The ZIMBABWE Situation Our thoughts and prayers are with Zimbabwe
- may peace, truth and justice prevail.

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Zim Online

Thur 2 December 2004
HARARE - President Robert Mugabe today called for unity within his ruling
ZANU PF party threatened by disintegration over who should succeed him.

"Let's not rest on our laurels. The enemy will not stop his
imperialist manoeuvre and so we must remain solidly united and always
vigilant so we can resist him," the 80-year-old leader told about 9 000
delegates at the ongoing congress of the party here.

Mugabe, at the helm of ZANU PF for almost 30 years, has not
categorically said when he will step down, but he hinted earlier this year
that he might leave office at the end of his current presidential term in
2008. He will be 84.

The disclosure sparked a vicious power struggle for Mugabe's job which
analysts say could split ZANU PF or terribly weaken the party ahead of
crucial elections where it might face a stern test from the weakened but
still dangerous opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party.

The MDC has suspended participation in elections until Zimbabwe's
electoral laws are sufficiently democratised but many expect it to
eventually contest the March 2005 poll.

Seven top ZANU PF officials were suspended from the party and barred
from the congress after defying orders by Mugabe and the party's inner
politburo cabinet to nominate Water Resources Minister Joyce Mujuru as
co-vice president alongside Joseph Msika.

The officials, six of them chairmen of ZANU PF's provincial
executives, backed parliamentary speaker Emmerson Mnangagwa, for long
perceived as Mugabe's heir apparent. Mnangagwa was ditched at the eleventh
hour after Mugabe bowed to pressure from a rival faction backed by retired
army general, Solomon Mujuru, husband to Joyce, to give the vice-presidency
to a woman.

With Msika and Mugabe expected to leave office at the same time,
Mujuru, who will be confirmed as co-vice president by the congress on
Saturday, is now seen as best advantaged to succeed Mugabe both as party and
possibly state president.

But analysts predict that the acrimonious jockeying for the top job
that is threatening to split ZANU PF will continue notwithstanding Mugabe's
pleas for the party to unite.

Mugabe, who himself is unchallenged as leader, also told the congress
that the government had slowed its land reform programme because of lack of
enough resources but he vowed the chaotic land redistribution programme
blamed for causing food shortages in the country was not going to be

He also repeated his usual attacks against British Premier Tony Blair
whom he accused of sponsoring the MDC in a bid to unseat ZANU PF and
reverse the land reform. - ZimOnline

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Daily News online edition

Amnesty postpones planned demos

Date: 3-Dec, 2004

PRETORIA - Amnesty International South Africa says solidarity rallies
that had been scheduled at all borders with Zimbabwe in December have been
postponed to February 14 next year.

Campaigns co-ordinator, Joseph Dube said the rallies originally
planned for December 10 had rescheduled after the civic groups in the
Southern African Development Community region expressed huge interest.

He said more time was needed to plan the marches. "Re-scheduling the
march will allow for a broader inclusion of civil society members and
individuals, greater impact and a stronger coalition in solidarity," Dube

Dube said that civic society organisations would hold peaceful
demonstrations at Zimbabwe embassies in the region.

He said the demonstrations and marches were aimed at putting an end to
the on-going human rights violations and the closure of civic space in

"They will provide opportunities for civil society activists,
Zimbabweans in the Diaspora and citizens of Africa to show solidarity
towards their Zimbabwean brothers and sisters and to advocate for the repeal
and progressive amendments of existing repressive legislation in Zimbabwe,"
said Dube.

Amnesty International was mobilising churches, civic society
organisations and labour unions in the region to join in the marches and
demonstrations at the borders to force the Zimbabwe government to restore
the rule of law and halt human rights violations.

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Daily News online edition

Disgraced Jonathan Moyo fights back

Date: 3-Dec, 2004

HARARE - Zimbabwe's disgraced Information Minister Jonathan Moyo, has
launched a fight-back in the public media in a desperate bid to clear his
name over President Robert Mugabe's succession wrangle.

Moyo is accused of spearheading a clandestine bid to defy President
Mugabe over the nomination of Water Resources Minister Joyce Mujuru as the
ruling party's second vice-president. His future now lies in the hands of
Mugabe who has promised to deal with the information minister.

Six Zanu PF provincial chairmen were on Tuesday suspended from the
party for six months for their roles in the Tsholotsho meeting, organised by
Moyo to scuttle Mugabe's choice of a successor. War veterans leader Jabulani
Sibanda, was suspended from the party for four years.

In a lead story in yesterday's issue of the state-controlled Chronicle
newspaper, Moyo lambasted Matabeleland North governor, Obert Mpofu for
complaining to President Mugabe over his conduct in the area.

He also said that he had used money from the fiscus, through his
ministry, to charter a plane which took him and his entourage, to the
Tsholotsho meeting. He denied that they were being bankrolled by British
tycoon John Bredenkamp.

For the first time, Moyo also admitted that there were complaints
within the party's top leadership over the closure Zimbabwe's biggest daily
newspaper, The Daily News. He said he was now being blamed for the closure
of the paper and yet parliament had enacted laws which resulted in the
closure of the popular paper.

"It is a question of calm before the storm for Jonathan Moyo because
Mugabe will definitely come down on him heavily. What the party did to the
six provincial chairmen is an indication of what awaits the professor," said
a central committee member who attended Wednesday's meeting.

The source, who cannot be named, said the central committee would be
happy with the expulsion of Moyo from the party, as he had become a
liability both to the presidium and the grassroots supporters.

"It's Mugabe who catapulted Moyo to the politburo and therefore he
should see to it that he is removed from the same. Everyone is not happy
with what the professor is trying to bring into the party. Unity has to be

The sources said the central committee had endorsed a politburo
decision to suspend the six provincial chairmen who attended the Tsholotsho
meeting. Moyo's case is being dealt with by the party's presidium.

At the Tsholotsho meeting, it is alleged that a subversive document,
codenamed 'The Tsholotsho Declaration' was penned with a mandate to scuttle
Joyce Mujuru's nomination into the party's presidium in support of the party's
secretary for administration, Emmerson Munangagwa.

The document, which is now in the hands of President Mugabe, has not
been made public, but the contents are alleged to include the issue of
democratising the operations of the ruling party, including the introduction
of a secret ballot in all elections as opposed to the current format of
raising hands.

The document is also said to have addressed the issue of tribalism,
pointing out that there was need for a tribal balancing act if the party was
to reclaim its waning support in some parts of the country.

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Zimbabwe to ensure "Look East" tourism policy success 2004-12-03 03:04:04

HARARE, Dec. 2 (Xinhuanet) -- The Zimbabwe Tourism Authority
(ZTA)said it was working hard to ensure that the "Look East" tourism policy
is a success.

ZTA research and development director Simba Mandinyenya said a lot
of groundwork was being done to make the policy a big success and people
should expect to see results in the near future.

"Asia is new market for Zimbabwe and therefore might take sometime
to grow to high levels that we may all want them to reach," he was quoted by
Zimbabwean news agency New Ziana as saying. "But things are looking good as
Asian visitors continue to rise. These are just signs of good fortunes to
come for us and so we should be patient."

He said his country was implementing the guidelines of the
approved destination status (ADS) and plans were at an advanced stage to
teach local people Chinese while the issue of Chinese food being served in
hotels was also being looked into.

Zimbabwe was last year awarded the ADS by China, making it one of
the eight countries in Africa that China encourages its citizens to visit.

The government adopted the policy after relations with the
westsoured over its land reform program which it embarked on in 2000 to
rectify colonial land imbalances.

According to the ZTA, the highest increase in the number of
tourist arrivals to Zimbabwe from January to September 2004 was recorded for

A total of 24,000 Chinese people visited the southern African
country during the period, representing a 392 percent increase compared to
the 4,960 arrivals in 2003.

Meanwhile, Mandinyenya said there was nothing wrong with South
Africa or any other country marketing the Victoria Falls as this would
benefit the country through increased tourist arrivals and increased foreign

Air Zimbabwe recently launched a direct flight to Beijing, China,
a move, which is expected to boost economic and trade relations between the
two countries. Enditem

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New Zimbabwe

Mugabe scoffs at 'regime change' calls

By Agencies
Last updated: 12/03/2004 02:42:27
ZIMBABWEAN President Robert Mugabe ruled out any regime change in this
southern African country as his ruling ZANU-PF party held a congress to
renew the party's leadership.

The 80-year-old head of state, who has led the southern African country
since independence in 1980, said the country had remained unified in the
face of attempts by British Prime Minister Tony Blair to effect a regime
change through the backing of "stooge parties".

Mugabe accuses Blair's government of working with the opposition Movement
for Democratic Change (MDC) to illegally remove Zimbabwe's current
government from power.

"Regime change in our country, regime change Mr (Tony) Blair? Who are you to
talk of regime change in Zimbabwe?" Mugabe asked in his opening address to
the Zimbabwe African National Union - Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) party

"Let there be regime change in Britain, we will not talk about it, but here,
never ever.

"Zimbabwe is for Zimbabweans and only Zimbabweans can determine who shall
rule them or not," he said to loud applause from party members.

The congress, held every five years, will see Mugabe re-elected to run the
party until 2009 and is also set to elect a new vice president, widely held
to be the likely successor to Mugabe when his current term expires in 2008.

Vice President Joseph Msika scoffed at calls for Mugabe to step down from
office saying he should continue to rule until he is "walking with the aid
of a walking stick".

"They say you should leave and give way to others. To us that is a luxury we
cannot afford. We don't know whether God will give us another Mugabe or a
traitor who will sell away our country," said Msika.

Mugabe predicted that the MDC would not last long, saying "unity... has
continued to energise us even as our external and internal enemies have been
vigorously seeking their dream of regime change.

"They come and go, these stooge parties, and just now the way is very clear
to the extinction of yet another opposition party."

"We are proud that we are meeting as a united Zimbabwean party, leading a
united Zimbabwean people that believe in themselves," Mugabe said.

"Our enemies and detractors have failed to destroy this identity, even as
they resort to various machinations, including the formation of stooge
opposition parties," he charged.

He slammed MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai over his European tour to rally
support for the MDC saying he was wasting time there when he should be
campaigning back home for next year's parliamentary elections.

The five-day congress of ZANU-PF, which is being held in the capital Harare,
is expected to choose a woman vice president for the first time in the
country's 24-year history.

The congress comes a day after six senior ruling party officials were
suspended and Information Minister Jonathan Moyo reprimanded for organising
a meeting that allegedly aimed to scupper party efforts to elect Water
Resources Minister Joyce Mujuru as vice president.

"We wonder why some amongst us should seek to depart from agreed democratic
positions allowing their ambitions to mislead them," Mugabe said.

Thousands of ZANU-PF members and senior officials crammed the Harare
International Conference Centre for the congress, which was festooned with
banners slamming the opposition and Britain.

Registration was still taking place Thursday, a day after it started, and a
total of 9,000 party delegates from the country's 10 provinces, along with
around 100 foreign guests, are expected to attend.
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Zimbabwean man rapes 4 daughters, infects one with HIV/AIDS 2004-12-03 01:35:12

HARARE. Dec. 2 (Xinhuanet) -- A 66-year old Zimbabwean man
systematically raped his four daughters aged between 12 and 16 years,
infecting one of them with the deadly HIV/AIDS virus. The man was arrested
by the police, according to the New Ziana on Thursday.

Midlands Police spokesman, Inspector Patrick Chademana, said
onThursday that the man was arrested two weeks ago in Mberengwa areaafter a
report was made to them.

Inspector Chademana said child rape was on the increase in the
Midlands Province but could not give further details on the story.

Meanwhile Mberengwa police station officer-in-charge, Kainos
Rashai, confirmed the man was in police custody.

The Minister of Health and Child Welfare David Parirenyatwa, has
called for stiffer penalties for child rapists, and another minister has
said violence against women and children had reached alarming levels in

The country is party to numerous regional and international
conventions aimed at reducing violence against women and children,and
criminalizes willful infection of HIV/AIDS.

Newspapers in Zimbabwe carry articles of rapes of young children,
especially girls on a nearly daily basis. The latest victims were two
Bindura school girls, aged seven and eight, who were raped by commuter
omnibus touts. Enditem

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RBZ Officials Arrested

The Herald (Harare)

December 2, 2004
Posted to the web December 2, 2004

Victoria Ruzvidzo

SIX Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe officials from the financial markets division
were picked up by police last night on suspicion of defrauding the central
bank of at least $30 billion in connivance with staff at four banks.

The six are: Mrs Joyce Hope Tsuroh (head of the back office) and the
division's supervisors Mr Mr Abiot Gochera, Mr Gerald Chinoda, Mr Fact
Manyande, Mr Herbert Chiona and Mr Lawrence Zimbizi.

The names of the banks could not be released at the time of going to press
but they are one foreign-owned bank and three indigenous banks.

The suspected fraud saw the same treasury bill bought several times by the
Reserve Bank or other buyers.

It is alleged that the six long-serving members of staff would allow the
conniving banks to sell treasury bills to the Reserve Bank, which would pay
for them.

But, instead of the bills being cancelled, the standard practice when these
return to the Reserve Bank, the six would then see the banks regained the
bills through fraudulent means.

The banks would then resell the bills.

It is not yet certain whether the fraud benefited dishonest staff in the
Treasury departments of the four banks, or whether the banks themselves
benefited. In most cases it is thought that only certain bank staff were
involved for private gain.

Treasury bills are money market instruments which the central bank issues on
behalf of Government.

Senior officials at the central bank last night said the suspected scam was
unearthed during investigations by the external and internal auditors at the
bank as part of a clean-up exercise of all divisions that has been on-going
for the past 11 months.

The sources said that when a team of internal auditors moved into the
financial market division, Mrs Tsuroh allegedly panicked and, in a single,
day, is said to have written letters to the banks involved in what is seen
as a bid to reverse some of the transactions as she allegedly sought to
cover her tracks.

However, this was picked up by the investigators before she had made
significant headway.

It is understood that yesterday senior officials at the central bank held a
six-hour long meeting with officials from the financial markets division
during which the alleged culprits are said to have eventually confessed to
the illicit transactions.

This was only after the authorities had triggered their IT security systems
which spell out every transaction conducted and states the name of the
individual involved.

Under normal circumstances the central bank calls in individual banks to
certify the authenticity of their dealings but in this instance the said
banks or their staff members were direct beneficiaries of the scam but had
not pointed out the irregularities to authorities at the reserve bank.

The bank accounts of the suspects have been frozen and the banks involved
are expected to be rounded up to give exhaustive explanations on their

When contacted for comment last night, RBZ governor Dr Gideon Gono confirmed
the crackdown on the internal indiscipline that has been rampant at the RBZ
and within the financial sector over the past few years.

"I am not at liberty to shed more light at this stage but yes, a few bad
apples do have a case to answer and the suspected culprits are now in the
hands of the police," he said.

Advisor to the governor Mr Munyaradzi Kereke also confirmed the development
adding that the central bank would stop at nothing to uproot corruption at
the central bank.

"It would inappropriate to divulge any further information at it
investigations have been surrendered to the rightful officers (the police).
However, as we have said repeatedly, we will stop at nothing to fight
underhand dealings and all forms of graft even if it means combing in
between our teeth and all systems.

"Where we find irregularities we will not wait any day longer to call the
right law enforcers," said Mr Kereke.

The Herald understands that personnel from departments within the central
bank have been suspended where irregularities are suspected while the police
has been called in to deal with some of the cases.

External auditors have also been dispatched to the central bank'
subsidiaries which include Fidelity Printers and Aurex as the crackdown

The central banks then called all heads of the banks involved to release
their officials from the treasury departs who owned up o the illicit deals.

The central bank then called the police to take over the cases. By the time
of going to press the six had already been picked up by police.
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New Zimbabwe

Mugabe summons newspaper editor as purge widens

By Staff Reporter
Last updated: 12/02/2004 23:58:52
ZIMBABWEAN President Robert Mugabe extended his purge on party challengers
by summoning the editor of a state newspaper to explain a string of stories
backing the under-fire Information Minister Jonathan Moyo.

The editor of the Bulawayo Chronicle newspaper Stephen Ndlovu and the
chairman of Zimpapers Justin Mutasa were summoned to Harare on Wednesday and
got a strong ticking off from Mugabe, sources said.

The move came within hours of the suspension of SIX Zanu PF provincial
chairmen for taking part in a meeting convened by Moyo in Tsholotsho,
apparently to draw-up plans to prevent Joyce Mujuru's nomination as Vice
President in favour of Speaker of Parliament Emmerson Mnangagwa. Moyo was
"strongly reprimanded" by Mugabe, according to party spokesman Nathan

The Chronicle exhausted acres of space since Monday trying to exonerate Moyo
from any wrongdowing over the so called "Tsholotsho Declaration" which
allegedly sought to defy Mugabe's order that a second Vice President should
be female.

In a lead story under the headline "Tsholotsho Declaration: The facts'' Moyo
was quoted by the Chronicle describing the whole issue as "ugly lies"
calculated to tarnish his image and the image of all everyone involved.

Moyo, currently campaigning to represent Zanu PF in Tsholotsho in
parliamentary elections next year, went on to say that the allegations
against him are "similar to the false intelligence used by United States
President George Bush to invade Iraq".

Mugabe is said to have felt that the story was attacking him for talking
action against Moyo, the architect of Mugabe's relection in 2002.

Sources say what angered Mugabe most is that the information which was used
in the Chronicle was similar to that which Moyo presented in the party's
politburo meeting on Tuesday as his defence - proof that Moyo does not
respect the privacy of what goes in the politburo and leaks it to the press.

"The article proved beyond doubt the allegations that Moyo has turned the
Chronicle into a Tsholotsho paper and some people now call it the Tsholotsho
Times," an unnamed journalist was quoted as saying on the website TimeUp.

It was not immediately clear what would happen to the editor, but
possibilities are that he might be fired or heavily reprimanded. In the same
issue of the Chronicle, Moyo attacked the governor of Matabeleland North
Obert Mpofu. accusing him of misinforming the president.

This as well did not go down well with the President who is said to respect
Mpofu and remains convinced there was a "Tsholotsho Declaration".
Additional reporting

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From l'express (Mauritius), 2 December

Zimbabweans see no quick relief in reforms

MacDonald Dzirutwe

Tendai Dube is angry and despondent as he counts the last notes in his
pocket, and it is only two days after pay day. "Things are tough my friend.
You can't just make ends meet yet they say inflation is slowing down," said
Dube, sitting in the shade in a park in Zimbabwe's capital, Harare. He had
only a slice of bread for lunch. For Tendai and many of Zimbabwe's poor
majority, President Robert Mugabe's government's economic reforms ring
hollow; they have not brought the quick relief they want. The government
says its central bank-led reforms are working, noting the slow-down in
annual inflation to 251.5 percent in September from a peak of 624 percent in
January, the availability of basic commodities, rising export earnings and
the stabilisation of the Zimbabwe dollar. Yet for many Zimbabweans the daily
grind to eke out a living continues as the price of basic goods continue to
rise while wages fall behind and pensions and savings are eroded by

"How can they say inflation is coming down when prices are going up?" asked
Dube, a question echoed by many unable to link the decline in inflation with
the rising cost of living. Statistics from the Consumer Council of Zimbabwe
show that a low income urban family of six now needs double the amount each
month to cover basic costs from the Z$750,000 it did in January when the
economic reforms were introduced. Under Zimbabwe's official fixed exchange
rate, Z$1.4 million translates into $225.80 needed to survive each month. In
reality, inflation has led to a black market exchange rate closer to
Z$7,000-8,000/dollar, further eroding the buying power of poor families.
Godfrey Kanyenze chief economist of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions
said: "The rate of wage increases is not matching price rises and from a
worker point of view the economic reforms have not improved the lives of
Zimbabweans. And people are understandably impatient."

Prices of basic products like bread, milk and meat have gone up by more than
100 percent since January while rentals and building materials continue to
climb. But Gideon Gono, governor of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, remains
upbeat, saying a slowdown in inflation will not see prices coming down, and
warns that reforms will hurt Zimbabweans as the country adjusts from a
speculative driven economy. "As a country we (must) stay the course of self
imposed reforms, which inevitably come with painful we have
said 'no pain no gain'," Gono told a monetary policy review meeting in
October. Zimbabwe, whose GDP has contracted by 30 percent in the last five
years, has a jobless rate of more than 70 percent and is battling shortages
of foreign exchange and fuel. The country has faced food shortages since
2001, some caused by successive droughts but others blamed on Mugabe's
controversial land seizures to resettle blacks.

Some companies have found themselves deep in debt, caught by a shift in RBZ
policy on interest rates last December when they soared to over 900 percent,
raising the cost of loans. Many had borrowed while rates were low for
expansion and acquisitions but the RBZ says some of the money was used in
speculative trade of foreign currency, property and stocks. A year later
many firms are selling assets like buildings, machinery and vehicles to
repay the loans. "The monetary policy on interest rates has resulted in
major debt financing costs ...," the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries
said in a study released in October on the state of the manufacturing
sector. The government has spent Z$200 billion and the central bank Z$2.1
trillion in bailing out distressed businesses. Gono says the money has saved
some companies from collapse and boosted exports but the CZI said 40 firms
in the manufacturing sector, which accounts for 18 percent of GDP and a
third of exports, could fold this year due to a tough operating climate.
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New Zimbabwe

Is Mbeki dragging South Africa the Zimbabwe route?

By Max du Preez
Last updated: 12/02/2004 21:21:52
THERE is only one way to test whether a political party is truly committed
to democracy in its fullest sense: put it under pressure.

Robert Mugabe and Zanu-PF appeared to be great democrats until the
opposition's popularity threatened to dethrone them. Then they showed their
true character.

It does not seem as if South Africa's own ruling party will be put under
such pressure soon. And yet the signs are unmistakable that if we ever got
to that point, the ANC could very well pull a Zanu-PF on us.

That, to me, is the depressing lesson of the extreme reactions from
President Thabo Mbeki and his personal Jonathan Moyo clone, Smuts Ngonyama,
to the perfectly reasonable and quite politely phrased criticism voiced by
Cosatu's Zwelinzima Vavi and by Archbishop Desmond Tutu.

The insulting nature of the remarks about Vavi and Tutu signalled an
extraordinary arrogance and intolerance that make me fearful of what could
happen when the ANC's majority in parliament was actually threatened one

Vavi and Tutu are not just ordinary citizens taking a potshot at government
from the peanut gallery. Vavi is the popular leader of the ANC's largest
single constituency; Tutu is Priest to the Nation, a man with a rare record
of bravery and integrity, a figure widely loved by most South Africans and
respected all over the world.

Here's another Zimbabwe analogy: Mugabe said very similar things about his
country's trade union leader to what Ngonyama said about Vavi.

And do you remember that it was the same Mugabe who said quite recently in a
Sky TV interview that Tutu was a charlatan who never belonged to the ANC,
almost the same language Mbeki used towards Tutu now?

The ANC leadership must have their regrets now that they did not offer Vavi
a cabinet post long ago - you know, in the old tradition of co-opting labour
leaders to make sure they did not become popular and strong enough to start
thinking and acting independently.

Oh, and I did enjoy Vavi's quip with reference to Ngonyama that he was not
surprised to be attacked by a businessman ...

Perhaps we should look at this latest fracas as a glass that is half full
rather than half empty. Because while it is tragic to see our president and
his party so petty and arrogant, it is also very reassuring that the spirit
of freedom and justice is alive enough in our society for some of our
leadership figures to be courageous enough to stand up to the highest
authority in the land.

During the time I have had the privilege to observe political developments
in South Africa, spanning some 30 years, one aspect always struck me: every
time the temperature raised to dangerous levels, every time the madness
threatened to consume us, there was always someone who stood up and made an
intervention. Someone always cooled us down just before meltdown.

Many such interventions came from the liberation movement - Tutu himself did
it more than once - but on occasion it also came from individuals in the
former white ruling establishment.

Our society has been described as a "powder keg" and a "time bomb" many
times over the last few decades, yet we never exploded. In fact, we are one
of the most stable democracies in the world today.

Let us face it, all's not been well in our beloved land lately.
The mainstream ANC keeps steam-rolling ahead with its quest to establish its
hegemony in all spheres of society, including sport, culture and education.

Minority groups feel more and more marginalised. Nothing concrete or urgent
is being done to alleviate the extreme poverty and high unemployment.

Our peculiar version of black economic empowerment has raged on despite
severe criticism from all sectors of society - apart from the white
capitalists, the few black beneficiaries and the ANC leadership, of course.

There are more questions than answers about the government's policies on HIV
and Aids - the president and his health minister's positions are as
ambiguous as ever, while every day brings more Aids orphans.

Zimbabwe is heading for a fresh crisis as it steels itself for an election
that was designed for a Zanu-PF victory. We heard rumours that Mbeki was
engaged in a new initiative to defuse the tensions, but on the ground in
Zimbabwe we saw no change.

It was all becoming deeply depressing. It was not what most of us who
dreamed about a new, open and progressive society thought we would see after
a decade of democracy.

Tutu and Vavi came like breaths of fresh air.

There can be no doubt about it: the interventions by Tutu and Vavi were
important events that will affect our political life for some time to come.
They put their finger on all the cancerous parts of our government and
ruling party: Zimbabwe, HIV and Aids, poverty, the intolerance of criticism
and debate.

As long as we have a culture of dissent and independent thought in our
society; as long as we have leadership figures such as Tutu and Vavi, we
will be all right.
The Star

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Manchester online

For a blushing bride...

ARTISTIC STATEMENT: Elahah Akhgar modes Voti Thebe's bridal gown made of condoms in the colours of the Zimbabwean flag
ARTISTIC STATEMENT: Elahah Akhgar modes Voti Thebe's bridal gown made of condoms in the colours of the Zimbabwean flag

EVERY bride likes to look her best - but this wedding gown was never going to hide any blushes.

Award-winning artist Voti Thebe has designed a dress complete with bridal tiara and bouquet . . . made out of condoms.

The creation, which drew gasps when it first went on display in Africa, will be on show at Manchester Art Gallery as part of the Visions of Zimbabwe exhibition.

At a launch to coincide with World Aids Day, the dress is a stark reminder of the terrible HIV and Aids crisis in Thebe's native country.

The exhibition in Manchester is part of an international effort by artists like Thebe, to comment on the political and social situation at a time when they are subject to censorship in their own country.

The white cheesecloth dress, made from inflated condoms in the green, black, red and yellow colours of the Zimbabwean flag, will be on display on the second floor of the gallery from December 4 to February 13. Visions of Zimbabwe is a showcase of 13 of the country's top artists at a critical time in their country's history.

Other highlights include powerful photographs of the Zimbabwean people and posters based on the United Nations Articles of human rights.

Thebe, who once used a human body as a canvas, said: "I wanted to make a statement about the scourge of Aids at a time when there is a real drive within Zimbabwe for people to do something to protect themselves against the disease.

"My brother is one of the victims, so the idea came with plenty of inspiration and determination.

"It is meant to be provocative because it is vital to grab international attention. The dress has been on display at the National Gallery in Harare, but Manchester is the first British gallery to see our work."

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Nation, Race and History in Zimbabwean Politics
Posted: 12/02
From: Mathaba

By Brian Raftopoulos


One of the central features of the Zimbabwean crisis, as it has unfolded
since 2000, has been the emergence of a revived nationalism delivered in a
particularly virulent form, with race as a key trope within the discourse,
and a selective rendition of the liberation history deployed as a an
ideological policing agent in the public debate. A great deal of commentary
has been deployed to describe this process, much of it concentrating on the
undoubted coercive aspects of the politics of state consolidation in
Zimbabwe.My intention in this paper is to provide a more careful examination
of the ideological project of the Mugabe regime and, in particularly, to
concentrate on the ways in which both 'insiders' and 'outsiders' are defined
in this national project. In this analysis it is important to keep in mind
that, in a Gramscian sense, the Zimbabwean crisis has also resulted in the
reconstruction of the post- colonial state in order to provide both the
modality for and consolidate the accumulation drive of the ruling party
elite in the country. (Raftopoulos and Phimister: 2004 forthcoming.)

However the manner in which the ideological attle has been fought by ZANU PF
as a party and a state is of particular importance in trying to understand
the ways in which a beleaguered state is attempting not only to extend its
dominant economic and political objectives, but also its "intellectual and
moral unity, posing all questions around which the struggle rages not on a
corporate level but on a 'universal' plane, and thus creating the hegemony
of a fundamental group over a series of subordinate groups." (Gramsci 1971:
182.) For the manner in which Mugabe has articulated the Zimbabwean crisis
has impacted not only on the social forces in the country but also on the
African continent and in the Diaspora. Such an ambitious political outreach
demands that we view the Zimbabwean state as more than a 'simple, dominative
or instrumental model of state power,' but as a state with a more complex
and multi-dimensional political strategy. (Hall 1996:429; and Hall 1980.)

In this multi-dimensional strategy, the state has monopolised the national
media to develop an intellectual and cultural strategy that has resulted in
a persistent bombardment of the populace with a regular and repeated series
of messages. Moreover this strategy has been located within a particular
historical discourse around national liberation and redemption, which has
also sought to capture a broader Pan Africanist and anti-imperialist
audience. A key tenet of this redemptionist logic has been the reawakening
of the Zimbabwean nation from the colonial nightmare into a more
essentialist African consciousness, defined by the select bearers of the
liberation legacy. As one media ideologue of the ruling party expressed it,
"right now we are destroyed spiritually. We are suffering from what
psychologists say (sic)somnambulism. We are really sleepwalking, walking
corpses, zombies..We are carrying other people's world view." (Gandhi and
Jambaya 2002: 10.)

Moreover in articulating this ideological strategy the ruling party has
drawn on deep historical reservoirs of antipathy to colonial and racial
subjugation in Zimbabwe, Southern Africa and Africa more generally, and on
its complex inflections in the Diaspora. Thus the Mugabe message is no mere
case of peddling a particular form of false consciousness, but it carries a
broader and often visceral resonance, even as it as it draws criticisms for
the coercive forms of its mobilisation. Additionally for many progressive
African intellectuals there is an internal tension over the content and form
of politics of Mugabe's Pan Africanist message, particularly in the face of
the of the dominant message of Empire offered by the Bush/Blair axis. Thus
within Zimbabwe the opposition to Mugabe is not only expressed in the
political polarisation in the country, but often in the more complex forms
in which the nationalist messages are interpellated within 'our selves',
given both the historical resonance of the messages and the unpalatable
coercive forms of its delivery.

Nation and Race.
In Zimbabwe the state has a monopoly control over the electronic media
through such laws as the Broadcasting Services Act and the Access to
Information and Protection of Privacy Act. Through such instruments the
ruling party has been able to saturate the public sphere with its
particularist message and importantly to monopolise the flow of information
to the majority rural population. Through this extensive media control the
idea of the nation has been conveyed through essentialist and Manichean
terms. Thus, as a report on the ways in which Zimbabwe Broadcasting
Corporation (ZBC) delivered views on the nation in 2002, concluded:

ZBC's conceptualisation on "nation" was simplistic. It was based on race:
The White and Black race. Based on those terms, the world was reduced to two
nations- the White nation and the black nation and these stood as mortal
rivals. The Black nation was called Africa. Whites were presented as
Europeans who could only belong to Europe just as Africa was for Africans
and Zimbabwe for Zimbabweans. (Gandhi and Jambaya 2002: 4.)

The report further noted that in the national broadcaster's definition of
nation: Blackness or Africanness was given as the cardinal element to the
definition. The exclusion of other races deliberately or otherwise from the
'African' nation was an attempt to present Africans as having a separate and
completely exclusive humanity to any other race. (Gandhi and Jambaya 2002:5)

As a constituent part of such essentialist ides on the nation, ZANU PF
ideologues often presented Manichean views on national values. In a
programme called National Ethos an intellectual close to the ruling party

Since the value system of the Europeans, of the White man, of the Rhodesian
in Zimbabwe, is exclusive, it is racist, it does not have any place for
us..we should come up with this kind of ethos: Zimbabwe for Zimbabweans,
Africa for Africans, Europe for Europeans. This is the starting point
because that's what they do. (Gandhi and Jambaya 2002: 8.)

This view echoed Mugabe's attack on Blair at the Earth Summit in Joburg in
2002, and repeated in South Africa in April 2004. In Mugabe's words:
And that's why I told him that he can keep his England..Yes we keep our own
Zimbabwe close to the bosom, very close. (Herald 27.04.04.)

Thus the repetitive thrust of the national broadcaster's political
programming has been around an essentialist perception of nation and race,
linked to Manichean views on national values, and bound up with a narrow and
restrictive view of national unity. In the words of one of the party

You must understand that as Zimbabweans and as Africans..that we are trying
to come up with one thinking, one vision of survival as a race because we
are attacked as a race. (Gandhi and Jambaya 2002: 8.)

For the Mugabe regime the emergence of the opposition MDC in 1999, was a
manifestation of foreign British and White influence in Zimbabwean politics.
This construction of the opposition thus placed them outside of a legitimate
national narrative, and thrust it into the territory of an alien, Un-African
and treasonous force that 'justified' the coercive use of the state in order
to contain and destroy such a force. Mugabe's description of the MDC aptly
captures this characterisation of the opposition:

The MDC should never be judged or characterised by its black trade union
face; by its youthful student face; by its salaried black suburban junior
professionals; never by its rough and violent high-density lumpen elements.
It is much deeper than these human superfices; for it is immovably and
implacably moored in the colonial yesteryear and embraces wittingly or
unwittingly the repulsive ideology of return to white settler rule. MDC is
as old and as strong as the forces that control it; that converges on it and
control it; that drive and direct; indeed that support, sponsor and spot it.
It is a counter revolutionary Trojan horse contrived and nurtured by the
very inimical forces that enslaved and oppressed our people yesterday.
(Mugabe 2001: 88.)

Having discursively located the opposition as an alien political force, the
full coercive force of the state was brought to bear on those regarded as
'unpatriotic' and 'puppets of the West'. Deploying elements of the police,
intelligence service, army, the war veterans, party supporters and the youth
militia, the ruling party has inflicted enormous damage on the personnel and
structures of the opposition. As a result since 2000 90% of MDC MP's have
reported violations against themselves, 60% have reported attacks on their
families and staff, while 50% have had their property vandalised or
destroyed. Additionally the MDC leadership have spent 'months in police
cells, in prison and in the courts, facing charges ranging from high treason
and murder, to spreading alarm and despondency.' (Zimbabwe Institute

This ruling party violence unleashed against the MDC was accompanied by
Mugabe's formal renunciation of the policy of Reconciliation towards the
white community that his government had adopted in 1980. In 2002, in
response to the white support for the opposition, he declared:
We extended a hand of reconciliation to people like Ian Smith and said that
if you want to stay in this country and obey our laws under under Black
majority rule with you coming under them, stay. Was that right or wrong? I
think that today at conscience I say on behalf of the party we made a
mistake. When you forgive those who do not accept forgiveness, when you show
mercy to those who are hard-hearted, when you show non-racialism to die-hard
racists; when you show a people with a culture-false culture of superiority
based on their skin- and you do nothing to get them to change their
personality, their perceptions, their mind, you are acting as a fool.
(Gandhi and Jambaya 2002: 9.)

Commentators on the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation, building on this
position, denounced those Zimbabweans who voted for the MDC as badly raised
children who had strayed outside of 'our world view.':

The problem is very fundamental, and that is upbringing..Our children, who
vote against their own heritage, who vote against their own people, who vote
together with whites, who fight on the side of whites, they don't know the
difference between the White man's world view and our world view, the White
man's agenda and our agenda. (Gandhi and Jambaya 2002: 11.)

Aside from the white population, urban residents have been a major target of
the ruling party's coercive and ideological attacks, because of their
dominant support for the opposition. Historically the relations between the
liberation movement and urban workers has been characterised by ambiguities
and tension. (Raftopoulos and Yoshikuni 2001.) Thus, the fact that the MDC
emerged out of the labour and constitutional movements, both largely urban
based, cemented the view within the ruling party that this segment of the
population remained a problem for nationalist mobilisation. Since the late
1990's, when a strong opposition emerged, the workers have been consistently
derided as 'totemless', deracinated and at the periphery of the liberation
legacy. They have been characterised as 'the ones who are leading the nation
astray', unlike the peasants who are always 'on the right path..not
distracted by issues that are peripheral..know the fundamentals.' (Gandhi
and Jambaya 2002: 6.)

Yet unlike the 'alien' whites, who can be expelled from the body politic,
black urban workers are less easily dispensed with. Therefore while ZANU PF
have used various state organs against urban residents, the policy has also
been to bring these 'misguided Africans' back into 'our world view.' Thus
Mugabe's paternal advice to his party: We have a strong basis for recovering
support in urban areas. There is palpable disenchantment with the opposition
and people want to be walked back to their party. Let us assist them through
vigorous campaigning and strong resilient structures. (Mugabe 2001: 102.)

Nation, History and Culture.
Scholars have observed that the writing of history has often been used to
'legitimate' the nation- state, both in an attempt to 'naturalise' it as the
central principle of political organisation, and to make it the 'subject and
object of historical development.(Berger, Donovan and Passmore 1999:xv) In
Zimbabwe there has been clear evidence of this process since 2000 in
particular. Terence Ranger has recently tracked the emergence of this
"Patriotic History", noting its narrowing focus, resentment of 'disloyal'
historical questions, antagonism towards academic history and its highly
politically charged nature. (Ranger 2004: forthcoming.) As part of the
attempts to revive ZANU PF's political fortunes in the 2000 general election
and the 2002 Presidential election, the ruling party placed a strong
emphasis on reviving the narrative of the liberation struggle in general and
the heroic roles of ZANU PF and Mugabe in particular. An unbroken thread of
struggle was woven incorporating the First Chimurenga of the 1890's, the
Second Chimurenga of the 1970's and the Third Chimurenga of land occupations
in the period from 2000 and beyond. In the official history of the ruling
party the transcendent feature of the three phases was the continuous
nationalist struggle for sovereignty and dignity. From Ambuya Nehanda to
Robert Mugabe and the national liberation movement the teleology of national
consciousness unfolded with an ineluctable logic, contradicting the findings
of the recent historiography on Zimbabwean nationalism. (Raftopoulos 1999.)
This construction of a long and continuous past for the nation, even while
confronting the challenges of modernity, is a common feature of nationalist
movements. (Eley and Suny 1996.)Additionally in rolling out this message the
emergence of the MDC and the civic movement is viewed as an interruption and
detour in the 'legitimate' history of national liberation.

Mugabe has been at the forefront of proclaiming the need to write 'correct'

Measures will be taken to ensure that the History of Zimbabwe is rewritten
and accurately told and recorded in order to reflect the events leading to
the country's nationhood and sovereignty. Furthermore Zimbabwean History
will be made compulsory up to Form Four.(Mugabe 2001:65.)

This position was restated by the ZANU PF Secretary for External Affairs in
April 2004, noting that the party had in the last few years introduced the
teaching of history in the National Youth Service scheme, a euphemism for
the ruling party youth militia. As Mutasa lamented:
We erroneously did not fan the fire of our nation and struggle for
independence among our children. That fire almost went out as our children
knew nothing of that invaluable history. (The Voice 25.04.04.)

In line with such pronouncements the ruling party has announced its
intention to compile the profiles of the leaders and freedom fighters in the
party for use in secondary schools, 'and for general education of our people
concerning the struggles of several generations of our people for their and
their rights.' The Publications section of ZANU PF's Information and
Publicity Department has been tasked with producing such information through
books, pamphlets and reports about the first, second and third Chimurenga.
(ZANU PF 2003: 69.)

The government has also introduced a compulsory course, known as 'National
and Strategic Studies' at colleges and polytechnics. The content of the
course, according to a recent account, is a highly selective history
designed to glorify the ruling party. Recent exam questions have included:

"Which political party represents the interests of imperialists and how
must it be viewed by Zimbabweans?"

"African leaders who try to serve the interests of imperialists are called
what and how do you view patriotism?" (Independent 26.03.04.)

The National Broadcaster, particularly in the year of the Presidential
election in 2002, steadily churned out its version of African History,
including such statements from a small group of commentators:

Whites did not have a history. By the time we had civilisations whites were
still in caves..The oldest excavations were found in Africa especially in
South Africa and in geological times, you find that the centre of the
universe was Africa. (Gandhi and Jambaya 2002: 7.)

These commentators have also stressed the continuities of Zimbabwean and
African history, as well as making unproblematic links to black histories in
the diaspora, in the service of the ruling party's political project of a
revived Pan Africanism. Mafeje has commented that the use of 'Africanity' by
some 'modern black intellectuals' has become a 'pervasive ontology that
straddles space and time' and extends beyond continental Africans 'to all
Blacks of African descent in the diaspora.' (Mafeje 2000: 69.) This is
certainly the case in Zimbabwe where the ruling party and the intellectuals
close to it have made both political and ideological links to a particular
formulation of black history in the diaspora, with no attention to the
historical and cultural disjunctions between the two. The showing of Alex
Haley's "Roots" in the run-up to the 2002 Presidential Election was a clear
illustration of this attempted linkage. In turn this notion of a common
African history is juxtaposed to a homogeneous conception of Whiteness.

In this narrative of liberation, a common African history and Pan Africanist
solidarity, the land has played a determining role as the key marker of a
common struggle. It has formed the centrepiece of the ruling party's
construction of belonging, exclusion and history. The official discourse on
the liberation struggle has been marked by the translation of a
multi-faceted anti-colonial struggle into a singular discourse designed to
legitimate the authoritarian nationalism that has emerged around the land
question since 2000. (Hammar, Raftopoulos and Jensen 2003.) In Mugabe's
We knew and still know that the land was the prime goal for King Lobengula
as he fought British encroachment in 1893; we knew and still know that land
was the principal grievance for our heroes of the First Chimurenga, led by
Nehanda and Kaguvi. We knew and still know it to be the fundamental premise
of the Second Chimurenga and thus a principal definer of the succeeding new
Nation and State of Zimbabwe. Indeed we know it to be the core issue of the
Third Chimurenga which you and me are fighting, and for which we continue to
make such enormous sacrifices. Mugabe 2001: 92-3.)

During the 2002 Presidential election this liberation rhetoric was
accompanied by a cultural programme that saturated the public with
liberation war films, documentaries and dramas, promoting ZANU PF generally
and Robert Mugabe in particular, while also carrying strong messages against
whites. Music, coordinated by the Department of Information and Publicity,
was produced in the form of the Third Chimurenga series of albums. The songs
regularly included an emphasis on the sharp racial delineations in the
nation. For example the song Mwana Wevhu (Son of the Soil.) by Taurai Mteki
intoned "the Country is ours/../Zimbabwe is for Black people." Another song
by Comrade Chinx carried the same message: "They came from Britain,
America.They do not know that the land is for Blacks and full of milk and
honey." (Gandhi and Jambaya 2002:12.) In these songs the 'enemies of the
people' were also warned, as in a song written by the then Minister of
Youth, Gender and Employment Creation, Elliot Manyika: "There are some
people who have become sell-outs/ because of their love of money/.inability
to reason./ Take such people and teach them the ZANU PF dogma/ ZANU PF was
born out of blood." (Gandhi and Jambaya 2002: 12.)

Amongst the most damaging aspects of the telling of this national narrative
through a series of dualisms (black/white, British/Zimbabwean), and
compressions of the various aspects of the anti-colonial struggle into a
single field of force, has been the enormous loss of complexity of the
colonial encounter. The complexity of the settler-colonial period (not least
of which included the changing relations between the black elite and
different settler regimes) has been flattened into a Mugabe/Blair colonial
encounter. (White 2003:97.) While the demonisation of Whites has served the
needs of authoritarian nationalist politics in Zimbabwe, it has prevented a
more creative, tolerant and difficult dialogue on the European influences in
the making of Zimbabwean identities. For such a dialogue would not be
conducive for the kind of Manichean diatribes on nation and race, that have
in recent years constituted the standard fare of ZANU PF politics. In
Southern Africa, where the scars, memories and structural legacies of white
supremacist politics are still very much alive, the politics of nationalism
will for the foreseeable future, and of necessity, include the articulation
racial redress, often referred to as "The National Question." The form that
this will take however will in large part be determined by the broader
terrain of democratic struggle in particular countries.

The On-Going National Question.
The Mugabe government has worked hard to generalise its model of resolving
the national question, based largely on the model of land reform through
violent land occupations, articulated through a Pan Africanist and
anti-imperialist discourse. Moreover in this model the human rights question
and the democratic demands of civic groups are dismissed as an extension of
Western intervention, with little relevance to the 'real issues' of economic
empowerment. It is certainly true, as Shivji has pointed, that the human
rights discourse can often be the acceptable face of neoliberalism. (Shivji
2003: 115.) However Shivji has dangerously underestimated the strategic
importance of fighting around human and civic rights questions, when
confronted by repressive nationalist regimes legitimating their politics
through purportedly progressive redistributive policies. Moreover when such
a position is addressed through a less than critical call for a revived
nationalism on the continent (Shivji: 2004.), it is very difficult to
understand what the progressive features of such a nationalist politics
would look like. Certainly the experience of Zimbabwe's revived nationalism
is not encouraging.

In South Africa the Zimbabwean debate has taken on a particular resonance,
not least because of the apparent popularity of Mugabe amongst many South
Africans. On a broader level there are many aspects of the history and
politics of Zimbabwe that resonate in the current South African context.
(Phimister and Raftopoulos 2004: forthcoming; Southall 2003; Melber 2003.)
Zimbabwean commentators close to the ruling party have not hesitated to
'shame' the South African government into taking more Africanist political
positions. A recent article in the state weekly paper entitled "South
Africa's black nation must stand up," was unambiguous in its intent:

The South African black elite has demonstrated a sickening penchant and
yearning for acceptance and inclusion by white liberals and the West to a
point where their public conduct is such a charade that they have squandered
many opportunities to take leadership not just in South Africa but also
across the continent and the world. Black South African lawyers,
journalists, business people and diplomats are so embarrassingly pretentious
in their conduct and expression of views that they become at once annoying
and irrelevant as they never come out as folks with minds of their own. By
and large they seem uncomfortable to be Africans and are always keen to find
an apology for their own existentialism. (Sunday Mail 25.04.04.)

It has to be said that this pompous and accusatory tone is not uncommon
amongst the ZANU PF elite, and it has often elicited a certain diffidence
from the black elite in South Africa in their efforts not be seen as
sub-imperial actors, working outside of the Africanist position. Mugabe has
been particularly adept at positioning the ANC in this strategic difficulty.
Joel Netshitenzhe expressed these dilemmas in a series of strategic problems
that confront the ANC on the Zimbabwe question:

How do we ensure that .persuasion makes the maximum impact? How do we avoid
a situation in which our public stance achieves the opposite of our
objectives, including popular mobilisation against South Africa as Big
Brother trying to impose its will on others? How do we discourage the
tendency towards total collapse and the emergence of a "failed state" of
ethnic fiefdoms, attached to which would be complexities of a 19th century
history which has close and emotional ethnic connections to South
Africa.(The Star 25.02.04)

On the left of the ANC alliance the ambiguities on the Zimbabwe question
have been striking, vacillating between a grudging admiration for the
redistributive rhetoric of the land occupations, a distrust for perceived
neo-liberal leanings of the MDC, and a concern over the repressive politics
of ZANU PF. Thus Pallo Jordan has set out his analysis of the Zimbabwean
crisis in the following terms:

While a number of parties and governments have adapted to and embraced the
post-liberation wave, others thought they could resist it by riding the
leopard of other sources of discontent. ZANU (PF) chose the latter course
and embraced illegal land occupations as though it had initiated them. It
then harnessed the energy of that movement for electoral purposes using its
activists to intimidate political opponents and to impress voters in to
supporting it. (Jordan 2003:172-3.)

Jordan then observes that, given this situation, 'principled socialists have
consequently felt obliged to repudiate the Ton-ton Macoute methods of Zanu
(PF) while holding at a distance the MDC, a democratic opposition that seems
to lack a social conscience.' (Jordan 2003: 173.) The Communist Party, after
a good deal of hesitation, conflicting signals and weary of not straining
relations with its senior alliance partner, finally emerged with a position
on the Zimbabwean situation. The Party stated that the crisis in Zimbabwe
was a symptom of a 'stunted and perverted national democratic revolution in
which a parasitic, bureaucratic bourgeoisie has emerged as the dominant
class stratum.' Moreover the Zimbabwean situation illustrated that 'the
demagogic appropriation of a progressive nationalist discourse by a
bureaucratic capitalist stratum, invariably drives a wedge between radical
third-world nationalism and democracy.' (Nzimande 2004.) Listening to the
debate on Zimbabwe it is clear that the issues have been as much about South
African politics as the debacle in Zimbabwe. Moreover in developing their
varying responses to the contradictions in Zimbabwean politics the left as
become, in Devan Pillay's apt phrase, 'spellbound by the anti-imperialist
rhetoric.' (Pillay 2003:62.)

Moreover the 'spell' of anti-imperialism and the resonance of the race
debate in Zimbabwe, has found a broader canvas for its articulation in the
diaspora. In addition to cementing the support of other liberation movements
in Southern Africa, ZANU PF has actively cultivated linkages with a few
black civic groups in the US, UK and Australia in an attempt to build Pan
Africanist solidarity around the Mugabe project. At a conference of National
Liberation Movements organised in Harare in April 2004, three solidarity
groups from the diaspora were in attendance namely the December 12 Movement
from the US, the Black United Front from the UK and the Aboriginal Nations
and People of Australia. In a statement of solidarity with the conference
the Black United Front declared: We want to revolve and turn back to the way
of our ancestors and fathers, back to the African heart, mind and spirit,
freedom, justice and equality regardless of creed colour or class. We want
to become an African family again. The most important thing is to unite-
black man and the African woman to produce an African child. (The Herald

Once again we can see ZANU PF articulating problems of racism in the West to
the revived nationalism in Zimbabwe. It should be noted however that groups
such as the December 12 Movement have been challenged within the
African-American intellectual community. One critique from a group of
prominent African American progressives criticised 'a twisted kind of Black
"solidarity" that mirrors the "patriotism" of the white right in the US.'
Furthermore they condemned those groups 'issuing thinly veiled threats' and
appropriating to themselves 'the colours Red, Black and Green' and labelling
as 'treasonous all Black criticism of their current Strong Man of choice,
Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe.' (The Black Commentator 2003.) While it
can be argued that groups such as the December 12 Movement have no
significant presence in Black politics in the US, the continued problem of
racism in the West provides the terrain for such race-based identification.
Moreover the decline of the Western left and its weakness in dealing with
the issues of race in its own politics has further opened up spaces for more
narrowly nationalist interventions.


A decade ago I wrote an article on 'Race and Nationalism' in Zimbabwe. In
re-reading the piece in recent weeks what strikes me most about the
analysis, apart from an underestimation of the potential for a revived
nationalist project by the ruling party, was its strictly national focus,
which even then was a limitation of the article. In 2004 it is impossible to
confront this subject meaningfully without addressing the broader reach of
its effects at both regional and international levels. Mugabe has not only
defined the national project around a selective reading of nationalist
history and an exclusivist construction of the nation, he has also sought to
ensure that this message resonates in other black struggles both regionally
and internationally. This exclusive mobilisation around race has been a part
of ZANU PF's outlook since its inception. (Brickhill 1999: 35.) This was
unlike the different conditions in South Africa, which produced more
emphasis on non-racialism in the liberation movement. However it needs to be
said that even in South Africa this tradition is already facing strong
challenges as the ANC embraces a more Africanist ideological stance.

ZANU PF has set itself the task of establishing a hegemonic project in which
the party's narrow definition of the nation is deployed against all other
forms of identification and affiliation. In this project the media and
selected intellectuals have been used to provide a continuous and repetitive
ideological message, in order to set the parameters of a stable national
identity conducive to the consolidation of the ruling party. As Zimbabweans
listen to the radio, watch television and read the daily newspapers, all
controlled by the ruling party, they are being 'informed' about what it
means to be a 'good Zimbabwean,' and a 'genuine African'. They are also
being told who is the 'enemy' within and without and advised to confront
such 'enemies' with ruthless exclusion if necessary. For the present this
political assault has seriously closed down the spaces for alternative
debates around citizenship and national belonging.
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