"Invasion? What invasion?"
You may not believe in it. But we know someone who does
The spirited response to my forecast of a possible invasion of Zimbabwe from Zambia and Botswana would seem to indicate that many observers simply don't believe it can happen, and I am grateful to DC, Martin Gower, RMacleod and Sophie Zvapera for their input. They may of course be right. But I have evidence that the supreme leader himself, R. Mugabe, is not so sure.
My sources within the Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) tell me that days before my piece appeared, the agency had submitted a report to Mugabe's office specifically accusing both Zambia and Botswana of offering their lands as "launching pads" for a military attack.
The spies apparentl;y believe that such an attack would be led by Britain - an indication of paranoia amongst the ranks of the spies when you remember that the UK's troops are already fully committed in other parts of the world.
A senior member of the Zimbabwe Army Intelligence (if that's not a contradiction in terms) also told me: "The reports we are receiving indicate that Zambia and Botswana have offered to help in the invasion, and that it would be imminent,"
The same source said that Mugabe had reacted to the reports by ordering a country-wide tightening of security, and specifically calling on military chiefs to put all border forces on high alert.
I then spoke to a senior member of the Police Suport Unit who said: "Most of our border patrol officers will be receiving their rations this week, and they will join up with the national army during the coming days, to intensify an armed presence on the borders."
Meanwhile the Army has reacted to the troop riots of last week by printing and distributing extra money. A soldier told me: "We were told to write down our names in the morning, and in the afternoon we received Z$100 million at the barracks. The money was not part of our monthly salaries. We were also told that the government was sorry for overlooking our grievances, and that things will change."
Our soldiers will draw two conclusions from this: one, that things won't change, and two, that rioting works. Watch out for further direct action from our gallant troops.
On the international front, while demands for direct action, if only to combat the ever-growing cholera epidemic, continue, the African Union has predictably dismissed any military move, and repeated the mantra that the only way forward is through negotiations. Perhaps the Union really believes that is true. Perhaps.
Meanwhile, to those who do not believe in a military solution from outside our borders, can I put this question: Two years ago, would you have believed that the world would allow our beloved country to descend to its present tragic, brutal and disastrous state without interfering?