Zimbabwe: The Runoff Election Farce

It is useless saying that the presidential runoff in Zimbabwe must be or should be free and fair because the truth of the matter is that it simply won’t be. If free encapsulates the human right of choosing freely, without blatant or latent threats of retaliation, and if fair comprises of all things equal and honest, then running a credible election in Zimbabwe is as credible as China’s denial of harming Tibetans (or baby girls for that matter).

Information from the beautiful country of Zimbabwe is scarce and getting scarcer by the day. Only isolated reports manage to find their way to those of us who live in the rest of the world – and then only in drips and drabs. Video footage has all but disappeared as those found recording anything that could be even remotely incriminating are cast into jails on one or another trumped up charge. This is a best case scenario. Some are poorly treated; others are tortured, while others still are killed.
Such is the transparency of the tyrant.

If commentators, spectators and journalists are too scared to venture into the hell hole of current day on-the-spot Zimbabwe politics, how can we expect the average Zimbabwean to play Zimbabwean Roulette with the Mugabe gun? The average Zimbabwean has parents, a husband or wife, children, grandchildren and friends. And, the average Zimbabwean knows that there is an un-penned law of oppression that states that your sins against Mugabe will visit you and those who are near and dear to you. In fact, it may even visit those who simply live near to you regardless of their political persuasions.

Such is the wrath of the tyrant.

Looking forward to runoff day, there will be relative peace. But looking towards the run-up towards runoff day, there won’t: Villagers will be tortured into submission using the techniques learnt from Mugabe’s Chinese handlers. In the sky smoke will rise from the homes and business burnt as a grim warning to those who dare to vote differently. The blood from wounds caused by Chinese supplied arms is set to flow across the Zimbabwean soil. And then, when all have been cowed, maimed, incarcerated and killed, runoff day will dawn quietly. Not with the quiet associated with contentment, but with the eerie quiet associated with death.
Such is the rule of the tyrant.

Is there hope?

Unless UN peacekeeping forces are deployed now and unless UN observers are present on the day and unless these UN observers guard the ballot until the results are released…the answer is…

!NO!

Zimbabwe: A New Wave in Land Grabbing?

Harare, Zimbabwe: An hour ago, Associated Press reported that three white cattle farmers have been ejected from their land by some of Mugabe’s war veterans.  A fourth farmer is apparently still holding out against some 50 Zanu-PF militants, who are threatening to break through the gates of his farm.

 

The land grabs started yesterday and it is feared that it may herald the beginning of a new wave in land grabbing – similar to those faced by the already beleaguered Zimbabwean farmers in 2005.

 

On Friday, an increased presence of riot police in Harare, coupled with the ominous presence of the notorious Green Bombers, confirmed fears that Mugabe was preparing for a war on the people. The forced evictions could well be a part of the plan.

 

In its present state, the outcome of the presidential elections that took place a week and a day ago is estimated to substantially favour the MDC opposition. Mugabe is however preventing the release of the results and demanding a recount of the ballots cast. It is clear that he hopes to tweak the outcome to ensure that a presidential run-off takes place.

 

And, considering that Mugabe is adept at committing election fraud, there is no reason to believe that a run-off will not be the end result.  The run-up to the campaign will probably include the usually violent intimidation of the voting public. The incidences of land grabbing that is taking place now, could well be the first war cries of a new Mugabean terror campaign.

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.

 

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.