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!

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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.