The Non-event Talks and Riot Police
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.
Amazingly, ZANU PF never seeks permission, but all others have to. It is unlikely that this will change, even if, by some miracle we end up with Morgan Tsvangirai in government as Prime Minister.
We can expect that there will be no condemnation of this police brutality and ruthlessness by the MDC, though. There was no word from them when youths protesting at the inordinate delay in concluding the talks during the first sitting of the new parliament were teargassed and dispersed right in front of the legislature two weeks ago.
There is no news from the talks themselves, as is normal. They are being held in complete secrecy. But, for those interested in the extremely wonky Zimbabwe Stock Exchange, here is some news: the market crashed today, Most counters fell and those that did not traded very close to their Friday levels. This, however, is not because there has been any leak from the talks (they are very well-guarded). Rather, punters are now simply crystallising their "profits" (if there can such a thing with 2 billionn percent inflation) after a breathtaking two-week bull run which saw most companies' stock prices rise by more than 500% every day. Much of this has to do with the talks, yes. Punters would like to keep their assests somewhat liquid in case something positive comes out of the process. If that does happen, you can expect the market to take a nosedive, because it is linked to the black market rates for the US dollar, which will also inevitably fall should there be an agreement. If your money is in your account, it is protected against that fall. It is as simple as that. After three or four days, though, this market going to rise again because it will be clear that there is no hope for an agreement to come out of this process.
Mavambo. Today, the National Coordinating Committee of the Mavamo.Kusile.Dawn Movement met in Harare to tie up some loose ends relating to the draft constitution and the proposed party's policies and principles. The meeting also discussed fine tuning logistical arrangements for ensuring that no corner of the country, no matter how remote, is left out of this consultative process. Dr Makoni was in the chair and all provinces were present.
A lot of emails are coming through to the movement's head office from people who fear that they may miss the boat with regards to making input into the consultative process announced recently. Fear not, fellow travellers, this process is only beginning. In fact, because of the fine-tuning that was taking place today, the draft is still to be rolled out properly across the country for input and consultation. Perhaps in a week or so, that processs will start in earnest. Then, and only then, will the activists currently writing to us and visiting our offices have cause for worry. At that time, also, I will publish here the phone numbers and contact details for all the interim Provincial Coordinators as well as the leadership of this process in the diaspora (US, UK, South Africa and other countries). Giving them out now would be premature.
Because I was in the Mavambo meeting, I was not able to get the inside information that I normally impart on this blog (our meeting only ended at 9p.m.). But from Tuesday, you can expect the usual gems.
A SPECIAL NOTE HERE TO ALERT ALL OF YOU ABOUT JENNI WILLIAMS AND MAGODONGA MAHLANGU, BRAVE SOULS WORKING WITH WOZA (WOMEN OF ZIMBABWE ARISE), WHO ARE LANGUISHING IN JAIL AT THE MOMENT FOR PROTESTING PEACEFULLY. THE AUTHORITIES ARE CREATING ALL SORTS OF EXCUSES TO DENY BOTH OF THEM BAIL. WE ARE WITH THEM FROM OUT HERE.
Till then, keep your fingers crossed for Zimbabwe (though I doubt that will do us any good).