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Showing posts from October, 2008

This Week In Zimbabwe: The Cost Of Political Blindness

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It has been business as usual in Zimbabwe this week.
On Monday, as the SADC Troika met in Harare, the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange had a mini-crash. Punters were unsure what would come out of the talks (they obviously do not read this blog!). Most counters retreated marginally (by our standards). The very next day, however, the market was back to its old ways, with most counters gaining heavily. Both Minings andIndustrials put on an impressive show. Bindura, a perennial favourite, shot up from 70 billion dollars a share to 250 billion. It closed yesterday at 700 billion dollars a share. Even newcomers like Trust Holdings (re-listed after being plundered by Gidiot Gono in 2004) closed yesterday around 2 billion dollars a share. Rio Zim was quoted at over 4 trillion dollars a share.
The US dollar yesterday was being quoted at anywhere between 60 billion  and 200 billion  Zim dollars. The black market, which is now the real Reserve Bank in Zimbabwe, operates as follows: the small players (mostl…

What Mavambo Wants

There seems to be no hurry to convene the full SADC summit that the Troika called for after they failed to reconcile the differences between Zimbabwe's two main political parties. The Herald today speaks of the summit being convened in two weeks time!
Do these so-called leaders not know that inflation is running at about 200% per day? Do they realise that the evil Governor of the Reserve Bank, Gideon Gono, still insists on consumers withdrawing only $50 000 per day when a one way trip into town for most people now starts at $40 000? Even their own dirty mouthpiece, The Herald, has now admitted that scores of people are dying of cholera in Harare. Shelves in shops are now completely empty. Those that still have anything resembling food are only selling it in US dollars. There is now not even a single shop accepting swipe cards in Harare. People are living on wild fruits, if they lucky. People have started dying. To cap it all, we have one of Mugabe's illegal ministers, an impost…

Zimbabwe's Inevitable March To The Gallows

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So it has come to pass as predicted on this blog: the much-anticipated SADC Troika meeting in Harare has failed to come up with a solution to the impasse. I shouldn't say it, but I will anyway: I told you so.The question is, who should the ordinary person believe? Over the last few weeks, we have been told time and again by the MDC that they were disputing 10 ministries. The other two parties, ZANU PF and Mutambara's MDC, as well as the facilitator, Thabo Mbeki, all insisted that the only ministry left was Home Affairs. It appears even Tsvangirai admitted this in their private meetings at the Rainbow Towers Hotel, only to tell the nation something else when he emerged from the talks.
The SADC Troika, after their marathon meeting with all the parties on Monday, also came out and said the ministry of Home Affairs was the only issue left on the table. So, everyone else is lying and only the MDC is telling the truth? What, it must be asked, does the Secretary General of SADC have t…

The Non-event Talks and Riot Police

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The non-event masquerading as the latest round of negotiations on the Zimbabwe power-sharing deal is still going on. Earlier today, some people tried to protest in the city centre about the unwarranted delay in concluding this deal but riot police teargassed them and soon dispersed them. (Riot police in Zimbabwe are relentless, chasing after peaceful protesters,running them down and then driving around town or any affected area dispersing any group that, in their own judgement, appears to be preparing to protest.) There is no such thing as a peaceful protest in Zimbabwe as far as these riot police are concerned. Any protest is illegal. POSA and AIPPA are still in force. These two filthy pieces of legislation make it illegal for a group of more than three people to meet. They make it illegal for anyone to protest without police permission. If the permission is applied for by any group that is not linked to the ruling ZANU PF, it will be turned down. Invariably.  Amazingly, ZANU PF never…

HOW THE TALKS HAVE DIED

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Today is Monday. SADC Heads of State have started arriving as I write. It is a futile mission, primarily because Morgan Tsvangirai and the MDC, as well as Robert Mugabe and ZANU PF, have lost interest in saving Zimbabwe and in these talks.

As stated previously, Morgan Tsvangirai and the MDC have abandoned these talks. No compromise from Mugabe, short of virtual resignation, handing over power in total to the MDC-T, will convince Morgan to sign the deal. Even if he gets Home Affairs, Finance, Local government and 12 (twelve) other ministries on top , Morgan Tsvangirai is still not going to sign. At the heart of his intransigence is the dossier he will present to Heads of State today, in which he accuses Thabo Mbeki of being virtually a card-carrying member of ZANU PF. Although an agreement is in place, Morgan wants it all reversed because, with Mbeki no longer president in South Africa, the MDC believes it is worth its while trying for a new mediator and starting the process again  from …

MUGABE THREATENS TO INVADE AND ANNEX BOTSWANA

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Given the present state of political and security matters in the region, the only State with the competence and experience for a peacekeeping and peace-making role in the region is Zimbabwe. I dread to imagine that capacity being turned the other way, namely as a peace-breaking proposition. Should that happen — and God forbid — those quarters, which have been pretending militant solidarity with MDC-T, will go quiet. They stand no chance. The environment will be very grave and forbidding. So the MDC must never overrate its friends who can only go so far, do so much, with Zanu-PF’s tolerance. Except the region will not allow that dire eventuality of peace breaking, not for Zimbabwe’s sake but for its own sake. "

This veiled threat is contained in Robert Mugabe's spokesman's weekly column in The Herald. There is no doubt that this regime is now getting desperate, losing patience and perhaps even contemplating the suicidal. There are many other points in Charamba's article…

NO SANCTIONS ON MUGABE, SAYS JACOB ZUMA

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There is a lot of mistaken belief in Zimbabwe that when Jacob Zuma becomes president of South Africa, he will be harder on Mugabe. This belief  is premised on the fact that COSATU and the South African Communist Party (COSATU), which are largely responsible for mobilising support for Zuma to get the presidency of  the ANC, are both vehemently against Mugabe's regime. The MDC and a lot of people in Zimbabwe have now staked the life of the democratic project in Zimbabwe on this flawed thinking. Now, from the horse's mouth, from Zuma himself, we hear that he has no intention of doing any such thing. Sanctions are out. Below is the article that appeared in the Wall Street Journal yesterday. We should stop looking to outside interests to solve our problem. ONce we do that, we will find that local solutions come easily, the suffering of people will end in a heartbeat.Down with Mugabe and his murderers!!!!
FROM THE WALL STREET JOURNAL
NEW YORK -- South Africa will stay the course on it…

The Slow, Agonising Death Of Zimbabwe And The Lessons Joshua Nkomo Learnt

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It really has to be seen to be believed. Inflation is running riot in Zimbabwe, with the US dollar being quoted at upwards of 5 billion Zim dollars per one US dollar. All other prices have followed the same stratospheric route. The suffering it is all causing is now unprecedented.

My mother is a case in point. Yesterday, she went to the bank, withdrew Z$50 000 to buy sugar, only to find the sugar costing Z$55 000 for a 2kg pack.  She went home and was back at the bank today to withdraw another Z$50 000. This time, she found the sugar now cost Z$90 000. Two days of waiting for hours in the queue just to get enough money for a 2kg pack of sugar. Public transport has been rising by Z$10 000 every single day this week. It is all a dog's breakfast.
There is a palpable sense of foreboding for Monday, when the SADC heads of state arrive in Harare to try and mix water with oil. Theirs is an futile mission. Mugabe appears unlikely to budge. Morgan and the MDC, on the other hand, have their si…

If They Can, Why Can't We?

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To be honest, the people of the world are now sick and tired of whining Zimbabweans. I remember a Botswana reader, writing to a newspaper in his country, stating that all Zimbabweans in Botswana should go back to their country because, whenever they get a chance to vote, they put Mugabe back in power.Another one was a caller to CNN, commenting on Zimbabweans illegally crossing the Limpopo River into South Africa. Calling from Nigeria, his words, which are now legend in Zimbabwe were as follows: "I used to respect Zimbabweans, but I have now lost all respect for them because I can not understand how a man can run from another man and into a crocodile-infested river. Is that not the worst cowardice?"Friends from as far afield as Britain, Sweden and Canada all ask the same question: How is it that other countries can throw off dictators but the people of Zimbabwe seem to enjoy being pitied, being felt sorry for, by the world?The top-of-mind question today is: Do Zimbabweans hav…

Simba Makoni Meets Citizens

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Dr Simba Makoni was in the city centre of Harare today, touring areas ranging from the Railways station on Kenneth Kaunda Avenue, First Street to Fourth Street.
Why?
He wanted to show the residents of Harare and others that it is not ALL their leaders who have forgotten their suffering. Although he is not party to that agreement signed on September 15, the requests that keep pouring into his offices at Old Mutual Centre in Harare clearly show a silent majority out there who have lost hope in the current scenario. Dr Makoni was especially concerned to meet the men and women who are bearing the brunt of the bickering currently going on between the negotiating parties. He saw people who had slept in queues. He saw mothers who had babies crying on their backs but who could do nothing about it because every scrap of food being sold in the country is now referenced to an exchange rate that makes eating a basic meal a luxury for 90% of our people.
Makoni was clearly touched by this. All he coul…

Bigots Not Allowed

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We are fighting to achieve a truly Great Zimbabwe. We are fighting for the right of Zimbabweans to free speech. We are fighting for real democracy. We do not believe that fighting Robert Mugabe automatically makes a person or entity Godly. 
We have no sacred cows.
We should then ask why supporters of the MDC are so scared of opinions that do not sing the praises of their leadership. Why are they so afraid of free speech. You will find in the comments forum of my previous post, "The New MDC Strategy, Zimbabwe's Tragedy", a comment from an "anonymous" who has torn a page out of the ZANU bible and is threateningly informing the blog that we should not criticise Tsvangirai.
Why not?
There are good reasons to criticise him if we so choose. He is neither infallible nor God. He is not Lord and master of the universe. His party, which has been fighting and losing against Mugabe since 2000 is proving incapable of delivering the killer blow. This blog believes that this is d…

The New MDC Strategy: Zimbabwe's Tragedy

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The new thrust by MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai and his advisers is to escalate the Zimbabwean crisis all the way up to the United Nations.

Clearly, Tsvangirai and his people are of the opinion that they signed the September 15 agreement only because Mbeki, who they see as pro-Mugabe, was president of South Africa and also Chairman of the Southern African Development Community (SADC). Back then, the MDC leadership could see no other way open for them to take over the country. Now they think that either Mothlathe, the new South African president, can be more hard-hitting, or that SADC will throw its arms up in despair, admit failure and open the way for the AU and, eventually, the UN, to step in.
It is, as I have said before, a fatal miscalculation on the the part of Tsvangirai and his advisers who have mistaken Mugabe's readiness to negotiate as a sign that he is ready to capitulate. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Should the MDC maintain its pig-headed approach to this whol…

Morgan Tsvangirai Plays Tough, Mugabe Ignores Him

Well, it has been an interesting day. Like I said, Tsvangirai wants a complete reversal of the deal he signed on September 15 and that was made clear today.
First off, the MDC leader refused to attend SADC (Southern Africa Development Community) Troika Summit in Swaziland. He does not have his passport back yet and was instead issued with an Emergency Travel Document valid for travel to Swaziland only. He said this was an insult and he would not go.
Emerging from his car at the conference centre where the summit was to take place in Swaziland, Mugabe looked a bit confused as he was told the news. He looked around and behind him in full view of the camera, as if he expected to see Morgan there!!
King Mswati apparently dispatched a jet to fetch Tsvangirai, but the MDC leader sent it back empty, demanding nothing less than his full passport to allow him to travel. Mugabe appears reluctant to give in on this, since he accuses Tsvangirai of globe-trotting to ask for sanctions and "pressu…

How The Talks Will Progress This Week

Now that we all know the game plan Morgan Tsvangirai has, it is easier to predict with accuracy how this week will pan out on that front.
Morgan sees the ouster of Mbeki as a way of revising the deal he signed on Sept 15, essentially meaning that he wants to go back on his word because he now thinks that, with Mbeki out of the way, he can refuse to compromise, have another election and gain the presidency, which is his First Prize. We all know that Mugabe is as tough as old boots and that is unlikely to happen. There will be NO new elections, in two years or three or six six months. We will have to wait the full 5 years.
So, here's how it will go: On Monday, they all troop down to Swaziland to meet the SADC Troika. The Toika will say that the offer on the table appears reasonable to them and Morgan should accept either rotation or some of the other compromises suggested for the Ministry of Home Affairs. Tsvangirai, because any decision that does not hand him Zimbabwe on a silver pla…

The Games Tsvangirai Plays

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When the MDC saw that Thabo Mbeki had been deposed as president of South Africa, they immediately envisioned all their dreams coming true. In a signal act of revisionism, Tsvangirai now saw that this was his chance to get another mediator as long cherished by his party, which accused Mbeki of not being an honest broker.


The problem was that there was nothing left to mediate. Tsvangirai had already signed on the dotted line. Strictly speaking, the sharing of cabinet posts had nothing to do with Mbeki. If the MDC leader had, through lack of foresight and good judgement, signed an incomplete deal, trusting Mugabe to do right by the agreement, then it was a bed he had made. Circumstances now tell him to sleep in it.


But no, the prospect of a tougher mediator to revise the original agreement of September 15 in favour of the MDC was too good to pass. There was only one thing for it: precipitate a crisis. Which is what Tsvangirai and his people duly did. Now they've got their wish. They h…

Zimbabwe: Of Waiting, McGee and Mugabe Paranoia

This is the very last chance for Zimbabwe to actually climb out of this hole we find ourselves in. With the Zim dollar being quoted at $60 million for one US dollar, we are on a slippery slope to hell. Mugabe, Tsvangirai and Mutambara are still holed up inside the Rainbow Towers as I write this. There is no word on how this will progress. Personally, I still am hopeful that a deal will come today. Mugabe said as much when he told the media as he arrived, "Today is a day for deals."
You see, I have been using public transport, Kombis, we call them here in Zimbabwe, to travel around these days. This is where you get the pulse of the nation. It is pitiful. There is not a single day in the last two weeks or so that I have not heard people asking each other every morning and evening in the minibuses what the status of the talks was. These are urbanites. Their contempt for Mugabe is clear from their words. Yet they are so desperate for this process to yield positive results. It is …