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Wednesday, 07 January 2009

Mugabe's next move

How Zimbabwe's President plans to tackle his enemies now

Those of us who believe in freedom in Zimbabwe should brace ourselves. According to police sources, we can expect a wide series of high profile arrests this month, as Robert Mugabe moves finally to eliminate all official opposition to his reign as the country's dictator.

A senior member of the Harare CID, the law and order section, based at police general headquarters in Harare, has told me of plans to detain a number of national executive members of the Morgan Tsvangirai-led Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).

The charges against them will vary, but they will include treason, attempted murder, terrorism, sabotage and malicious damage to property. The charges will be backed up by a well-prepared case using fabricated evidence and bribed or threatened witnesses.

The so-called evidence is being gathered by an unholy alliance of the police and the spy agency, the Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO), and the general thrust of the charges will be to link the MDC with terrorism.

Members of the military will also be heavily involved, with troops testifying that they were hired by the MDC to bomb police stations and to attempt to assassinate senior government officials and military commanders.

Some soldiers will also testify that they were paid by the MDC to take part in the military riots that shook Harare last month.

"The idea is to build a strong case which will accuse the MDC of deliberately trying to spark public unrest, as an excuse to depose the President," the officer told me.

The MDC is aware of the plans. Its national spokesman, Nelson Chamisa, described any such charges as "trumped up".  Perhaps so. But that doesn't mean they won't stick. Justice in Zimbabwe is a tender plant, and Mugabe and his men plan to stamp all over it.

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Comments

As Ceasar was told - "Beware the ides of March". Mugabe is cooking up a brew but we all know the brew. Morgan, stay where you are for the time being and prepare a counter brew as you already have the people's mandate to go ahead and do what needs to be done

Yes,I believe you Moses!The senior CID was telling the truth and knowing ZANU-PF it will do it.Mugabe will do anything to stay in power.ZANU-PF is not afraid of the people of Zimbabwe because they are docile and were cowed to voice against government since 9 years ago when many opposition members were abducted,tortured and killed and many of them left homeless.
Mugabe's next move is intended just for that.We all know that Zanu-pf will never agree to GNU or even to let the people's choice MDC to form Government,unless all ZIMBOS give up evrything they have to fight ZANU-PF.Mugabe's rule has caused immense suffuring to the people of Zimbabwe and enough is enough!

It is not enough morons when its enough noone will be docile

Zanu PF is fully backed by the ANC of South Africa so it is immaterial whether Zanu PFs mouth piece which happens to be Mugabe, dies tomorrow or next year, it will all remain the same!
According to an independant report, the Chinese are paying for fuel coming through Beitbridge and paying Zambia, Mozambique to export electricity into Zimbabwe. In exchange the Chinese have access to minerals and the finest chrome in the world. According to the same report the Chinese delivered fifty three tonnes of armaments and weapons into the country two weeks ago. No wonder Mugabe and his family feel safe to go on annual holiday.

"The idea is to build a strong case which will accuse the MDC of deliberately trying to spark public unrest, as an excuse to depose the President," What language is this? Hama kana usina zvekunyora nezve MDC regera. We are not fools.

Perhaps we should accuse Zanu-PF of firing rockets into Israel, that seems to get everyone's attention


To all concerned citizens
As a journalist you are always on your guard against those intent on exploiting the media for their own nefarious ends.
When somebody volunteers information the first question you ask yourself is: Why am I being fed this information?
This cynical approach is necessary because each one of us has an agenda – simplistically split into good or evil.
If the informant’s credentials are well known to you, the agenda is fairly straightforward. It becomes more difficult when the informer is a stranger.
There is a third channel: when an “informant” never intended the news to be made public. I have found this source usually has the highest credibility with the least likely bias.
So what does one make of the horrific news emanating from Zimbabwe?
How accurate, how credible can it be, given that most informants are intent in toppling Robert Mugabe and his regime?
The overwhelming weight of evidence from church leaders, opposition politicians, Western governments, international aid agencies and local Zimbabweans themselves is that we have a humanitarian disaster of catastrophic proportions on our hands.
It is unfolding before our eyes. The evidence is overwhelming – verbal, anecdotal, visual and statistically.
To add credence to media reports are two emails I received from individuals in Zimbabwe – who must remain anonymous for obvious reasons – and who never intended to have their views broadcast to a wider audience – for me the highest form of credibility.
The first couple has lived in Rhodesia/ Zimbabwe most of their lives: A proud, previously middle class couple, their three children have emigrated, but they cannot leave for economic reasons.
“…things have certainly gone far downhill here. Inflation is at record levels, and mostly guessed at because the commodities used to measure it are not available.
“What a waste of a beautiful country which at the handover in 1980 was considered the jewel of Africa… A marriage really gone bad, sacrificed at the alter of personal vain – glory.
“It has certainly been challenging times here. Since the elections in March we still do not have a functioning government. The so called power sharing agreement, crafted under the hand and eye of Mbeki, has proved to be unworkable.
“With the resignation and swift departure of Mbeki, to his credit (and in my view only one!), we have been hoping for a stronger line from down south. But what is coming out is the just the usual mish-mash of African politics. We believe that effectively there is a junta preventing any transfer of power here, people who have everything to lose under a different leadership. The prospects of that continuing perhaps more openly is not enthralling !
”The economy has almost totally melted down.
“At the moment with the world's health agencies keeping an eye on things, our water supplies have improved, and the quality of the water seems better than last month.
“But this cholera epidemic is a huge litany of man-made failure piled on failure, and it is true that all the major government health institutions have closed, and there have been no drugs available.
“It is no wonder that the cholera has spread so fast, sewers have not been maintained, some areas have been getting untreated water. “The water shortages have been very stressful to us urbanites without auxiliary supplies. We were all a bit surprised recently to see our self appointed no.1 on national television proclaiming that cholera was over. What struck me most was the simian like appearance of the man. Any improvements in health delivery services are coming from outside and have nothing to do with local expertise.
”We have had some good rain since the start of the rainy season in mid November. The garden has responded dramatically, plants and trees perking up overnight. In good ostrich mode we can sit in the garden and forget the rest of the world now!”
The second couple live in a rural town. Zimbabwean born and bred, all their children have also emigrated.
“Last Friday was a the start of these terrible power cuts. There is no pattern to the cuts so we never know what to expect. Most days we only have power for between six and eight hours. The water situation has deteriorated even further and we now only get water for a maximum of an hour each morning. It’s impossible to try to do the washing – we seldom have power and water at the same time. Despite the fact that we seldom have any water, we still receive a bill for over $48 million.
“The landline and cell phone lines have been dreadful this past week. When there is no power the landlines don’t work and the cell phone lines are becoming so congested that it is nearly impossible to send a sms or make a call.
“Poor (son’s name) is shocked at the conditions we live under and can’t wait to get out of here.
“It’s amazing how prices have increased…and shops are still bare. (Her son) called in at one of the elite supermarkets in Harare last weekend and said it was full of imported goods but the prices are quite ridiculous. It’s all very well having Kelogg’s breakfast cereal on the shelves but you have to be able to afford it at the black market exchange rates.
“All power, water and phone charges have been increased dramatically and our medical aid contribution went up from $19,2m a month to $115,2m – a 500% increase. Whose salary goes up 500%?
“This week (her husband) had both the municipality workers and the workers from the water authority to the house to try and fix various problems. In both cases we had to go to the office and collect the men as they have no transport and neither gang had any tools to do the work!
“There has been a hole in the water pipe just outside our house for several months and when they came all they could do was try to fix it using ‘impira’ (car or bicycle tube cut into strips)! This is just a small indication of the general state of everything in the country.
“Well the battery is still holding out but I still have some emails to type and send so I had better be ending off now.”
This is life today in Zimbabwe for the relatively privileged – at least they have homes, jobs and the means to cushion the worst of the crisis.
Imagine then the lives of those who have nothing to eat, no income, no shelter, no medical aid and no hope.
And yet the Governor of the Reserve bank Gideon Gono can build himself a 47-bedroomed house – all en suite – in the elite Borrowdale suburb of Harare behind high walls and top security.
The situation is ripe for a revolution by the masses – with all the attendant human tragedy that will follow.

Geoff Bird

Geoff, revolution by the masses is un-African. Name one.

Even the wars against colonialism were waged by guerilla groups - a tiny percentage of the true population of the oppressed in any given country. Even then, many of the 'masses' were ambivalent, docile or simply sided with the government of the day. That is why in Zimbabwe the liberation forces had to commit atrocities against the very people whom they were fighting for in order to get food, shelter and information etc.

The image of ordinary people storming the proverbial Bastille or Red Square etc are European images of the velvet revolutions of Eastern Europe. They just don't happen in Africa.

I have come to the conclusion after 25+ years of observing and living in Africa that there is a cultural disconnect here. Outsiders just don't get it. In the West we take freedom for granted and when we don't get it enough of us will stand up for it to make a difference. 'Freedom' grows upward FROM the people. 'Authoritarianism' flows downwards from government. The two are forever in conflict. This is healthy.

[As a side-note I have to say occasionally things go wrong even in the West. Witness the defence of 'freedom' AKA 'War On Terror' by the Bush Cartel. Government should never be relied upon to defend liberty - in the US terrible harm has been done to the US constitution (Patriot Act, Homeland Security), legal process (Guantanamo Bay, spying on US citizens phone calls and emails) in the name of defending freedom. The effect has of course been the opposite - the US government has become more authoritarian.]

In Africa freedom is not taken for granted. It is something that Africans are grateful to be GIVEN. In other words, it is bestowed upon them by 'benevolent' leaders like Mugabe, Banda, Mbeki. 'Freedom' in Africa is expected to flow downward TO the people. At the same time these leaders are authority figures as all governments are. You get the problem of the Bush Cartel: defense of freedom on one hand and authoritarianism on the other in the same person. There is a contradiction here that is a direct result of a deeper cultural issue: African societies are still very patriarchal. The 'father-figure' is the giver or wisdom, law and happiness/freedom. And the idea that authority can and should be questioned and criticised is alien to most of the masses.

In Zimbabwe there is no revolution and won't be because that cultural disconnect prevents it. They are still waiting to be GIVEN freedom by the next great benevolent dictator.

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