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.”
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.