• Zimbabwe: Mugabe's Advanced Plans For War
    Mugabe, seen here in conversation with the Director-General of the Secret Police (CIO), Happyton Bonyongwe and Commander of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces, Constantine Chiwenga

    An attack on Botswana by Robert Mugabe is looking increasingly likely as it emerges that the Zimbabwean dictator has put in place advanced plans for carrying out a long war from outside the borders of Zimbabwe.

    What is immediately clear is that, despite Mugabe's bluster, he is aware that an international force would be able to eject from Zimbabwe, if not capture him. So far, Mugabe has managed to get the backing of Angola and Namibia in his advanced plans.

    It is also emerging that some weapons belonging to the Zimbabwe Defence Forces are currently in Angola. These weapons are not in transit, but are actually being kept there in what sounds suspiciously like a stockpile.

    It is reliably understood that President Dos Santos has assured Mugabe that if things get bad in Zimbabwe, he would be able to use the route that runs from Angola to Namibia and into Zimbabwe through the Caprivi Strip to launch a counter-attack.

    There has been a flurry of activity between Luanda and Harare in the last four to five weeks, activities that even diplomats stationed in Harare are aware of but have not yet grasped. One assumption from sources within the ruling party is that the weapons that were never offloaded in South Africa earlier this year could be the ones being kept in Angola.

    Angola and Namibia are amongst the staunchest supporters of Zimbabwe within SADC. Angola itself is virtually a military state, with the generals in that country holding so much power that they are, in reality, the real power behind Dos Santos.

    Namibia has traditionally been an ally of Mugabe as a result of the close ties between the two countries dating back to Namibia fight for independence from South Africa.

    Mugabe is currently pursuing the option of leading a coalition into Botswana to destroy what he says are bases set up by the MDC in the southern African country. But there is also increasing fear within ZANU PF itself that the reason behind this pursuit of Botswana could be that country's diamond wealth. Several generals and politicians made a killing in the DRCongo through looting the mineral resources of that country in the confusion occasioned by Mugabe's "coalition" invading there to prop up Joseph Kabila Snr.

    Mugabe's plan apparently involves setting up camps and bases in the jungles of Angola and the forests of northern Namibia in the event that foreign forces invade Zimbabwe to topple him. The issue has been discussed three times so far by the Joint Operations Command (JOC), the military body that is essentially running Zimbabwe now in the absence of a properly constituted government. Already, there are ZANU PF militias being trained in Zimbabwe, locally known as Green Bombers from the colours of their uniforms.

    Mugabe is also understood to have spoken to the president of Mozambique to sound him out on that country's willingness to host "an exiled Zimbabwean army." The sounding out was done during the Zimbabwe military trip to Maputo last month in which they presented their "case" of insurgency against Botswana and the MDC. Mugabe is aware that an invasion of Botswana at whatever scale would immediately elicit a militar response from the West, designed to dislodge him not just from Botswana, but from the seat of government in Harare.

     Sources in ZANU PF and the military say that the exact quantities of Zimbabwean arms in Luanda are not known and could be considerably more than the shipment that was refused permission to offload in South Africa earlier this year.

    A team of Zimbabwe's military leaders, including at least two well-known generals, has been to Angola and Namibia in the last three weeks, with sources claiming that they had gone there to scout: look at locations and draw up plans that have to be submitted to Mugabe before the first of January 2009. This is only days away and I believe it shows just how advanced the contigency plans Mugabe has in place are.

    Mugabe's plans come at a time when he is increasingly belligerent, saying of the call by the international community for African countries to send troops into Zimbabwe, "I don't know if there is one of them who is brave enough to do that." I fully expect that, before the week is out, I should be able to give you even more details.

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  • The Idiotic Lies Have Begun.......
    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.

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  • Zimbabwean Actvists Found Again - In A Notorious Prison
    After searching for more than twenty hours, lawyers have found Jestina Mukoko, the Zimbabwe Peace Project Director, at Chikurubi Maximum Security Prison.

    This is despite a High Court order issued at 9p.m. on Wednesday for their release into a private hospital in Harare.

    Access to their lawyers is being denied. (This was something granted to Mugabe himself and other detainees during the Liberation War by Ian Smith, and I wonder...) They are also not allowed to see their relatives or to have medication and food brought in from the outside. Mukoko apparently has medication she should take daily at intervals. When she was abducted, the CIO, the secret police who took her, refused to allow her to even get her spectacles.

    The glasses were missing when she appeared in public for the first time since her abduction. This was Wednesday at the Magistrates' Court. As for medication, it is almost certain that the state has bought some, which can be used as a tool in the "interrogation" by threat of withholding it if she does not tell them what they want to hear.

    And they want to hear quite a bit. The chargesheet that was regurgitated by the state newspaper, The Herald, is nothing but a ruse.Deceptively, it narrows the charges to one specific instance of recruiting a former policeman to go for training in Botswana. That fake charge sheet is designed to answer certain questions being asked by SADC, that is all there is to it.

    It very neatly explains why Mukoko and her two colleagues are in custody by assigning each of them a role to play in a single specific instance.

    But this thing is way bigger than that. There are soldiers still to be unmasked, allegedly approached or recruited by the MDC. There will be tales of incentive payments, arms caches, bombings of police stations, incitement of soldiers to riot, assassination attempts on Chief Air Marshals, foreign funding, foreign bases and infiltration into the country already by an insurgent army numbering some 300.

    This is no ordinary case, then. This is the case upon which Robert Mugabe has staked the future of his continued rule. It is a case that will decide, for Mugabe at least, whether he continues to hold sway over Zimbabwe or not. So, a life and death struggle then. And you wonder why he is showing his traditional contempt for the courts?

    What the regime wants out of this is a case in which Morgan Tsvangirai, Tendai Biti (Secretary-General of the MDC) and other leaders in the opposition are seen to show their hand in the whole "insurgency training" saga. 

    So this is not about Jestina Mukoko or any of the other 43. It is about Morgan Tsvangirai and the detainees will not be released until they "give him up". Perhaps you are beginning to understand why the MDC leader refuses to come home. He knows what fate awaits him. He has been in prison before. Heck, he's had his head bashed in by some policemen at Machipisa Police Station, whose names are now on the lips of every Hararian.

    Once they have Tsvangirai, the whole explosive and tightly-woven case will come out. And the MDC will become a terrorist organisation, banned from taking part in the political affairs of the nation and even from taking part in elections. 

    Either way, the Global Political Agreement, "that dirty little piece of paper" (as Mugabe once called the Lancaster House Constitution that gave us Independence), is dead. Yes, the agreement is dead. It is NOT resting it's eyes, no matter what our Monty Python "leaders" tell us.

    How long will this take, you ask? Well, how long is a piece of rope? And, for good, measure, with the country so consumed with fear of the spectre of war, Mugabe will merrily call an election. At which he will, in one fell swoop, reverse all the parliamentary losses with one or two seats going to a token opposition, amidst savage butchery and wanton destruction of food stores and livelihoods.

    Perhaps he is overreaching? We'll see.

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  • Zimbabwe: Jestina Mukoko Disappears Again!
    As I suspected and said in my post below, the police have simply ignored the High Court order to release Jestina Mukoko and her fellow abductees into a private clinic in Harare. 

    It appears that the mischievous dictator has simply disappeared the whole lot of them again! The order was issued at 9p.m. yesterday. This morning, before the cocks could even crow, the abductees were bundled into the same red VW van that they came to court in and whisked away under heavy police guard. Nobody knows whence they went. 

    As Mtetwa told Reuters, even the government's own investigating officer was stunned to hear that they had disappeared again. He does not know where they are as well, which makes his job description rather redundant.

    Beatrice Mtetwa, the lawyer for Mukoko and other detained activists, says, "The long and short of it is that the police haven't complied with the High Court order. I doubt if they will comply."

    "I have just received information that they were taken by a red vehicle under armed police escort. The investigating officer expressed shock and surprise when I asked him," Mtetwa told Reuters.

    The other activists had been held in police cells around the capital Harare and their status could not immediately be established.

    Mukoko, a former newscaster who headed the Zimbabwe Peace Project, was picked up at gunpoint in Harare on December 3. If tried and found guilty the activists could have faced the death penalty, lawyers said.

    This of course, should come as no surprise. As I say in the post below, Mugabe is well known for ignoring his own courts. Then he wonders why the world says there is no rule of law in Zimbabwe! The order to ignore the court ruling would have come from Mugabe himself, as is normally the case, with the judge being told to get in touch with the "president" if he has any problems with this. Of course, no judge has ever tried that.

    And still I ask what sort of solidarity this is from SADC, when they can not even speak up for due process to be followed and the laws and courts of Zimbabwe to be respected. Mugabe is setting a bad precedent here. 

    There are erronous reports out there that she has been released, mostly on online media and these are taking their cue from The Herald, which simply reported on the court order. Of course, this comes in the wake of desperate lies being propagated by media not based in Zimbabwe, getting information third or fourth hand. (There was even one media that reported during Mukoko's disappearance that she was being held in a house in Kariba!!! And of course, the quick jumping of the gun when several online media erronously but confidently "exposed" the man behind the operation.

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  • Jestina Released Or Has She?
    It comes as a great relief to hear that Beatrice Mtetwa worked through Christmas Eve to secure the release of Jestina Mukoko and her fellow abductees, who had been remanded in custody until Monday, 29 December 2008.

    Although not being freed, it looks as though the abductees will be able to at least see their families and spend time with them, albeit in hospital.

    Upon hearing of the torture to extract confessions that Jestina Mukoko and other alleged conspirators in the trumped-up "insurgency" case suffered, a Harare High Court judge immediately ordered the release of Mukoko and others with her into Avenues Clinic and under police guard.

    The dirty little rag that passes for a national newspaper in Zimbabwe, the Herald, says that they have already been released into the Clinic's care. Which is a surprise, considering Mugabe's legendary contempt for the decisions of his own courts, unless they agree with him.

    The '"detainees" will remain at the Avenues Clinic until 29 December, the date on which they are due back in court to face the charges levelled against them by Robert Mugabe's "government". While there, the judge has ordered that they get access to their lawyers and their blood relatives. I fully expect Mugabe to try and pull a fast one, refusing to comply, perhaps, and ordering the police and his new Attorney General to refer the judges to the president if they had anything to say about it. He has done it before.

    If he does not do so, then we can be certain that SADC is applying quiet pressure in the background, something Jakaya Kikwete did just over a week ago when he phoned Mugabe immediately after Elliot Manyika's funeral.

    Still, as I wish all of you a restful Christmas, I can't help wondering what government these abductees are said to have wanted to overthrow, since, even by ZANU PF's own admission, there is no legitimate government in Zimbabwe.

    Chinamasa was on TV a couple of weeks ago saying that the current ministers are "caretaker ministers". So, squatters, then? 

    Anyway, for what it is worth, here's wishing the abductees, their families, all of you and your families and friends a somewhat merry Christmas.

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  • First Photos Of Jestina Mukoko Arriving At Magistrates Court Today



    These are the images of Jestina Mukoko arriving At Magistrates' Court today to face charges of recruiting insurgents to topple Mugabe. She and other MDC activist charged with the same crime as her were remanded in custody to Monday next week. She will spend Christmas behind bars. I had hoped this was a flicker of humanity, bringing her to court on Christmas Eve in order to release her on bail to be with her family on Christmas Day. I was dreaming, I suppose.

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  • Zimbabwe: Right Again On The Jestina Mukoko Abduction!
    I see that most of you guys visiting this blog between last night and today are going straight to my post published on 9 December, entitled Zimbabwe Abductions: The Link To The Insurgency/State of Emergency/"Mutiny" Case. Click on it to read my report and analysis, which is turning ou to be 100% accurate. Jestina Mukoko has now been seen alive, when she was brought to her parents' home by policemen who wanted to search for "subversive" material there. She is in court as I write this.

    After I published the post above, readers left a few comments there, with some saying what I was saying in there was "too far-fetched." One reader, whose comment never saw the light of day (because it was abusive) accused me of "smearing a good lady." I just wondered when I read that whether the reader understood the difference between stating facts and stating opinion. If you report on reliable information that so-and-so is dead, does that mean you have killed them?

    Anyway, in that article, I told you that "the next time we see Gandi Mudzingwa, Jestina Mukoko and the two staff members from the ZPP will be in the company of the eleven or 15 MDC activists who were also abducted........They will be appearing together as either "co-conspirators or architects of the insurgency in the evidence" to be put forward by Mugabe. There has already been mention in the media of Mugabe's request that the SADC team come to Zimbabwe for a presentation of witnesses in this alleged insurgency. These would certainly include Ms Mukoko, her two staff members and Gandi Mudzingwa." That's what I wrote on 09 December.

    I was surprised that even reputable journalists were thinking that this was some sort of Chilean , Pinochet-type operation, with Mugbae basically "disappearing" people who would never be seen again. Mugabe, evil, brutal and relentless, is certainly much smarter than that. As the Los Angeles Times said last week, he is smart enough to only use a certain level of "internationally acceptable violence." Ask Tsvangirai to repeat to you what he told us after meeting the dictator for lunch at Sheraton Hotel after the signing of the September 15 agreement. The dictator is neither senile nor diminished in mental capacity: Tsvangirai said that. And we'd better not have underestimated the physical and mental forces at play here.

    This issue is being treated as a matter of National Security by Mugabe. So it is likely that the evidence and testimony will  be held in camera, meaning behind closed doors. If it is, all you need to do is read that article on this blog whose link I have provided in red above and you will basically know what the case against them is.

    As I communicated to Mr Tsvangirai last week, who turns out to be a regular reader here, the issue of the "insurgency case" has nothing to do with "forcing the MDC to join ZANU PF"  in a GNU as some of his less bright supporters have been saying in newspapers and online journals. (Then again, I have never overestimated the intelligence of my detractors) 

    This is about finally destroying the MDC as a political force in this country. The aim is to make the MDC totally non-functional, to paralyse it within the borders of Zimbabwe. This is going to very swiftly culminate in the banning of the MDC from participating in elections on the grounds of it being a "terrorist organisation". 

    Further: Do not be confused by the talk of Tsvangirai's passport being released and this being denied by the MDC. Tsvangirai is well aware that the passport has indeed been released. But he is also keenly aware of why it has been released: It has been released to get him back into the country so that he also can be dragged into this "insurgency" matter, charged alongside Jestina and the others and perhaps jailed, thereby killing the power-sharing agreement, for how can you appoint a Prime Minister from jail, incarcerated for plotting to violently overthrow the government?

    More crucially, though, and this is where I wish most of you would please pay attention, because this is the second time I am mentioning it,  Mugabe has a Plan B, which is actually his preferred plan. And it goes like this: Go ahead and appoint Tsvangirai Prime Minister anyway and treat him with "dignity and respect" while at the same time decimating his party, the MDC on the basis of these charges.  As I say, I have mentioned this before (yeah, yeah, too "far-fetched"). It is a divide and rule tactic, but one so diabolically smart that, if Mr Tsvangirai is not extremely careful, he will fall right into it.

    Already , he is standing on the ledge, with SADC trying to push him over.

    The idea is to basically get Tsvangirai stranded in office, a PM without a party structure backing him. How? By weaving this whole thing in such a way that it will be announced that the insurgents were planning all this without the knowledge of Tsvangirai himself. That he was never involved and knew nothing of the extent to which they had gone. Every other leader in the MDC below the ministerial level will be "guilty." Perhaps even a minister or two in the GNU (such as Tendai Biti), could also be sacrificed by Mugabe on these charges.

    In the end, Mugabe hopes that the MDC ministers will feel so grateful for having their necks spared that they will toe the line. They will have no choice, says the dictator, "because they will be serving at my pleasure". With no party structure to back them, the next elections would also be looking good for Mugabe, and we will see overtures to get the MDC ministers to pull a ZAPU: publicly join forces with Mugabe's ZANU PF and be elected into the structures of that party. Mugabe believes he has a strategy that can achieve this. You will see. I am taking bets.

    Mr Tsvangirai would do well to think very carefully and ruminate at length on the call he got from the South African president on Thursday asking him to return home and set up the government. He is in a tight spot, diplomatically and I would not trade places with him for all the gold in the world. He is damned if he does and damned if doesn't.

    Now I wait for the "experts" to start commenting about this, wiser after the fact.

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  • Christmas And New Year Message From Simba Makoni

    MAVAMBO.KUSILE.DAWN

     

    CHRISTMAS AND NEW YEAR MESSAGE FROM SIMBA MAKONI

     

    During the course of 2008, I witnessed the daily toils that now make for life in Zimbabwe. I have experienced personally, the pain and anguish all citizens, now have to endure, save for a privileged few; pain and anguish that are the result of the vacuum of leadership, and the complete collapse of institutions and services in our country.

     

    The hope and promise held out by the harmonised elections of March 29 2008, were dashed by a party that is unwilling to respect the will of the people. In June 2008, I visited in hospitals, clinics and safe houses, victims of the violence of the `Presidential Run-Off’.  I saw, and heard at first-hand, the brutality that has characterised Zimbabwean politics for too long.

     

    In September 2008, I talked to women in a village in rural Masvingo Province, bundles of twigs on their heads, carrying baskets half-full of hacha and masekesa; hacha and masekesa being the day’s only meal. They explained how difficult, almost impossible, it was now to provide regular meals for their families.

     

     I remember standing in a queue one evening in October 2008, awaiting my turn to withdraw $50 000 from the ATM, when a young man asked me, Nemiwo mudhara munotoforerawo tumari tusingabatsire utwu”? I also remember meeting a long-serving civil servant at a branch of the POSB in Harare, who told me that his take home pay that month was $49 600. The minimum balance for his account was then $50 000. He was holding $400, to top-up his account, just to make sure the account was not closed.  He could not withdraw his bus fares for the day from that account.

     

    In the last month, I have visited Budiriro, Gazaland (Highfield) and Mbare in Harare, to see for myself the effects of the cholera epidemic. I did not only visit the Budiriro Polyclinic and Simon Mazorodze Road Infectious Diseases Hospital, but also some of the people affected by the disease, in their homes; and talked to residents in the streets of these areas.

     

    The people I talked to were not aware of any other national leader who had come into their midst, to see for themselves the conditions of life in these areas. I was both touched and deeply troubled to see the shallow wells people have dug at their homesteads. I walked the banks of the stream in Budiriro, polluted with raw sewage, but still the only other source of water for the people of this area. It makes one angry to realise that all this is all avoidable if “leaders” marshal the will to put all the people of Zimbabwe first.

     

    In mid-December 2008, at a rural primary school in a District of Manicaland Province, I saw how food is being used to punish those seen as not supporting Mugabe and ZANU PF.  ZANU PF officials and local councillors are the ones who compile the lists of people who are “truly hungry” and need food assistance. Needless to say, those listed are party faithfuls only.

     

    Evidence abounds of how un-prepared the country is for the current agricultural season. Even if the rains are adequate, there will be little production on the land, much less than any other previous season.  So, next year, Zimbabwe faces more acute food shortages, because our “so-called government” has failed, yet again, to facilitate the availability of essential inputs.

     

    In the last quarter of the year, a new menace emerged, in the form of abductions, disappearances and elimination of citizen activists. Such occurrences are a total betrayal of the vision of the liberation struggle and the promise of sovereign independence.

     

    On September 15 2008, the whole country applauded the signing of the Global Political Agreement, believing that, imperfect though it may be, it presented the best chance to solve the country’s problems, through cooperation. Regrettably, the hope of that agreement has evaporated, because the signatories there-to are deeply consumed in the quest for power for themselves. Because of the entrenched positions of the main protagonists to the “Power Sharing Agreement”, we harbour no expectations of a positive outcome from the 3-month political impasse.

     

    The people are suffering immensely, they are angry and frustrated; and feel hostage to leaders who are un-caring and insensitive to their plight.

    People are tired of needless suffering. There is nothing that
    is so insurmountable as to prevent a resolution. The country needs a
    leadership that understands and accepts the strength of diversity in a united
    nation. A leadership that recognizes that there is more that unites us
    than divides us, and embraces each one of us into the family of Zimbabwe. A leadership that understands and accepts that our strength, as a country, is assured when we belong to the family of nations; than when we remain in isolation.

     

    We share the people’s anger and frustration.

     

    I, therefore, take the opportunity of this Christmas and New-Year message, to urge the leaders of the two MDCs and ZANU (PF) to re-dedicate themselves to work for the people; to subject their personal and respective organisational ambitions, to the interests of the people and country. I urge them to agree to a fresh approach to cooperation, in a broad based Transitional National Authority, whose principal objectives are:

    ·              solving the humanitarian crises of food shortages and disease outbreaks;

    ·              restoring  law and order and the security of all citizens;

    ·              stabilisation of the economy, especially restoring normal supply of goods and services;

    ·              reviving normal banking and other financial services;

    ·              restoring health, education, water and sanitation services to all citizens;

    ·              guiding an inclusive constitution-making process, towards a democratic national constitution; and,

    ·              preparing the country for fresh, free and fair elections, under a new democratic constitution.

     

     I want to assure all the people of this our once beautiful, but now scarred Zimbabwe that, colleagues in the leadership of our Movement, and I, will continue our efforts in pursuit of the above goals.

     

    I also take this opportunity to assure activists of our Movement that efforts continue to convert the movement into a fully fledged political party. Our expectation is that the first quarter of the new year will see the formal launch of the party.

     

    I implore all citizens not to despair. I also appeal to all regional, continental and international friends of Zimbabwe, to stay engaged with us, and support our new approach.

     

    I remind us all that the darkest hour is before dawn, also that the last kick of a dying horse is the hardest.

     

    TOGETHER, LET’S GET ZIMBABWE WORKING AGAIN!

     

    SIMBA MAKONI

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  • Shameful
    We, Zimbabweans in and outside the country, should feel shame at scenes like these. These children and their parents have to scrounge around the edges of dangerous tarred highways, picking up single kernels of corn off the ground in order to have a meal.

    If this does not show us that all our so-called leaders have abandoned our people, then I don't know what will. As you do your christmas shopping, remember that more than ninety percent of our citizens are being held hostage not only by Mugabe, but by the world. The world says we "will not come in there with aid until you go" and Mugabe says, "I will not go until you admit you are wrong and say sorry for everything."

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  • Mugabe Prepares For Mass "Prosecutions"
    Gearing up: Mugabe, speaking in Bindura on Friday. He is now preparing for mass trials of MDC "insurgents"

    Robert Mugabe, the dictator of Zimbabwe, has now appointed an Attorney General in a move that was immediately declared to be "pointless" by the MDC.

    But it is not pointless, that's just the point, you see. Mugabe is preparing the ground for the mass trials that we will witness in the new year. More than 40 people have already disappeared off the face of the earth, no doubt held incommunicado by the regime. They only surfaced last week in the video evidence I told you about on December 01 and confirmed by SADC this last week.

    The new Attorney General advised the government in June when he was still the deputy AG, that it was legal to detain MDC activists without trial. He muse be relishing his new challenge: keeping MDC "insurgents" behind bars, waving cooked-up "evidence" about and demanding all manner of punitive sentences for these "bandits" - and that phrase is going to be used liberally. Just as, for MDC supporters, if you do not support Tsvangirai, then you are ZANU PF, the new AG will enforce the mirror-mentality within ZANU PF: If you do not support Mugabe you are an MDC insurgent.

    There's plenty where that came from. More people will no doubt disappear, all youthful and active members of society. They are bandits, is the line being taken by the Attorney General's office, speaking on behalf of the dictatorship.

    Now emboldened by the show of solidarity from SADC  this past week in the face of British and American pressure, Mugabe believes he has a free hand within Zimbabwe. The fight that is coming will either make or break the MDC. This is the sternest challenge it has faced to date.

    Two things make this a fight like no other. One is the sheer scale envisaged by Mugabe and his party for this exercise. It will get even more systematic, methodical and ruthless as the weeks go by (yes, that's weeks, not months).

    The second is the quiet approval by SADC of this crackdown on "bandits", "insurgents" and "malcontents". Even to this day, Mugabe still privately and regularly uses the phrase "counter-revolutionary".

    In essence Tomana had to be sworn in purely because that office is being readied to carry out the mass prosecutions of MDC "terrorists" (I am taking bets on how long it will be before we start hearing this word, reading it in the Herald). From the silence of SADC on the matter, it would appear that there is nothing much anybody can do about it, except maybe shout a bit now and again. And we know what that achieves.

    Tsvangirai appears to have belatedly recognised this when he called that press conference in Botswana last week in which he demanded that the abductees be brought before a court of law or freed by January One.

    Did it appear to you as though Mugabe had even heard him? What about SADC?

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  • Zimbabwe: SADC Props Up Mugabe
    Out of time: SADC Secretary-General Tomaz Salomao is coordinating the belated devlivery of farming and other aid from member countries into Zimbabwe

    The Southern African Development Community today announced the launch of an assistance package for Zimbabwe, effectively countering America's announcement today that it would not extend aid to Zimbabwe as long as Mugabe remains president. 

    SADC Secretary General Tomaz Salomao also revealed that the package includes South Africa's previously suspended aid of seed, fertiliser and fuel for the current agricultural season.

    "This is regional solidarity. When you are facing difficulties, you have to count on the solidarity of your brothers. We cannot fail in assisting Zimbabwe, that's the critical and most important thing," said Salamao.

    The South African position is a reversal of their previous stance, effectively. The South Africans have got round this by saying that there is a "parallel humanitarian effort" to assists Zimbabwe, but the official $30 million aid is still on hold until a unity government is formed. Yet the nature of the aid, as I shall explain, sends a different message altogether.   But amongst the surprises is the announcement that Botswana also contributed a significant amount. 

    There can be no doubt that the aid is sorely needed, but one has to also take into the account that it delays the day of reckoning for Mugabe. Effectively, SADC is propping up Mugabe.

    For this development, we have the West to thank. Morgan Tsvangirai advised British Prime Minister some years back that strident shouts and thrusting diplomacy would be counter-productive to the image the MDC was then building of a purely people-driven party, completely propelled only by the aspirations of Zimbabweans.

    At that time, Tsvangirai was graduating from a local hero to a regional politician who realised that the strident and harsh rhetoric of the West only served to cement the bonds between Africans. This latest move by SADC, there is no doubt, is a response to the renewed vigour with which the West is now pursuing Mugabe.

    Montlanthe, president of South Africa and Chair of SADC, betrayed the regional body's irritation with Britain on Wednesday when he held a press conference to announce the aid package.

    Most of us simply had no idea as to the scale of it. It is a fairly big deal, encompassing within it the 30 million US dollars. Looking at the figures I just wondered they meant SADC approved of what Mugabe has been doing or is SADC simply so irritated by Britain (whom Mothlanthe said wanted to "impose its will on Zimbabwe." ) that this is a way to show that Africa will take care of its own.

    The connection between the West's strident diplomacy and this counter-measure by SADC will be dismissed instantly by Zimbabweans, a people who are now in the habit of denying anything that does not confirm our own illusions, but it is as clear as day. And, again, what it effectively does is buy Mugabe even more time. As I said yesterday, with their stomachs full, the natives tend not to be so restless: it is a truth that has been with us since the days of Ian Smith.

    In announcing the aid on Wednesday, the SADC Chairman also revealed that the task force that will be handling the distribution of the aid would not deal with the political crisis. It is perhaps naive, but Mothlanthe should know better than that: Mugabe's network and party structure practically runs life in the the rural areas. And his bag of tricks is still full in this regard, so the villagers will walk away believing that this aid is coming from Mugabe, or at least from his friends, while Tsvangirai's friends have given them nothing.

    It is for this reason that I believe, if the aid must come, it should be put into the hands of a technical team that puts together a mini Marshal Plan for Zimbabwe. The aid, you see, is not just about distributing food and foodstuffs as is traditional with Western Donor agencies. SADC intends this to be a case of giving the hungry man a fishing rod and not fish.

    Leaving it to a loosely controlled process will only result in the plunder of this manna from heaven by Mugabe and his cohorts and minions, who realise that they are on their way out and will steal the place blind before we prise their fingers off the doorknobs of State House.

    A mini-Marshal Plan, administered by an independent group of regional administrators and planners will go some way towards rehabilitating the Zimbabwean economy. They would be chosen for their expertise and experience and would be accountable only to SADC and its Secretariat. In some ways, the condition that this aid will be "delivered through government and non-state bodies" reveals the fighting Mugabe did in the background to be allowed to retain some influence on this godsend he is getting from SADC.

    The way the aid is being delivered by SADC should also be an embarrassment to Mugabe. The process is similar to what you do in an occupied territory: there is no one in charge and you, the incoming force, set the terms upon which life will be led in your new territory.

    By the way, which "government" is SADC talking about? Obvious. It's the bunch of retards who have been stealing us blind all along, lining the walls of their nests with feathers from our bodies. But that is a small consideration in the world of diplomacy: SADC feels insulted and is coalescing around Mugabe in defence and perhaps pique.

    The MDC, meantime, will not be able to capitalise at all on this, perhaps the most important development in our economy since the slide seriously began in 2000. Mugabe's government will be the one controlling things since Tsvangirai refuses to join him in the discredited unity deal.

    This aid, properly handled, could have been the first step on the straight and now, economically, for Zimbabwe. But it is likely to be squandered by Mugabe's people and we will be back to SADC with a cap in hand before long.

    We have been here before: Gaddafi tried to help with fuel until he realised that he could send his country into bankruptcy because of Zimbabwe's nonsensical, socialist policy of buying high and selling low, which meant debts would never be repaid. This one is not a loan, though, but a grant, or aid. Let us see how long it takes Mugabe and his people go through and how soon they will back amongst the regional leaders crying sanctions.

    By the way, we are drawing closer to the fulfilment my reading that SADC will, at some point, come out publicly and declare the MDC out of order. I did a full article on this, somewhere in our Archives here and let's not come back with tired cry: "but who is out of order here? surely its Mugabe? home Affairs, passport.....blah blah blah"  I promise you it will make perfect sense as a natural progression of events after you read that post, How SADC and Mugabe Have Boxed-In Morgan Tsvangirai, to do so click here

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  • Zimbabwe's Health Minister's Wife Struggles In A State Hospital
    David Parirenyatwa (right), Zimbabwe's Health Minister, seen here with Christopher Dell, then US Ambassador to Zimbabwe. He is struggling to buy medical supplies for his wife, who was injured in a car accident

    Dr Parirenyatwa, Zimbabwe's current (and illegal) health minister, came face to face with the collapse of the health system last week after his wife was hit in a car accident, sustaining injuries to her leg and ribs.

    Parirenyatwa first took his wife to The Avenues Clinic, the private hospital in Harare that is still totally functional. When they demanded upfront payment of US$2000, which he could not afford, he took his wife to Parirenyatwa hospital, named after the Health Minister's late father.

    Sources at the state hospital, once one of the best hospitals in Africa, say the Health Minister's wife is still at the hospital and he was still trying to come up with the money needed to buy special "wires" to mend the fractures his wife sustained in the accident. Doctors can't operate until these are available. There are none at the state hospitals, so Parirenyatwa has to buy them himself.

    The staff there have their own grievances against the minister, whom they say is blocking an offer from the Global Fund to pay medical staff directly in foreign currency. But they are also not too happy that, after his wife was admitted, the Health Minister brought in a kilogramme of beef and asked staff to prepare that for his wife. "What about everyone else in all these wards who is eating boiled cabbage and sadza? Should we prepare beef for his wife while everyone else eats cabbage?" asked one senior nurse at the hospital.

    Parirenyatwa has been very candid of late about the state of collapse that the system is in and it is ironic that he should be experiencing this first hand.  I could not establish today whether the minister has finally found the money to buy the supplies needed to med his wife's leg and ribs. Without them, the doctors can not even operate o the woman.

    This story only serves to illustrate that the financial crisis in the country is now touching even Mugabe's own circle, people who have been doing nicely  all along, with access to cheap foreign currency and the good things in life.

    Before long, buying the loyalty of this Praetorian Guard is going to get increasingly difficult for Mugabe and that is when things start to get interesting. The hitherto rumblings of discontent are soon to turn into howls. Then when this inner circle lives like we live, they will realise that they have all along been protecting the worm as it ate away at the core of the apple.


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  • Action For Abductees
    This Is Zimbabwe has several suggestions for action you can take regarding the abductees. The one I have picked on is the AVAAZ Speak Out For Zimbabwe campaign.

    It is certainly better to get involved with this than do nothing.

    It is unlikely that Motlanthe will listen to any petitions There is a deeper problem with the intractable Zimbabwe problem. I used to argue with people who, in the days of Thabo Mbeki's problems with Zuma at Polokwane, spoke with such authority about how Zuma would read the riot Act to Mugabe  and tell him where to get off. They "reasoned" that because Zuma had the support of COSATU, he would be pressured into action by that body.

    Well, I have met some of these people after Zuma's ascendancy. Typically, their response now was what it was when Mbeki was in power: "All these African leaders are the same. Zuma is afraid of COPE challenge so does not want an opposition to succeed in Zimbabwe.."

    People, please! I think we are running out of people to run to with our problems, don't you agree?

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  • What The World IS Saying About Zimbabwe Part Two
    Why does he not put the ball down and tackle the old man?!

    I remember telling readers of the Independent two years or so ago that the world would get a  bad case of "sympathy fatigue" with the people of Zimbabwe. As always, Zimbabweans want to listen only to misleading, soothing noises like crying babies. They dismissed that as talk of an anti-MDC bias. I was asked what I expected Morgan to do, did I not "see the people's hands are tied", was one quote I remember distinctly, and so on.

    Well, the good thing about the truth is that, no matter what, it eventually comes out and there is great satisfaction in seeing those who dismissed your analysis and views as "much ado about nothing" preaching your own gospel with such conviction that their readers would think they have thoughts of their own.

    As I told readers of The Independent all that time ago, the world is now asking why it is that Zimbabweans prefer to fold their own arms and cry to the rest of the world to "rescue them" as if they are helpless children, toddlers.

    There was this comment from a "Proud South African" during the aborted Elders mission to Zimbabwe:

    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 in a country that was once the pride and joy of the African continent! African policies (Please read BLack if you so please) is devoid of any intelect and by trying to blame everyone or anything else is just another sign of your AFRICAN incompetance!

    To see jut how many Zimbabweans agree with him (and yet do nothing or "rationalise" our paralysis), read the reactions by clicking here.

    And from Malawi:

    "Buddy I think you are very right. It really makes a lot of nonsense for these guys to be running away from their own land and hide in neighbouring countries. * I initially thought our anyamata apa Zembo ali ma intellectuals, courageous but gosh they are real big cows."

    The full article, quite well argued, with a "tour" around the world of the places where citizens were at the forefront of bringing down dictators and brutal regimes. The Nyasa Time of Malawi says, with regards to Zimbabweans: "Waiting for SADC, UN, George W. Bush, Gordon Brown and Thabo Mbeki to reopen the route to the Victoria Falls is all but a fallacy."

    This was back in June 2008 (most people forget that the "dialogue between Mugabe and Tsvangirai has been going on for years now, it did not start after the June run-off. In fact Morgan Tsvangirai was against the March elections that he won, saying that for Mugabe to call for these elections was a breach of the spirit of those talks. Mugabe, think he would "win" as always, insisted that elections were due according to the constitution and went ahead.

    Another reader of the Nyasa Times, also a Malawian states: "Our neighbours, from what we have seen on TV, especially in Harare, have led their lives as if 'all is ok'. If anything, the foreign journalists, were seen to be more interested than the Harare residents. It wont be a surprise if they didn't even vote. This was lost chance in a race which opposition had won and afew more votes would havemade a difference! 

    And another Malawian says: "I agree with Timau, Zimbabweans are arrogant, full of themselves and always looked down on Malawians. We were the polite servants to them. Now they are begging in south africa for bread after allowing bob to plunder their country. Chilipanzako chani, God helps those who help themselves, people power toppled Marcos in the Phillines who had gold plated bullets not the ones bob has that he is getting via inlaws in Malawi. They need to wake up and take their future in their own hands. I have a lot of respect for Kenyans, they did not put up with it."

    To read the full article from the Nyasa Times, entitled: People of Zimbabwe Are To  Blame"  and some more reactions, please click here.

    And even from as far afield as Australia, sighs of resignation, exhortations to leave Zimbabweans to their own devices and fate are also being heard. This from the comments by readers on a Timesonline website, the online portal of The Times of London:

    "It is time for Zim to stand up for themselves 
    Time to stop bleating about that mongrel 
    Time for the mongrel to hear the tramp of Zim feet coming to free themselves 
    Rise up Zim and the world will help 
    Cower and die and the world will do nothing but write words of sadness 
    The choice is yours "


    From Zambia, we get more succinct comments, one liners that "cut to the chase." Here's one:
    "Bushe abena Zimbabwe baba shani? Can’t they kick this old man out themselves? We helped with Ian smith. Must we go back there and help them again?"

    And from the same source, another Zambian point of view: "I dont understand old docile senile and evil leaders. Mugabe should step down. What is his problem.

    As for me, I don’t want to see Zambia go to war over Zimbabwe. We helped liberate Zimbabwe, Namibia and South Africa and in the end we got insults. We are sorry, we are busy. Just go riot in the streets of Harare and Bulawayo. Zimbabweans are quite sleepy. A leader like Mugabe cannot last in Nigeria. He would have a bullet in his head.

    Besides, Zambia has gained a lot. Infrastructure development in livingstone has increased by 54%. We are expecting Zambia’s first 1 million tourists by the end of next year. We are using Zimbabwe’s white farmers to plant our maize and employ our people."

    If you think that is not sympathy fatigue, then you need to take a look at this, another Zambian quote: "Free-Market-Capitalist, I agree with you. Let the Zimbos sort out their own mess. Rather than running away and spreading cholera and prostitution across their borders they should dig in, find inner strength and resolve, and force Old Bob out…by whatever means.

    Zambia should not send any troops in. It would be a waste of money and besides our army is not battle-tested and by all indications is poorly equipped; it could actually be subjected to an embarrassing defeat by the starcving Zimbos."

    Rashid Jones…wouldn’t you say that, at this point in time, the Zimbos are the sleepiest people in Southern Africa?" 

    In their condemnation, the South Africans are brutal, impatient and even insulting:

    "Joel

    You are accusing Sentletse, the ANC, Mbeki and South Africans for not taking the plight of Zimbabweans serious.

    When did this become our problem, I have got bills to pay and my kids education to pay and crime to worry about.

    If Zimbabweans do not take themselves seriously, why should I care. I am deeply offended by this political picanin, Tsvangarai for constantly insulting the only country that is doing something about Zimbabwe, for right or wrong South Africa is at least doing something.

    You have a lot of this people roaming around our country uninvited, draining the economy of this country.

    I dont care who leads that country and its politics, these people need just to get out our country and go and sort their mess in their own country.

    I have had the privilege of interacting with highly educated Zimbabweans in the US and UK who are very negative about their own country and yet we are supposed to care about it.

    Rubbish, my country is South Africa not Zimbabwe please."


    All this from the Mail & Guardian.

    Anyway, I could on and on. There fact remains that the world is beginning to ask why it is that Zimbabweans themselves seem not to care much about what is happening to them. I expect, as usual, insults will be thrown at all these people by Zimbabweans. They will all be dismissed: Zambians, Malawians, Australians, South Africans and British. Because according to Zimbabweans, we and only we are right, everybody else is wrong.


    There is an interesting discussion going on at a Discussion board on the internet, with the chatting class including such people as John Makumbe. I certainly hope that this topic gets carried there and Zimbabweans for once talk about the fact that the whole world seems to be seeing what we won't see. Click here to carry this discussion to the discussion board.

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