Pajamas Media interview

It seems last week was the week of interviews for yours truly. I appreciate the feedback left by those who stopped by even those who remain critics of our efforts to chronicle the Zimbabwean story. Undaunted by circumstance or criticism, we’ll continue to tell you the Zimbabwean story from an unheard perspective. This is an excerpt from my interview Richard Fernandez of Pajamas Media.

PJM: What happens next in Zimbabwe?

Zimpundit: This crisis continues while the world watches. With no oil, or “national security” interest for western powerhouses like the US, Zimbabweans are on their own as they continue to bear the brunt of the leadership’s poor choices.

South Africa, our biggest trade partner won’t intervene either because Mbeki considers Mugabe one of his own or because he’s enviously hatching plans to carry out his own atrocities, or both.

Zimbabweans must find it in themselves to negotiate a way out of the present situation. It will take more lives, it will take more suffering, it will take more pain, but we have no other choice.

The MDC leadership will be released with no charges because the state has no case against them. I suspect, having been brutalized once, both Mutambara and Tsvangirai will be out again urging people stand up against the cruel regime. And they’ll both have stronger credibility.

Because of their visible wounds and the fact that they have sacrificed their own bodies and led by example, more people will listen to them. Their wounds and tales of brutality have the potential to spell an end to ZANU-PF’s tyranny. If the government thinks they are going to get the MDC to back down, they have a surprise coming.

PJM: Are there any red lines left?

Zimpundit: The only thing remaining to happen is a public ground swell of people refusing to stand the oppression any longer. Zimbabweans have been pushed long enough, they’ve suffered long enough, all that remains is that their anguish be channeled toward one central place.

Sooner rather than later, there will be an out pouring of rage against the oppression. The economy has yet to grind to a complete stop. Keep in mind that it was the Tsvangirai led crowds that stoppped the nation in its tracks back in 1998 protesting against the cost of living. History has a funny way of repeating itself.

Richard also found some very interesting videos to go along with the article he wrote. Be sure to check both videos for some historical perspective.

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BBC interview

Welcome to our readers coming over from the BBC. Analysts and pundits across the board are now firmly confirming the assertions I make in the interview. See this and this.

One of the hottest issues I am being asked about is the issue of hope; is there hope for Zimbabwe? I think this is one of the most overlooked aspects to this whole thing. People are desperately pining for a better Zimbabwe. With the nation in shamble as it is, there can only be hope. The impetus behind the people who were out on the streets on Sunday isn’t exclusively about what is going on in the country today; it is in large part about what Zimbabwean hope and know our nation can and will become tomorrow. The reality long sunk in that Zimbabwe has little to offer today, but we remain inspired by prospects of a better Zimbabwe tomorrow. There is a lot of hope in Zimbabwe, it’s all people can have.

For those of you not in the know, I did an interview with BBC’s Chris Vallance yesterday;

Q – What’s behind the latest crackdown?
It’s fear. The last two weeks have been absolutely horrendous for this regime. They are now faced with a reality they never thought they’d face; people willingly walking into the paths of their vicious police. Now that they’ve tortured the MDC leadership this early in the game, the government has ironically upped the proverbial ante. Tsvangirai and Mutambara have nothing left to fear having been deep into the dredges of Zimbabwe’s hellish torture system and come back from resolute to continue with their protest for a better Zimbabwe. In the past, people feared public demonstrations because they felt they were being used as political pawns by leaders who didn’t want to endure the the wrath of the police on their own. Tsvangirai and Mutambara have, because of this incident gained more credibility with people. Look for this incident to spawn of more the same kind of protest.
Q – Have you noticed a change in the public mood lately?
The thing that I’m constantly hearing of is tension. There is a palatable unrelenting tension across the country. We’re sitting on a knife’s edge. Imagine waking up one day only to see police armed up to the teeth patrolling your neighborhood indiscreminantly assaulting people and then never going away. This what many poor, unarmed, peaceloving Zimbabweans are enduring.
Q -How do you think this situation will play out?
The MDC leadership have already announced that they will be going back on the streets to the people to ask for the people’s help in hastening the process towards a better Zimbabwean. I’m of the opinion more people will come out and start working on a better Zimbabwe because the state of the nation is beyond deplorable. Even when this government isn’t shooting at unarmed demonstrators or mourners at a funeral, innocent people are still dying. Almost 40 people were killed when a state owned train collided with a bus, don’t you think someone in government could responsibility for some kind of role in this? As for the rest of the world, they will continue to ignore our plight because we don’t have any oil to offer Western powerhouse and because Mugabe remains a demigod to many African leaders today.

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  • Yesterday, the second day of the second session of Zimbabwe’s sixth parliament, the government presented the dreaded Interception of Communications Bill (ICB) reports Zimbabwe Journalists. This development essentially means the bill only two steps from promulgation. Before it can be voted on in august house, the ICB shall be evaluated for constitutional consistentcy by the Parliamentary Legal Committe. Of course, this the same legal committe that gave the nod to the electoral act which empowered the chief justice to unilaterally appoint judges to the electoral court giving ZANU-PF unchecked access to the electoral legislative process. The Electoral Act has since been struck down because it does not honor the constitutional mandate that judges be appointed (by the president) and confirmed by parliament. See this. Once assented by the legal committe, the bill will go before the main floor where it will be voted on by the legislators. Since ZANU-PF has control of both houses of the legislature, there’s little doubt the bill will pass and be gazetted as law in short order. Details about Communications Monitoring Center, which the bill proposes to establish, still remain unclear. What is clear however, is effect such a proposal has on the freedom of expression of the Zimbabwean people. This is Zimbabwe the prominent blog of the Sokwanele/Zvakwana civic action groups appears to have folded. Many of us involved in Zimbabwean cyber activism are now in limbo as we are unsure how the new law will affect our wellbeing. We’ve always known ZANU has little sympathy for the things we do, now they will have legal sanction to snoop and harass those us working to tell the story as we see it. With little recourse left, all we can do is wait to see how the law will affect our lives. Technorati Tags: , , , , (0)

Information Minister Dead

Both New Zimbabwe and Zimbabwe Journalists are reporting the death of Zimbabwe’s information minister Tichaona Jokonya early Saturday morning.

Jokonya, who took over the controversial ministry from Jonathan Moyo had previously been Zimbabwe’s ambassador to the UN.

There had been longrunning rumors that he had been unwell.

According to New Zimbabwe,

Jokonya’s body was recovered from a bath tub of the Rainbow Towers Hotel, formerly Sheraton Hotel, in Harare.

He had booked a 16th floor room and when he failed to answer the door to his bodyguard, hotel staff forced open the door.

It is not known if there was any other person in the room with Jokonya who has a house in Harare and lived with his wife, Winnie Friede and children.

After taking over the information portfolio, Jokonya had, until last Wednesday, done little to reverse his ministry’s legacy of mantaining ZANU-PF’s absolute monarchy on Zimbabwe’s information outlets, and dealing harshly with independent media. On Wednesday, the formerly mild Jokonya boldly announced he was going recentralize the operational structure of ZBH, a wholly owned parastatal, and Zimbabwe’s sole radio and T.V. broadcaster. The move, which will eradicate the national broadcaster’s “small business units” was Jokonya’s first real challenge to the establishment left by Moyo.
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