Nkosana Moyo in Zimbabwe’s Politics of Opposition: The Pigeon thrown among the cats!

13 Jul

On 29 June 2017, Nkosana Moyo launched his bid for Zimbabwe’s Presidency thus throwing himself into the fray of opposition politics in Zimbabwe. His pitch and tone is that of a person who has really thought about this new journey and is ready to stand in the ring with Robert Mugabe as one seeking to defend his tenure and on the other side the opposition political parties calling him all sorts of names for being allegedly divisive and potentially splitting the vote against Mugabe. Well, some have called him an opportunist who is after the fame and glory of being a presidential aspirant in Zimbabwe. Others have accused him of either being too delusional or overconfident to think he can snatch the presidency from Mugabe. Yet others have accused him of wanting to siphon the millions of hard cash that come in from donors whenever election time is around the corner. Call him whatever they want, I think the guy although very brave, well qualified and all, he is at this juncture almost turning the old idiom “throwing a cat among the pigeons” upside down and he himself can be characterized more as “A PIGEON THROWN AMONG THE CATS”. Pigeons are not known to scare cats and neither are cats known to fear pigeons. I say this for several reasons which I will discuss below, save to just say that this guy has no chance whatsoever against Robert Mugabe in the 2018 elections, unless he is in this time just to test the waters for another chance after Mugabe is gone.

Nkosana is like a pigeon thrown among the cats for now because I do not think that he can turn the tables against Mugabe in next year’s elections. It is not possible! It cannot be done. It’s already water under the bridge. Give or take the rigging allegations by Mugabe’s party, I do not think that Nkosana necessarily has and will be able to build the connection that is needed with the almost resigned Zimbabwean voter at this moment. Mugabe knows god willing that if his batteries do not run out, he will be the President of Zimbabwe after the 2018 elections.

That Nkosana has chosen to run for the Presidency as an independent candidate is most laudable. In the current politics of Zimbabwe where politicians continue to be recycled offering no new ideas, it is better to have something and someone new: –  Anything! The opposition in Zimbabwe is failing to understand the simple logic that you cannot continue knocking one’s head against the wall. Others must be given a chance where your strategies have failed. Alas, all you hear is that “nzizi dzese dzinoyerera dzichipinda muna Save”. Fair and fine. If that is the case, Nkosana go it all alone! – all the way and do not even turn your back to any whistles! (usacheuke miridzo). That Nkosana, this pigeon who has stirred the dirty waters of Zimbabwe’s opposition politics will be derided and thrown of course by the opposition is in no doubt. The opposition in Zimbabwe has the masses. It will be more than difficult for him to convince die hard supporters of the MDC or any other opposition force to ditch their parties for him. All the same, the politics that Nkosana has played here by refusing to join any umbrella is most welcome. The fallacy that Mugabe can only be defeated by a large umbrella of political parties is now tired. It would be better to have a Mugabe with his two VPs than to have a whole bunch of hooligans in suits calling themselves the new government fighting and dishing out nonexistent posts in government all because they contributed to Mugabe’s ouster at the ballot.

Another point that Zimbabwe would want to know is the who, what, when, how and why of Nkosana’s politics. That he has this pigeon label on him is in no doubt. The masses will look at him and feel that he is just trying his shot at a game he cannot win. For instance, without knowing those people who are standing with him (besides Fadzayi Mahere), without knowing who his family is, without knowing who is funding his activities, without knowing his ideas and recruitment bases (young people, farmers, old people, workers etc.) it will be difficult for this pigeon to scatter the cats that are already sitting in the ring for the 2018 Presidential elections.

For Nkosana to want to run as an Independent presidential candidate he must have thought well about the fact that even if he were to win he would not have a majority in Parliament. He would not be able to form or run any government as it were. The trick could be that he wants to avoid infiltration through political party structures by the CIO. Good move, but in the end, it will not lead Zimbabweans anywhere. Therefore, Nkosana needs to lay his cards on the table. The years when politicians would tell voters that just vote me in and you will see what I will do are long gone. He must make it clear how will pass and skip past such hurdles first. Zimbabwe must know what he is selling and if it can be bought. Otherwise he will remain in my eyes a pigeon thrown among the cats.

That Nkosana has stood up to challenge his yester-year boss when he was Industry and International Trade Minister is laudable. But so many have taken this path and not gone anywhere with their projects. Edgar Tekere, Simba Makoni, Joyce Mujuru just to name a few struggled and their projects suffered still births. Nkosana needs to convince Zimbabweans by showing us that he has a plan that will work. To just say that he will be able to change Zimbabwe’s politics is not good enough. The issues are very contentious. Thus, for anyone to come and say that when we return to the rule of law all will be well is not good enough. Others see a return to this rule of law as bequeathing power to our erstwhile colonizers. Others think that a return to this “rule of law” will be the end of ZANU PF and a chance to reverse ZANU PF’s policies around land reform and natural resources empowerment. The questions are daunting. Nkosana must be able to stand up and share his vision with more vigor and have a national presence. Otherwise Mugabe will have the last laugh saying that Nkosana ran away only to come back to run away again. Otherwise known as a pigeon thrown among the cats.


Islamic fundamentalism is not JUST any other African problem!

20 May

So the past month has been awash with comments on the abducted 276 Nigerian Chibok girls and the ever increasing terrorist attacks in Kenya. These attacks have been carried out by two notorious groups connected to the Al Qaeda: the Al Shabbab outfit based in Somalia and the Boko Haram based in Northern Nigeria. The attacks and abductions have been merciless and vile to say the least. Presidents Uhuru Kenyatta and Goodluck Jonathan have been criticized left right and center by citizens and other observers who argue that they can do more to end these attacks and improve security in Kenya and Nigeria. President Jonathan was further criticized in the media for attending the security Summit called for by Francois Hollande in France instead of visiting Chibok. While the two Presidents can be found wanting in other areas, I contend that these two Presidents are hamstrung and the best they can do for now is align more with the West to get assistance in the form of weapons, intelligence and finances to fend off these groups.

The visit by Goodluck Jonathan to France to meet with the EU countries and the neighboring African Presidents was necessary. It is a clear fact that these African countries do not have the necessary human resources to collect vital intelligence to fend off these Islamist groups. By visiting the Northern city of Chibok, the President of Nigeria would have just paid a solidarity which would not have achieved much except to raise the villagers’ expectations for nothing.

America, UK and France including the rest of the EU have significant knowledge of the operations of these Islamist groups from years of sophisticated intelligence gathering. The West also has the financial and military resources to alleviate this crisis that seems to be slowly engulfing Africa. It will not pay for any African to continue clamoring for African solutions to African problems in this instance – Islamist fundamentalism is not an African problem per se. What is happening in Kenya and Nigeria is a mere shifting of battlefields from the West to Africa by the Islamic militants.

A clear mapping exercise will reveal that most of the attacks that have occurred in Kenya and Nigeria started as targeting European, American and Jewish interests in Africa. Talk about the 2013 Westgate attack in Nairobi, talk about the 2011 UN suicide bombings in Nigeria and many more. That these groups are now attacking local citizens such as the poor girls in Chibok and Kenyans on public transport and vegetable markets in Nairobi are just sick diversionary tactics. Their main goal is to score major victories on the UN compound and the US Embassy in Nairobi. What they are looking for is a score like they made in Libya when they killed the US Ambassador Chris Stevens. In Nigeria clearly they want to instill fear in the government by invoking religious feuds so that they can have their way in the economic and political structures of the country. Al Shabbab would definitely want to rile Kenyan citizens and push for the withdrawal of the KDF from Somalia. This is unrealistic and has to be opposed with all might by the African Union and the UN.

Enter the West’s hypocrisy

Due to the might of their intelligence gathering mechanisms the West has managed to bolster security measures in their own backyards and their interests in Nigeria and Kenya. Recently travel bans were issued in Kenya and even evacuations back to the UK and America for citizens on holiday from Kenya. While there is nothing wrong in the West protecting its citizens, one can also understand the frustrations of the Kenyan and Nigerian governments that the West is now playing into the hands of the Islamist groups and also fuelling the platforms for these groups to continue with their terror activities. For instance, when the American, British or Israeli intelligence officers acquire credible information, do they share it with the Kenyan government to apprehend the suspects? The West has been found wanting in this instance because just in the same week the Chinese Premier was in Nairobi, threats for the attacks spiralled to unprecedented levels in Kenya. Of course everyone knows that the Chinese are bringing loads of investments into East and West Africa and the West is lagging behind. Al Shabbab and Boko Haram are fully aware of these dynamics and they want to sow seeds of fear and uncertainty in the countries. The West therefore cannot condone this by sitting on information and not assisting the two governments on the basis that they want to appease their egos over their geo political and economic fights with China.

So what should Africa do?

The arguments raised by Goodluck Jonathan that he could not visit Chibok because of security fears were justified. Some years ago, I saw live on TV Al Qaeda militants attacking Hamid Karzai whilst he addressed a rally. What will stop these Boko Haram militias from doing so in Nigeria? All the same, the situation raises questions on what the Nigerian government is doing enough to secure such vulnerable areas as Chibok – citizens who vote and pay taxes live there daily and they need protection. To argue that government officials will not go there because of insecurity will not hold water forever.

More importantly, the two governments of Kenya and Nigeria need to review their government systems. Corrupt Kenyan Immigration officers allegedly continue selling travel documents to many Somali young people linked to Al Shabbab. Nigerian borders are so porous that terrorists find it so easy to move between Chad, Benin and Cameroon. The police and military services need to be strengthened and more collaboration established between the different African countries.

The African solution to some of these problems will NOT come from the Kenyan government attacking each and every Somali national they bump into in Mombasa and Nairobi. In the same manner extrajudicial shootings of suspected Boko Haram suspects will not end the attacks in Nigeria. What are needed are more robust intelligence gathering mechanisms by the two countries working in tandem with the Western countries. The Kenyan and Nigerian nationals especially religious and community elders who live amongst some of these rogue elements in Al Shabbab and Boko Haram need to play an active role.  They also need to help the authorities and not continue to be quiet while the two countries burn from economic stagnation, stigmatization and more deaths and misery.

In the end one will find that although not appealing and looking strategic in the eyes of the African, President Goodluck Jonathan needed to go to France and consult with his fellow African statesmen just to get things moving. There is no point asking 3 or 4 besieged and clueless African Presidents to meet in Africa to find African solutions to a perceived African problem when we know clearly that the problem is not African per se. The African countries whether by omission or commission do not have the financial wherewithal and the necessary intelligence gathering technics to tackle such problems.and the Western countries need to know that no amount of travel bans to African countries will end terrorism. They must not mix up their long held battles with China and Kenya and lump them up with the terrorism problems Africa is facing.

After all is said and done, Goodluck Jonathan went to France and came back with threats to annihilate Boko Haram from the face of the earth. How about a report back to ECOWAS or to your African brothers in Addis Ababba, Mr Goodluck on this unAfrican problem?

“Corona in Zimbabwe” The fire that is in the Government’s belly – Urgent action needed

25 Mar

The Corona Virus has claimed one person in Zimbabwe. At least that is the official news. Chances are highly likely it will get worse before it gets better. The government of Zimbabwe has put measures in place to shut down airports, encourage people to stay at home and exercise social distancing etc. Whether this will be enough faced with a population that feeds off an informal economy needing exchange of paper money, face to face contact to trade and a population that leaves from hand to mouth will have to be seen. While no one can say they have the right solutions to this crisis, there is now urgent need for the Government of Zimbabwe to exercise more rigorous and tougher policies to deal with this pandemic. For whatever measures have been put in place, Zimbabwe does not seem to be showing any front leading leadership. As usual the state is adopting a muddling through approach to policy making in this regard, following South Africa and other countries’ pronouncements. That will not be enough. More needs to be done. Zimbabwe has a fire in its belly, it needs to douse that one first and stop worrying about irrelevant problems like who wants to still get into the country or out.

Government must shut all airports and other borders

It is a welcome development that President  Mnangagwa came up with the directive to close the airports to foreigners and leave them only open for those Zimbabweans who are still out of the country. While this would look trendy and accommodating to Zimbabweans who are abroad, it is no longer the right decision. Zimbabwe needs to close its airports completely and prevent any more arrivals whether of citizens or permanent residence holders. Several countries have shown leadership in this regard. Let the people who are still out in other countries reach out to the Zimbabwe Embassy and get assistance from there for accommodation and other amenities. There is no point in continuously bringing more people into the country when there is no guarantee that the people coming in will be “safe” from the virus. Furthermore, with rampant reports of corruption on a day to day basis, there is no guarantee whatsoever that if any big chef were to come into the country they would not be able to pay their way through and expose more people. Zimbabwe needs to deal with whatever cases in has internally rather than have the health system strained by unknown cases coming from outside. It is rather ruthless but it has to be done.

Name the victims and save a life

The government of Zimbabwe has continued to name those tested positive as patient 01, patient 02 etc. While professionally and socially this would be the right thing to do to save the identities and confidentiality needs of those affected by COVID 19, that strategy might not be the right one to take for the Zimbabwe government at this moment. By choosing not to name the victims, Zimbabwe risks getting more people infected because close family members and friends might know who among them is infected or not.

Secondly by concealing the names, the government risks stigmatizing the disease and people will shun having their names in public. If what has happened Europe, Canada and the USA is anything to go by, it shows that all and sundry have come out and indicated who they are and publicized their results. That act alone, managed to bring the disease out in the open and more people who had been in contact with the likes of Idris Elba, President Trudeau’s wife, all those English Premiership football players and even President Trump himself to be tested.

Zimbabwe does not need at this juncture to have any secrets or play to any political pandering of any sorts with regards confidentiality for patients suspected or who have tested positive for COVID 19. What will save Zimbabwe is naming those affected so that those who have been in close contact with the individual can come out, get tested and self-isolate depending on the diagnosis.

Limit hospital visits

Information at hand is that people with underlying conditions are more susceptible  to COVID. If this is the case, the Government will urgently need to screen all those people visiting relatives in all the public hospitals. The danger is that those already bedridden will die and in the process also infect health workers who are badly needed. So 1 visitor per day per patient under such conditions would suffice. The same people need to leave their traceable contact details as well with ID numbers .

Don’t scare people with useless questions

The average Zimbabwean has read the tragic story of Zororo Makamba. The standard of healthcare facilities where Covid 19 patients are being treated is Wilkins Hospital. It has been reported that the hospital doesn’t have enough facilities. The medical personnel in that facility are even afraid to touch patients and the place is not just prepared.

There are loads of people who have unknowingly come into contact with suspected Corona Virus patients. People are scared. Some are developing symptoms and they just need to know or be treated of those symptoms. However, if there is going to be a blanket policy of harassing people who inform medical people that they have been in contact with suspected cases, what will happen is that people will go underground looking for medication and better health facilities. The risk of more infections is higher.

The question about whether people have beezanu pfn to COVID affected countries is important more for those entering the airports and past the other borders. To want to continue asking such questions is important but also could be irrelevant because there is a risk of sending away possible cases because they have not been out of the country.

The government must instruct health facilities to ask the right questions to the right people. Care must be taken not to have people being afraid to visit hospitals if they develop fevers, running nose, chest pains etc.

More testing is needed

There is no proper protocol or widespread information on what is supposed when someone is suspected or suspecting that they have the symptoms. A widespread testing either for a fee or for free would help individuals know especially those who have traveled in the last month to know their fate. There is need for the government to release information on the price for testing, the protocol, and what exactly to do. More centers need to be opened up and sections of private and public hospitals be allowed to conduct the tests. The reputation of Wilkins at the moment is not the best. The capacity of the same hospital to deal with an influx of tests is not guaranteed. Having a tight hand on this process will not be helpful to anyone. The government needs to understand this.

Restriction of movements across cities

The schools are closed. This was one of the last things that needed to be done. With the children home and no public gatherings or meetings allowed, it would beat the mind to understand why anyone would still to be moving across towns. Let those in Harare, stay in Harare for the next two to three weeks, and those in Mutare can stay there as well. There is no need for politeness anymore. This has to be done and the government needs to move in quick.

Fumigation and sanitization of public transport means as well as public markets

There is urgent need to supply public transport operators for those that will continue to move in the neighborhoods with hand sanitizers for those boarding their vehicles and in fact make it compulsory for sanitization to be done.

Places like flea markets and vegetable markets such as Mbare Musika and other similar places across the country need to be provided with water tanks that have foot pedals and soap so people can constantly wash their hands as they go about their businesses.

Reducing transaction costs

  • The banks should encourage citizens to use more of the electronic forms of payment and reduce the transaction costs.
  • Government needs to do away with the 2 per cent for sums amounting to 50 USD worth of purchases or whatever agreed amount per day/week so that people who are already facing difficulties in a slowing economy can have some relief.
  • Banks needs to show ubuntu and work with their clients especially small businesses who have borrowed money from them. Most of the small businesses source products from China, Dubai and South Africa. These countries have ben closed and with that their businesses lie in limbo. They will not be able to repay their loans and it cannot be morally right for the banks to then seize their customers’ properties or securities because of such a calamity.

For once, the country and its leadership can show leadership and save its peoples’ lives. Zimbabwe has been in a state of this or that emergency for some time now. The leadership in the country does not need to make choices about how it will be viewed by its international friends  and its party supporters. Practical, humane and lifesaving actions need to be taken now. The first thing the government must realize is that the fire that is Corona is raging is inside its belly and it needs to be doused first. The focus must be to save lives – nothing more nothing less.

Misplaced priorities and a lack of wokeness: The case of MDC officials representing ZANU PF stalwarts in court

14 Dec

In politics there are hard and soft issues that at times become cause for heated debates for ruling and opposition parties alike as well as their supporters. The hard issues have a bearing on the immediate concerns of the party and in Zimbabwe for example these could concern whether a party like the MDC should accept an election result or not. The soft issues relate to matters that occasionally come up but are not necessarily detrimental to the survival of a political party. These issues unless handled properly have the potential though to erode the support base of the party. One such matter, is the issue of whether MDC senior leaders that are lawyers can represent in court, current or former members of the ZANU PF party without damaging the brand that is the MDC as well as hemorrhaging their support and trust with their supporters. Arguments for and against the issue have been debated before. The issue is quite vexing but still needs to be dissected further. The argument in this discussion explores the two opposing views, explores the possible reasons why the lawyers who are leaders in the MDC carry out such tasks, and the possible resultant effect on their membership and credibility as a party in waiting to lead Zimbabwe.

A case of misplaced priorities

Increasingly over the years and especially after the 2017 coup in Zimbabwe, there was a huge fallout in ZANU PF that saw several big leaders in the G40 faction of ZANU PF being put on the spotlight by the Mnangagwa regime. Reportedly several cases of corruption, abuse of office, embezzlement were raised against those who were thought to be supporting Robert and Grace Mugabe. Most have been dragged to court and their cases remain with pending judgments. Interestingly, the unexpected has also happened.

Those lawyers who are leaders in the MDC have jumped in to defend these same ZANU PF people. The argument has been that as lawyers they have a duty to serve anyone who needs legal assistance. A corollary excuse has been that the MDC is a party that must show that it fights for justice and democracy. By defending these former ZANU PF senior leaders they would be fighting to also expose a corrupt judicial system, challenging a rogue regime that arrests and detains people on spurious charges etc. At face value, this argument sounds logical, but underneath it lies an ugly veneer of a quest for power, greed for legal fees and a sheer display of a leadership that has misplaced priorities.

Has Zimbabwe now run short of lawyers as well?

There are thousands of lawyers who can represent these ZANU PF people with equally the same expertise other than the MDC leaders who are lawyers. These lawyers in the MDC cannot speak left and walk right. For decades the call by the MDC has been against corruption, looting of state resources, egregious human rights violations perpetrated by some of the ZANU PF politicians who are now represented by these MDC officials. If the legal defense of these former and current ZANU PF officials is not a show of misplaced priorities and a show of the middle finger to the millions of MDC supports who have been brutalized, tortured and stolen from by ZANU PF then there must be another more befitting definition for the word.

What has changed with the so called captured judicial system?

For years, the cry from the opposition has always been that the judicial system in Zimbabwe is captured by the military and politicians and thus can never deliver objective as well as fair decisions especially in political matters. There are innumerable cases in point, from the recent 2018 elections rigging case, to the thousands of MDC supporters who have been unlawfully arrested and detained and more importantly the thousands more who the government has denied compensation for human rights violations.

Come 2018/2019, the script has changed and the same MDC leaders who are lawyers are scurrying and stampeding each other to represent the same folks they called crooks, thieves, murderers etc. To make it worse they go to the same courts they have vilified before. The question that begs the answer is why these lawyers in the MDC think that they will be able to get fairer and objective judgments in the cases involving these former and current ZANU PF officials who now stand accused of corruption, abuse of office and other crimes? The system with its judges, prosecutors, and any other cog in its wheel remains intact. One would want to believe that the lawyers in the MDC who have been defending these rogue ZANU PF leaders are myopic, ill-advised and frankly do not know what they are doing. Principle must tell them to leave ZANU PF to fight its factional wars on their own and that they as the MDC focus on the more important business of lawfully dislodging ZANU PF from power.

Possible explanations as to why the lawyers represent the ZANU PF leaders in court

  • They are in it for the money

Let us face it, the money that comes from some of these high-profile cases is quite high. Zimbabwe is in an economic mess and incomes are low for most professionals. The so called, clients who are former ZANU PF leaders have bags and a half full of money stashed away – our taxes for that matter. While it is fact that these lawyers will be doing their jobs so that they can earn a living, a line should be drawn at a party and personal level as to what sort of clients these lawyers can represent. Imagine Barack Obama representing Osama Bin Laden in a court of law as his legal counsel!

  • The desperate need to get closer to power

Instead of speaking truth to power, these same lawyers have an insatiable need to be seen to close to power. For them, they see power residing within ZANU PF and they must get closer to it by way of representing these high-profile people who have fallen out of favor with ZANU PF. For the ordinary lawyer and MDC leader, getting closer to this power base in ZANU PF ensures that they might get deals, contracts and a “turn to eat” at the corruption table. As a bonus, the lawyer will have tales to tell about how they fought ZANU PF and how they defended those that had been banished from the party etc. It is all delusional, but in today’s Zimbabwe, this logic can surely resonate with a lot of people.

What the lawyers tell us

  • It’s part of the democratic struggle

Half the time you hear people pontificating, arguing and misquoting philosophers such as Sun Tzu or Confucius. You will hear them saying “to defeat your enemy you need to bring them closer to you”. In this instance, it however would be the biggest scam of the century. The lawyers who are in the MDC representing these ZANU PF officials think that they can create further chasms in ZANU PF but nothing can be further from the truth. ZANU PF officials differ on issues of who is “eating” and not necessarily on the destruction of the party.

The question that begs answers is whether this position of giving legal support is an agreed one from the party or it emanates from individuals engaged in haphazard ways with a twisted notion that they will contribute to  dislodging ZANU PF from power. Whichever way, the belief that ZANU PF can be dislodged or even destroyed by some of these acts is infantile.

The message to the lawyers in the MDC leadership

  • The people will fail to tell the difference between ZANU PF and MDC at this rate

The lawyers in the MDC leadership can be adamant with their actions because they believe they are doing the right thing. They can believe all they want that they are following their conscience and exercising their duties as legal professionals. However, they must not forget that the same people that they are now helping to dodge court hearings, feigning illnesses, hiding their properties etc. were the same perpetrators of political and state sponsored violence against their supporters, vote rigging and other heinous acts of grand corruption in Zimbabwe. If the lawyers want to continue wining and dining with these former and current ZANU PF leaders they can do so at their own peril politically. The masses that support the MDC might not be able to tell the difference between these two groups in the end. One can be rest assured that the MDC will lose its supporters if the people do not think that its officials are not any different from their tormentors. Food

  • Is this an official MDC strategy?

The question that begs answers remains. The idea of representing the likes of Kasukuwere, Mzembi and others? – Is it a consensus within the party leadership or individual members in the leadership of the MDC who are also lawyers decided to take up the cases? It would be folly for the MDC to think that they can continue on this path without at least confusing the party faithful as well as be seen to be mocking them through such actions.

mzembi and wiwa

  • ZANU PF – a leopard that will never change its spots

One shortsighted argument posited by those who support the lawyers in the MDC who defend the ZANU PF officials is that by being close to them they will be able to get more information as well possibly convert them to joining the MDC. While it is an attractive idea, the thought of an MDC led government that then depends on thugs, murderers, thieves, central bank robbers etc. as its allies does not augur well.

Even if the MDC were to win an election, where would those people fit in any government that would be credible. Zimbabwe will have to implement a transitional justice policy of sorts. The MDC cannot act as if it is oblivious of these facts. In any case, already the signs are clear. The G40 elements have  been regrouping and they have registered their own party. Who in the MDC really knows what pact these people will sign with ZANU PF in the end?

These lawyers can focus on more useful matters affecting the nation and party members

The lawyers in the MDC leadership have their hands full already by default. Instead of sending the wrong message by jumping onto the gravy train that defines ZANU PF’s corrupt legacy and way of governance, they could keep themselves busy through pursuing other  more meaningful legal causes. There are several breaches of the constitution by the current government that these lawyers could take pro bono and challenge the government to desist from perpetuating and correct. Closer to home, it is a known fact that millions of people lost their pensions and hard-earned income through the near Ponzi schemes of currency manipulation run the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe in the 2000s. While there was a pseudo process of compensating those who had money in the banks it never reached the majority of victims. The Pensions Conversion Commission set to deal with the matter involving pensioners was swept under the carpet after companies balked and refused to give evidence to the Commissioners. There are hundreds of laws that are not aligned to the new constitution.

A true party of the people would call itself to order, prioritize and take up causes that are beneficial to its cause. A party of the people would stop engaging in actions that seem to be spitting in peoples’ faces especially those in its rank and file who have suffered the heavy brunt of ZANU PF’s misgovernance. Continuing on a path of representing ZANU PF former and current officials in a manner as has been shown in the recent past does not send the right picture and erodes the brand of the MDC. There can be no excuse for such blunders.

Health budget for what? – Zimbabweans only get sick from poisoning and witchcraft!

8 Nov


So the furore in Zimbabwe’s health sector continues. Doctors have been fired by the Government of Zimbabwe. Patients continue perishing in government hospitals and at their homes and the government unashamedly blames the striking doctors. Hospitals continue suffering from lack of funding, basics such as syringes and gloves let alone electricity and the ZANU PF sons and daughters continue to receive treatment in posh hospitals in South Africa, China, Singapore, India and any other place they can get “the best” of medical care. Recently Mthuli Ncube, the beleaguered Finance Minister was at pains trying to sell his proposed “2020 Pre -Budget Parliamentary Consultation Meetings; October 30 to November 4, 2019” to Parliament. In proportion and relevance, the budget proposal has more money for every other useless budget line and little for the health docket.

This is not a coincidence. It is deliberate. ZANU PF does not make mistakes, especially when it comes to money. But that is a digression. The real reason why the ZANU PF government in Zimbabwe cannot see itself prioritizing the health docket is because they strongly believe that Zimbabweans actually do not have any health problems except for when they are poisoned or bewitched.

The theory of poisoning as a health policy problem in Zimbabwe.

Look at this way. ED was reportedly poisoned with ice cream and he was saved in South Africa. They say Zimbabwe’s number 2 has been in China for the better part of 2019 because apparently he too was poisoned. In fact most of the who is who in ZANU PF who have been or are currently sick have reportedly been poisoned.

There are so many other clowns in the political arena both opposition and ruling party who continue peddling stories about them being poisoned as if it is a badge of honor. It could be true and it could also just be hogwash from a paranoid regime that sees shadows everywhere it turns.

The real concern for Zimbabweans should not be that these ZANU PF people are sick or they have been poisoned. This is for the simple reason that such matters are more of security problems that should be addressed by the CID and even military intelligence. What should concern Zimbabweans more is that these people and their families are spending taxpayers money treating their “poisoned” diseases in foreign lands when public hospitals in Zimbabwe suffer from deadly funding challenges which are deliberately caused by a reckless and carefree ZANU PF leadership.

Poisoning myths and witchcraft crowd out health funding and research

One of the biggest policy problems with leadership that has a mentality which puts conspiracy theories of witchcraft and poisoning to the fore is that they would rather put aside money meant for public health to their emergency kitties for when they would need to fly out for medical help. We all know how much private jets cost; private and military hospitals overseas do not come cheap, moreover the upkeep of these peoples’ families overseas is quite dear. Parliament by now should have been asking how much exactly is being spent on all the political leaders who have been taken overseas for medical care on the taxpayers’ ticket.

That money could have been used to fund research into diseases afflicting our people or to buy much needed equipment or even build new hospitals. Others have suggested the same money could be injected into industry and help boost the economy so that health workers, teachers and in fact all civil servants will have better salaries.

Poisoning myths create perceptions and beliefs that Zimbabweans do not get sick

At a social level and more dangerously, the myths and beliefs perpetuated by this ZANU PF regime led by ED is that Zimbabweans especially men do not get sick or encounter medical problems naturally but in fact only get sick because of poisoning and witchcraft. Take cancer for example. It is a fact that most men after they hit 40 become susceptible to prostate cancer. Others are affected by other cancers for different reasons. Now, if one looks at most of the men and people who have been reported sick in Zimbabwe and flown overseas, one notices a common narrative that they are sick because they were poisoned for their political activities. For a gullible society, this dissuades people from asking the right questions about why the pubic health system is not funded properly  by government. It becomes difficult to ask why there isn’t serious funding for research into cancer and other diseases?

Fundamentally, and at a social level, the risk of having ordinary citizens thinking that diseases such as the different cancers do not exist could become rather high. The concomitant effect becomes that people do not get tested, nor will they get treatment because in their minds Zimbabweans do not get sick – they only get sick when poisoned.  Worse still the belief becomes that even if one were to get sick the hospitals and medical personnel are not equipped to deal with such health problems so why bother.

Mental health problems dismissed as emanating from witchcraft

Recently there was an exchange between two political socialites on the twitter streets. Obert Gutu seemingly chastised Hopewell Chin’ono arguing that he had a mental problem and it was a problem running in his family. Perceptions about mental health in Zimbabwe are well known. “People go crazy because they get bewitched!” – is the default understanding. Such jibes on social media coming from such enlightened folks continue unabated and are seemingly turned into political fights and defense mechanisms attacking the personal rather than the issues brought to the fore. It is understandable but must not be tolerated especially in a country with such high poverty levels and extreme cases of political motivated and state sponsored violence. People have and will have serious mental health problems because of depression, post traumatic stress disorders and just sheer desperation of trying to make ends meet in a perilous country like Zimbabwe where there are no jobs, hospitals are closed, food is expensive, salaries for those who work are very low and yet those in government continue to live lavishly.

The Finance Minister must know that Zimbabwe’s health system needs more resources to deal with problems such as mental health as a matter of urgency and not think that these are problems emanating from families or witchcraft. Resources need to be set aside to train more caregivers, psycho social analysts and others who can deal with mental health matters.

ZANU PF’s poisoned and bewitched health policies will not work

The problems at stake with regards health policy and funding in Zimbabwe are centered around the ZANU PF people’s way of thinking. They strongly believe that poisoning and witchcraft are the causes of their ill health and by implication all of Zimbabwe. This disastrous way of thinking is finding itself in the ZANU PF government’s policy and must be curbed forthwith. The opposition in parliament needs to put more pressure to get more information on how much is being spent on the ZANU PF chefs who are sitting pretty in overseas hospitals and they must demand that the same people be returned to Zimbabwe unless they are footing their own bills. The matter of poisoning of politicians I Zimbabwe must stop being a national matter but must be relegated to be a ZANU PF internal matter for that is what it is. It is an extension of the coup and succession politics and none of the general Zimbabwean’s problem. In any case, if ZANU PF feels that this matter has gone out of hand because of the so-called “Third Force” then they must ask the intelligence and police force to investigate and have it stopped forthwith. It cannot be right that the nation’s resources meant for health care are enjoyed by a few who create their own health problems from poisoning each other and beliefs of witchcraft. ZANU PF continues to fail.

The call to end elections in Zimbabwe by the Zimbabwe Council of Churches: At best diabolic, at worst sinister.

12 Oct

Zimbabwe is one country that is like a child sitting on a see saw – on its way up, the feeling is exhilarating and probably nauseous, on its way down, it’s gut wrenching. The kid badly wants to get off the see saw but does not know how. The crowds milling by proffer solutions but none of them want to face the truth that simply carrying the baby off the seat will end its misery. Zimbabwe under ZANU PF rule is once again on the precipice: exchange rates tumbling, fuel prices have hit the roof, state sponsored violence continues  with impunity and the country seems to be on auto pilot while the President gallivants the world.  Yet the most plausible solution the so called “Church” in the name of the Zimbabwe Council of Churches (ZCC) and its acolytes has seen fit is what it calls “Sabbath to Elections” for seven years. The idea presented to Zimbabweans by one Rv. Kenneth Mtata, the leader of the ZCC in a press conference a few days ago is at worst diabolic to the ethos of constitutional politics and at worst sinister an anathema to the idea of free competition that is espoused in electoral politics. At this rate, one is tempted to look for that Zimbabwean Prophet who usually talks to God on the phone and ask him to call “mwana wamai Maria” to tell him that “his flock is now abusing the word of God in support of the unthinkable in Zimbabwe”.

A capitulation akin to excusing ZANU PF for its misgoverning

There is no doubt that Zimbabweans are suffering from a collapse of social and governance systems that has seen poverty of unseen proportions in a country not at war. That the frustration is unbearable and frustrating to the “Church” is understandable. However, to want to throw in the towel and argue that since talks, negotiations and all else has seemingly failed then the alternative is to suspend the constitution and have Zimbabwe run by “selected” leaders is an affront to democracy and a capitulation to ZANU PF’s machinations and trying to excuse the party for its bad governance. Emmerson Mnangagwa and ZANU PF are in government and they must deliver good governance. That they hold the whole country to ransom through violence, abductions and constant threats of going to war is just child’s play. For the church to come up with solutions based on such kinds of blackmailing and threats from ZANU P is not helpful and will not work.

Constitutional republic vs Theocratic Government: The church looks for a seat at the governance table

The last time I checked Zimbabwe was a constitutional republic and not a theocracy. The press statement by the “Church” seemingly tries to hide behind a finger and argues that it would recommend a referendum to ask Zimbabweans if they would want to suspend elections or not. The argument is neither here not there. What they are proposing centers around the proposed outcome – a Zimbabwean government run by appointed officials for seven years without any elections. Of course if this were to go through, the “Church” would be heavily involved and thus govern though the backdoor. That cannot be allowed. Zimbabweans are a religious lot and this is well appreciated. The values espoused in the Bible are great and would do well if followed by our leaders. However, I am of the view that instead of trying to upstage the state, constitution and whole fabric of the nation called Zimbabwe through fallacious biblical quotations, the same lessons espoused by the “Church” in the “Elections Sabbath” statement could as well be taught and preached to their three million members so that they know where and who to vote for in the next election. The constitutional republic should be left as is.

Who exactly is the “Church” that wants the elections to go on a Sabbath in Zimbabwe?

In the press statement, there is an argument posited that the leadership of the “Church” met and agreed on the proposal to side step the election mode of electing political leadership. The same “Church” boasts of having in excess of 3 million followers/members. It would be interesting to understand how all these people or at least a representative sample of them was consulted and how the conclusions were reached. The “Church” wants to preach democracy – if that is so, then charity has to begin at home. Why don’t they create transparency and show Zimbabweans how they arrived at the conclusion that the “Church” wants to do away with elections for seven years in Zimbabwe?

Chiding the MDC and other opposition political parties is what this is about

The press statement in one line argues that elections would not be able to change the fortunes of Zimbabwe even if any party would win the elections. I find that statement very patronizing and a smack especially on Nelson Chamisa’s face. So the Church has now concluded that the MDC or any other opposition party cannot change the fortunes of Zimbabwe even if they were elected into power? What I see here is a “Church” leadership that is sending a very clear message to the MDC that in their current state they cannot govern and do not have the capacity to do so. The opposition parties can choose to ignore this, but in my view silence would be an affirmation that what the “Church” alleges about their potential incapacity and incompetence is true.

Competition is the essence of democracy

The “Church” in Zimbabwe is failing to realize that  Zimbabwe’s electoral politics is not necessarily where the problem is with the country’s politics. Zimbabwe’s problems lie elsewhere and that is with ZANU PF, Emmerson Mnangagwa and a state captured by the securocrats. The problems that bedevil are not caused by an MDC or opposition forces that call for good governance or junior doctors who down tools because they are paid a pittance which is not enough to transport them to work for even half a month. Democracy thrives on competitive ideas. One party comes up with ideas on how to improve it’s peoples health, education, agriculture, finances etc. If the other one does not agree then it proffers it’s own ideas. The best party should then win.  The challenge that we have in Zimbabwe is that when ZANU PF loses on the battle ground of ideas they cry foul and argue that the nation is being taken over by white people yet they are the grandmasters of auctioning the country to the Chinese, Belarusians, Libyans and god knows who else.


If the “Church” is honest about dealing with the problems that afflict Zimbabwe today, they would call out ZANU PF on a number of issues and these would include the need to end such vices as:

  • grand theft of state resources through tenders, etc. mismanagement of tax payers money – they decorate and call it corruption😊;
  • the need to end state sponsored violence through abductions, disappearances of human rights defenders, opposition political party members etc.;
  • borrowing and plundering in the name of the state through schemes such Command Agriculture
  • Appointment of ruling party cronies into supposedly “independent” constitutional bodies such as the Human Rights Commission, the Anti-Corruption Commission, Elections Commission and the Reconciliation and Healing Commissions.
  • An urgent need to disband the joke that is the POLAD
  • A democratic way of managing elections that respects the outcome of an election
  • A return of the state to the people by the military

In other words, the “Church” basically needs to write another letter, hold a press conference and tell ZANU PF, the military junta running the state in Zimbabwe and Emmerson Mnangagwa to “behave” and Zimbabwe shall be well on its way to a fruitful, democratic, nonviolent, successful state. There is nothing wrong with the election model in Zimbabwe. The problem is with those who manage it. They are the ones who need to change.

Hatirasi mbereko nekufirwa!

Robert Gabriel Mugabe’s funeral can only be state funded for so long and then it must stop!

14 Sep

The 21 Gun salute has been done at Mugabe’s funeral in Harare. Adios. Comrade! The foreign dignitaries have come and bade farewell to their colleague, father and mentor. The Mugabe family has elected to bury him NOT on the day announced by the government. I reckon the ZANU PF led government has proposed a mausoleum to be built in 30 days and thus the new burial date. Everything is stage managed, it’s laughable.  The truth be told though, Grace Mugabe and her G40 gang are now using old Bob’s funeral to extract concessions from Emerson Mnangagwa’s government for security and protection. It would seem Emerson Mnangagwa does not want the G40 to regroup. I posit they will give ZANU PF serious nightmares in the next election if they are not contained as they can coalesce with the MDC and deliver a defeat to ZANU PF. To the uninitiated, the threatening stories of Mugabe’s avenging spirit if his wishes were not honored, as well as other incredulous superstitions peddled by his family seem valid. But truth be told, those are just empty threats. For the ordinary Zimbabwean taxpayer though, this farce about this long held out funeral is unnecessary. The man must just be buried and Zimbabwe be allowed to move on. The whole hullabaloo about a mausoleum is just but an empty process that was not there on the cards right from the beginning. Mugabe’s funeral had to be a national event funded by the state but beyond the normal funeral it must become a private funeral. Everything else becomes a continuation of the November 2017 coup drama between the ZANU PF’s Crocodile and G40 factions.

Who exactly is funding this and for how much?

Any state funeral in Zimbabwe has to be funded by the state. I am not privy and do not know up to how much should be spent on such funerals. What is clear though is that these are state resources coming from the national cake and taxpayers funds. To put everything into perspective one has to understand that all these thousands of mourners need to be fed; the tents need to be paid for; the water, the fuel for the military and security cars running around and the “deep government”.

Zimbabwe is teetering on the brink of economic collapse and as always the priorities of the political leaders is to want to continue to live a life of grandiose pomp and political fanfare at the expense of the fiscus. Why should taxpayers fund a funeral that runs for a whole month? If Mugabe’s family feels that they need to be doing other things with the body then let them be but not have the Government of Zimbabwe funding the process.

This is ZANU PF factional fighting in overdrive

Mugabe is gone. The conflation of party politics and the state’s issues is a notorious character of Zimbabwe’s politics and ZANU PF. When this will ever end? His lieutenants in the likes of Patrick Zhuwao, Jonathan Moyo and Savior Kasukuwere complain of being hounded by the military junta running Zimbabwe since the November 2017 coup.

Mugabe’s death was always going to give the whole of G40 and Grace Mugabe a  chance to extract concessions and reprieve from the junta. The group has been doing that relentlessly on international TV stations and anyone else who can listen since Mugabe’s demise. They argue Mugabe died in exile. They argue they are still leaving outside Zimbabwe because they will be persecuted if they go back to Zimbabwe. It is true their homes were bombed, shot at and some escaped prison by a whisker. To hold out the funeral would be to embarrass Emerson Mnangagwa who naturally has to bury this “icon” and officiate at the ceremony. He needs to look magnanimous at home as well as to Mugabe’s African friends. The G40 and Grace Mugabe so far remain in control playing the card of the funeral and Mugabe’s dead body. But, this all remains ZANU PF politicking and factional fighting emanating from the November 2017 coup. By continually funding the funeral, the process continues to drain the fiscus, waste taxpayers money and holds the country’s fiscus to ransom. Why should this be allowed? The Government of Zimbabwe must allow the Mugabe family to have their private funeral and save our funds.

What are the rules with state expenditure and where is Parliament in all this?

I do not have information on what the limits to such spending are by the state. I would reckon this information must be made available in the Government’s policy directives. It has never been necessary but one would understand that if the nation is going to be made to mourn for another 30 more days then it is imperative that the information on such expenditure be made public.

ZANU PF MPs for their own expediency and to two the line of their boss would not push for this kind of information. However, those opposition MPs sitting in that august house need to ask for this kind of information and make it available to the public. Zimbabwe recently appealed for millions in relief aid but has the audacity to host a state funeral for 30 plus more days?

Zimbabwe’s perennial blood sucking non performing parastatals must just behave this time

Zimbabwe’s parastatals are famously known for blocking large tracts of space in independent and state newspapers, radio and television stations at high prices. Emerson Mnangagwa must reign in his comrades. Zimbabwe does not have that kind of money. These people can write their speeches and farewell messages and post them on Facebook, twitter and so on and we will still be able to read them. YouTube, Facebook and Instagram is there if they decide to do bye bye videos. They must just save us the trouble.

What could be civil society’s role in controlling the excesses of this state funeral?

One thought tells me that Zimbabweans must be wary of being dragged into ZANU PF’s factional fights. But another one nudges me and tells me to ask if there is any civil society body in Zimbabwe or lawyers who would be willing to take up a matter and ask for the budgets for this funeral as well as a control on the expenditure of state resources. The civic bodies are there, whether they see this as an important issue is for them to decide. Someone needs to put a check to this gluttonous state machinery now disguising itself in blackmailing fits of mourning for Robert Gabriel Mugabe. This abuse of state funds and taxpayers money for ZANU PF activities needs to be put to an end. As I noted earlier, there is no dispute that Robert Gabriel Mugabe is a national hero and his funeral has to get state funding. However, this must be within reason. Mausoleums and 30-day marathon funerals all in a bid to extend immunities and protection negotiations for Grace Mugabe and the G40 cabal is none of our business as taxpayers.

The pan Africanists must now go back home and let Zimbabweans be

The pan Africanists and leaders from Africa have come to the funeral. Those like Uhuru Kenyatta who are busy will be gone by this evening. Some from crazy and useless countries will continue to roam around Harare of course costing us money in state protection etc. They have paid their dues to old Bob. It was only fitting that they send their comrade off in this manner. However, the likes of Thabo Mbeki and all must now sit down and be the judges. One Zimbabwean was very clear during the xenophobic attacks – that if South Africans and I dare say the whole of Africa think that Zimbabweans are just cry babies then they can as well go and live there and we exchange the counties. Otherwise, they must know that this state funeral should be over, they must go back home and not put many expectations on Emerson Mnangagwa to continue pattering to the Mugabe and the G40 arm of ZANU PF.

Robert Gabriel Mugabe’s funeral must now be a private funeral

Whether the Mugabe family want him buried in heaven, the said mausoleum, in a cave in Zvimba or next to Sally Mugabe, they must allow Zimbabweans the reprieve to have their taxes do other things for them like buying drugs in hospitals, textbooks in school, providing chemicals for clean running water in homes and fixing the economy. It is small money in ZANU PF’s view as well as any other corrupt official but putting an end to such monstrosities such as what will become of this Mugabe funeral begins to give Zimbabweans power to reclaim their country, lives and finances from Robert Gabriel Mugabe. We do not ask for much!

Robert Gabriel Mugabe made his Heroes Acre he must lie in it!

12 Sep


Robert Gabriel Mugabe is gone. A lot of mixed emotions from many and rightly so because the man was an embodiment of all that was good and all that was evil. Opinions about his service to Africa, the world and Zimbabwe differ with such polarizing feelings its perplexing. The MDC and Nelson Chamisa are at their tethers not knowing how to respond to his death. In one breath they say he is a hero, in one they lament his rule. ZANU PF and Emerson Mnangagwa reportedly are all about capturing his legacy so that they can defend theirs and for them the best thing to do is have them bury and prevail over his funeral at the Heroes Acre. Debates and controversy rage about where old Bob is supposed to be laid to rest. I have my issues with Robert Gabriel Mugabe and I will lay it out. Mugabe wants to be controversial, divisive and unruly even in death. It will not happen and he cannot be allowed to do that. One thing that is very clear though is that to begin unraveling him, his remains must be interred at his Heroes Acre that he built with his comrades and foisted on Zimbabweans.

Why Zimbabweans and Africa think Mugabe is their hero?

  (i) Armed struggle against racist colonialism
Robert Gabriel Mugabe fought a long mental and physical battle with the racist British colonial empire alongside his fellow comrades in ZANLA and ZIPRA. That cannot be taken away from him. This part of his history makes endeared to Zimbabweans and most Africans. This part of the history makes Mugabe endeared to most Africans. They see their own struggles through Mugabe. Look at Sam Nujoma, Thabo Mbeki, Julius Malema, Somalis, Yoweri Museveni and many other Africans. But we see through them and their hypocrisy. Theirs is not just empty veneration for the man. They had and have their own bones to chew with colonialists and evoking Mugabe raises sentiments. It is not really about Zimbabwe or Mugabe anymore.

Up to now i find it difficult to reconcile and accept that these racist white British colonialists could keep Mugabe and some of his colleagues in prison for so long. They even had the nerve to prevent him from attending his first son’s funeral. Allegations run high as well that they tortured and castrated him. Some of these things are unforgivable and so when people rally behind Mugabe people will understand where we are coming from.

(ii) Land repossession
Robert Gabriel Mugabe went after white people and confiscated much prized land from them in Zimbabwe. If you ask me, I would say this was one of the best things that ever happened to Africa. This was a revolution of gigantic proportions. People want to talk about the violence that engulfed the whole land reform process and how chaotic it was. But come on, there isn’t a revolution that has ever been clean and without violence of sorts. The land had to be repossessed and we can discuss until Mugabe comes back to life about how the process was to be carried out. To have gone to war and not taken the land would have been a real betrayal of the armed and liberation struggle. Let’s not lie to each other and give the land repossession exercise any other names like reform blab la, it was repossession period! Mugabe prevailed over it, and if one doesn’t like it then well that’s a story for another day.

  (iii) Progressive Domestic social policies after independence
Robert Gabriel Mugabe is lauded for introducing free education in Zimbabwe soon after independence. The likes of Lovemore Madhuku have gone to town about it arguing that without him it would not have been possible for his parents to send him to school. Massive education of the black child happened in Zimbabwe and the results are there for everyone to see in Zimbabwe. Mugabe was an intellectual and understood the need for mass education. Zimbabweans love him for this and Africa follows suit.

  (iv) Mugabe dared to speak against the white race
Mugabe dared to speak against the West (read white people) in ways that no one could ever imagine. After Thomas Sankara, Samora Machel and Kwame Nkrumah not many African leaders knew so how much to prod the white race in the right place so as to put them in their places and stop meddling in Africa’s affairs. Mugabe knew eloquently how to do this by touching on subjects considered sensitive by the white race – homosexuality, land and other related matters. As it was and still is, most Africans would rather believe that they homosexuality in all its forms is a white man’s problem but they will not dare speak out for fear of being whipped into line by donors and being deemed not politically correct. Mugabe did it for them and for that they revered and still adore him. Mugabe is that guy who had the guts to tell Tony Blair and all the English to keep their England and he would keep his Zimbabwe. That made a lot of people who had beefs with the white man to be happy as they had found a spokesman for their own issues.

Mugabe misunderstood his position and thought Zimbabwe’s was his mother’s backyard

There are so many other instances that Mugabe’s actions could have been deemed heroic by Zimbabweans and most Africans. However, what must be made clear in all these heroic matters listed above is that Robert Gabriel Mugabe should have known that public service as the Prime Minister or President of Zimbabwe did not give him carte blanch rights to pillage and abuse Zimbabweans because he had fought the liberation struggle etc. In fact, if that is his argument, you then hear today most young people saying that Mugabe is not the only person who fought in the liberation struggle and must not distort history in that manner. In fact the jest these days is that if these liberation heroes want to punish Zimbabweans because they fought in the liberation war then they can as well go and tie the country back and the youths will go to fight again.

The story that is sold to us is that Mugabe was benevolent and he provided education, health facilities etc. in his early days. It is as if he was doing Zimbabwe a favor and yet people forget that the Prime Ministership or the Presidency is a job with clear deliverables. He had to work and produce results and I refuse this argument that he tried. What does that even mean – he tried?

This is exactly what people like Desmond Tutu, Pius Ncube, Hugh Masekela, Oliver Mtukudzi, John Sentamu refused to accept about Robert Gabriel Mugabe’s role in Zimbabwe’s post independent state. Mugabe wanted to take people for a ride and behave as if Zimbabwe was his personal or mother’s playground. That could never be and that must be debunked through and through.

Mugabe plundered and destroyed Zimbabwe and nothing can atone for that

Rampant and state sanctioned Corruption soon after independence
What needs to be understood is that Robert Gabriel Mugabe was a megalomaniac who would do anything to retain power. Stories are told about how he wittingly and ruthlessly decimated his opponents during the liberation struggle. What is important to note is the way he then rewarded those who were loyal to him during his tenure as Prime Minister. Stories are told of rampant theft of state resources, the Willowgate Scandal comes to mind. Questioned about the rampant corruption Mugabe reportedly would note that he would deal with the truants and even at times had the nerve to question who in his group had not stolen something from the state before. Reports of his nephews and his close associates pillaging state coffers are known. The airport road scandal, the funds from the extension of the Harare Airport, the Beitbridge Road dualization project are just small projects where it is known his close family members were involved. Mugabe failed to chastise them because it served his interests. The buck stopped right at his door and he should have acted but he chose to pay a blind eye to the detriment of Zimbabweans. And he is supposed to remain a hero for Zimbabwe?

Mugabe sanctioned state sponsored violence in every election through state security officials
Robert Gabriel Mugabe’s bootlickers and his ZANU PF people want to paint a different narrative and argue that Mugabe is not the one who perpetrated state sanctioned violence in Zimbabwe. Do they know or have they ever had of Command Responsibility? Mugabe was the Head of Government when Gukurahundi happened. Mugabe prevailed over all the elections from 1985 to the bloody 2008 elections, Murambatsvina, and many other bloody episodes of violence where CIOs, the military, police and rogue ZANU PF supporters killed Zimbabweans unimpeded and with such massive impunity. Records of his speeches are there to see on how he encouraged all this. I know family friends who left Zimbabwe traumatized I know people that have died and have left orphans.

If at all, people want to argue otherwise, what we know for sure is that the violence happened under his watch and if one goes through the narratives from most victims from all the epochs of violence, it is clear to note that the perpetrators mostly used his name. Mugabe is the one to blame for the violence that has engulfed Zimbabwe for all these years. He could have stopped it, but he didn’t because it served his purposes of hanging on to power for so long.

Mugabe stayed for too long on the dance floor and he became boring
Robert Gabriel Mugabe was a bore in the end. He was literally sleeping on the job. Reading wrong speeches planted or otherwise is none of our business. The man could not sustain being a President anymore but he trudged on buoyed by his rancorous wife and his acerbic G40. When he was deposed in November 2017, he certainly got what he deserved.

So why is there conflict about Mugabe in death?mugabe-sleeping-4
There is no conflict whatsoever in my mind about Robert Gabriel Mugabe’s legacy. The Mugabe I know and have grown up knowing is a violent, selfish, and egoistic man who cared only about his grandiose lifestyle in Malaysia and Singapore. People will ask and try to ramp up his post-independence achievements. But I argue that that was part of his job. Is he supposed to be judged as if he was doing Zimbabwe a favor. He had to work and produce results and that is exactly what he did for the first few years but the real man came out sooner rather than later and he was a disaster for Zimbabwe for 37 years.

Political correctness – the blight of the Zimbabwean and the African
Chamisa and the MDC should have stayed put
Mugabe was a divisive man in life and now even in his death his wily divisive and cantankerous self continues its ugly head on Zimbabweans. But why? And then what we see is all sorts of political correctness from corridors and sectors that must not even be losing sleep about this man’s death. The MDC is scampering around wanting to tell us about hunhu, culture and all sorts of nonsense all to appear politically correct. Nelson Chamisa and his party should have stayed mum about all this. This business of jumping onto ZANU PF shenanigans disguised as national matters must stop. It happened at the time of the coup and it is still happening today. Let ZANU PF itself into smithereens and not be moved an inch. Mugabe endorsing the MDC and Chamisa for the Presidency is not something to gloat about. It is ill advised and childish. Mugabe was trying to spite Mnangagwa and Chamisa jumps onto it as if Mugabe’s endorsement would change his world for him. A slap on the wrist of MDC faithful if you ask me.

Africanness, hunhu and all superstitious nonsense can go with Mugabe to his grave – who cares?
So everyone is scampering around arguing that the dead must be respected. Of course it is what the “elders” said so we are told. But so what, this is the same kind of nonsense that allows little girls to be raped by uncles, small boys to be sodomized by their kith and kin, and families are told to shut up and forever be because of the need to preserve families. Mugabe prevailed over a ruthless machinery of rape, murder, disappearances and all that. What Africaness, hunhu and any other hocus pocus do people want to talk about. There was nothing African, humanness about his rule, so why should people be put into a herd to mourn him.

The worst thing is to guilt trip people and talk about Africanness. The craziest hogwash ever!

Superstitions meant to scare Zimbabweans – Go away all of you and your superstitions

So all of a sudden there were dark clouds because Mugabe had died. All of a sudden a whole tent was blown off the ground because of strong winds and people like Jonathan Moyo want to scare the hell out of Zimbabweans that it is an omen about how Mugabe’s funeral is being handled. I would say STOP, and In fact tell him to shut up. People have gone to school enough to understand meteorology and weather reports. Zimbabweans must not be scared. The dark clouds and the winds are all-natural phenomena as is the death of Mugabe. Nothing to be scared of.

Mugabe’s spirit will rise – So what?
Mugabe’s nephew was writing on social media arguing that Mugabe’s spirit and the Gushungo clan would wreak havoc on those who tried to force him to be buried at the Heroes Acre. So now Mugabe and his Gushungo clan have a monopoly on what the Gods and all the other spirits of Zimbabweans who have been killed under his name can do? It can as well be said that the behavior of Mugabe’s children is a sign of the spirits of those who died in his name and that even his death is because of that because for all we know he was going to reach ZANA but with all that money and specialized he still went down. Maybe his deposition by his friends and his juniors were the spirits of all those he tormented before. We cannot be bogged down in such rigmarole and nonsense. Mugabe is gone and he is finished. No superstitious nonsense will and should scare any Zimbabwean anymore.

This kind of behavior is what has killed Zimbabwe. People are busy building technology apps, have technology driven solutions to problems and we still want to focus on superstitions and all that. The Mugabe family and his cronies as well as the rest of ZANU F has fed Zimbabwe this nonsense for a long time and it needs to stop with Mugabe’s death. Please Robert, just go and spare us! And you, who have been left behind, go and thrown your bones and nonsense somewhere else.

The Big question – where should Robert Mugabe be buried?
Robert Gabriel Mugabe built his Heroes Acre in Harare. It was meant to be a place where his friends and colleagues would be interred. He had a grave set aside for him next to his first wife Sally. He even forced his acolytes such as Edgar Tekere to be buried there even against their wishes. In his last days, it is reported that he noted he wanted to be buried in his village KwaZvimba. What nonsense! In a normal world it would make sense but in today’s Zimbabwe, Robert Gabriel Mugabe must be buried at the Heroes Acre. Many of the thieves, corrupt politicians and his other cantankerous comrades lie there. He deserves to be there with them.

Secondly Mugabe cannot be allowed to have the last laugh on the whole country by playing Zimbabweans even in his death. This is a ZANU PF contest which we are being forced to partake in. Burying him at the Heroes Acre is of course a win for ED and the army ruling Zimbabwe. Having him interred at his rural home gives a victory to Mugabe. Mugabe cannot be allowed to continue wreaking havoc even in death.

The farce that the dead’s spirit will have bad omens on the living and the country is just but a farce. The old man must just be buried at the Heroes Acre, a place he built for him and the likes of his ilk. Now what, you want to give us another reason to be cursing all the time we go past Zvimba? The place called the Heroes Acre is a closely guarded place anyway and if he goes there it will help us forget about him. The MDC and Chamisa are busy running around even getting to add their voices about where Mugabe should be buried because for them it would be a victory and poke in the eye to ED and ZANU PF. Nonsensical stuff really – do they not have more important things to do in the MDC?
Robert Gabriel Mugabe built his HEROES ACRE, he must lie in it!

SATAnAFRIKA’s Xenophobia is South African government policy towards foreigners – PERIOD!

4 Sep

This is September 2019 and South Africa is again dominating the news for the wrong reasons – this time its violent attacks on foreigners living in South Africa by South African young men and women. Social media is awash with solidarity messages and condemnation for the barbaric acts from the whole world. Africa is appalled as calls are made to boycott anything South African from music concerts, food, supermarket chains etc. The South Africans who are allegedly causing the mayhem argue that the “foreigners” are behind the rampant armed robberies, the wanton murders, the out of control drug trafficking and incessant human trafficking rings common in most major cities in South Africa. Arguments for and against the violence are very strong. What is important to note however is that the only plausible explanation for this violence is that while these xenophobic attacks are carried out by ordinary South Africans, it has now become unwritten government policy on how to handle foreigners in South Africa. Public policy experts say politics is what governments choose to do or not do. The South African government has for ages elected to remain on the fringes when violence is unleashed on defenseless foreigners even after prominent leaders have issued inflammatory and criminal statements beforehand. The central argument is that there is nothing to stop the police, government leaders, traditional leaders who are constitutionally mandated to provide leadership in dealing with the problems that are attendant on migration and refugee problems. The police can investigate and arrest alleged foreign criminals. The immigration officials can put their foot down and prevent illegal entry into the country. Trade Industry and Economic Planning Units can stamp out fake products imported into South Africa’s markets. The Labor Ministry can implement stringent controls o who is employed in South Africa’s restaurants and farms and bar employers from employing cheap labor. This is not done; the government blames ordinary South Africans and this is convenient for them. The ultimate truth remains however – the hands-off approach by the successive South African governments from Mbeki to Zuma to Ramaphosa is very deliberate. It is an effective way of ridding South Africa of unwanted foreigners.

Xenophobia – an eternal ticking time bomb for South Africa

The ordinary South African man or woman who hosts the ordinary African migrant and refugee in his or her community in Khayelithsa, Germiston, Alexandra,  Springs etc. is being blamed for the deadly and wanton violence. It is reported that the ordinary South African is angry because Nigerians have destroyed young South Africans’ lives through drugs peddled in areas such Hillbrow, Yeoville and many others across South Africa. Zimbabweans are accused of providing cheap labor to industries and farms in South Africa and thus edging out South Africans from well paying jobs. Other East and Central African citizens are accused of electronic fraud and scams that has cost South Africans millions of Rands in losses. The ordinary South African is said to be concerned that public resources such as schools, hospitals, government housing schemes and the social welfare system are inundated and saddled with pressure from the foreigners who have now besieged it.

But is this really what influences the violence?

I beg to differ and argue that the South African political leadership is playing a dangerous game of blame shifting for their incompetence in planning and providing public goods.

Herman Mashaba and Cyril Ramaphosa have been quoted on several occasions noting that foreigners must be flushed out of South Africa. They have raised almost similar reasons as the ones pointed out above by the ordinary South African. The convergence of thought is suspicious and unintelligent. There is no doubt that the voices of the political elite are powerful and influence public opinion in a great deal which could lead to open violence as meted out on foreigners in several epochs of violence described as xenophobia in South Africa since the end of apartheid.

What must be admitted is that when it comes to social services, the South African central and local arms of the government continue to struggle to provide those services. That the foreigners who live in the same suburbs with ordinary South Africans also benefit from such services as schools, hospitals, hosing is not denied. However, the South African government needs to be taken to task on a number of issues which include getting information on what the exact expenses are by the alleged foreigner. The South African government must first provide for its own before it can start blaming the “foreigner” for its failure to deliver social services to its citizenry. South Africa needs to put its house in order and violently setting its citizens on “foreigners’ is not the solution”.

The case of the kettle calling the pot black – who causes crime in South Africa?

The ordinary South African is said to be scared of the criminal gangs, activities and shenanigans of the “foreigner” in South Africa. But it is also true that the South African citizen himself has been at the helm of the crime rings in South Africa. Any society is bound to have crime and this cannot be ruled out. What is disputed is the blanket apportioning of blame on each and every “foreigner” in South Africa as a criminal. The onus is on the South African government and its arms of the law to ensure that criminals be they South Africans or foreign are investigated, arraigned before the courts and prosecuted if ever found committing offences. Due to the lackadaisical nature of crime investigations in South Africa, many criminals South African or foreign continue to go scot free and that cannot be the problem of “foreigners” – makwerekwere or whatever they want to call them. South Africa needs to put its house in order and violently setting its citizens on “foreigners’ is not the solution”.

The housing and social welfare nightmare

South Africa came out of apartheid with a huge backlog for housing and the need to provide social welfare grants to its people. One of the biggest outcries by the ordinary South African is that Zimbabweans and many other African citizens have found themselves on the lists of beneficiaries for those social welfare grants and houses ahead of them. This is a genuine concern for any citizen.

However, what is not made clear is how those same “foreigners” end up receiving such resources when they are supposedly not entitled to receive them. That now, is a case for the South African government to answer.

The corruption and sheer incompetence exhibited by government officials in allocating such resources shows that the government of South Africa and its officers is complicit in such acts and needs to be held accountable. South Africa needs to put its house in order and violently setting its citizens on “foreigners’ is not the solution”.

How do foreigners end up in South Africa?

There is no doubt that South Africa provides a relatively safe haven for people fleeing war, political violence, persecution, violence and poor economic conditions from countries such as the DRC, Malawi, Zimbabwe, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Ghana etc. The question that begs answers is how so many refugees and immigrants end up in South Africa without proper documentation. It is a known fact that most Zimbabweans “jump” the border through the crocodile infested Limpopo .

It is a known fact that many other citizens coming from East Africa pay huge bribes to human trafficking smugglers who work hand in glove with Immigration and Police officers in South Africa to create safe passages for the immigrants and refugees. It is baffling then to see the South African government exhibiting signs of shock when it has shown incompetence in controlling its borders as well curbing corruption within its immigration and police departments to curb illegal migration. South Africa needs to put its house in order and violently setting its citizens on “foreigners’ is not the solution”.

South Africa’s hands-off international diplomacy approach will continue to bite it

The immigration and foreigners’ issue in South Africa is akin to the snake that bites the hand that feeds it. South Africa has for a very long time opened its doors willingly or by some form of coercion to scores of immigrants and refugees fleeing persecution from their home countries. However, the story that is not told to the ordinary South African is also that the South African government has squandered multiple chances of dealing with problems from these refugee and immigrants contributing countries because of political bungling or political expediency in its foreign policies in certain instances.

South Africa chose “quiet diplomacy” in Zimbabwe. South Africa chose to be “actively engaged” in the DRC conflict. Largely though, the hands-off approach by the South African government has meant that conflicts and crises that could have been prevented or deescalated in other African countries have continue to rage on unabated with the resultant effect being that people flee their own countries. The closest destination far from the Mediterranean madness becomes South Africa with its attractive economy, functioning systems and hospitable people.

The moment South Africa stops handling countries such as Zimbabwe with kid gloves and closes its borders to incessant unregulated migration is the day Zimbabwe will see that it cannot continue on its deadly undemocratic path. The day South Africa stops a hands-off approach to countries such as Malawi where election results take long to come out and are manufactured by the Election Commission is the day Malawi will behave and know that it cannot continue on its undemocratic path. The role for South Africa in SADC is clearly cut out. South Africa has one of the biggest economies in SADC if not in Africa. The country’s political and social system are well developed. It therefore means that the country through SADC and the African Union can play a role in standards setting. South Africa can only continue fumbling with its foreign policy for so long but in the meantime it must expect an influx of refugees and migrants into its territory. South Africa needs to put its house in order and violently setting its citizens on “foreigners’ is not the solution”.

What to do with the foreigners in South Africa?

The political leadership in South Africa  knows that every human being on its shores has indivisible human rights protected by its Constitution. The leadership knows that the foreigners undocumented or not they still have their rights to life, dignity and freedom from torture. The political leadership knows without doubt that the government also has a duty to protect every human being (refugees and immigrants) in South Africa from attacks by civilians (CRIMINALS). Thus the police, immigration officials, and intelligence officials have  clear duties to ensure that services are provided for duly deserving “foreigners”. The South African government has systems and laws in place to deport and remove from their soil any person deemed not deserving to be in South Africa. The SA government does not do the right thing because its officers are corrupt and inept.

International laws governing the management and treatment of undocumented migrants, people trafficked and refugees is clear on how countries such as South Africa must manage these people. South Africa’s failure to abide by international law shows its laxity and ineptitude and must take the blame for the chaos that then occurs between its citizens and “foreigners”.

There is absolutely no reason why South Africa should cry foul about robberies, drug trafficking and human trafficking by “foreigners”. “Foreigners” are human beings who can be investigated and brought to justice. There is no reason why the South African police should leave its policing and judicial systems to be hijacked by private citizens unless of course if it’s the government of South Africa that is allowing such to occur. King Zwelithini has castigated foreigners before, Herman Mashaba has called for foreigners’ extermination, Cyril Ramaphosa has endorsed the clamping down on foreigners before. Why would anyone in their right mind not think and believe that what the political leadership has been saying is NOT government policy?

Just like Marikana, just like the Guptas, just like the impunity with rapists, just like the torture, burning and destruction of “foreigners’ in South Africa, the South African government is responsible and allows for these things to happen.

What way SATAnFRIKA?

South Africa’s political, traditional and community leaders need to have a different conversation among themselves about foreigners in their country. It is useless to appeal to the boys and girls who beat up foreigners on South Africa’s streets to stop the violence on African immigrants. The problem is much bigger than them. The problem is more political than anything else. The moment the government chooses to attend to its criminal justice system, social services and immigration policies as well tackling corruption in its civil service, these problems will be resolved. The improvement of community relations between host communities and refugees or immigrants will just be a topping on the cake. For now, Cyril Ramaphosa must put an end to this violence forthwith and govern his country properly. He is the only one who can turn of the fuel that powers this violence.

Redefining ROBBERY the Zimbabwean way: – SI 142/2019 and the currency fiasco in Zimbabwe

26 Jun

On 24 June 2019, the Government of Zimbabwe gazetted Statutory Instrument 142 of 2019 which basically outlawed the use of foreign currency when transacting locally. The Finance Minister, Mthuli Ncube has frothed and kicked that there is nothing new and untoward because this arrangement is contained in the IMF TSP which Zimbabwe agreed to and also that he has been listening to “rural people”, civil servants and his “HIS Excellency”. These hallucinations are fair and fine and cannot be argued with. Well … what is the point of chasing the wind? What is important to note for the majority of Zimbabweans is that nothing much has changed. Whatever happened on 24 June is the same old predatory tactics of the ZANU PF regime to rob, steal, cheat and grab whatever they can before their “train smashes”.

zanu-womens-leagueThis SI142/2019 is merely a reenactment of the raiding of forex accounts for Zimbabwean NGOs and other corporates that held foreign currency in 2008. There are several measures that certainly do not make sense for example; limiting how much corporates can withdraw in forex, the forcible withdrawal of Zimbabwe dollars by those individuals holding foreign currency unless they can prove they need the forex and the fluid nature of transactions for those who will be receiving remittances from outside the country. Below is a short discussion on how the Government of Zimbabwe is robbing forex holders unashamedly and with such brazen lawlessness.

Interbank Exchange rate – but at whose value?

The government of Zimbabwe wants to argue that the interbank exchange rate is a reasonable and agreed rate with industry players etc. but this is not necessarily the case. The fundamental question is understanding how the RBZ is arriving at this rate. How strong or weak our currency is determined by a range of factors. For a government that is not trusted by almost half of the population, it becomes difficult to believe their pegging of the Zim $ against the US $ at whatever rate they announce.

This is where the first problem with this SI 142/2019 starts from. Those who hold foreign currency want value for their money and the government designated rate does not seem to be giving them that value. So why would anyone in their right mind trade their foreign currency and get half its worth?

It’s a known fact that the Zimbabwean government is cash strapped and is always on the hunt for foreign currency. The pegging of the Zim$ at the interbank rate gives them unfettered and an unfair advantage to cream off as it were on citizens’ hard-earned foreign currency. The Government of Zimbabwe buys it for half the price and then they can always offload it at higher premiums whenever they want. The government does not produce anything, it is not earning enough through taxes to get enough foreign currency for their expensive habits (private jest, per diems, hotels, shopping, cars, fuel etc.). Clearly it makes sense for them to lock people in this ring. Daylight robbery!

The government of Zimbabwe can scream all it wants that its fighting off speculative behavior by corporates and other unscrupulous individuals to manage the exchange rate. But, hold on! The government is a big player and is contributing to this. The moment they build trust, end corruption, and stop meddling in the economy, the speculation will stop.

What about those Zimbabweans earning foreign currency

On 26 June, social media was abuzz with a lot of Zimbabweans who work for international organizations and local NGOs earning their salaries in foreign currency noting that their local banks were not allowing them to withdraw their salaries and balances in US $.

To the uninitiated, there should be no problem with this kind of arrangement. One earns their salary denominated in US$ but because Zimbabwe is a sovereign country with rules in place, people must be able to use the local currency. This is not the problem. In any other country, the practice is the same – locals need to change their forex into local money before they can use it. Infact, it is very rare to find shops that would accept US$.

The challenge however, is that with a weak economy and where the parallel market rate and the official interbank exchange rate seem not to be talking the same language, people would ordinarily go to where they get the best value for their money.

The robbery that I allude to, comes in the sense that the government of Zimbabwe knows exactly that a salary of USD$1 000 dollars is worth as much as ZWD$12, 000 on the so-called parallel market and this matches the real cost of living in Zimbabwe. However, the government wants to force people to accept that the value of USD$1, 000 according to them is worth only half of what’s being paid on the black market and that is ZWD$6, 300.

The government of Zimbabwe in 2008, woke up and conveniently told people that their USD balances were now called ZWD. This time in 2019 they are choosing to “rob” them in a different manner but basically achieving the same result – Daylight robbery of those who earn salaries in foreign currency.

There are stories that banks have been asking for proof for the need to spend foreign currency for those Zimbabweans holding USD accounts. Some have been paid only half of their salaries and the rest has been paid in local ZWD$. The story that is not told by the Zimbabwe Government is that the cost of living in Zimbabwe has not changed and prices remain high and pegged at the so called “black market rate”. The government and the banks win as they walk away richer after having paid less 50% for the real worth of the USD$.

Damned if you do damned if you don’t situation

Back in the day, Zimbabweans earning USD would buy bus tickets to Tanzania, South Africa etc. and argue that they needed the foreign currency to go buy whatever they wanted from outside. It is not clear if the Government and banks will accept such arguments now.

There are genuine cases of people with children who are studying abroad, those who need medication from neighboring countries and even overseas. It Is not clear how all this will be handled.

Even if one wanted to try such, how much tenacity would one need to be driving or flying to neighboring countries just to justify the need for the foreign currency so that they do not get fleeced by the interbank exchange rate imposed by the government – extreme sports in Zimbabwe really to get one’s earnings for exactly what they are worth.

What about remittances from outside the country?

One of the matters that seem not to be adequately addressed by the SI 142/2019 and other regulations from the RBZ is that of remittances. The government seems to want to play a cat and  mouse game where they rob and pounce on peoples money without shame. The SI and other regulations that have since come out from the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe suggest that people who receive  money from outside through Western Union, Moneygram, Mukuru etc. are free to receive “cash”, deposit in their FCA accounts or they can sell to the bureau d change and get ZWD$. The last option is the Government of Zimbabwe’s preferred method.

Ordinarily there would be no problem with such an arrangement, however, the argument goes back again to the issue of the value of the money. There is no logical explanation why any Zimbabwean working in South Africa, the UK or Australia would want to send money worth e.g. 1 000ZAR and by the time it gets to Zimbabwe it becomes ZAR500. It’s ridiculous, pure thuggery and doesn’t make sense. All the same, this is the kind of robbery that I mentioned earlier.

Predatory policy making

The government of Zimbabwe is in dire straits and needs foreign currency desperately. With sanctions, choking unemployment and low industrialization there is now way they will make enough money to sustain their largesse. The “last man standing” are the forex earners and those who get remittances from abroad. To have gone and changed the dollar signs from USD into ZWD would have been too brazen. So Mthuli Ncube and crew decided to legislate this daylight robbery. It seems clever, but it is almost – not clever at all because we can see right through it.

What happens now to those who earn foreign currency?

Those who earn foreign currency cannot possibly tell their employers to withhold their salaries. The same cannot also avoid/evade these regulations and thus the government now has them in its pockets. The banks and government are now guaranteed of cheap foreign currency, which they will not have to sweat for. People cannot possibly leave their jobs either. Zimbabwe is tough.

But for how long, this will be endured, I really don’t know. All I know is that when faced with a miserable workforce, these same companies, international organizations and NGOs will devise ways and the money will very soon dry up and the Zimbabwe government will not touch even a cent of it.

What about remittances?

The government of Zimbabwe thinks it has people in its pockets and the huge diaspora will sit and watch while their hard-earned money is stolen through the interbank exchange rate and Statutory instruments. The Government must be joking. Very soon, the remittances will drop, people will find other ways of getting the same money to Zimbabwe through those who hold the useless Zimbabwe money but who have Foreign Currency Accounts outside the country. The robbery will not continue for long.

Let’s see who wins this one?

The next few weeks will be interesting for the monetary authorities in Zimbabwe. There will be a few casualties of course. Those Zimbabweans earning in foreign currency, those who receive remittances from abroad and those companies that have to import goods and inputs in forex but forced to sell in worthless Zimbabwe Dollars.

People want to talk about patriotism – but what patriotism does one talk about with a Government that ROBS it’s own people day and night with such impunity?

Zimbabwe’s Second Republik: dealing with the past, compensating white farmers and knee jerk reactions from civil society

23 Apr

The 39th independence celebrations for Zimbabwe have come and gone. The only thing that remains to show for the 39 years of independence is old Robert’s absence from the uhuru celebrations. The economy is teetering on its knees, bread – the same bread that also aided the overthrow of Sudan’s Al Bashir has risen to 3.50 in Zimbabwe from 99 cents, fuel queues remain the order of the day and strife never seems too far away from the ordinary Zimbabwean. Three things stand out in all this confusion of this state called Zimbabwe. One, Mnangagwa’s government has pronounced that they want to compensate white farmers for developments they left on the farms that were taken from them a decade ago. Two, there seems to be confusion around government’s position with regards how the past including the land reform process should be handled and finally the role of civil society in all this is all mired in serious and perilous confusion. A discussion will thus follow.

Compensating white farmers for what really is the question?

One of the most vexing issues of our times as a nation and state is the land question. What really to do with the Zimbabwean white man/woman with regards compensation for the land that “they grabbed from  Zimbabweans and was also grabbed from them by the black Zimbabwean” remains a thorn in the back of the state and nation. One would think that by now this matter would have been resolved if it were not for the fact that ZANU PF grabbed most of the land and dished it out to its cronies. Now predictably huge tracts of land lie fallow with speculators hoping they will get title deeds and use the security to go borrow money from banks to fund their lavish lifestyles. It is true!

The politics and smearing of the black Zimbabwean aside – the whole land compensation matter reeks of perverted opportunism and a clear lack of vision from ZANU PF. For starters, it defies all logic that a whole people can go to war to fight for their land and other resources only to wake up the following morning apologizing. Zimbabwe is basically telling the whole world that the country is ready to return whatever was stolen from them after they had worked so hard to recover it. Ideological bankruptcy if you ask me! If the Government of Zimbabwe is not clear on what should happen with the compensation then the issue must be put to the ballot in a referendum. Or at the very least, it must be taken to Parliament. The President cannot just run around making pronouncements that have serious significance at a political, social and economic level and get away with it.  Unless, there is some other logical reason, this whole compensation former white farmers is all some gibberish which should come to an end  already.

Who will pay for the compensation?

The more vexing question though is that the government of Zimbabwe says there will be compensation for the developments in infrastructure etc. left by the white men/woman on the farms. While the question of why such compensation is even difficult to understand, the question of who is supposed to pay for such is even more cantankerous to deal with. When the government mentions that the state will pay, what it basically means is that the ordinary Zimbabwean who is taxed left right and center through PAYE, 2% and some other crazy tax schemes operating in Zimbabwe now, will also have to see their hard-earned money used to pay for such compensation schemes when they don’t have medicines in hospitals, and can’t afford to have one meal a day on their tables.

The government of Zimbabwe is broke and this whole talk about compensating this or that person is just misplaced for a very simple reason. If the talk should even arise then it must be the farmer or the black Zimbabwean who took over a house, barns, farming equipment or whatever they found on the farm and not the whole of Zimbabwe. Why should the whole of Zimbabwe suffer collective guilt for some loot that is now enjoyed by a privileged few?

What should happen as a matter of common sense is that those Zimbabwean black farmers who took over those assets should now pay for them. If the white farmer runs into any problems then s/he should approach the nearest judicial court and make a civil claim or whatever to get compensation from these people. I would reckon most of the equipment has been sold, is now damaged or probably broken down now and thus it will all be very tricky to make such claims. All the same, I don’t think the whole of Zimbabwe deserves to be put under such a blanket process of compensating the white farmers. It just doesn’t add up? What is this now – collective guilt for a whole country courtesy of the so called Second Republic?

Dealing with the past – Mnangagwa and NPRC working together or at cross paths?

One of the biggest issues in Zimbabwe revolves around how the country should deal with its past history of human rights violations also commonly known as transitional justice. There is a common understanding that for the country to move forward there must be unity of purpose built around knowing the truth about what happened in the past, who committed what atrocities e.g. the Gukurahundi, Murambatsvina, 2008 election violence, what were the motivations, how much money was plundered etc. To achieve this, the government with a push from civil society and literally the whole of Zimbabwe established what is known as the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission, whose main task is also dealing with the past.

What is becoming confusing and contributing to the false start that is this second republic of Mnangagwa is the seeming confusion between the pronouncements of the President and what the NPRC is seeking to do. In the same week, the news about the compensation of white farmers came out, the NPRC was also deploying into some parts of Zimbabwe to ask the people on what, how and why should the past be addressed. So, if there is a national body under Chapter 12 of the country’s Constitution mandated to carry out such work, why would a whole President be seen to be jumping the gun or putting the cart before horse making such pronouncements?

Some will argue that policy making requires that the Executive makes decisions and be decisive. However, i argue that the kind of policy making in this second republic is very haphazard, and erratic more informed by knee jerk reactions rather than any objective interventions.

The government and the President of course need to lead the way but they must also ensure that there is one coordinated message coming from them that shows consistency and a sense that they want matters to be dealt with decisively. That cannot be done with this kind of erratic behavior. At the least the President can wait for a report from the NPRC and be informed accordingly or he can just come out all furnaces running and declare that his government will implement a policy of reconciliation based on compensation etc. without wasting any more taxpayers money on organs such as this NPRC. If they want to ignore the body they can as well disband in the same manner they did with the SADC Tribunal during Chinamasa’s time.

It is important to note that i did not reach this position on the basis of the white farmers compensation but also on pronouncements made by the President on Gukurahundi. What is also even more interesting is that the President is choosing to remain very quiet when questions are asked about compensating victims of politically motivated and state sponsored human rights violations from the past.

What is the urgency in resolving the white farmers compensation question?

It remains baffling why the “revolutionary” party would all of a sudden be tripping itself scurrying around trying to compensate the former white farmers. Tell tale signs of cheap politicking – serving white people tea at public functions, promising to pay back compensation when in international for a are some of the tactics that have been used to try to sway the international community and financiers to believe that “Zimbabwe is open for business”. But is this really true? What is known by all and sundry though is that, the government needs more loans in forex and the money is just not coming. Well, we will live to see how this will pen out, but it will not end well.

Who will laugh last – ZANU PF or the compensated white farmer?

Some skeptics have noted that the Zimbabwe government is broke. So, if they are broke, how can they pay? Some people have intimated that what will likely happen is that the Government will print money and even create that fictitious money called RTRGS and pay it to the white farmers. Whatever the white farmers will do with that money will be none of the Government’s business. However, we all know and it is true that those who will receive that money will churn it out to the black market, buy foreign currency, leading to a hike in exchange rates and retail prices. We know what happened when the war vets were given huge sums of money as compensation in 1998.

The role of civil society in all this madness – do former ZANU PF officials really need support from civil society?

The third issue that seems to be equally vexatious is the role of civil society in responding to the second republic and its antics. An interesting development over the past year has been the dragging to court of former ZANU PF officials by the second republik to court on charges of abuse of office, embezzlement, corruption etc.

Of more interest though is the almost instantaneous reaction and jump to action by leading civil society groups in Zimbabwe to defend/represent these same people in court and outside the court. While the almost naïve argument would be that human rights defenders are there to defend without discrimination anyone caught under the jaws of any repressive regime, this is certainly not the case in Zimbabwe.  Most of the people who were working under Robert Mugabe’s regime contributed immensely towards the traumatization and abuse of Zimbabweans. The same Zimbabweans who toil day and night seeking justice for past human rights violations but never seem to have their day in court. Compare that to now where all these fat, pot bellied men and women are now receiving top notch legal advice to evade justice from the  Zimbabwean justice system.

That the justice  system in Zimbabwe is crooked is well known. However, on a question of principle and good morals, it would have been much safer for most of these civil society groups who are scurrying around protecting and defending the likes of Kasukuwere and others like him to calm down, take a back seat and really ponder about what they are doing.

The whole argument of nondiscrimination, human rights defending is almost sensible, but it remains really  non–non sensible. Those people can afford, have other choices and must be left to their own whims. I hear all the time as well that it is prudent to court these same people and get them onto the camp of the democrats. My take is that, that whole line of thinking is warped and unnecessary.

If ever, any of the international donors from the West were to ask questions as it is most likely that this is where the support comes from, then the answer must just be very simple – these people contributed to the torment of masses of Zimbabweans, they need to find other people to represent them. If it were in the North, these same people would be in correctional centers by now.

What way Zimbabwe?

The beauty of democracy is that issues must and can always be discussed and people agree or disagree. Questions that remain though are that the Nation and State of Zimbabwe must get a grip on itself and choose a clear path ideologically on how it needs to address it past especially with regards the land question and compensation of former white farmers. The loud dissonance between the motives for waging a guerrilla warfare and today’s knee jerk pronouncements of compensating white farmers do not speak to each other. The confusion is also compounded by Constitutional bodies that seem not to understand their mandates or what they are in office for. By now, one would hope that the NPRC would have challenged the President and asked him to stop making pronouncements such as those around compensating former white farmers until such a time as the body would also have done its work. Equally, civil society seems to be wound up in its own pants trying to figure out how to remain relevant in this crocodile head of a government, state and nation. Unfortunately, some of them have found themselves responding unwisely by assisting former oppressors to seek justice in a country that remains mired in seeking justice for past human rights violations. This part of civil society needs to stop being naïve. The second republik remains in a big dilemma because of a serious failure to place Zimbabwe’s ideological path on the table and to direct the country to the future.

A look at the 2018 Zimbabwe Transitional Justice Symposium – “a few take aways from Nesbitt Castle”

1 Dec

The National Transitional Justice Working Group held a Symposium from 21 – 23 November in Bulawayo. The meeting was a high success judging by the comments, interactions and other engagements at the meeting as well on social media.  The coverage in newspapers and radios in Zimbabwe and abroad is also testimony to the success. Besides, bringing close to 100 stakeholders working on transitional justice matters in Zimbabwe, the region and internationally together, there was an affirmation and recognition that the transitional justice debate in Zimbabwe needs to be moved to a higher level. That status will be achieved by coming  up with a civil society policy framework to direct how transitional justice should be implemented in Zimbabwe. There are several positive and negative issues that could be highlighted but I will focus on a few that stuck out for me.

The question of the disputed tenure and false start of the NPRC

One of the NPRC Commissioners attending the Symposium raised an issue that civil society had to stand in the corner of the NPRC and question the government on the exact tenure of the NPRC. There are misunderstandings on whether the NPRC’s tenure should be calculated from 2013 when the Constitution was promulgated, as the NPRC is a creation of the new Zimbabwe Constitution. This would effectively mean that the tenure of the NPRC ends in 2023. Another argument is that since the Commissioners were only appointed by Robert Mugabe on 24 February 2016 it means that their tenure should be calculated from that time and the life of the NPRV should therefore end in 2026. I find this argument rather preposterous and is akin to the same arguments that caused problems for Pierre Nkurunziza’s tenure in Burundi.

The law is clear on the life span of the NPRC. That one person could have been sworn in at a later stage is none of the Commissioner’s business. The Commissioners must serve their terms until the legally prescribed timeline and if ever there will be need to extend their terms, the government of the day at that time will ensure that happens. 

Yet again, there is another argument that since the NPRC Act was gazetted on January 5, 2018 it leaves room for another interpretation on the tenure of the NPRC. Again, I find this argument unnecessary. The call for civil society to be involved in such arguments would be a complete waste of time, undeserving of precious time and if the Commissioners were really worried about such they would need to question the government through their normal interactions or take the matter to the courts of the land.

The question of the unrepresentative composition of the NPRC

At the Symposium, Siphosami Malunga, the Executive Director of OSISA made a passionate plea that the NPRC should be reconfigured so that its composition reflects the needs of Gukurahundi victims and survivors. This call seems and sounded very controversial on one end and on another very reasonable considering the circumstances in which the country finds itself in with regards the Matabeleland massacres. There have been arguments that on a practical level, to call for an inclusion of more Commissioners would need the Constitution to be amended. Sceptics think that such a call would be used by the current Government to divert its attention from working on Gukurahundi and thus would lead to serious and further delays in resolving the matter. However, I am of the view that the call to include one or two more Commissioners specifically from Matabeleland would serve as a conciliatory gesture by the Government of Zimbabwe as ell as ensure that the people of Matabeleland have someone in the NPRC who they trust and know would be able to articulate their issues well. Sipho acknowledged that the presence of Mr. Sello Nare, who hails from the region was clearly recognised but maintained that the selection and appointment of the NPRC Commissioners by Robert Mugabe had been shrouded in so much controversy at the beginning that it would be only be right to reconsider adding some Commissioners from the region or asking some current Commissioners who have questionable credentials to step down. 

We will wait to see how this one plays out but certainly the die was cast on that day and a responsive Commission will pay attention to such an issue and civil society on its own end will evaluate the pros and cons and possibly push for it with the Government of Zimbabwe.

The call for a separate Gukurahundi Bill

Another call was made by Sipho Malunga to consider having a separate Bill to deal specifically with Gukurahundi or consider having a special Unit to focus on Gukurahundi in the NPRC. Sceptics again, argue that this could be self – defeating and places unnecessary importance on one conflict in Zimbabwe at the expense of other conflicts such as the resources conflicts in Manicaland, rights violations from the 2008 elections, the farm invasions as well as other economic rights violations that have bedevilled Zimbabwe over the years. I for one, still do not understand how a separate Bill would deal effectively with the Gukurahundi question without being used to divert attention by the ruling government which has so far succeeded to do that since the atrocities occurred. 

What is clear though is that the NPRC needs to come up with a more robust and responsive action plan to handle Gukurahundi. One way of acknowledging such calls would be coming out to do public inquiries through social media, radio presentations and even requests for ideas from the public in the diaspora and at home on the issue.

The flawed perception that the NPRC cannot comment on controversial issues in the country

There seems to be a position in the NPRC that the Commissioners cannot “comment, affirm or condemn” when issues that demand their attention occur in the country. The preferred position seems to be that the NPRC will conduct closed door interactions and meetings with stakeholders to solve whatever matters might arise. I find this rather problematic and unfortunate on a number of levels. The NPRC is a statutory body mandated by the Constitution to deal with issues of healing and reconciliation among others. The people of Zimbabwe place their trust in the 9 men and women sitting on the NPRC to deliberate and intervene in important matters related to their mandate. It would be important in my opinion for individual Commissioners to comment, condemn or affirm certain issues whenever they occur so that their voice is heard and just as a sign that their independence is not compromised in any way. To want to play the diplomatic role and argue that their role is not to ruffle feathers with politicians in the ruling party, opposition ranks or the general population is rather unfortunate and in essence shows a Commission that is more interested in its incumbency rather than dealing with issues openly.

There are several examples where Commissions have stood up against their governments, taken strong positions, taken governments to court, been sued and defended themselves as well as voiced their concerns on critical issues such as the compromised Chairperson in the Kenya TJRC who was eventually removed from office. The office of the Ombudsman of South Africa is another clear example of how a healthy interaction with the government can be conducted without necessarily doing it because the Commission just felt the need to do so for malicious reasons. 

In Zimbabwe and in a country whose economy is at its tethers, there is always going to be that last person who will think that the Commissioners will not “condemn, affirm or comment” publicly because they are afraid of being removed from their “salaried jobs and perks” … and really that is the truth.

The need for Government to immediately deal with the psycho social needs of survivors and victims

There was a call at the Symposium that the Government of Zimbabwe needs through the NPRC, its different Ministries such as the Ministry of Health, Social Welfare and even Home Affairs to come up with a comprehensive and immediate process/policy to deal with the needs of survivors and victims of past human rights violations right across the country. The point that was raised also related to the notion that the NPRC even though mandated to deal among others issues with healing, investigations and reconciliation does not necessarily have the machinery or wherewithal to instruct the rest of the government machinery to respond in the desired manner to deal with its findings or recommendations, In that case, the NPRC could just be another white elephant. It will be important to see how the NPC responds to such a call.

Transitional justice for Zimbabwe – whereto?

Other issues that were of topical concern included the need to deal with past economic justice issues including the long standing  pensions matter that the Pensions Conversions Commision failed to resolve. Another discussion focused on the need to reform the security sector in Zimbabwe. As one participant noted, this was the elephant in the room that everyone wants to avoid but it is not known until when this will be able to hold. Zimbabwe requires a change in attitudes at all levels, socially, politically and economically especially from the large corporates who have largely benefited from the chaotic state of affairs for a long time without anyone questioning their involvement when government has implemented policies that have indirectly benefitted them at the expense of citizens. Zimbabwe needs to find itself within this mess. No austerity measures, no amount of rhetoric or lip service will heal Zimbabwe on its own. Every other Zimbabwean who wants peace has to start or continue to engage issues around past human rights violations including Gukurahundi, the liberation wars, human rights violations by Mugabe and his party, state sponsored violence in the past, economic rights violations, the theft and plunder of national coffers by ZANU PF politicians and many other issues.

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