Friday, 28 March 2008

Makoni/Tsvangirai: The End of History

Makoni/Tsvangirai: The End of History

I have just gone through a representative part of the western press, British press included. Putting aside nuances, the consensus is that President Mugabe and the ruling Zanu-PF are set to win.

Hardly news at all for us in the country who have seen the contrasting crowds attracted by the political antagonists. Zanu-PF has the voters, whatever sleights of hand the opposition may have tried. What is news though is that the western press is admitting to the defeat of the opposition well before the vote is taken. Including an admission that the Makoni factor has been extremely detrimental to an already divided opposition. It was pretty daft for the British to think that Makoni had a modicum of appeal in rural Zimbabwe where jongwe rules the roost. Or that Tsvangirai would be as attractive to the urban protest vote against Zanu-PF as he has been in the past.

The phantoms which the British, the Americans and Raylander have invented for Simba have proved obdurate sleepers in a cacophonously eerie graveyard. They won’t wake up; they won’t come forward, leaving Makoni quite helpless and frustrated. His rally in Mutare — itself a monumental flop — clearly indicated things were going pretty bad for him. Ever since then, Simba grew irritable and even irascible with the media. The plan to use Mutare — his home town — as venue for rousing heavyweight sleepers fell apart.

The only thing heavy about the so-called weights was the splendid quality of their sleep — deep sleep of settled Zanu-PF cadres old enough to have seen and counted ugly aftermath of reckless rebellions. The only thing heavy was Simba’s importuning them to please wake up.

They kept snoring; they are snoring; they will snore, right into the booth. They were not going to try a rebellion, let alone get associated with one born so badly, one so already soiled by sheer ineptitude. If Zanu-PF ever faced a bald rebellion, here was one.

Tekere’s potent drink

Tekere got especially haggard when it became apparent the war veterans whom he thought would back Makoni, gave a dramatic no-show in Mutare, clearly revealing what should have been obvious enough to him, if he was an ounce the soldier he paints himself to be in Mandaza’s book on him.

Those war veterans were at work! Once every bit of what Tekere’s fools were planning was known, it was time to go and they did. The system was all the richer for the brief flirtation which gave Makoni such ephemeral glory and grand illusions of misgoverning this country. But the war veterans would not walk away uneventfully. They made sure Makoni had been dealt a felling psychological blow from which he reels to this day.

I watched Simba’s mien at rallies subsequent to this devastating flop. He was clearly unhinged, quite unsure. Not even his hands could easily come together for a clasp with which he hoped to build symbolism for his project. In one advert, the clasp fails, winding up being chinja’s open arm! Even more embarrassing was the rally he shared with Mutambara where he found himself flooded by open arms! Goodness me! The hazards of political hybridity! You do not go into an election with your bare arms, will and wife, hoping for manna. You do not go boldly in a poll on the promise of a drunkard who pretends to be a kingmaker from Manicaland. I am sure he now knows God gives no manna to politicians.

Simba’s barren call to Morgan

Gentle reader, Morgan Tsvangirai has, as before, checked in the Meikles. Thursday night, Makoni and Tsvangirai linked up. The two connected, all against a planned joint press conference scheduled the same Thursday, which Tsvangirai wrecked through non-appearance. The villager for once proved the wiser party. Here was a clear entrapment. Simba would have wanted to share a press conference with Morgan Tsvangirai on Thursday, ostensibly to put pressure on President Mugabe, but in reality a contrivance for a deadly comparison with the modestly educated Tsvangirai. Simba wanted to charm Tsvangirai’s constituency through sheer eloquence, proving to it he would make a better leader to the villager. Clearly the villager would not have been able to stop the Pots ‘n’ Pans villain the same way Happison Muchechetere did subsequently. Thanks to good advice, Tsvangirai made a disappearing act, leaving Makoni and Mutambara limping for reasons with which to satisfy an eager international press. This necessitated the nocturnal call. In that conversation, Makoni copiously pleaded for an eleventh hour merger. He needed it badly, and still does. But he will not have it. The villager flatly refused, coolly stating this could only be considered after March 30 when everyone’s worth is known.

The disaster of Cde kaOne

It must be recalled Makoni’s overrated mind manager — one Ibbotson Joseph — was only last week pushing the line of a Super Tuesday in the media, apparently forgetting even in the American calendar such a day only comes once.

He sold the line that this last Tuesday would see sleepers shaking off their slumber to publicly proclaim support for him. Well, Tuesday came and nothing super happened. You do not handle the media that way Mr Joseph.

It is called knocking off a pot’s bottom with one abundant meal, forgetting you will need another meal, and yet another. But then is there a tomorrow for this Mr kaOne? I doubt. Evidence points to a terminator campaign, one too pitched on superfices of physiognomy to last beyond one and only attempt. Now Nkosana Moyo is hoping to redeem the argument. He tells the BBC Simba’s strategy rests on imbeds in Zanu-PF. No one hopes so.

The Welshman factor

So Tsvangirai has rejected overtures from Mr kaOne, overtures which were meant to spare the natural scientist from unrelieved political disaster. The idea was to imbed his own defeat in Morgan Tsvangirai’s screaming and boomeranging fifth one. That way, Simba would have been able to rebuild a second attempt, this time at the helm of a reunited MDC, now that he already has Mutambara (or is it the other way?). Reading through the masters’ press (Western press), it is clear in the unlikely event of a run-off, Makoni will be fighting from the Tsvangirai corner — an even more obscure underdog than he was in Zanu-PF.

Unlike the irascible Kombayi, he will not have a constituency. Equally, Welshman may not lend favour to a Makoni who takes his faction of the MDC back to Tsvangirai. Or if he does, he will not work for such an odious eventuality.

But then, all this is hypothetical given the situation on the ground. Which means what? Well, that Robert Mugabe and Zanu-PF will triumph with an unbridgeable margin. After a day or two of grousing, all of Brown’s puppets will come round to accepting the results, and Zanu-PF will get down to tackling the challenges of sorting out a sanctions-wrecked economy.

So long a letter from Law Society

The reasons for Mugabe and Zanu-PF landslide victory are not difficult to reconstruct. Both Tsvangirai and Makoni did their damn-dest to trigger Zimbabwe’s angst over its sovereignty.

The British meddlesome hand became so obvious — directly through Brown’s bald letter which outraged elements within the Law Society of Zimbabwe did so well to leak to the authorities. And indirectly through the corporate bodies which came so obviously on the side of Simba Makoni, including their local subsidiaries.

Indirectly through the cockiness of returning white farmers who stuck out like very white sore thumbs. Clearly Zanu-PF had calculated well to return into the campaign ring the issue of sovereignty. But did the two men in opposition have to validate this theme so abundantly as to vindicate Zanu-PF’s claim that Zimbabwe faced a real danger of re-colonisation and a return to white settler agriculture? Once the two men had done Zanu-PF such a favour, even their feeble bid to make issue out of the economy went limping.

Fear of the master’s anger

Secondly, the two men did not have to deny the reality of sanctions. Surely such a denial was not only bald; it was self-incriminating! Cleverly Tsvangirai and Ncube should have signed the political declaration which was supposed to have been the last act of the Sadc-initiated dialogue. That act alone would have put both the ruling party and the opposition on one side on sanctions, in which case the ground would have been clear for other issues on which the opposition had a decisive advantage. The fear of the master’s anger, it would appear, proved greater than political sense.

It was particularly bad for Simba Makoni. His aggressive and intemperate rejection of the sanctions thesis, coupled by bald attempts to justify them on grounds of autocracy, simply cut him as a bitter, barren and duplicitous politician. Here was a man who was in Government all along, now casting the enemy’s epithets on the same government he served until relieved of his post.

Here was a whole former minister of finance who saw and felt the impact of sanctions from within, right on public finance ledger, now claiming sanctions were unreal and yet deserved! Here was a man who was with President Mugabe in Dar es Salaam when both the World Bank and International Monetary Fund confessed to Anglo-American pressure on Zimbabwe, now claiming Zimbabwe was more sinning than sinned against.

Far from sounding credible, he only came across as a deceitful politician so helplessly beholden to his masters’ arguments. It did not quite make him genuine, let alone Independent. The electorate will whip him soundly for that.

Whites’ men

Thirdly, both man offered nothing but the bogey of a white man with deep, rich pockets. They offered fabled white generosity as their alternative to Zanu-PF.

Tsvangirai put it so crudely: I have white friends ready to pour in billions to recover the economy. Simba indiscreetly imbedded the same factor in the more trendy word "investor". But both implacably gloated about their "rich white cousins".

And to the electorate, the message hit inversely: they did not have rich white men; rather they were whites’ poor black men. This gave particular resonance to two key elements of Zanu-PF’s campaign theme: sovereignty and empowerment. The one seemed threatened by the white spectre; the other undermined by it. Where the debate is cast in such rabid nationalistic overtones, it is foolhardy to say vote for me for I have rich white men. But then to whom do you tell this?

Poor Unhappy Rwodzi

Fourthly, the whole issue of price escalation was turned against the opposition. In fact, they were clever enough not to have pushed this argument. Let me confess: if voting rights were apportioned on the basis of property, the March poll would have been between MDC and Simba Makoni.

Zanu-PF would have been soundly buried. It did not have the vote of the petty bourgeoisie at all. It will not have it even after this poll. From pseudo-indigenous once as Shingi Mutasa (and his Saudi prince who dominates the earth’s largest bank) to obscene beneficiaries of empowerment such as Farai Rwodzi who coordinated Makoni’s publicity, Zanu-PF did not have an ounce of sympathy. Fortunately the rich are few and will not always be with us, more so after March 30! The vectors of price escalation were in the camp of the quislings, in fact their corporate face.

And after the announcement of results of Kurebwa’s opinion poll, many who meet early morning to shed off excess fat in Harare’s sumptuous gyms, have since resolved that the die is already cast. They will not bother to vote today. They will not, for their resolve was broken by Zanu-PF’s crowds, even here in Harare.

Diminishing scenarios

So the writing is on the wall and the scenarios are diminishing. For the West, the scenario of direct intervention which BBC’s Reynolds is dying for, will not take place. There is no will for it. There is no reason for it. There is no competence for it. Lots of competence against it, and Britain and America know that. Kenyan option? Well, there is no Raila Odinga for it. As Tsvangirai will readily attest, Mugabe is no Kibaki. What is more, we have a clean ballot here and both Makoni and Tsvangirai have made the point to the whole world, ironically for Zanu-PF.

The opposition threats of a second Kenya here in Zimbabwe simply underline their lack of courage for it. Which is not to say there will not be attempts at mischief. Lots of such attempts, including trying to discredit the process.

In fact this has already started, although it is proving very hard to stick. What the West is hoping for is either a run-off or a disputed outcome which will summon a Kofi Annan or his equivalent, to cobble together a negotiated settlement which would accommodate Makoni and Tsvangirai the Kenyan style. Interestingly both men are promising a government of national unity should they win. They know they will not win, which is what makes their promises a mere wish and prescription for what they hope Zanu-PF can be persuaded to countenance. From where I sit, this is a very vain hope.

Which means this election will end two political careers: that of Tsvangirai and that of Makoni. The one because he has tried and failed too many times; the other because he tried kaOne so disastrously. And because Makoni had no party when he tried this disastrous once, there will be no Ncube, Coltart, Trudy to shout him out.

His call for leadership renewal will work against him, ironically in respect of a leadership he never gave. He will just wither away, marking the end of petty bourgeois element in Zimbabwe’s buffeting politics.

When Zimbabwe may be a colony again

I go back to my old thesis: Zanu-PF’s real challenge will not be the recovery of this economy under conditions of continued western sanctions; rather, it will be the forging of a genuine national bourgeoisie with a sufficient national outlook to take charge to a reformed economy.

That way, Zanu-PF’s politics will have aligned with its economic vision. Not the present mismatch of nationalist politics pretending to ride on Rhodesia’s settler economy.

What right does Zanu-PF have to expect Lever Brothers to validate its politics? What right, Comrade President, to expect charitable conduct from the 400-plus British companies here? Unless this obscene cohabitation is challenged, Zimbabwe may very well be a colony again. In your lifetime, Sir. Icho! l

Vote Mugabe

For principled,
Pan-African Leadership.

Sunday, 16 March 2008

Simba Makoni's harem of prostitutes.

Suddenly, to the ZANU PF-turned-Simba Makoni supporters all of a sudden Mugabe is fully responsible for the economic problems in Zimbabwe. Him alone!
Not the economic whips from the west against the land reform effort, not the corruption of the ZANU business elite now behind Makoni (itself an attempt by these business people to consolidate the gains of their decades of looting).
Isnt it common knowledge that simba's neo-liberal tricks are meant to safeguard the loot of ZANU's business elite against the continued turbulence of a people's revolution? Now that their pockets ae fat, and their assets wide, they want the revolutionary wind to calm down.

And in this they have attracted the support of an ALWAYS opportunist ZANU elite. An elite that is ideologically MDC, but for its scavengery ZANU. This elite is only in ZANU for the pecks. For that reason ZANU's idealogy is beyond its mental capacities.

These idealogically bankrupt persons are what constitute Simba Makoni's Harem.

Pasi nemahure!

Zimbabwe under an evil regime: Zimbabwe is safe --Brishit neocolonial doubletalk .

Zimbabwe has always been safe. Those in the british establishment know that. The Zimbabwean 'asylum seekers' know it too. All the doubletalk from british politicians is just neocolonial imperialist tricks meant to arm-twist and hoodwink other EU countries into supporting and fighting for british interests in Zimbabwe, which today stand challenged by Mugabe. Its also meant to convince the common man and stop him from feeling the guilt and disgust one should normally feel when a stronger nation wants to preserve the racist privileges and imperialist designs of its settler (colonial) community in zimbawe at the disadvantage of a poor, historically marginalised indigenous population. At the bottom of all this is british greed and the belief that other peoples dont deserve 'their' resources - what social scientist call a racist mentality.

Acceptinga a few zimbabwean 'asylum seekers' has always ben a sick ploy and smoke-screen - which explains the contradictions.

The real shame of it all should be in brishit lies that Zimbabwe is not safe. Zimbabwe is only unsafe to brishit neocolonial interests and the settler system.

I also agree with what this person said on discussion forum concerning brishit moves to deport Zimbabweans.

We told our brothers and sisters they were simply pawns to Bratain's racist moves against Zimbabwe!

They refused to listen.
They celebrated when Brown boycotted Lisbon.
They celebrated when a threat was made against Zanu kids.
They threatened Barclays bank for funding the new black farmers.
They demanded more sanctions against their own country!
They ululated when Archbishop Sentamu cut his dogcollar!
Today, Gordon brown shows them the scum they really are!

If we were mean, we would have said; we told you so, motherfuckers, but we are not, so we will simply feel your pain for you!!

Britain's refugee shame
Gordon Brown has strongly criticised Robert Mugabe's regime in Zimbabwe, but now ministers are seeking to expel 1,000 desperate people back to Harare on the grounds that there is 'no general risk' to them. Emily Dugan and Robert Verkaik investigate

Sunday, 16 March 2008

Ministers are preparing to expel hundreds of failed asylum-seekers back to the brutal regime of Robert Mugabe, seriously undermining Gordon Brown's publicly declared tough stance on Zimbabwe.

The Government has started a mass removal programme that could affect more than 1,000 Zimbabweans who have enjoyed protection in the UK under a moratorium on deportations.

Letters sent by the Home Office to failed asylum-seekers last week inform the recipients that they are at "no general risk" in Zimbabwe and encourage them to leave the UK voluntarily.

One of the letters, seen by The Independent on Sunday, says: "Your claim for asylum has been refused... I am now writing to make sure that you know that the Border & Immigration Agency [BIA] is expecting shortly to be able to enforce returns to Zimbabwe. The Asylum and Immigration Tribunal [AIT] has now found that there is no general risk on return for failed asylum-seekers."

It adds: "You have exhausted your rights of appeal and have no other basis of stay in the UK. You should now make plans to return home."

Groups advising asylum-seekers in the UK said the change of policy follows an immigration appeals court ruling in 2006 that paved the way for mass deportations.

The first phase of the new asylum removal drive will target 500 failed asylum-seekers from Zimbabwe living in the north-west of England. In all, more than 1,000 people are likely to be affected in the near future, out of some 7,000 Zimbabwean asylum-seekers in the UK.

News of the letter could prove embarrassing for the Prime Minister, who has made political capital out of a possible Zimbabwe cricket tour ban and refused to sit next to Mr Mugabe at an international summit. Gordon Brown now faces accusations of hypocrisy over his dealings with the African state.

In his first speech as leader to the Labour conference last year, Mr Brown promised to stand up for those suffering persecution in Zimbabwe. He made direct reference to Mugabe's regime, saying: "The message should go out to anyone facing persecution anywhere from Burma to Zimbabwe: human rights are universal and no injustice can last for ever."

Last night Chris Huhne, the Lib Dem home affairs spokesman, said the deportations could not be justified: "With elections due to be held on 29 March, the timing could not be worse. Unfortunately the situation in Zimbabwe has if anything deteriorated. There is no justification for returning Zimbabweans into the hands of the Mugabe regime. It is typical but depressing that Gordon Brown can seek to gain the moral high ground by refusing to attend a summit with Mugabe, while his own Home Secretary seems desperate to deport Zimbabweans at the earliest opportunity."

Kate Hoey MP, Labour chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Zimbabwe, said it would be "ridiculous" if the Home Office tried to force mass returns of asylum-seekers. "The situation in Zimbabwe is worse than ever, and to send people back in a blanket way like this is not something that anyone with an understanding of the country would support."

Diane Abbott, Labour MP for Hackney North and Stoke Newington, said: "I do not believe it is safe to return asylum-seekers to Zimbabwe. The country is considered by many, including Amnesty, to still be in political turmoil. Opposition to Mugabe's regime is still prohibited and political opponents vulnerable to excessive police force. I condemn the Home Office's habit of sending people back to unsafe countries just to look tough."

Donna Covey, chief executive of the Refugee Council, said: "We do not think it is morally acceptable for the Government to force people to return to Zimbabwe. There has been no improvement in the human rights situation there, which remains dire.

"We know most Zimbabweans want to return when it is safe and to contribute to rebuilding their country. We should be offering them a form of temporary status here allowing them to work and retain their skills so they're fully equipped when the situation has improved."

Beatrice Masina, 26, one of the 500 Zimbabweans who received a Home Office letter last week, faces being sent back – along with her seven-month-old baby, Leeroy – to people she said have already attacked her previously in Zimbabwe.

A supporter of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), she distributed T-shirts and leaflets at party rallies. Early one morning in May 2003, a gang of 10 Zanu-PF militia kidnapped her. The men, armed with machetes and clubs, took her to a secret location, raped and then beat her. A day later, they dumped her by the road.

She sought protection at her uncle's house but soon began to get threatening letters. "The letters said they knew where I was, and that they would come and get me," said Ms Masina. It was then that she decided to flee, arriving in the UK in September 2003.

"If [Zanu-PF] know I'm back they might attack me again, and I might be killed," she said. "I'm scared my baby would not survive the persecution. They [the Home Office] are being very unfair. I don't think they're looking at the dangers I'll face. They just want to send people back regardless. If anything happens to me, they'll have my blood on their hands."

Patson Muzuwa, chair of the Zimbabwe Association, said it had called an emergency meeting with solicitors to look at ways of fighting this change in policy. He said: "How come the Foreign and Commonwealth Office says Zimbabwe is bad on human rights, yet the Home Office wants to send people back?

"There doesn't appear to be a link between the departments; the Home Office just wants to boast about how many people they've deported. There are continuous human rights abuses in Zimbabwe, and this seems to be deliberate timing by the Home Office ahead of the elections."

David Banks, co-ordinator of the parliamentary group on Zimbabwe, said: "It's baffling; the BIA doesn't seem to put what it is doing into any context of developments in the country from where the asylum-seekers have come. I think these letters highlight the astonishing insensitivity of the Home Office. Most of their people have no understanding of the sense of fear and threat that people in this country live under."

A spokesman for the BIA said last night: "The Home Office had agreed at a High Court hearing on 26 September 2006 to defer the enforced removal of failed asylum-seekers to Zimbabwe pending the outcome of the country guidance litigation. This position will be maintained until any application for permission to appeal the AIT's determination is dealt with. We expect to be in a position to resume enforced returns of failed asylum-seekers to Zimbabwe very shortly."

He added: "We will continue to do everything we can to ensure a better future for Zimbabweans: a democratic and accountable government, respect for human rights and the rule of law, and policies that ensure economic stability and development, not humanitarian misery. However, not every Zimbabwean in the UK qualifies for asylum and we believe it is vital that we continue to operate a fair and robust system, enforcing the removal of those not entitled to be in the country who refuse to leave voluntarily."

A family at risk: 'If I go back to Zimbabwe, they'll kill me'

When Rose Moyo (a pseudonym) fled Zimbabwe in 2002 she thought she had secured a safe future. But now a letter from the Home Office has shattered the 35-year-old's dream of life away from Mugabe's militia.

Rose worked as a farm manager with her husband just outside Bulawayo when gangs of men from Zanu-PF began targeting them. The couple were well known for being MDC members, and visits became more frequent.

After the most violent of these attacks in October 2001, when the militia began whipping MDC activists, her husband disappeared. Rose has not heard from him since and fears he is dead. A month later the men came back again: this time they raped and beat her. "That was the worst day of my life," she said. "And I will never be able to forget it."

After more death threats, she decided the only option left was to flee, and her two children were forced to stay behind with her mother-in-law. But last year her mother-in-law also went missing and is believed dead.

Relatives managed to get her two children, Lucia, 11, and Blessings, nine, on a flight to the UK at Christmas, and for the first time in six years the family is reunited in safety. But now her dream of them living in peace is destroyed.

Choking back tears, Rose said: "When I got the letter I couldn't believe it. If I go back to Zimbabwe they'll kill me. The Home Office is just being cruel. Instead of helping people like me they are making our lives harder.

"If the Government doesn't believe what I'm saying they should go there and see for themselves how bad it is."

Emily Dugan

Friday, 14 March 2008

MDC: When white is the colour of opposition

MDC: When white is the colour of opposition

MR DEVALUATION is in trouble. His campaign is limping and bleeding. The rescue team is at a loss. Musekiwa Kumbula cannot help it.

Everyone who used to be part of the act now blames him as the brains behind the "thing".

If ever he was, then he has very shallow brains.

Godfrey Chanetsa, ironically President Mugabe’s uncle, will find it easier to salvage his 20-pigs-a-week abattoir than reclaim Makoni from sure slaughter.

Not even John Tsimba who fled abroad in agony after being rejected in his home Chihota in 2000.

These old Ministry of Information, Posts and Telecommunications Press officers are out of depth. They were supposed to be Simba’s propaganda equivalent of the much-vaunted retired army officer recruits of the "thing".

Mudhara Shamuyarira must be deeply disappointed at this incompetent treachery.

I told you that Nkosana is already gone, never to return.

Then there is a whole squadron of image minders loaned to Simba Makoni by white South Africa and Britain.

A whole web of white media channels in both South Africa and Britain, but which cannot make a difference.

He should have asked Morgan Tsvangirai who was launched the same way but still lost.

When Humpty Dumpty fell off the wall

Simba’s media skills are disastrous, and Trevor Ncube is having to do repeated damage control.

I can vouch that from a media point of view, Simba is an ignorant chemist. I saw a bit of that when he tried to run for some top banking job on the continent.

He lost dismally, and blamed his country for it!

Now Trevor Ncube thinks with R300 000, he can make up for the foibles of Simba the person by investing in Simba the image.

Harare has grown yellow, the deceptive colour of Simba’s white politics.

Simba’s latest alibi is that he does not have resources for his campaign.

He got £1,3 million from the British.

He cannot blame resources.

Ibbotson Joseph has been handling a campaign budget of nearly $20 trillion.

It cannot be a matter of resources.

Makoni’s posters are imported.

His T-shirts are paid for in US dollars.

He is the surrogate of the rich and powerful, an errand boy of the pound sterling.

He claims he cannot organise rallies but can only handle meet-the-people escapades.

So he stops at growth points, bus termini and markets where people spontaneously obey their curiosities.

Too obsessed with anti-people economics of devaluation, Simba never ventured into the countryside to meet the people whose purse he was handling.

He was the phantom they knew as the source of their difficulties. And when the phantom is finally felled, who does not come to see it in its last gasps?

Simba thinks he can bank on spontaneous curiosity or the human craving for spectacle, which he opportunistically appropriates as own crowd. But give it to him; he knows how to manage and stretch ephemeral support.

He makes it a point he never visits the same venue twice.

Curiosity is momentary, sure to grow coy through extended exposure. I saw Ibbotson Joseph on one television clip. He looked troubled, deeply troubled.

He should be. It is the only correct response. Mazowe is no home. Not even ill timed seed packs could salvage his sleeping campaign. He has also upset many people.

He has threatened quite a few more, including those in the media, through a very bald psycho-op.

Now he has messed up the career of a senior official at the State broadcaster who, hoping for plenty out of this limping campaign, did a few foolish things for which he shall be held fully to account.

Ibbotson is a sad man, very sad man indeed.

But he is not the type that loses, if you get my meaning. He knows what crop to harvest in an electoral season, while others are hunting human capital and fame.

And then Bornwell Chakaodza?

Well, he cannot understand why the old man is pulling massive crowds. In disbelief, he cannot even agree with his own brother, Austin, who apparently sees better from so far away, from short sojourns in the country, than does this jaundiced, failed bureaucrat so past use for anyone, for anything.

Zhing-zhong president

The British made one serious miscalculation.

When they invented Simba Makoni, apparently to make up for the congenital weakness of their first ace — Morgan Tsvangirai — they had not budgeted for a backlash.

Makoni was thought to have the intellect, which Morgan does not have. He was trusted to borrow the aura of liberation, which Morgan squandered.

Today Simba is the butt of both Zanu-PF and MDC-Tsvangirai.

Tsvangirai calls him "a zhing-zhong president".

For a man whose name is "samba" which imply durability, this is a devastating judgment, only mistaken on two counts.

Why debase the noble zhing-zhong by making such a comparison? And why ask a fly to deliver such sweet honey? Tsvangirai is the last person to be served by a metaphor, which suggests both cheapness and external handling.

He is both himself. I cannot understand why a pot, chimbiya chaicho, should laugh at the sooty bottom of a kettle, the same way I could not understand Roy Bennett complaining about white foreigners imposing candidates on the MDC.

Let us not beat about the bush. The MDC is itself an imposition of the Zimbabwean people.

Roy Bennett is a white Briton for whom Zimbabwean citizenship is a matter of expediency.

When the chips are down, the fair weather citizenship vanishes. Every African here knows it. But both interventions were incisive and very useful, both clearly revealing the hypocrisy at the heart of opposition politics in this country.

That is my subject this week. But let me complete my point on Simba who faces fire from all sides.

The end of brooding silence

General Mujuru (Rtd) has distanced himself from Simba’s "thing", if anything it is, apart from it being questionably his.

I mentioned last week that Simba was unduly benefiting from silence within the Zanu-PF hierarchy, which is why the best strategy has been to force those of foolhardy ilk like Dumiso Dabengwa to come out, and those claimed by Makoni like General Mujuru to simply state where they stand.

This week the General did, clearly denying Simba the benefit of recruiting through brooding silence.

Simba’s main sponsors — the BRITISH — are seeking to help him out. They want to destabilise the Central Intelligence Organisation by claiming its leadership, the same way they sought through the not-so-clever Dabengwa to soil Chinamasa, hoping to break Zanu-PF’s legal wing.

It is a desperate campaign, which hopes to reap from sponsored suspicion.

It has fallen flat on its face and Simba knows it. This is why he and Dabengwa are hoping for some audience with the Zanu-PF Politburo leadership.

That they will not get, with the next sitting of that body set to simply formalise Dumiso’s expulsion.

I described Makoni as the proverbial pebble dropped to gauge depth. I still do.

Except the depth is now known and no one else wishes to drown.

Gasping Simba is furiously beating the surface, legs desperately seeking a firm bottom in this very deep pond.

Read the long piece in last week’s Standard, done for him by Mandaza.

Literally, he sues for peace, complaining to Zanu-PF for directing its fire at him, not at Tsvangirai.

The war veterans do not want to see him at all, and the State now protects him from an important limb of the Party to which he claims membership.

Ncube’s loan to Dabengwa/Makoni

Equally, the few Zipra fighters who initially felt led by Dumiso, have now abandoned him.

They do not like his politics, which are breakaway politics.

They do not like the way the accounts of the Zambezi Water Project look. They fear a major audit soon to come.

They do not like what has happened to the late Vice President’s logging project.

Above all, they do not want to be associated with anything that smacks of a rebellion.

Foolishly, Dabengwa confesses to what we have all known, namely that he was never in Zanu-PF, never for unity.

He did not go far enough, though. He should have added he has always worked with Welshman Ncube’s faction, including borrowing its crowds in his fight against Jabulani Sibanda.

That is a fact and I challenge him to deny it.

The same way I challenge Simba Makoni to deny that the same crowd who came to his launch rally in Bulawayo, is the same crowd which Mutambara used the following day.

This is why both could not afford to launch on the same day. The pictures are there and I challenge both to deny that. So their campaign is in a very sorry state, with the likes of Kumbula hoping that directing South African journalists to upmarket pubs, where Simba’s executive supporters drink, will sustain the lie.

Deep down, they know the vote is in rural areas and the townships where Simba’s reality is only second to that of the father dinosaur.

When Zimbabwe is less than $15

Back to Morgan Tsvangirai.

Surely, with all his white backers Morgan can at least give us good English? What is meant by "Morgan is more"?

Coke is more, perhaps?

Which makes it a perfect analogy, given his American political origin!

In communication you are always taught that when you enter a room, know first where the exit door is.

No one seems to want to do that for Tsvangirai. Why take a punch line, which provokes a devastating comeback?

Zanu-PF did not have to do much.

It simply gave back to Tsvangirai his own words about the liberation struggle and personal advancement as a machine operator under settler colonial circumstances.

He would not go to join the liberation struggle because his family badly needed the $15 the Rhodesians gave him as a wage.

His family came first before all else, including liberating this country. He went much further.

While the departure of his black brethren for the struggle meant he faced little competition on the racialised job market, the departure of white technicians for call-up meant he got opportunities galore, to get closer mining machines, all along exclusively white-operated.

No thought is spared to the fact that he was negating the war of liberation by showing up the Rhodesian economy, which funded Smith’s war effort.

Can Zimbabweans turn to such a man for the protection of the revolution he repudiated, let alone for the protection of its gains, which are a heavy loss to whites who employed him?

And if he is so used to cutting selfish opportunities for himself and his family in circumstances of slavery, how does he become "more" to the larger family called Zimbabwe?

Did not Mugabe have a family to look after?

Did not war veterans have brothers and sisters, mothers and fathers to look after?

Are we meeting the disposition of a man who can defend the national interest, indeed who can take risks for a country and people whose liberation for him came last, after the immediate needs of his ego and family?

Now he does not like the fist and says the war ended 27 years ago!

He knows the end of a war with whose beginning and middle he would have nothing to do!

He declares an end to a war whose second phase he played Trojan horse to in 1999?

MDC’s Goosen and Joubert.

I said there is deep-seated hypocrisy in opposition politics.

There is, but one which is proving increasingly difficult to sustain to the watchful. Take Matabeleland.

You have David Joubert and Alex Goosen fighting for Bubi constituency, against Zanu-PF’s Clifford Sibanda.

Both lost land to the Third Chimurenga. Both were part of the Rhodesian army, with Goosen being part of the notorious Selous Scouts.

They are real raw Rhodies who have this distinct trait of being very sincere men, too sincere even to be expedient.

Both told the Bulawayo Quill Club they are contesting to remove Zanu-PF so they can recover their land and that of fellow whites similarly expropriated.

Even more astoundingly, both claim a hand in the disturbances which affected Matabelaland and parts of Midlands in the early part of our Independence.

Both find a comfortable house in the two formations of the MDC! What is the source of their comfort? Both agree to share the stage at the Bulawayo Quill Club, remarkably co-joined by a shared colour and shared grievance over lost land.

Everything else, the MDC split included, is academic!

You begin to understand the quick of MDC politics, itself needing a carefully worded land policy to bluff the voter.

Behind the rhetoric of "land commission", "land audit", "fair, equitable and transparent" and "productivity" and "food security", are the overriding interests of Goosen and Joubert, themselves personifications of restoration of colonial land rights.

Watch out Zimbabwe!

Coltart of Cato

But there is more. Yesterday we had David Coltart and one Marian Tupy of the CIA-funded Cato Institute’s Centre for Global Liberty and Prosperity co-authoring a piece in Wall Street Journal, itself the mouthpiece of Corporate and Political America.

The focus is on Mugabe, principally why he should not only be defeated, but put away in some cell in Europe.

Grudgingly, the piece concedes that the candidacies of "Messrs Tsvangirai and Makoni" are "hopeless", although "not meaningless".

The meaning is white, decidedly white.

Both make a point which is reminiscent of what Dabengwa was telling the Harare Quill Club only a day before this article: "In 1987, he [Joshua Nkomo] agreed to merge his party with Zanu in exchange for the largely meaningless title of Zimbabwe’s vice-president."

Dabengwa and his white club

All this needs a perspective.

It is important to keep in focus the long-standing relationship between Dabengwa and a whole cabal of whites who reside in Matabeland.

Apart from farmers, you have David Coltart, Father Nigel, Judith Todd and many others, including one who resides at his farm ostensibly as his livestock manager.

If you add the Indian factor, you have a fuller picture, made fullest by a miscellany of Bulawayo-based civic groups which have been the principal vehicle of Dabengwa’s divisive, break-away politics of tribal confrontation.

Also noteworthy is that Tupy and Coltart are writing against the background of the Indigenisation Act which has caused such a stir in transnational capital as to deserve a prolonged two-day stay on CNN.

From their perspective, the differences between Makoni, Mutambara and Tsvangirai are non-existent from the vantage point of the preservation of white interests in Zimbabwe.

All are instruments towards this end. I could make reference to one John Stewart of NOVASC, itself a fa├žade for Western slash funds.

A roving intelligence officer of a Western country I shall have occasion to name, he prefers to call himself "a world citizen", a status which gives him cosmopolitan powers to call upon the EU to invade Zimbabwe before the elections, to save the opposition from a whitewash.

In his tow while in Brussels were three stooges: Taka Zhou, Maureen Kademaunga and Dewa Mavhinga, all meant to provide good cover to his activities. Tupy, Coltart and Stewart’s role is to lend a human rights cover to Goosen and Joubert’s case, which is the case of Rhodesia’s white landed gentry. The opposition’s pseudo-nationalist patina is wearing very, very thin. As we move towards the week of reckoning, the whiteness of their agenda cannot be tucked away any longer.

EU’s surrogate observers

What is Chris McGreal of the British Guardian up to? Does he for once think that he has got the better of the system?

He is a British establishment man and allows us some insight into its mind.

The feedback from John Simpson and now from him surely must show the British their project here has collapsed?

Do they have to deploy spies masquerading as journalists and tourists in such industrial quantities?

To salvage what? But there is something we must take very good care of. The British-led EU seeks to monitor elections using media surrogates.

They have drawn "star correspondents" and crews from Iraq and Kenya, well known flashpoints as if to suggest small Zimbabwe’s election story is both international and a matter of war. We know these not as reporters but as agitators imbedded in journalism. They have given the game away and I am sure those in authority know what to do.

Diffusing Kenya

Except the plan has been left until too late.

President Mugabe should never have been given a chance to demonstrate his electoral strength on the ground, if the wish was to project him an unelectable dictator who steals elections; if the hope was to build a Kenyan-style public outrage and outcry.

Who has not seen the numbers Mugabe has been attracting, as to make his triumph on March 29 unexpected?

Conversely, who has not seen the diminishing loiterers the opposition has been dragging along, from rally to rally?

How do you rouse Zimbabweans for Kenyan-style mayhem?

You have to have offended people’s sense of natural justice, surely?

And in this case, that sense is on Mugabe’s side, is it not? But also a Kenya-like scenario rests on an irresolute state, does it not? Do they see one such here?

Mr McGreal, do a bit more asking before you are arrested and you will not need long to find out.

Banking on empty

But you are right. This is the last chance for the British. Which is why you and colleagues do not need such reckless risks.

I notice the British are trying to influence the AU team which is due here for election observation. As in Kenya, they want it to withhold its verdict so preconceived opposition claims on vote rigging can be upheld.

Well, they have banked on empty. The Sadc team has already shown how this is such a bad investment for Britain.

I hope the diplomats got the accent in the address right, particularly the chairman’s insistence on adherence to laws mutually agreed by all parties to the polls.

The platoon of forces — military and non-military — which Britain has stationed in the region, is set to walk back home, limping like her acolytes here. And it shall be uhuru forever. Icho!

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Wednesday, 12 March 2008

Carole Gombakomba. A prototypic neocolonial parroting puppet

Carole Gombakomba, Teererai Karimakwenda, Henry Olonga, Dumisani Muleya, Pius Ncube and Gabriel Shumba are perhaps the worst examples of black persons with an exaggerated inferiority complex, and a pikanini (bhoyi) mentality.
One is both ashamed and humbled at the same time watching these pathetic individuals get on the backs and roll on the ground while the white baas clicks his fingures.

What personal tragedies have pushed these poor souls to the lair of mental slavery and white worship is perhaps a good research question.

Now here is Carole Gombakomba, a Zimbabwean, adopting the baas language of 'Zimbabwe's Mugabe'. Unbelievable how this stupid township whore now looks at Zimbabwe from the perceptual process of those it prostitutes its soul. To it Zimbabwe is now a thing to trash in order to please the baas client. How a Zimbabwean psychologically distances herself so much as to say Zimbabwe's Mugabe shows gross mental ill-health.

These paid idiots are a disgrace..

Zimbabwe's Mugabe Meets Regional Observers, Promises 'Free' Elections
By Carole Gombakomba
12 March 2008
Interview with Irene Petras - Download (MP3)
Interview with Irene Petras - Listen (MP3)

President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe on Wednesday officially received an election observer mission sent by the Southern African Development Community, reportedly promising that the country's March 29 elections would be "transparent and free."

Heading the mission in the meeting with Mr. Mugabe was Angolan Foreign Minister Joao Miranda, who passed on a verbal message from his president, Jose Eduardo Dos Santos, now chairman of SADC's committee on politics, defense and security.

Miranda later said he received from President Mugabe an assurance that the March 29 elections would be “successful, coherent, transparent and free.”

But the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission has been inundated with complaints from civil society as well as opposition parties about political violence, an insufficient number of polling stations, the inadequacy of voter education programs, and other issues.

Human rights lawyer Irene Petras, deputy chairwoman of the Zimbabwe Election Support Network, told reporter Carole Gombakomba of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that while ZEC has a limited legal capacity to deal with such complaints, it is very premature for SADC to issue statements regarding election conditions.

Monday, 10 March 2008

Looking For Evil In All The Wrong Places

There are dozens of US client states whose leaders fit the description “cruel dictator” who most people don’t know rig elections, jail opponents, close newspapers and start wars. On the other hand, there are a few leaders, invariably elected, who preside over governments that pursue traditional leftist goals of socialism or escape from neo-colonialism or both who many people understand incorrectly to be cruel dictators (Hugo Chavez, Fidel Castro, Alexander Lukashenko, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Robert Mugabe.) Government officials, news media and even many leftists in the West reserve the term cruel dictator for the opponents of imperialism, while saying virtually nothing about the real dictators who defend and promote Western strategic and economic interests at the expense of their own people. This essay focuses on Robert Mugabe, one leader the West vilifies as a cruel dictator, and compares the accusations made against him with the records of such US allies as Hosni Mubarak, Meles Zenawi, Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, Mikheil Saakashvili and Pervez Musharraf.

By Stephen Gowans

The government of Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe is accused by Western governments and assorted left-wing groups of breaching the civil and political liberties of Zimbabweans and of operating a human rights horror show. Were all of the accusations against Mugabe’s government true, Harare’s actions would still pale in comparison to those of scores of other governments that imperialist powers support and the anti-Mugabe left says nothing about. While the left critics of Mugabe are vociferous in their condemnation of the Zimbabwean president, and prepared to accept uncritically all damning accusations against him, they remain virtually silent on the grave assaults on civil and political liberties carried out by US client states.

The charge sheet against Mugabe includes intimidation of political opponents, restrictions on press freedoms and electoral fraud. But there are dozens of US client states whose leaders steal elections, shut down newspapers, arrest bloggers, jail opposition leaders and ban opposition political parties. These assaults on civil and political liberties are as grave, if not graver, than anything the Mugabe government has been accused of, and yet the leaders of these governments are not widely vilified in the West (though they are in their own countries.) The point, here, is not to engage in apologetics by saying that even if we assume all the charges against Mugabe are true his actions are still minor in comparison to those of scores of other governments, but to ask why imperialist powers, their media, and assorted left-wing groups remain virtually silent on the grave human rights violations committed by scores of other governments. Why Mugabe and not Seles or Mubarak?

North Africa

Those who rail against Mugabe as Africa’s great anti-democratic Satan appear to have failed to recognize that, in every country in north Africa, Islamist opposition parties have been banned. Significantly, these parties are acknowledged to be sufficiently popular to win large parliamentary blocs, if not outright majorities. (1) While Mugabe is accused of using the state to intimidate Zimbabwe’s main opposition party, he has never banned it, though some would say as a Western-created and funded organization, Zimbabwe’s Movement for Democratic Change, the MDC, ought to be banned. The MDC was cobbled together through funding provided by the Westminster Foundation for Democracy, the British equivalent of the US National Endowment for Democracy. The NED does overtly what the CIA used to covertly (i.e., destabilize foreign governments.) Both the Bush administration and the British government acknowledge that they are working with the opposition to bring down the Mugabe government. (2) Certainly, neither the US nor Britain would tolerate outside interference in their own electoral politics. Zimbabwe, held to a higher standard, is expected to, and does.

While Zimbabwe is sanctioned and demonized by the US, Egypt’s government, whose leader Hosni Mubarak rules with an iron fist, is showered with Washington’s largesse, and only occasionally shows up on the radar screens of the West’s anti-Mugabe left. Mubarak, and his son Gamal — who is expected to succeed his father as president, and not through means that would be considered fair in the West — are regarded by Egyptians as US lackeys. (3) Mubarak bans the Muslim Brotherhood, a party strong enough to unseat him, and by implication, to end US domination of Egypt. He also jails opposition figures, locks up bloggers who criticize him, but receives over $1 billion a year in US military aid. The US may present itself as the world’s champion of civil and political liberties, but it rewards dozens of states that severely limit formal political rights with billions of dollars in aid. In return, foreign strongmen keep their countries open to US trade and investment, carry out proxy wars on Washington’s behalf, and repress their own populations.

Late last year, Mubarak announced a full-scale retreat from the social security gains of the 50s and 60s. The socialist principles the country adopted in the 60s would be scrapped to establish conditions more favorable to the profit-making interests of US banks, corporations and investors. (4) This came in the wake of strides the government had already taken to impose neo-liberal reforms, which have seen illiteracy rise and social services crumble, in a country teeming with the poor.

The Muslim Brotherhood, banned since 1954, has moved in to fill the gaps left by the retreating state, setting up clinics, nurseries and after-school tutoring. (5) Hezbollah, in a similar way, has built support in southern Lebanon by providing social services the state won’t provide. Not surprisingly, the Muslim Brotherhood’s popularity has soared. Its members, running as independents, contested 161 seats in the 454 member Egyptian parliament, and won 88 of them. Mubarak countered by rounding up hundreds of party members (paralleling the Israeli practice of jailing Hamas legislators.)

The comparison with Zimbabwe is instructive. The MDC operates freely and has contested elections. But unlike the banned Muslim Brotherhood, the freely operating MDC favors a neo-liberal tyranny. This is no surprise, given the MDC’s connections to the dominant economic interests in Britain and the United States.

In September, an Egyptian “judge ordered a year’s hard labor for the editors of four leading opposition newspapers, saying they had made the ruling party, Mubarak, and his son Gamal, appear dictatorial.” (6) Had Mugabe jailed the editors of Zimbabwe’s opposition newspapers, complaining they had portrayed him as a dictator, the story would be blanketed across the Western media, state officials in the West would howl with outrage, and demands would be made for immediate intervention to turn back Mugabe’s intolerable tyranny. Soon after, three more opposition journalists were sentenced to two year prison terms for impugning Egypt’s justice system. On top of this, an Egyptian human rights organization was banned. One thousand of its members have been jailed over the past year. Perhaps all the indignation of newspaper editorial writers, Western state officials, and various left-wing groups was exhausted in denunciations of Mugabe. It certainly hasn’t been exhausted in denunciations of Mubarak.


Jordan, a centralized monarchy with a largely ceremonial parliament, jailed government critic Toujan al-Faisal for criticizing the state’s auto-insurance policies. Author Ahmad Oweidi, who wrote e-mails critical of the government, was arrested for harming the government’s reputation. (7) By comparison, the Mugabe government not only tolerates critics but also tolerates those who openly call for its forcible removal. Hajia Aminata Sow, a retired Guinean jurist attended NGO meetings in Zimbabwe at which “speaker after speaker openly advocated for forcible removal of Mugabe’s government.” She was astonished the speakers weren’t arrested. (8) The principal leaders of the opposition routinely threaten violence to drive Mugabe from office, but nevertheless remain free to continue to call for insurrection. MDC faction leader Morgan Tsvangirai’s threats began early on, and have continued since. In 2000, he told Mugabe that if he didn’t step down peacefully, “we will remove you violently.” (9) The then Archbishop of Bulawayo Pius Ncube told the London Sunday Times that he thought “it is justified for Britain to raid Zimbabwe and remove Mugabe.” He complained that though he was ready “to lead the people, guns blazing” nobody was willing to follow him. (10) Last Easter, the Roman Catholic Church posted messages on church bulletin boards around the country calling on Mugabe to leave office or face “open revolt.” Mugabe’s failure to step down, the Church warned, would lead to bloodshed and a mass uprising. (11) Arthur Mutambara, leader of a breakaway MDC faction, pledged to “remove Robert Mugabe…with every tool at my disposal.” Asked what tools he was referring to, Mutambara replied, “We’re not going to rule out or in anything – the sky’s the limit.” (12) Unlike Jordanians Toujan al-Faisal and Ahmad Oweidi, who were jailed for merely criticizing their government, Tsvangairai, Ncube and Mutambara are free to issue threats to remove the Mugabe government through extra-constitutional means, to call on foreign powers to impose sanctions, and to importune a former colonial power to intervene militarily – a freedom few governments, including those in the West, are willing to grant. In light of revelations that Britain has considered attacking Zimbabwe on several occasions (13) and that the US is bankrolling opposition activities aimed at regime change (14) some measure of restriction on fifth column activities is wholly justified and is a necessary part of defending the gains of Zimbabwe’s program of breaking free of neo-colonial domination. If Mugabe is to be criticized, he should be criticized for allowing agents of imperialism too much latitude, not too little.

On top of the Jordanian government’s other affronts to civil and political liberties, it can be faulted for drawing electoral boundaries to favor rural areas in which support for pro-government parties is strong, threatening to ban election monitors, and ordering soldiers to vote for pro-government candidates. (15) Such blatant contempt for basic standards of representative democracy, displayed by the Mugabe government, would elicit howls of outrage from Whitehall and indignant editorials calling for immediate action, from an escalation of sanctions to military intervention. But Jordan, a US ally, can practice a tyranny that exceeds anything Mugabe is accused of, without comment. George Bush calls Mugabe’s government “a brutal regime.” (16) Washington’s March 2006 National Security Strategy refers to Zimbabwe as a “stronghold of tyranny.” Jordan, which fits these categories, is called neither of these things.

The Philippines

In the Philippines another US ally, president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, is waging an all-out war against communist militants. Karapatan, a Philippines human rights organization, has documented 900 cases of extra-judicial killings, in which the Philippine military has hunted down militants and summarily executed them. Human Rights Watch complains that in failing to prosecute members of the military implicated in the killings, Arroyo has failed to uphold international law. But the larger crime lies in the fact that an all-out war (i.e., one outside the rule of law) is being waged to eliminate a militant opposition. (17) Dispatching the military to take out members of a political opposition, even if it is a militant one, would be loudly decried as a heinous crime, meriting military intervention on humanitarian grounds, if undertaken by a leader of a country resisting imperialist domination. Were the Zimbabwean military to hunt down MDC militants for summary execution, there would be no end to the incensed cries for justice from the West. It’s no so outlandish to suggest a war crimes tribunal would be established, and the accused dragged before the court. Arroyo, however, can hunt down and exterminate as many militant opponents as she likes, with little fear anyone in the West will notice, and even less fear of being dragged before a tribunal. Tribunals are reserved for leaders who resist imperial domination, not accept, welcome and promote it.

In Zimbabwe, “there are frequent calls by the opposition party and its allied trade unions for street protests. Once, in what they termed as the ‘Final Push’, the opposition called for a march on the State House, the seat of government, for its overthrow. No government folds its arms in the face of such provocations. And when the police are used to restore law and order, it becomes a human rights violation.” (18) That is, in Zimbabwe and elsewhere outside the US imperial orbit. Inside, it becomes a justified police action to restore law and order.

The Mugabe government was roundly criticized earlier this year for a crackdown on demonstrators, especially when police beat Morgan Tsvangirai, who had tried to force his way past police lines into a police station. Demonstrations had been banned in the wake of several fire-bombing incidents, but the opposition chose to defy the ban. When the police moved in to disperse demonstrators, the opposition, predictably, cried foul, and the Western media, NGOs (funded by Western governments), opposition newspapers, and Western state officials echoed the cry.

Not too many weeks later, 900 German police officers swept down on 40 sites in half a dozen German cities in a “show of force against potentially violent demonstrators” who were planning to protest outside the G8 summit. German authorities said they were investigating 18 people they believed were planning fire-bombings. (19) Although clearly intended to intimidate a civil opposition movement, no hue and cry was raised at the heavy-handed tactics of the German police. The protests that accompanied the actions of Zimbabwe’s authorities were, however, deafening, even though actual, and not anticipated, fire-bombings had occurred in Zimbabwe. A show of force by 900 Zimbabwean police swooping down on hundreds of MDC activists to prevent possible fire-bombings would have been denounced by state officials, journalists and various left groups in the West as blatant political intimidation, the work of a strongman. The German incident passed virtually unnoticed.

Ethiopia and Somalia

The Meles government of Ethiopia receives hundreds of millions of dollars in military and humanitarian aid from the US and Britain. These injections have been used to build one of the largest and strongest armies in Africa, which stands ready to be deployed to enlarge and defend US and British economic and strategic interests in the Horn of Africa. Ethiopian forces invaded neighboring Somalia late last year at the behest of US officials, a blatant violation of international law on par with Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait, for which Ethiopia has not been censured at the UN, bombed by a coalition of the willing, or sanctioned by the international community. No one has denounced Meles as a strongman, said the world would be a better place without him, or deplored the humanitarian disaster the invasion has touched off. An estimated 850,000 Somalis have been displaced, almost one-tenth of the population. (20) The New York Times acknowledges that “the worst humanitarian crisis in Africa may not be unfolding in Darfur” but in Somalia. (21) The head of the United Nations humanitarian operations in Somalia complains that “if this were happening in Darfur, there would be a big fuss.” (22) But it’s not happening in Darfur, it’s happening in Somalia, as a result of an illegal invasion undertaken by Ethiopia, assisted by US military forces, and at the request of the United States. It’s for this reason there has been no big fuss. Washington had pushed for the invasion to oust a popular Islamist government Somalis had embraced and to restore the rule of the unpopular US-backed government that US firms had been planning undercover missions to support, with the full knowledge of the CIA. (23) For doing the West’s bidding in this and other ways, the murderous Meles was handpicked by then British Prime Minister Tony Blair to sit on Britain’s Commission for Africa, to lead the “African renaissance.”

Meles’ repugnant behavior goes further than this. Following Ethiopia’s May 2005 general election, which the opposition claimed was rigged, Ethiopian authorities opened fire on protesters, killing 193 people. Thousands of opposition supporters and leaders were rounded up and jailed. Meles asked that the death penalty be imposed on 38 opposition leaders, including the founder of the Ethiopian Human Rights Council, a former UN war crimes prosecutor and the mayor-elect of Addis Ababa. The court rejected Meles’ request, but imposed life sentences (overturned after the US, embarrassed by its client’s actions, intervened.)

Meles is all that Mugabe is accused of being, and more. He’s a strongman who rigs elections, and then beats, shoots at, jails and threatens to execute the opposition when it protests. He’s a war criminal. And he’s the architect of an unfolding humanitarian tragedy. Yet 99 percent of those who rail against Mugabe have never heard of Meles. How curious that Meles, whose government has engaged in far more repressive actions than any Mugabe has even been accused of, is showered with honors and aid, while Mugabe is treated as Africa’s version of Hitler. How curious that such patently silly charges as come from some fairly visible Western leftists can be made (among them that Mugabe is, appearances aside, an agent of imperialism ), while the same people have next to nothing to say about such conspicuous agents of imperialism as Meles and Mubarak.


Only recently, after Pakistan’s military ruler Pervez Musharraf invoked a state of emergency, has Western media coverage and left-wing commentary got around to lambasting Musharaff for his restrictions on civil and political liberties. Significantly, this sudden concern for human rights coincides with Washington’s realizing that Musharraf has lost control and bungled the war against militants on Afghanistan’s border. The Bush regime is making clear to Pakistan’s military, and in particular, to the favored successor to Musharraf, General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, that the $1 billion in military aid it receives every year is in jeopardy, unless Musharraf is gently pushed aside. Washington would like a civilian president to be appointed to douse the flames of growing civil unrest, who would call for new elections. De facto power, however, would remain with the military, and, by implication, with Washington, through the leverage over Pakistan’s military its substantial military aid provides.

One would think the sudden flowering of concern for human rights in Pakistan is a reflection of Musharaff doing a sudden about-face, but the Pakistani strongman is doing nothing new. He has been arresting opposition activists and blocking transmission of TV coverage critical of his rule for some time, and he has been doing so with the full knowledge of his paymasters in Washington. (Pakistanis call their president Busharraf, an acknowledgement of Musharraf’s role as a proxy for Washington.) Even so, the various left-wing groups, and the Western media, who seem to know no limit when it comes to denouncing Mugabe’s government for imagined lapses, have been largely silent on the human rights violations of Musharraf’s government, until now. Now that it serves US interests to harp on Musharraf’s generous abridgment of liberties in Pakistan in order to justify his removal have the Western media and pro-imperialist left decided to loudly condemn Musharraf.

Press Freedom

While there are two state-owned newspapers in Zimbabwe, The Herald and Sunday Mail, most newspapers, including the Zimbabwe Independent, The Standard, Financial Gazette, The Zimbabwean and The Mail & Guardian of South Africa are pro-opposition and are sold freely on the streets. You would think, from the tales that are told about Zimbabwe, that there are no opposition newspapers and that they have all been closed by a tyrannical government that brooks no opposition. On the other hand, press freedoms are restricted in dozens of countries in which US strongmen rule as virtual dictators, and yet these affronts against freedom of the press are barely acknowledged, let alone condemned. This is another case of the Mugabe government being demonized for something it hasn’t done, while those who are actually engaged in practices the Mugabe government is accused of, get a pass because they are US client states.

The list of US allies that have jailed journalists or banned newspapers or both is endless. An impartial list, counting only recent crackdowns on press freedoms: Saudi Arabia, a human rights horror show if ever there was one, but one that rarely provokes much complaint from Western state officials, the media and the left groups that deplore the Mugabe government, recently banned a leading Arab newspaper, al-Hayat, because one of the newspaper’s columnists criticized the government.” (24) In September, Egypt’s Mubarak government sentenced four newspaper editors to one year jail sentences, and sentenced three journalists to two-year prison terms, because they criticized the government and made Mubarak look like a dictator. (25) In Georgia, the darling of the Rose Revolution, Mikheil Saakashvili, has moved to crush the Rose Revolution II, in part by violently closing down the country’s most popular television station, because, he said, it was fomenting a coup. (26) Predictably, the people power enthusiasts who thrilled at protests against US target governments in Serbia, Georgia, Ukraine and Zimbabwe, have shown no interest in the people power protests of Hezbollah supporters against the US-supported Lebanese government or of Georgians against Washington’s man in Tbilisi, Saakashvili. It seems that what represents a genuine expression of people power depends on whether it is instigated and bankrolled by the West and elevated to significance by the Western media.

Saakashvili deserves more attention from the anti-Mugabe left than he gets. The color revolution poster boy is described by many of the tens of thousands of demonstrators who marched against his government in early November in a way that is reminiscent of the picture the anti-Mugabe forces paint of Mugabe. He is described as “domineering and abrasive.” His opponents accuse him of “hoarding and abusing power, and of running the nation through a clique that will neither tolerate dissent nor engage in dialogue with the opposition, which Mr. Saakashvili has repeatedly made clear he despises and considers weak.” On top of that “the government also faces pressure from rising prices and lingering underemployment” and “economic conditions remain difficult enough that many Georgians travel abroad for work.” (27) Surely, those who thunder against Mugabe should be expressing their outraged indignation at Saakashvili, for, in the real world, Saakashvili is all they imagine Mugabe to be. Tony Blair’s chief of staff for 10 years, Jonathan Powell, says that Britain should intervene militarily in Zimbabwe, rather than standing back and watching Zimbabweans suffer. (28) He’s silent on Georgia.

Charges of Economic Mismanagement

On top of accusing Mugabe of rigging elections, repressing the opposition and stifling a free press, the Zimbabwean president is also accused of grossly mismanaging the Zimbabwean economy, turning the breadbasket of southern Africa into a basket-case. Even if you show that all the other accusations against Mugabe are gross hyperbole at best, and that there are dozens of other governments doing with impunity what Mugabe’s government is falsely accused of, one charge remains: Mugabe has wrecked Zimbabwe’s economy by carrying out a misguided land redistribution program.

There’s no doubt Zimbabwe is in the grips on an economic crisis. Food and electricity shortages plague the country. But not all of Zimbabwe’s economic problems are unique. In fact, many of its problems are part of a wider pattern of scarcity in sub-Saharan Africa. Last summer, The Washington Post (29) pointed out that “daily power outages are forcing Zimbabweans to light fires to cook and to heat water.” The result is that wood poaching has stripped nearly 500 acres of conservation woodland. But what the Post didn’t point out was that it’s not only Zimbabweans, but people throughout sub-Saharan Africa, who are stripping forests bare to provide heat and cooking fuel. (30) Because rolling power blackouts are depriving southern Africans of electricity to cook their food, they’re turning to wood fires. Drought, climbing oil prices, and the chaos caused by the privatization of formerly state-owned power companies have created an “unprecedented” power crisis that not only affects Zimbabwe, but Zambia, Nigeria, Angola, Mozambique, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Kenya, Uganda and Togo. Even South Africa was hit by rolling blackouts in January and sporadic power failures continue to bedevil the country.

But it is in Zimbabwe alone that the electricity shortages are attributed to economic mismanagement. The Washington Post noted that Zimbabwe’s “power, water, health and communications systems are collapsing,” and that “there are acute shortages of staple foods and gasoline.” These problems are attributed to economic mismanagement and Harare’s land reform policies. But acute food and gasoline shortages are common to neighboring countries. If Zimbabwe is short of gasoline, “Uganda’s gas stations are…short of diesel for vehicles.” (31) If there are shortages of food staples in Zimbabwe, there are close to two dozen other sub-Saharan countries that are contending with food scarcity, according to the UN’s Food and Agricultural Organization. Since neighboring countries have not pursued Zimbabwe’s fast track land reform policies, and have tended to shy away from the economic indigenization policies Harare favors, gasoline, electricity and food shortages can hardly be attributed to policies uniquely pursued by Harare.


The US and its Western allies use sanctions to pressure Zimbabwe to adopt policies that welcome, promote and defend foreign ownership. The former US ambassador to Zimbabwe, Christopher Dell, urged Mugabe to “implement the market reforms the IMF and others, including the United States, have been recommending.” Dell emphasized “the importance of a free-market economy and security of property,” which is to say, abandonment of the expropriation policies Harare has used to redistribute land to Africans. (32) It’s clear that sanctions would be lifted if Mugabe were to return Zimbabwe to neo-colonialism.

The sanctions, imposed by the US and EU, deny Zimbabwe access to international development aid. NGOs, following the Western governments that provide their funding, have also cut off assistance. These aren’t trade sanctions, but even so they have a devastating bite, making region-wide drought and the oil-price-rise-induced energy shortages more acute. It may seem as if Mugabe has mismanaged the economy, but Zimbabwe’s economic troubles are exogenous: drought and oil price increases, worsened by economic sanctions. In a pastoral letter issued last spring, 13 Anglican bishops and one canon of the Anglican Church, observed that Zimbabwe’s economic troubles have “been exacerbated by the economic sanctions imposed by the Western countries” which have “affected the poor Zimbabweans who have borne the brunt of the sanctions.” The clergymen called upon “the Western countries to lift the economic sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe.” (33) To paraphrase Tim Beal, who has followed the effects of sanctions on north Korea, sanctions have three great advantages for the West. They cause virtually no pain to Americans and Europeans, they produce no Western casualties, and the results – the misery of ordinary Zimbabweans – can be blamed on Mugabe, which in turn is produced as evidence the sanctions are desirable and necessary. (34)


Edward Herman points out that “in the real world, both Musharraf and the Shah of Iran fit comfortably the category of ‘cruel dictator,’ whereas (Iranian president Mahmoud) Ahmadinejad does not.” And yet when Ahmadinejad visited Columbia University this year he was a called a ‘cruel dictator’ by university president Lee Bollinger. When Musharraf visited Columbia, Bollinger showered the Pakistani strongman with praise, calling him “a leader of global importance” and gushed “it is rare we have a leader of his stature at campus.” (35) Likewise, while in the real world Musharraf, Mubarak and Seles fit the description of cruel dictators, Mugabe, who was elected in a contest the Southern African Development Community declared to be free and fair, does not. Still, if you polled 100 people who claim to be well-informed, 99 would, like Bollinger, echo a line that reflects the interests of Western powers in demonizing a leader who opposes “our interests” and “our values”, to borrow the rhetoric of Blair advisor Jonathan Powell. What it’s important to recognize is that “our” does not refer to you and me, but to the dominant economic interests of the US and Britain, who would profit from Mugabe adopting IMF reforms, a free market, and safeguarding the property rights (of foreign firms and descendants of European settlers.)

What Western state officials and the media who amplify their words say about Zimbabwe should be considered critically and treated with the skepticism that is due highly partial sources that have well-established records of making false accusations (Western governments) and uncritically propagating them (the Western media.) One need point no further than the weapons of mass destruction that never were to make the case that what the US and Britain say and the media passes on should be considered with a healthy dose of skepticism. In taking on the project of liberating the country from neo-colonial domination, the Mugabe government has challenged powerful interests in the West. We should expect that Western governments, Western news media and NGOs (which are funded by wealthy Westerners to promote their privileged interests under the guise of doing good works) to be hostile to the Mugabe government, and to portray it accordingly. By the same token, we should expect these same forces to portray the affronts against international law and civil and political liberties of states that act to defend and promote privileged interests in the West in a dispassionate, if not, apologetic manner, according them little notice. The Bollingers and Blairs of the world will continue to bestow honors and flattery upon cruel dictators who serve US and British interests, while reserving the label ‘cruel dictator’ for leaders of struggles against imperial domination. We need not follow the same pro-imperialist practice. Politicians, state officials, university presidents, CEOs, NGOs, and editorial writers are not politically neutral. When we mimic their positions on foreign affairs, we’re not showing solidarity with all oppressed people, though we might think we are in opposing the people dominant Western interests call ‘cruel dictators’. More often than not we’re showing solidarity with people who are accepting money from Western powers to oppose governments motivated by traditional leftist values of socialism or national liberation. At the same time, we’re failing to show solidarity with people oppressed by strongmen the US has brought to power to ensure Western corporate and financial interests prevail over the interests of local populations.

1. New York Times, April 15, 2007
2. Guardian, August 22, 2002
3. New York Times, September 20, 2006
4. Al-Ahram Weekly, February 21, 2007
5. Guardian, July 19, 2007
6. Washington Post, October 1, 2007
7. Los Angeles Times, August 14, 2007
8. Hajia Aminata Sow, “Zimbabwe: Burying the truth,” New African, November 2007
9. BBC, September 30, 2000
10. The Sunday Times, July 1, 2007
11. The Herald, April 15, 2007
12. Times Online, March 5, 2006
13. According to General Lord Charles Guthrie, The Sunday Mail, November 18, 2007
14. US State Department, “Supporting Human Rights and Democracy: The US Record, 2006”,
15. New York Times, November 11, 2007
16. Address to the United Nations General Assembly, September 25, 2007
17. New York Times, June 29, 2007
18. Hajia Aminata Sow
19. New York Times, May 10, 2007
20. Washington Post, November 14, 2007
21. New York Times, November 20, 2007
22. Ibid
23. New York Times, December 14, 2006; Observer, September 10, 2006
24. Financial Times, August 29, 2007
25. Washington Post, October 1, 2007
26. New York Times, November 8, 2007; New York Times, November 18, 2007
27. New York Times, November 3, 2007
28. Jonathan Powell, “Why the West should not fear to intervene,” Observer, November 18, 2007
29. July 28, 2007
30. New York Times, July 29, 2007
31. Ibid
32. Christopher Dell, “Response to Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe monetary policy statement,” February 7, 2007
33. Pastoral letter issued by 14 Anglican bishops and one canon of the Anglican Church, Province of Central Africa, April 12, 2007
34. Pyongyang Report, October, 2007,
35. “More Nuggets From A Nut House, reprinted from Z Magazine at, November 17, 2007

Friday, 7 March 2008

March 2008: Nkosana Moyo’s second going!

March 2008: Nkosana Moyo’s second going!

There is a Shona proverb which says ever since the day the hyena learnt to run away from danger, how many of us have seen its carrion in the veld? It is a proverb which expiates cowardice, comfortably locating it within the human urge for self-preservation. As a proverb, it could only have come from a mature culture with a deep and compassionate grasp of the complexities of human response to given menaces, indeed a culture so tolerant and calculating enough to understand that while the foolhardy Spartans stand tall as daring, they vanished as a collective tragedy in foolhardiness.

Great civilisations know when to fight, and when to retreat. All this, the Shonas distilled into a proverb. Not so with the English. Far from being as succinct, the English needed a whole bard and a whole play - Shakespeare’s King Henry IV (Part One) - to explore what the Shonas so aphoristically compressed and captured. In that play, Falstaff embodies and dramatises fear as the better part of valour, even exploring to comic limits the ingenuity inspired by it.

Fastened to the British establishment

Many in this country will remember Nkosana Moyo, the physicist don, once unhappily with the University of Zimbabwe, then with Old Mutual, then with a Commonwealth venture capital — Kubatana I think it was called. After all these detours, he was invited to join the Zimbabwe Government as a full minister. Interestingly, the venture capital initiative played a critical role in the founding of the Daily News, in the process fastening the physicist to the British establishment. His appointment to Government spawned great expectations.

Alongside the likes of Jonathan Moyo, Joseph Made and others, he was part of a new crop of young cadres to whom the baton would pass. The beginnings of succession were unfolding, and all this against the hurly burly of the Third Chimurenga. The old were acknowledging the passage of time, the new accepting the burden of new responsibilities. All looked smooth, outside of course the clangour of the Third Chimurenga.

The man on Malilangwe

But something happened, something which by hindsight, was a clear precursor of things to come. Both Simba and Nkosana always carried etches of anxiety and discomfort. The Land question made them sit ill, clearly without ease, and with time, their energetic colleagues, principally Jonathan Moyo, Joseph Made and Chinamasa, became repeated pricks on the two men’s tender sides.

In every meeting at which land became the issue, the two would end up together, alone in one corner. They did not support the land reform programme. It made them extremely uncomfortable. But they knew they could not say so. So they resorted to hiding behind economic arguments to make their objections palatable and learned. But those opposed to them were determined and unrelenting, and many asked about their paternity. Nkosana obliged an answer.

He was not Zanu (PF), only a professional technocrat, he would tell the media. No, he was a professional who could associate with anyone, anything, a free spirit never to be hemmed/yoked into any organisation. Not many read this as future political trajectory for the two men, in British aided partnership. Today both speak of no parties and a national authority as a substitute for political formations.

Both promise those on the land, those resettled, will have their teeth "gnashing". It is quite interesting Simba Makoni says so, himself a beneficiary of land reforms. It is interesting Simba says so when his own Ibbotson Joseph is a multiple land owner whose efforts at acquiring more land in Matabeleland only relented after spirited resistance from the region.

Above all, it is interesting this man who is on the Board of Malilangwe Trust which controls nearly 50 000ha of land, sees nothing odd about it. It is a very white trust, one dedicated to rolling out endless pleasure to white hunters, amidst evident landlessness of the Chitsa community.

Running away from Third Chimurenga

Until one day Nkosana felt hemmed in enough, threatened even by the prospect of membership to Zanu (PF), its policies and deeds. He grew terrified, very terrified and overcome his mortal fear by obeying his instinct for a saving sprint. He took a sharp flight southward.

He ran, ran, ran the modern way until he overshot our border, only to stop with a loud screech on the hard surface of Johannesburg. Only then could he pause to recall and collect his senses. Immediately, he realised in his frenzied flight, he forgot to tender his resignation. With comparable speed, he wrote a resignation letter to President Mugabe, complaining that Government was not broad enough to encompass all shades of politics. Upon delivery, there was short disbelief which soon gave way to guffaws of laughter. Nkosana had vanished, resigning in mid-flight! The whole thing was humorous.

Back and forth

Much later, feeling snugly tucked under the burly hands of International Finance Corporation (IFC), Nkosana regained his breath and for the first time broke his silence. The terrible and awesome "thing" that got him into terrific flight was the Third Chimurenga and the daunting prospect of serving under it! From it, he ran away in absolute terror! He did time with IFC, his new employer.

But not long after, he was offloaded, an angry young man from Zimbabwe. He remembered home and its politics which averred the white man was no friend of a coloured underdog. He started communicating back, transmitting anger: Tell President Mugabe that he is right. Tell him to stand firm and unmoved. We are solidly behind him. Telescopically of course. The man had been hurt, badly hurt by the white world from whom he expected so much love.

Another British tentacle

Then we heard he was making errands in South Africa and back. Then we heard he was with Actis, a global venture capital company specialising in emerging markets, Africa included. But what was Actis? A baby of Tony Blair. One created from Blair’s decision to privatise CDC in order to turn it into an instrument of British influence and dominance in emerging markets.

His brief there was to manage relations, principally with governments. Summer of 2007, he was profiled by African Banker and, seemingly without realising he was making the point a good 18 years late, he regurgitated the World Bank’s 1989 thesis. Asked what he regarded as Africa’s problem, he answered: "Africa’s most pressing issue is governance.

Governance is the one thing which will unlock all of the other things that we are talking about . . . It comes down to governance". He could not have said otherwise. After all Tony Blair — his mentor — was a creature of the World Bank governance thesis. Very few in Zimbabwe read this affinity correctly, itself a loud harbinger to the political role Nkosana plays today, for the British and other western interests.

He brings to Zimbabwean politics British political interests, only corporatized. Apart from Actis, he frontloads Citibank the world’s largest bank. He frontloads SABMiller, the world’s largest brewer, with interests in our local Delta. Need we wonder that Robby Mupawose is part of this? And many other business people I will have occasion to name?

Newton’s First Law

It is official. He has done it again! Nkosana has again deserted. He is back in the United Kingdom, scared by what has become of his project here. Before then, Nkosana was here, albeit unobtrusively. He has been reading feedback ever since Simba Makoni — that British political dipstick — took the plunge into the deep end. With each errand Simba made — whether in town or in the countryside — the point was brought impeccably home, to this our nimble physicist.

Isaac Newton’s First Law of Motion was being re-enacted, this time with vengeful frequency. Britain’s political body which he had helped plant on our earth would not move. It remained in its state of rest, with no force apparently in sight to break its sitting inertia. He learnt — rather disappointingly — that expectations, however strong, would never be that force that would compel the British political project here to even stir.

He saw Makoni’s political misadventure in rural Mashonaland East which is thought to be the stronghold of his immediate godfathers within Zanu (PF). Makoni had to cancel fixtures. He came back empty-handed. It was cold out there. Then came Bulawayo and Harare, very soon after. Both were a yawn. The message hit home and Nkosana was ready for a second going.

His parting whimper was clear enough: things are not working; the project needs a new strategy and more money. Have we not seen the last of him? Has he not sent in his resignation again?

Bizarre tenders, all between two

Gentle reader, put accent on "more money". In that kind of environment of panic, you do not sweat for information. It comes so easily. Things are not good for Makoni and his handlers. There is uncertainty. Politically, uncertainty expresses itself as pillage of campaign resources.

The centre can no longer hold. Tenders for campaign material running into trillions — some of it quoted in US dollars — are being floated. Nothing unusual. Bids are being made. Again, nothing unusual. There is adjudication. Still nothing unusual. Results are got, hey got! The horror, the horror! The person who invites tenders, emerges as the bidder, the adjudicator and yes, the winner and therefore approved supplier.

Gentle reader, money is being cracked and eaten, much like tiger nuts! And the other fella wants no one near the pot. He is quoting himself in US dollars to supply T/shirts to himself. Goodness me! Lose the politics but get the money, that is the slogan!

Giles’ testimony

Giles Mutsekwa of MDC Tsvangirai has no kind words for Simba and his choice of Dumiso Dabengwa. Simba thinks he has a person (in Dumiso)(?), the ex-Rhodesian soldier asks with a knowing look. He shall see, he adds so ominously to a nomination crowd which cannot make head or tail of what is coming from his hard-knuckled head. What Simba does not know is that we were with Dumiso when we formed ZUM with Tekere, Giles proceeds, gently shaking his head with recalled outrage.

He played along, played along until on the launch and announcement day. Dumiso simply vanished, only to reappear in Bulawayo, very far away, so safe. But give it to Dumiso. This time around he has gone a little farther. But which milestone will get him to vanish yet again? The Nkosana act could very easily get the whole herd to panic. Especially if Dumiso’s not-so-intelligent trick of be-splattering Chinamasa does not deliver. The tone of his interviews does not suggest conviction; it suggests a resigned sense of betrayal hiding behind flimsy self-justification. Let us dedicate this week to weighing his chances, verily with an even hand.

Opening a snuff box

Dumiso has opened a snuff box with a broken lid. And this on a wintry day. There will be lots of sneezing, lots of weeping eyes. He has killed sleep and that vengeful anger all along trapped by an unwritten pact of respectful silence to which all combatants are sworn to, now stands ready to detonate.

The fuse is short, very short and we have already started getting little explosions leading to a very big one. Anyone in the Second Chimurenga will tell you a lot happened during the struggle. Unsavoury things that left many matters unresolved to this day. In a way, these matters shape contemporary politics. All along, Dabengwa has been positioning himself as a claimant to leadership of Matabeleland, after mudhara Msika. This is why the old man’s health and promise of retirement excites the dovecot.

But Dabengwa is not unchallenged. He faces a furious contest. First you have former fighters. They argue the man was in intelligence. He was not a soldier. How does he justify this monument the media has built around him? How does he become the "Zipra Supremo" when he was in intelligence? Wartime commanders of Zipra have been smarting, but have all along been restrained.

Some carry very ugly bruises from past unfairness. Cadres who pioneered the struggle but who found themselves on diplomatic postings on the eve of critical promotions. Especially after the tragic death of Nikita Mangena.

In on Zanla ticket

It is a very sore point and now the pent up anger has found a legitimate outlet. The unfairness did not end there. Back home, during the integration process, some very senior and battle-hardened Zipra cadres were sidelined in the selection process, a good number of them getting into the army on Zanla ticket.

Dumiso preferred his colleagues in intelligence to whom he pasted ranks for integration. It hurt. Still more happened. During land reforms, very senior army officers could not access land in preferred regions because of the leadership’s baffling love for white farmers they strained to protect ahead of needy fellow comrades. A good many of them ended up securing land in other regions, facilitated by persons who never commanded them during the struggle. It is a sore point, very sore.

Umuntu wamakhiwa?

As if that is not bad enough, Dabengwa starts slighting bona fide war veterans, calling them refugees and turncoats. Up to now, Jabulani Sibanda, the butt of such attacks, has not spoken. But his silence is loud enough. It asks: now who is fake? He is not alone.

Old man Naison K. Ndlovu has proffered a devastating answer. Calling Dumiso’s father — George — umuntu wamakhiwa, he avers betrayal runs in the genes. Being a small boy, I cannot say what the truth is, but I found it most interesting that Dabengwa has not addressed this allegation even though he is everywhere in the papers. It cannot bode well for him and Makoni.

The great betrayal

John Nkomo has reacted in the most uncharacteristic way. Let me hasten to point out that the Makoni project fed fat from silence. It is destroyed by responses. These remove the brooding silence within which the lie about silent partners within Zanu (PF) flourished. Nkomo, a serious contender for leadership has come out, all cylinders firing. Dumiso is described as an "infiltrator", quite a strong word, made all the more hurtful by the role the man played during the struggle.

Mudhara Msika has already responded and is set to say more, set to say very harsh things. He is understandably angry. Only on the Friday before Dabengwa came out of the closet, he had distanced the leadership of Matabeleland from the Makoni thing. That included Dabengwa. A day later, Dabengwa humiliates the old man by joining Makoni, claiming he never got time to tell the old man he had decided to change his mind.

Except he suggests his decision to challenge the President traces as far back as the signing of the Unity Accord which he viewed as a capitulation. From 1987 he never found time? Or was that meant to suggest the old man was part of the scheme, only unnerved at last minute? You cannot wrong mudhara Msika any worse than that.

Cain, Rex and Dumiso

What is worse, the Matabeleland leadership has now come out solidly in defence of the Unity Accord. Dabengwa is seen as a threat to that unity. In the words of Cain Mathema, he is "a tribalist". Many think he is. Now, Mathema is especially significant. Governor Mathema and General Mujuru were in the same group that went for guerrilla training about 1968/9. Both started in Zipra.

Both wind up as Zanla. Cain makes a simple point to Dabengwa: when Rex comes in, you stand at attention the way you never do with me. Both he and I trained at the same time and later joined Zanla. What is the difference? It is the same sort of question of seniority which Obert Mpofu and John Nkomo raise against Dabengwa, the same question Ambrose Mutinhiri who is already a trained cadre as far back as 1964 legitimately raises. Emboldened by what they see as a blatant defection and betrayal of values and ideals of the struggle, they will be more strident.

On the wrong side of history

Reading his interviews, it is clear Dumiso does not have a good line at all. He says he differed with the President over the Unity Accord, the Land Question and exploitation of Marange Diamonds. He left out the Leadership Code and ESAP which together with the late Eddison Zvobgo, he pushed with such determination, almost making both a test of the validity of the Unity Accord.

Now, how does one build a case for leadership renewal on all these points? On all these matters the President is on formidable ground. It is true that as Home Affairs Minister, he wanted war veterans occupation of land stopped through police action.

Only police command stopped what could have been a bloody deployment against those pushing for the attainment of a core objective of the struggle. Upon his arrival from Cuba, the President vindicated the stance of the command.

The Unity Accord was negotiated away from Dabengwa. Everyone, including the late Vice President Nkomo knew he stood opposed to the pact, although he did not mind its spoils, or using it to leverage concessions from Zanu (PF). The Marange Diamond claims clearly expose Dabengwa for what N.K. Ndlovu say he is: a lover of whites and their interests. ACR combines British interests.

It is very close to the British establishment. It quietly mined diamonds before anyone knew they existed in Marange. It secretly shipped them out, apparently with the connivance of high ranking party officials who were part of it. Once Government got to know about it, the deal was stopped, which is what riled the likes of Dabengwa. He would rather we had fed the British! What a grievance!

Then you have the swelling waters of the mighty Zambezi, in the form of the water project. Bad things are being said there, warranting a full-blown investigation and audit. The Financial Gazette thinks Zanu (PF) does not know how to handle Dabengwa.

I do not know which world these desktop journalists inhabit. Out there the slogans are loud and ringing. It is "Pasi naDumiso." Mr. Editor, the die is cast, long cast. Out there, Dumiso has forfeited his claim to the legacy of Joshua Nkomo. The President said as much in Jerera.

Out there, the likes of John Nkomo, Obert Mpofu, Ambrose Mutinhiri and others are reasserting their authority. Yes, out there, the war veterans feel vindicated, reminding themselves that they were the first to reject this man’s politics, right back in 1998 as they agitated for gratuities. In the meantime, the man is so snowed under by the consequences of his decision that he cannot canvass for even his own vote. Agarira nhanzva. Icho! —