Friday, 23 July 2010

Diamonds: The glow-fly that challenged a full moon

Diamonds: The glow-fly that challenged a full moon

DEAR reader, this piece is going to be a heavy read and I propose a light-hearted entry to allow for some release.

Let us get right in. Following the President’s walk past the River Jordan (in arid Marange!), NewsDay expectedly ran a cartoon of the President overflowing in the white robes of the Johane Marange Apostolic Church. The cartoonist made sure the President wielded the legendary staff, itself part of the sect’s religious paraphernalia. By the President’s holy side was Mutumwa Noah, the High Priest of this sprawling church whose reaches encompasses the four corners of our Sadc region.
Feuding Angels?
But far from companionship, the cartoonist presents the relationship between the two as strained.
Mutumwa Noah is apparently unhappy about the bright stones of Marange, and the way the President’s Government is handling the matter. He is thus made to ask the President: “Madzibaba Gabriel, when can we expect a share of diamond proceeds from Marange?” The President “looks” aghast, presumably shocked that this celestial man dares dabble in matters falling under the province of earthly Caesar, indeed neglects the celestial star beckoning him to the promised land to rake the bright muck of Mammon! Of course, this is not the cartoonist’s intended message. It is mine, as I try to turn the sting against its owner, relying of course on the poetic licence which both he as cartoonist, and I as the reader borrow: he from society, I from his text!
When among high priests of capital . . .
But beneath my levity lurks a serious point. I recall the President paying a visit to the Ngezi Platinum Mine, sometime last year just a few months into the inclusive Government. I also recall The Herald giving us an image of a President clad in a miner’s dustcoat and also well helmeted for the hard hat area. He was all-white, head to toe, miner-white and at the site of a great resource for this country, platinum. The resource is in foreign hands, firmly so. If I also recall well, there was a whole retinue of traditional leaders of the areas, including Chief Murambwa and Chief Ngezi between whose territories lies this great mine, restless. For how can it rest anymore with all these foreign vermin crawling all over it, injecting incendiaries for massive blasts that only gladden human greed?
Good for the goose . . . ?
But I do not recall a cartoon on this visit in any of our Press, whether soon, or long, after. Why? Here was a whole President clad like a miner, well away from the sartorial standards of his mighty Office. In place of his usual dark, well-trimmed suit, he wore a rude white dustcoat. In place of his usually shining and well kempt head, he donned an incongruous helmet, a headgear for sweatshops. Surely, here was matter and material for cartoonists, definitionally inspired by the incongruous? What is more, the cartoonist had, in the person of the chiefs, a figure through which to raise with the President the fundamental question of community rights in respect of platinum, much the same way Mutumwa Noah does in Marange. Yet not. Why? Chiefs Ngezi and Murambwa could have been made, through poetic licence, to confront the President on when their communities can expect platinum proceeds from Ngezi.
Judgment for the holy, plaudits for the sinful
Which is what takes me to my main question: How do newspapers read humour in various situations? How do they define, distribute and deploy humour in our society of little laughter? Which class figures and interests are routine butts of media humour? How are incongruities read and transformed into humour? Randomly? Evenly? Across interests? Clearly there are categories of humans whose actions, no matter how serious, will always be turned to purposeful sarcastic humour, all in order to defeat any seriousness in their activities. Secondly, there will always be persons, whose association with presidency is regarded as unseemly, as incongruous and thus perfect material for mordant, disparaging humour. With these lowly creatures, leaders of nations should never be associated. I mean I find it strange that a President who is before a 150 000-strong congregation seems out of place relative to a President who is before a handful of foreign miners whose company has been found guilty by a reputable international auditing company of evading taxes and externalising Zimbabwe’s resources, indeed a group of miners who are still to give back to the community beyond wages and a road incidental to the host community but core to the operations of the mining house. So much about Press freedom and claims to speaking for the voiceless! The Press will always be on the side of capital.
When diamonds begin to shine
This far, our diamonds have given us lots of food for thoughts. Thankfully, we now have been certified to dispose of them within the framework of the Kimberley Process. We now expect them to begin to give us food for the stomach. After all, when one looks at the so-called conditionalities given us by the KPCS, one finds them as onerous and ponderous as a mighty piece of toilet paper swirling towards the vortex of an angry harmattan. The human face of those conditionalities is none other than Abbey Chikane, the same monitor who authored the report which has got us here. He cannot crucify us so late in the selling equation. Equally, the response from the diamond industry soon after the KPCS meetings clearly shows that beyond politics of public perception management, countries finally act on the basis of enlightened self-interests, not on the basis of some miasmic, good-Lord-above moral precept. After all, governments are not religious animals, which is why they ceased a long time ago to visit the synagogue every Sunday. Again ask the British whose history illustrates the travails of running a theocracy. As I write, America is worried about getting a piece of the diamond auction action — ahead of the Chinese and Russians — than about Maguwu, whoever he is. Israel is worried that diamonds from Zimbabwe do not end up in Lebanon, which to them amounts to allowing these diamonds to flow towards Hamas. Beyond the pretended fury we saw in Israel and Russia, self-interest and national fears have restored sanity, tempered furious idealisms. We can now move on, not as civilised master nations pitted against noble savages, but as needy diamond sellers and buyers.
Beyond jingoism
But the real challenge is here, at home. When the West tried non-tariff barriers against our diamonds, using the pretext of the KPCS and its elastic, ensnaring notion of blood diamonds (as if the diamond industry right from the days of Cecil Rhodes at Kimberley have ever been clean!), a royal battle had been declared and every self-respecting Zimbabwean — Job Sikhala excluded — had to jump into the fray. And we did, hind and fore, ready to chew to smithereens anyone who stood in the way. It was a time of jingoism and indeed, diamonds united us, yoked the dissimilar into a tight mating season for a greater national goal and good. That jingoism secured the intended outcome and common sense bids that you don’t keep yelling against a dead lion. You allow the village to rest in sleep.
The instant coffee?
We can now sell our diamonds. What does that mean? A time for a new war? A time to unchain venality and sheer avarice as only a few capture the brightness of this stone against the rest of us? A time for eating chiefs? Or is this the dawn of a Zimbabwe century? We have built euphoria around the wonders diamonds will bring to our Nation, only a short day after the first sale. Diamonds have become an “instant coffee”, bright and lifting, an instant alchemy to begriming poverty that has haunted us. And like the good air we breathe, the benefits are sure to flow to all of us, reaching each according to the circumference of their trachea (windpipe)!
The new lotus eaters
With diamonds, sanctions will vanish. With them, IMF will get a good boot in its dirty hind. With them growth will once again touch the body and soul of this chosen Nation, carrying it limb and spirit to sugar-candy mountain, atop which everything looks rich, green and serene, lotus green! With them industry will boom, creating jobs that cure instantly the social malaise that has gnawed us since the white man decided we are no good. With them pantries will grow fat and we shall all eat. Eat, eat, eat and eat until sleep is only a bother for the thinking head, all other orifices staying awake: eating or yielding smelly burps of the well-fed, the new affluent. All those infrastructural headaches we have had shall vanish in an instant, thanks to arid Marange’s five loaves and two fish that are set to feed the hungry five thousand. Oh Diamonds, thou art glorious!
Beneath the swelling balloon
That way the balloon of flatulent expectations from a Nation for so long underfed, for so long thirsty, has been swelling, swelling, and swelling, rising, rising and rising. Our brains have gone to sleep, in this mass drunkenness. We are all on an enchanted island. No one thinks, all are punch-drunk by visions of bright abundance. Overnight, Zimbabwe has become a horn of plenty. But what is the reality below this balloon rising on the helium of fitful farts of a poor Lazarus transported into a castle by a sweet dream? What is in Bob Nyabinde’s hozi and its marauding gonzo, both of which are sure to rudely break into the present ecstasy of this never-never land of dreams and illusory abundance?
The outsider who knows our bedroom
In this giant seizure of senseless national delight, we have forgotten that it is the outsider — not us — who knows what is in our bedroom. The revelation that we command 25 percent of world diamond supply, and upward of 35 percent when all about us is known, came from an outsider, not from we Zimbabweans, the so-called owners of this and other such resources. We are owners who do not know, owners whose hopes and sanguineness resides not in what we know to have but in what we are told we have. We do not know our neighbourhood, we proud, believing owners. Our euphoria arises from the sores of poverty we have endured over centuries, never from the sight of riches we have, riches we have discovered and judiciously inventoried. Whence then comes our euphoria? Are we any cleverer than the foolish man who bought the Eiffel Flats, apparently from Paris’ waif?
Illusion of greatness
Secondly, the intensity of our euphoria beats that of a man or woman wielding a 100 percent share certificate. Do we own our diamond deposits, we the happy and salivating, we the expectant? What is our claim in Mimosa? What is our claim in River Ranch? What is our claim in the known diamond shard of Marange? What shall be our claim on other deposits still to be either known or exploited? Or are we emulating our proud South African black brothers from Soweto who beat their chest yelling, “Oh, see how developed we are”, confident forefinger pointing at Sanlam? Can someone tell us how we who could not produce our own geologists sighted enough to see for us our diamonds, have suddenly found lawyers well-sighted enough to secure our stake in interests that are mining our diamonds? How does our little stake in Mbada or Canadile translate into a full, munching mouth for all of us, great and small?
False pregnancies of the past
I hear we have a 50-50 percent stake in the Marange interests. I hear at Murowa there are Zimbabweans who claim to have about 20 percent of the shareholding on our behalf. I do not know about River Ranch. Yet I am sensible enough to know that this country has mounds and mounds of mining rabble, mounds and mounds of different sizes and shapes akin to ill-gotten pregnancy, but all leaving us with hard-to-notice wombs deflated by sharp hunger, we people of fat, swelling hopes. The fat ones live elsewhere, in faraway lands where our black kind need visas and permits to merit to find work there, work in quarters where they confine their infirm and raving lunatics.
Riches from the tattered philanthropist
The morphology of the shareholding which shall determine the flow of the diamond lustre does not seem to support the euphoria we have been stoking. Our 50 percent stake is owned through ZMDC, the encumbered ZMDC. As a company which has been sued and can never sue, it reserves the right to decide on what dividend to give to Government, itself the surrogate of this nebulous thing called “the people”. Given the history, obligations and state of ZMDC, how much can we expect? Recognising this planning shortfall, Biti tried to make proposals in the budget. At the end of the day, what comes to the fiscus? But what is the nature of the agreement between ZMDC and its partners? Is it foolproof? Have its partners met their own side of the bargain? Are
we not likely to be paid by our own diamond coin? Let the media explore this for us. The President has complained about the integrity-deficit of some individuals associated with ZMDC partners, right from the extraction start. What insurance do we now have?
The elephant in the house
I said we did not know that we had diamonds, which is how De Beers carted out our diamonds to South Africa for so long, with impunity. I am sure our borders were just as manned, our officers worrying more about petty smugglers of mbanje than about those who shipped out our rich diamond ore. Are we any better today, any wiser? The Kimberley Process dealt with known diamond sites. It never dealt with our leaking borders. Where is our Zim-berley Process, to secure our borders which have been so porous that even elephants have been smuggled out screaming, yet unseen, unheard?
Do we know the diamond?
But this is only knowledge as sight. More challenging is knowledge as skills. Do we know the diamond? Or we only know that one rumoured by the storekeeper when he wants to extract small pennies from your marriage vows, by way of that stupid ring we think will keep our love, will protect our affection, keeping it hard and bright like the diamond we think is somewhere in the base metal? What is to know diamonds in an industry where money is made through apt classification of your diamonds? Beyond the rough and rudimentary divide of gem-quality and industrial diamonds, of rough and cut and polished diamonds, what else do we know about this highly mobile and mutable industry? What skills stock do we have, so near to the day of the much awaited sale? How does a man who has no fishing line, who does not know the way to the fish market, dream about a bowl-full of hack fillet?
Not Hammer and Tongues!
I hear gem-quality diamonds come in various classes, hundreds if not thousands of them, on the basis of which classification and parcels are created for auctions. I hear auctions are done per customer per day so customers are afforded time to scrutinise each parcel. We think we will understand this complex industry by going to watch what goes on at Hammer and Tongues? Or at Boka Tobacco Sales Floor? How are we going to protect and enforce value, our value when we do not know how diamonds are assigned values in the market place? Surely, we know there is no goodwill for us, no guardian angels in this industry of venality? If they sought to mug us in broad daylight, why will they not swindle us even more in the thick darkness of our righteous ignorance? The hammer is sure to fall, only against us.
And the complicating politics
Zimbabwe got its diamonds in the dispensation of the inclusive Government. We have different interests yoked together through this makeshift political arrangement. A cursory reading of Biti’s budget, and the debate preceding it, clearly betrays the deep fears and suspicions held by these so-called partners in Government. In this climate of inclusive partnership, a resource, which comes our way, triggers deep suspicions. We saw it with the SDRs. We saw it in successive budgets and the way allocations were interpreted. The ethos in the inclusive Government is more party self-positioning than sound development planning and finance. This is why Biti raised the issue of US$30 million rumoured to have come from earlier diamond sales. This is why the same Biti invites experts to work with Zimra in monitoring diamond sales, indeed why his budget proposes a raft of legislation, all aimed at ensuring the flow is towards the fiscus, which he is in charge of. One may also be tempted to read the same in the fight between him and the RBZ. At the centre of it all is a core question of ensuring transparency and accountability in the utilisation of this bright gold which can easily turn into a curse for our nation.
Remaining at the flea market
All these broad environmentals, not helped by the fact that the diamond industry itself is wistful about what this find from Zimbabwe means in terms of prices on the world market. There are also sobering facts about the whole industry. Uncut diamonds amount to an estimated US$8 billion market. Significantly, this primary market sires a US$30 billion secondary jewellery market, clearly showing where the money of this market is. Those that eat are not those that mine, or those who wash and dust rough diamonds for the flea market of uncut diamonds. It is those that beneficiate. Our hopes and euphoria rest on Zimbabwe’s doubtful status as a diamond trading nation, never as a source of diamond manufacturers, a status that requires more tertiary skills. We have a challenge, a huge challenge which the present euphoria masks.
Enduring enclaves
It is a challenge of national economic development planning and policy, a very delicate science ordinarily, certainly much more complicated in our circumstances of inclusivity and sanctions. Both inclusivity and sanctions have distorted the national planning template, in the process creating false objectives and goals, false gods and prophets. You have Marange or Shurugwi, both historically enclaves of unremitting poverty, suddenly finding themselves leading mining enclaves closer to centres of the world diamond trade than to Dotito or Gutu. The poverty that divided Marange from the rest of us has given way to a value which still does exactly the same. We are an economy so badly truncated, so badly disarticulated and without internal mechanisms for transmitting growth spurts from whatever source. That is why mounds of past mining still left us dormant.
A rich nation with mind of a slave
In our excitement, we have treated diamonds as a trade issue only. It is not even a mining issue, which is why the development of our mining policy is well enclaved from Marange and our fight with KPCS. Through litigation with ACR, we have just woken up to the fact that diamonds beg an investment policy. The KPCS bother has implied a technology and infrastructure policy we do not have. More fundamentally, our flatulent hopes for all to eat from Marange, has raised a development policy issue, the same way that proceeds from Marange and how they shall impact on the whole economy, has raised issues of national savings, national linkages and national investment decisions, all of which imply a coherent set of policies. This is not to talk about national debt policy and an adverse sanctions fighting strategy. One day Biti will come back telling us we must use proceeds from Marange for debt settlement. Or to build our reserves so we improve our appeal to the IMF, we the rich children of Marange! How to lift our thinking bar beyond qualifying as borrowers and groveling recipients of aid, that is the challenge.
The rude glow-fly that cursed the moon
How to address all these concerns I have raised coherently in a policy framework to feed the children, send them to school; to employ adults, allow them disposal incomes big enough to meet basic needs, while allowing them to postpone consumption (to save); to create national savings through public sector, which turn into sensible investments propositions for national wealth creation: all these and much more is what punctures this floating balloon, is what moors extravagant expectations we all seem to be sliding into. In the meantime one hopes we will not all drop the hoe, roast all seed and hey, perform the ultimate act of self-flagellation: that of allowing our cracking feet to take us to the harsh asphalt of cities, all in the hope of plenty. They did so not so far away from us, and are still settling this debt of national folly. We have found diamonds. We still need to find national prosperity. A glow-fly, however bright, should never curse a bright moon.

Saturday, 10 July 2010

Alpha Media: The Sounding Bells of Un-Freedom

Alpha Media: The Sounding Bells of Un-Freedom

"Certainly my conscience will serve me to run from this Jew my master. The fiend is at mine elbow and tempts me saying to me ‘Gobbo, Launcelot Gobbo, good Launcelot’, or ‘good Gobbo’, or ‘good Launcelot Gobbo, use your legs, take the start, run away’. My conscience says ‘No; take heed, honest Launcelot; take heed, honest Gobbo', or, as aforesaid, ‘honest Launcelot Gobbo; do not run; scorn running with thy heels’."

Much more constraining to human freedom than actual shackles is a righteous acceptance of continued enslavement. This paradox explains why a horse, long freed from a tether, continues to go round and round a tree, obeying the enchanted perimeter of long-time bondage.

It will not bolt to freedom, no. It has to be whipped hard to escape this enchanted enslavement.

Even then, from its perspective the real danger is the whiplash; it is never the confinement to which it had grown so habituated.

It fears the whip in hand; it hankers after the rider’s gentle but enslaving stroke on its obeisant brow, a stroke celebrated by its mane but so lethal to its inner sense of freedom.

Lessons from Shylock

William Shakespeare knew about and explored this overbearing ambiguity and paradox in the human condition. Those in most need of freedom are the least wanting it.

They hardly recognise it.

This week I open my piece with a quote from the bard’s well-known play, The Merchant of Venice, written between 1596 and 1598.

The character behind the above words is one Launcelot Gobbo, himself a menial servant in the employ of a rich, usurious Jew, Shylock.

Predictably, he is an unhappy servant, under- or not paid at all, overworked and habitually threatened by his master who keeps a tight leash on him.

It is to Launcelot’s great credit that in spite of years of engulfing and begriming oppression, he still has a good glimpse of freedom, manifesting itself as an urge to run away from "this Jew my master".

This Jew my master

The phrase "this Jew my master" does summarise his principal dilemma: a sharp moral tag between revulsion and resentment of oppression personified in "this Jew" on the one hand, and a continuing and consuming sense of subdued obedience to "my master", again symbolised by the invisible indenturing contract tying him to Shylock, on the other.

In this fascinating scene, obedience clashes with rebelliousness as the play retreats from physical, inter-character action, to the interiority of a divided mind.

This split personality is dramatised as the fiend or devil representing Launcelot’s urge to run away, to run to freedom, and Launcelot’s conscience imaged as Divinity which urge him to remain loyal to Shylock, to continue in his harsh employ.

Between divinity and freedom

Therein lies the political import and meaning of the play: the urge for human freedom or the urge against bondage is presented as devilish, while the acceptance and kow-towing to oppression is presented as divine.

Not quite surprising given the Elizabethan world picture where figures of authority, starting with feudal kings, were regarded as God’s deputies.

And for a drawn-out moment, Launcelot Gobbo stands transfixed, unclear whether to obey the devil’s freedom beckon or to accept Divinity through a meek acceptance of structures and motions of oppression.

Generational bondage

Significantly both impulses content with equal and balanced power and compulsion, leaving Launcelot utterly divided, unable to resolve the dilemma, or even move forward.

It is a perplexity anomatopoetically captured by his surname Gobbo, itself a phonetic conundrum!

In the midst of that dilemma, his father – Old Gobbo – happens by, and the tone of the whole play turns from an agonising drama within, to a comical exchange between a jesting son and an old, blind father.

Significantly, Old Gobbo is also looking for "the way to master Jew’s", a clear dramatisation of generational oppression against which any search for any way out ends in a blind alley.

The expectation of the audience is that the arrival of the father should see the son helped out of the vexations of oppression. Yet the father is also looking for the way to that oppression and, what is more, seeks assistance from his son in mapping the way towards it.

Clearly there is no escape, except by way of a cathartic wringing of comical delight in that condition.

Coping through humour

Humour becomes a coping mechanism, through which characters, and through them the playwright, ducks resolution to a core issue.

So, instead of giving his father clear and straightforward direction to "the master Jew’s", Launcelot tells his half-blind father: "Turn up to your right at the next turning, but at the next turning of all, on your left; marry, at the very next turning, turn of no hand, but turn down indirectly to the Jew’s house."

Old Gobbo is very confused and admits that with such a direction and guide, "it will be a hard way to hit", itself an apt summary of the cul-de-sac towards which father and son are headed.

There is no escape from bondage, Shakespeare seems to say.

Cabinet Committees do exist after all

It is quite difficult to grasp where Alpha Media Holdings or ZimInd (what are they?) are headed for.

When they attack those on whom falls the burden of ensuring the public gets truthful information on the state of play of things in Government, you would think as a standard (no pun intended), they have no desire to search for truth.

But see what sets them alight!

Their hard-sell weekly was all over Minister Mpofu, accusing him of misleading the nation on a Cabinet decision on the future of Chiadzwa diamonds.

Needless to say ZimInd does not sit in Cabinet, never will.

Yet it speaks so authoritatively on what transpired in Cabinet; and this on the strength of "high-level sources", a reference to breaching MDC-T ministers, themselves the ailing Alpha Media’s political guardians and benefactors.

"Cabinet did not approve the sale of Marange diamonds," declares ZimInd, quoting "a senior Government minister".

A senior Government minister from a lot that is a mere 16 halting months in Government?

Does one have to grovel so obscenely for such filthy lucre by way of funding and political advertisements, all out of fear of the Daily News which is so gnawed by its own troubles to come soon or threaten anyone?

What is good for the goose . . .

And consistent with its amateurish sources, a Government which in fact sent a whole delegation to Tel Aviv to fight for the right to sell its diamonds, is said to still not have a position, having referred the matter to a Committee of Cabinet.

The matter, we are told, is still "under consideration".

My goodness!

And all of a sudden ZimInd and its sister non-paper, NewsDay, now accept that Cabinet has committees, and that any matters under such committees are still "under consideration", and not concluded to become Government positions.

Or is this only so in respect of matters falling under portfolios of Zanu-PF ministers?

Why was a similar observation made in relation to the Prime Minister and his escapade in South Korea so sinister, an observation founded on hard facts, and not lies such as we are getting from ZimInd in respect of Chiadzwa diamonds?

What is worse, the same stable would tell us day in day out that Chiadzwa diamonds were being looted by Zanu-PF and securocrats, well away from the untainted and untaintable MDC component of Government.

So there is a Cabinet Committee on the matter? Who is in it? Ministers from both formations of the MDC and from Zanu-PF?

All operating at the behest of looting Zanu-PF and its Securocrats?

If so then we do have an Included Party, never an Inclusive Government, do we not?

We lie so openly, so inconsistently? And we dare put on some VMCZ jacket (or junket) to dignify our lies?

Diamonds will be sold

The truth, dear reader, is straightforwardly that Government accepted Minister Mpofu’s report and recommendations for the sale of diamonds.

Diamonds shall be sold.

Even the Kimberley Process expects it and knows full-well that by the time St Petersburg comes, most probably it will be addressing a different issue regarding Chiadzwa diamonds. But Government wants the sale conducted in a transparent and KPCS-compliant manner.

Not because Tel Aviv demanded so, but because the KPCS methodology of disposing of diamonds is well thought out. Zimbabwe subscribes to this methodology and will domesticate and enforce it during all sales.

It also ensures best returns on our diamonds.

This is where the reactivation of the Cabinet Committee on the matter comes in.

It is a reactivation on implementation of the diamond sale, Mr ZimInd Sir, if man you are!

It is not about deciding whether or not to sell diamonds.

We will sell them. That is the story.

Minister Mpofu gave the media indeed the correct position which the public media proceeded to publish.

Falling short on smalls

And by the way, at no point did Zimbabwe risk non-certification.

It only fell short on the smalls of the certification requirements, which is why Chikane made an undertaking to come back a mere week or so after his initial inspection.

Major shortfalls could not have been righted within a week, surely?

He says so in his report.

He repeated the same point in Israel, much to the chagrin of dominion nations.

By the way, the Canadians who now bark on the matter with mustard venom, accepted the second Chikane report and its recommendations well before Israel.

This was during a video conference soon after the report was finished.

They know it.

Canada and bloody minerals of DRC

They know it the same way they know that Canadian companies are not only looting precious minerals in Eastern DRC; they are also funding banditry in the same region to ensure they continue to ship out bloody minerals from Eastern Congo without paying a dime by way of royalties.

I challenge the Canadian envoy here to deny that.

How dare they stand on a decorated rostrum to preach righteousness with that greedy mouth, with those bloody hands?

They want Monuc to outlive its legitimate stay.

They want the DR Congo denied aid and debt relief simply because the DRC has asked them to stop this bloody theft of Africa’s resources.

Need we wonder that their NGOs, taking after their mother government, seek to mug us of proceeds from our diamonds?

Or that Maguwu, a mere suspect in a serious crime involving playing customer to HIS — Hostile Intelligence Service — is turned into a cheap bargaining chip in such a venal enterprise?

Where does he get a foreign account?

Where does he get the protection of mighty foreign states as if he is a captured emissary from Ontario or Massachusetts?

What puts him above due process?

What licenses his lawyer — appropriately surnamed Bere — to publish on Internet a fake diary on the trial?

Is it about defence, justice, truth, or it’s about propaganda and publicity?

Ask the British

And what happens to the rights of all those in the employ of Mbada and Canadile, employees who have soldiered on for months unpaid, uncertain while KPCS, on the instigation of greedy monsters, tergiversates?

What happens to Zimbabweans who must benefit from this God-given endowment?

What happens to members of the KPCS who passed a verdict of compliance in favour of Zimbabwe and her world-class diamond operations?

All that counts for nothing, all for the edification of a mere three countries which think they own and rule the world?

Diamonds will be sold and one hopes the Cabinet Committee will meet this coming Monday to clear the way for a speedy implementation of the decision of Government.

ZimInd will write about it, albeit with utter shame and discredit.

Biti badly needs the money and I see him bearing down heavily on the rest of the Committee members for a quick outcome.

Much more than mere diamonds, this matter has now become an issue of national honour and pride.

We have no history of losing on such matters.

Ask the British.

Banking crisis?

It has been outrage after outrage from Trevor Ncube’s boys.

The same paper that has been cheering Biti on in his mindless lynching of Gono and the RBZ, today bemoans the real possibility of a crisis in the banking sector.

On whose doorstep will blame now be put, tell us ZimInd?

When you threaten to place a Central Bank under receivership, what are you saying about the economy you say you seek to revive?

What are you doing to the Bank’s status and ability to supervise banks?

But that is not my main point.

Unhappy burdens of puppetry

ZimInd’s man of muck delights attacks the Mangoma-led Zimbabwe anti-sanctions team, headed for Brussels. "Mangoma and Priscilla Misihairambwi-Mushonga, who is also a member of the reengagement committee," writes Muckraker, "are serving no useful purpose by going to Brussels empty-handed.

"And why do they think lifting sanctions is a compelling national issue?

"Do you ever hear people on the streets going around saying sanctions must be lifted because they are hurting the country?"

That is Muckraker.

But there is another voice, or more accurately, a variant to the same voice, in the same paper.

ZimInd editor (may his sores rest in internal piece!), Constantine Chimakure, bemoans the futility of the re-engagement team, counseling: "Unless there is the will to address our democratic deficits, it will be foolhardy for anyone to yearn for the EU, Australia and the United States to lift the embargoes."

He knowingly adds: "For the sanctions to be lifted the EU set various benchmarks we were supposed to meet, among them the full implementation of the GPA — a product of our own negotiations that gave birth to the inclusive Government in February 2009."

He conclusively declares: "We need to robustly address our democratic and human rights deficits if the sanctions are to go."

Nothing in between ears

Are these writers – one of them a whole editor – literate? Parties negotiated an agreement we now call the Global Political Agreement, GPA for short.

Among other things, the GPA calls for the lifting of sanctions, calling for a multiparty effort in that direction.

It acknowledges that sanctions are not just hurtful; they are wrong and an attack on the sovereignty of this country.

This is how the re-engagement committee comes about, namely to fulfill an outstanding matter under the GPA, a matter called illegal sanctions from the West.

Now how does a sane person to whom the title

l To Page 6

of "editor" is ascribed, argue that taking measures to resolve an outstanding issue of GPA will not succeed until the GPA "is implemented to the full"?

Does such a head have something a bit more solid than mere water that takes the shape of the trough carrying it?

How is GPA implemented to the full unless sanctions are removed?

Or is it the European and American GPA which is selective?

And yes, the GPA is ours, indeed "a product of our negotiations".

That is precisely why it cannot be a precondition for lifting sanctions.

Only a requirement for their lifting.

Unless you are very sick upstairs, you cannot raise a decent argument by claiming that sanctions of 2001 were imposed to ensure full implementation of the GPA of September 2008.

It can only be the reasoning of a mindless sycophant. Surely ZimInd handlers expect a bit of clever defence?

Men from Mars

Are these writers — one of them an editor — Zimbabweans?

Do you hear people on the streets going around saying sanctions must be lifted because they are hurting the country, they ask.


So the same GPA which must be implemented in full is foolish to identify them as inimical to democracy and well-being of Zimbabwe?

So America put in place sanctions to make sure they are so innocuous as not to be a national issue?

And if they are not so hurtful as to become a national issue, why use them to threaten this Government towards fulfilling GPA?

Surely innocuous measures cannot be any leverage against a standing Government?

A whole editor does not realise that the immunisation programme, which hit 80 percent coverage under a Zanu-PF Government before 2000, has now shrunk to 50 percent under an inclusive Government operating in conditions of sanctions?

A whole editor who cannot rid his main story of banks and their liquidity crunch in relation to his own absurd denial of sanctions that exist?

Are these Zanu-PF banks?

A whole editor who cannot understand that the excellent education he got from a Zanu-PF Government can no longer be extended to his own child (if one he has) because of these sanctions?

A whole editor who cannot understand that his own salary comes from donors who sprang up amidst the ravages of sanctions and the associated regime-change agenda?

Is ZimInd not a cog in this big wheel of infamy, indeed an unconditional supporter of anything, everything the West says and does against Zimbabwe, all for conditional funding?

Including denying sanctions which create the very lines of credit that keep AMH afloat, that make AMH editors reflexively wedded to the lies of sanctions-imposing countries no matter how absurd?

Hurting own interests

Are these writers – one of them an editor – capable of remembering anything at all?

Posa went through negotiators who passed it. So did AIPPA and many other pieces of legislation.

The legislative agenda of the inclusive Government has been given these people.

They know it.

Do those at ZimInd ever hear people on the streets going around saying NewsDay must be licensed because its absence is hurting the country?

Does anyone eat NewsDay?

And if people want NewsDay as its owners tell us, why will they not need the removal of that which kills their children, kills welfare, kills jobs and denies them access to credit lines they deserve by dint of membership to international bodies?

And you have a whole editorial comment delighting in how Australia’s nationalist government of Rudd has caved in to exploiting multinationals who will not want to share profits deriving from the exploitation of that country’s natural resources with the Australian citizenry?

This from a newspaper which claims an underdog ownership?

Puppetry is an unhappy condition.

Sanctions everywhere

Which takes me to Launcelot Gobbo and his bondage conundrum.

Here we are: a black African people groaning under illegal white sanctions founded not on a selfless democratic quest for the other, but on very narrow, selfish and racist self-interest.

Our children cannot eat, go to school, get medication, play and grow normal lives of children elsewhere in the world.

We are hurt, visibly hurt, with the devastating effects of those sanctions abundantly there for all to see.

Even those imposing them do actually tell us that indeed they have imposed real, hurtful sanctions against us.

What is more, those from our own side who asked and got those debilitating sanctions do actually acknowledge their hurtful nature and are trying, to varying degrees, to have them lifted: immediately, some demand, in a graduated fashion, others demand.

They were even told those sanctions cannot be removed until the foreign policy goals of countries responsible for imposing them have been met.

Donor applecart

Studies are commissioned, opinion polls taken.

Results do show that over 60 percent of Zimbabweans think sanctions are responsible for undermining public weal.

All these overbearing facts, although registering as scars of bondage on our African Launcelot Gobbo, remain unacknowledged, unspoken, unwritten, for fear of upsetting the donor applecart.

The fiend tells Gobbo to run away from this European master, this Western slaver.

But Gobbo’s divine conscience obstinately counsels otherwise: "Budge not, Launcelot, do not run Gobbo! There are no sanctions! Sing Launcelot. Sing Gobbo."

And so it goes on and on, back and forth, all at the speed and motion of a gyroscope.

Unfreedom, thy name is the Zimbabwe Independent.