Here's Obama's Blog: First President In History to Blog!
Here's proof that Barack Obama's internet skills were not just an election gimmick. He now has a blog! It has a countdown to the day he will be inaugurated, a section where ordinary Americans can apply for a job in his new administration, an announcements section and then, what I think is the niftiest feature: a section where ordinary Americans can write in with suggestions about what needs to be done and even just bringing their own personal and community problems to his attention.
The man is clearly an avid techie and truly believes in the power of the Internet to help him connect with the American masses.
Here in Zim, of course, we are not at that level yet. Our Internet is dominated by the intellectuals and 99% of our voting public have no interface with this medium. It is a useless tool when it comes to mobilising votes. However, most leaders (community and national) do have access and if they did not abuse the Internet to push their own views at the expense of the views of their constituency, then this would be a good medium for taking the pulse of the nation.
The only problem here is that, as things stand right now, the debate on the Internet when it comes to Zimbabwe bears no relation to the reality on the ground. I will give the example of the Inclusive Government. The overwhelming majority want that government formed. A vast majority think that sharing Home Affairs with Mugabe is enough for Tsvangirai to agree to join government. I am particularly happy that Tsvangirai seems to be wiser than all his Internet supporters and is moving slowly towards forming a government with Mugabe because this is what the people want. I am beginning to think that, left to his own devices, this man is probably more compassionate than Mugabe and would sacrifice his own ambition, short-term party advantage and the ambitions of some of his more selfish advisers to ensure that the people of Zimbabwe at least get temporary relief. He knows the best way to do this is to work with Mugabe, because there simply is no other workable and realistic solution on the table that would save Zimbabwean lives.
Wanna see Obama's blog? Click here
Thai Riot Police Flee From Protesters - An Unthinkable Thing In Zimbabwe
"Thai riot police fled their checkpoint outside Bangkok's besieged international airport on Saturday when they were attacked by several hundred armed anti-government protesters.
Some 150 officers stationed half a mile down the expressway leading to Suvarnabhumi airport's terminal piled into their vehicles and left as a convoy of demonstrators drove towards them.
As the police vehicles passed, the protesters hurled firecrackers at them and took swings at their windscreens with iron bars.Yesterday 2,000 riot police were deployed around the airport, suggesting they were about to evict members of the People's Alliance for Democracy (PAD) who have occupied the terminal since Tuesday. The occupation has forced the cancellation of all flights.
An estimated 2,000 protesters have barricaded themselves into Suvarnabhumi airport and Bangkok's second airport, Don Muang.
Thousands of stranded passengers are waiting in nearby hotels for the four-day-old standoff to end, but Thailand's airport authority said Suvarnabhumi would remain closed until at least 6pm on Monday."
If Zimbabwe had a truly courageous official opposition party that valued democracy over the good life, could this happen here? Could it? Whose fault is it that it is not happening? It would be idiotic to say it's Mugabe's fault that we are proving to be so cowardly. It is the leaders of the oppressed, opining from foreign capitals, deserting those who voted for them, is it not?
Simba Makoni, if he had been given the votes of the people, would he be behaving in this fashion, leaving his 2 million supporters to face Mugabe's music alone, unsupported, uncared for?
Some US Dollar Bills Now Being Refused In Zimbabwe
Almost all shops and traders are now refusing to accept American dollar bills from the 90s, exactly like the one pictured here, someone just told me. And I have confirmed it with two supermarkets and one trader. The bills are still legal tender in the United States, but, according to one supermarket in the city centre, the banks in Zimbabwe are refusing to take them.So don't accept any change or to be paid in dollar bills older than 2002
Skype from Zim
Are there any readers in ZIm using Skype. I know some of our readers are already skyping each other after hooking up on the chatroll on this page, but are there anyZimbos in Zim using skype? Is it reliable from here, do you need any special software etc. Put your answer in the comments section below and help out our visitors. They also need to know if they can send SMS to Zim mobiles using skype once they install it.
Zimbabwe Police Versus The Zimbabwe Army - Is this War?
Only minutes ago I witnessed three policemen being kicked, yes kicked, by a group of soldiers near the main bus station in Harare city centre. The bus stop is close to the Main Police Station in the capital.The three policemen, one of whom was already bleeding, were thrown into the back of a Puma truck, an armoured vehicle used by the army in Zimbabwe. The truck sped off along Kenneth Kaunda Avenue with the policemen in the back. Immediately afterwards, a group of policemen came out of the Main Station and I asked one of them, a reserve force member (they wear the greyish uniform) what was happening. I asked if they had provoked the soldiers. He did not stop as he answered me, but I think his answer is revealing. He simply said, "Ah, ndezvenyika izvi..", meaning, "It's about politics..." He was told to shut up by one of his fellow officers, who was wearing the reflective sleeves of the traffic police.I am definitely going to follow this one up. I need to get to the true story. This has been happening too much this week. On Thursday, from my 9th floor office window, I was with some members of the Provincial leaders of our movement when we saw an army truck pull up at Fourth Street Roadport. The soldiers in the back just jumped out and started beating up policemen, scattering everybody in view. One of the policemen escaped by jumping onto the back of a moving pick-up truck at the traffioc lights by along Fourth Street. Something is up. I WILL find out what. The Herald says today that the soldiers we saw beating up people have been arrested, so what about the ones I saw today. This is a bigger story than anyone thinks. Even the government mouthpiece, The Hereald says the soldiers were piqued at failing to access cash.And to think they have always been so disciplined! I think Gono is ari kusikira Mugabe wake moto muziso.
Thabo Mbeki Versus Morgan Tsvangirai - The Inside Story
The biting 4000 word letter from Thabo Mbeki to Morgan Tsvangirai contains a single sentence that holds hints to the real reason behind this discharge of cold fury by the Zimbabwe Facilitator. That sentence, referring to "South African formations", is the real reason why Mbeki lost his cool. Regular readers know that I have said Tsvangirai saw Mbeki's ouster as a godsend, a chance to reverse the whole "loathsome deal".In this, he was even more encouraged by the Zimbabwean popular delusion that the new South African president was only a front for Zuma, a man Zimbabweans had covinced themselves would be much tougher on Mugabe. We did point out the facts to the contrary, but there is no state of bliss higher than that which chooses to believe in its own fantasies.So, just over two weeks ago, Tsvangirai approached Jacob Zuma and the new South African president. He sought to get Zuma and Motlanthe to basically fire Mbeki. Motlanthe, as Chairman of SADC, said Tsvangirai, could make this possible.The MDC thought the prospects good, since they started on the premise that Zuma and Motlanthe hate Mbeki's guts. The plan was to set the two against Mbeki, use the perceived grudge to get Mbeki sidelined. That letter sent last week by Tsvangirai requesting Motlanthe to take over as Facilitator was a follow-up in writing to an approach three days earlier.Word got to Mbeki; his office says from the ANC presidency, but the Presidency refuses to confirm this, muttering something about "leaks".Even when he heard this, Mbeki took no action and simply tried to convene a meeting of the negotiators to discuss the Draft Bill (No 19).It was a couple of days later, when he received the very abrupt, dismissive and rambling letter from Tendai Biti. Mbeki was "incenced by the tone" of the letter.When the letter to Morgan Tsvangirai was brought to him to sign before it was sent off, he was still fuming and angrily crossed out the Sir, in the Dear Sir, salutation and used his pen to replace the word "Sir" with "Morgan".He, at that time, "did not consider Tsvangirai enough of a gentleman to be addressed by that title." Mbeki believes that the letter could not have been sent without Tsvangirai's approval and that, in all likelihood, it was written at the MDC president's behest by his Chief negotiator.Also aware of the MDC strategy of now walking with its bag of grievances all the way to the United Nations, Mbeki sent a message that the MDC appears to still grasp: he copied the letter to
The significance of this move should not be overlooked. By doing this, Mbeki wanted first of all to send the message that, although he is called a SADC facilitator, his mandate has been confirmed TWICE by all the other relevant bodies in the world and, "therefore, it would not be SADC's decision alone to fire me."In addition, the former SA president also wanted to publicly block all the escape avenues contained in the MDC strategy explained here. Basically, it was an answer to the call for his ousting and that answer was: "Like it or not, you have to deal with me."The letter also reveals other sentiments Mbeki holds, including his irritation at the MDC's continued use of threats about a "regional contagion", with Zimbabweans fleeing across the borders and overburdening the treasuries of other regional countries. Mbeki considers this a sharpened knife that the MDC hangs over Zimbabwe's neighbours' heads too often in order to "scare" them into giving the MDC what it wants.Hence Mbeki's insistence that all that can be avoided if the parties "honour their wordand implement the agreement they signed on September 15." For the last eighteen months, he has refused to be frightened by that threat of bringing the Zimbabwean problem to his veranda. This latest mention of it, you can tell from the tone of his later, is simply exasperating.And, enclosing Biti's letter together with his own, he is showing that he is confident of the justice of his tone and also that other world leaders will see the sort of provocation that led to such a response.I think it's called checkmate.
- The Chairman of SADC
- The Chair of the SADC Organ on Politics and Defence
- The Chairman of the African Union
- The Secretary-General of the United Nations
- The Executive Secretary of SADC
South Africa Turns On Tsvangirai
Morgan Tsvangirai was briefly detained at Johannesaburg International Airport on Wednesday before immigration officials denied him permission to fly to Morocco to receive a democray award, it was announced on Friday.The South Africans, whom we have previously quoted as saying they are "losing patience with Zimbabwe's leaders", say they were irked that the MDC leader was "gallivanting around the world while the people of Zimbabwe suffer as a result of the lack of a solution to the impasse." In private conversations, they also said, if it was in their power, they would have done the same with Mugabe.Tsvangirai fell victim to the laws of international travel because he was trying to fly out of South Africa on an expired Emergency Travel Document (ETD). The Zimbabwean dictator, Robert Mugabe, is still refusing to give Tsvangirai a new passport. The one he holds now has now expired, but its pages are full.The Botswana government intervened on Tsvangirai's behalf and he has now been allowed to cross over into that country by road. Accoeding to AFP, the Botswana government is organising a private jet to take Tsvangirai to Morocco to recieve the award.Here again, is proof that SADC is now preparing to take its gloves off and read the riot act to the two main "leaders" in Zimbabwe.
"Agreement Reached On Constitutional Ammendment": Has Tsvangirai Changed Tack?
The Morgan Tsvangirai faction of the MDC today announced that an "understanding" has been reached on Constitutional Amendment No 19, the biggest stumbling block to the formation of a government of national unity, otherwise known as the Inclusive Government.Yet there was no optimism today amongst the people in Harare, where I post from. The people's patience has been tried sorely since September 15 and they now weary and wary.The question for those closely following this process, however, is whether this signals a change in strategy by Morgan Tsvangirai. You will recall that I have repeatedly stated here that the MDC regrets signing that agreement and are now seeking to reopen the negotiations from scratch. The MDC leader, I have said, is now pursuing a strategy of frustrating SADC and the African Union in order to find a doorway into the United Nations and have Zimbabwe tabled there as matter of grave international concern. It still hold true that Morgan Tsvangirai basically wants presidential powers and is very reluctant to join Mugabe unless he is given powers to basically co-rule, a situation that would see every decision Mugabe makes being basically "approved" by Tsvangirai after consultations.Of course, this is unrealistic, given what we know of the nature of the dictator of Zimbabwe. Still, we all live in hope, I suppose.To answer the question whether this announcement, which seems to contradict Tsvangirai's statement yesterday that he will no longer participate in talks until Mbeki excuses himself, is another about-turn by the MDC leader. The answer as I see it is that it is not. We must keep in mind that the MDC are pursuing a two-pronged strategy here. First, they want to give the impression of continuing to engage Mugabe so that they prevent the appointment of a unilateral government by the dictator. This is a shrewd tactic, and it has worked so far. But only because Mugabe sees the trap and is walking around it.The second prong of the strategy is to agree to inconsequential matters (as the MDC sees them), so that they maintain the fiction of being committed to the talks. At the same time, they will always be pulling back from that final leap that would catapult them into the arms of ZANU PF.This is the real strategy.By refusing to consummate their marriage to ZANU PF until all lobola demanded is paid, the opposition party hopes that it will so exasperate the two regional groupings, SADC and AU, that they will admit defeat and allow the MDC to take the matter to the United Nations in order to get an international mediator from that body appointed. The MDC has lost faith that any mediator appointed from within Africa would treat Mugabe the way they want him treated. At the same time, I will also not recoil from repeating the fact that this strategy is fatally flawed, because, even if pigs did fly and the United Nations appointed a mediator, Mugabe would simply ignore him and refuse to admit him into the country, like he did with Annan, Jimmy Carter and Graca Machel.The short answer to the question, then, is that, no, the MDC has not changed course. They are still determined to derail these talks unless they achieve nothing less than a co-presidency for Tsvangirai. Look, it would be tiresome to go yet again into the details of why this is a foolhardy strategy, to point out that Morgan was told as late as last week by the Chair of the AU that he should "go back to SADC and finish the unfinished business there".This is no cause for celebration, and the people are aware of that. Most of them can be heard in the streets saying that the MDC is being cruel, raising hopes and dashing them in quick-fire succession. The saying I hear most where people gather is a Shona one: "MDC iri kutamba nepfungwa dzedu" which basically translates into: "MDC is messing around with our emotions (or brains)." (I expect the messenger will be shot for this, but that is part of the job and must be taken as given).My prediction and analysis, to be found in the archives of this post, still stand. There is not going to be a government in Zimbabwe that involves the MDC any time soon. My bet is five years. And I still stand by that. While Mbeki and Biti throw venom at the each other, the bemused and suffering people of Zimbabwe have, I can say with certainty, decided to "throw the bums out" next chance they get. I would like this to be my last post on this irksome topic, we have read the MDC, we know what they will do next and will not be surprised. It is time now for this blog to concentrate on matters of more immediate concern to the general public, who are being neglected in all this by Mugabe and Tsvangirai.
We Were Right! This Is The End Of Negotiations
Dr Simba Makoni's statement: The Way Forward For Zimbabwe, is a bit further down on this page, please scroll down to get to it.....
Like the parrot in the Monty Python sketch in this photo, the talks are DEAD, but all our "leaders" would like us to believe that they are not. "They are just sleeping," they seek to tell us.
Let us recap the analysis we gave you two weeks ago on this blog regarding these talks (now colloquically referred to in Zimbabwe as "the jokes"). The MDC motivation and strategy, which are now tragically being played out exactly according to our analysis here, is as follows:
First, the MDC saw the ousting of Thabo Mbeki from the South African presidency as their chance to renegotiate the September 15 agreement which they have never liked.
The MDC only signed that agreement because they did not any see any other way out. Their unloved mediator, Thabo Mbeki had just taken over the Chairmanship of SADC. This meant that this regional grouping was now to be officially led on the Zimbabwe issue by their very own mediator. So the Mbeki policy and approach to Zimbabwe had now officially become the policy of "the region". There is no love lost between Mbeki and the MDC. The opposition party had always preferred a mediator who would be rude, direct, and perhaps even hostile to the Zimbabwean dictator.I am not sure we will ever get a mediator who will side with the MDC and read the riot act to Mugabe, because that would defeat the purpose of being a mediator. And besides, even if one were found who could act in that manner, Mugabe would simply pull an MDC on him - declare him biased, partisan, compromised and reject him. Which would take us back to base - stalemate yet again. A mediator HAS to be acceptable to both parties. Mbeki, in my view, was a good compromise. I dm certain that nobody else in the world, except perhaps Fidel Castro or any Chinese President, would have managed to get Mugabe to agree to not only talk to the MDC, but also give away the power he has handed over so far.Still, the MDC thought that, with Mbeki out of office, they now had a good chance of reversing the whole thing and starting from scratch, with a new mediator, who would be likely to see the issue from the MDC point of view and give Tsvangirai his No 1 prize: presidential powers with a Prime Ministerial title. They forget that, even in the unlikely event that this did happen and a new mediator was sought by SADC, Mugabe would still have to agree to that new mediator. If he refuses, that is the end of the whole business. Like I said, back to base.
Yesterday, Tsvangirai said that he will not participate in the talks any more ntil Mbeki is removed as the mediator.The reason he gives is the long-standing grievance that the man is partisan and is basically a card-carrying member of Mugabe's ZANU PF.But has Tsvangirai lost the plot here?The thing is this: The MDC, in pursuit of its strategy, sought to provoke Mbeki last week by getting Tendai Biti to write an extremely undiplomatic and insulting letter to Mbeki. The reason was to precipitate a crisis, a tactic that features very heavily in the new MDC strategy. They hoped, you see, that Mbeki would take the bait and respond in like manner, so that they would take that letter and wave it at SADC as proof that the former SA president is biased against the MDC. Mbeki did indeed take the bait and there are celebrations at Harvest House because of this. The MDC already thinks the strategy is on course.They forget that the matter of Zimbabwe is essentially out of Mbeki's hands now. It was taken out of his hands the moment Tsvangirai asked for a full SADC summit, which he got. It was not Mbeki, but SADC as a whole that gave the ruling on Home Affairs and essentially declared the Zimbabwe issue closed.This is basic revisionism by the MDC, because it is very unclear just what dispute they want a new mediator to preside over.The only thing that such a new kid on the block would be mediating is cabinet composition, which the SADC heads of state say they solved on November 9 in South Africa when they ruled, at Tsvangirai's request, on how the Home Affairs Ministry should be handled in the Inclusive Cabinet.By asking for a new mediator, the MDC, is basically asking SADC to appoint someone to second-guess their November 9 ruling. This is breathtakingly amateurish diplomacy by the MDC, unless of course, asking for a new "judge" is not a serious request, but merely a tactic to allow the MDC to move to the next stage of its strategy. I think this is the case.That regional body's ruling still stands and there is now no basis upon which a new mediator can be appointed. That's just about the sum total of it. SADC say the dispute is over, what is let is to form the government and there is no need to appoint a mediator to discuss the appointment of ministers in a member country. It is simply unprecedented.A senior politician in Zimbabwe, not a part of these negotiations that are now dead and who is currently holding low-key consultations with SADC presidents to try and find a way out of this mess says that the SADC heads of state are unequivocal: there is no need for a new mediator. Eleven SADC presidents have so far told him that the agreement that was signed by Tsvangirai, Mugabe and Mutambara put an end to the negotiating process. These eleven are of the opinion that, by signing that agreement, the Zimbabwe "leaders" basically signalled to the world that there was now agreement on the way forward in Zimbabwe, that there was no longer a major dispute in the southern african nation. That major dispute was the legitimacy of Mugabe's June 27 un-off victory, a barganing chip that the MDC threw away by signing an agreement that confirmed Mugabe in his post as President of Zimbabwe, thereby recognising him as legitimate.Whats more, SADC says there is even no need for Mbeki to continue mediating because the issues that are now being discussed are outside the purview of mediation. (It goes back again to the unprecedented matter of foreign governments getting involved in the process of appointing cabinet for a country.) The SADC leaders are of the opinion that cabinet posts are an internal matter in Zimbabwe, and, in the rules of diplomacy and in International Relations 101, they are right. There is consensus on the fact that the two major disputes, which they see as the recognition of Tsvangirai's performance in the parliamentary polls of March 2008 and the legitimacy of Mugabe's win in June, were solved by the two main parties appending their signatures to the GPA.
The MDC is aware of this and their stand in refusing to discuss anything further until Mbeki is removed as mediator is only a tactic in their strategy. This is a tactic they hope will then see SADC give up on the Zimbabwe problem, allowing the MDC to escalate the dispute to the AfricanUnion. And beyond, as I shall explain just now.
At the African Union, the MDC has no intention of actually seriously engaging that body in order to get a solution. The opposition party has taken the strategy that they will also be intransigent at the AU, forcing that African body to also give up and then allowing the MDC to execute the final part of its strategy: taking the matter to the United Nations.
You must please understand that what the MDC wants is very simple and straightforward. Tsvangirai wants to be given presidential powers without the presidential title. He does not mind sharing those powers with Mugabe, which is why he keeps saying that he will not pull out of the deal and that "there is nothing wrong with this agreement." His strategy, deeply flawed as it is, (again, I will explain why in just a moment), is designed to paralyse Mugabe, to ensure no government is in place until Tsvangirai gets those presidential powers. At the same time, the MDC also hopes Mugabe will lose patience and appoint a government without the MDC, to strengthen the MDC claim that Mugabe has broken the agreement and therefore, making the issue an even better candidate for international intervention.
This strategy is flawed because, no matter how much we all hate Mugabe, we must acknowledge that he is one of the shrewdest political strategists in the world today. He would not have lasted this long given his utter unpopularity and his brutality towards Zimbabweans.His counter strategy is basically straightfoward as as follows:
The MDC can discount straight away the unilateral appointment of cabinet by Mugabe. Mugabe has only one tactic left, which is almost certain to work in his favour: get SADC to declare MDC out of order, the Zimbabwe dispute closed and give Mugabe the green light to form a government to run Zimbabwe until such time Tsvangirai agrees to go into government on the November 9 terms set by the regional body.
Mugabe will almost certainly get all this, because the 11 presidents of SADC I spoke about just now are quite clear that they are tired of the Zimbabwe problem, while at the same time vowing that they, the body mandated by the AU, and only they, wil put an end to the matter. Tsvangirai perhaps also forgets that the reason why SADC was asked to handle the problem was because George Bush and Tony Blair and the rest of the world had come to realise that no action by any other group or country could have an impact on Mugabe. They had tried. They had failed. The man simply would not quit. The idea at the time was that countries around Mugabe would have more leverage because the ZANU PF regime depended on them for keeping their landlocked country in touch with trading partners and the rest of the world. So I ask myself why Tsvangirai wants to go back to a route that was abandoned by the West in favour of an African Solution approach. Nothing has changed. The same factors that led to the outside world deciding that this matter was a regional one are still in place. Mugabe is still as stubborn.As Einstein said: "Madness is doing the same thing in the same way repeatedly, and expecting a different result every time."
The London Telegraph pointed out yesterday that, legally speaking, Mugabe has so far not done a single thing that can be seen a breaking the agreement. The paper even goes so far as to say that the draft Constitutional Ammendment Number 19 drafted by the Attorney General of Zimbabwe is closer to the September 15 agreement than the draft the MDC-T is trying to present.The paper vindicates my analysis of two weeks ago when it says that the MDC draft, on the other hand, effectively seeks to reopen negotiations. But that is exactly what I have been saying for two weeks now, Telegraph.Most people are unaware of the goings-on behind closed doors at the talks. They do not know that the dictator has been very careful to stick to the letter (if not the spirit) of the agreement, knowing that Tsvangirai, by signing the agreement, was like a fish that hooked itself onto a fish-hook. The struggles he is enagaged in at the moment are fruitless in that they will result in only one of two options, either the fish gets landed or it trips off its own mouth in escaping, becoming either fatally wounded or being forced to take time to recover (five years, in our case, which is when the next elections will be held, no matter what anybody tells you).
Further, The Telegraph also points out another fact that most people are not aware of, which is that the agreement signed by the three "leaders" specifically gives the task of drafting this ammendment to the Attorney General's office.So, in other words, getting the Attorney General to draft the Bill was something Tsvangirai agreed to and signed for. Yet now, he calls it a ZANU PF document because it was drafted by the AG? Confused. You should not be, remeber, these are all just tactics, to enable a strategy.I would support the MDC position that the draft Bill should not have been sent to Mbeki without their seeing it first, but the fact that this was done is not a violation of the agreement by Mugabe, legally speaking. I also would support Tsvangirai's position that there is one paragraph in the draft which must be removed immediately, that paragraph being the one that gives Mugabe power to unilaterally end the Unity Government if he so wishes. That nonsense should not be entertained by anybody and I am sure even Mbeki thinks it was put in there as a joke by Mugabe.
As is clear from all of the above, the MDC really have no legal leg to stand on in trying to reopen the negotiations and tearing up the agreement they have already signed. The most likely outcome of their chosen strategy, as it becomes clearer now, is that the opposition party will be declared an impediment to the resolution of this particular process (not the wider issue of legitimacy, which, you will recall, the MDC closed by giving Mugabe legitimacy through signing an agreement that recognise him as Head of State).To end, let us again give you our prediction of how this thing will progress. We have been right every time so far, so those who have ears should listen.
- Tsvangirai wll not get a new mediator because SADC is of the position that the Zimbabwe issue is closed, finished. As President Montlanthe said, there is an agreement on the table and the parties should implement it. That is SADC's position. The one remaining issue, according to SADC and most observers, was Home Affairs and SADC has also closed this by ruling (as asked for by Tsvangirai) that the Ministry be shared. There is nothing further to discuss, say the 11 SADC presidents (the other four either support Tsvangirai (one) or say they are neutral in the matter (three).
- The MDC will try to bypass SADC, as Tsvangirai did last week when he went to see President Kikwete of Tanzania, the current Chair of the African Union. Kikwete told Tsvangirai to go back to SADC and finish the "unfinished business there". The MDC will, therefore, not get what they want at the AU. Remember that the current Chair of the African Union is also a member of SADC and, therefore, party to the Home Affairs ruling of November 9.
- After they have been rebuffed by both the AU and SADC, the MDC will seek to lobby a wider audience to get the Zimbabwe issue put before the UN. Here again, they will be shouting at the moon. Mugabe will easily be able to muster a majority in the General Assembly. Yes,the MDC are pinning their hopes on the Security Council. But they forget that even there, there needs to be unanimity or the issue goes nowhere. What will happen if they do get as far the UN is that China and Russia will frustrate any attempt to discuss Zimbabwe and veto any resolution sponsored by America and Britain. That will be the end of the road and the MDC will then have to come back home and start talking to SADC again. This will take about a year, perhaps two years, during which time Mugabe would have been given regional blessing to form a government and the country would have moved forward. The next chance the MDC will then have to engage ZANU PF will be in five years time, at the next elections. This is a matter that an alarming number of Zimbabweans are fooling themselves on, refusing to accept the truth, which is that MUGABE WILL NOT AGREE TO ELECTIONS BEFORE "HIS" FIVE YEAR TERM ENDS. That is the truth of the matter . Mugabe is here for another five years, full stop, and the MDC are doing all they can to help him achieve this.
- Finally, to recap, and mark these words, because I will gloat about their truth later: MDC and its leader will, before Christmas, be declared an impediment to the resolution of the Zimbabwe crisis and will be put out into the cold night. AU and the UN will not be able to even start a process of intervening in Zimbabwe. And the MDC will cool its heels for the next five years. At Mavambo, we are reading the mood of the public and we know exactly what the people want. Just watch us. You are about to witness that reshaping of the Zimbabwean political landscape that Dr Makoni spoke about many times, because it appears that the "failure of Leadership Nelson Mandela spoke about does not apply only to Mugabe, but to Tsvangirai as well.
Three Zimbabweans Sentenced to Death In China
Dr Makoni's statement is immediately below this latest Newsflash.
I thought I should share with you the news about three Zimbabweans who have just been sentenced to death in China for drug smuggling. I suppose they were following Mugabe's exhortation to "Look East".
The three, Asaria Mushangwe, Taapatsa Lauraine Itayirufaro and EdithTugwete, are, however, unlikely to be executed. That's because their death sentences come "with two-year reprieves" according to the China Daily newspaper. This means if they are judged to have behaved well in that time, the death sentences automatically get commuted to lie sentences.
Still, it is a sad indictment on the rule of Mugabe that our people, for generations known and trusted as hardworking and honest, are being driven to crime by policies that have bankrupted the country and made people lose hope in the future. Mugabe is destroying the very future of this country through is policies, his cruelty and utter refusal to allow this nation to escape from his poisonous clutches. The full article can be read on the China Daily website.
Simba Makoni's Statement: The Way Forward For Zimbabwe - Vision and Values
Dr Simba Makoni is in South Africa all of this week, but he asked me today to provide you with his Statement to the Centre For Peace Initiatives in Africa.
We are especially keen to hear your thoughts, comments, suggestions (and objections) on this statement. We believe it to be an important Position paper for Dr Makoni. He would like to hear how his fellow citizens receive it and also see how your input can be incorporated into this basic platform for advocacy. I should just tell you that Dr Makoni himself denies that he is a politician. "I am an activist." That position he has always maintained from the first day we all started working with him. An activist, you see, adopts causes. An activist acts out of principle and compassion. An activist never looks at what he can get out of a cause but what he can give it. I think it important to keep this in mind as you read.
Your comments can be added using the "comment" link at the bottom of this piece. Please do not use the chatroll for your serious input and message to Dr Makoni, because teh chatroll does not store any messages. The comments section, preserves your comments permanently, for retrieval later by Dr Makoni, perhaps on Monday, upon his return from South Africa. The power-sharing, inclusive government talks currently going on there have also really now ceased to be funny. Thing is, it appears Mugabe is now hell bent on destroying this agreement. His unilateral reappointment of Gono today shows that he is now like a bull in a China shop. He wants to get back at the South Africans for the retention of farm aid that would have kept his regime afloat a little while longer. The quiet diplomacy of Mbeki has ensured that Mugabe stays his hand on the more radical positions that he is, by his very nature, inclined towards. Now, South Africa has has taken the first step in taking the golves off. The question is whether they can carry this new approach to its logical conclusion. It is doubtful, because, even as the Zimbabwe all-inclusive negotiations started in South Africa, the ANC, Chama Chama Pinduzi, FRELIMO, UNITA an SWAPO were releasing a statement of solidarity in the very same country. They also managed to whistle at the wind, calling for the West to dump its sanctions against Zimbabwe. The answer is contained in the announcement today by the USA of more sanctions on the beleagured dictatorship. John Bredenkamp, an astonishingly wealthy Zimbabwe (he is listed in the London Sunday Times Annual Rich List, had every single one of his companies all over the world blacklisted for being linked to Mugabe. He lives here, and is probably the only person in Zimbabwe with permissionto overfly State House airspace, which he does every morning as he flies his helicopter to work in the Industria areas......anyway, here's Simba:A STATEMENT BY SIMBA MAKONI
CONFERENCE OF THE CENTRE FOR PEACE INITIATIVES IN AFRICA
MUTARE, 14TH OCTOBER 2008
THE WAY FORWARD FOR ZIMBABWE – VISION AND VALUES
I am greatly honoured and privileged to be here today. I am also deeply grateful to CPIA, for giving me the opportunity to come back home to Manicaland.
I readily accepted your invitation, because I was excited about the prospect of meeting a cross section of Zimbabwean leaders. In an effort to address the subject I have chosen, I will share some reflections on the subject of leadership. Specifically, I shall discuss factors impacting on the legitimacy, credibility and integrity of Zimbabwean, may be even African leadership. Whereas these reflections are about leadership broadly, and pointing to the leadership qualities I consider necessary for transforming our country and its people’s lives, I trust that you will find the discussion relevant to your own areas of engagement, as well.
I am going to share with you my vision for Zimbabwe, and what leadership is required to attain such a vision. My vision for our country is very simple. It is a Zimbabwe in which all the peoples have a better life than today, and a continually improving life; a Zimbabwe in which all the peoples are at peace with themselves and their neighbours, free of fear and want, secure and enjoying equal rights before the law, and equal opportunities for their sustenance. Such a Zimbabwe comes from a combination of good leadership, and disciplined, hard working and law abiding citizens.
In this discussion, my main proposition is that, we, as leaders, need to identify and characterise the problems facing our communities, associations, enterprises, or other groupings we lead. We also need to understand and empathise with the yearnings and ambitions of those same communities.
Then, we proceed to formulate responses to those problems, yearnings and ambitions, and execute those responses in ways that help those constituencies fulfil their ambitions and/or overcome challenges; in other words, execute those responses in ways that empower the people to achieve their ambitions. This way, I believe we shall have exercised good leadership. And when we exercise good leadership, we offer individual people, communities and society as a whole, hope and opportunities for betterment.
I define the basic mission of leadership as being `to serve’. Assuming this definition, I want to suggest that the Zimbabwean nation is facing a deep, and deepening crisis, which arises mainly from the abandonment, by those in leadership positions, of the basic mission of leadership, in preference to themselves being served.
Because of this introversion of the mission of leadership, we see leaders seeking services from those they are suppose to serve. We also see pervasive styles and forms of leadership that demand rote obedience and subservience from the led. In addition, we see leaders strive to ingratiate themselves with those they lead, through the extension of unearned and undeserved favours.
In its report entitled "OUR GLOBAL NEIGHBOURHOOD" the UN Commission on Global Governance asserts that:
... leadership ... is urgently needed, ... leadership of a different character, ...(leadership) in which commitment to public service (is) sought among politicians, civil servants, voluntary organisations, private enterprise, and, indeed, throughout civil society.
Leadership that draws its strength from solidarity, much more than from authority, ... (and)... operates by persuasion, cooperation and consensus, than by imposition.
(OUR GLOBAL NEIGHBOURHOOD: Report of the Commission on Global Governance; Oxford University Press 1995)
I, therefore, propose to you that the most critical challenge facing Zimbabwean leadership today, whether it is leadership in public politics, leadership in business, leadership in the church, etc., is the need to re-affirm and re-assert the mission of service. Those leaders, who serve genuinely and honestly, will also gain credibility, integrity and legitimacy for themselves, and for their organisations. And those communities and organisations, whose leaders exhibit these qualities, will in turn, make progress and achieve success; in other words, they will advance towards my vision for our country.
Another challenge leaders face, even those who are genuine and honest, is how best to exercise their leadership to benefit those they lead. Quite often, leaders become impediments to the progress of their constituents.
This arises when leaders, usually with good intent, arrogate to themselves the principal function of doing things for their followers. How many times do we witness leaders promise people ... "we will do this for you, and we will give you that".
This `doing for or giving to’, circumscribes the right of people to do things for themselves, and curtails their latitude to take initiatives, or put simply, dis-empowers people.
This arrogation, followed, as usually happens, by the inability and/or failure of leaders to deliver on the promises; has dealt a mortal blow to the legitimacy, credibility and integrity of Zimbabwean leadership.
I would, therefore, like to urge those of us in leadership, which is all of us here today; to accept that our main role is to facilitate, guide and assist those we lead, so that they themselves, successfully and/or effectively do what they have to do. I plead, for the sake of good leadership, that we let people do things for themselves; that we get out of their way, and remove impediments to their-self actualisation or empowerment.
Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen
Leadership demands that one has a clear vision, and understands fully the mission of the organisation they lead. But, it is not enough for the leader alone to have such a vision; because its realisation depends, to a large extent, on it being understood and shared by all the people of the organisation. Armed with such a vision, the leader is challenged to inculcate the same among those that he/she leads. The leader must, therefore, strive to build a team that is motivated to achieve the vision.
How often have we heard our leaders lament that we do not have a shared or common vision. Yet they have never defined that vision in ways that people understand, ways that people can relate to their own every day life experiences, and ways that inspire people to adopt such vision for themselves and their families. All we get is constant and consistent injunction to be patriotic and defend our sovereignty (so-va-re-ni-ti).
Here, psychologist Ernest Becker has a useful tip to share on leadership:
Man (also read woman) is driven by an essential "dualism"; he/(she) needs both to be a part of something, and to stick out. He/(she) needs ... to be a conforming member of a winning team, and (also) to be a star in his/(her) own right.
(Escape From Evil: Ernest Becker; New York Free Press 1975)
In the same vein, Thomas Peters and Robert Waterman Jr., in their book "IN SEARCH OF EXCELLENCE", have this to say:
Professionalism in management, (which) is regularly equated with hard-headed rationality, ... doesn't instruct our leaders in the rock-bottom importance of making the average Joe a hero and a consistent winner. It doesn't show us how strongly workers can identify with the work they do, if we give them a little say-so.
(IN SEARCH OF EXCELLENCE: Thomas J Peters, Robert H Waterman Jr.; Warner Books 1982)
I find our country, and indeed many of our businesses and other organisations run in archaic autocratic ways, with leaders steeped in the culture of power, command and control. They believe that the more they direct and order people from the dizzying heights of the executive control room, the more they can get out of people.
Peter Block, in his book "THE EMPOWERED MANAGER" has the following sobering thought to share:
There is a quiet revolution taking place in many organisations, ... (caused by) ... the growing realisation that tighter controls, greater pressure ... and tighter supervision have ... run their (full) course in their ability to give productivity gains. Attention is shifting to the need for employees to take responsibility for the success of business.
(THE EMPOWERED MANAGER: Peter Block; Jossey- Bass Publishers 1987)
Ladies and Gentlemen
It is not possible to discuss honestly and conscienably, the challenges of leadership in Zimbabwe today, without addressing the scourge of corruption. Just as HIV/AIDS is a global pandemic, decimating families, societies and nations; so also is corruption a similar economic, social and moral pandemic.
There is very little new I can add to the characterisation of corruption, and its effects on our lives. However, you and I know that it is those who are endowed, either with the resources to offer bribes, or with the power to extort bribes, who nourish and nurture corruption. This means the rich and powerful; for the poor and weak have neither the resources nor the power with which to corrupt others.
Politics is the one area that is open to corrupt practices. In "THE EMPOWERED MANAGER", Peter Block says:
Politics as we know it, is synonymous with manipulation, ... it has come to mean actions that are in the service of our own self-interest.
We all know that the practice of politics is not limited to public life. As human beings are political animals, there is politics in every arena of human endeavour; there is politics in business, politics in sports, politics in the church, politics in community service, and even politics in families.
A most pervasive, and apparently generally accepted, form of corruption in our societies, is the subjugation of the normal functioning of systems to the whims of power, and the lure of purchase. Put simply, it goes something like ... "you may not get what you want or need, unless you know someone who knows someone else who is in power". We all know the Actonian cliche ..."Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely".
Let me share with you an encounter I had with this form of corruption a couple of years ago. A niece of mine passed `O' Level exams well. She had applied to enrol at a Teacher Training College.
Just before the start of term, her father asked me to talk to the College Principal, to explain that the young lady was my niece; in order to enhance her chances of acceptance. "But why do we need to do that", I asked naively, "when the child's examination results qualify her anyway, to enter the college"?
"You know nothing my brother", the father retorted. "Unless you are well connected, your good results will count for nothing these days".
How many times does this happen with job seekers, candidates for promotion in our organisations, villagers needing Bacossi items, farmers seeking agricultural inputs and implements?
I wish to suggest, therefore, that one of the severest tests of the legitimacy, credibility and integrity of our leadership, is the extent to which we resist and fight the juggernaut of corruption. Leaders need to re-establish the reliability and predictability of systems; systems that assure, as well as secure basic justice and fair play for all. We need to build people’s faith and confidence in the proper working of systems. Whether it is promotion in a company, securing an appointment with a public officer, getting a scholarship for further education or receiving drought relief rations; transparent, accountable and verifiable criteria and procedures, ought to be the hallmarks of our new Zimbabwe, and of the integrity and credibility of its new leadership and management.
Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen
We are all judged more by our actions than our words. In this respect, leadership faces another critical challenge. Do we lead by example? How often do we hear leaders shout their voices hoarse, denouncing one vice or another, and yet they themselves are at the forefront of its commission.
Ordinarily, the performance of institutions is measured by the performance of their leaders. It is futile for the Bishop to preach righteousness and compassion, when he is known to be cruel and uncaring; the General Manager to urge his workforce to higher productivity, and to protect company assets, when he is frequently not at the factory, and abuses company assets for personal gain; or for politicians to advocate for honesty and justice in society, when, in their quest to gain or retain office, they have no regard for honesty and justice.
Ladies and Gentlemen
Another important facet of my vision for our country, relates to the place or role of our womenfolk, in the various fields of endeavour. I regret that, overall, our societies are quite conservative on this matter.
Black and white men, or rural and urban men, and ironically, certain categories and generations of women too; find common cause and ground in their indifference to the plight, or marginalisation of women. One female manager had this to say about the subject:
... Despite government putting in place statutes and structures to promote affirmative action for women in formal employment, societal and organisational cultures continue to militate against women realising equal opportunities.
(Executive Magazine, November 1995)
In 1996, the little known area of Nswazi, in Matabeleland, gained prominence in world news bulletins, because men in that community were refusing to accept a twenty three year old, un-married lady chief, even after her appointment had been determined by the clan elders.
Of course, this problem is not unique to Zimbabwe or Africa. Here is a revealing observation by a woman activist from an African country:
At the UN Decade for Women Conference in Nairobi in 1985, I noticed that several countries sent men at the head of their delegations, or ... (to) the crucial sessions dealing with contentious questions. Maureen Reagan, who headed the US delegation, appeared only on the first day, and on the next, flew off ... to watch wild animals; cynically, a Negro man was relied upon to negotiate for America on the critical issues.
(Women in Southern Africa Ed. Christine Qunta; Skotaville Publishers, Braamfontein; 1987)
In many countries, processes are in train to increase the participation and representation of women, especially in public offices, - quotas for women MPs, cabinet ministers, local councilors, etc. But I wonder how many corporate executive suites and board rooms, are occupied by women? How many civil society organizations are led by women? How many parishes are shepperded by women priests? We all know the contention in the world Anglican church over ordaining women priests. Yet, the fullest deployment of women in all our endeavours would deliver a key factor of empowerment, competence and competitiveness.
Daniel Yergin and Joseph Stanislaw, the Pulitzer Prize winning authors of The Commanding Heights – The Battle for the World Economy define the contemporary business context as follows:
All around the globe, socialists are embracing capitalism, governments are selling off nationalised companies, state control is being jettisoned in favour of entrepreneurship. Politicians admit that governments can longer afford expensive welfare states. These changes are opening up new prospects and opportunities throughout the world. (However), these shifts are also engendering new anxieties and insecurities among many.
Daniel Yergin and Joseph Stanislaw, Pulitzer prize winner – The Commanding Heights – The Battle for the World Economy
In creating and pursuing our vision for Zimbabwe, the strategic leadership role of government needs to be recognised and accepted. In this era of de-regulation, marketisation and privatisation, otherwise called globalisation, we need to be careful to strike a balance between ideologically motivated roll-back of the state, and pragmatic division of labour among the various national actors. A writer in the Director magazine, had this to say on the role of government:
One of the great paradoxes of our time is that, … just when the ... aging and less secure populations need public services most, governments almost everywhere are paring back their welfare budgets; ... (imposing) severe social strains; ... which require more, not less, government.
(Director, January 1996)
The two statements above, do not only present the dichotomy and dilemma of today’s global context, but also, if not more so, posit the parameters for a new vision for our country.
Ironically, the current financial crisis, mainly in the USA and Europe, has generated responses from governments that were unthinkable in the ideology of free markets and the context of globalisation. Commentators have constantly used the term nationalisation, to describe George Bush’s bail out plan for banks and mortgage lenders; this being done by the most radical free marketeer, since Ronald Regan and Margaret Thatcher. The point here is that flexibility, pragmatism and realism are more portent tools than ideology and dogma. This is an important lesson for our old guard leaders to take.
Many citizens, especially those in business and the professions, will be excited about, and enthused by the partnership approach proffered by the `Three Party Agreement’ of September 15 2008, in the form of the National Economic Council. As you know, we have had the National Economic Consultative Forum (NECF) and the Tripartite Negotiating Forum (TNF), whose contribution to our welfare, have been modest, if we be polite.
These cooperative ventures can be effective tools for achieving our vision for Zimbabwe. But the promise of these partnerships can only be fully realised, if the partners are genuine, and participate fully and effectively.
Mobilisation for our vision needs to be enriched by an activist academic and research sector, that must probe and analyse issues, ask why or why not. These fundis must then proffer ideas, sound advice and practicable solutions to our problems.
In addition, we need an incisive media that is not acquiescent, pliant or timid; media that informs factually, commentates objectively and interprets correctly.
Yes, the media must be patriotic, but not parochial or partisan. It needs to read the pulse of the nation, and then accurately reflect and transmit that image back to the nation and the world.
Our new Zimbabwe needs to be buttressed by a confident and assertive civil society, one that demands accountability and performance. That civil society must know and claim its rights, demand to be served well, and reward generously for such service; it must not be cowed down or intimidated by the bullies in high offices.
In our country, the business of government, and government business, need to be made less private, and more public. Such public accountability must be the pivot of our new Zimbabwe. The veils of secrecy that provide cover for incompetence, nepotism and corruption must be blown to smithereens.
Ladies and Gentlemen
As I already said, my vision for our country is not complex, and need not be produced from volumes of theses. It is simple, a Zimbabwe in which all citizens:
are equal, both in the letter and the practice of the law;
enjoy full freedom, peace and stability; and,
have unfettered access to opportunities for cultural, economic and social development.
My yearning is for a Zimbabwean leadership that is dedicated to the mission of service, what is otherwise called `servant leadership’. I further suggest to you that the best leaders are also the best followers, those who listen to, and take advice.
Today, we gather here, as leaders in Zimbabwe. I, therefore, urge us to re-dedicate ourselves to the mission of service;
· to serve honestly and conscientiously;
· to advance the frontiers of our people’s freedom;
· to give the people we lead space, to take initiatives; and,
· to join the growing army of those fighting corruption and dictatorship in our country.
Allow me latitude to run a short informercial. The volunteers who supported my campaign for president in the March 2008 election, have agreed with me that our country needs a new political player, that identifies and stands with the disenfranchised, disempowered, impoverished and alienated people. A draft constitution has been produced, and nationwide consultations have commenced, to produce a road map towards the launch of a political party to succeed the Mavambo.Kusile.Dawn Movement of volunteers. The following are the proposed vision and values of the new party:
To build a stable, peaceful, united, progressive and progressing Zimbabwe, where the rights and freedoms of all citizens are promoted and protected, where diversity of opinions is tolerated and encouraged, in order to achieve national consensus.
PHILOSOPHY, VALUES AND PRINCIPLES
All people are entitled to, and shall enjoy basic human rights and freedoms.
All people are equal before the law, regardless of their race, ethnicity, colour, language, gender, religion, opinion, social or other status.
All people are bound by and shall uphold the following values:
· Accountability, Openness, Pluralism and Tolerance;
· Empowerment and Entrepreneurship;
· Ethical Leadership and Membership;
· Equality and Fairness;
· Honesty and Integrity;
· Meritocracy and National Participation and Representation; and,
We believe that this vision, and these values resonate with those of the people of Zimbabwe, and that the party to be guided by them will lead our country and its people into a better future.
I THANK YOU
What Others Are Saying About Zimbabwe
I got this off Thought Leader, on Michael Trapido's blog. It is one of the comments during a discussion on his article, which dealt with Mugabe and the next move South Africa should take. I thought it striking for its calm and calculated assesment and realistic, if not fatalistic, observations. There is no emotion here. Just reason:"You people just don't get it, Zimbabwe is not a province of South Africa.
Motlanthe is in no position to impose himself on Mugabe, Mswati or anybody outside the Republic of South Africa.Poor Motlanthe must now press or insist that Zanu-PF must give Home Affairs portfolio to MDC?Motlanthe can suggest this, what if Mugabe tells him to go to hell? He just pissed on Kofi Annan and Jimmy Carter.Lyndall you are departing from a premise that SA is holding Mugabe by his nuts, which is a little bit exaggerated. Sometimes your logic is very disappointing.
When Mbeki was president, Mugabe had the Chinese propping him up, now he seems to have very little options and no international friends, with time and patience him and his cronies will have very little manoeuvre its only a function of time and political shrewdness on the part of the mediator, although Angola remains his biggest ally-the real power and influence rests with the Security Apparatus in that country.Tsvangarai can have political power today, but no control, ask Victor Yutshcenko of Ukraine, take a political lesson from the invasion of Iraq, the two political simile to the Zimbabwean situation.Lets all get a grip and for once be realistic, lets not rationalise the situation through the prism of your race, ideology or what you think is right, but more by what is possible.You are all like Chalabi who fed the US establishment a lot of embellished nonsense prior to the invasion of Iraq until they discovered after that he was just a liar and the situation in Iraq was nothing like what he has been paid billions for and the audience of influential people both in Capitol Hill and the Pentagon.
We are all armchair critics intoxicated by passion and very far removed from the real fire."You can read the whole interesting story here.
Good old Desmond Tutu. Mugabe called him "a bitter little bishop". But he remains one of the truest moral compasses we have on the continent of Africa. I thought I should share with you a quote from him and let you ponder the fact that the advice it contains holds most true in Zimbabwe at this dark hour.
Truth cannot suffer from being challenged and examined. Unthinking, uncritical, kowtowing party line toeing is fatal to a vibrant democracy. - Desmond Tutu
Is Anyone Interested In The Talks Anymore? (Zuma Says Something....)
That question was put to me today and is a bit misleading. It is not interest that people have lost, but hope.
Most people do not understad the intricacies of the arguments for or against the formation of a government.So, as the talks drag on and on and as they die like flies from cholera and the unlogged effects of AIDS and other treatable afflictions (hospitals are closed), they despair that a solution will ever be found. They see the man who claims to be their "president" thumbing his nose at the world by humilating a group of eminent old people who wanted to come and see their suffering and nothing happens to that "president".So, as all eyes rest on South Africa, where it is announced that the mediator, Thabo Mbeki, will meet the parties, the people of Zimbabwe do not expect much from it. The MDC has threatened to boycott the meeting. When the agreement was signed, my mother did not sleep that night at her home in the township because of the celebrations by MDC supporters. They danced, drove around in cars beeping their horns and celebrated for two days non-stop. It was understandable, even though most of them did not know what they were celebrating, they knew that they would at least see a temporary lessening of their acute pain.This is the same agreement that they now rubbish. The reason is "equitable sharing of power." As Dr Makoni asked at his last press conference: what had they been negotiating about all along if they were not talking about these matters? Why did they sign the agreement before these things were agreed if they are so important that they are worth a few hundred dead Zimbabwean bodies?The people, much as they want a solution, have decided now that the end to their suffering will not come from these two men, Robert Mugabe, who is fraudlently claiming to be president, and Morgan Tsvangirai, who we all have to pity as we watch Mugabe run rings around him.The South Africans are unlikely to have any impact. Mugabe will do as he pleases and there is an end to the matter. He will not listen. Where then is King Solomon's "birth mother" in this sorry tale, who will say, "better to give up the baby than to have it cut in half"? Which of the two is going to be the "birth mother" of King Solomon's tale in all of this?Yes, there are encouraging signs of impatience from the South Africans, (the latest being Zuma, whose statement today, says "Zimbabwe is out of control".But Zimbabweans also think that's as far as it will ever go. They do not have any hope that Mbeki or Zuma or anybody else will be able to make Mugabe see sense. What they had hoped for was that, during these negotiations, the parties would give a bit ground each, with an eye permanently on how to rescue the people from the urgent catasprohe that faces them as they scrounge for edible wild fruit and clean running water. They hoped that both leaders would put the interest of the people of Zimbabwe first. This is now a matter of life and death.This means weighing whether the position anyone calling himself a leader takes is worth letting any number of citizens die. We all know Mugabe's position: every Zimbabwean should be ready to die to keep ZANU PF in power, no matter what ZANU PF does.What is Tsvangirai's? What, in terms of the cost (in human bodies) does No Deal Is Better Than A Bad Deal mean?
"It's Your Own Fault, Zimbabweans And You Will Die A Slow, Terrible Death!"
Our media monitoring department drew my attention today to a post in which this blog was mentioned at allafrica.com. This was in relation to the aborted visit by Jimmy Carter, Graca Machel and Kofi Annan. The article itself is a shameless and vitriolic attack on Kofi Annan, calling him an errand boy of the white man, amongst other things. We are mentioned because our analysis of Sunday's events published on this blog yesterday is officially confirmed here by Robert Mugabe's mouthpiece, The Herald. Anyway, on the comments section of the Zimbabwe story, I came across the most extraordinary posting I have seen in some time and which reinforces the view that the world is not only losing patience with our so-called "leaders" but also with the people of Zimbabwe themselves.People out there fail to understand just how Mugabe can stay in power against the wishes of a majority. It is for this reason that some black americans will support Mugabe. It is the same reason why other African people take a break from setting Mozambicans on fire only to applaud Mugabe's speeches at world fora.They ask how he can remain if people no longer want him. I have seen so many people attempt to explain to outsiders just how this is so: we are educated, we were trained to be servile by Ian Smith, we are traditionally conditioned not to rock the boat and treat the leader's word as the last on any matter......The excuses are endless. But no one is listening.The extraordinary comment I am talking about is also clearly racist and does nothing to help the cause of democracy in Zimbabwe. Any opponent of Mugabe would be embarrassed to be supported by such people.The writer, writing under the name Proudly South African, states, amongst other things: "For anybody suffering in Zimbabwe - IT'S YOUR OWN FAULT!!!!!!!! Get rid of that IDIOT MUGABE! NOt the Western World nor the rest of Africa is to blame but the Zimbabweans themselves. YOU have ruined your own economy and up until you realise that your own inaction/stupidity is to blame nothing will change and you will die a slow, terrible death...."This Proud South African, who has either disabled spellcheck on his computer or is too lazy to bother, then signs off by stating, and here I quote verbatim again: "African policies (Please read BLack if you so please) is devoid of any intelect (sic) and by trying to blame everyone or anything else is just another sign of your AFRICAN incompetance (sic)!"It is people like these who do damage to the cause of Zimbabwe and provide Mugabe with fodder to maintain that he is the victim of an Anglo-Saxon racist conspiracy. And we certainly do not need supporters of our cause with this kind of thinking. But, hey , this is a free world, except in Zimbabwe, and we grant the man his right to wallow in his racism and poison his children and grandchildren and generations to come. But light will inevitably come to his gene pool one day, unless he encourages inbreeding within his family for the next hundred generations!!!You can find the article here
Odinga Calls For Peacekeeping Troops To Be Sent Into Zimbabwe
Kenya's outspoken Prime Minister, Raila Odinga (seen in this photo with Sarah Hussein Obama, President-elect Barak Obama's grandmother at her home), said today the African Union should send peacekeeping troops into the toubled Southern African basketcase, Zimbabwe, "because there is no legitimate government in Zimbabwe."Odinga, who was sworn into office after violence that erupted in Kenya in the wake of a largely discredited election that was "won" by Mwai Kibaki, has been a consistent critic of Robert Mugabe. Today, he continued in the same vein, saying that, although Mugabe is a liberation war hero who spent years in Ian Smith's jails, "I don’t believe that when you are a freedom fighter, you acquire a title deed to own the nation”.Odinga, together with Ian Khama of Botswana, are the most consistent critics of Mugabe and represent a new breed of African leaders who are, in my opinion, the John The Baptists of an Africa to come, just as Tony Blair, Bill Clinton, Lula de Silva, Filipe Gonzales were the Baby Boomer leaders who paved the way for a new, younger generation that is anchored in futuristic, global sets of values on everything from technology to climate change control, such as Barak Obama.But back to Odinga's statement. The Kenyan Prime Minister said he does not understand why Mugabe is still being allowed to attend summits with other African heads of state. In a thinly veiled attack on other African leaders, he stated: “What is happening in Zimbabwe could not have happened in Europe. Members of the EU could not allow a leader who was not legitimately elected to attend their meeting. It cannot happen. So this is the reason why Africa continues to remain backward.”It is unlikely that Mr Odinga's advice will be acted on by andy of the African leaders who are busy mollycoddling Mugabe. As Odinga himself als pointed out, most of these Africa leaders have hands that are just as dirty, if not as bloody, as those of Mr Mugabe.The man is impervious to all reason and agument, has no shame and basically believes that he is a better man amongst cannibals simply because he does not eat babies.You can find the full article on this on the Capital News websiteThis past Friday, one of the posts on this blog was picked up by the Zimbabwe Independent. It is the article on Morgan Tsvangirai speaking out against more sanctions. Yesterday, Saturday 22 November, George Charamba, writing as Nathaniel Manheru in the ZANU PF mouthpiece, The Herald, showed yet again that we were accurate in our report. He praises Tsvangirai for the move and insinuates that, though the MDC president may twist and turn, he will join the government in the end. All the MDC concerns are dismissed and the are simply to do as they are told.
Mugabe's Police Now Appear To Be Fighting Him - Another Bomb Explodes At A Harare Station & Why He Refused A Visa To Kofi Annan
UPDATE: The goverment of Robert Mugabe has refused to give Kofi Annan, Jimmy Carter and Graca Machel visas to enter Zimbabwe on a humanitarian mission. The group, known as the Elders, and set up by Nelson Mandela, a man Mugabe loathes, applied for visas seveal weeks ago but the answer was no. Annan tried to call Mugabe this past week, but the Zimbabwean dictator refused to come to the phone. Carter also tried, with the same result. There were last-minute, frantic efforts that also involved the South African government, former SA president and mediator Thabo Mbeki and others in trying to make the ageing dictator see sense, but he rebuffed all of them. Last night, "a very senior official" from Mugabe's illegal government told Annan point blank over the phone that if he set foot on Zimbabwean soil, he would be immediately deported. The elders have now retreated. Petulantly, Mugabe's refusal to entertain the intervention of the South Affricans is, in his own mind, payback for the suspension of the delivery of promised aid by South Africa.
But Mugabe's paranoia has also convinced him that the Elders are the thin end of a wedge. He has said these eminent persons are coming into the country to find a pretext upon which to invite the intervention of the United Nations on humanitarian grounds. It is his fear that they would have come in, taken a look around and then reported a crisis that requires the urgent intervention of the world body. Mugabe is mortified that the US and Britain will use that as a pretext for coming into the country to forcibly eject him from power. The Elder's ill-advised (diplomatically) move to meet with Tsvangirai in South Africa before coming to Harare also made the dictator even more suspicious. They should understand that Mugabe is very, very touchy about the subject of his legitimacy. He wishes eminent visitors to the country to pay homage to him first before the prime minister-designate. To him, this is acknowledgement of the fact that he rules the roost and is the legitimate leader of Zimbabwe. It is this sort of pettiness that is slowly destroying Zimbabwe. Tsvangirai himself, looking to score points, also rashly announced that he would meet the elder statesmen before they come to Harare. He is still runing away from Mugabe and is unlikely to come back into the country soon. He has, according to MDC sources, moved his entire family to Botswana and is now virtually a permanent resident there.
Another bomb exploded at Harare Central Police Station on Thursday night. This is the third bombing of a police station in Harare within about a month. The first bomb, which exploded at the same police station bombed Thursday, was said by the Police Commissioner to be an inside job. This one is almost certainly also the work of policemen, since access to these places is strictly controlled.The Mugabe regime should really not be surprised by all this. The police, used by Mugabe to quell dissent, to harass and arrest peaceful protesters and muzzle civil rights wantonly, are also feeling the pinch of the economic meltdown. Their pay is pitiful, as is the case with all other civil servants. Corruption is rife in their ranks, but even this has failed to lessen the impact of a world-breaking economic meltdown.While campaigning for the presidency with Dr Simba Makoni in Manicaland in March this year, I was approached by a policeman at a growth point who made it clear that he and his fellow officers were sick and tired of Mugabe. He complained that they had no resources, were treated like wiping rags (zvikorobo), by Mugabe who used them and then abandoned them when they had served their purpose.The policeman pointedly told me that "90%" of the officers at his station were supporting Dr Makoni and asked for contact details of the provincial leadership for our movement. It was one of the most unforgettable experiences of our six-week marathon drive across the country.Interestingly, to date no arrests have been made in the bombings, except the Morris Depot (Police Headquarters) one, in which two soldiers were arrested on suspicion of the crime.ZANU PF's patronage system is definitely crumbling. Yet the opposition MDC is failing to capitalise on this. The fruits are ripe for the picking but the "leaders" have fled from the orchard. Morgan is somewhere over the oceans, on his way to or from Europe. Their MPs are to be seen drinking in Harare's beer halls, boasting about a parliamentary majority that they are not using at all to help the suffering masses, Tendai Biti, their third most senior member remaining in Zimbabwe, is busy fighting to kill the negotiations over a government because he wants to run the Home Affairs ministry single-handedly and punish the policemen who have been arresting and harassing him.You see, the MDC-T is now focused on acquiring power, but only so that they can wreak revenge on the police and the Registrar-General's office. Just like Mugabe, they have forgotten that there are people dying from disease and hunger in the country. They have forgotten that the people of Zimbabwe want an urgent solution to their problems. The fight for power is all that they are keen on now. They could quite easily marshal the rank and file of the police to defy Mugabe, to start the process of making the country ungovernable for Mugabe and to ensure that the dictator sees once and for all that he is left only with the support of the police bosses who owe him their 4X4 vehicles and obscene perks.But this is all wishful thinking. The MDC are floundering, without a real strategy, hoping for events to direct them as opposed to directing events.It is the Zimbabweans who are paying for this with their lives and it's amazing to stand in bank queues and hear just how people are turning against the opposition party. They have long since given up on Mugabe, but their bitterness at opportunities wasted by the MDC and the party's insensitivity to their suffering is palpable.Our Movement's offices in Harare have now had to be rearranged to cater for an avalanche of visitors, ordinary people who are coming in to ask if Dr Makoni can do anything about the current situation. And last week on Tuesday, in my meeting with Professor Arthur Mutambara, he lamented the absence of Simba Makoni from the process, telling me, "we really needed Simba at those negotiations, I think he could have made a big difference."But I know that Dr Makoni is not interested in dirtying his hands trying to deal with people whose focus is now avarice for lucre and power. He knows how insincere both main parties are, how utterly impervious they are to reason or compassion and he is preparing the ground for his own frontal attack on the system. This will be evident to all and sundry before long.*******************And then there is the shameless talk of a Transitional Authority now coming out of the MDC as a Plan B, as reported in the current issue of the Zimbabwe Independent: http://www.thezimbabweindependent.com/local/21567-mdc-t-moots-transitional-govt-as-plan-b-.htmlThe hypocrisy is breathtaking. The MDC's Plan B is shamelessly copied word for word from Dr Simba Makoni's position before, during and after the ill-fated March elections. Back then, the MDC, joined by blind praise-singers and followers who have have handed their brains to the MDC-T for safe-keeping, dismissed talk of a GNU from Dr Makoni. They threw venom at him and egged on their myriad cohorts, including some so-called political commentators, in trashing this solution. Yet, today, they are touting that very same proposal, right down to the smallest detail, as if they have just thought of it. What do they want with Makoni's ideas now? Let them show with the solutions to this crisis that they lied to the people they have and not copy Makoni's solutions, which they can never implement anyway.Dr Simba Makoni asks, and quite rightly, why it has taken a thousand deaths from cholera, a stratospheric rise in inflation, the death of countless villagers from hunger and the collapse of the population's morale for the MDC to finally admit that they were wrong and Dr Makoni was right. But this latest 'plan" from the MDC will go nowhere because the party is not interested in truly solving the problems facing Zimbabwe nor do they know how even if they wanted to. They also have neither the experience nor wits to negotiate for a Transitional Authority, as evidenced by the mess they have made out of the current, doomed, talks on a GNU.Thing is, because the MDC-T thinks of the opposition political space in Zimbabwe as their own personal property, they are unwilling to listen to reason, afraid of intelligent suggestions. The dimwitted always shoot down the bright ones, because they are afraid of being eclisped. That is the way of the human race through the ages. But the people are waking up to the dullness of both MDC and ZANU PF now.Simba Makoni has vastly more experience in diplomacy and crisis management in a single finger-tip than the entire MDC-T leadership put together. He read the situation correctly in March and has stuck to his guns throughout, out of principle. He has even stated that he will not lobby to either head or be part of a Transitional Authority. He simply sees that this is the only solution if we are to focus on the country's urgent problems and prepare the ground for truly democratic elections on a level playing field. Priority number one is to kick Mugabe out in order to let the country he is suffocating breath again. That is Makoni's position.The MDC-T, now shooting wildly from the hip, won't listen, seeing in him only a threat to their imminent entry into power. But they are unlikely to achieve anything with this latest theft of ideas from Simba Makoni. Trying to copy the principled stand of Simba Makoni on a Transitional Authority will not work, because they simply do not know how to strategise around ZANU PF to achieve this. To them, this is a tactic and not a position arrived at after careful analysis of what Zimbabwe's unique pain needs to be salved. The task of bringing about a Transitional Authority, which requires a nuanced and delicate approach, is hopelessly beyond the MDC-T. They and the dictator Mugabe are simply wasting the people's time and Zimbabwean lives. But rest assured, the people will kick both of them out the first chance they get.******************And then in the latest symptom of the Madness of King Bob, the Mugabe regime is seriously considering "investigating" how Tsvangirai was able to travel to Europe "without a passport". King Bob is the one denying him the passport in the first instance. Its a case of beating up a child, and then beating them up again for crying.This sickening regime is still sauntering around as though it holds any power. Yet Mugabe can not form a government and is cooling his heels at his Helensvale home because Tsvangirai is playing the coy bride. The MDC-T has demonstrated that the dictator has the power to grind Mugabe's play-acting of governing to a halt. Still, the dictator insists on behaving as though he is still in charge. Pettiness is the order of the day.How, the people ask, will the witch hunt to punish immigration officials who allowed Tsvangirai to cross the border into Botswana stop the cholera? How will it bring food to our rural folk who are now surviving on diminishing wild fruits? How will it provide desperate farmers with seed and fertiliser as the rains fall? How will it bring down inflation? How will it ensure the opening of hospitals Mugabe closed down yesterday after beating protesting doctors and nurses senseless?How will it? There are no answers to this because the dictator is now engaged in a fruitless game of pettiness. He is no leader. Instead of using the power of the presidency, an office he grabbed through force and violence, to better our lives, he is using it to simply amuse and delude himself.****************
Next, Gono's excuses are now getting tired. Nothing is ever this Reserve Bank Governor's fault. His basket of excuses seems to never dry up. But these are now making Zimbabweans sick.They do not eat excuses, nor can they withdraw them from the bank. The latest scapegoats are banks. He was mouthing off yesterday about how the people should now see who the real cause of their financial suffering is, insinuating that it is the banks that are causing the cash crunch in the country.
This is idiotic.
Do the banks set withdrawal limits? Do the banks print worthless money on bond paper? Was it the banks that boasted only three months ago that they would "continue to print money until donkeys grow horns"? We can not be fooled. we know who is responsible and tying to go after the banks will not save Gono's tattered reputation now. He is totally discredited and universally loathed in Zimbabwe. With transport for most workers costing between 500 and 700 thousand dollars for a one-way trip, the Reserve Bank governor is still limiting the banking public to a paltry withdrawal of 500 thousand dollars a day. Is this not a case of forcing people into criminality? How are they supposed to live? Meantime, his own staff are growing fat on this sewage that he is discharging into our country, conniving with criminals to access vastly more than the allowed daily limits. Perhaps the governor should just shut up, because people have long since dismissed his posturing, realising that he treats all of us as if we are idiots who will swallow any tripe he dishes out and refusing to take the responsibility that is rightly his: righting the monetary policy mess that he is dunking the whole nation into daily.
Because Gono is driven around in a State car, never has to queque for anything and is making a killing from his farms, exporting chickens and other foods while elderly widows and widowers in the rural areas eat flies, he is not bothered by any of this. We fail to understand how a man of compassion can still insist that the people should live on 500 thousand dollars a day. How does he expect them to buy food when shops are only demanding cash and wont accept cheques or electronic means of payment? How is a sick person supposed to be treated when the pharmacies are demanding US dollars or Zim dollars cash for payment? One old woman I met at the bank this week asked in all seriousness: "Asi imi mukati Gono haaroyi here?" - "Is Gono not a witch?" It is a valid question.