Friday, 26 October 2007

Land Reform: Pipped at the post?

Land Reform: Pipped at the post?

It is simple. When it comes to the land question, every patriotic Zimbabwean must simply become irrational. Kutopenga chaiko, as Comrade Chinx would say. I am sure even former white-owners of our land expect us to be that flamingly irrational. It reminds me of Bishop Kunonga’s humourous contribution to the "Zimbabwe we want" effort. He recalled a chance encounter with two men — one white, another black — locked in a mortal fight. Upon inquiring on the nature of the differences, which had triggered such a violent encounter, he was cryptically told the two were fighting for land. He says he did not need any more information.

He simply jumped into the fray, knowing fully well that the outcome of the fight would determine the Zimbabwe he wanted. The white antagonist soon found out he had an extra pitchy black torso to subdue, if his vain cause was to prevail. Our very fragile and even broken rural livelihoods as Africans simply exhort us to take an eflexive position on this one cardinal national question.

Hey, the white man is not sleeping

Two weeks back, I drew your attention to two developments on this very emotive issue. I referred to white farmers who had gone back to the courts to challenge the whole land reform programme. Behind them was JAG, the same JAG, which engendered its gender warriors going by the name of WOZA.

But I also made reference to another action by the same group designed to litigate using Sadc’s Windhoek-based Tribunal. I explained the rational, warning this was an attempt to get Sadc to condemn its own escape from the colonial legacy, indeed an attempt to get Sadc to condemn its own emancipation.

I should also add that the international court case on the same matter brought to Paris by both Dutch and British farmers on allegations that Zimbabwe was violating Bilateral Investments Protection Agreements, BIPPAS for short, from October 29 2007. Readers may remember that the EU sought to weaken Zimbabwe’s defences by invoking travel bans on our legal team led by the Attorney General. It would appear certain EU members sought to employ political conditions to engineer a default judgement on the matter, which was then supposed to open the floodgates to further litigation, possibly leading to a reversal of land reforms.

Clearly the land issue is not yet settled. Clearly it is not yet irreversible. From a white perspective, the land issue remains a septic wound: profusely suppurating, insistently nagging well into the night. They do not sleep. They do not forget. They will not forgive. Hence the recent ICG report which demanded that President Mugabe declares an end to the Third Chimurenga.

And hey, is the Blackman woken?

From an African perspective, the land hunger persists, with many still on the waiting list. A significant portion of land remains in white hands: a good 927 farmers at the last count, with possibly 726 materially still on the land. We have also seen strange arrangements taking place outside the agreed parameters of leasing: Some lazy blacks sub-leasing State land to former white farmers. We have seen hostile blueprints of the so-called "post Mugabe recovery economics", all of them predicated on what is termed "an acceptable, internationally supported land reform programme".

Even more sinister, we have seen a new sensibility within the African elite of wanting to ram and fasten the door to further land reforms, simply because they themselves now have the land. It is the I-am-in syndrome, which threatens to reinterpret the whole land reform programme as a limited clearance sell for an African petit bourgeoisie. This sensibility couches its argument around issues of food security, foreign currency earnings and regaining international acceptability. And all these are made synonymous with retaining whites on the land, freezing land reforms to limited beneficiaries, while boldly evicting peasants and war veterans who may have placed themselves or been placed on well capitalised pieces of land.

They convincingly point to vast swathes of underutilised land to argue the present challenge is not completion of land reforms. Rather, it is about turning the already reformed land into a productive and performing asset. It is quite difficult to ignore this view’s start-off premises, namely that of rampant underutilisation. No attempt will be made to challenge this poignant premise. None whatsoever. Land must be fully utilised. Rukuni said so. Utete said so. Manheru says so, too. But is that all? But what are the implications of such a well-founded argument? That, for me, is the question.

Rhodesia’s intellectuals in new lease

This week we have had two white irritants in the form of John Robertson and Bruce Gemmill. The latter was part of Rhodesia’s leftover white farmers; the former, Rhodesia’s organic intellectual. From the above I-am-in-so-stop-the-revolution mentality, whose existence is by the way well known to the white land lobby, a thought milieu has been created for bold resurgent white racism. Reporters who went to Chegutu will tell you they ran into despicable Rhodesian white racist arrogance expressing itself in open contempt of land reforms and the new black farmer.

The reporters will also tell you there were officials from the British and American embassies, both towed by JAG, both illustrating the still abrasive Western dimension of our land question. All this reorganised white interest needs an intellectual framework and defence.

Dutifully, the Zimbabwe Independent reports on an "agriculturally connected NGO" which it does not name, whose sub-committee has undertaken "to study and recommend how and why agriculture should be reconstructed".

The paper excerpts that sub-committee’s "reasoning and conclusion". The opening of that excerpt reads: "From approximately 1900 to 1977 Rhodesian agriculture was divided by race and law into two systems, namely the white populated system of large scale-commercial agriculture, holding its land under freehold title and confined to the commercial farming areas. Secondly, the black populated systems of peasant farming, holding its land under communal title and confined to the communal areas, land holding rights being at the discretion of the local chief".

Perfunctorily acknowledging this racialised land tenure system to be a political problem, the sub-committee hurries to redefine the source of subsequent problems: "This inequality was pumped and hyped to the maximum by the present government (Zanu (PF), that is] to justify the destruction of commercial agriculture.

It was a politically driven act of retribution against a section of the population, both black and white, who were supportive of the opposition party, the MDC. It had nothing to do with land reform". The outcome was "massive injustice and misjudgment… foisted on the whole population".

Another Clare Short in male form

The excerpt leaps beyond the matter on hand to make a large statement about colonialism and African independence, clearly in a manner reminiscent of Clare Short: "We recognise there were many injustices directed against the black population during white minority rule, such is the nature of colonialism.

History cannot be changed, only the future has relevance when planning economic recovery and poverty alleviation.

This is not a callous dismissal of colonial injustices but a recognition of today’s reality. Agricultural and economic realities should prevail over populist and racial politics if we are serious about achieving a civilised standard of living for the population of Zimbabwe".

Just in case you are not insulted enough, get this: "In contrast [to commercial agriculture], peasant agriculture is the hallmark of underdevelopment…. Peasant agriculture is regarded as the bottom rung of human existence".

Harkening Zimbabwe-Rhodesia

Let us temporarily forget about the hand behind the pen, to deal with these wrinkled ideas which strike me as a determined assault on black Zimbabweans. First the benchmarking in the report. 1900 to 1977 neatly coincides with both the rise and consolidation of white Rhodesian land-based power, which is the essence of the land question, as we have known it.

The year 1977 was especially significant in that UDI laid, through a phoney internally generated "de-racialised" land reform programme, a foundation to a superficially reformist land programme which the Rhodesians through Lord Carrington sought to foist on the Patriotic Front at Lancaster House.

It allowed for some modicum of adjustment to land ownership, and even a sprinkling of black farmers in hitherto white commercial zones, but without changing the essence of Rhodesia’s land tenure. This is what Robertson and his colleague are glorifying. In a sense, Rhodesia was adjusting its land regime to prefigure the Internal Settlement and the subsequent birth of Zimbabwe-Rhodesia under a black face.

The same document, albeit in mutated form would re-emerge at the ill fated 1998 Donor Conference. The overriding goal for these initiatives and that which we are examining in this analysis has always been the preservation or restoration of white landed rights with which Zimbabwe’s commercial agriculture is made synonymous.

False closure

What is worse, the two dates give an illusion of closure to white land-based injustices: these began in 1900 and ended in 1977! Politically, this is a late invitation to get us to embrace the Internal Settlement as the era of African emancipation.

In terms of the country’s agrarian reforms, this claim seeks to postulate that Rhodesia made and unmade its own land colonialism.

Considering that we say the struggle was about land, it means we were liberated by white volitional generosity, not by black arms of war.

A real assault on liberation history, as we know it! This is staggering. After 1977, land justice had been restored, Robertson tells us, thanking white sense. It means all those who claimed to be fighting after 1977 were simply bloodthirsty, power-hungry tyrants!

Turning causes into consequences

Second: the piece reduces the whole land reform programme which started in 2000 to "political retribution" and "massive injustice", a real return to antediluvian times or "the bottom rung of human existence". We are back to Dell’s "voodoo economics" only put on Rhodesian tongues. The programme had no takers and was thus "foisted on the whole population".

It is a view that does not recognise any land need among Africans, something I thought the white world had at least conceded early on in the debate.

To that extent, it marks a hardening of positions, in fact a repudiation of concessions made earlier. Except many MDC members were happy to receive land, which suggests they were happy victims of this unwanted land reform.

They are happier to have received implements for working that same land. Their leadership does acknowledged the need for land reforms, only contesting the way it was done. So which MDC is this study referring to? And how many MDC officials or supporters had land before 2000 to have been dispossessed, alongside Rhodesia’s embittered white landed gentry whom these two gentlemen defend?

What is worse, how would the Zanu (PF) government visit political retribution on landless black MDC supporters through land reforms, as claimed? How do you dispossess a person who wields no land? In any case what started, the land issue or the MDC?

The era of noble savages

Third: we are told peasant agriculture is "the bottom rung of human existence". This is our world so vainly castigated. We are children of peasants. So why did modern Rhodesia create and preserve a peasant sector until 1977? Was it because Africans were exactly that: African and too unreconstructed to be taken into an era of "civilised standards of living", itself Ian Smith’s favourite phrase? You begin to see unrepentant Rhodesian racism that is at the core of this whole so-called study. It is a statement of racism a condemnation of Africans as un-evolved and un-evolving.

And since the independence government is both vindictive and economically irrational to levels of destroying "civilised standards", clearly the subcommittee’s reasoning and conclusion imply political governmental reforms fashioned after white Rhodesia.

After all, "all evidence stacks up in favour of commercial agriculture (read white agriculture)". Robertson and Gemmill are not writing for a Zanu (PF) Government or anything close to it. They are writing for a protean political governmental creature founded on a combined Rhodesian and

Mutability in Immutability

Fourth: History cannot be changed! I suppose it can only be destroyed in favour of "uncivilised standards". Robertson and Gemmill repudiate subaltern history of struggle with such frightening finality. It is an attempt to suggest that "Rhodesia never dies", but one proclaimed on its very tomb. The two men hanker after Rhodesia and its land dispensation. Robertson may be genuinely mistaken; surely Gemmill cannot. His present state and bitterness away from the colonially ill-gotten land, does confirm that indeed Rhodesian history has been challenged and changed!

What is worse, the whole import of their sub-committee is to challenge and change another history — to them clearly African and therefore unpalatable — defined by and formed through the 2000 land reforms. The two men want to reverse Zanu (PF)’s land reforms, which means challenging Zanu (PF) and its history which, willy-nilly, is the history of all black Zimbabweans regardless of political affiliation. Both Tsvangirai and Mutambara have now recognised that the land question is indeed an African national question that cannot be ducked in the name of fulfilling oppositional functions.

Succour from a fissure?

What is the significance of all this? Well, this is an indicative piece, indicative of the mood in the white camp. Shell shocked by the land reform between 2000 and 2005, the white tribe appears to have taken on a new feeling of defiant resurgence, a feeling that a new milieu tolerant of its racist arrogance and drivel is finally come. This may suggest either of the two following things: That the white vlok has detected a fissure within Zanu (PF) leadership, giving succour to its resurgence. Or that there is a real desperation in the country that the ruling party is about to be ready to collapse or to clutch at a serpent.

I happen to know that Zanu (PF) is not about to collapse; quite the contrary, it is feeling quite sanguine. It is importing agricultural equipment like a party that is not about to go away. It has divided the EU, a real novel feat in the history of the interface between Europe and Africa. Its candidature for March 2008 is as good as decided. Its opponent, the MDCs, is in disarray. The economy is beginning to respond to its policy importuning. So there is no question about a collapse. Which leaves the first item possibly.

Place of white man in Zimbabwe

I have always said it will be a very sad day indeed if any forum within Zanu (PF) burns its time and ardour debating the place and role of the white man in independent Zimbabwe. That simply should not be an issue. While it is true that the struggle was against a system, not a race, it is ineluctably true that the system depended on a specific race for its sustenance. It still depends on that same race for its survival in post-independence, which is how it continues to mould, forces which keep Zanu (PF) busy.

Zanu (PF) cannot dodge the issue of race in its effort to found a new society. White power remains paramount in the economy. It remains paramount in the very indigence of post-colonial Africans. Certainly the struggle was not about weighting the rights and interests of a mere 900 white farmers as equivalent to the rights of 13 million black Zimbabweans for whom 90 years of colonial rule would not end until 2000.

Why would so much energy be burnt on the fate of remnant white farmers to the exclusion of 30 000 plus African farmers already on the land? What have we given these 30 000 to expect results from them? What? Surely seed packs alone are not enough? Surely fertilizer alone is not enough?

To all intents and purpose, 2007 is the year which the Zanu -PF government has made a real and telling intervention to follow through on its emphatic land delivery between 2000 and 2005. The year 2007 is the year Zanu-PF has begun to address the issue of productivity.

It cannot expect the result a day later. Not even a season later. That never happened with white Rhodesians who had years and years of assistance from their Government. Why judge the underprovided new farmer so harshly in terms of tractors and farming loans he or she is just beginning to get? Is it not better to se what Muzvondiwa does to land with the new implements than to condemn him in favour of Beattie well before he had made the first furrow?

Do we abandon the people because we want Beattie for a civilised neighbour? Do we condemn an agricultural model that reared us for decades, indeed which made us who we are merely because we have big power, big means and big white friends? The spirits of little bird nzo are always in the nest. Let us know where we came from and who made us. Zanu-PF cannot survive the morning after without a correct position on land.


MDC: Culling political profit from cadavers

MDC: Culling political profit from cadavers

Strange things are happening I tell you! While most Zimbabweans regard MDC politics as negatively anti-people and anti-nation, very few appear to have budgeted for MDC’s latest histrionic: that of pasting its name-tag on every dead body in Zimbabwe.

It is indeed politics taken to bizarre limits. MDC seems unaware that the dead doth not voteth, which is why it spends precious campaign time on cadavers. Of course, I have never died myself. Nor do I look forward to that ineluctable, unknown, but still dreaded state.

Like all things human and mutable, I am set to die some day, die but once only, never to get the joy of telling the living whether or not the dead do have political predilections. For now and in this human state, I am inclined, without of course barring the benefit of hindsight in death, to assert that dead men and women hold no political opinion.

Chinja! in the graveyard?

I see disbelief on your face, gentle reader. The MDC cannot sink to this bizarre level, I hear you say. I will make things a little lighter and gentler for you. I will give the MDC some momentary reprieve. I will assume I am being metaphoric, to encourage you to suspend a bit of your disbelief for the sake of this discourse.

When a whole party burns its ardour and sparse resources lobbying Blair, Bush and Brown who are not registered to vote here in Zimbabwe, what is the difference with shouting "Chinja!" in an eerie graveyard?

When a party exiles a good part of its constituency to Britain and South Africa, in an electoral environment of constituency-based (now ward-based!) voting laws, how different is this from building a political cell in sepulchral Granville?

Tagging cadavers

But that is death as a political metaphor, which is not what I am talking about. I mean real dead bodies which the MDC has turned into campaign tools.

Last week we got all sorts of fatuous claims from MDC’s Chamisa alleging the resurgence of inter-party violence. Of course, he was taking his cue (he always does) from Sekai Holland also quite active in New Zealand, supported by the disgraced former judge, Paradza.

There she told Helen Clark that political violence was mounting, voicing the threat of pulling out of talks. Biti countered. The MDC knows that the outside world has always donated on the bogey of political violence, which is why its inflows are as good as its synthetic descriptions and images of violence. In this drive, not even holy parts of woman are spared, which is why we have seen the MDC begging through bare bottoms.

With very few bottoms now left, the MDC has got to find another cynosure for donor compassion and generosity. The MDC, through one Kerry Kay, its "welfare" officer claims the parry had one of its cadres politically murdered in Marondera.

Curiously, no police report is generated to validate that alleged political violence. Instead, a murder report is filed with the local police by the family of the victim.

The same case which the MDC claims is political violence is reported as a fatal brawl at a beer party. It involves drunken youths whose parents, ironic enough, are high-ranking officials of Zanu (PF)! Undeterred, the MDC tags its name on the resultant corpse. Case one.

Kerr Kay again

Several weeks ago, we had a report of an allegedly thieving farm labourer who is beaten to death allegedly by soldiers after a pilfering incident at a farm owned by a Cabinet minister.

The report implicates the minister’s wife and some soldiers at a nearby Air Force base. Several weeks later — this week — we are told again by the same Kerry Kay that apparently the dead man and his surviving colleagues were all MDC supporters!

Another tag on another cadaver. Case two. You get case three, four, five fatuously coming from Chamisa by way of dire threats to Zanu (PF), motivating the impressionistic Financial Gazette to fear for the ongoing talks.

Replaying victim politics

Since then, the MDC hierarchy has been enjoying this newfound escape from the gnawing and nagging challenge of stretched cohesion. Claiming dead bodies regardless, has become Chamisa’s formula for getting his fissiparous party out of the winter of discontent.

Expelling loud farts of statistics of what the evil party terms "rights violations" is its latest way of drawing donor attention to itself. The story is not that the MDC is once again playing its victim politics; it is that the ruse still has avid takers.

To create an impression of deteriorating rights situation, the lonely crowd called NCA has now found a purpose. Without police authority, it is taking to demonstrations, deliberately to provoke police reaction.

It is clear Madhuku’s wallet is deflated, and it’s time to inflate political temperature! Then Woza, the Woza. It has now started spewing its mindless viragos, again to provoke situations for a loud count for the world. Also Zinasu.

Whys and Wherefores

Why all this? Well, to help Brown make a decent case for boycotting Lisbon. Between now and Lisbon, there will be countless provocations, all of them photogenic to help with the British cause. After all, is that not MDC’s reason for existence? Additionally, the MDC hopes claims of violence will justify the despatch of a self-fulfilling EU human rights envoy they fully know Zimbabwe will never entertain. Or better still a UN envoy through whose report Zimbabwe will crash-land in the Security Council as a subject for collective international action.

More important, there are compelling dynamics within the MDC for playing up the thesis of gratuitous political violence. Put aside fund-raising which is just as important.

Take in the growing factionalisation of Tsvangirai’s MDC, and you begin to come closer. The inter-party talks have had the unintended effect of raising the profile of some, while taking profiles of others to the nadir.

Morphing powers

And Biti, whose fortunes have risen considerably, has not helped matters. Using this new-found clout, he has suspended women leaguers led by Lucia Matibenga.

On this one he has the support of Mrs Tsvangirai who wants to see Ian Makone’s wife rise in substitute.

Talks-derived clout has morphed into decisive disciplinary action. There is a wild flutter in the dove-coat. Those in the corner are fighting back and have targeted the talks – poor talks — for attack.

They imagine Zanu (PF) would be the loser should the talks come to grief. Pity them! Their calculation is simple: you break the talks’ amplitude, you ground the soaring Biti.

So the Mukonoweshuros, the Chamisas, the Goneses, the Mashakadas, the Hollands, the Kays, the Bennetts are all united and ranged against Biti via the talks. The timing of the attack is curious.

The talks have dealt with 18th Amendment, the draft Constitution, POSA, AIPPA, the Electoral Act, etc, etc. Biti comes to Harvest House waving these victories of sorts, in the process wrecking the prospects of the likes of Madhuku. A Biti holding a draft constitution kills Madhuku’s one-cause struggle, does he not? But then how will Madhuku eat? A fight from the belly is definitionally vicious.

A uniting shot

Both sociology and psychology teach that the quickest way of forging solidary relations in a variegated group is to fire an unexpected shot.

Everyone becomes a victim in a way that unites. The MDC hierarchy badly needs such a uniting shot to keep everyone bonded on the deck. The British love it. The Americans love it. An MDC which opts out of talks ostensibly on grounds of violence, checks the current momentum towards Western irrelevancy in Zimbabwe’s politics.

It puts Mugabe back on the spot. It contains the independent-minded Mbeki. It restores MDC’s sagging fortunes in the eyes of the Western community, currently so badly united or ambivalent. The other EU and its new members are not quite clear on what stance to take regarding Brown’s threat to boycott Lisbon.

The African connection

But there is another fear, deep fear which is coming through human rights NGOs. The Zimbabwe Government has fielded Secretary Mangota for the chairmanship of the AU’s African Commission for Human and Peoples’ Rights.

It is Sadc’s rightful turn and his prospects are quite bright. Until now, the ACHPR has been an important plank for Britain and her poodles here.

They are likely to lose it. In desperation, they hope that if they can get Zimbabwe’s rights image tarnished, Mangota’s prospects can be reversed, or at the very least dimmed. It is a bit too late but they will still try. Meanwhile, anyone with a dead body, including the Medical School and its 300 cadavers, could sell it to the MDC!

The church, the loin

Gentle reader, I take it you have not ignored the sub-plot from the pulpit which runs parallel to national politics.

I am referring to the goings-on in the Anglican Church. I have always thought that the church, being His sacred body, would be a place of sacred amity and holy deeds.

Even its misdeeds, one believed, arise as inadvertency, indeed arise in the spirit of striving for righteousness.

Judging by the news from the Church this year, it would appear there is greater passion and rheum in the Church than there is in secular politics. The Church seems governed from the human loins.

First, we had the case of the then Archbishop of Bulawayo facing allegations

of feeding on his flock. In the end he resigned as if to suggest that indeed he faced real allegations! In a show of bravado, he promised to fight it all out in a secular court. It gets some of us confused when holy men prefer earthly salvation. But the loins had had their day in challenging the spire.

Loving sin or the sinner?

Then you have this brand new furore over gays between scriptures, this time in the Anglican Church. Not that the Anglicans are unclear on this one vexatious matter.

Their position seems so clear and unadulterated: homosexuality is outside God’s wish as expressed through His scriptures. Declarations to say so have been passed, apparently with remarkable unanimity and communion.

But the same Church urges bishops to handle those affected by the misdeed with sensitivity, the same way the scriptures urge a compassionate handling of sinners. Jesus did not join in the stoning of the woman accused of adultery.

Therein lies the confusion. What did he mean by that action? Did compassion for the sinner exonerate the sin? Amazing how the Church has not recovered from its propensity for bloody, schismatic disputes. I am sure my readers are aware that well before the rise of Protestantism, Catholics slaughtered one another over a simple question: If a fly drowns in the priest’s blest wine, is the fly blest, or is the wine defiled? What started as a simple dispute became a basis for drawing blood and with time, a basis for schism .

Those who suggested the wine would have been defiled were accused of underestimating God’s ability to cleanse sin, or overestimating sin’s power over holy goodness; those who suggested the fly got blest suggested redemption comes by a sheer happy misfortune, never through sustained penitential effort.

I can also recall John Milton and his Paradise Lost series. He would have died on the stacks, save for time which was beginning to challenge church verities, including the notion of apostasy.

His "sin" was to turn God and Satan into competing characters in his epic series. As a fallen archangel, Milton’s Satan comes through as a shrewd, calculating character of unparalleled brilliance. As humans who share in his foibles, we tend to gravitate towards him, indeed to identify with him.

God, on the other hand, emerges as a flat voice of holy edicts, seemingly hostile to fallen man’s enterprise. He can’t fit in the narrative, or else he ceases to be God. So he is no match for the restless and striking Satan. In the end Milton comes through as for the Devil, but without intending it, itself a deadly sin given 18th century bigotry.

The church, the pimp?

Today the Anglican Church gives us yet another hefty ecclesiastical dispute over what to us mere mortals appears a straightforward matter.

Surely the Lambeth position decries homosexuality as a sin, but without calling for the persecution of the sinner? Surely, handling the sinner with redemptive compassion is not to embrace the sin?

The idea was never to get gays to perform the offices of their strange love, leaning against the pulpit. Or using the holy cloth to mop beads of sweat from ill joy.

It was to understand their sin in order to defeat it. This is the Kunonga line which people like Bishop Taonezvi, apparently less from their own sexual preferences which I hear to be normal, and more from the need to secure resources from rich gay-happy churches overseas, do oppose. Can the Church prostitute its body the same way a hungry street kid does when faced with a tempting offer from a hungry rich gay? Does the Church want morally impoverishing and aggravating secular riches?

Ecclesiastical courts?

But it is worse. Assuming Kunonga has to be tried for causing schisms, apparently by fanatically upholding the holy testament, who tries him? Who prosecutes? Triple Gs? Who presides? Justice Chitakunye? If those who claim to defend the Church really want to be taken seriously, why have they not familiarised themselves with church law? Why have they not arraigned him in an ecclesiastical court?

How do they raise charges against a bishop using secular law and in a secular court? Why Triple Gs? What has happened to the church’s legal desk? And why issue out pastoral laws ahead of the trial? Pastoral laws with intemperate language reminiscent of secular politics? It gets quite baffling.

Beyond the phallic

Until of course you get to know the underlying politics. When President Mugabe compared gays to cats and dogs, he sounded like an angry old man showing what the media has come to term "homophobia". I have never understood what that means, or that getting a bad name for a good reaction to something sinful, necessarily dignifies the evil.

If Mugabe is a homophobe, why are these strange men and women not homos in the censorious sense? Many could not understand why the President reacted so sharply, simply because few realised that sexual permissiveness was a carnal correlative to an ideological position.

It is a vivid metaphor for neo-liberalism’s give-ness. It is a way of overthrowing our values by challenging the mores around a foundational reproductive assignment. Tell me: is it very difficult for a man who agrees to become a woman to another man, to also agree to shift from being a major in his country to being a minor? A minor who undresses and bends to gratify the unholy passion of an outsider? What greater conquest can ever visit such a man, such a people. To be made pimps? To be made pimp people? A nation of eunuchs? Indeed, this assault on our sense of sexuality was followed by a greater assault which has taken us to this day.

This is why what is happening in the Anglican Church must be properly understood, namely as a sub-plot to national politics. Remember that political conquest always has its phallic side. Beware. Icho!


Monday, 15 October 2007

The Brishit colonial hangover is sending Brown bonkers.

Brown's plan for Zimbabwe envoy splits EU nations
By Anne Penketh, Diplomatic Editor
Published: 15 October 2007

Britain is at the centre of a diplomatic row over Gordon Brown's proposal to send an EU envoy to Zimbabwe ahead of a landmark EU summit with African states to asses human rights abuses under President Robert Mugabe. The divisive issue of the envoy will be discussed by EU foreign ministers in Luxembourg today. Diplomatic sources say Germany is opposed to the idea while Nordic states agree with Mr Brown.

The Prime Minister caused dismay in Brussels and Africa when he announced in The Independent last month that he would boycott the first EU-Africa summit in four years, which is expected to raise relations between the two continents to a new level, if Mr Mugabe is present. At a press conference last week, Mr Brown insisted: "I will not attend. No senior government minister will attend. We are not prepared to sit at the same table as Mr Mugabe because we are not prepared to give any suggestion that we condone what is an abuse of human rights in his country, the poverty and degradation of his people and the unacceptable behaviour of him as president."

France is sympathetic to Mr Brown's view but believes Britain has a "historical problem" with Zimbabwe, a senior French official said. Reflecting a widespread opinion among European leaders, he added: "We don't want the summit to be a flop." That position has led Britain to examine whether Mr Mugabe might be inclined to let in an EU envoy before the summit, although a Foreign Office spokeswoman said: "I wouldn't say we're pushing it. Let's say we're exploring it with our partners."

Several African leaders are opposed to the envoy proposal, including the South African president Thabo Mbeki, who believes that talks brokered by his country between the Zimbabwean government and the main opposition parties, about plans to hold free and fair elections next year, are at a critical stage.

"It risks doing two things – strengthening tensions around Zimbabwe between the EU and the Africans and intervening in an unhelpful way in the process in Zimbabwe, which is being managed by Mr Mbeki," said an EU official. "Any interference from the West, especially Britain, risks being used to derail the process." The official stressed that if, as seems likely, Mr Mugabe shows up in Lisbon, the EU would be determined to highlight the human rights abuses under his leadership. Invitations to the December summit are expected to be issued later this week. Portugal, which holds the EU presidency, shows no sign of dropping plans to invite Mr Mugabe. He is still banned from travelling to the EU but the ban can be lifted temporarily in such circumstances. The Southern African Development Community has warned that its 14 members will boycott the summit if an invitation to Mr Mugabe is withheld.

Meanwhile, African non-governmental organisations which took part in a survey on Africa's relations with Europe, carried out by the British Overseas NGOs for Development (Bond) network, accused the EU of continuing to have a "colonial" attitude towards the continent. Marco Serena, of Bond, said African civil society wanted to "avoid another negotiation behind closed doors that will not bring benefits to people but to an elite in both Africa and Europe". He added: "From now to the Lisbon summit and beyond, we will challenge both the EU and the African Union to a reality-check about the way they are conducting Europe-Africa relations."

John Clancy, a spokesman for the EU development commissioner, said the point of the summit was to show that "together we can develop a dialogue and partnership of equals".

Saturday, 13 October 2007

Zimbabwe: It’s the land, stupid!

Zimbabwe: It’s the land, stupid!

Three pieces — seemingly small and unimportant — came through the media this week. One relates to eleven white farmers who appeared before the magistrate in Chegutu, facing criminal charges for failing to vacate properties acquired by the State for purposes of resettling the landless.

The farmers lost the case with costs, with the magistrate, Tinashe Ndokera, agreeing with the prosecutor that the farmers merely sought to frustrate land reforms by abusing court processes.

It was a judgement which more than settling the matter, also carried a rebuke. Expectedly, the farmers are angry and traduce the ruling as "a farce". The farmers told both the BBC and Al Jazeera that they mean to fight on, including putting their lives on the line to keep the land.

A BBC/CNN in borrowed robes

Al Jazeera reporter, one Haru Mutasa, surprising still expected the minister responsible for lands to waste his breath addressing worn-out arguments from these farmers whose defence had been rejected by the courts anyway.

This absurd expectation, apart from betraying the location of the sympathies of the station she reports for, and possibly her own sympathies too, amounted to turning Al Jazeera into a superior court, an appellate court with powers of judicial review.

I have dismissed Al Jazeera as the BBC and CNN in borrowed Arab robes, to capture the rather disconcerting editorial discrepancy between the original, pro-Third World Arab Al Jazeera on the one hand, and this Caucasian medley which uses a branding subterfuge to push and defend white interests, on the other.

Mutasa tried to build emotion and empathy for the convicted white farmers by showing off their well-fed animals, contrasted by their faces made haggard by the dim prospects which land justice would soon bring and deliver. She did not find time to give her viewers a comparable and certainly compelling predicament of Zimbabwe’s black landless who have had to endure the same predicament for generations.

And in their country too! Surely she was here enough (with Mighty Movies) in 2000 and beyond, to know that the debate on land reforms has evolved to stages where no one — I repeat no one in their right mind — is interested in revisiting arguments which justify the whole programme for the benefit of anyone, least of all that of white farmers who must know better. Until recently, they stood out as uninterrupted beneficiaries of African landlessness, most poignantly represented by the Tangwena people who survived just on the other side of Haru’s birthplace.

The white squatters are the evil part of the colonial piece, and no amount of haggardness can ever lift them from their status as villains of this great injustice suffered by generations of Africans. Clearly, the girl seeks to come into the story too late, hoping she can breathe new life into cadaverous claims. In that futile effort, she looks quite hackneyed, strange and misplaced.

To SADC with cynicism

The second piece related to three equally defiant farmers who are in the courts in Rusape facing exactly the same charges. The third referred to a white farmer who has decided to take his case to the Sadc Tribunal, charging that Zimbabwe’s land reforms are an exercise in racism and cronyism, and are pushing out people with the competence to work the land.

Interestingly, this particular white man has been on the land from time of birth, and certainly after 1980 when SADCC, precursor to the current Sadc, was formed.

At no point did he think of taking himself to a similar tribunal to raise the racism argument against the all-white colonial land reform programme which kept all Africans on the margins for so long. So much about human rights and racism.

Rhodesia’s media A-Team

But something else happened. Rhodesia’s indefatigable media A-Team is back in the country to mind this particular story of white struggle. Led by Peta Thornycroft, they have been running up and down, court to court, to ensure the world is roused once more to the "harrowing" plight of the vestigial white tribe left and lost in "Mugabiland".

It is a pleasure to watch their nimble footworks, and how they attempt to pull the entire media fraternity with them. Why a simple and straightforward case in the magistrates’ court in small Chegutu proved to have a better appeal than a whole Vice-President opening an international Travel Expo, is something so hard to fathom. What is at stake which makes tourism and its fabulous receipts a drab in comparison? Why would Al Jazeera, itself an Arab channel, worry more about a handful of remnant, sunburnt, racist and law-breaking Rhodesian farmers, and not an Expo so overwhelmingly patronised by Arab buyers? But then again, what’s in a name?

Against better sense, world sympathies

There is so much at stake, made worse by the fact that President Mugabe keeps moving on to new "outrages", from the point of view of white British interests here.

Between September and now, Brown has taken telling direct hits from the Zimbabwean leader. He faces a fractured EU he cannot look up to for salvation. If anything, the EU seems to be throwing more dust into Britain’s already weeping eyes.

The latest admission by Brussels that the EU was narrow and vindictively British in its rush to impose sanctions against Zimbabwe before exhausting provisions and channels for dialogues can only spell further embarrassment for Brown.

Indeed it can only signal a regional bloc quite fed up with shoring up an unreasonable member’s brittle policy of spite, against better sense and world sympathy. The hungry eastern dragon that continues to rumble in the background, eyeing all manner of resources, can only motivate greater rebellion within the European bloc.

Quite a brown headache

Much more happened. Germany will attend Portugal. France is seeking justification to attend through the dutiful Senegalese president Wade who thinks he can do better than Mbeki in bringing about a resolution of an impasse which has already been unclocked. In Shona we call it bravely slaying the dead and cold, muchekadzafa.

In the end France will attend, which means EU’s two out of three most powerful economies will be in Lisbon. That isolates Brown, making his absence completely immaterial. Of course Sarkozy is under tremendous pressure from Britain to abscond so the EU, through its attendance register does not validate Mugabe’s argument that this is a bilateral dispute. Quite a brown headache!

Stitching and stretching

But Mugabe continues to move on. His Indigenisation Bill is as good as done, only awaiting his assent. Judging by the most recent debate in the House of Lords, the British whose defence of white interests in respect of land was severely breached, are having to stitch and stretch the same tattered defence to cover another assault further up. It cannot be worse.

The Lords want to know what Her Majesty’s Government is doing to protect British commercial interests threatened by "Mugabi". Malloch-Brown, himself a Rhodesian, was quite humble and modest: pretty precious little, beyond praying that Mugabe is restrained by Mbeki. Mugabe cannot be made to quack in his boots, he told the hoary lords.

Malloch-Brown gave a very sober response, itself quite a departure from the bellicosity of the supposedly suave House of Lords. Britain seems to be enjoying a blast of realism. Britain is worried about its mining interests; worried about its interests in the financial sector. That means we can now talk as equals, the colonial power having realised the futility of haughty condescension over a country it dismisses as a minor. Besides, the McKinnon charm has not delivered, with Mugabe turning away in contemptuous disgust from an enticement he was supposed to gobble hook, line and sinker.

Lost indeed

Increasingly, insistently, the argument is paring down to its bare essentials. More than anything else, it is about Britain’s economic interests planted here by colonial history. More than anything else, it is about Zimbabwe’s sovereign rights, won back through tears, blood and struggle. What gives in: a foreigner who seeks retention of colonial rights or an indigene who defends a birthright?

The futile fight by the farmers is an attempt to retain a smokescreen against blazing rays of a sun creeping towards midday. So is the coverage, led by Thornycroft. So are the noises from NGOs and elements within the Tsvangirai faction of the MDC.

Yes, so indeed is the case with strange studies and analysis on how Malawi conquered hunger, accompanied by an equally strange downgrading of Zimbabwe on the index of MDGs. It is to give Brown a face, indeed to impute decency to Britain’s lost cause. Lost indeed! And as the challenges against the British stiffen, they are likely to come clean and bold, to tell the EU "it’s land, stupid"!

Commotion in the anteroom

I painted a scenario for you, gentle reader. I am referring to the Mbeki mediation which by the way is going on very well, too well in fact. I indicated Biti would have difficulties in selling the outcome to his constituency. Thank God, Tsvangirai saw sense and decided against leading the axis against the agreement. He would have been finished much earlier. He still faces a certain death politically, albeit one punctuated by spurts of reprieve, here and there. Of course that position on the talks spawned its own problems, causing commotion in his faction’s anteroom.

He is working hard to pacify his constituency. In the meantime, let us focus on revealing indiscretions. The Herald reports that Lucia Matibenga has been fired. The pirate American Studio 7 says she has not been dismissed. Kwinjeh confirms in a rather vulgar obituary that indeed Lucia is dead and forgotten, blaming it all on MDC’s inability to break free "from Zanu (PF) culture" of using women, not rewarding them for their hardly sutured sacrifices. She bares her thighs to prove she still nurses weeping wounds that her male hierarchy cannot see.

Third Force

The article goes further. It celebrates women like Sekai Holland and Priscillah Misihairambwi who have been in the trenches for the rights of this important half of humanity which nature long decided to bear with a delightful breach. So far, all sounds okay. Until one realises Kwinjeh is threatening to resign, and is seeking new pedestals for Third Force unity, across factions. Watch this one. Yet another revealing indiscretion.

Tsvangirai is in the US, on a universities lecture circuit. In one interview he urges the world to help Zimbabwe with humanitarian assistance, and stops. No reference to sanctions in a country which pioneered illegal sanctions against Zimbabwe, and thus which deserves greater thanks than those criminals who lead Down Under whom he thanked so fulsomely.

Why? Equally, he is at pains to indicate he is not meeting State Department officials. That might be true; that might be false. But this is the new image he seeks to found and dress himself with.

Not quite the same as saying remove sanctions. But equally not quite the same as saying please cut electricity, fuel, etc, etc.

Telling England from within its belly

Fortuitously, some Michelle Gavin of the influential American Council on Foreign Relations warns the British and Western interests, including business interests, against the bigoted ABM — Anyone But Mugabe campaign. She makes the warning at Chatham, London, itself the hatchery for British policy against Zimbabwe in early 2000. Maybe this means nothing, but no harm in pointing out something. Yet, yet another goof.

Sekai Holland tells New Zealanders MDC will not hesitate to pull out of talks if Zanu (PF) does not stop harassing its members. She sees harassment from far-away New Zealand, the harassment we on the ground cannot see. Biti reacts with remarkable promptitude. He says MDC will not desert the talks, asserting instead his side will pursue talks to the logic end. Again unimportant? I don’t know. Maybe insignificant farts from a distend belly.

Like-Minded Donor Group?

But maybe greater accent should be placed on the urbane stratum of the groomed high and might. I am referring to diplomatic circles. Again, recall my previous pieces. Even in that usually phlegmatic world, things have been suggesting a revealing hubbub. With the idea of a special envoy of the UN Secretary General for humanitarian affairs visiting Zimbabwe flatly rejected and thus abandoned; with the idea of an EU human rights envoy palsied and dead on conception and, with Mbeki having successfully fire-walled inter-party talks, this suave world of dignified, officially sanctioned espionage appear buttoned up, feeling smothered.

Led by the Swedish ambassador, the so-called donor nations, legitimised by the seemingly lost UNDP, have been seeking ways of boring to the nub of influence. It has not been easy, one attempt after another; one Trojan horse after another. From the old days of the seemingly all-country Rainbow initiative, through to Fishmongers, matters have mutated to what the tireless but misdirected Ray-lander terms Like-Minded Donor Group (LMDG)!

Amazing how grown-ups give us unsolicited humour in broad daylight. Happily the African, Asian and Arab groups have seen through this threadbare subterfuge, stoutly rebuffing any overtures.

That they are a group, no one contests. That these countries are like-minded, again no one doubts. That they are donors, we all surely know. But grouped against, or for what? But like-minded on what, or against what? Donors to whom, to what?

These are the questions to which we have abundant answers. It is just that they take us for infantile fools before whom carrots are dangled for obvious concessions. The Swedish guy writes complaining there is no information sharing on the ongoing talks. I am sure he wrote on behalf of the group. Why does he expect us to place them in that position of privilege? Merely in the hope of donations?

It is clear the guy is so far away from understanding this country. The grovelling for a farthing he sees in the opposition is quite far from the defining national psyche of this country. Let him get that. We all know that these so-called donor nations which we know as "sanction nations" have been hoping that Sadc would approach them for funding of Zimbabwe’s recovery. Let them re-read the Dar communiqué to know what it enjoins Sadc to do.

Weeping Hussein

My learned classmate came to my office the other day for a chuckle. The Financial Gazette had just published a story which reminded both of us of the sitcom "Liar, Liar". Of course those who know it would recall "Liar Liar" is a prostitution of "Lawyer, Lawyer". Here was a lawyer incurably given to bald lies, including turning his villain clients into victims.

Back to the article. Its main focus was a concentrated attack on George Charamba, Secretary for Information and Publicity. We zeroed in on a supposed line of attack against Charamba, namely that he "sings hopelessly out of tune for his supper". We both wondered whose supper must he sing for in order not to be "hopelessly out of tune"? Surely he is an employee of a Zanu (PF) Government? Is he not employed to defend Government interests?

Who sings for his supper? An employee of a Zanu (PF) Government going about his lawful duties of defending that establishment on the one hand, or a lawyer who is not the Attorney General or an officer of the AG, volunteering his services to Zanu (PF) and its Government, on the other, as he claims? After all, surely the fact that he represented Zanu (PF) right up to the highest level is precisely why he faces the opposing action which he does.

Indeed precisely why his begging letter to the Party hierarchy only last week, suggests a personality acutely wishing to be held in good stead by the Party.

Indeed a personality so remarkably different from the bravado he projects through inane placements in once-a-week newspapers over a matter which shall be decided in the courts. Or does he fear Charamba’s singing may turn out to be his weeping? Surely time will tell. Icho!


Thursday, 11 October 2007

Bulldog jawed Gordon Brown's tantrum not working

Bulldog jawed Brishit Prime Minister Gordon Brown has said he may boycott the planned summit if Mugabe is present, much to the delight of the puppets in Zimbabwe's opposition. This Brown tantrum, like the bitchy back-tracking on a rumored election last week, is another of Brown's dumb decisions.

But Amado said that the summit, scheduled for December 8-9 in Lisbon, at the end of Portugal's six-month presidency, could not be run by special cases. Mugabe would be there "if such is the will of Africa," he added.

"It must be a summit of equals. No one should lay down preconditions. Let us meet and discuss everything of interest -- even the difficult issues -- with everyone present," South Africa's ambassador to the European Union, Anil Sooklal warned on Tuesday.

On Monday, European Commission chief Jose Manuel Barroso said the summit should not be derailed by the stand-off between Britain and Zimbabwe. Brown's position was "not fair, nor right" and was against European interests, he added.

Saturday, 6 October 2007

MDCs: between recidivism and rebirth

MDCs: between recidivism and rebirth

My apologies to my readers for playing truancy last week. I had had too much masese, in the process losing my sense of time and responsibility. Deepest apologies to one VIR (very important reader): Cde Yasser Afarat wekuGaza (kana kuti Tororo rekwaMaranda) who tells me he contemplates a return to the bush each time he can’t find Manheru in his Saturday issue of The Herald.

I treasure your patronage, Shava Nhuka. Ironically your insistent interest puts me on my tenterhooks, making me painfully self-conscious. Yet it is this same acute sense of, and respect for, my readers which keeps me going, indeed which gives this column its quick. Thanks of course to people like you, neimwe mhofu yekwaMombeyara who is so quick to belch molten tirade each time I miss my date, so to speak!

Clues to Manheru’s credo

To those who do not find this column exactly sexy, I give them clues to its credo. This is a column of bile and adrenalin, a column which reminds anyone who grew up in an African village of that angry and nasty single woman neighbour, after your father’s voracious herd has strayed into her shamba, grazing to stubs her entire effort of a precarious summer.

Do not expect her to enter your father’s homestead lipsing kisses and waving a warm embrace. If you are unlucky — as once was my own father after one such tragic encounter I had triggered through monumental negligence — the angry woman walks in, all clothes in one hand, the other one broadcasting hot and menacing curses, herself stark nude to show your stunned father her naked anger in erect fullness, undisguised by any sartorial pretensions. She is out to deliver a hot message you cannot duck.

You receive it stark and demure, un-distracted by other rare revelations otherwise good and treasured in peacetime. The column is that angry woman, so wronged to be polite. It carries a deep injury, carries acute frustrations of a whole people and generation so wronged. It is that deep wound that weeps, that deep wound that suppurates ceaselessly, and will not heal.

A weeping eye with grains of hot pepper in the pupil, a weeping red eye that glistens with raw, salty tears. Yes, a throat that will not clear, a throat whose cords vibrate and agitate with the anger of generations, anger generated by an unappeased wrong. It lashes. It shouts. It curses, the raw curse of an upset African.

Loving opposition, hating the Opposition

Jonathan Swift once wrote he hated mankind, even though all his love was for Peter, John and David. He never added Sarah, leading some to wonder whether he was not one of those queer ones. He summarised his abhorrence of warts-full mankind by carving an imaginary creature-character of spectacular grotesquery he chose to call Yahoo.

Mind you, Swift was writing in the 18th Century — the Augustan Age — well, well before the age of Bill Gates, well, well before this Internet Age. Critiques dubbed him a misanthropist, evidenced by his revilement of human pettiness, his hatred for puny man, with all his vile and ignoble pursuits. I find myself in a comparable situation, albeit one standing on its head.

I love opposition, although I hate MDC (together), MDC (Tsvangirai) and MDC (Ncube-cum-Mutambara). My detractors charge me for hating the opposition, a charge I find supremely preposterous. Beyond my loyalty to Zanu-PF, I think a lot about the change-potential within our body-politic.

This means thinking outside Zanu-PF, towards those structures that compete for power to see what we are likely to be, in the unlikely event that my party makes way. I think about personalities who might be our leaders, structures that might govern us. Indeed I think intensely about visions on offer: the system of ideas and proposals that some day might rule us, indeed shape us. Try doing the same and tell me how handsome what you visualise is.

Visions foretold

On my part, what I visualise is quite painful and disenchanting, hair-raising in fact.

I see Tsvangirai sitting on a bench in Banket, wistful amid an all-white, Rhodesian farmer audience, expectantly waiting for a Mephistophelian cheque from this same Rhodesian tribe, as the asking price for his political soul. I see his subaltern — one Fidelis Mhashu — boldly telling an astounded Tim Sebastian of BBC’s Hardtalk Programme that once settled in power, the MDC’s first task would be to return all land to displaced white farmers. I see a political milieu that disavows the land issue, brazenly telling the world Africans do not need land; they need jobs. I see a happy-to-be-a-servant argument and vision.

I see Ncube, Biti and Coltart drafting a Bill for US congressmen (who include Helms and Feingold) with which to strangulate a Zimbabwe irreverent to the white world, assertive of its just heritage.

I see the MDC hierarchy in hallways of Washington and Brussels, kowtowing, pleading for sanctions and white love and regard, against their own people and their interests.

A blind wish to be exalted "Mr President" by a scornful but fawning ashen white tongue whose hand snatches away black heritage.

I see the same hierarchy brushing aside stark evidence of mounting suffering consequent upon the slapping of these same sanctions, to brazenly tell the world which knows a lot better there are no sanctions against Zimbabwe, only travel bans against a few officials of the "Mugabe regime". An opposition already well accomplished in denying a stark reality, well before power impairs its sight.

Enter the dunciad

I see the MDC - right down to the last man — cheapening and traducing the person of Robert Mugabe who together with Joshua Nkomo pass for foremost founders of this great Nation born of a spectacular revolution.

Would-be rulers succumbing to petty disputes, petty ambitions and what is more, to instigation by a hostile outsider to savage our collective being.

It is as if the age of the dunciad is upon us; as if we do not know that nations are founded and run on myths and heroes, before they are defined by longitudes, latitudes, rivers, mountains and pegs.

Americans immortalise George Washington not necessarily for the little, racist good he did in his lifetime, but for the cohesion he proffers to an otherwise fissiparous country struggling to be a nation.

Cecil Rhodes was a homosexual, maybe worse — a eunuch — but one whom Rhodesians grew to revere and to place on a lofty pedestal, well above that of Queen Victoria who granted them the Royal Charter.

More than us, they knew the role of icons in statecraft, in nation-building. Here we spit at ours, soil them with raw contempt as if they pass for village curs.


I see more horror. The horror of a Sikhala boldly telling veterans of the struggle: "Tidzorerei kwamakatisunungura", in a clear colonial-wish.

Such reckless statements, such renunciation of a founding process of this Nation disturbs greatly.

Once it darts past loose lips of supposed elders — lawmakers at that — it becomes compulsive on tender minds, seeping deep into the national psyche to settle, waiting one day to escape the safety zone of the subconscious, to become a startling manifesto for a kind of politics which is sure to bring ruin. Our ruin. All this scares me stiff.

Inside Mbeki’s confessional

October 5, The Year of our Lord 2007, the MDCs precariously stand between complete ruin and total rebirth or redemption. It is not so much about 18th Amendment which would have gone through anyway, with or without MDC sponsorship.

It is not about a new Constitution, which will be a matter of whim for the winner of the March 2008 polls. It is what the MDCs told Mbeki, or to be precise, what Tsvangirai and Mutamabara confessed to Mbeki recently.

While this was said behind bolted doors, I hear it was a loud whisper elsewhere at a recent global meeting. The two men admitted to a number of fundamental political missteps. Point One.

They regretted snubbing the land question, which meant snubbing their very being. Point Two.

The white factor (read Rhodesians plus their overseas parents) whom they had welcomed as mere donors, ended up usurping their cause, overthrowing it and replacing it by a runaway one: white, Rhodesian, British, American, Nordic, German, in short a dangerously brittle western miscellany remotely related to them as a Zimbabwean opposition. Once out of the bottle, the white genie went wild.

Failing own tests

Point Three. The call for sanctions was ill-advised, made worse by the fact that the whole agenda for sanctions has outgrown them, to be driven by white witches they cannot summon back to base, now that it is twilight, dawn peeping. Ironically, they now sound hapless, wholly appealing to and depending on Zanu-PF’s sturdy campaign against these same sanctions to get them removed. Point Four.

They regret that they did not draw a distinction between Mugabe the national hero and together with Joshua Nkomo, the founding father of the Nation, and Mugabe the politician against whom they could politically parley daily.

It is a formidable set of admissions, one seemingly suggesting self-reinvention and self-rehabilitation.

Recall that this is revealed about the same time Archbishop of York and Tutu are accosting Brown to intervene in Zimbabwe. So a suggestion is put to them: if you want to convince the world you have broken the integument of white control, why don’t you distance yourself from these two evils that wear false cloaks?

Mutambara has no difficulty with this and in typical student fashion, avidly pens a draft statement for joint signatures. Tsvangirai? No, the prisoner would not sign it, arguing his constituency is already in turmoil, thanks to the latest concessions to Zanu-PF, for him to commit another outrage so soon after! To this day, Arthur has the draft statement in his portmanteau, still to be released to the world.

Only 2 percent, we are MDC

Back home, the debate on the Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Bill reveal further tergiversations.

Zanu-PF unambiguously wants at least 51 percent share interest in every foreign enterprise.

MDC is unsure about an acceptable level, but is definite that 51percent is too much! When is claiming your heritage and resources too much? Who are you giving way to? Whites, Brits, Germans, Americanos? We seem back to the old MDC before the Mbeki confessions!

Clear pointers to a powerful pull towards a relapse! And given such prevarications, the West is aghast, slowly turning away from political parties, towards governance NGOs for the realisation of its will here. Madhuku’s hour appears to have come, but only an hour. An announcement a few days hence — whatever its little worth — will place the loner in a deep dustbin from where he will not pop out.

But clearly the MDCs are at harzardous crossroads, clearly buffeted both by agitation from within and from without. The call for a Third Force while inane and futile, definitely points towards a further demobilisation of interest, a further disintegration of the MDCs.

Such brave ignorance!

The ignorance in newsrooms of the so-called independent newsrooms can be breathtaking. JOC (Joint Operations Command) is described as "a think-tank"! I have no doubt that those guys definitely think.

I am not so sure that they do so in a tank, whether for fetching water or for a robust settlement of great questions of the day! Simply because the ICG spews so much ignorance regarding this coordinatory security institution means everybody here has to be infected?

When did these newsmen discover JOC? When ICG called on the President to disband it? How would journalists feel if a politician suggests that the way to reverse the diving fortunes of the Independent is by abolishing the institution of a newsroom? It can’t be worse!

You want another one? Take this other one: Govt seeks places at Rhodes as Australia expels Zim students! You are meant to read irony in a revolutionary Government which turns to Cecil John Rhodes for rescue!

The article says Government is frantically seeking 60 placements for these deported students who number a mighty nine! And the reporter finds it faster and nearer to reach the director of communications at Rhodes in South Africa than to reach Minister Mushohwe who handles placements of students under the original "Fort Hare Presidential Scholarship Programme"! Surely it was announced at the last intake that the programme had expanded to encompass more universities other than the seminal Fort Hare? Which reminds me of President Museveni’s question to the media mid this year in Langkawi, Malaysia: how do journalists hope to educate when they themselves are ignorant and uninformed? How? Icho! —