Sunday, 26 October 2008


Morgan Tsvangirai has a lot in common with US Presidential candidate Senator John McCain than he has with the other candidate, Senator Barack Obama.

When the financial crisis hit the West, the biggest challenge to test the grit of each US Presidential candidate; the two responded differently. Senator McCain was all over the place. He proposed calling off the planned presidential debate but attended it anywhere. He supported the measures the Bush Administration proposed but did not have any comprehensive proposals of his own. There was certainly some panic and confusion in the McCain camp.

Senator Barack Obama too supported the measures proposed by the Bush Administration but had a raft of proposal of his own. He did not see what purpose calling off the planned presidential debate would save and said he would be there. Obama was cool, calm and collected, the complete opposite of what McCain had wanted the American people to believe.

Senator McCain had rammed the message “I have experience of holding high office and Obama has none!” down the American throats. What good is all your years in high office if you panic at the first real challenge. Americans, like any other nation, we sleep better knowing they have a competent leader at the helm.

Tsvangirai has too shown the same Senator McCain scatter-brain response under even the lightest bit of pressure. Take for example this Tsvangirai passport debacle. The Tsvangirai camp went to great lengths to explain why the failure to issue him a passport made it impossible for him to attend the meeting in Swaziland. If he did not boycott the meeting because he did not have a passport then why did he refuse to go when a private jet was laid out for him?

The meeting has since been moved to Harare and MDC has since confirm that Tsvangirai would attend even if he did not have his new passport. So what was that all about!?

Following all the violence and lawlessness during the presidential run-off many countries refused to recognise Mugabe as the Zimbabwe’s head of State. Mugabe was on the hook. But by signing the power sharing deal MDC let Mugabe off the hook. Mugabe has rewarded Tsvangirai by refusing to honour the word on spirit of the deal. It is the people of Zimbabwe who have paid the heaviest price for this blunder with their very lives. One would be hard pushed to find many comparable blunders in human history.

Come 4 th November 2008 the American people will decide who is to be the next President of the United States of America; either Senate John McCain or Senator Barack Obama. Some will vote on racial lines; there are racial begets on both sides of the divide. But many will vote for the man they believe would be the best for America.

When it comes to the crunch America’s democratic system will test the candidates sorting out the best from the rest. And the majority of the American electorate will have the coolness to rise above petty bigotry and make an informed choice.

Whoever wins, the Americans will work together for the good of America.

In Zimbabwe we have a long way to go to achieve that America has done. Mugabe can not be compared to any of the American presidential candidates. No American candidate for any office has ever dared hold the gun to the electorate and murder thousands of voters. Not ever the notorious American Mafia has ever done that.

In Africa we have a tendency to put our leaders on a pedestal where they can do no wrong. That is why Tsvangirai’s supporters keep showering him praise and will not see the many costly blunders he has made. For years the people of Zimbabwe have held Robert Mugabe in the same reverence awe.

In Africa it is infinitely easier to be a ruthless dictator than to be a competent democrat. In a democratic country like US it is near impossible to have a totally incompetent President – the vigorous selection system makes it very difficult for such a candidate to go on to win the presidency. As for a dictator, few have tried but fell flat on their faces before they got very far!

Good luck to both Senator John McCain and Senator Barack Obama; may the best man win!


I hold Nobel laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu in very high regard. I would be very disappointed if he should not vote next year supposedly in protest against Zuma and others for betraying ANC's core democratic values. Because turning ones back on this key pillar of democracy will be self-defeating and will only be playing into hands of those he is accusing of undermining SA’s democratic values!

The vote is the greatest weapon the democrats have in the fight to stop dictators and anarchists taking over. The anarchists know and understand only too well the importance of a free and democratic vote. So they have devised a simple scheme to count it; do everything to undermine the value of a free and democratic vote and thus force the democrats to abandon it as total ineffective. That is exactly what Mugabe did in Zimbabwe.

Voter apathy is the one thing that made rigging Zimbabwe’s elections easy. When you are losing public support then discourage the discontented section from voting. In 2000 and even more 2008 the Zimbabwe public had change of heart. This time they were determined to vote; Zimbabweans travelled from as far afield as South Africa , Botswana and even the UK and USA so that they can cast their vote. If it was not for the chaotic way Zanu PF contacted the voter registration and the voting itself – the 29 March 2008 poll would have had an even higher voter turn out than was recorded!

It took has taken Zimbabwe nearly thirty years and total economic melt down to realise that giving up our democratic vote was a big mistake. On the 29 March 2008 the people of Zimbabwe went back and voted in droves and proved once again that it is a very effective weapon.

One hopes that South Africans will not make the same mistake we did. And if they should do, God forbid, it would be tragic if eminent people like as Archbishop Tutu were to lead the nation down this dead-end path!

Saturday, 25 October 2008


Zimbabwe’s Civic Organisations met on 23 October in Masvingo and they decided, in their collective wisdom, that the best way out Zimbabwe’s present economic and political crisis is for MDC to continue the power sharing negotiations. Whilst the grouping accepted that Mugabe and Zanu PF were negotiating in bad faith, they still argued MDC to continue the talks.

Civic Societies are supposed to stand up for the common good and for those who can not, for whatever reason, stand up for themselves in the fight for justice, freedom and human dignity. And to offer the down trodden a helping hand. It is in the nature of Civic Societies work that they very often find themselves asking those in power and authority the awkward question and demand action.

Zimbabwe is facing a truly tragic humanitarian crisis in which millions of lives could well be lost to hunger and or disease. The crisis is almost wholly man-made and made even worse by the continued political interference in the organisation’s operation. One would expect the country’s Civic Organisations therefore to have condemned the power sharing deal’s failure to produce tangible results to alleviate the suffering of the most vulnerable in society - poor, the sick, the very young and the old.

The somewhat muted statement from the country’s Civic Organisation, at such a critical time was therefore disappointing, but wholly expected. Most of our Civic Organisations are renowned for saying and doing exactly what the Mugabe would want them to.

“There is no such thing as NGO (None Governmental Organisation) in Zimbabwe,” one very senior Civil Servant boosted to me once. “What we have is GONGO (Government Organised None Governmental Organisation).”

The Mugabe regime has been relentless in its determination to control the country’s Civic Society and, admitted, has largely succeeded. This sector, since it is largely funded from outside the country is the only one still paying a living wage making a bad situation even worse because many of the people employed there for the money and not for their commitment to justice, etc. The few who still have a calling are fearful of doing anything to upset the Zanu PF regime and make it close the organisation at a time when it would be near impossible to get another job.

So it was GONGO speaking in Masvingo arguing MDC to continue with the talks even though the delegates accepted Mugabe is negotiating in bad faith and the talks have achieving nothing. They had to say that, it was expected of them to say that; and they did not dare challenge the Mugabe regime!

What many Zimbabweans, especially the millions at the coal-face of this humanitarian tragedy, will not accept is GONGO insulting our intelligence. “It is my view that if the opposition pulls out of the talks the suffering of the people will continue to worsen”, said Gladys Hlatshwayo from Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition. As if they cared about the suffering Zimbabweans!

Fortunately for Zimbabwe there are other NGOs like WOZA (Woman Of Zimbabwe Arise) how passionately care about what is happening in the country and the suffering and misery it is causing to the most vulnerable and helpless. And are prepared to do something about it!

Wednesday, 22 October 2008

India is reaching for the Moon: Africa can not even cross the street

Today India launched an unmanned rocket to the Moon. It is a very significant technological milestone for India. India has been off first base, second base, third base and this is the home running. The sky is the limit- do not mean that literally this time.

There are millions living in abject poverty in India that is true. So could India afford to spend the US$ 79 million to send a rocket to the Moon when millions of her people live in grinding poverty and death? The debate on that will rage on for many moons. But what is not beyond dispute is that India has come a long, long way in a very short time.

In 1947 as a newly independent nation, India took its stand to chart the course the nation was to follow. We all want peace, freedom, liberty, economic prosperity – that is simple enough. The real challenge is how to get all these things without being side tracked as so many other nations have done. It is like playing a game of base-ball; every one wants a home run but only a few actually score one and the majority never even get off the start block.

Starting block: create a social and political system capable of making optimum use of the nation’s resources, both material and human, for the good of all. The temptation is to create a self serving system and damn everyone else. Democracy has its weakness, still it is the only system devised by mankind to date capable keeping the egotistic tendencies in check, particularly those in leadership positions, and the nation efforts firmly focused on the common good.

India’s democratic system has had its up and downs. The democratic train was nearly knocked off track, for example, when some leaders have assumed greater power than was allowed in a true democracy or when some individuals used the gun to achieve their own selfish ends. Then country’s democratic institutions were rocked to their foundations. The institutions and democracy survived; they were rock solid. Thanks to India’s founding fathers, Mahatma Ghandi, Nehru and others, India was founded on strong democratic institutions and the country was off to a flying start to first base.

In the next 60 years India has built on its good start to go on to second and third base; building on country’s economic and technological success so it can invest more on its people to give them better health, education, etc. A better educated and healthier populous then built an even stronger and better economy; thus turning an economic success into an economic boom with the technological prowess and managerial finesse to take on the challenge of building and successfully launching a rocket to the moon.

Julius Nyerere, the first President of Tanzania, once mourned of how Africa was puzzling about crossing the road when the Americans had successfully sent a man to the Moon and see him safely back to Earth. That was in the 1970s and today Africa is still scratching its bold head about crossing the road.

Africa has had the great the great misfortune of having people like Robert Mugabe, brutal and ruthless dictators, who saw independence as an opportunity to enrich themselves and did not care about the common good. So we never got off the starting block.

One would think the second generation of leaders would have realised the folly of dictatorial rule and would now want embrace and implement democratic rule. Instead we Tsvangirai and his lot hell bend on rehabilitating the dictator, Mugabe, and the whole dictatorship in so mad-hare power sharing scheme! Ironically, he was elected on a democratic change ticket.

We all celebrate India’s milestone achievement in the successful building and launching of the lunar rocket. India can now hold its head high and stand as an equal to any other nation. As for Africa, it will be many, many moons yet before we can ever hope to accomplish such a fit of building and launching a space rocket. Meanwhile we will continue to scratch our bolding head about crossing the street!

Friday, 17 October 2008


I was sold on blaming the Banks and Financial Institution for causing the financial crisis comparable to the 1930 economic crash. These institutions had granted mortgages to buy houses and loans to buy goods to people who could not afford to pay back the money. The lenders made breath-taking profits whilst the going was good and that is why they are now being accused of greed.

And greedy they were, make no mistake about that, but it was not entirely they fault. Western governments aided and abetted them in this.

It was the US government policy that Wall Street, US Financial hub, grant mortgages to people with no steady jobs, poor financial history and who, if the normal Capitalist system rules were applied, would not get such mortgages.

The US Federal Bank kept the interest rates artificially low in its drive to keep inflation within a certain band. This made borrowing cheap allowing individuals to accumulate huge debts. Again, market forces of a health Capitalist system would not have allowed this distortion to last.

Other Western Government implemented similar policies of their own. And even where a particular country did not have such reckless policies, that did not stop their financial institution joining in the bonanza in the US. Past experience had taught Capitalist Institution that they should spread the risk so the Banks were selling these dodgy portfolios to other Banks within their own country and to other Western countries.

As long as everyone pretended investments were sound, everything was fine. But, as usual, there is always the smart Alec who will point out that the Emperor is in fact naked and the whole thing collapses like a house of cards. Everyone then tries to off load the dodgy portfolios, account holders will want to withdraw all their money from a Bank with the dodgy portfolios, etc.

The question then was the financial crisis signifies the death of Capitalism and free market economy? The answer is no. It was government interference in the normal functioning of Capitalism and free market that cause the crisis.

Is the partial nationalising of the West’s financial institution spell the end of free market and capitalism in these institutions? Again the answer is no; all Western Democracy have underlined that this was only a temporary measure.

If the Western Governments had not stepped in and instead allowed free market forces to operate; many Banks and other financial institutions would have certainly gone under. Since these institution play such a pivotal role in the running of all the other sectors in a capitalist system it is clear that many other institutions in the private and public sector would too have gone under, That would well have been the death knell of Capitalism.

It is interesting to note that it was the interference by Western democracies with the normal operation of the free market system that caused the financial crisis and threatened Capitalism, Free market, Democracy and all that the West stand for. It is right that the West should interfere again to save Capitalism.

People will theorise on the causes of the recent financial crisis, argue on measures used to solve the crisis, debate on what worked and what did not work and so forth for generations to come. But the one thing they will agree on, however, is that Capitalism, Free Market, and Democracy have all emerged out of this crisis leaner, meaner, stronger and wiser. They always do!

Capitalism, like the political system that spawned it, Democracy, has built into its very DNA the ability to learn from past mistakes. Capitalism can evolve and adapt, that is why it will never die.

On the other hand, Command Economy, like the myriad of political systems that spawned it- Socialism, Communism, Fascism, etc.-, would go to ridiculous lengths to hide its failings rather than admit them. It can not evolve and adapt; in that lays its self-distract gene!
In every country where the Command Economy has been tried it has hardly survived for more than one or two generations. And in almost all these countries millions of human beings had to be sacrificed in terms of economic hardships their had to face and some cases people paid with their lives to appease the Marxist Demons!

Wednesday, 15 October 2008


Sharing ministries between Zanu PF and MDC is the ease bit compared to the difficult task of agreeing on policies and then implementing them. If Tsvangirai and Mugabe can not agree on the ease bit, how the devil will they agree on the difficult parts?

Worse still there will be absolutely nothing Tsvangirai can do to force Mugabe on the more difficult stages. There was some past discussion on ministries etc.; there were no such discussions on policies, etc.

Tsvangirai will, at best, have some of the key ministries but he will never ever exercise any real power. Mugabe and the Joint Operation Command will have and exercise all the real power. Tsvangirai and his fellow MDC friend will be reduced to nothing more than the baby in the cartoon, The Simpson, hooting and steering on her imitation steering wheel!

The people of Zimbabwe were not informed much less consulted on this power sharing deal. We therefore do not have to accept it; particularly now when it evident that it is addressing our needs.

The root cause of Zimbabwe's economic and political crisis is that the politicians have usurped the people's power to hold them to account. If anything we are beholden to the politicians as Mugabe demonstrated again so graphically recently. In Zimbabwe it is the tail that wags the dog!

What Mugabe is doing right now is flexing his muscle with MDC just to remind them, again and graphically too, he is boss!
MDC campaigned on a platform of “Change!” The real change Zimbabwe needs above all else is change that will end the pathetic situation in which a few individual can hold the whole nation to ransom. And switch the power play so that it is the people who hold the politicians to account. What Tsvangirai has done in signing the power sharing deal is seek to share power with Mugabe whilst Mugabe continues to hold and exercise his dictatorial powers!

Many people acknowledge the power sharing deal was ill conceived, ill advised and poorly implemented and yet they still hope against hope that it works. As a people, we have to stop deluding ourselves that we can still turn a corrupt and repressive dictatorship into a competent and accountable government. Particularly when the said dictator continues to wield the whip over us!

Some civic leaders, like the leaders of Women Of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA) have called for mass public demonstrations. A show of public discontent is called for, yes; but there is a crying need for a more focused mass action.

There have been calls for public action to end the current practice of fixed daily bank withdrawals, for example. Mass action against the country’s run-away hype inflation would be even better. Mass action in support of MDC’s call for a more meaningful implementation of the power sharing deal, too would be good. It would be even better to end the dictatorship and have a democratic and accountable government!

Thursday, 9 October 2008


For the last thirty years Zimbabwe has had a generation of “untouchable and infallible” leaders; which, of course, is why we are in this mess. In our fight to get out of it; are we, inadvertently, creating a new generation of untouchables?

I am, like most other Zimbabweans, a regular listener to S W Radio Africa and reader of the Zimbabwe Times and the few others internet publications covering the tragic goings on in Zimbabwe. On Tuesday 7 October The Zimbabwe Times reported “The Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) on Tuesday admitted that the party made “a big mistake” by signing a power-sharing deal with President Robert Mugabe, without having agreed on the make-up of a unity government.” (MDC has since retracted the statement, claiming they were quoted out of context.)

After three weeks of bickering over which party would get which ministry, MDC was stating the obvious; one would have thought. Tendai Biti’s reply in a follow up interview on S W Radio Africa was disappointing and alarming.

According to Tendai Biti, MDC Tsvangirai Secretary General, MDC had expected Mugabe to simply accept that MDC would have control of all the finance and economic ministries. The country was in the present mess because Zanu PF “had failed”, he argued. This is true enough!

“Equally the MDC would have deferred to ZANU PF on the question of security ministries because they are still controlling,” continued Mr Biti. “That is elementary.” Well, it is not that simply; is it?

Zimbabwe is in the economic mess because mismanagement and down right incompetence on the part of Mugabe and his Zanu PF ruling party. A new team of competent people will address this, yes. But that would not be enough here.

Zimbabwe’s economy is in a mess too because there was rampant corruption. The kind of corruption that has left our Hospitals without even something as basic and vital as a drip-kit when millions of US$ are spent of a fleet of new Mercedes Benz for the ruling elite. The kind of corruption that has left the nation starving because the farms used to grow the food was seized and given to a few. And the kind of corruption that allows those few to hang on to their ill got loot.

The rampant corruption is happening in every ministry and at every level in society – it is what the very life-blood of the dictatorship. It is not enough that MDC should control a few ministries and let this criminal waste of human and material resource continue unabated!

Of course the nation would have done something to end the mismanagement, incompetence and corruption it Mugabe was not holding a gun to our collective head! He had openly brandished it, threatened and, just to prove he meant business, has frequently fired it with devastating results. 20 000 to 30 000 killed in the 1980s for the sole purpose of eliminating Zapu from the political scene.

In the three months following the 29 March 2008 election Mugabe unleashed his thugs and henchmen. Half a million people were forced to leave their homes and up to 2 000 were murdered in cold blood! Many of the State Security Agents, such as the Police, the CIO and Army were coerced to join in mayhem by doing nothing to stop the madness or worse still by committing the heinous crimes themselves.

One would think MDC would remember these recent events. Was it not for the widespread intimidation, rape and murders that forced Morgan Tsvangirai to withdraw from the presidential run-off! Indeed, he and others within the MDC leadership, including Mr Tendai Biti himself, were in forced exile for weeks because “they feared for their lives” we were told! How can MDC then want to continue to control the security ministries?!

How can anyone in his or her right mind want Mugabe to continue to hold the gun?

It has taken over three weeks already to complete the simply task of dividing up the ministries between the GNU parties- because Mugabe is flexing his political muscle; as usual.

The very idea of sharing power with a dictator is self contradiction. The dictator would at best simply “swallow up” the junior partner as happened to J Nkomo’s PF Zapu. It was outright stupid to think a dictator like Mugabe could be trusted to keep his word. That MDC signed a blank piece of paper with everything to be agreed later is more than just “a big mistake”. It was sheer madness! Mugabe got what he wanted out of the deal- a tacit acceptance of him as President of Zimbabwe and open ended deal for him to complete as he pleased!

The 27 June one-horse presidential run-off race was widely dismissed as a sham even by Mugabe’s sanctioned African election observers. The world at large refused to accept as the legitimately “elected” President of Zimbabwe. But when MDC signed the deal in which Mugabe was accepted as the country’s sworn President, it impossible for anybody else to say otherwise.

MDC has since found it frustrating that Mugabe should be dragging his feet over the implementation of the deal. MDC has turned to Thembo Mbeki, the former SA President and SADC mediator, to help resolve the current allocation of ministries impasse. Zanu PF has public said that was NOT necessary, and Mbeki has stayed out of it.

What exactly does MDC want Mbeki to do, any where? Will MDC call Mbeki back again if Mugabe should dictate policies, implementation, etc. – which you can bet, Mugabe will!

In despair, MDC has now turned to anyone, anyone at all, who would care to listen. And in typical Zanu PF arrogant style, Patrick Chinemasa, the Zanu PF negotiator, has dismissed MDC for negotiating “in public”. In reply Nelson Chamisa said MDC had nothing “to hide” and that the party was turning to the Zimbabwe public because they are the party’s “compass”. Compass my foot!

For the last eight years now MDC has had involved in “Talks” with Zanu PF and the power sharing deal was a result of the last lot of “Talks”. MDC in cahoots with Zanu PF has consistently kept the Zimbabwe public in the dark as to what the two were talking about let alone consulted them for direction. Some compass!

The power sharing deal is silent as to the exact term of the GNU. It was a deliberate omission on the part of Mugabe. He wanted the GNU to last five years and he will pull every trick in the book to ensure that happens. The nation is serious trouble, millions are hungry and many, many innocent lives are at risk. And three weeks after signing the deal still there is no effective government! There prospect of five years of dithering is mind boggling! Thanks to MDC for getting Mugabe off the hook!

“We do not regret anything,” answered Tendai Biti regarding the deal. “Absolutely nothing! We have saved Zimbabwe to the best of our ability!” Well, if selling Zimbabwe to the dictator for a few empty promises is MDC’s best, then God help us!

“We have paid the price (for serving Zimbabwe),” continued Biti. “Some of us are facing treason charges that may result in death.” He was referring to the numerous times when he and the likes of Morgan Tsvangirai have been assaulted by the Police and thrown in jail. Tendai still has the treason charge hanging over him for declaring the 29 March 2008 election results ahead of the official body, ZEC tasked to do so.

It is something we all deeply regret that anyone, anyone all should be subjected to an ill treatment or worse for exercising their basic and fundamental rights such as freedom of expression in independent Zimbabwe. What I failed to understand, however, was why Tendai Biti felt it necessary to bring that up! I had visions of the past flash before my eyes!

At the heart of Zimbabwe’s political and economic nightmare are people like Robert Mugabe who believe they can say or do no wrong. They are liberation war heroes and whatever they do or have ever done before or after independence, even now nearly three decades after independence, must only be viewed through the prism of their heroic sacrifices.

In our fight to end Mugabe’s dictatorship, many people have been targeted by the dictatorship and many have suffered and many great sacrifices. But in so doing, have we now created a new generation of untouchable and infallible leaders who will in turn admit no mistake?

Robert Mugabe has committed many heinous crimes against the people of Zimbabwe but the greatest crime above all else was the falsehood that because of his heroic past he is somehow incapable of any base act. Enough of these mean, ruthless and brutal dictators masquerading as national heroes per excellence!

History will pass the final say on MDC was wisdom or otherwise to sign the deal with Mugabe – I would say, enough has happened already to say which way the penny will fall. Meanwhile we must nip in the bud any autocratic tendencies of those who should consider themselves, for whatever reason, to be infallible and therefore beyond reproach.

(Tendai Biti’s S W Radio Africa interview is available on Tuesday 7 September Newsreel)

Thursday, 2 October 2008


2008 has been the most stressful year of my whole life, by a long mile! I have had some stressful times in my life; exams, waiting for results, time when I was unemployed, times when family member was sick. But 2008 has topped all these other times.

What have made 2008 such a stressful year for me are all the worrying and the hardships. The economic hardships of whether or not one can afford something as basic as loaf of bread and then the energy supping hunt for it. Then there was the worrying brought about by the tight-rope act the whole nation was forced to perform.

Zimbabwe elections have always been a tense and highly charged affair; in which the public, particularly the rural people, are treated like sheep at a show; driven hither and thither. This year the whip, whistle and the sheep dog were there as in the past but so too were the electric shock sticks and guns with life ammunitions.

All my past stress problem were like the 3 to 5 minutes songs; the 2008 problems have been like one of those Bakumba (traditional beer garden) songs that will go on and on and on all day and all night. The economic hardships and political problems were there beginning of the year and there still there now only worse; a lot worse.

The problems themselves are the worst anyone has ever dealt with; inflation of 11 million percent, a monthly salary that is not enough to buy one loaf of bread, etc. The sheer enormity of the problem is depressing. The length of time one has had to deal with these problems; it now eight years since Zimbabwe’s economic melt down started following the commercial farm invasions. And to crown it all; the sheer hopelessness of the whole situation.

What exactly is this Mugabe – Tsvangirai deal supposed to achieve? Why are we entrusting the nation’s future to ruthless and brutal dictator who brought the nation to ruin in the first place? The deal was to appease Mugabe, something the nation has done for three decades and has paid a heavy price for it. But it seems, some people never learn! After all the country has gone through; was it too much to ask for leaders who have some common sense! Really was that too much to ask?

Is it any wander that life expectancy in Zimbabwe is one of the lowest in the world; the stress is killing our people!

Wednesday, 1 October 2008


The International Finance Sector, particularly the Banks and mortgage lenders, is facing its worst crisis ever. Basically the sector has been lending money to people who simply could not afford to pay back the loan(s). More like Robert Gabriel Mugabe borrowing right, left and centre and spending as if there is no tomorrow when the money will be repaid with interest.

The “Spending Mugabes” were from most nations in the West but mainly from the USA. But because most of the financial institutions dealing in these dodgy big spenders sold some of these portfolio to other financial institutions all over the West- the whole sector in the West has been affected.

Whilst the “going” was the Banks, Mortgage Lenders, etc. made a killing. But when some of the borrowers started to default, the whole shooting match collapsed like a house of cards. Many of the institutions were able to absorb the dab loans out of the large past profits. There were others, however, who could not because the bad debt constituted a significant part of their business. There is always the sucker left holding the bag!

When word gets round that a particular Bank or Building Society is one such sucker: the shareholder and account holders flock to sell their shares or withdraw their money. Naturally they do not want to be the ones left holding the bag. A “run” on a Bank would force it out of business in no time. The “run” could easily to other Banks and soon the whole financial system would collapse.

Day to day life in this modern age can not function without the financial sectors; it is a critical component of our industrialised world. Western governments have stepped in with taxpayers’ money to bail out the financial sector. The bailout provided ready cash for account holders who wished to withdraw their money and to assure those who do not withdraw their money the guarantee that the government itself will repay the money if the Bank was to become bankrupt.

The American government is proposing a bail of US$ 700 billion for its financial institutions. The rest of Western countries are proposing a similar package for their financial institutions. To put it into some perspective; Zimbabwe will need US$ 1 billion, according to some experts, over a five year period to put back its economy back on track! So the Western governments’ bailouts are not small fries!

The American government has been debating the bailout all week. The two American presidential candidates have had to cut short their campaigning to go back to Washington to take part in the debate. In contrast Zimbabwe has had no effective government now since February and the economy is in total melt down and yet both Mugabe and Tsvangirai have been globe-trotting at every opportunity.

“There will be a time to punish those who set this fire, but now is the moment for us to come together and put the fire out” said Barack Obama.

In Zimbabwe we all know exactly who set the country on fire- he has done so publicly and continues to brandish the smouldering log and threaten to burn down the little that is left. To appease him, we give him all the power and authority in the vain hope he will put out the fire!

The financial bailouts the West is paying out will make them even less generous than ever. Right now Zimbabwe will need millions in aid to buy food. The whole world knows the barbaric farm invasions of the last eight years is the root cause of Zimbabwe’s food shortages. And 35 new farms were seized since the signing of the deal to form a GNU; yet none of the leaders have said a thing.

It is hard to see how the world can be expected to take Zimbabwe’s teething problems seriously when we are not serious about anything ourselves!

Sunday, 28 September 2008




You start by referring to a Tendai Biti statement confirming that MDC has promised Mugabe immunity from prosecution for all his past human rights violations. (I must be pointed out from the on-set that Mugabe has never ever admitted to any human rights violations. The nearest he has come to that was to attribute recent acts of wanton intimidations and murders to lack of training by the state security agents. But lets put this aside for now.) In other words t it no longer a matter for Zimbabweans to consider this option; it is being presented to us a facto accompli.

MDC did not only take a page from Mugabe’s book in terms of making important policy announcement whilst outside Zimbabwe. They have also copied from Mugabe to make decision affecting the whole nation without even bothering to consult the people- as if the people are simply too stupid to be allowed a meaningful say in anything of importance!

So Mugabe was granted immunity and the power sharing deal signed. The question you should have therefore asked is, will Zimbabwe now be allowed to move on and address the many teething political and economic problems?

It is now over two weeks since the signing of the so called “historic” Zanu PF – MDC power sharing deal. (In 1987 the late J Nkomo signed a similar deal. It was not historic even then; there were countless other sell-out deals before that!) Given the sorry state of the nation and the tragic human suffering, would it be too much to expect the parties to have a sense of urgency. Instead the parties have been bickering about who holds what ministerial office.

You alluded to the reason why granting Mugabe immunity would achieve nothing when you said he would not trust anyone to honour the promise. He has never kept any promise himself all his life and naturally he sees every other politician in the same way. In the case of MDC, of all people Mugabe would know that MDC’s word is absolutely worthless. He was able to get everything he asked for from MDC in the present deal; the party would just as ready hand him over to ICC.

So besides the promise for immunity Mugabe still wanted to remain in State House and in total control of everything. I am not a betting man, but in this case I will bet my bottom dollar on 1000 to 1 that this Unity Government will never achieve even half of the things you predicted in your win-win.

Zimbabwe’s economic and political problems all emanate from one thing, that we are not a principled people. There are some things a principled person would never ever compromise on let alone give away. Starting with Mugabe himself and his fellow leaders in Zanu PF to J Nkomo and PF Zapu right down to M Tsvangirai and his friends in MDC they have all shown that they will trade everything, absolutely everything including the sanctity of human life, to further their political careers!

The principled position is that no one is above; Mugabe and not just his henchmen must answer for the blood of the innocent Zimbabweans on their hands. The only thing one can promise them is that they will all have a fair trial. It was not for them to take one Zimbabwean life and they killed thousands! It is not sheer madness for the nation let alone a handful of presumptuous political leaders to sweep such heinous criminals under the carpet.

Mugabe sanctioned these crimes confident that he will get away with it. What will be there to stop whoever becomes the next President doing the same? Where and when will it all ends? No; we must stand by the rule of law and never ever try to appease dictators like Mugabe.


Yes, Arthur Mutambara’s rise up the political ladder has been meteoric, but only because he has shown that he has absolutely no principles. You would agree with me there are people like the late S Muzenda and many others within Zanu PF who have held on to very senior positions for decades. I would not attribute their political success to “strategic thinking”; because, for the positions they held, they certainly did not have the brains to deserve it!

Wednesday, 24 September 2008


The British Labour Party Conference give the recently elected Speaker to the Zimbabwe Parliament, Lovemore Moyo from the MDC Tsvangirai faction a standing ovation. The truth is the British had little choice here, they could not work with the abrasive dictator, Robert Mugabe, and so they have at least try to work with Morgan Tsvangirai.

In 1995 the then British Secretary for International Development, Linda Chalker was the first to congratulate Robert Mugabe for his party’s election victory. Well that took the wind out of those inside and outside Zimbabwe who had been crying foul for yet another failure by the regime to hold free and fair elections. The British had to explain themselves.

In the past West had routinely accepted Zimbabwe’s fraudulent elections, on the grounds that the election process in Zimbabwe could not be measured using the same yard-stick as that in well established democracies. An extremely patronising stance, to say the least! In 1995 there level and extend of intimidation and other election irregularities were a lot worse than in the past- even by the half-measure yard-stick. (The full account of Zanu PF vote rigging were exposed in Court challenge of the Harare South Constituency result filed by Mrs Margret Dongo.) Ms Chalker knew, she had to come with a better excuse, this time.

It turned out that Ms Chalker just happened to be the first senior Western Government Official arriving in Zimbabwe after the election. She could not avoid saying something about the results (no doubt the Zanu PF control public media who have haunted her till she did). Without the full facts of the election irregularities she had to assume the ruling party had won fair and square. It was more diplomatic to do so. It was probably the last time that any British government official said anything complimentary to a Zimbabwean government figure. The standing ovation given to Lovemore Moyo was more out of relief after a tiresome past with Mugabe than a vote of confidence in MDC.

Even by Africa’s half yard-stick measure, the 27 June 2008 presidential run-off in Zimbabwe was not free or fair. Even Africa’s election monitors who normally see-nothing, hear –nothing and say-whatever the leadership want to hear, condemn the whole electoral process. It was therefore nonsense than anyone should recognise Mugabe as the dually elected president following such a scam. The British and many other countries had made their position clear on this- they will not recognise Mugabe. By signing the power sharing deal with Mugabe; the MDC has changed all that. The British, will have to accept Mugabe as the president of Zimbabwe.

The deal also reaffirmed some of Mugabe’s anti-British rhetoric. Now that MDC has signed on to the deal, Mugabe will pile up the pressure on Tsvangirai, Moyo and the rest of the MDC leadership to speak and act like him. The British knighted Robert Mugabe in hast and lived to regret it. I do not see Tsvangirai in the Queen’s New Year Honours list, the British have learnt the lesson.

Tuesday, 23 September 2008

Zimbabwe's divided society of Have All and Have Nothing

I was in Zimbabwe a few weeks ago. I sat down and talked to Kodobo and met Mrs Chaya and her daughter; I had but a glimpse of their lives in Zimbabwe today.

Kodobo is probably in his late seventies, but looks much, much older. He can hardly see. He should have had the operation to clear his eyes. In the 1980s this was a minor operation that he would have done at his local rural hospital, Ndanga Hospital. In the 1990s when he should have had the operation it was a then considered a major operation; today could not even have it done in the country’s biggest hospital, Parerenyatwa Hospital.

The country’s health service is in really bad state due to years of poor funding and neglect. Parerenyatwa Hospital cannot even provide something as basic as a drip; patients are expected to buy the kit themselves. An eye operation is clearly something far beyond the capability of the hospital.

So Kodobo’s world has been slowly but surely turning darker and darker. His twilight zone is a few inches deep, beyond that it is pitch black. As he shook my hand, he drew me up close. I saw, smelt and felt his destitute existence up close.

He did not have much beyond the dirty rages he was wearing. He lived alone in a grass thatched hut. He has a married daughter but there is little she could do to help him. She too lives in abject poverty. A kind local villager has been bring Kodobo his merger BACOSSI rations – 2.5 kg of sugar, 2.5 kg of rice, 500 ml cooking oil, bar of soap and, yes, a tube of tooth paste once every two or three months. The last five years he had rely on food from a international organisation but the Zanu PF government chased the organisation away. Kodobo was skin and bone.

I wished I had brought some clothes and food to give Kodobo. Giving him a bundle of Z$ was not going to help him much; he would keep the money for a rainy day only to find it was worthless, given Zimbabwe’s hype inflation rate.

Kodobo in at the very bottom of the Zimbabwe’s ever growing multitude of destitute living on US$1.00 or less a day! There are other Zimbabweans like Mrs Chaya who doing very well, thank you!

Mrs Chaya has a daughter at private college in Harare. The day I met them, the two were a busy shopping trip. That evening the daughter was going to a Beginning of Term dinner-dance at Meikles Hotel in Harare.

The daughter had recently returned from a holiday trip abroad. She had probably bought the dress, shoes, etc. she would be wearing to dinner-dance whilst abroad. There was no shop amongst there still remaining shops in Zimbabwe that would carter for her expensive tastes, anyway. The two were probably shopping for the odd accessories.

Mrs Chaya is the wife of a high ranking Zanu PF leader- a member of the ruling elite. No doubt the Chayas lived in a big house. No doubt, both the husband and wife drove expensive cars and owned one or two large farms, etc.

A single glass of wine at Meikles Hotel would cost a pretty penny; but money was not an issue to the Chayas, at least not on such occasions. They are used to spending lavishly on themselves and their family. On this occasion; it is a badge of honour, a tangible proof of their superior standing in society. The Chayas would probably pay, grudgingly too, their domestic and farm workers the equivalent of one glass of wine a month.

The Chayas are edgy; like the rest of the new-rich in Zimbabwe whose prosperity is totally dependent on the patronage of Robert Mugabe and the ruling party, they constantly worry about falling out of favour with their political masters. They know only too well just how freckle political patronage of a dictator can be. They also know that the sorry state Mugabe has reduced the country into can only mean their own days are numbered- political change is certainly coming, the present setup in which the few are living in total luxury at the expense of Kodobo and millions other is simply unsustainable!

I went to Zimbabwe to visit my mother who was ill. I found her on her death bed. There was no bank of equipment to monitor her heart, breathing, kidney function, etc. The only hospital assistance she had was a drip. She was in private hospital.

In this day and age when the rest of mankind have successful sent man to the moon and back and are conducting experiments to replicate the event that gave birth to this universe itself, why should a hospital servicing millions not have something as basic as a heart monitor. With the most basic medical support, my mother would probably be alive today. Millions of Zimbabweans are suffering for lack of medicines worth a few pennies and every day hundreds die unnecessary.

The money that should be used to buy equipment so that Kodobo would see and to buy medicines saving hundreds of thousands of life is squandered on cars and other luxuries by the Chayas and the rest of the ruling elite. That is not right and should not be allowed to continue for one day longer!

How ironic that the Government of National Unity (GNU), formed to address the country’s totally unjust social system should have spent months squabbling about the power sharing deal, are now spending weeks squabbling about who should run what ministry. No doubt they will be no such disagreement when it comes to spending millions of US$ on new ministerial cars!
Kodobo and the multitude of Zimbabweans living and dying in despair deserve to be treated as humans; whose totally unnecessary suffering and wasted lives must be acknowledged and addressed. This GNU, like the Mugabe regime before it, is not doing that!

Saturday, 20 September 2008

Mugabe's "African Solution to an African Problem": Nonsense

Robert Mugabe was ranting on about “African solution to African problem” and “Zimbabwean solution to a Zimbabwean problem”. Many people have taken up the same phase as “justification” for the acceptance of this ruthless dictator as the President of Zimbabwe. It is nonsense and must be laid to rest!

There is nothing special or uniquely African about the electorate exercising their basic and fundamental right to a meaningful say in the governance of one’s country through the holding of free and fair election to elect their leaders. And having done so, to have their expressed democratic wish respected. There is nothing new or special about some individual trying to stay on in power by cheating or worse still using violence in violation of the said democratic wish of the electorate. History is full of such individuals, in the worst cases, they are called dictators.

Free and fair elections is the foundation of good governance, of peace, justice and prosperity. So anyone who seeks to undermine the holding of free and fair elections seeks to undermine human life and the very survival of the nation. No nation in its right mind would risk the suffering of its people and ultimately human lives to ingratiate the selfish political interests of one or a select few individuals. So anyone or individuals seeking to undermine the nation’s survival must be dealt with harshly, period!

The root cause of Zimbabwe’s crippling political and economic problems is because Mugabe has repeatedly refused to leave office. He has cheated, rigged and even committed mass murder just to stay in power. The people of Zimbabwe have paid dearly for his continued undemocratic rule; surely, surely it was time this madness was stopped.

Robert Mugabe is a ruthless dictator; in his latest campaign of intimidation and terror, over a million people were forced to flee their homes to urban centre or live in mountains, hundreds of thousands were beaten and/or raped and over 200 (many believe 2 000) innocent people were murdered in cold blood. He did all this to force the Zimbabwe electorate to accept him as their leader. The rightful place for Robert Mugabe is before a court of law to answer for his heinous crimes.

Of course it is an outrage that Robert Mugabe should be “rewarded” with another term as President of Zimbabwe for undermining the very foundations of Zimbabwe society with disastrous political and economic consequences! Mugabe can dress it up as “African solution to an African problem”; it is a pig in lip stick nonsense!

1 + 1 = 2 , not 1.5, or 2.5 etc!

As a people, we in Africa are notorious for avoiding difficult issues and when we finally forced to, we come up with fudged solution. President Thambo Mbeki has done some good and bad things during his presidency but his greatest blunder will have to be the fudged deal that retain a ruthless dictator in power. How could he get such a basic and fundamental issue hopelessly and totally wrong!

As for why Zimbabwe’s Morgan Tsvangirai agreed to such a deal; it will suffice to say he is not one of the brightest stars in the Zimbabwe sky. It is Zimbabwe’s cursed lucky that the destiny of the nation should be shared by a ruthless dictator and a feeble-minded man.

It is my sincere hope that South Africa or any other nation will never have the so called “African solution” imposed on her!

Tuesday, 16 September 2008

The ZANU PF - MDC Agreement will achieve precious little

The 15 September Zanu PF –MDC Agreements is doomed to suffer the same fate as Zanu PF – PF Zapu Unity Accord of 1987- precious little.

When Joshua Nkomo signed the Zanu PF and PF Zapu unity accords in 1987 there one thing, indeed the only thing the people of Zimbabwe got was the political motivated violence which had seen the death of 20 to 30 000 Zimbabweans, stopped. The accords were on Robert Mugabe’s terms- nothing to do with what ordinary Zimbabweans wanted- and thus he was able to consolidate his hold on political power creating a de facto one-party state.

On the economic front, the one-party state system allowed mismanagement and corruption to become rampant. The consequences of which is the economic melt down will see in Zimbabwe today.

On the political front a one-party state is by it very nature repressive; individual rights and freedoms are subordinate to those of the ruling party. As the national economic continued to nose dive the people became more restless for a government more responsive of their suffering. And so to retain his struggle on political power the violent repression of the pre- Unity accords returned collimating in the debauchery of the post 29 March 2008.

The Zanu PF –MDC Agreement is a Robert Mugabe document through and through. It was certainly drawn on Mugabe terms, full of his usual rhetoric which is not just irrelevant but in most cases a serious obstacle to the people’s dream of a fresh democratic start. Consider the following five points, for example:
a) The Agreements is completely silent on the serious human rights violations that the nation has suffered repeatedly throughout Mugabe’s rule. It is as if the victims were nothing more than ants crushed underfoot! If we sweep this under the carpet again as we did following the pre 1987 Unity Accords then we necessary accept of this whole nightmare visiting us again.

If is falsehood that sweeping past wrong doing will help in the national healing. There can be no healing or lasting peace with justice.

b) So sum total of the parties to the Agreement’ s understanding of Freedom of Expression is that MDC is given equal coverage in the public media and to gag all external media operators then we are in serious trouble. State control of the public media, the Agreement has done nothing to end the State control, is at the very root of the denial of this fundamental individual right.

The whole exercise of writing a new constitution would be lost on the people unless there is open and free public debate.

The independent newspapers and foreign operated radio should disregard this unashamed dictatorial control. If anyone expected the Agreement to grant any individual rights or freedoms then they were hopeless wrong. The people of Zimbabwe will have to fight for the basic human rights now and, this time, never give an inch!

c) The Agreement was conveniently silent on when fresh elections are to be held.
The Unity Government is strictly speaking does not have any policies agenda – of course, in practice it is Mugabe’s policies that are being followed. If there is one thing Zimbabwe can ill afford at this point is to drift!

The new constitution should be ready in 18 months; there is no reason why there should not be refresh elections in 24 months. The people will have to push the parties for this!

No doubt the Unity Government would happily stay on for the next five years, particularly Mugabe!

d) The land issue is probably the single most important item which will determine the rate of Zimbabwe’s economic recovery, if there is any recovery at all. Most of the farms seize from 2000 on are now in the hands of Mugabe cronies and no doubt they would like to keep the farms. Most of these cronies had a hand in the rot that brought the country to its knees and in the violence of the past few months- it would be totally irresponsible if they should now be rewarded by allowing them to keep their ill got loot!

The farms must be taken away from Mugabe cronies for economic reason too; they will never put them to productive use.

e) In the short term, the violence will stop and there would be some measure of economic recovery – anything is bound to show as an improvement given the depth the country’s economy has sunk.

As a nation we must look before the here and now- that is where we wrong in the past and, by God, have paid dearly for it.

“I have signed this agreement because I believe it represents the best opportunity for us to build a peaceful, prosperous democratic Zimbabwe.” Said would be Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai on 15 September, 2008 after signing the Zanu PF – MDC Agreement.

What else could poor Tsvangirai have said; admit that he was bulled into signing an agreement in which there was not a single item he wanted included. He had to give the whole sad episode as positive a spin as he could. Spin or no spin; nothing can change that the Agreement was on Mugabe’s terms, on a dictator’s term; a building a peaceful, prosperous and democratic Zimbabwe will remain a pipe dream!

Saturday, 13 September 2008


Whilst the people of Zimbabwe wait to hear the content of the Power Sharing Deal agreed between Robert Mugabe and the two factions of MDC led by Morgan Tsvangirai and Arthur Mutambara; here is a borne to chew.

Following the 29 March 2008 combined local, parliamentary, senatorial and presidential elections Mr Guchi, the Headmaster of Vudzi Primary School, was allegedly heard whistling, celebrating MDC’s election victory. A few days later the whole country was swept by a wave of political intimidation, beatings and murder following the deployment by Mugabe of War Veterans and party thugs backed by the Police, Army and other State Security Agents. The violence was to punish the MDC leaders, supporters and party sympathisers, people like Mr Guchi.

This was not the first time that Teachers and other professionals in the rural areas were targeted by Zanu PF thugs. This happened in the 2000, 2002 and 2005 elections. Zanu PF has found it near impossible to bribe and/or intimidate the Teachers, unlike the rest of the rural populous. The party lost ground in the urban centres for this reason. Zanu PF considers the rural areas its “strong holds” and therefore could ill afford to lose ground here too and the Teachers and other professionals were considered a serious threat to that.

Mr Guchi had heard that there had been suspicious looking people – unruly gangs of 20 or so young men often high on alcohol or drugs - had visited the School asking for him. He had stayed away.

In mid May, after weeks away from his post, Guchi returned to the School; believing it was safe to do so. He was wrong.

Guchi was picked up from his Headmaster’s House in two twin cab pickups round 7.00 pm. He was heard screaming but no one came to his aid; they all feared for their own lives.

Guchi’s body was found three days later. His post-mortem report said he died of one gun shot to the head. The few relatives and friends who braved the possible reprisals by Zanu PF thugs to collect the body and buried him say his genitals had been cut-off; his eyes were gorged out and there were burnt marks all over his body. He was almost certainly shot after being tortured.

In the five months following the 29 March 2008 Election MDC says up to 180 its leaders and supporters were murdered in the Mugabe orchestrated political madness. People on the ground believe the figure is a lot higher. The Police in Marondera, for example, who were looking for drowned fisherman in a local Dam in late August reportedly, fished out four other bodies before finding that of the fisherman. How many other disappeared-victims have never been found! One would have thought MDC would at least keep an accurate record.

The story of Mr Guchi is true and an eyewitness accord. The real name, the name of the School and other details were changed or withheld to safe guard the lives of many. He did not deserve such torturous death. What kind of people would carry out such a heinous act? What kind of government would condone it? No nation in its right sense would let such barbarism go unpunished!

The only thing on Zanu PF – MDC Talks for Robert Mugabe should have been he and his henchmen would have a fair trial for the cold blooded of Mr Guchi and hundreds others. My fear is the long awaited Talk Agreement would reward Mugabe for his murderous acts.

Tuesday, 9 September 2008


The world is not taking Zimbabwe's economic and political mess seriously because we are yet to show that we are serious about searching for a solution ourselves. Glen Mpani's recent interview on S W Radio Africa is a typical, but not only, example.

For someone who has been studying MDC for four years; Glen Mpani’s shallow and partisan understanding of that party was very disappointing. Particularly so, given this was supposedly a PhD level study!

I know Political Science, Glen’s PhD field, is not an exact science. One can write a whole thesis and get and A+ doctorate and write another thesis saying the exact opposite based on the same political facts and too get an A+. Not so with the exact science like Mathematics, Physic, etc. An electrical circuit board controlling something as simple as traffic lights, for example, will obey the same Ohm’s Law as the circuit board controlling a Space Rocket. Circuit analysis of each board will one and only one correct answer; no nonsense! Glen’s analysis was just that; nonsense.

The one thing, above all else, that has contributed to MDC’s election success is the economic and political desperation of the Zimbabwe people. The people are so desperate for change that they have willing overlooked MDC’s mind boggling incompetence, lack of vision, etc., just to see the back of Mugabe and his Zanu PF party.

The root cause Zimbabwe’s 20 million percent inflation rate, empty shop, none existent health service and shortages of even the most basic goods and services is the nearly three decades of misrule by an incompetent and corrupt regime. The economic melt down has left millions of Zimbabweans destitute and without hope!

Just as MDC’s political success is founded on the people’s despair, Zanu PF’s political success is founded on fear. We are a nation living in fear of what Mugabe will do if what we do should displease him. The fear is real and justified for we all know what depth of depravity the brutal regime can sink to in its effort to retain political power.

Run up to the 29 March vote, the economic hardships- nothing to do with what MDC had said or done- had given the people the courage to overcome their fear of displeasing Mugabe by voting for MDC in large numbers. When Mugabe turned his thugs on the people like a park of wolves on sheep; the people fell back into line quick smart!

On the 29 March the people had delivered electoral victory to Tsvangirai in a silver platter. But that he should have the prize snatched out of his grasp was itself a measure of his political inaptitude. That MDC should have gone into the on going political negotiations without a clear bottom-line minimum demands is further proof of the party’s sheer incompetence.

That the people should be voting for such a mediocre party like MDC is itself a measure of just how desperate Zimbabweans really are!

Yes, Glen acknowledged MDC’s very serious shortcomings but to describe them as merely “weaknesses” is a total misrepresentation of the facts. Just because a pig is as buoyant as a duck does not mean a pig can fly. Its lack of feathers is not merely a “weakness”; it is the clinching proof!

The situation in Zimbabwe IS truly desperate and as such it demands serious and honest discussion. The international community is ready and willing to help Zimbabwe out of this economic and political mess. So far they have not lifted a finger, because we, Zimbabweans, are not serious about solving our problems. So far we have shown that we are NOT serious- not if Glen Mpani type analysis is all we have to offer!

(The full radio interview is available on the web at or ask Violet Gonda for a copy of the transcript)

Monday, 18 August 2008


Tendai Biti was up bit that the power sharing deal with Zanu PF would be reached soon. The whole nation has waited a long time for that deal. What has always worried many people is Biti's (and by extension MDC's) inability to consider other options and hence their “failure is not an option” position.

Well if you have no alternative course of action; then of course it is you will have no other option! What makes it even worse, is MDC always shoot themselves in the foot by tell the whole world that they have no other plans and therefore will take whatever is offered to them.

So the nation has had to accept a situation where Mugabe always brought to the negotiation a basketful of “must have” demands. Of course he always had a plan B if the negotiations should fail- maintain the status quo. His must have demands added up to the same thing, maintaining the status quo- a heads you lose tails I win situation.

MDC should have a basket of “not negotiable” their own with items like fundamental human rights, free press, depoliticised Police and Armed Services, repossession of the commercial farms from the ruling elite, etc. These are fundamental to the rebuilding of a free, democratic and prosperous Zimbabwe. They are not for Mugabe to deny or withhold- which is the status quo position – or are they for Biti, Tsvangirai, MDC or anybody to bargain away.

The trouble with MDC is they think everything; absolutely everything is open for negotiation.

"One has no business in negotiating if you are not prepared to compromise," Biti urged.

The talks between MDC and Zanu PF have been going on for years now, ever since the disputed 2002 presidential elections. Throughout Mugabe has had what he wanted- retain absolute power-, so he was happy. It was the ordinary people who have paid dearly for this political impasse; the national economic has gone into total economic melt down and they have been repeatedly brutalised by Mugabe’s thugs.

The talks themselves have been allowed to drag on for years because MDC have shown their willingness to negotiate although there real was no basis for that given Mugabe’s totally ridiculous and unrealistic demands!
Biti, please remember that a deal that retains the status quo is NOT deal- it is a sell out!

Friday, 15 August 2008

Zanu PF - MDC Talks are hog wash: Zimbabweans must take very seriously

I, like many other Zimbabweans, stopped reading the Herald and all the other Zanu PF controlled papers a long, long time ago. All these papers printed was Zanu PF hog-wash from start to finish! On the 14 August 2008, broke my own rule and read The Herald. It was the many independent and international publications who encourage me to read it- The Herald was reporting on what was covered in the hitherto secretive Mugabe- Tsvangirai and Mutambara tripartite talks.

According to the terms of the Memorandum Of Understanding (MOU) signed by all the parties to the Zimbabwe talks there was to be a total media blackout on the talks. The Herald’s report was based on documents about the talks “seen by The Herald”. The most likely leak here was Zanu PF. Mugabe himself had dropped hinds on how the talks were proceeding in his Heroes Day speech, for example.

It is Mugabe himself who stood to gain the most from the media blackout. He has always held the Zimbabwe public in total contempt and not worthy of the fundamental right to be heard and freedom of expression even on matters of critical national importance. Indeed, as far as he is concerned, especially on such matters!

Why Mugabe would have authorised the leak – no one within Zanu PF would have dared do such thing without his approval, such is his hold not only on the country but on his party too? Mugabe is almost paranoid about rules when it suits his agenda only to disregard or even break the same rule the next minute. It all serve to underline his own position he has absolute power on the one hand and on the other hand he himself above the law.

Morgan Tsvangirai and Arthur Mutambara and their respective MDC factions were foolish to agree to the media blackout in the first place. They should have known they will be gagged but not Mugabe. The latter, true to form continued to pour out of his vitriolic rhetoric like hot ash out of an active volcano. But worse still, both Tsvangirai and Mutambara should have know this would be a slap in the face of every Zimbabweans who for thirty years now has been demanding a meaningful say in the governance of the country.

That Tsvangirai and Mutambara should join Mugabe in his contemptuous disregard of what the people think and say is particularly disappointing given that only yesterday they were with the people in the outrage. But that is what power does to people. The two may only have ascended a few metres up the mountain above us the populous at the base and already they are “looking down” on us. They see it as fit and proper that they should make decision affecting us all without as much as “By your leave!”

To judge from what Mutambara has been saying recently; the man certainly has no head for heights. A few metres up the mountain and already he is hallucinating!

As for Mugabe he is at the very top of the mountain. His head is in the clouds and already he thinks he is a God! Infallible and therefore not to be questioned by mere mortal!

The Herald’s report on the “seen document” was going to be the usual Herald hog-wash but I also it would be foolish to ignore it. There are four reasons why that was so:
1) Whilst it would be true that the Herald would pick only those items which Mugabe wanted discussed at the talks and give them the spin Mugabe himself would have given them and ignore all the other issues. Still it was worth knowing those picked items, to confirm what many people had already guessed Mugabe would want discussed.
2) Mugabe is the dominant figure in these talks- like it or loath it- and therefore his agenda would constitute the talks’ agenda.
3) It would not inconceivable that both Tsvangirai and Mutambara would discuss whatever Mugabe wanted discussed. The two have discussed and agreed on outrageous things Mugabe put before them in the past; the 18th Constitutional Amendment last year and, as stated above, conniving with Mugabe in denying Zimbabweans a meaningful say in shaping the outcome of these talks.
4) This would be a rare chance to comment on the talks. Mugabe would want to present the people of Zimbabwe with a fiat compile of whatever he bamboozle Tsvangirai and Mutambara to sign.

According to The Herald report Mugabe, Tsvangirai and Mutambara agreed on the following:
· To have the West imposed economic sanctions lifted
· End all outside interference in Zimbabwe’s internal affairs. A theme Mutambara commented on with gusto in his Hero’s Day article. And, apparently, one that has caused Tsvangirai and ultimately the talks themselves great difficult. He reportedly wanted “the next Government to be premised on the results of the inconclusive March 29 elections – a demand that has been the cornerstone of the Western opposition to Zimbabwe’s electoral process;” commented The Herald.
· Britain was to honour its Lancaster House obligation to fund land tenure reforms in the country.
· All external radio stations to be closed and Zimbabweans working for them to return to Zimbabwe and “start working for the good of the country rather than for its enemies”.
· State organs and institutions, rule of law, etc – The Herald gave no details of what exactly was agreed beyond the simple statement.
· Security of persons and prevention of violence, etc. – again no details given
· Promotion of equality, national healing, cohesion and unity – again no details

The root cause of Zimbabwe’s economic melt down is that the present regime of Robert Mugabe is incompetent and corrupt. And whilst Zimbabweans have been aware of this for years, there was absolutely nothing they could do about it because the regime has ruthlessly denied us all a meaningful say in the governance of the country. None of the agreed things above address these underlying economic and political causes.

The Zanu PF and MDC talks have been going on for years now, ever since the disputed 2000 and 2002 election results. Is it any wonder they have achieved nothing when all the parties talk endlessly about is trivial matters.

Mugabe and Mutambara are reportedly ready to sign and form a new government on the basis of the trivia agreed above. Tsvangirai, “would be accommodated in the new Government when he was ready to sign” The Herald said.

Even Tsvangirai, for all his own shortcomings and incompetence, he has seen the talks, based on Mugabe’s set agenda, are a waste of time. He would have walked out a lot time ago if only he had an alternative plan. As it is, he too will sign whatever rubbish Mugabe puts before him!

The so called new government would be a great disappointment because it will accomplish nothing. How could it when, like the Mugabe regime before it, it seeks to address problems that are not there whilst ignoring the real problems.

Zimbabwe’s economic and political mess will remain, if anything, it will get a lot worse! If we are to end the mess then we must get competent leaders not people like Mugabe, Tsvangirai or Mutambara. The three are a joke; the whole world sees them as a joke. If we are serious about solving our problems and want the world take us seriously then we need to take ourselves seriously!

Thursday, 14 August 2008

Mugabe chipikiri chakapikirira: Tsvangirai will never ever dislodge him by talking alone!

Morgan Tsvangirai has just written an excellent letter addressed to My Fellow Zimbabweans in which he promised he will not betray us. It was one of the best things I have heard him say. The letter is available on the Zimbabwe Time web site. One swallow does not make a summer and be the same token one good letter does not make a good national leader. Mr Tsvangirai has a lot me to do to redeem his past shortcomings.

Morgan, you have said and done many things - and to be honest, many of us did not always agree with you. There will be few Zimbabweans who will find fault in what you said here or doing; I for one, am impressed.

Whilst one agrees with your commitment to dialogue and peaceful meanings of resolving our problems you must remember: 1) that dialogue is a two way process; Mugabe has planted his flag, he wants to maintain the status quo and talk about everything else but that. Frankly if we can not talk about dismantling the dictatorship, there is nothing else to talk about! 2) Talking in not an end in itself but a prologue to actions. We have to act, do something to end the political and economic crisis; talking alone will never ever do that.

Mugabe is determined to stay in power at all cost, he has said so and everything he has ever done was to achieve this singular goal. Since signed the MOU he has distributed a fleet of Mercedes Benz, Villas, etc. to one group of his ruling elite. A few days later he promoted of the very individuals responsible of the violence and murders. He may be taking part in the talks but he is also busy consolidating his dictatorship- not dismantling it.

On the other hand you, Tsvangirai, have shown a willingness to bend over double to please- anything to get the dialogue going. You demanded an end to all violence, for example, as a condition for taking part in the talks. A very reasonable demand although some of us thought it wishy-washy - you should have demanded the arrest of all those responsible for the violence and murders. You then made a complete U-turn and took part in the talks although none of your demands had been met- in the interest of getting the dialogue going, I take it.

The dialogue is not achieving anything. It is now six months since Mugabe dissolved the last parliament –not that it was doing any good – and it is totally unacceptable that the country should continue in this limbo, particularly when there is so much human suffering and misery.

The need to lift the ban stopping civic society and NGO giving humanitarian assistance to the needy is one such area calling for action now. Tsvangirai, are right in calling for the ban to be lifted. It was once again of Mugabe’s desperate acts to hang on to power at all costs. You are also right to appeal to President Thambo Mbeki and other SADC leaders over Mugabe’s head for decisive action. But that is not enough!

Surely there must be other peaceful and lawful means that can be pursued to force Mugabe to end this barbaric act of blackmail and collective punishment of the poorest and most vulnerable people in our country! A mass rally to high light and draw attention to the hundreds of thousands starving or the hospitals so ill equipped patients are dying of the most basic illness would get country wide support. It would achieve more than you and your fellow MDC leadership attending the coming SADC meeting.

Tsvangirai, you and MDC have always wanted dialogue but beyond that you never ever have a plan B! Each time you have been forced to act you have always looked to others to do something whilst you do nothing yourself. This promissory note to the people that you will not betray them is all very well but it is not near enough!

We all know Mugabe is not going to give an inch- “Chipikiri chakapiririra!” as we say in Shona. You either have to betray the people and concede to all what Mugabe wants or else take some decisive actions to end this impasse. Talking endlessly about nothing is no longer an option and, let me tell you now, letting Mugabe continue to have everything his way is too no longer an option! You have avoided grasping the nettle for years: Mugabe is a ruthless tyrant, do you have the courage to take him on head-on or will you let him twist you round his little finger as he has always done in the past?
Mr Tsvangirai, if you had taken Mugabe head-on and not just talk; there is no doubt that Zimbabwe would not have sunk to the depths of depravity and despair it has today.

Friday, 8 August 2008

Chicago's untouchable Ness vs Zimbabwe's touchable Tsvangirai

In the 1930s City of Chicago became a hot bed of lawlessness, violence and murders as rivalry gangs fought for the control of the very lucrative alcohol business. Bootlegging was big business everywhere in America, these were the Prohibition years, and in Chicago Al Capone ruled. He used a cocktail of intimidation, violence and murder to eliminate his competitors and to who threatened his business interests and to coerce dealers to buy from him and his own men to give their blind royalty to him. He wielded a large stick; he bashed one of his own men who had let him down with a baseball bat!

Al Capone also used the carrot; a good many public officials in the Police and judiciary in Chicago were in his pocket. For elected public officials; Al Capone earned their gratitude by getting them the votes. He is credited with the phrase “Vote early and vote often!”

Like so many other unscrupulous individuals, Al Capone was careful to cover his own tracks and got others to do most of his dirty work for him. So he maintained a whiter than white public image and in his financial dealing, everything was above board and he earned nothing!

Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe is a very well read man- he has at least seven University degrees and has often boosted of having “A degree in violence!” (He never said from which University!) He has a degree in economics but to look at the mess he has made of Zimbabwe’s economy one would doubt if he ever grasped even the most basic concepts of that subject. For some of his economic blunders defy common sense. But he sure understood the ethos of violence and how to how to be gangster leader.

Mugabe, in his own way, has copied and exceeded Al Capone. Like Al Capone Mugabe has wielded a stick to beat and murder his opponents and public alike into cowed submission. And like Al Capone Mugabe has used his ill got wealth to bride those helping run his lawless and ruthless empire.

Whilst Capone never held any public office Mugabe has occupied the top job in Zimbabwe for three decades. The former had to content with bribing the Police; Mugabe commanded the Police, Army and other public security organs giving him unparalleled access to outwardly legal institutions to perform his dirty work. Mugabe has used, rather abused, his public office to completely undermine the electoral process; recently he deployed the Police and party militia to literally herd the electorate like sheep to vote for him. His public office position has also allowed him to commit human rights violation at a grand scale; he has murdered 20 to 30 000 people in the mid 1980s alone!

Al Capone’s mimesis was the Federal Treasury Officer, Elliot Ness ably assisted by three others. They succeeded in disrupting Capone’s illicit business dealing, end his reign of terror, intimidation and murder because they were determined to do just that and would not given to Capone’s threats nor brides – they were untouchable!

Mugabe’s mimesis for the last eight years was, supposedly, Morgan Tsvangirai and his MDC party. One has to say, supposedly, because of the level of sheer incompetence and lack of focus shown by Tsvangirai and his MDC is such that one can not view them as anything more than just an annoyance to Mugabe. Something a lot worse, after the power sharing talks- the individual responsible for the rehabilitation of Mugabe so that he could carry on with his thuggery and brutality for a few more years. In the last 28 years Mugabe had worked himself and the country into a corner out of which there was no getting out without help. No doubt Tsvangirai has accepted the dubious role of rehabilitating Mugabe because he too would, at last, be given a cut of the wealth Mugabe has.

Unfortunately, in Zimbabwe politics there is no such thing as being untouchable. Everyone of our leaders have shown they have a price, pay it and they are yours to do as you please- Mugabe, the cunning old fox, has repeatedly he would not negotiate and beat down his opponents when he is forced to. The present position in which Tsvangirai is in a power sharing deal with Mugabe is nothing more than Mr Ness becoming Capone’s man.

There are certain things that one should be willing to give up or sell and others one must never ever give up or sell. In Africa, we have yet to reach that point; at present everything is up for grabs!

Monday, 4 August 2008


In 1980 Mugabe went to the Lancaster Talks holding all the trump cards- he was winning the civil on the ground and he had the rural electorate firmly under his control. So it was what he wanted that mattered and he wanted absolute power- a one party state in which the one party was Zanu PF.

Ian Smith and the white represented the defeated army. The nation’s economy was still firmly in the whites but they knew Mugabe was itching to take all that away from them and he did. Still in 1980 this gave them so political muscle allowing them to get some important and significant concession such as the reserved all-white parliamentary seats for the first ten years and a multi-party constitution.

As for the ordinary people, they wanted freedom, liberty, economic prosperity, etc. but they knew well enough that neither Mugabe nor Smith care much about what they wanted. Neither ever consulted them. The white routinely called blacks “Boy” or “Girl” and treated them in much the way- a child who could not be trusted with weighty responsibility of electing some one to govern.

Mugabe and his fellow black nationalist had used the “One man, one vote!” call to rally the people before independence it was clear they really never ever meant that literally. As far as they were concerned the black populous would have a directed vote – in which the electorate are literally told were to put their X and they do as there are told or they are punished!

The ordinary people in 1980 knew where they stood politically- at the bottom of the heap- and knew there was no one representing them and fighting for their political aspirations. They did not expect the talks to come out with anything for them and long behold they got nothing. On the political front the people put their X where they were instructed to and have been doing so ever since and hoped Mugabe would be contend and leave them alone. On the economic front they lived in the hope that Mugabe and the new ruling elite would cream-off the nation’s wealth- they was absolutely nothing they could do to stop that- but would have the common sense not to destroy it!

Nearly thirty years of Mugabe rule and the national economy is totally destroyed and the people are absolutely destitute!

The on-going Zanu PF and MDC political talks are in many ways similar to the 1980 talks. The national economy may be look like a rat sewer but that has not stopped Mugabe flexing his political muscle- after three months of unrelenting violence, beatings and murder he has managed to get the whole country cowed down into submission. Last week he had a whole fleet on new Mercedes Benzes issued to high ranking Magistrates who constitute part of the country’s ruling elite.

The economic chasm has opened between the ruling elite and the rest. The Magistrates receiving new Benzes were allowed to buy their old one at give away prices, many of them were given farms and many other perks over and above their huge salary. In contrast, their junior lawyer in the next office’s monthly salary is just enough to buy one kg of meat given Zimbabwe’s run-away inflation!

Mugabe’s vision of Zimbabwe is clear enough the ruling elite are absolutely loaded whilst the majority live in abject poverty. The ruling elite can see just how far they would have to fall if they should- God forbid- be forced to give their ill got wealth. Is it an wonder that so many have done all they could to keep their patron and chief benefactor, Robert Mugabe, at all costs by breaking the law and some have even committed murder.

Tsvangirai’s greatest weakness was his failure to present an alternative vision to that Mugabe gave. The rank and file Police Office are destitute like the rest of the people and yet they have been collared into joining their Commanding Officers- who are considered part of the ruling elite and therefore are filthy rich- in the reign of terror that has swept the country since April. They joined not because their do not know what is right from wrong. They joined because in Mugabe’s vision of the Police Force, all Police Officers are expected to join in or they will lose their job!

Of course, no nation can ever hope to have peace, justice, the rule of law, etc. if those tasked with the responsibility of upholding the peace and the law are themselves at the forefront of breaking peace and the law. Any Police Officer convicted of such an outrageous crime will not only the punished like a common criminal they are but will forfeit all their public service benefits and will never be allowed to hold a position of trust. Given a clearly well articulated alternative vision, a common sense vision, the rank and file Police Office would have grabbed it without a moment’s hesitation.

By giving the rank and file Police Office a way out of the totally untenable position Mugabe had forced them into Tsvangirai would have not only ended the violence but ended it for good. Not only would the rank and file Police Officers refused to carryout the acts of violence they would be arresting those who dared to break the law.

Similarly a call by Tsvangirai for freedom of expression and a truly free press would have free the country’s media practitioners from saving the narrow Mugabe agenda to save a national one. That would have been better than the call for the public media to stop calling him a puppet and other disparaging names.

There is one thing the talks must deliver the right of every Zimbabwean to have a meaningful say in the governance of the country and the right to life! For thirty years the people of Zimbabwe have waited and waited in damn anguish and frustration for these rights. The country’s economic nightmare would not have happened if only the people had a free vote; they would have stopped Mugabe from destroying the country a long time ago.

Now with the national economy in ruins and hundreds of thousands of innocent lives lost in Mugabe’s fight to cling on to political power the one thing the Zanu PF and MDC talks must deliver in the ordinary Zimbabwean’s right to free and fair election without the threat of death! If the talks should fail to deliver anything else but delivers that then they were a resounding success because with that everything will follow.

If the talks deliver everything else but do not deliver the democratic right of the ordinary person then they were a total failure because unless the electorate can hold the leaders to account all their promises are nothing but hot air, as Mugabe has shown in the last three decades!

The 1980 Lancaster House talks failed to deliver of the people’s most basic political needs and aspirations because the two main parties at the talks lacked vision. After nearly thirty years in power Mugabe’s political vision his got even worse. As for Tsvangirai, he has eyes yes and that is all one can say. The 2008 Zanu PF and MDC will once again fail the people of Zimbabwe for the same reason as in 1980- lack of vision!

Thursday, 31 July 2008


Zimbabwe economic is in deep, deep trouble and the people are suffering and dying. It is really intolerable that Tsvangirai should be talking of a soft landing and honourable exit for Mugabe.

Mugabe and his cronies’ life styles is well know to be total luxury- they have everything. A friend of mine was talking the other day of a relative who is mistress of a Zanu PF junior Minister; she has four cars, has a large farm (although the farm only produces a tiny fraction of what it used to) and is forever going up and down to South Africa and Botswana on shopping trips. You can bet Mugabe himself all money can buy. Is it any wonder these people have shown they would do anything, even commit the most sacrilege of all crimes take the life of an innocent human being in defence of their ill got wealth!

What the dickens is Tsvangirai blubbering about give these people a soft land! If there is one thing Mugabe and his cronies are, it is comfortable. Luxury is something that will nag one’s conscience, even if it is honestly earned. But when the luxury is from taking bread out of a starving child it is criminally obscene.

What honour is there in a leader who has the blood of 20 000 to 30 000 innocent fellow countrymen and women on his hands from the 1980s. And today has the fresh blood of over 120 Zimbabweans following the world’s worst shameless act of election fraud.

It is telling that Tsvangirai should be concerned about the discomfort of Mugabe and his cronies who will have to give up their luxuries but not the millions facing starving because the nation’s wealth is wasted on these luxuries.

Zimbabwe is in the political and economic mess it is in because Mugabe never got this nation beyond the first base- where every Zimbabwean from rich in their ivory towers to the rural poor in their pole and mud hovel all can enjoy the basic and fundamental rights and freedoms. In particular the right to a meaningful say in the governance of the country and have the right to life; both of which Mugabe have shameless and repeatedly denied the people of Zimbabwe.

The situation in Zimbabwe can be compared to that of the Children of Israel during Moses’ time. They had live for generation in bondage denied all human dignity. The top priority was for every men, women and child to be free and have their human dignity. Therefore Moses demand to Pharaoh was clear and unambiguous “Let my people go!”

The end of slavery was going to cause serious hardship for the Pharaoh of Egypt and his people; who was be doing the back breaking tasks for them for no pay? To the slave, perish the thought!

Tsvangirai’s demand for an end to political violence is so form of half-way house, at best. Instead of demanding the full restoration of all the basic and fundamental rights of Zimbabweans which would not only mean stopping all the violence but that the militia are disbanded the Police return to their proper duty of up holding the law not be at the front of those undermining it! After thirty years of waiting for the freedom and liberty others take for granted Zimbabweans will have to wait a bit longer because Tsvangirai’s demands will never ever get Zimbabweans off first base!

There certain basic issues that should never ever be negotiated and batter; Moses understood that Tsvangirai clearly does not. The people’s basic human rights are not for anyone to give, withdraw or deny, period.

The people of Zimbabwe were pretty desperate to have elected the likes of Tsvangirai; the country’s economic and political situation is pretty desperate that mush is true. Ironically, it is during desperate times that the greatest care and attention should be paid to electing the best there is. So before Tsvangirai is even sworn in as leader of the unity government or whatever arrangement with Mugabe; the people of Zimbabwe must now search for a more competent person to replacement him!

Tsvangirai must not lead Zimbabwe after the next free and fair election. The nation was too desperate to have elected him this year, what excuse we will have then! It is his sheer incompetence that has allowed Mugabe to do as he pleased, and the nation has paid dearly for it.

Sunday, 27 July 2008


If Moses’ demand to Pharaoh had been “Do not whip my people so!” Then, would say the children of Israel better odds of their deliverance from Egypt than I would give the people of Zimbabwe today of their deliverance from repression given Tsvangirai’s feeble demands to the dictator, Mugabe!

The story of Moses and how he led the children of Israel out of bondage and slavery in Egypt is, without doubt, the greatest story on mankind’s fight for life, freedom, liberty, justice and human dignity. It has inspired many similar struggles ever since! It is no surprise then that throughout Africa, the struggle to end colonial rule, oppression and exploitation has been compared again and again to that of the children of Israel and the continent’s leaders compared to Moses. Sadly the comparison has to start and stop with the tragic suffering of the people for none of the African leaders have shown any of Moses’ leadership qualities or vision.

The day Moses led the children of Israel out of Egypt, every one of them was a free man, woman and child, equal in human dignity and worth before the law and God. In the days ahead they faced the big challenge of crossing the Red Sea, finding their way to the Promised Land, nation building, etc.; challenges they faced and have faired a lot better because of the gift Moses gave them on that historic day – freedom, human dignity and liberty. Moses got all the children of Israel past first base. Something many African leaders, for all their chest pounding self importance, have failed to do.

Whilst the Biblical Moses had core values he such as his abhorrence of slavery and bondage and value of human dignity; Africa’s leaders have shown they have no such inhibitions. They would condemn the same injustices today when they are the victims only to perpetrate the same injustices or worse tomorrow for personal gain. They condemn slavery in one breathe and condone it in the next even to the point of enslaving their own their own kith and kin! And in spite all that, as if to underline the sorry extend of their moral depravity; African leaders like Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe still consider themselves national heroes, the Moses of Zimbabwe!

The right to have a meaningful say in the governance of one’s country is, in today’s world considered a key and fundamental human right. Deny anyone that right and the individual will protest and so further measures, denial of more human rights and freedoms, will be necessary to silence them. But when these “necessary additional measure” include the harassment and beating of 250 000 people and the cold blooded murder over a hundred people in four months, as has happened in Zimbabwe, there is cause for serious alarm. During a similar period in the 1980s there were over 20 000, some say 30 000, political motivated murders! That says what kind of leader Mugabe is.

What Mugabe and his fellow Zanu PF leaders cared about is absolute power. He never cared safe guarding the human rights and human dignity of ordinary Zimbabwean. To retain his own strangle hold on power Mugabe has shown that he would stop at nothing not even the sanctity of human life!

So Tsvangirai is cast in the role of the new Moses here to liberate the people of Zimbabwe from the grasp of a repressive and brutality dictatorship of Mugabe. Tsvangirai’s enfeebled demand on Mugabe to end all violence is not exactly the equivalent of Moses’ unequivocal “Let my people go!” A comparable demand by Moses to Pharaoh would be something like “Do not whip my people so!” Of course the children of Israel would have had good reasons to be disappointed with Moses because that would have never brought the deliverance they were seeking. The people of Zimbabwe are disappointed with Tsvangirai for the same reason.

Yes, the Tsvangirai – Mugabe talks are the only show in town. That is so, but that is hardly a reason to expect any good to come out of the talks. Evidence show, this is just another chance to finally get Zimbabwe off first base wasted!

Tsvangirai demanded that all politically motivated violence should stop and all political prisoners must be freed and the frivolous changes brought against them dropped before any talks between him and Mugabe could take place. Mugabe ignored the demands and long behold the talks have since started. Why does Tsvangirai, again and again, make these demands when he does not have the political spine to see them through! The face serving position now is that he should refuse to sign whatever is agreed at the talks until his demands are met. The truth is the demands are so feeble, it really does not matter either way.

So if there was a day, a whole week even, with no reported beating or murder would Tsvangirai then be happy to sign? Mugabe can go further and dismantle all the militia bases, recall the Police, Army and other State Security operatives he deployed throughout the country after the 29 March 2008 election fiasco. That would all mean nothing as long as Mugabe or someone else can turn round and redeploy the militia, Police, etc. as he did before.

So Tsvangirai’s demand to the end of violence should have been one to end violence now and forever. The kind that would guarantee the people of Zimbabwe their fundamental right to have a meaningful say in the governance of the country without ever fearing political violence for exercising that right. In other words Tsvangirai should have sought to deal a body blow to the very systems that has made political violence possible.

Tsvangirai should have demanded an independent investigation into all politically motivated violence and murders and that all those found guilty of these heinous crimes must be arrested. Particularly attention would be paid to role played by State Security organs like the Police and Army in these violent acts. The nation has gone to the dogs because there is no law and order, how could there be if those entrusted to police it are themselves the ones breaking the law?!

It is not that as a people we do not know what is right and what is wrong. We do. The problem is the current political culture which has forced good and decent Police Officers, Army officers, etc. to turn their backs on the people and do what they know to be wrong for fear their will lose their job if they did not. We need to free our people of this ominous and contradictory demand on their loyalties! There is only one reason any political leader would not want to address this problem; they, like Mugabe, want to use the system for their selfish gains.

Whilst Tsvangirai has suffered for years under Mugabe’s brutal regime he is still nonetheless reluctant to condemn the political system giving the ruling elite absolute power and nothing to the ruled because he is close to joining that exclusive club of the ruling elite. Of course the whole machinery of state violence is something Mugabe will not willingly give up and Tsvangirai is too weak a leader to demand of him and so will settle for the subordinate role.

Without political power the people will have little chance to force the economic reforms necessary to get the national economy back on track. So their economic hardship will continue.
The talks in South Africa will settle whether it is Mugabe or Tsvangirai who will hold the thick end of the whip. To the whipped, the ordinary Zimbabweans; stuck on first base where their basic human rights and dignities are totally at the mercy of the ruling elite, the talks are a matter of indifference