Friday, April 29, 2005

Finally they seem to get it.

After declaring their unwillingness to change leadership (see post below), the MDC has now decided they are going to change how they do things. Tapiwa Mashakada, their shadow Finance Minister speaking at a forum in London earlier this week indicated that the MDC is looking for the public to lead Zimbabwe's next revolution. He said;

“In successful revolutions it is the people who drag the leaders along screaming,” he said – and asked “Where does leadership’s role end and people’s power begin?”

See this.

Now we wait for their actions to back these words because as I've said before,

"As long as ordinary Zimbabweans don't hear the MDC championing their cause, for food security, employment and sustained economic growth, MDC can rest assured all the sympathies for them will come from a small minority. And that spells doom for them unless they change the mainstay of their platform and it's not too late to do that yet."

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  • Thursday, April 28, 2005

    MDC and SW Radio Africa

    The MDC is not going to entertain calls for their leader Morgan Tsvangirai to step down. Speaking in an interview with AfrosoundsFM Thursday evening, the party's Paul Themba Nyathi said his boss had nothing to answer for saying,

    "There are 120 MDC candidates who stood in the last election, and Tsvangirai didn't stand. This idea that Tsvangirai has lost an election or that to get rid of Zanu PF and Mugabe, Tsvangirai should be targeted, I feel it is energy wasted."
    See this for more info.

    Meanwhile this just in: The International Press Institute announced that it will honor UK based independent radio station, SW Radio Africa with this year's "Free Media Pioneer" award. SW Radio Africa is the foremost news radio station for Zimbabweans within and outside the country. The station was founded and is run by former Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation personnel who were dismissed from the parastatal when they were deemed a threat.

    Past winners of the award include the Ethiopian Free Press Journalists' Association (EFJA), Radio B-92 of Serbia, and the Alliance of Independent Journalists (AJI) of Jakarta among others.

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  • Wednesday, April 27, 2005

    What the...?

    Surprise, surprise! Zimbabwe is back on the 15 member UN Commission on Human Rights. Among some of the issues the commission is mandated to tackle are democracy, independence of the judiciary, HIV/AIDS, freedom of opinion and expression, food and many others. Off course, Zimbabwe's leaders would have us believe Zimbabwe is a world leader in all these areas and beyond. The African leaders who nominated her to the commission obviously think that about Zim. All this while water, electricity, fuel and food are running out in Harare!

    This development leaves one wondering whether the commission is meant to be populated by custodians of human rights or vile prototypes of rights violaters for immediate insider information to the commission. This is yet another illustration that the Zimbabwe Crisis is a delicate diplomatic issue whose perception is not universal to all who behold it.

    What to do, what to do?

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  • As we see it

    I blame the MDC for having a "Jesus complex" in this entry. Chido Makunike, whose writings are becoming a regular fixture on the menu at NewZimbabwe seems to think problem lies with entire nation, which he blames for suffering from an outbreak of the "Messiah Complex."

    In essence, I agree with Makunike's sense that change, if any at all is to come, must come from within. I however, am a lot more cautious about wholesomely blaming all the people for a languidity we know is rampant. For starters, the people of Zimbabwe are not an ignorant, negligent mass. People's eagerness to "Get up, stand up," as it were, is constrained by a myriad of circumstances which must not be dismissed by the generality that Zimbabweans do not want to save themselves. My countrymen have been hoodwinked--tied down if you will--by a sly and avaricious leadership. See this. The other thing we cannot forget is the role of fear in propping up a teetering tyranny complimented by a tight muzzle on the press.

    I've said it before and I'll say it again; we're just as inept as we blame the MDC, ZANU, Zimbababweans of being in our discussion if we fail to empathize with the laity in Zimbabwe while callously diagnosing their every problem from the haven of a sanctuary anywhere outside the country. If we are real about bringing democracy to Zimbabwe, the path we trend must be broken in by those valiant citizens who bear the brunt of burden daily there.

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  • Tuesday, April 26, 2005

    "Things fall apart." -Chinua Achebe

    Has anyone else been bugged by the apparent reticence of the Zimbabwean people to stand up for their rights in some sort of protest over the flagrant abuse of power by the government? I have. It's bugged me so much, I'd even started to think that maybe the people of Zimbabwe enjoy the inept leadership of ZANU-PF even in the face of the country's worst crises. Then all of a sudden it hit me quite coincidentaly while I was reading this article from yesterday's The Horrid (a.k.a. The Herald).

    The story, which chronicles impending rental increases in Harare, reveals how ZANU-PF's anti-market antics have kept them in power. Mugabe & Co. have placated the anger of the masses by effectively imposing price ceilings on a majority of the basic commodities including in rentals. As the story reports, at today's official exchange rates, there are people that are renting full housesfor a lot less than $1 a month and there's businesses occupying premium space in the city center for under $500! But that's just government controlled properties, rentals in the parallel market a lot closer to reality. Outrageous.

    Don't hasten to pitch the, "it's the MDC controlled municipality that is mucking things up," fit just yet. Recall the numerous forays into local government affairs by the state culminating in the introduction and imposition of governors for the "metro provinces" of Harare and Bulawayo. ZANU is fully and undeniably culpable.

    But as that prolific writer Chinua Achebe titled his most popular book, "Things Fall Apart." It's all beginning to unravel for ZANU in Zimbabwe. The curtain of reality is fast coming down on their charade as providers and patron saints of the public. See this and this post over at Sokwanele.

    All is not well in the state of Zimbabwe.

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  • Monday, April 25, 2005

    Say it ain't so

    Apparently Mugabe's confirmation of his intentions to retire come 2008 irked some attention over the weekend. The furore started on Friday when Zimbabwe's president stated his intention to quit politics for writing after his current term ends in an interview with the Jakara Post, then everyone reported it like it was new news. Grunt.

    By the time Monday came, it was evident that there's a division in people's perception of the aged leader's announcement. On the one hand are the naysayers who sharply caution us against counting our chicks before the eggs hatch. Removed from the sentiment, this camp has worked themselves into a frenzy based on overstated evidence.

    Take a look if you will at this missive from Daniel Molokela. After wasting time chastising the media for "taking Mugabe too seriously," the esteemed lawyer and otherwise elegant pundit provides his reasons for doubting the authenticity of Mugabe's alleged intentions: The fact that Mugabe did not make this statement at the grand stage of the jubilee celebrations a week ago, and that Mugabe made the announcement on foreign soil. Misinformed and misdirected. Molokela forgets that the first time Mugabe indicated his intention to step down is as far back as 2003! In November of last year, just before ZANU-PF's people's congress, Mugabe himself encouraged people to discuss and debate the 'succession question.' The Jubilee celebration was about Zimbabwe, not its leader, that's why Mugabe allude to the succession dispute a week ago.

    My objection to this line of thought is best summed up in the words of deposed information minister, Jonathan Moyo who said, "it is complete madness to expect that Zimbabwe should only have four leaders in a century."

    On the other hand, are the optimists who are so elated at the prospects of the end of the "Mugabe era" that they're encouraging Zimbabweans to hang tight for the end is nigh. For lack of a better spokesman I'm forced to refer once again to Jonathan Moyo's interview in the Mail & Guardian as a case in point. NewZimbabwe's Courage Shumba subscribes to this optimism too in this article.

    Will it be?

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  • Friday, April 22, 2005

    "Anti-people conspiracy." Endemic or Pandemic among African Leaders?

    There's no denying it, much of Africa is under seige from avaricous leaders pillaging and plundering the community's treasures with little regard for the people they lead.

    Consipiracy thoerists claim governance on the continent is only a malleable asset for the soaring ambitions of strongmen turned "leaders." In articles like this one and this one, they point to political crises raging across the continent from Djibouti to Togo; Kenya to Zambia and Zimbabwe. The argument they posit, though corroborative, must not be accepted as definitive without close scrutiny because of its' immense implications for redress across the board.

    First off, while it's obvious that this "anti-people" stance is a pandemic amongst the continent's leadership, it's not a given that it is necessarily endemic between the said leaders. Several examples of African leaders whose moral immunity has withstood the appeal of self aggrandizement come to mind; Festus Mogae (Botswana), Sam Mujoma (Namibia), Nelson Mandela and Thabo Mbeki (South Africa) all from Southern African are examples.

    Further, because this stance is a pandemic, doesn't mean it's a result of it being endemic. What I mean by this is that even though corruption and greed are widespread amongst Africa's leaders, it doesn't necessarily follow that they learn the tricks of the trade from each other. This is moreso given the wide variety of terms in power for the African leaders. Zimbabwe has only been independent 25 years, yet Zambia and most of Africa got their independence in the 1960's. To assume that African leaders "indoctrinate" each other in the inordinate art of graft is fallacious.

    This distinction is important because therein lies the basis of any redress of the political problems rampant across Africa today. How we propose to ammend the Zimbabwean crisis is incumbent on whether we view Mugabe's corrupt and nepotistic tendencies as a single case that is part of a widespread pandemic or as an individual case among a series of many such cases with forces that cause each corrupt leader to support and bolster the other. Confusion over this distinction is the impetus behind the failure of numerous diplomatic attempts mitigating various problems in Africa.

    So, is this "anti-people conspiracy" endemic or pandemic among Africa's leaders? What do you think?

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  • Thursday, April 21, 2005

    "Protest or Perish!" Activist tells nation.

    Human rights activist, Jenni Williams in London for a brief visit summed up the dilemma facing Zimbabweans in a speech at a forum hosted by the MDC's Central London branch saying, "Zimbabweans have two clear options: mass starvation or mass action." See this.

    We've heard this mantra iterated and reiterated in several quarters including here over the last couple weeks. Whether the Zimbabwean leadership (both MDC and ZANU) will get this message remains to be seen

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  • Sokwanele accents consensus

    Consensus is building amongst Zimbos writing in cyberspace that, as this Sokwanele entry aptly concludes, "The MDC must adapt or die."

    I'm still baffled by the gall of some in Zimbabwe to engage in violent riots over a soccer game instead of vesting our energies in matters more relevant to the day (that could use the energies of an unsatisfied public). I want to know the real impetus behind the riots at the soccer game.

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  • Wednesday, April 20, 2005

    "Go east young nation, go east," Mugabe tells Zimbaweans

    Mugabe is in Indonesia for the Africa-Asia confrence. Increasingly isolated by the west, Mugabe has turned his attentions to Asian countries finding favor in China, a liberation struggle ally. Reports like this one recount how China has replaced the US and European nations on the "Made in..." label of most wares on sale in Zimbabwe. "After all," Mugabe told Zimbabweans, "the sun rises in the east and sets in the west."

    While good for the ailing economy, the Asia inertia impacts the Zimbabwean crisis in a unique way, and deserves delicate and diligent evaluation of it's function in the advance of democracy there and the excaberation of the global "east-west rift."

    On the homefront, MDC has "cut" ties with the South African government. Well and good. On behalf of millions of Zimbabweans looking to the MDC for hope I ask, "Of what importance is that to the quest for food, social and physical security?" ....Another case of barking up the wrong tree.

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  • Monday, April 18, 2005

    Independence, Crisis, or Paralysis?

    That is the question South African scholars David Monyae and Godfrey Chesang ask in this article posted on South Africa's business day.

    Meanwhile on this independence day Mugabe was reminding anyone you cares to listen or read (for the umpteenth time) that Zimbabwe is in Africa not Europe in his speech at the independence celebrations. The Sunday Mail's Munyaradzi Huni offers this convoluted historical summation of Zimbabwe's 25 short years.

    Independence, Crisis, or Paralysis what say you?

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  • Friday, April 15, 2005


    The MDC has published a dossier chronicling all of ZANU-PF's systematic and sporadic violations of the electoral process during the parliamentary elections. The document titled "Stolen" states that in order to open up democratic space in Zimbabwe the government must:

    "Draft and formulate a new constitution. This exercise must be people driven and conducted in an open, transparent and consultative manner. The new constitution must entrench citizens’ basic freedoms and human rights and provide the anchor for accountable, pluralistic and democratic government.

    Stop the use of food as a political weapon. All food must be distributed through commercial outlets where it would be available to all without restriction.

    Disband the youth militia and fully restore the rule of law

    Ensure that police and security forces are impartial and non-partisan in conducting their duties.

    Remove all legal and administrative obstacles with regards to the registration of voters, in particular the stringent proof of residency requirements. All Zimbabwean citizens residing outside the country must have the right to vote.

    Amend the Public Order and Security Act (POSA) to fully restore basic rights pertaining to freedom of assembly and association and in particular repeal the clause which obliges political parties and others to inform the police whenever they are planning to hold a meeting.

    Amend the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA) to remove the powers of state controlled institutions to close down newspapers and to decriminalize so called ‘false news’.

    Immediately allow all closed newspapers (Daily News, Daily News on Sunday, the Tribune and the Weekly Times) to re-open unconditionally.

    Ensure fair and equitable access to publicly owned newspapers by all political parties at all times. In addition, these newspapers must be regulated to report without bias.

    Ensure that the public electronic media is accessible by all political parties at all times and that there is fair and unbiased reporting by the public broadcaster.

    Open up the airwaves and allow private broadcasters to broadcast. This process must be completed within six months.

    Depoliticise traditional leaders and provide in law that they are prohibited from playing any active role in politics.

    Open up all resettlement areas to all political parties. The ruling party must stop running these areas as organs of Zanu PF by restoring full political freedoms in ALL resettlement areas. There must also be a cessation of all threats of withdrawal of land rights from those who do not wish to be members or supporters of Zanu PF. "

    What do you think??

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  • Tribalism in Zimbabwe?

    A fascinating discussion about tribal dynamics and their influence on Zimbabwean politics is going on after this article by Ndaba Mabhena.

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  • Thursday, April 14, 2005

    Bush '04, Mugabe '05; A tale of similar fates

    Gene C. Gerard makes interesting comparisons between Bush's re-election last November and Mugabe's victory in the Zimbabwean parliamentaries last month in this article. Mr. Gerard fittingly concludes the article with this insightful indicment:
    "The Bush administration, and indeed many Americans, love to hold up America as a beacon to the rest of the world. They insist that we are the ultimate democracy to which totalitarian governments, third-world nations, and banana republics should attempt to emulate. If that’s the case, Zimbabwe is already very American."

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  • MDC and it's "Jesus Complex"

    Three prominent Zimbabwean journos have blasted the MDC so far this week. Hopefully they'll get the message that they need to serve and stop trying to "save" them.

    Denford Magora of the Financial Gazette joined the swelling ranks of MDC critics today. He has gone on record criticizing the MDC for exhibiting a "Jesus complex," in this fascinating article.

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  • Wednesday, April 13, 2005

    Madhuku gets it

    National Constitutional Assembly (NCA) leader, Dr. Lovemore Madhuku says the only way MDC can remain viable to Zimbabweans is by mobilising them to stand up for their rights. In an interview with Trevor Ncube's Mail & Guardian, the University of Zimbabwe professor said the MDC's future hangs in the balance depending on what they do. Their political future is incumbent on their ability to incite public action against ZANU, they can't go it alone.

    Sadly it appears, MDC contintues in it's delusion that it holds the patent to the access of democracy in Zimbabwe. MDC secretary general, Welshman Ncube told a press confrence Wednesday that the MDC is,"going to devise a programme of political action."

    MDC must realize that the people won't be held captive to their whimsical planning. The people are facing difficulties which require immediate action.

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  • Tuesday, April 12, 2005

    Denied a return to the gravy train, ex-minister takes own life

    The debut of the ZANU-PF legislative term has met it's first bottleneck from within the party in the unceremonious death of one Enos Chikowore, a former party stalwart. A day after new legislators and governors were sworn in, The Horrid (formerly Herald) broke news of the former minister's death in this article.

    Alternative versions of the same story at foreign based NewZimbabwe and Zimonline exposed murky details of an alleged suicide caused by bitterness at Mugabe's apperent oversight of Chikowore in his parliamentary appointments. Zimonline speculates that the University of New York educated Chikowore took his life after Mugabe spurned his request to be returned to the bounty of government. NewZimbabwe presents the same case in this report.

    There is no clearer sign to Mugabe that life for Zimbabweans outside of his avaricious circle of friends is unlivable than this.

    Could this be an omen of the harsh realities ahead for ZANU-PF?

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  • If you're in Washington D.C.

    Zimbabwean ambassador to the US, Simbi Mubako holds a press confrence this afternoon at the National Press Club (Murrow Room?) at 1:00 PM EST on the subject of the Elections in Zimbabwe. See this.

    The National Press Club is located at 529 14th St. NW, 13th Floor - Washington, DC 20045

    If you can stop by.
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  • Monday, April 11, 2005

    Georgina agrees

    Veteran Zimbabwean broadcaster Georgina Goodwin of SW Radio Africa echoes my sentiments that the only way forward for Zimbabwe is a movement that espouses the needs of Zimbabweans. I agree with her when she says that any movement henceforth must be of and for the ordinary people not about western ideals of democracy (or for that matter the rich and powerful bourgeois in parliament) in this article from this week's edition of The Zimbabwean.

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  • Mugabe's new Parliament

    Zimbabwe's new parliament is set to be sworn in launching a legislative era that promises more gloom for Zimbabweans as ZANU-PF resumes this term with a constitution-amending two-thirds majority. Robert Mugabe continued on his resolute path towards consolidating gains secured by ZANU-PF in last month's parliamentary election by quickly making his appointments to the august house.

    The Herald a.k.a. The Horrid (Government propaganda) reports that Mugabe only handpicked twelve of the thirty "non-constituency" parliamentarians. Zimbabwe's current constitution which will most likely receive a mud splash from ZANU-PF in the next two months, reserves one-fifth (30) of the parliamentary seats for presidential appointments. This time around, Mugabe has chosen to populate those seats as follows: ten traditional chiefs (mostly all ZANU apologists) elected by the chiefs electoral college, eight governors/residential ministers from Zimbabwe's eight provinces, and twelve non-constituency members.

    What does this mean for the Zimbabwean people? It means more doom and gloom than the last five years when the MDC's presence in parliament derailed many of the draconian measures Mugabe has been long set on imposing. It is irrevocably clear Mugabe is going to make good on his promise to change the constitution to reintroduce an appointative senate and a ceremonial prime minister. The idea seems to be that whoever is appointed prime minister, is the heir apparent so that come 2008 when the presidential election is due, said candidate will have the advantage of familiarity with legislative mechanisms of Zimbabwe over his opponent(s). Even worse than this primary supposition is the highly likely probability that said prime minister will use his position to postpone or rob Zimbabweans of the opportunity to vote for their next leader. Doom and gloom I say.

    Of the twelve appointments, two standout for the implications they carry. The first is that of Emmerson Mnangagwa, a former minister and ZANU-PF bigwig who was the speaker of the house in the last term. This appointment effectively reduces him to a minnow in the party in which he once had unbridled influence. Why such a drastic change? Blame it on ambition as documented in the post below.

    Patrick Chinamasa, the country's justice minister (for now) is the second interesting appointment. His appointment effectively absolves him of any wrongdoing during his involvement in the failed attempts by the "young turks" faction in ZANU to catapult Mnangagwa to forefront of the succesion battle. Essentially what this means is he now is the new young favorite of Mugabe after Moyo fell out of favor with premier. It will be interesting to see how the dynamic between Moyo (in parliament as an independent) and Chinamasa manifests itself. These two are responsible for many of Zimbabwe's new and tougher laws which have effectively stifled freedom in the country. Moyo, now out of both the cabinet and ZANU is already promising to lodge hearty objections to many of the oppressive laws he helped pen either in whole or in part.

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  • Mugabe on the move

    The controversy surrounding picking a succesor for when Mugabe retires in 2008 continues to dog ZANU-PF. For years Zimbabwean media have speculated that there a two factions within ZANU. The first faction is led by retired army general Solomon Mujuru while long time Mugabe confidante Emmerson Mnangagwa leads the other. The rivalry between these two camps has been so intense, it seriously threatened to undo ZANU-PF late last year in the run up to the party's congress.

    The Mujuru faction now has a distinct upper hand after Mugabe followed up the appointment of Joyce Mujuru (yes, the general's wife) to vice president and dismissal of Jonathan Moyo (Mnangagwa alligned former information minister) with a cabinet reshuffle Monday.

    The Zimbabwean president made a series of government appointments signalling his commitment to obliterating the Mnangagwa faction. He appointed four new governers all from the Mujuru faction while deposing Josiah Hungwe (longstanding Masvingo governor) who is known to have been pro-Mnangagwa and is replacing Emmerson Mnangagwa with ZANU-PF national chairman John Nkomo as speaker of parliament--the third most powerful position in government. Read about it here.

    Where does this leave Mnangagwa we wonder (for he is no lightweight in ZANU politics and has a history full of secrets that could undo Mugabe)?

    Read this for more background.

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  • AIDS is important in our discussions about democracy

    Robert Mayer, of Publius Pundit suggested last week that I expound on what I think should be topical issues at the fore of discourse about Zimbabwe.

    I found this story highlighting how the AIDS plague is affecting Zimbabweans. Notice the disparity; one of the highest infection rates in the world yet one of the lowest dollar amounts spent per patient.

    The story told in the article is a good apologetic for why our discussion on forums such as these must cover a wide range of topics, not just how (and if) people voted. Tragically, we continue to ignore this reality in our rapid clamourings about the state of democracy (or need for it) in Zimbabwe and elsewhere. Ironically, there can never be democracy (regardless of how much we pontificate, blog, and report about it) until the people (we claim to care about) are assured of our authentic efforts towards their sustained wellbeing. That's why we must pay attention other seemingly non-political matters such as these and think through solution for them.

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  • Sunday, April 10, 2005

    Why MDC doesn't have the support of most Zimbabweans (A broad overview)

    In the hours right after the election in Zimbabwe, it became apparent that the MDC doesn't have the support of the majority. While the extent of ZANU-PF's cheating in the polls needs to be ascertained, truthful soul seeking and introspection are due on the MDC's part. Zimbabwean chatrooms, forums, and call in programs were awash with the rabid anger of a society who's hopes had been aborted by a losing party that had promised deliverance. I thought it prepostrous that people accused the MDC of a languid and disillusioned campaign. In my naivity, I thought that the MDC was unfairly being accused of complacency and lack of virile leadership when they had been cheated yet again. So I did not address the question of what went wrong with the MDC parliamentary campaign.

    Led by the western press' obligatory accusations of ZANU-PF's chicanery, the world was led to overlook the mediocrity bedevilling the MDC. Not that ZANU didn't cheat, the fact is the accusations of cheating were trumped up so much that noone ever paid attention to the fact that Zimbabweans themselves have ruled out the MDC as an alternative for the country's political future. This off course, just another example of the gulf between the rallying cry amongst proponents of democracy in the west their counterparts in Zimbabwe (which zimpundit has taken to highlighting in recent weeks).

    But since some in the west's elite media have now taken an interest in the MDC's inability to entice the Zimbabwean people, perhaps it's time to ask how the MDC relieved themselves of popular support in Zimbabwe after such a promising start. "Promising start? How so," you ask. Allow me reader to explain what was right about the MDC that has since gone wrong in six short years.

    During the heyday of Mugabe's rule (late 80's to the mid 90's) when Zimbabwe was known variably as the "breadbasket of Africa" or "jewel of Africa." A radical transformation of the proletariat was going on. After working as indentured slaves during the colonial era, ordinary Zimbo's (as we now casually refer to ourselves in the diaspora), started experiencing gainful employment of their labor for the first time. Between the money earned from working in urban centers, and excess output from their subsitence agricultural endeavors, Zimbabweans were realizing surplus.

    With that came a whole new set of expectations for governance and citizen rights. As Zimabweans began to grasp the extent of their enfranchisement, workers and student unions emerged, and a vibrant affirmative action movement (for both indigenization and women's right's) energized the proletariat to heights eclipsing the exhileration of Chimurenga (liberation struggle).

    There was so much faith in the collective action movement that after a general increase in prices of basic necessities in late January of 1998, a wave of strikes ground the nation to a halt. Surprised by the popularity (and success) of the riots, the state responded brutally, killing eight citizens during the melee that ensued during the riots. The most influental group in the success of the strikes was none other than the Morgan Tsvangira led ZCTU (the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions).

    Fast forward a year later when the government attempted to ammend the constitution via referendum. What changes Mugabe and his colleagues wanted to impose on the people of Zimbabwe at that time has been a subject of speculation and debate but essentially remains to be seen (since now Mugabe won himself the prerogative to change the constitution as he wishes). The important detail about this is that again in this pivotal period in contemporary Zimbabwean politics, it was the ZCTU that translated the implications of the amendment to lay people. I was in Harare on the day of referundum and can remember the activists standing on street corners passing out flyers urging people to vote "no" to the draft constitution. A second defeat of government by public will.

    In both these instances, Tsvangirai (then ZCTU leader) engendered, articulated, and alligned his movement to pains and wishes of ordinary Zimbabweans. That was the impetus behind his snowballing fame. Because of that he gained popularity and his political stock vaulted him to the leadership of the MDC. Soon after the public's rejection fo the draft constititution, Zimbabwe's politics were forever changed when the MDC declared their intention to run in the June 2000 parliamentary elections.

    The stakes were high. On the one hand, ZANU-PF with the humiliations detailed above fresh in their memories were for the first time, feeling the pinch of threatening opposition. So they committed themselves to rapid land redistribution and a belated veteran's gratuity payment. Meanwhile, the MDC encouraged by their increasing popularity decided to throw in all the candidates they could. For the first time in Zimbabwe's history, ZANU won an election narrowly when they got away with a 61-58 victory in the parliamentaries. This culminated the promising start the MDC had.

    Somehow, after the MDC debuted as a political party, Tsvangirai's leadership began to distance itself from the realities and hardships faced by the proletariat. Change became his party's clarion call. As early as the run up to the 2002 presidential elections, MDC began to emphasize the need for regime change louder than they articulated wishes of the masses.

    But these continued cries for change didn't alleviate the pinch of an economy imploding under high inflation and unemployment as well as the detrimental effects of AIDS. Those were and remain the immediate concerns of the public in Zimbabwe.

    As long as ordinary Zimbabweans don't hear the MDC championing their cause, for food security, employment and sustained economic growth, MDC can rest assured all the sympathies for them will come from a small minority. And that spells doom for them unless they change the mainstay of their platform and it's not too late to do that yet.

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  • Friday, April 08, 2005

    On Fraternization (or want there of)

    Human nature has mischievous nack of rearing it's unconditioned head in our most vulnerable and public moments despite our persitant efforts at "proffesionalism, civil conduct, diplomacy, self control, et al."

    Mourners gathered to honor the deceased pontiff (and dispersed across the globe) were taken aback when a formerly endeared African leader in a moment when his natural penchant for fraternization with royalty overpowered his sharp disdain for all things British. It is reported that said leader was caught leaning over chairs (an embarassment in its' own right) just to shake the hand of the ambiguous heir to the British thrown.

    We know this frailty (in the art of civility) exhibited by the said leader was not due to the excitement of the moment. No, it is in his very nature to jump into royalty (or into royalty's hands). He's known to have availed himself of such an opportunity with another high ranking British official before. Read this.

    (DISCLAIMER: Zimpundit is witholding the names of participants in this humiliating ordeal to spare all involved further embarassment)

    Zimpundit is also pleased to learn that there some African brethren out there with their heads screwed on right and share similar convictions about the state of Zimbabwe, unity and the way forward. Read this

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  • Legitimacy: What the Zimbabwean Regime Longs for (that they won't get)

    Barely a week after ZANU-PF won (or is it won themselves?) the parliamentary elections, their dissatisfaction with sweeping powers is undeniably clear. What Mugabe & Co. want more than anything else now is legitimacy.

    It started on Saturday when Mugabe uncharecteristically extended a friendly handshake to the MDC saying ZANU-PF was still open to talks with the opposition in this interview. Since arriving in the Vatican (the only place west of Africa that hasn't banned him), Mugabe has since been seeking the audience of former Eastern Block countries now in the EU. The strategy is to lobby these countries to agitate for the reprieve of the EU's sanctions.

    Meanwhile at home, the Fingaz hit the nail right on the head asking, "Will ZANU PF get the Legimacy it Sought?" The answer is no. As long they care more about their own avaricious ambitions, many Zimbabweans (even though they vote for ZANU) will remain unimpressed with ZANU-PF's failure to rule according to their mandate. If ZANU wants legitimacy at least from within, they must address the immediate needs for food, healthcare and a good economy right now and do it well.

    On the US senate floor Russel Fiengold cast another isolated voice against the Mugabe regime in this statement.

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  • Thursday, April 07, 2005


    When I first browsed through this report about Mugabe's trip to attend the Pope's funeral, it didnt' matter. For a moment I had returned to pre-sanctions Zimbabwe.

    But there are sanctions in place that supposedly would impede this trip. His presence amidist other world leaders at the deceased pontiff's funeral flies in the face of the "targeted sanctions" supposedly imposed on him by the EU and the US. Read this.

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  • Wednesday, April 06, 2005


    Zimpundit is disgusted by the audicity of Robert Mayer in posting this on Publius Pundit.

    What is your point in republishing these grotesque details of a war crime that have long been public knowledge. To who's benefit is it that you rehatch the cruel fate that met the victims of this homicide? If you think you're revealing new details to the west about what you think of Mugabe as cruel tyrant (as you purport to be doing), you're preaching to the choir. Let me remind you that it is the west that dubbed Mugabe a tryant in the first place. Most of my lay friends here in the US already have this view of the man. They don't need to read such inflaming reports to convice them. Besides you've already impressed upon all of your readers your contempt of Mugabe with the help of your clandistine sources who's questionable connections to Zimbabwe are as dated as their retrogressive view of the nation in your previous entries.

    While your concern for democracy in my country is valid and welcome, don't fool yourself or any of your readers thinking that by egging on old tensions, you're doing the Zimbabwean people a favor. Irresponsible reporting like this only further polarizes stakeholders in the Zimbabwe crisis. That is no way push for democracy and an amicable end to the Zimbabwean crisis.

    I've said it before, and I'll say it again, our dialogue about Zimbabwe is only beneficial to the masses there only in as much as it engenders and voices their dire needs. As long as our chief priority is to shamelessly expose the likes of Mugabe for their human rights abuses and that supercedes the desperate voices pleading for a reprieve from the unbearable stresses of life in Zimbabwe and elsewhere, all we're doing is blowing air and taking up time and spice.

    As I mentioned in this comment (comment 6) posted earlier on the site, I'm not pro-Mugabe. What I'm trying induce, which you'll hopefully see as beneficial, is the value of thinking of the way forward for Zimbabwe and holding the interests of ordinary Zimbabweans at heart. That is the mandate of democracy and justice.

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  • Tuesday, April 05, 2005

    Fraud allegations explained

    Sokwanele has just published a report documenting the details of the alleged rigging that took place during the elections last week.

    Again, I ask is this tree we want to be barking up right now? Or better yet, is this the tree the majority in Zimbabwe cares to bark up?

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  • Monday, April 04, 2005

    Ukraine in the making?

    Apparently Zimbabwean police halted a demonstration protesting the election results. But there's significant evidence of subversive non-voilent actions that may snowball into something.

    Could this be?

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  • What the Elections Tell us about Zimbabwe

    Enough with the complaints about the poor transparency of the elections already! I almost get the feeling many critics expected the elections to go awry. Oh wait, they actually did articulate their impotent pessism prior to the elections. So if they new things would go bad before they went bad, why didn’t they do something? Speaking of which, I’ve noticed an interesting chasm developing between critics and the proponents of the Zimbabwe elections; the loudest criticism emanates from western nations while Africans and most of the Zimabweans (who are in Zimbabwe) I’ve talked to say the election was free and fair. If not that, Zimbabweans report it was the best election yet in Zimbabwe’s short history.

    This discrepancy is not a new trend in how the Zimbabwean saga is playing out in the global media. It certainly is worth noting that in light of the question I posed earlier those with a vested interest in Zimbabwe (i.e. citizens and neighboring countries) could have done something had they decried the elections in Zimbabwe. Whether they will do anything or not is yet to be seen. It’s nonetheless curious to notice that people with no directly vested interest in Zimbabwe (westerners, and people outside Zimbabwe) are crying foul louder than the very owners of Zimbabwean democracy. This is just one of the many intriguing facets fogging a clear perception of events in the Southern African nation.

    To me, the question about the validity of the poll is moot for a couple reasons: first as stated above, question it as we may, the fact is Zimbabweans actually did vote on Thursday and they report they did it freely and with minimal intimidation. Besides, as much people might want to accuse ZANU (PF) of rigging, who didn’t know ZANU was going to cheat? MDC’s allegegations were first pitched months ahead of the poll right down to the last hours before the results were announced. See this too. But they still went ahead and contested. So by contesting in the flawed elections, they tacitly endorsed the corrupt election machinery in Zimbabwe.

    We must now concern ourselves with the task of deciphering what the election results tell us about present day Zimbabwean society.

    The world doesn’t seem to get this yet but ordnary Zimbabweans are not interested in protesting the outcome of the elections. They are more concerned with graver matters affecting their wellbeing. For starters, there’s a drought threatening the food security of many families. Then there’s the rampant AIDS pandemic, and a little problem known as the fastest shrinking economy in the world which has seen astronomical inflation rates and high unemployment. Lay Zimbabweans neither have the time, energy nor resources to fight for their full democratic rights.

    Second, it is apparent that Zimbabwan society is divided today. But these divisions are not exclusively along tribal lines as some would like think. The other important distinctions visible in Zimbabwe today are between the rich and the poor; and tax payers and government handout recipients (non-tax payers). And the voting patterns illustrate these well; government handout dependent peasants (mostly rural and non-taxpaying) view the ZANU (PF) government as the source of their wellbeing and so they voted likewise. Meanwhile the rich, educated and tax paying urbanites, realize with disgust what is being done with their tax dollars so they rejected ZANU at the polls.

    Recoginition of these division dictate the necessity of finding common ground as the only way forward for Zimbabwe. We must dedicate ourselves to nation building and restoring the glory of our country. To do that we must quickly get over our differences because the hour draws nigh when we will not be afforded the opportunity to come together again. Now is the hour to reach across the divide, join hands and look forward in unity. I don’t know how all this will look like, I only know that the divisions which are now only emerging are too far too deeply seeded among Zimbabweans to neglect.

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  • Looks like some people are looking past the elections

    Whether you think the elections were free and fair or not, what do you think about this symbolic gesture of moving forward and taking to heart the concerns that affect Zimbabweans daily?

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  • Sunday, April 03, 2005

    Post Election Fever

    Here's a healthy dose of bloviating going on around the globe about last week's elections in Zim. The victor gloats here whilst the losers object. There are more allegations of tampering here too.

    Here's an interesting proposition. And Mugabe now wants to "bury the hatchet," can he be believed?

    Should Zimbabweans be debating the freeness/fairness of Thursday election, protesting, criticizing (MDC and ZANU) for their flaws, or forging ahead with crucial talks about nation building henceforth? More soon....

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  • Saturday, April 02, 2005

    Evidence that demands a verdict: A new day is dawning for Zimbabwe.

    It might have shocked or even disturbed some of you that I haven’t shared my views on the parliamentary elections going on in my home country today. I guess I’ve been thinking, digesting if you will because a lot has been going on and there’s a lot of evidence that demands a verdict.

    The run up to these elections has been more controversial than any other election in Zimbabwe’s short 25 year history. Just two months ago, the MDC, Zimbabwe only opposition party had it’s supporters in limbo as they balked and stalled about whether they were going to participate in the elections. The MDC’s leadership complained that the playing field was not even. I’m surprised they thought it could be even after petitions they filed in the courts appealing some of ZANU (PF's) victories from the last elections were held up by pro-Mugabe over the last five years.

    The teething pains of a political party in its infancy saw the MDC weather it’s first major internal squabbles when Sekesayi Makwavara, the political double agent dumped MDC on whose ticket she’d been elected deputy mayor of the former sunshine city, Harare, and when Tendai Musekiwa reneged on his parliamentary obligations absconding to the UK. See this A few other people left the MDC and off course the government’s propaganda machinery pounced proclaiming the MDC an effigy of days past. It is during this inaugral term too that MDC was rocked by the suicide of Learnmore Jongwe a founding member of both the opposition party and ZINASU—the Zimbabwe National Students Union. The tragic death of this young lawyer cum politician cast a dark cloud over all those who had high esteem for the moral fiber of the MDC. Jongwe in death as he was in life, will be remembered as a maverick and a real agitator whose contributions to the evolution of democracy in Zimbabwe will be hard to replicate.
    If you think these tales from the MDC are high drama, hold your scowls and conclusions for these juicy extracts of some of the events that unfolded in ZANU (PF) since the last elections. The overarching theme for much of the jostling going on in Zimbabwe’s ruling party for the past three years has been propelled by Mugabe’s long awaited and overdue announcement of his intentions to quit active politics after his current term expires in 2008. Many of his lieutenants and their backers have been busy aligning themselves covertly and openly to people they see as assets in their aspirations for the top position. The death of Simon Mzenda, former vice president further complicated things because whoever would get the nod to replace him would be tipped to succeed Mugabe since Mugabe himself would pick the next veep.
    Knowing the seething ambition of his followers, Mugabe took his time before appointing a new vice president. Commence chaos! Secret meetings were called, fliers denouncing perceived opponents were flying everywhere even at the ZANU (PF) congress late last year. So intense was the internal battle, finance minister Chris Kuruneri was arrested (in April ’04. He’s still being held); an espionage plot involving indigenization proponent and Mugabe’s nephew Phillip Chiyangwa was uncovered; and Mugabe threatened his underperforming followers that he’d have no place for them in his cabinet if they could not win in today’s elections. And then there was Jonathan Moyo.

    Educated in the US and accused by the Ford Foundation of stealing their money through devious operations in South Africa and Namibia when he was meant to be doing research for them, Moyo has been the biggest newsmaker in Zimbabwe. Just five years ago, the vapid tongued scholar turned politician accused Mugabe of self aggrandizement. That was before Mugabe appointed him first into the upper echelons of ZANU (PF) and then into cabinet as a junior unelected information minister. Using high sounding language and sensuous imagery, Moyo catapulted himself to the fore of Zimbabwean politics. He closed newspapers, repeatedly denigrated the opposition, produced an unending bevy of propaganda, promulgated authoritarian laws, and single handedly edited all of the government run publications.

    But even Moyo found himself overpowered when he delved into the controversy surrounding the vacant vice presidential spot. In what will forever be known as the infamous “Tsholotsho Declaration,” he unwittingly nailed himself to the cross by getting in the way of Mugabe’s intentions. It is alleged Moyo courted several provincial leaders in ZANU (PF) and had them flown to Dingane School in Tsholotsho district where he was officiating at a prize giving ceremony. After the ceremony, the acrimonious Moyo held a meeting with the politicians he had called asking them to back the candidate he saw as fit to be appointed vice president.
    Boy did things turn sour when Mugabe caught wind of the meeting! Not only did he go ahead and appoint Zimbabwe’s first female vice president shattering the Moyo’s hopes. The aging leader embarked on one of his most vicious cleansing tirade in the history of the party. In a matter of weeks all but just a few of those who attended the Tsholotsho meeting had been sacked from ZANU (PF).

    Seeing his plans unravel and spited by the fact that he’d been disallowed to represent ZANU (PF) in Tsholotsho today, the eccentric Moyo registered himself as an independent effectively ousting himself from ZANU (PF). Now Moyo intends to publish a book divulging prized insider information about his days working for Mugabe. With all that drama and perennial diatribes denouncing the US and UK from the Zimbabwe government, the nation trudged toward this day and now here we are.

    I am excited, I really am hopeful for my country. And my hope springs not necessarily from the unlikely success of the MDC in these elections. Let’s be real for a moment, ZANU (PF) does control most peoples lives, they delimited constituencies again merging them in opposition stronghold while splitting them in the pro ZANU rural areas, ghost voters on the voters roll yadi yada… In spite of this I’m happy because a new day is dawning for Zimbabwe.
    How so you ask. Let me tell you. This election campaign season has
    already been hailed as the most peaceful in our young nation’s history. Many reports have been published from both sides of the fence lauding the fact that people have been able to openly support the party of their choice unlike years past. Despite disenfranchisement Zimbabweans in the diaspora made their opinions known in mock elections held in the UK and South Africa. The MDC predictably dominated in the imitation poll. Millions of our countrymen are are reported have come out to vote further validating my claim that indeed a new day is here.

    The continued evolution of democracy in Zimbabwe is yet another reason why I excitedly report that it is a new day for Zimbabwe. Just two weeks ago it emerged that independent candidates are thinking about forming a coalition. Publisher Trevor Ncube and world acclaimed journalist Geoffrey Nyarota egged on speculation about the emergence of a viable “third force” in Zimbabwean politics in this article and this one too. I don’t care much for the name calling that has been hurled at these two men mainly by self proclaimed but inexperienced pundits. What has stood out to me in all of this are the unmistakable signs of an emerging democracy. People in Zimbabwe are beginning to get what a politics is about. The power and potential of their voice is something that ordinary Zimbabweans are realizing more and more each day. Even though it is as yet unconfirmed, this rumor of a third horse in our democracy is certainly good news. A cursory glance at say the US democracy will reveal that even after almost 229 years of independence, a viable third option still remains elusive to American voters. Thinking that we might be sitting on the verge of a new political party in Zimbabwe makes me ecstatic. Democracy is on the march in Zimbabwe.

    I’m not naïve to hardships suffered by my family and friends in Zimbabwe today. I know they are enduring untold suffering at the hands of a regime whose days are now for sure numbered. It’s a new day for Zimbabwe! Do you know that this is the very last parliamentary election we’ll have with Mugabe as executive president? Do you know what that means? It means regardless of the outcome of these here elections, the end of the Mugabe era is in sight for Zimbabwe. Good and bad as he’s been for our nation, we like the handwriting on wall in the book of Daniel can echo, “Your days are numbered.” Gone are the days of endless wondering when all this could end. Forget the sorrow and hopelessness from fear that this might never end. The end is nigh! The ides or March are indeed upon the long embattled leader.

    So even if the MDC doesn’t emerge victorious from these elections I will not be sad. I will recall that they are participating in only their third elections since they became a party. I’m at a loss to find any other opposition party anywhere in the world that had as forceful an emergence as the MDC made back in 2000. In their very first go around they almost got 50% of the parliamentary seats. And in 2002 even though he lost, Tsvangirai fronting the two year old party, entered the annals of history as he became the closest contender to contest the presidential elections in Zimbabwe. Certainly the MDC has grown by leaps and bounds. The incidents antagonistic to the progress of democracy should not bog down our realization that the dawn of democracy is upon us.

    Don’t be confused by romantic raves about trivial minutia, the verdict is in: Democracy is on the march in Zimbabwe. The new day is here for us!

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