Flattering to deceive, Mugabe with Tsvangirai in September 20008
The latest news on JestinaMukokois that she appeared in court today, where the presiding judge ordered that she should be taken to hospital to have allegations of torture investigated before her trial can proceed.
I wonder whether that will happen.
There is no doubt at all that the defence has just handed the state a gift, as I explained in my post "Mugabe Prepares To Arrest Tsvangirai", in which I informed you that there is a predetermined timeline to the Jestina Mukoko case, in which we will see no final verdict on all those being charged until March, with April factored in for appeals. This by the way, says nothing about the sentencing.
The real reason for her arrest has also now been revealed. And it explains why the case against her is so flimsy, based on a single "instance" of her facilitating the travel of an individual to cross the border into Botswana.
The reason is that the "government" simply wanted her out of the way. Why?
Right now, as you read this, hundreds of people, mostly MDC activists and some concillors, have disappeared in Zimbabwe's rural areas, which are also awash with ZANU PF activists. Some of the disappeared councillors have been fished out rivers in Mutoko recently. Cars and death squads have been sent out by ZANU PF to "campaign" in these areas (got to find some use for those 10 million litres of diesel donated by South Africa, because the farming season is over)
They are, "permanently living in the rural areas". (Read they have set up bases). Ask any MDC activist you can find in any rural area in Zimbabwe today and he will tell you where the local base is, you will see the cars driving around or parked at rural shopping centres during the day. At night, well....)
Mugabe has already started campaigning, which is why he had inserted that clause into the September 15 GPA allowing him to [appro] "terminate the agreement if he thought that it was no longer tenable". He could then terminate the agreement, dissolving the GNU at any time ZANU PF thought that the people had been "cooked enough" and were now ready for an election, ZANU style.
But why would they want the Zimbabwe Peace Project paralysed and out of commisson, its network intimidated into silence, its boss and staff members behind bars on serious charges that carry life sentences?
It was Jestina Mukoko's organisation that was cataloging all these things that are taking place now. But no one is doing anything of the sort now because the world's attention is focused on Chikurubi Maximum Security Prison and the Magistrates court where she is being tried. Mugabe has succesfully created a diversion while giving himself carte blanche to grind the rural electorate into the ground in preparation for a new election, whether Tsvangirai goes into government or not. Mugabe's bet is that he will not, and an election will have to be called to break the deadlock.
He is doing much of the violence now so that when the time comes, as the world stares, he can minimise this and win an election that African observers would say was "credible and an expression of the will of the people".For an explanation on this tactic, read Prof Chan's article that I posted below. If not, just know this: ZANU PF has perfected its art, as one Politubro member told me over Christmas: "We waged such a vicious war during the 1970s that, for over ten years after independence, every single election was won simply by telling rural people, who bore the brunt of this war, that we would go back to the bush if we lost." And hey presto!, without too many people being beaten or killed, Mugabe would win handsomely in the rural areas, carrying the total vote into State House.
Indeed, Mugabe has used this strategy over and over again since 1980 to secure his "rural stronghold". It was not violence, but the fear of some pretty gruesome violence that had been demonstrated in the recent memory of villagers, that won it for him.
The Politubro member says, "The March election shows that they had forgotten. It is time to remind them again." He is quite certain that as long as the people who were running the liberation war are still alive, no party except ZANU PF will carry the rural vote. That makes it about 10-15 more years, he reckons. Which makes it vital and urgent that the solution to this crisis be crafted at a strategic level. It must be taken out of the battlefield and into the boardroom. It is now a game of wits, if a game it can be called.
Certainly, if Jestina Mukoko was free right now, and the Zimbabwe Peace Project was also freed from this oppressive fear that envelopes it at present, the organisation would have by now raised the alarm. They had a network of people on the ground whose job it was to monitor such things and report them immediately. As things stand right now, the councillors who were fished out of rivers in Mutoko remain unknown to the world. The hundreds of people who are disappearing are going unreported. This, Mr Mutota (a reader who asked a question here), is "why her, when there are so many other people running safe houses?".
Intense debates on the declaration of a state of emergency, first revealed on this blog and later independently confirmed by The Financial Gazette and Tendai Biti of the MDC, were meant to "interrogate" the most efficient way to bring this monstrosity we see being implemented now into being.
"Hawks", as The Financial Gazette called them, were of the opinion that it should simply be a decisive blow against the MDC-T, to smash it once and for all, rule it a "terrorist organisation" and ban them from elections.
There are no doves in this story, unfortunately. But let us follow the logic:
The doves were of the opinion that banning the MDC outright from elections would complicate the matter internationally and regionally, especially. A semblance of competition had to be given to this whole thing. The doves appear to have won the day. Because here is the plan that explains everything from Mukoko's trial to Morgan Tsvangirai's skittishness over coming back to claim his "prize". Tsvangirai knows of this strategy, but he just can't prove it, and Mugabe denies everything. Here's the thing in essence, then:
Clear the countryside of as many Zimbabwe Peace Project activists as possible. Those that remain will be so terrified of charges of treason that they will effectively go underground.
The coast is now clear for an orgy of violence and intimidation on a massive scale.
Concurrently, have the charges against the MDC activists and Jestina Mukoko's people upheld in court, paving the way for a state of emergency to be declared in certain areas where "it has recently been reported that there are killings and destruction of the properties of ZANU PF supporters (impostors, obviously). The insurgents have infiltrated those areas, and we are reasonable, we will only declare a state of emergency in those areas only to protect the lives and property of law-abiding citizens." (The MDC nailed itself to the cross during the negotiations by signing an document, released to the public in which they admitted equal culpability with the ZANU PF in the violence around the elections.
Soldiers move into those areas to "keep the peace".
An election is called a little while later because the GNU or the talks have broken down irretrievably.
The election is held, still with soldiers on the ground, MDC activists disappeared or underground. The soldiers are there "to protect our rural parents and grandparents from the menace of terrorism and banditry, which will seek to disrupt these elections.
The rural folk see these soldiers, this show of force and remember the threats that they have been hearing since December 2008. Naturally they assume that the soldiers are there for one reason: to await the results of the election and, if they are found to have "voted wrong", then all hell breaks loose.
How do you think the MDC will fare in that election?
Although most of the disappearances are taking place in the rural areas of Mashonaland West, Central and East, cities have also not been spared. Scores of young men who were known MDC activists and whom neighbours say were routinely sent to campaign for the party in rural areas have also disappeared. Most of these come from the hostel areas of Mbare.
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