems likely to meet minimal resistance. Most of Mugabe's
army would probably desert if foreign troops arrived. Tanzania's invasion of
Uganda in 1979 was quick and almost bloodless. The problem was that Amin's
ultimate successor Milton Obote was not much of an improvement, and civil
war ensued. The Vietnamese invasion to topple the Pol Pot regime in Cambodia
in 1979 is a better example. The new government in Phnom Penh was far less
bloody than the Khmer Rouge and Cambodia could have been at peace if Reagan
and Thatcher had not backed Pol Pot to mount armed resistance for several
The difference with Zimbabwe is that none of its neighbour governments
favours the use of force. South Africa ruled it out this week, as did Jacob
Zuma, the country's probable next president. He has been more critical of
Mugabe than Thabo Mbeki was, yet draws back from making war. The AU is
against it too, leaving Kenya's prime minister high and dry. Significantly
the current AU chairman is Jakaya Kikwete, the Tanzanian president who knows
his regional history as well as the Archbishop of York, and comes to a
different conclusion. "Only dialogue between the Zimbabwean parties,
supported by the AU and other regional actors, can restore peace and
stability to that country," his spokesman said this week. Even Botswana,
which strongly opposes Mugabe, says no to force as well as to AU economic
sanctions. Force, after all, has a habit of getting out of control.
What, then, can be done? Is the outside world impotent? Not entirely. The
power-sharing deal that Mugabe and the opposition leader, Morgan Tsvangirai,
struck in September after mediation by Mbeki and the Southern African
Development Community (SADC) is still the best solution, precisely because
it offers a transition through peace. Mugabe is haggling over the
distribution of ministries between his party and Tsvangirai's, refusing to
abandon all control of the police. But he has not repudiated the pact. He
would rather provoke Tsvangirai into doing so - a trap which the opposition
leader must avoid at all costs.
Threatening Mugabe and his army and police commanders with criminal
proceedings at The Hague, as Sentamu suggests, is only likely to entrench
them further. This summer's indictment of Sudan's president has complicated
the already difficult search for peace in Darfur. A similar move would have
no better effect in Zimbabwe.
The opposite tactic would be to offer Mugabe and his friends a soft landing.
Distasteful though it is, allowing Mugabe a quiet departure and judicial
immunity is more likely to persuade him to go than a cascade of threats.
SADC's mediation proposals make no mention of prosecution, so the offer may
be interpreted as being on the table by default. It would be better to write
it in explicitly.
That is the lesson from the collapse of virtually every dictatorship over
the past 30 years. Whether it was the Shah of Iran or Nicaragua's strongman
Anastasio Somoza or Ferdinand Marcos of the Philippines or, as recently as
this year, Pervez Musharraf in Pakistan, the lever which got these
discredited men to relinquish their grip was not the threat of a jail cell,
let alone invasion. It was a guarantee of retirement in safety.
Zimbabwe should follow this model. In the case of Mugabe's cronies, offers
of jobs in the new coalition government may also help to split them from
their current boss. The power-sharing pact provides a mechanism, which is
why it is still Zimbabwe's best hope. Force is the wrong answer.
AN EAST London church mission to Zimbabwe has found the situation to be "as
bad as media reports say ".
Pastor David Lock and church elder Bill Cozens of the Gonubie Baptist
church, who arrived home on Friday with a team of seven congregation
members, said media reports on the level of strife and poverty were
"We were told of some rural communities living on insects and roots," said
Cozens. "We also saw for ourselves just how bad the situation is, with long
queues outside banks, a breakdown in basic services and general poverty."
The trip formed part of the church's annual thanksgiving offering, which
sees it raise funds for charitable causes.
"This year we managed to collect R35000 during the month of November, of
which R20000 went to Zimbabwe," Lock said.
Grace Community Church in Mzamomhle, with just 40 members, managed to raise
an additional R5000 while members of the Baptist church donated a further
R5000 in food.
"We then contacted the Baptist Church in Bulawayo, Northside Community
Church in Harare and Boggis Retirement Centre in Gweru and asked what we
should bring," Lock said.
"Based on their recommendations we took food items like rice, peanut butter,
oil, sugar and salt - all things in short supply. We also took up essentials
such as candles, matches and medical supplies."
Using the church bus and a hired trailer to transport the supplies, the team
departed on December 6.
"I was a little apprehensive at crossing the border at Beit Bridge, which
took us three-and-a-half hours, and was also a little edgy at the first few
roadblocks we encountered," Lock said.
"Although we were made to feel unwelcome by the authorities, the people on
the ground gave us an incredibly warm welcome."
The team visited Harare and Bulawayo and stopped in at the retirement
village in Gweru.
"It was as bad as I expected it to be," said Cozens. "Often media reports
are incorrect or just highlight the bad things but in the case of Zimbabwe
they have it spot on."
Cozens told of a 650-bed, State- run hospital they visited in Harare that
had all but closed down. "It was built in 1998 so it's just 10 years old,
but there were just 22 children receiving care paid for by the church. We
were told the reason for it being in that state was that people could not
get to it because transport was too expensive," he said.
The team also visited an informal chrome mining community of about 45
"They mine on a subsistence basis and work in incredibly unsafe conditions,
earning only around eight million Zimbabwe dollars a month," said Cozens.
"That's enough to buy a loaf of bread."
Cozens said the country was in such a bad financial state that the Zimbabwe
dollar was being replaced by fuel coupons as the currency of choice.
"The Bulawayo Baptist Church was given a six-quadrillion dollar cheque by
one of the congregation during collection, but the church can't do anything
with it because the banks won't accept cheques," he said.
Lock said the trip had been a success and they would consider similar trips
in the future. "Going there and seeing the plight of the people first hand
made it very real for us."
Every story is different.
I am 70 years of age. My husband died on 30th May this year and I was left
destitute because his only child, from a previous marriage did not want to
share any inheritance. Suffice to say, I had no option but to survive and
the only way I could do so was to sell my furniture, my jewellery and
anything else I had just to earn some valuable USD. The house in which I
live, was purchased by my husband's company and with careful saving, growing
my own vegetables and limiting myself to one meal a day, I've kept going.
I am luckier than most, but only because I still have the ability to 'make a
plan'. I couldn't afford a dentist, so I pulled my own teeth. I couldn't
afford a doctor, so I stitched a dog's bite on my arm with needle and
thread. I look after an African family who have nothing - all seven of
them - ensuring they get food, medication and whatever else I can find to
keep them going. I have a young white family living in cottage, with their
two babies - and a young bachelor, living in a thatched rondavel, whose
salary doesn't even cover his basic needs - and together we form a 'family'
keeping our eyes out for each other and doing the best we can can to keep
And - yes, we old biddies ARE PROUD! We have every reason to be. The only
thing I have plenty of, is loneliness and spare time, and I have already put
out feelers to join up with some NGO to go to the rural areas to help with
the cholera epidemic. I am not a qualitified nurse - but I care deeply and
I know how desperate the situation is outside. I have not had much luck,
because possibly they think me 'too old'. But I am not! My whole life has
been directed towards looking after disabled servicemen, orphans, and now
the indigenous folk of this country.
The author of this article must not forget that there are those of us who
are fighting -not only for our own lives - but for those of our countrymen.
Most of the posh cars seen on the roads belong to Government personnel who
have more than you can imagine to spend on themselves.
How did I manage it? Well, let me tell you. Before my husband passed
away, he decided to sell his antique furniture and only one cabinet was
sold. I held onto that money, even though it meant going hungry and bit by
bit over the months that followed, I was able to keep adding to that money
by painting and selling my work.
I heard of two old people who lived in a disused staff quarters. They used
to own a house and a car, but found themselves with nothing when they had
their land and their home stolen. A kind African let them live in a shed
on his property. On their anniversary the wife went out and sold her
jewellery and her wedding ring. She and her husband of over forty years
decided they would have one last night out on the 'town' and they went to a
hotel and had a great dinner, dancing to music of their past. When the
'party was over' they returned to the broken down shack, curled up into
their blankets on the stone floor, and shared a glass of the wine they had
left from their night out, and the left-overs. They poisoned themselves and
they were found together holding each other in their arms as they couldn't
bear to see another day.
Remember,. every story is different. I am still here. I refuse to let go.
There are too many people left in this country who need compassion, care,
and hope to go on.
There are organisations and charitable groups who try to help, but the
solution lies with all of us here - black and white and coloured - to start
caring for each other and we try! It takes more than courage,.it takes
fury and grief to explode into action. I have taken in people who have had
their families murdered in cold blood, and experienced such fear you cannot
imagine it the enormity of it. I have sat up through the nights watching
the house and listening for intruders. There are so few of us left now -
hardly even 2000, as you state. But we are still here and we won't leave
until this is done.
Today, in the main city of this country I ventured, and I saw a populace of
'stick figures' robotically going about their business, faces closed and
dull. Starvations, AIDS, cholera, anthrax,. extreme poverty, has robbed
them of all hope. It was not all those years ago, we saw glossy fat women
with their babies. Today I did not see one small child on the back of a
mother. The High Court was empty today. No staff. So I could not get
along with the Estate of my late husband, but that no longer seems so
important. Everywhere we see the portrait of Robert Mugabe in every
government building, but nobody looks at it much any more. Fly speckled and
faded from the sun, he just hangs there as a reminder of the horrors he can
impose if we don't do what he demands.
I live not far from Government House, and in the past we could hear the
screeching, wailing sirens of his entourage proclaiming 'the master' is in
our presence. Today, there is less fanfare and more secrecy of his
journeys because he is afraid - and that's good! We've been afraid for too
damn long. And that fear has persisted as babies died, wives abducted and
hideously bludgeoned to death in nearby fields. This is Zimbabwe . I am a
white widow. I have no intention of leaving this land in which I have spent
my entire life. I belong here as much as my darker skinned country man. I
love this country, and the people who inhabit it. And that is why I am a
proud Zimbabwean. Every day we receive a small gift - be it a couple of
tomatoes from someone's garden, or a small bunch of flowers - that's
Christmas. We are poor - but we are richer in other senses nobody can
understand unless they go through the torments this country has faced over
many years. We yearn for some light at the end of the tunnel, but we refuse
to pick up arms and kill others as we have been killed. We wait for
justice, but not from us; from a Power beyond our capacity. It will come!
Perhaps the world can learn from us????
To all those who live elsewhere and who have never experienced the
deprivation that just one man can dole out to millions, let me tell you, it
is a testing experience that does not scream out for compassion, nor for
money, but hope of a better time one day. From the bottom of my heart I
thank you for caring for those who cannot care for themselves. It's this
that makes the world a better place. There are many here who do what they
can to make the 'oldies' leave this vicious world, feeling loved regardless
of their colour.
This is just my story. Multiply it a thousand times - and include the human
greed that makes it harder for us to withstand the hardships, but which is
prevalent in all humanity regardless of race and creed. Above all, learn
from it, because - but for the Grace of God there goes You."
An old White Zimbabwean!
A snapshot of the blatant lies and the terrible truth in Zimbabwe today
Last Thursday President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe declared that his
country's cholera epidemic, which had made sensational headlines throughout
the world, was now over. The danger had been "arrested". There was now no
more cholera in Zimbabwe.
Also last Thursday Pedzisai Munda, aged 47, died of cholera in her shack in
Hopley, South Harare. She met her death in a sea of urine, faeces and vomit,
overflowing from the temporary toilet - a one-metre deep pit just yards from
her home - which had flooded in the heavy rains.
Her death came two weeks after the similar death of her neighbour, also from
cholera. Attempts had been made to get the neighbour to Budiriro Hospital,
15 kilometres away, but they failed. Pedzisai had nursed her neighbour as
best she could. There was no-one to nurse Pedzisai, and she died in squalid
Last Friday Zimbabwe's information minister, Sikhanyiso Ndlovu explained
that the cholera epidemic - which no longer exists, see above - was being
spread by British agents, who were deliberately infecting the population
with the disease, and with anthrax. Their aim was, he said, to weaken the
country ahead of an armed invasion. Despite the succcess of the agents'
efforts, as evidenced by the chronic weakening of the country, Mr. Ndlovu
had no information on when we might expect the armed invasion.
Also last Friday Taurai Siza, aged 10, died of cholera. An Aids orphan,
Taurai lived on the streets of Hopley, and slept at night wrapped in an old
blanket, under a piece of plastic sheeting. There was no money for a coffin,
so they buried Taurai in his blanket, some 100 metres from his plastic
Last Saturday I spoke to the Zimbabwe Minister of Health, David
Parirenyatwa. The minister told me: "Cholera has been managed in the area
you are talking about. You and your handlers in the West can wish it to
continue, but it's no longer there. Period."
Also last Saturday, in Glenview, Harare, three people, all of whom lived in
a street called 13 Avenue, died of the cholera which, according to Mr.
Pairenyatwa, is no longer there. Period..
One of the three was Tonderai Chapeyama, aged 18. Tonderai had nursed her
friend Elizabeth Mutodzaniswa when Elizabeth had the disease. Elizabeth
recovered. Tonderai sickened and died.
Last Friday, British home secretary Jacqui Smith warned that Zimbabweans,
fleeing their country and buying false passports, might bring cholera with
them to the West.
A personal thought for today, Monday: If Mr. Mugabe's non-existent cholera
does reach Britain and the rest of the world, perhaps then, at long last,
Britain and the rest of the world will grow genuinely concerned about what
is happening in Zimbabwe, and come to our aid. Perhaps.
Posted on Sunday, 14 December 2008 at 19:03
Robert Mugabe's regime is targeting rights activists and MDC leaders even as
efforts continue for a power-sharing arrangement with the opposition group.
By Robyn Dixon
5:01 PM PST, December 14, 2008
Reporting from Johannesburg, South Africa -- They came for Zimbabwe human
rights activist Jestina Mukoko at dawn, nearly two weeks ago, according to
her son, a witness. About 15 men, some with pistols, took her barefoot from
her house in Norton, north of Harare, not even allowing her to change out of
her nightclothes or find her eyeglasses. Mukoko, director of the Zimbabwe
Peace Project, has not been seen since, and relatives believe she is in
official custody. Police deny having arrested her.
"We worry for her life," said Mukoko's aunt, Rudo Sanyanga, 44, in a recent
interview in Harare, the capital. "We know that people have been abducted,
killed, left for dead. People have been subjected to all kinds of torture."
In the last six weeks, 22 opposition or civil rights activists have been
seized and not heard from since, according to rights group Amnesty
International. The disappearances have occurred as the nation's September
deal to create a unity government founders. The power-sharing arrangement
between President Robert Mugabe's ZANU-PF and the Movement for Democratic
Change, or MDC, was signed after disputed elections in March and June, but
talks on its implementation have stalled.
About two weeks ago, MDC security chief Chris Dhlamini was abducted in broad
daylight by five men, relatives say. Dhlamini did not show fear, nor let his
family know there was anything wrong when he was taken away. He even joked
with his abductors, said his nephew, Washington Cheya, 21, who witnessed the
"He hugged his last-born son for almost a minute," said Cheya in a recent
interview in Harare. After a few minutes, Cheya said, he tried to call his
uncle, but the phone was switched off. "By then I was worried."
Last week, Gandhi Mudzwinga, a close ally of MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai,
was forced into a car with nine men in the Harare suburb of Msasa, according
to the party.
Two other employees of Mukoko's Zimbabwe Peace Project, Broderick Takawira
and Pascal Gonzo, were forced into a car by men in civilian clothes and
taken away the same day, according to the organization.
Others said to have been seized include Zacharia Nkomo, 33, brother of
leading human rights lawyer Harrison Nkomo, taken from his home in Masvingo
on Dec. 5, according to Amnesty International. Among those missing is a
2-year-old boy who was taken along with his parents who were among a group
of 15 activists seized in Banket, 55 miles north of Harare, six weeks ago.
The reason for the upsurge in abductions is unclear, but one senior ruling
party official said hard-line "securocrats" and generals under Mugabe have
wanted to see the unity government deal collapse. The official spoke on
condition of anonymity, fearing reprisal from the regime for speaking to a
With cholera and hunger killing hundreds of Zimbabweans, the West has
hardened its position on Zimbabwe, calling on Mugabe to leave power, while
African nations continue to support the troubled power-sharing efforts.
Last week President Bush said it was time for Mugabe to go. At United
Nations meetings scheduled to begin today, Secretary of State Condoleezza
Rice is expected to press for tougher action against Zimbabwe, particularly
by southern African states.
Mugabe, for his part, has threatened new elections unless the opposition
accepts his terms on a unity government.
The regime's rhetoric has become increasingly strident in recent days,
accusing Britain and the U.S. of spreading cholera in Zimbabwe in an act of
biological warfare and claiming the West is planning an invasion. Mugabe
also alleges that his political opponents have set up military training
camps in Botswana, a claim strongly denied by the neighboring country.
The government has denied Tsvangirai a passport, and he is currently outside
Zimbabwe. Mugabe, 84, last week called him a political prostitute for
meeting leaders outside the country.
"Why . . . would one globe-trot to Germany, to the Netherlands, to Botswana,
to Senegal, visiting all these countries?" he said. "We don't want that
Mukoko, the abducted peace project director, is one of Mugabe's sharpest
critics, cataloging violence and human rights abuses by his regime.
"We have been to so many police stations in Harare," said Takudzwa Dizha,
17, Mukoko's son. "They have all denied they are holding her."
Some analysts speculate that Mukoko's work on documenting violence and
abuses made her a particular target, because leading government officials
are afraid of prosecution under a potential new political order.
Last week, Harare judge Anne Gowora ordered police to search for Mukoko in
all detention facilities and demanded that advertisements on her
disappearance be placed in newspapers.
A former official of the Central Intelligence Organization, citing senior
sources, said the activists had been seized by a military intelligence
group, the Special Air Services, and would be accused of preparing to launch
an insurrection from training camps in Botswana. He spoke on condition of
anonymity, fearing reprisals.
The senior ZANU-PF official said the Botswana story was untrue and the
arrests were designed to intimidate the opposition. He said moderates in the
party strongly opposed such measures.
"There are a lot of people in the government who are going to lose out if
there's a government of national unity. Things are going to be run
differently," he said. "These are people who are assiduously working to
ensure that the deal doesn't stick. They are working day and night to ensure
the deal is scuttled.
"People know that when they're out, they will be prosecuted," the official
said. "You know the riskiest job in the world is to be president because if
you do corrupt things, they will go for you when you are out of office.
People are being made to account for their misdemeanors when they're in
The MDC says the arrests are destructive to the power-sharing deal.
"The biggest sucker punch to dialogue relates to the abductions of civic
society and MDC leaders and activists, including 2-year-old children," said
MDC spokesman Nelson Chamisa in a statement last week.