Mugabe, the West, and “servile” Zimbabweans

I’ve always found it baffling when people (particularly westerners,) discover with shock and a degree of condescension that Mugabe has, and dare I say it, remains deeply beloved by many a Zimbabwean. Fact; the quality of life of the majority of my countrymen downright plummeted during and since our colonization by the British. Oh please, you really want to tell me you believe that hogwash about how colonization brought the three C’s (civilization, commerce, and Christianity) to us in 1890? My ancestors, first the Munhumutapa, and then the Ndebele andRozvi empires did more foreign trade (mainly with Arab merchants and other empires) before colonization than they did since. We’ve always been deeply religious (much more so than we are now–thanks to Western Christendom for creating a schism between our way of life and faith). As for civilization, I’m not even going to address that; it’s nothing but anti-African propaganda, enough said.

No, don’t get me wrong, I’m not going on a blame me everything on West rant. I see major blind spots in many westerners opinions about Zimbabwe, I’m just pointing them out.

Up on Global Voices

Please check out the redesigned Global Voices site. It is also where I have put up my latest post:

As the poor get poorer, the rich are only going to get richer in Zimbabwe. In this post, Mugabe Makaipa describes how Zimbabwe’s stock market has grown 12,000% over last year as it has become chief among the few safe places that people can hedge against inflation. With inflation skyrocketing, unemployment reaching 80%, the local bourse has simultaneously become a boon to the capitalist intentions of the few that are willing to make the risky investment in Zimbabwean stock too. Sadly, the economically elite are the only beneficiaries of the reeling economy that is in Zimbabwe.

In Zimbabwe, they are very few and far between.

Therefore, all of the rich people, government officials, and banks are putting their money into stocks so that it doesn’t lose value. Demand is high, so the price is too.

The everyday people of Zimbabwe don’t see any benefit to this, though. Their masters may not see it for much longer either. Stock prices on the index are obviously inflated and unsustainable. It’s only a matter of time before it comes crashing down, taking down many in its spiral.


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Conflicted: need some feedback

An online newspaper, Zimdaily, has apparently launched a campaign to out the children top ZANU-PF politicians. The idea is to encourage western host governments to expel these children back to Zimbabwe because of their parents purported anti-western politics.

if reality is anything to go by, Mugabe and his crooks in government favour western standards of ‘everything’ compared to Zimbabwe, a country they have reduced to a basket case.

ZimDaily has established that Mugabe and his colleagues in ZANU PF have over 300 kids studying in either US, UK and Australian universities and they are fears that these kids are being funded by tax payers in Zimbabwe.

This comes amid reports that Bona Mugabe, Mugabe’s daughter is attending the prestigious London School of Economics in England. The school has since refuted the claims.

The British government is also mulling plans to ban ZANU PF officials kids from attending educational institutions in the UK.

Take a look at this.

A fierce debate has erupted about this campaign. I’m conflicted about this. What do you think? Should this be thing that we as Zimbabweans be working at? Or do we have better tihngs invest our energies into?

Here are some of the people they have outed already; here, here, here, here, and here.

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Epistemology; why it is so difficult to understand the Zimbabwean crisis

When I started writing, I wanted to aire the rarely heard Zimbabwean perspective to a much broader audience. I wanted to express the thoughts and feelings that are mundanely exchanged between my fellow countrymen yet remain utterly inexistant to the rest of the world. I have had to make several protestations to my readers (most of whom are western) that they should not assume they can fully understand the Zimbabwean crisis from the casual brushes they have with our story on the news or on blogs (including mine). Many things remain uncovered, and many words remain unsaid; the truth, the whole truth remains pervasive.

A lot of what we see and hear about any situation, especially now in our cyber and media driven society, is just reality. Truth is a different thing altogether. Jacques Ellul, a French philosopher is famous for distinguishing a difference between truth and reality. Here’s my paraphrase: truth is what is; reality is what is now. Like a picture, reality captures a moment; it speaks to the here and now, but never beyond, and rarely to the before. Reality is evanescent. Truth on the other hand, is to me like a word, timeless in its import, and endless in its appeal. It reaches back into the recesses of time while simultaneously projecting perpertually into the future. There is a difference between truth and reality. Sadly, Neil Postman the American philosopher is correct in his assertion that along with unbridled progress on the developmenal continuum, western society is irrevocably shifting from being word and truth based, to being image and reality centered.

It is for this reason that I am not so chaffed when my country’s odyssey is attended to by such institutions of western media as the New York Times, BBC, CNN etc. I tend to be critical of their coverage, not because they always show the negatives in my country or because they treat us like we are bundle of constant problems. Simply put, my exception to western coverage of the Zimbabwean crisis is that they are western and therefore pander to western interests and more importantly relate things from the western perspective which is starkly different from our own here in Zimbabwe. Of course, there are many a time when the western media sometimes correctly report on Zimbabwe I am not arguing that point; my contention is that reporting it right is very different from understanding it from the same perspective as we do. Today’s media are obsessed with reality; in Postman’s words, media today have a “now this just in” mentality.

So it comes as no surprise to me that many people are baffled that I am willing to concede that Mugabe (cruel and regressive as he may be now,) has, in the past, worked for the good of Zimbabwe. I have been sometimes called a ‘marxist’ for admitting self evident truths about the history of Zimbabwe.

I bring all this up now because it sheds an important light on what has happened in my country over the past two weeks and how the west (both government and ordinary people) have interacted with it. (See this if you are not aware of what has taken place in Zimbabwe recently).

Cross posted on Global Voices

Following recent reports chronicling the decline in Zimbabwe’s HIV/AIDS prevalence, the spotlight has now been turned on to the effect anti-AIDS campaigns have wrought on traditional Zimbabwean morals and values:

Zimbabwe’s lead in condom use and condom sale worldwide has produced mixed reactions, with some sections of society welcoming the development, while others see it as a sign of “moral decay”.

Zimbabwe is the leading country in Africa in male condom use and sales — selling over 163 million male condoms and 3,8 million female condoms over the past five years. The 163 million male condoms sold represent the highest figure in Africa, while the 3,8 million female condoms figure sold represents the highest number of female condoms sold in the world.

A total of 900 000 female condoms were sold in 2005 alone, representing the highest per capita in any programme in the world so far.

But in an entry decrying the absence of service by the Harare City Council, Taurai at Kubatana illustrates how deeply mired the the pro-condom message can sometimes be,

There are some garbage bins in Harare that display colorful adverts for Protector Plus condoms. Part of the advert reads, “What the smart guys are wearing”: a great message but what a pity that most of the bins are overflowing with garbage that hasn’t been collected for days.


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Zimbo’s in America

Stanford Mukasa (Ph.D), is the most vocal of Zimbabwean citizen in the US. He pens this “Letter from America” for SW Radio highlighting recent efforts of Zimbos in the USA

Representatives from two US-based advocacy groups had a first- hand experience of just what the United Nations can or cannot do on the Zimbabwean crisis. But they also successfully lobbied for a discussion and resolution on bad governance and corruption.

The North American District of the MDC or NAD and the Association of Concerned Citizens in North America (ACZ) had been invited to participate at the informal interactive hearings to review the program of action for the Least Developed Countries and held at the United Nations. NAD will soon become the North American Province of the MDC.

Both NAD and ACZ had planned to have the Zimbabwean crisis placed on the agenda in the hope that the issue would be taken up by the Security Council or the General Assembly. The delegates had brought toughly worded statements calling for the United Nations to use its institutional resources to bring pressure to bear on Mugabe.

The ACZ statement contained five recommendations.

First, ACZ noted that, because the Mugabe regime is aware that is has lost the support and the legitimacy to rule the country it is now unrestrained in its use of force and coercion to maintain its rule in the country.

The United Nations has an international obligation to take effective measures to ensure the return of the rule of law, democracy and democratic governance in Zimbabwe.

Eddie Cross: Once more in to the breech

Morgan had lunch with a group of local business leaders this week. During the conversation he made the point that he would never have predicted that the Nationalist government in South Africa in 1989 would have accepted the changes that were about to break over the heads of all who lived in South Africa. They controlled all the instruments of the State, huge resources, the electoral system and the media. Domestically they seemed to be unassailable. Five years later they were defeated, out of power and the party that had dominated South Africa for the previous 45 years had disintegrated.

It happens. Never say the word “impossible” in politics.

Suddenly there is a new consensus in the international community about Zimbabwe. This replaces the assumed approach sculptured by Tony Blair at the G8 summit in mid 2005 when the G8 renewed its commitment to helping put the Zimbabwe economy back on its feet and its support for the approach proposed by the South Africans. After the Gleneagles summit, Thabo Mbeki has had a go at getting Mr. Mugabe to step aside and allow reform and recovery on three separate occasions and on each occasion he was frustrated by the local leadership.

Scenes From Tsvangirai’s UK Rally

Speculation continues on the actual number of people who attended Morgan Tsvangirai’s Leeds rally on Sunday. Zimbabwe Journalists estimates that a crowd of around 500 people gathered to hear the Tsvangirai and his team address diasporans on Sunday. This is pretty much a consensus figure I have thus surmized from various reports on the rally.

Here are pictures taken during the rally. All photos courtesy of Zimvigil.
Tsvangirai Leeds Rally

Tsvangirai Rally attendees

Tsvangirai Leeds in Song

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Tsvangirai’s Leeds Rally a Blockbuster

Preliminary reports from Zimdaily suggest that Morgan Tsvangirai’s Leeds Rally was attended several hundred people. If confirmed, these reports will confirm that Tsvangirai is undoubtedly more popular than Mutambara both at home and abroad.

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What is Mutambara Saying?

Can anyone make sense of the utterings from Arthur Mutambara’s two forked tongue? I mean the guy has been on a two week offensive in Europe, but I’m not sure I can distinguish what his platform is. If you followed last week’s London fiasco and listened to his remarks you hear a lot of rhetorical questions:

“What is your plan? What is your plan for taking power? Unoitei kanawapinda? (What are you going to do when you assume power?)

What we didin’t get from the acclaimed academic are his answers to those question. This boggling trend of his continued in his two part interview with SW Radio’s Violet Gonda

“Does Mutambara, – does the MDC that I represent – have a vision? Do they have a strategy from the crisis to the promised land. We should concentrate on the substance of the change that we want to bring about in our country. Sometimes we get caught up in the form of change. We want change, Mugabe must go, ZANU PF must go – but what are you going to do when you get into power? What’s your capacity as a party? What’s your vision for the country? What’s your strategy? What is it that makes you relevant to Zimbabwe, also, what are your principles and values? Do you believe in non violence, are you tolerant, do you believe in democracy, do you believe in collective decision making processes. Are you a democrat? Not only do you believe in these things, but do you walk the talk?”

While good at posing them, Mutambara offers no answers to these questions for himself. So I wonder, does he have a plan? If so when will he present it and will he be able to execute it?

If he has a plan are we supposed to pick it up from conflicting sentiments? On the one hand he claims he is more opposed to Mugabe than the Tsvangirai camp, yet on the other hand he claims he will work them towards toppling Mugabe. In one breathe he’ll refute claims that Tsvangirai’s congress was attended by 15,000 people (he calls it a rally claiming congresses can only be attended by 5,000 delegates), but in the next claim he was elected by 15,000 at the Bulawayo congress of his party. One moment he speaks about being committed to non-violence but the next he boldly claims he is for jambanja (slang for violence). He speaks out against Tsvangirai’s involvement in this weekend’s election in Budiriro yet his group is fielding a candidate in same election. And wasn’t his faction that forced the MDC to contest in 2005 senate elections?