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!