Zimbabwe: Ruling on Releasing Election Results Postponed Until Monday

Sigh…

It is a little disappointing that the courts don’t see (or don’t want to see, are not allowed to see, whatever) the urgency of this matter. Another four or more days for Mugabe to ‘cook the books’, another four days for him to intimidate the ordinary folk of Zimbabwe with his megalomaniacal quasi-military campaigns, and another four days for death by ‘natural causes’ of electoral officials and opposition party members…

So, it is more of the waiting game, fellow Africans.

Zapiro’s cartoon is a picture that speaks a thousand words …

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Zimbabwe: A Situational Update

Farm Invasion Update

The farm invasions have grown progressively worse since it started on Saturday last week:

 

1)Between 60 and 100 farms and 1 game lodge have now been invaded by War Veterans according to Trevor Gifford, the president of the Commercial Farmer’s Union.

2)The local media officer from the Ministry of Information, Mr Maunganidze, is said to be paying people to invade the farms.

3)The farm invasions have now spread to include Masvingo, Mashonaland West, Mashonaland East and Mashonaland Central. The land of two black farmers was also grabbed because they were said to have voted for the MDC.

 

 

Intimidation & Violence Update

“Militias are being rearmed, ZANU-PF supporters are being rearmed … The long and short of it is that there has been a complete militarization of Zimbabwean society since the 29th of March 2008,” said Morgan Tsvangirai. From the accounts received to date, this is not opposition propaganda:

 

1) Zimbabwean Police arrested seven election officials, accusing them of undercounting votes cast for President Mugabe, and are to be charged with fraud

2) Zimbabwean police have assaulted more than 80 opposition activists in the western provinces of Manicaland and Matabeleland. The attack is thought to be part of Mugabe’s tactics to intimidate voters ahead of the planned presidential run-off.

3) According to informed sources, 200 senior officers of the armed forces have been deployed to lead the war veterans in a military operation aimed at forcing Zimbabweans into voting for President Robert Mugabe in the run-off.

4) In Nyamandhovu in Matabeleland North, supporters of the opposition MDC and those of independent presidential candidate Simba Makoniave been beaten up and tortured by Zanu-PF youth militias and war veterans.

5) In Sigaba Village two MDC youths, were assaulted by a group of 10 Zanu-PF youths who accused them of being sell-outs.

6) The shop of former ZIPRA freedom fighter, Stanley Wolfenden, was raided and shut down on Friday. He was accused of drumming up support for Makoni during the election campaign.

 

South Africa’s Attitude Update

Nothing has really changed…

 

1) Aziz Pahad, South African deputy foreign minister, said that “foreign media and the international community were orchestrating the destabilisation of Zimbabwe and had unfairly accused Mugabe of wanting to “steal” the elections by delaying announcement of the results.”  

Sies Aziz!!! Been there of late?

 

2) Mbeki, Tsvangirai talks ‘not on the diary’

The president is in India now, doing goodness knows what – shirking his responsibilities back home.

 

3) ANC president Jacob Zuma crtiticised the delays in releasing the election results.

He took no stance in as far as Mugabe is concerned, but this is a good start at least.

 

4) Archbishop Tutu said: “They are tipping over the precipice. Violence is very much in the air. I would have hoped there would be a great deal more pressure, not just from South Africa but from the international community.On the whole, African leadership has not done themselves proud on this one.”

Could not have put it better myself. Not inclined to maintain Diplomatic Silence (hint, hint, President Mbeki), the Archbishop has said his say, and hit the nail on the head. That is why I (and many others) respect him so much!

The Mugabe… I mean… The Zimbabwe Herald Today

You have to read the state-owned Zimbabwe Herald to appreciate just how ridiculously extensive Mugabe-an control over this excuse-for-a-newspaper is. If the matter was not so serious, it could even be downright funny – like a good old April Fool’s Joke. His propaganda litters all the pages, at an enormous density per square inch. There is no attempt to camouflage it – on the contrary, it is right in your face.

 

The editor and the journalists are anonymous as are most of the sources quoted. The golden thread of the paper is that the mess Zim finds it in is no fault of Mugabe: There are strong conspiracy-type theory undertones; and everything and everybody other than Bob, are blamed. The underlying message is venom and hate. Not a pleasurable reading experience at all.

 

Here are some of the headlines forced on their captive readership today:

 

Headline 1: ‘Tsvangirai Begs for VP Post’ by anonymous Herald Reporters

“MDC faction leader Morgan Tsvangirai asked Zanu-PF to accommodate him as one of the Vice Presidents in a government of national unity after being told by his advisors that a possible run-off with President Mugabe for the top job was not in his best interests, The Herald can reveal…”

Okay, you get the gist… the rest of the article – all 975 words – quoted a variety of sources – all of which were (naturally) anonymous and, to appease the Zanu-PF handler, a fair dollop of Anti-MDC Anti-Tsvangirai Anti-The-Rest-OF-The-Evil-World propaganda was added for good measure.

 

 

Headline 2: ‘Don’t withhold goods; Govt warns business’ by anonymous Herald Reporters

“GOVERNMENT expects the business sector to fulfil its social responsibility by ensuring continued supply of basic commodities as opposed to dabbling in politics as part of the regime change agenda, a senior official has said.”

This comes in the wake of the increasingly empty shelves in the Zimbabwean shops. So, what is the reaction of Mugabe? You are right, blame business for this and be silent about the fact that his government has not been importing enough Maize and that they are not exactly paying their Maize accounts either…  and, to be honest, the warning is not a warning, it is a threat…

 

Headline 3: ‘Let’s protect heritage during run-off’ by anonymous Editor

“Fellow Zimbabweans, as we head for a possible presidential run-off, let us make an informed decision best for the future generations and us.”

Starting with an impassioned appeal the remainder of the article launches into a full frontal attack on white settlers: past present and future. He pointed to the fate of Malawi under British influence and extolled the virtues of the Cubans. Anonymous editor neither made an attempt at disguising his racial hate speak, nor of his intentions to fuel it. Quite chilling, actually.

 

Headline 4: Poll results: Solve anomalies first by anonymous Editor

“I have been following election-related events over the past few days and conspiracies and counter-conspiracies that have been emerging over delays in announcing presidential poll results.”

Naturally, Editor blames it all on the MDC. He accuses them of rigging, tampering, yak, yak, yak… and then – as could be expected – dedicates the second half of the article to hurling a variety of personal insults at Morgan Tsvangirai.  

 

Headline 5: White Farmers Free to Apply for Land by {nobody}

“WE salute the police for moving in to stop the new wave of farm occupations that threatened to engulf the countryside, and war veterans for heeding police directives to move out of the farms they occupied in retaliation to threats by hordes of white former commercial farmers.”

Yup, hordes, I am sure…there were 4,000 to start of with, but that was a long, long time ago. Now there are only 300, minus 8, and they are spread all over the country. Be that as it may.., The article warns (or threatens, you decide) these imaginary hordes of farmers that:  ”…those who are lucky enough to still hold farms continue harbouring the unrepentant farmers without counselling against provocative actions, they only serve to brew mistrust in the State and the populace. This mistrust may culminate in a take-over of the remaining white-held farms for distribution to landless black Zimbabweans, many of whom are on the waiting list.” Then, in the very last sentence white farmers who have left Zim are invited to return where they can “apply for resettlement just like other citizens.” Need I say more? Perhaps, best that I don’t.

 

 

On the off-beat side, the property and entertainment sections of the newspaper were …well…empty. I wonder why?

 

Mugabe: Divide and Conquer Zimbabwe

Some people thought that I was crazy when I published my Blog: “Zimbabwe: A New Wave of Land Grabs?” yesterday. Quite frankly, even I was starting to doubt the Associated Press information I received…and wondering whether I was not becoming a sensationalist. Fortunately, it appears that I am still quite sane. The reports on land grabs were confirmed by the BBC (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/africa/7333918.stm)  just over an hour ago.

 

As I write this, there are goose bumps on my arms and heaviness in my heart.

 

Divide and Conquer

Mugabe’ traditional and unfailing modus operandi is to maintain his dominion by dividing the Zimbabwean population. He achieves this division by inciting hate between different races, ethnic groups, cultures and classes through classical means of disinformation. Disinformation is an easy objective for this dictator. He controls the printed and the broadcast media in the country, and does not hesitate to use these to fulfil his personal agenda.

 

The land grabs and the disinformation about the land grabs are collectively one of the tactics in a carefully constructed overarching strategy to regain his control over the prevailing Zimbabwean situation.

 

Mugabe’s current land grabbing tactic was executed as follows:

Violence: His militia (Green Bombers) was instructed to oust several white farmers in Masvingo, a province in the south of Zimbabwe. The latest count is the seizure of eight farms.  

Misinformation: He then (mis)informed the media via spokesman, Patrick Chinamasa, that Tsvangirai is “unleashing former white farmers on farms occupied by new farmers to reverse the land reform programme”. Mugabe was also personally quoted by the state-run Herald newspaper, as saying that: “Land must remain in our hands. The land is ours; it must not be allowed to slip back into the hands of whites. We cannot afford to retreat in the battle for land.”

 

Conquer by Force

Jabulani Sibanda, leader of the War Veteran’s Association (Green Bombers), which has been instrumental in the seizure of white owned farms since before the 2000 presidential elections, alleged on Friday that several farms have already been ‘confiscated’ from black farmers and restored to their previous white owners.

 

According to Sibanda the new black farmers were told to leave “or else face the wrath of an incoming MDC government’. He also told reporters that: “Those white people trespassing on the small-scale and medium-scale farms should know that it is an invasion of our country. We will defend our sovereignty. We will be compelled to repel that invasion.”

 

 

The Outlook

He may be old and he may be a raving lunatic, but Mugabe is both intelligent and cunning. This is exactly why he is such a dangerous man.

 

I expect pockets of violence to erupt as he orchestrates his latest offensive and executes on his latest strategy. I expect an increase in hate speech, which could see Zimbabweans turning on one another instead on him. I expect ‘Cleaning out the Filth’ operations in MDC strongholds, which will see many people – yet again – tortured, killed and homeless.

 

I expect all this, unless a miracle happens. Perhaps the miracle will come in the shape of a Zimbabwean High Court ruling favouring the MDC. Perhaps it will come in the form of South African intervention.

 

But then, perhaps is will never come at all.

 

Zimbabwe: The Showdown Has Begun

It is not even two hours after I told you that Zimbabwe might be an option for investment from a property perspective, should Tsvangirai manage to oust the despotic, murdering Mugabe regime. Now it appears that this particular prospect may well be a pipe dream.

I suppose that only the naive could believe that the Zimbabwean president would heed the outcome of any election that he could not substantially rig in his favour. From news articles released (read: Mugabe begins Zim crackdown at http://www.news24.com/News24/Africa/Zimbabwe/0,,2-11-1662_2299749,00.html), it appears that this time is not an exception:

1) Tsvangirai’s proposed meeting with the current regime generals to reassure them of his honourable intentions under an MDC rule, were cancelled by the generals after being ordered to do so by Mugabe.
2) Mugabe sent his terror-inspiring Special Forces (CIO) and Police to raid the Meikles Hotel in Harare where the MDC had their temporary election offices. According to MDC officials, Tsvangirai is safe.
3) Mugabe declared that a presidential run-off ballot will, if necessary, take place within 90, instead of within the constitutional 21 days. Reliable sources on the ground seem to think that this delay will enable Mugabe to regroup his militia.
4) Foreign and local Journalists were arrested on pseudo-charges of practicing journalism sans licenses.

Where is this going to? For a great many years the rest of the world (and that includes South Africa), has stood by passively, watching how Zimbabwean citizens were being left to starve, and wilfully murdered by somebody who makes even some of the most notorious tyrannical rulers of the past, seem like saints. South Africa, I am afraid, bears the brunt of the guilt. Our president, Thabo Mbeki, has welcomed this political murderer and criminal into our country as a guest on many occasions, instead of censuring his actions as he should have.

The average South African has felt the impact of the influx of Zimbabweans into our country. There are not only a great many of these who come in seeking employment at the expense of the local population, but also a large amount of absconded Zimbabwean militia who come here to rob, rape and murder – something that is felt by everybody, from paupers to princes.

Perhaps, President Mbeki, you will come to your senses now and take the responsibility demanded from the leader of the strongest Southern African country.

Perhaps even, some other world powers will take pity on the people of Zimbabwe and step in to lend the support they so desperately need.

But then, perhaps not.

Like many other South Africans, my heart, my sympathy and my prayers are with you, the Zimbabwean people, right now.