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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Court personnel flee as the state fails to prefer charges against opposition activists

Despite enduring grotesque torture while in custody, Morgan Tsvangirai and the other MDC activists arrested on Sunday had to endure a two hour stalemate at the Rotten Row court complex as the personnel fled their posts. In a scene symbolizing the departure of justce from Zimbabwe, court staffers were no where to be found when over 50 detainees were brought before the court. This despite a standing order from the high court reinforcing the victims’ constitutional right to a speedy trial. Zimonline has an eyewitness recount of the ordeal;

Then the Zimbabwean justice system exposed itself once more to the world.

For more than two hours, we all waited for the remand hearing, hoping to hear what crime these political civic and political leaders had committed. For more than two hours, nothing happened.

No court official or magistrate turned up to kick off the hearing.

Then Advocate Eric Matinenga, representing Tsvangirai and his colleagues, stood and told the courtroom that all the court officials had fled their chambers. There was no one to hear the case.

This was clearly in contempt of court. On Monday night, High Court Judge Chinembiri Bhunu had ruled that all the arrested people should have access to legal and medical assistance, failure of which the State had to produce all the detainees at 8am the following morning.


Drugged soldiers brutalized Tsvangirai

In one of the most harrowing accounts of the brutal beating endured by Tsvangirai, it has emerged that it was in fact the army that was unleashed on the opposition leadership.

A crack Commando unit based at the army’s Cranborne Barracks in Harare was responsible for the brutal torture of Morgan Tsvangirai and other opposition leaders on Sunday, according to a police officer who witnessed the assault.

The police officer, who is based at Machipisa Police Station in Highfield suburb, said Tsvangirai and the other opposition leaders were tortured for close to two hours by drugged soldiers disguised as police officers.

In an interview with ZimOnline on Tuesday, the police officer who cannot be named for security reasons, said: “I have been in the police force for three years, and I have been involved in the assault of suspects.

“But what I saw on Sunday was not assault. It was attempted murder, especially on Tsvangirai, Madhuku and Kwinjeh (Grace, the MDC deputy secretary for international affairs)”

Tsvangirai fainted three times during the murderous assault.

In a harrowing narration of what transpired behind the police walls to our correspondent in Harare, the police officer, speaking in hushed tones, said 12 Commandoes from Cranborne Barracks were responsible for the assault.

Even police officers were unnerved by the seriousness and brutality of the assault.

“They (soldiers) were dressed in police uniform and had bloodshot eyes. They told us they were police officers, but I managed to identify them as Commandoes because of the green army belts they were wearing on top of the uniforms.

“Only commandoes wear those. One of them announced that they had smoked a special grade of marijuana for the special mission. I witnessed the whole incident. Police officers from Machipisa were not involved. We were stunned at the ruthlessness.

“They were shouting and telling Tsvangirai that they could kill him on that night and nothing would happen to them,” said the officer.

The police officer said the beatings started at 11.45pm and lasted for more than two hours.

Read the complete account here.

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Police murder man; arrest and torture opposition leadership

It has been a rough weekend for the MDC; not only were the two leaders of the party arrested and tortured, the police killed an opposition activist, and the state press blamed the MDC for the violence.

This from Monday’s edition of the state controlled Herald newspapers;

ONE person was shot dead by police and three police officers severely injured during an attack by MDC thugs, while opposition faction leaders Morgan Tsvangirai and Arthur Mutambara were arrested for inciting people to engage in violence.

Other opposition leaders picked up were the Tsvangirai faction secretary general Tendai Biti, organising secretary Elias Mudzuri, Grace Kwinje, Sekai Holland and Job Sikhala, the latter aligned to the Mutambara faction.

National Constitutional Assembly chairman Lovemore Madhuku was also arrested, ZBC News reported last night.

Police said the opposition leaders were observed going around Highfield inciting people to engage in violent activities.

Various opposition groups and civic organisations had planned to hold a political rally at Zimbabwe Grounds disguised as a prayer meeting.

Kubatana observantly notes that

The Herald is correct I think – it wasn’t a prayer meeting) which was disrupted by the ZRP in Highfields in Harare.

The media in Zimbabwe is owned and operated by the Mugabe regime. So Sunday’s aftermath, aka how the events are being portrayed, is in the hands of the State. Zimbabweans, since last night, are being force fed a diet of MDC thuggery, non-attendance and opposition violence.

This makes me wonder when the pro-democracy movement will get its act together in terms of creating its own robust media and information response unit.

Anyone who’s been following developments in Zimbabwe is hardly surprised it came to this for the Tsvangirai and Mutambara. ZANU-PF is scared of the opposition and real possibility they maybe faced with an insurmountable tide of anger. This is part of their fight or flight response to certain danger. Still, that doesn’t excuse the egregious human rights violations.

Here’s how bad things are inside the torture camps

The methods of torture are beating all over the body with baton sticks, falanga (beating the feet), pulling their teeth so they become loose, tying hands and feet together and hanging them up like that while they beat them. As I receive many of them at a medical facility in the city, I see it with my own eyes and hear their stories first hand.

What must be remembered is that severe torture, including the falanga, has long term effects, not just psychologically but also physically. The generally unknown statistics are those torture victims who die a year or two later as a result of the torture.

What the state is doing now is tantamount to another form of Genocide – “systematically dealing with the out group”. But no-one likes to recognise it as such. “It is too strong a word” I was told by the EU representative for Human rights two years ago when I presented them with a photographic record of five years of HR’s abuses in Zimbabwe. And warned them that much worse was still to come! If “that word” is used, then it means the UN and others are obliged to do something.

We know, as does the rest of the world, that the UN only acts “too late, with too little”. Ruwanda is the most horrific and recent example of this. The indications are here for us to see, the utterances by the misruling party make no bones about how they intend to deal with the opposition, and the armed forces (which includes the militia) have explicit instructions. I hope I am mistaken, but I do feel that bloodshed is not far off.

I hope that prediction is wrong.

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Eddie Cross: New Beginnings

Better late than never.

The damage done by the split in the ranks of the MDC in October last year is now almost fully repaired. The reasons for the decision of a small group of leaders to leave the Movement and form a new political grouping are still unclear. But whatever the motivation I think they now realize that the exercise has taken them into a cul de sac.

MDC has regrouped and restructured around Morgan Tsvangirai and the newly elected leadership is beginning to function well. There are some very significant new players drawn from the academic world and the team of 15 policy portfolio secretaries is starting to work together to craft appropriate and effective new policy positions to assist in the eventual rehabilitation and reconstruction of our society and economy.

This process has not been easy or without pain. We continue to miss certain of the leadership that hived off into the new group and we eventually hope they will join the 30 or so leaders who have returned to the main wing of the MDC under its new leadership. These are now gradually being integrated into the structures of the Party and hopefully, this process will eventually heal the wounds in the ranks of the opposition.

Eddie Cross; Tsvangirai’s speech from the weekend

On Saturday, the Churches in Zimbabwe held a National Convention to debate the crisis in Zimbabwe and the way forward. The meetiung attracted a large number of delegates – 300 plus – and representatives of the Unions, Civic groups and 5 political parties attended. The meeting was chaired and fascilitated by the Christian Alliance.

Morgan Tsvangirai played a key role and this is his address to the Convention. Because of time constraints he did not read this at the meeting but spoke to it. It makes interesting reading and I commend it to you. In addition to this speech, Morgan called all five political leaders to the podium to pledge their commitment to unity of purpose and action in the weeks ahead. The road map was accepted as was a draft “democracy charter”. All constituent bodies are now being asked to register as part of a “Broad Aliance to Save Zimbabwe” and within 7 days the leaders of this Alliance will meet to agree on a combined action progragramme designed to force Zanu PF to come to the negotiating table.

Eddie Cross
Bulawayo, 31 July 2006.

Tsvangirai address the Save Zimbabwe convention
Political Perspectives to the national crisis

Address by Morgan Tsvangirai, President of the Movement for Democratic Change at the Save Zimbabwe Convention, Harare, Zimbabwe.

29 July 2006

May I open my address by thanking civil society and the people of Zimbabwe for staying the course? Against all odds, civil society has never wavered on matters of principle. You are with the people, as always. The record speaks for itself. In colonial times, it was the church, student movements and trade unions that spearheaded the struggle for freedom. After Independence, the people remained vigilant, constantly demanding their democratic space.

At the end of the first decade of our Independence, it became clear that our revolution was fast losing track. An avaricious nationalistic clique had abandoned the ideals of the liberation struggle. Corruption began to flourish. Our nation’s political leadership began to lose their focus. The labour movement came under pressure from the workers to de-link itself from that ruling elite. The ZCTU declared its autonomy from Zanu PF. We were informed and guided by the workers whose welfare was now on the block.

The workers were concerned by a steady erosion of their gains since Independence and decided to confront both their employers and the government. The people raised their voices and demanded their space. Part of Zanu PF’s response included far-reaching legislative changes to restrict academic freedom. This invited the anger of students and progressive intellectuals. They, too, like the workers, declared a rights dispute with the government. After the unification of Zanu PF and PF ZAPU and the declaration of intent to establish a one-party state, Zimbabweans realized that they faced a hard transition and began to search for political alternatives.

The introduction of Economic Structural Adjustment Programme in 1991 heightened the ideological confusion in Zanu PF and opened the way for even greater confrontation between the workers, the church, students and all advocates of free political space. We felt then that part of the problem lay with the Lancaster House Constitution. We began to agitate for a new Constitution. This led to the formation of the Constitutional Movement in the mid-nineties. After years of struggle along this route, we met as the National Working Peoples’ Convention to debate our fate.

The National Working Peoples’ Convention
In short, the National Working Peoples’ Convention decided then to form an alternative political movement to take on Zanu PF. We agreed, as civil society, to challenge Zanu PF and to attend to pressing governance issues whose contagion cut across our political, social and economic life. Seven months later, the Movement for Democratic Change, MDC, became a reality. In February, Zanu PF tested his first defeat in a national referendum to decide on a government drafted Constitution.

That was another major turning point in Zimbabwe. It was a people’s
victory. This was the first victory for civil society. It is not my
intention at this forum to chronicle six years of struggle and intense political activity in Zimbabwe. But let me place on record that a wounded Mugabe, in response to the crisis, targeted the people. Mugabe declared a war with the people. Mugabe declared a war with the world. The aim was to stretch the MDC and to test the people’s resilience and seriousness. Unlike his peers, Mugabe failed to work out an exit strategy when it was clear that he had outlived his usefulness.

For two decades, our national and institutional systems failed to address growing internal frictions and tensions arising from a self-created crisis of governance. The existing institutions and governance methods no longer worked. To this day, Zimbabwe finds itself saddled with persistent political imbalances, which can no longer be sustained because of numerous political deficits. However, these imbalances and policy flip-flops, which have affected all of us, show a dictatorship flame-out that should offer us a superb opportunity to start afresh.

Together, we are bearing the brunt of the social, economic and political costs of the dictatorship. The MDC, as you all know is an institution that arose from a resolution of the National Working People’s Convention. The MDC is the political face of the people’s struggle. The MDC is a mere symbol of the people’s resistance. But the bulk of the work rests with all of us, with the people, through the party, civil society and through you. The view of the National Working People’s Convention was that a political alternative should challenge the status quo and to bring about change. The birth of the MDC was a people’s response to an unbearable set of circumstances around them.

Our main strategy was to take on the regime at the ballot box. We succeed in this approach. But the people were unable to assume power. The dictatorship responded in a manner that has surprised the world. It is fair to note that on our part, we seriously under-estimated the dictator’s ability and determination to defy reasonable opinion. As we review the performance of the entire democratic movement, an opportunity presents itself for self-introspection. It is a fact that the MDC is still more of a broad-based movement than a political party in the strict sense of the word. We draw our support from everywhere, literally. Our support emerges from any person keen to see a new dispensation, a new democratic framework, and a New Zimbabwe. While some in civil society may argue that they have no vested interest in attaining political power as individuals, they remain an indispensable part of this liberation culture.

After February 2000 and the wholesale destabilization of commercial agriculture and the rule of law, the MDC attracted millions of new members, new supporters, new sympathizers and new allies whose ideological positions were at variance with the thrust of the initiators of the MDC project.

Conservatives, liberals, democrats, socialists, patriots, anarchists and extremists in our society and beyond found a home in the MDC, creating a mix that was not only difficult to manage but highly open to infiltration, manipulation and opportunism.

The mix became pronounced more glaringly in our international relations regime. Liberal democrats sought an association with us; so did the conservatives and liberals. They invited us to join their international solidarity groups and to take up membership of the same. But our ideology, Mr Chairman, ladies and gentlemen, is social democracy. Quite often we were embarrassed to be lumped in the same basket with rebel African rag-tag and ornamental opposition forces and extremely conservative and racial units. These contradictions have earned us a lot of misunderstandings and sometimes open hostility.

Our goal is to complete the unfinished agenda of the liberation struggle: to extend the people’s freedoms. Our objective remains and has always been to search for a lasting solution to the national crisis. Our vision is a New Zimbabwe.

We have tried everything: elections, dialogue, local and international lobbying, symbolic mass action, judicial redress and the law, and Parliamentary pressure. We know something out of all that. While we made some inroads here and there in exposing the weaknesses of the dictatorship, we believe we now have to break new ground in order to make real progress.

The experiences of the past six years are instructive. Countrywide, the people are demanding a short final phase of the struggle. We all realize that a long struggle wears down its own activists and supporters. A long struggle tends to be overwhelmed by unexpected challenges and changed circumstances. Many expected a short and clean sweep, but that was not be. We have to be realistic: you can’t put time frames to a struggle of this nature. Together, we have been exposed to a serious onslaught from the regime. That onslaught almost disorganized us.

The final phase of our struggle
As we enter the decisive and final phase of our struggle, allow me Mr. Chairman, ladies and gentlemen to reflect on my experience and to attempt to place a forecast on what lies before us. The roots of this struggle reside on a serious national grievance: a grievance that is at the heart of our national politics. The MDC represents a rallying cry for the fulfilment of an uncompleted national agenda, a national assignment and a national revolution.

We cherish a value system that bound us together to confront colonialism. Zimbabweans always believed in, and even fought for, justice. We respect our dignity. The concept of hunhu hwe munhu or ubuntu, has guided our relations in our homes, in our communities and in our natural interactions with our neighbours from time immemorial. We long for liberty and personal advancement. We aspire for a society with equal opportunities. Our culture calls on us to support each other. We believe in stability and empathy. As a people, we are natural social democrats.

Zimbabweans look in hope and a deep longing for a united nation. Inside our chests moves a spirit that seeks to express freely the basic traits of our common humanity and togetherness, which for so long has been suppressed and negatively exploited by a variety of political parasites.

We feel betrayed because we never expected the nationalistic elite to simply replace the colonial administrator at Independence and perpetuate inequality, political corruption and divisions in our society. We question the seriousness and the changed, modern-day credentials of the new minority in our midst, the new elite in power. We realized that Zanu PF’s equality debate was flawed right from the beginning – it was based on a narrow principle of equality across race and colour. The party failed to see beyond this, such that today, we live in a society soaked in black-on-black oppression.

Colonialism taught us that a minority always tampers with our national values. A minority thrives on a patronage system. A minority develops cartels and breeds corruption. And when challenged, a greedy minority in power often retreats into a distorted form of nationalism and invokes fears of the unknown; a minority looks to our colonial past for opportunistic and comparative defence.

As I said earlier, after 20 years of abuse our national institutions and systems gave in. The crisis of governance reached a stage when it was no longer possible to keep the lid on. The people refused to be cowed into submission. Today, Zimbabweans desire and demand a leadership, at all levels, with a clear vision, a national sense of modesty, and much courage, born of honest and patriotic concern to articulate our common humanity, our common goals and our Zimbabwean identity within the global community.

Zimbabweans are keen to restore their confidence in the concept of public service and public good. After a serious bruising and more than two decades of unfulfilled promises and political deception, the people eagerly wait for leaders with hearts and minds large enough for the urgent task of attending to our immediate humanitarian emergencies, national healing, national reconstruction, justice and equality. There is a national consensus accepting that it will take a great deal of hard work, personal humility and patriotism to bring us together and rebuild our tattered lives and our shattered nation.

Zimbabweans expect an extension of a system of values that celebrates the sanctity of life and an unfettered extension of freedom. As a people at the heart of danger and struggling with hard transition, we must exercise caution and demand irreversible safeguards to insulate the nation against possible future abuse, regardless of who is in power. The people expect a permanent opening for liberty, personal security and collective advancement. We risk sliding into a form of generational irrelevance; we risk permanent national disability unless we show leadership and confront the dictatorship at a time when literally the nation is fully behind us.

More than at any juncture in the past, this is certainly the time we must take a proactive stance and work out the necessary political and institutional arrangements that will form the basis of a broadly shared sustainable solution to the crisis. The crisis here may be clear to every Zimbabwean, but not to Robert Mugabe and a few of powerful cronies and associates. Their mental block has become a major source of national implosion. Mugabe and his team are failing to connect with something larger than their personal egos. As a result, their leadership is unable to give Zimbabwean life any meaning at all.

We believe the time has come for Robert Mugabe to step aside because he has become an unacceptable national liability. He has lost himself. He seems stuck in a time warp and within the myth of measurement, propelling him to think that if he goes, Zimbabwe will varnish. In life, you cannot measure what you have done, especially that which is good. We recognize Mugabe’s contribution to the liberation struggle. However, we differ with his apparent reluctance to take an exit package and to enjoy, in retirement, an otherwise noble position as one of the icons of the liberation struggle and a founding father of modern Zimbabwe.

We find discomfort in his insistence to cling on to power, run the country aground and destroy the future of millions of young people. We believe he no longer has the ideas and the energy to grapple with the needs of a new generation to pilot the ship of state in the right direction. But, we still need him to assist us in this transition because while he is the source of the problem and he is also part of the solution.

With his concurrence and influence, we can soft-land the crisis; achieve our main goal of completing the unfinished business from the liberation struggle and realize our vision of a new Zimbabwe. If Mugabe allows Zimbabweans today to search for an honest national solution, the discussion will be over in a few hours because we all know and agree on what needs to be done to impel the nation out of the woods. Leadership must give meanings to the lives of others. Leadership requires an honest application of love and an open heart.

Mr. Chairman, ladies and gentlemen, the MDC is fully behind an orderly transition to a new Zimbabwe. We are against any form of retribution. We are against the use of force to settle political scores. We pledge to allow the past to guide, and not to derail, us as we work into the future. We shall never allow history and our personal preferences or grievances to interfere with this vision.

We support a democracy charter as a moral, contractual barometer for our society and a guiding expression of our national values, regardless of who is in government. We are unhappy with the unnecessary delay in resolving our national crisis at a time when all Zimbabweans, across the political divide, are agreed on the fundamental issues confronting our country.

We are dismayed that despite the national consensus on the need for a new Zimbabwe, some among us wish to see Zimbabwe burn when we know our problem and politically we have the solutions. For instance, the nation accepts and expects a new Constitution, good governance and a compassionate state, economic revival, land and agrarian reform, respect for private property rights, direct foreign investment and international legitimacy, food security, an open government, strong national institutions and jobs. We sincerely believe Zimbabwe must move fast and sort itself out because of the geo-political, social and economic developments facing the SADC region. In 2010, the region, led by South Africa, hosts the soccer World Cup.

As I said earlier, there is a real possibility of creating a dangerous political vacuum in Zimbabwe. Together with Mugabe and Zanu PF, we must seek a way to avoid further damage to our nation. We need everybody in this delicate transition. As a nation, we must manage that process; otherwise the 2010 World Cup shall be marred by a political blot. A military junta could step in to fill the possible political vacuum.

Already Mugabe, conscious of his advanced age and with a view to increase his own security, has militarised our main national institutions: power generation and supply, food production, food procurement and food security, fuel management and distribution, national parks and wildlife management, agriculture, industry and commerce, election management and administration, key civil service departments and parastatals, land distribution and local government. The entire state sector is now in the hands of the military.

In theory, there may be nothing wrong with military personnel offering assistance to a beleaguered regime on behalf of the people. But our experience in Zimbabwe is unique. In 2002 and thereafter, the military took over the administration and management of national elections, with disastrous results. We have it on record that some ambitious elements in the military harbour a negative view of the people’s sovereign right to elect a government of their choice.

International attention shall shift radically to Southern Africa over the next four years as the region prepares for the international soccer competition. Our crisis shall interfere with regional harmony if we continue to postpone the inevitable. A solution is urgent because of the historic task ahead. Zimbabwe needs to embark on a major reconstruction agenda and to re-set its mind and consciousness in order to play a meaningful part in the hosting of the World Cup.

History will judge us harshly if we allow our own internal problems to soil this critical event with, as expected, haphazard migration across the Limpopo, squabbles over disputed elections, lack of political space, a flawed Constitution, starvation and insecurity and bad governance.

Although Germany played host to the 2006 World Cup, 13 European nations participated and assisted in one way or the other. Europe housed and provided facilities to various national teams, visitors and official delegations before the official kick-off of the competition. We are hosting the World Cup. Let us join the region in the preparations for this event.

We are therefore proposing that we deal with our national issues way before 2010, better still three or four years before this international showcase to allow us to rehabilitate our nation, recover our national pride and dignity and play our complimentary role in hosting the World Cup. Let us avoid alienating ourselves further from our neighbours. We must work together to re-open our links with the rest of the business community and participate, as a stable community, in international events. At the moment, we are simply an irritant, a gadfly ready to muddy a noble cause in 2010. We hope and pray that Robert Mugabe and Zanu PF understand that as Zimbabweans we have a responsibility, a duty to our people and to the region.

In conclusion, Mr. Chairman, ladies and gentlemen, while some in this struggle may feel tortured and betrayed, powerless and hopeless, my sincere advice to the people is: stay the course and lead with an open heart. Let us remain compassionate in our search for a lasting solution to the national crisis. Let us pay attention to the people’s pain, against all odds.

I thank you.

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Eddie Cross: The Big Dick

We have had quite a week. On Wednesday evening two vehicles parked outside our home with about 8 men in them. We are always on the watch for this sort of thing – it could be the Police, or politically motivated thugs or simply thieves. For this reason we have a night guard on duty from 6 to 6.

When these men were still there at 20.00 hrs I called the armed reaction unit of a security company and they arrived in 15 minutes or so. They questioned the group and were told that they were “police”. At 18.30 hrs our neighbors had fired a warning shot to persuade the group to move but they had only shifted their locale to a spot closer to us. I therefore thought it unlikely that they were “police”.

At 22.00 hrs I called the Police and they arrived in strength (about 12 men) at 23.30 hrs. They also spoke to the group and then came to see me. They took statements from our staff and myself and then after looking around they left, leaving two uniformed officers on duty at the house – I was mystified! Who were these guys and what were they doing? The Police had given me no clue.

Desperate for Attention, Moyo “Advises” Tsvangirai

Deposed information minister and political turncoat Jonathan Moyo is out courting ire of Zimbabweans again. This time, he used a long diatribe titled Beyond Budiriro in which assumes a lofty position of wisdom and attempts to dish advice to the MDC. Roundly castigated for his oppressive role in crafting AIPPA (Zimbabwe’s unliked media regulation law), Moyo, now Zimbabwe’s lone independent parliamenterian is seemingly desperate to rejuvinate his political career.

In the piece, Moyo asserts among other things that Tsvangirai is myopically obsessed with the idea of asserting his faction of the MDC as the “real MDC.” In so doing Moyo counters, Tsvangirayi is foolishing extrapolating his popularity within the MDC to reach across to all other Zimbabweans. Like the long slumbering Rip Van Winkel, Moyo seems oblivious to what has been going on around him; Tsvangirayi has been going around the country courting all Zimbabweans to respond to a national agenda for progress and the end of tyranny. This idea that his travels are intended solely for flexing his political muscle is far fetched at best.

Building on the fallacy that Tsvangirayi is operating from the throes of self aggrandizing ambition, Moyo “challenges” Tsvangirai to pursue the building of a “coalition of the willing” of sorts. It is clear Moyo writes from the deluded assumption that politics in Zimbabwe remains an esoteric confine accesible and malleable only to the elite and the educated. Alas, those days are long gone in Zimbabwe. Fortunately, the new generation of politicians on the rise in Zimbabwe (which include Tsvangirayi and Mutambara but not Moyo) have latched onto this already. This is why they are travelling so extensively and are reaching out to ordinary Zimbabweans.

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?