If you are outside zimbabwe, call your relatives here, the ones you can reach, whether on skype or the (shite) cellphone networks and ask them to spread the word in the rural areas that Mugabe has NOTHING to do with the SADC aid being distributed. Most people are in the rural areas now for Christmas and they can spread the truth there. Let's not let the dictator get away with this one again
First things first. The ZANU PF militia (also known as the Police in Zimbabwe) has now had some excuse whispered into its ear and, after a few days of embarrassing silence, announced that the Attorney General has lodged an appeal with the Supreme Court against the High Court order to release Jestina Mukoko and her fellow abductees.
We now know that they will not be released at all. Mugabe is opposing their application for refusal of further remand in custody. On Monday, when they appear in court, you will hear that the prosecution opposed the application because "the accused face serious charges and there is a real risk that they will flee the country."
Magistrate Guvamombe will agree with the "state" and the abductees will basically melt back into the background where the grilling will continue. We all know what the "state" is after so that is what they have set their eyes on. Mugabe himself is following this case with keen interest. In fact, as Chief Pupeteer, he is directing events here.
Already, Mugabe has achieved a part of his strategy: the part that has to do with the paralysing of the MDC. All of a sudden, the MDC T-shirts we used to see worn by pedestrians in Zimbabwe's cities have disappeared. Wearing one now could land you where Jestina Mukoko and the others are. You could become an "insurgent".
MDC structures are not meeting at all. I was in three townships in Harare over Christmas and in one, where my mother lives, the well-known leader of the MDC youths in the area has disappeared. Not abducted or anything, but simply vanished. His group of friends (about seven young men) are nowhere to be seen. Only one is spotted frequently at the local shoping centre now and again since this whole thing began.
The parents of the MDC youth leader, friends of my mother, profess ignorance about the whereabouts of their son, telling anyone who inquires after him, "Hazvizivikanwe zvake uyu.....izvozvi hameno kwakaendwa." Shrugging his absence off basically. The story is the same all over - the MDC has ceased to be functional at the grassroots level. Fear pervades the opposition ranks. It is this that Mugabe has used consistently throughout his reign.
BUT OF GREATER INTEREST TO ME is the proof now emerging of what I said about SADC propping up Mugabe in one of my posts this last week. One of Mugabe's lapdogs, an Advocate who now moonlights as a Provincial Governor in Mashonaland Central, was distributing maize seed yesterday in Bindura, where ZANU PF has just finished its conference.
I did say that Mugabe's party network and structures run life in the rural areas and that the SADC aid would be seen as coming from ZANU PF. Governor Martin Dinha confirmed this yesterday.
Speaking of the aid coming from SADC, Dinha said "We want our people to catch up with the planting season so that we avoid food shortages next year. That is why we sent people on the ground to distribute seed..."
So basically, we have the line that Mugabe will take as SADC distributes its aid through its "independent network". Mugabe says HE is the one who sent them to give the villagers aid. They have him to thank for this.
No one will correct this impression, obviously. The MDC is not allowed to hold any meetings in any of these places. The mass media is controlled by Mugabe and will ensure that everyone gets the same message.
If Tsvangirai was in government, he could push for meetings of his party to be held in these rural areas and give them the truth. Then again, knowing Mugabe, the permission would probably be granted but would be accompanied by such fierce intimidation from ZANU PF's rural thugs that no one would dare show up for the meetings, fearing what would happen to them once the opposition motorcades disappear back to Harare.
And, Mr Tsvangirai, yes you are probably right: you are more useful outside prison than in it. You must mobilise international opinion and yes, you can not look after the interests of your supporters from behind bars. That is all agreed.
But then, you are really not leading right now, which is why the MDC appears to be in all sixes and sevens. Are you aware, sir, that your party grassroots do not know what is expected of them right now? There is no direction at all from the leadership on this.
Grassroots leaders who are showing up at Harvest are being denied entry. There is no message that has come from you to them. They wonder as all others wonder just what it is you are up to. It can't be "mobilising international opinion against Mugabe" because we know exactly what international opinion on him says.
The fight is back here. Stop dithering, there's skullduggery afoot and you must ask yourself whether you choose to watch the MDC wither away for fear of trumped up charges or you stride into Zimbabwe and shout to Mugabe to bring it on.
There's no purpose whatsoever to this suspended animation within the MDC. Here's what I believe it is: Mugabe is The Master of Fear. It is fear that has kept him in power all along. He has used it extensively against the people of Zimbabwe and they have given in time and time again.
Mugabe is now using that same weapon of fear against you, Mr Tsvangirai. It's about who blinks first. He is not used to people calling his bluff. To him, the threat of dire consequences has worked so well since that day on the beach in Quilimane in 1975. And he believes it is working now.
Question, then. Mugabe obviously believes that the threat hanging over the MDC is enough to make you stay away from the country and allow him a free hand. He is confident that your behaviour in staying away will prove to SADC that there is substance to his ludicrous claims and charges. The question is: will you let him get away with it? Again?
Here's what you should be doing: These are serious charges, yes. And because of that, you must demand that SADC puts together a panel of judges from member states, the panel to be agreed on and approved by both ZANU PF and the MDC, much like the jury selection process in America.
This panel must hear the evidence in this case, all of it. And then they must make a judgement that you all agree to bind yourselves to. The politicians in SADC may appear to have their biases, but much of the judiciary in Africa still has some pride in its profession.
The reason you should get involved now without any fear is that the name of the MDC, of which you are leader, is now being put at the forefront in this whole "case".
Battle must be joined.
As things stand now, you are repeating a familiar mistake of yours: letting Mugabe set the agenda and control it. You end up dancing to his tune. Table must be turned then, and he has to be put on the back foot. It can be done. An independent Regional Judicial Council must hear this case and decide on its merit. You can not go into government with such serious charges levelled against your party, you must say. And the sooner the panel is constituted, the better, so that government can be formed.
Announce that you will stay in the country to face down this grave challenge. If Mugabe wants, you can give him back "his" passport and wait for the Council to make a determination, you should say.
And you should make it clear that these charges do not scare you.Then Mugabe will show his true hand and perhaps SADC will have something to work with, for how can you go after the Prime Minister before the Council has made a ruling on the case? When challenged, when he has his bluff called, Mugabe loses it and this time he will be doing so under the gaze of the regional presidents.
That, sir, would be leadership. And all eyes right now are fixed on Botswana, from where the people of Zimbabwe expect a message to tell them that you are not taking all of this lying down.