Zimbabwe: The Deafening Noise of South African Silence

Comment: How does one transform so much chaos into one harmonious piece of written work? The answer is: You can’t. So, if the blog entry seems a little incoherent, I apologise in advance.

No, enough has not been said about the matter of South Africa’s spineless approach to the travesty of democracy in Zimbabwe and no, not enough is being done about it either, by anybody.

Yesterday, the Belfast Telegraph reported that Gordon Brown’s renewed efforts to convince South African President Thabo Mbeki – who is attending the Progressive Governance Conference in the UK at present – to intervene, is falling on deaf ears and that Mbeki is not prepared to criticise the vampiric Mugabe regime at all. Does this construe an endorsement of this political vampire’s rule on the part of the South African government?

How I hope that this is not the case…

I read an article written by one of the best journalists ever produced by our country: Justice Malala – http://www.thetimes.co.za/Columnists/News/Article.aspx?id=736745. This, together with a special report that appeared in my favourite newspaper, The Mail And Guardian – http://www.mg.co.za -, have inspired me to share with you just how loud the Sound of South African Silence on the Zimbabwean crisis really is.
Drinking the Life Blood of the Press
In addition to the one television station, both the Zimbabwean newspapers are state controlled and, to practice journalism, you have to be licensed by the Mugabe regime. This control enables Mugabe to relentlessly portray the likes of Makoni and Tsvangirai as puppets of the West, sell-outs and agents of imperialism. Makoni, who has left Zanu-PF, has been portrayed as a bull frog and a prostitute, both of which are despised in the African cultural context. This control also enables Mugabe to prevent any hint at positive press for the opposition.

The fate of journalists who do not toe the line, is imprisonment – at best. Here are three examples of how Mugabe deals with journalists:

1) 2007: Edward Chikombo, who was a part-time cameraman for the state broadcaster ZBC, was murdered after releasing pictures of Tsivangirai – after he was beaten within millimetres of death by Mugabe’s henchmen – to the international media.
2) 2007: Around the same time, Gift Phiri, a senior reporter for the exiled The Zimbabwean newspaper, was detained and tortured by police. He was beaten with a baseball bat, a metal handle and a police baton.
3) 1999: Mark Chavunduka, 34, editor of the independent Standard newspaper, and reporter Ray Choto, 37, were detained and tortured by military police after they reported the arrest of 23 soldiers over an alleged coup plot during December that year.

Foreign journalists are not welcomed and many have been detained and deported over the past ten years. During the recent elections, the presence of journalists from CNN, Sky etc., was expressly forbidden.

What was the South African Government’s response? SILENCE

Drinking the Life Blood of Free and Fair Elections
In the 2008 elections no observers were allowed from anywhere in the world except for those from the SADC. As was the case in the previous elections, observers were intimidated and beaten up – even though it neither as severe nor as well reported on this time round. SADC once again endorsed elections that the rest of the world declared rigged, free and fair – a travesty of democracy:

To give you an idea: More than 75,000 members of the security forces were allowed to vote before the election date without observers present and on election day, voters were (kindly) assisted by Mugabean police:

1) The same police, who for the past ten years, have put a stop to any kind of democratic activity by the opposition or civil society
2) The same police who were instrumental in “Operation Murambatsvina”, which destroyed the homes and lives of more than 700,000 Zimbabweans.
3) The same police beat opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai to within an inch of his life at the end of March 2007.

What was the South African Government’s response? SILENCE

Drinking the Life Blood of Innocent People
The Green Bombers are being mobilized in Zimbabwe again and were spotted marching through the streets of Harare last Friday.

This murdering Zimbabwean squad was responsible for:
1) The massacres in Matabeleland during 2000;
2) House-to-house raids, harassing and beating opposition supporters during the run up to the previous elections
3) The arrest and torture of opposition activists during 2002, by using water torture, electric shocks and sadistic beatings. The reason for the onslaught was Mugabe losing a 2000 referendum on the constitution. In 2005, several activists were killed or disappeared, and white farmers were terrorized and chased from their land.
4) Shortly after the parliamentary elections of 2005, Mugabe launched Operation Murambatsvina, or “Clean Away the Filth,” which left about 700,000 people from urban opposition strongholds uprooted.
5) Then, last year, Tsvangirai and more than 100 activists were rounded up and beaten. This violence is typical of the violence that preceded the 2005 election: a brutal clean-up before the poll, followed by relative peace during the election – while African observers are present.

What was the South African Government’s response? SILENCE

Drinking the Life Blood of the Economy
You cannot call a country where the thieving ruler has his left hand in the cash register and his right hand in every cookie jar, an economy. The country has a 100,000% inflation, bare shelves, no fuel most of the time and an unemployment rate of 80%. The population is, by and large, starving. It is estimated that no less than 4,000,000 have sought refuge in South Africa, Botswana and Zambia.

What is the South African Government’s response? SILENCE

The Silencing of the Lambs
1) Nelson Mandela, our much loved and iconic former president, criticised leaders who hung on to power at the expense of their people (i.e. Mugabe). He was told by Mbeki to shut up.
2) Archbishop Desmond Tutu, a winner of the Nobel Peace Price, was maligned by the two M-s, Mbeki and Mugabe, when he dared to criticise the inhumanity of the goings-on in Zimbabwe.
3) When the gentle Father Paul Verryn gave refuge to hundreds of Zimbabweans, his Johannesburg church was raided by the South African Police who arrested refugee children as young as five months old.

So, what was the South African Government’s response? BE SILENT

To conclude
Zimbabwe, under the regime of Mugabe, is a study of villainy – evil in its purest form: There is a Dracula on the loose in Zimbabwe and no van Helsing to put the stake in its heart.

 

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