Among other things, the opinions of a former member of the Zimbabwe Republic Police force. My take on the world in general and one thing in particular - a commentary on the current situation in Zimbabwe. I am not a journalist, nor a political activist, but I am a man with a conscience. Hence, this page is my civic responsibility. The more people that hear about the devastating rule in Zimbabwe and the problems therein, the better!

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Wednesday, 30th May 2007

Howzit

I installed Google Notebook yesterday evening and was astounded to find that a whole bunch of settings on my blog changed! Fonts in the main posting column have changed, whilst fonts in the sidebar have grown! Even if I uninstall Notebook, nothing I can do will change the settings back. I suspect that this has something to do with Blogger 2 which I am not totally impressed with... {EDIT: Okay, I have managed to sort the grown fonts in the sidebar, but can't seem to get the font in this column to change - so I might just leave it as it really doesn't look that bad! ENDS}

{REDIT: The link to this essay - "Let Africa Sink" - by Kim du Toitwas sen to me by a friend in RSA - cheers CG! - and it took me a while to get to it as I am juggling about a million jobs - ever tried to juggle one handed? - but I am glad that I took my time, as when I read it, instead of rejecting it, it made loads of sense to me. Read it here... ENDS}

Foreign currency exchange mid-rates updated...

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A new report on the Gukurahundi has been released. Taken from the "This Is Zimbabwe" blog the article said: "It is ten years since the original publication of ‘Breaking the Silence: A Report on the Disturbances in Matabeleland and the Midlands’ (by the Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace (CCJP) and the Legal Resources Foundation (LRF)). We are delighted to let you know that the report has been re-published in book form by the South African publishing house Jacana under the title ‘Gukurahundi in Zimbabwe’.

Gukurahundi is a traditional Shona word, which means ‘the early rain which washes away the chaff before the spring rains.’ It is the word chosen by the Mugabe regime to describe a military operation against a civilian population during the 1980s."

Regular readers will know that I was based in Matabeleland South Province districts during this time and that my book "Without Honour" focuses on my experiences as a policeman at that time...

The report "Breaking the Silence" is available to download here.

"Five Brigade passed first through Tsholotsho, spreading out rapidly through Lupane and Nkayi, and their impact on all these communal areas was shocking. Within the space of six weeks more than 2000 civilians had died, hundreds of homesteads had been burnt and thousands of civilians had been beaten. Most of the dead were killed in public executions involving between one and 12 people at a time."

I am glad that this book has been released as if just a handful of people become aware of the gross atrocities committed on Mugabe's direct orders, perhaps someone in the world will motivate someone else to do something about this man...

"The solution is a military one. Their grievances are unfounded. The verdict of the voters was cast in 1980. They should have accepted defeat then… The situation in Matabeleland is one that requires a change. The people must be reoriented."

I do agree with the comparison drawn between the Gukurahundi and Murambatsvina.

"We only need to look at the language used by ZANU PF to see a recurring pattern in thinking: Gukurahundi (1980s) - ‘the early rain which washes away the chaff’, and, Murambatsvina (2000s) - ‘clearing out the trash’. The ‘chaff’ and the ‘trash’ being anyone who dares disagree or challenge the power of Robert Mugabe, or anyone that Mugabe thinks might one day in the future disagree with him or challenge his power."

Gukurahundi in Zimbabwe (Price: R189.00)
Sub-title: A Report on the Disturbances in Matabeleland and the Midlands 1980-198
BP-B12
EAN : 9781770092075
Publisher : Jacana Media Pty Ltd
Country of publication: South Africa
Exclusive Books website: http://www.exclusivebooks.com/
Publisher’s website: http://www.jacana.co.za

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Before I even read this article I was aware that ZANU PF say that they are doing SADC a favour by looking at negotiations. They say that they have no need to speak to the MDC.

With an attitude like that, coupled together with the fact that Mbeki has issued conditions to the MDC but not the ruling party, it is apparent that any negotiating table will not be level.

And the political crackdown in Zimbabwe continues.

"South Africa Foreign Affairs Minister Nkosana Dlamini-Zuma on Tuesday said the success of President Thabo Mbeki's mediation in Zimbabwe would only succeed if the Zimbabweans themselves were serious in resolving the seven-year old crisis."

Which would read as if the Zimbabweans do not want the situation resolved! What a load of piffle! Does this man, himself holding a senior office in an African government, really think that the people of Zimbabwe are content to live under Mugabe's repressive rule, with an inflation figure officially approaching the 4000% mark, with little or no cash flow, medical services, education, employment and, probably most importantly, food?

This sort of article makes me VERY angry - because it leaves the reader believing that the situation in Zimbabwe was people driven... Far from it! The situation in Zimbabwe is driven by one man, who sees nobody else's needs but his own, and having satisfied his needs, goes on to accrue riches and luxuries that most people can only imagine...

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So in Zimbabwe, apart from having to pay an incredibly high amount in school fees, if your child is a boarder, you are obliged to send that child to the hostel with their own supply of food!

"School heads in Zimbabwe have ordered students in boarding schools and colleges to bring their own food saying the institutions can no longer afford to provide meals to students because of high costs."

In a letter to the Ministry, it was also stated that students failing to bring their own food would be chucked out of the hostels..

"We write this letter to inform you that boarding schools in the country are now ordering students to bring their own mealie-meal, cooking oil and sugar with immediate effect," read part of the letter written to Education Minister Aenea Chigwedere.

"Since we cannot increase fees without your approval, we have decided to put the burden on the parents who have to make sure that your children have enough food to eat. Most boarding schools are no longer able to provide food to students because of the high costs involved."

The government's response? According to them the move to request/order kids to bring their own food in is illegal and can only be ratified by the Minister! Is this right - that one man can sign an order into law? If, indeed, that order is to be enforced?

I ask this because then it would appear that a parent or guardian sending a child to school without food would then be breaking the law...

The Minister, however, has rejected the request out of hand.

"We will never allow them to order students to bring their own food," said Chigwedere.

"I received the letter from the Association of Schools Head on Monday on that issue but to me they are joking. Anyone who implements this will be fired."

Ja - great joke!

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High Court orders in Zimbabwe are only to be obeyed by the lowly people of Zimbabwe. Not the government, Ministers, the President or even the police or army...

"Police last weekend forcibly moved into staff quarters at Portwe Farm in Matabeleland North province in clear defiance of a High Court order issued last week to move out of the farm they occupied two months ago."

The farm owner, Dave Joubert, petitioned the High Court for the eviction to be reversed. An order was obtained, but the ZRP have chosen to ignore it.

"The occupation of the staff houses is in open disregard of a High Court order granted by Justice Francis Bere last Wednesday ordering the police to vacate the property.

Bere also ordered the police not to interfere with operations at the property and to return guns and keys they confiscated from the Jourbert family."

The Zimbabwe Republic Police - a law unto themselves...

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"South Africa yesterday rejected calls for a more combative approach in its efforts to mediate a resolution to Zimbabwe’s crisis, warning that pushing the government into a corner would only backfire.

Pretoria’s policy of "quiet diplomacy" towards its northern neighbour has been widely criticised but Foreign Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma told MP's it did not want to push the protagonists to the brink."

I ask, yet again, just what it is about Mugabe, that world leaders are afraid to say what they really think about him and his authoritarian rule? The closest we have seen in recent times was John Howard labelling Mugabe a 'grubby dictator' - to which Mugabe came out with his own accusations... and that was that.

"Why do we want to be pushed to take a war approach? We must not look at it from the (perspective) of those who want to push everybody to the brink."

When talking about Zimbabwe, it not a case of being 'pushed to the brink' - Mugabe already got them there without any help at all!

"It is the very reason we have agreed that our president must spend time, resources and energy on Zimbabwe to bring it back from the brink of collapse, not push it to collapse."

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"In South Africa later this week, Blair is expected to discuss Zimbabwe with Mbeki, the spokesman said.

Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe, 83, has vowed to seek another presidential term in 2008, dismissing calls to step down despite his country's economic crisis, which critics blame on his policies. Mugabe blames former colonial power Britain."

Blair is Mugabe's arch-nemesis - and when Blair announced he was standing down at the end of next month, we had a Mugabe crowing over it big time - adding that he felt that Gordon Brown might do a better job.

Now Blair is in Africa and talking to Mbeki. Do you think Blair might tell Mbeki that 'quiet diplomacy' doesn't work?

I doubt it!

"We can maintain pressure and we do maintain pressure but the reality is that pressure is misrepresented by President Mugabe who wants to turn this into a conflict between Britain and his regime. That is not the case. The best way to work towards a solution in Zimbabwe is through those who have most influence. That's why we welcome the intervention of President Mbeki... We believe that things need to move more urgently."

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Seven years after the land grabs began, the government finally gets around to distributing farm equipment...

"Indigenous agro-business dealer Farmers World has started distributing tractors and various other farming implements which it acquired from China to tobacco and other farmers throughout the country.

The distribution had been put on hold to allow Government to assess the suitability of the farming equipment to Zimbabwe's climatic conditions and soils."

I know that The Herald is the state mouthpiece, but is it really necessary to capitalise the word 'government'?

The knock-out blow is later in the article, with the comment: "He said the mechanisation programme would see Members of Parliament, senators and chiefs, among other national leaders, getting an opportunity to own tractors and farming in addition to ox-drawn implements for communal and resettled farmers."

Well. There it is. An admission by Gono that the majority of farms were given to government big-shots and other of similar ilk - whilst the lesser mortal would have to be satisfied with the dregs.

"This is part of a holistic approach to the mechanisation programme and stakeholders should bear with the Government as the first part of the programme will not be able to cater for all farmers," he said."

More empty promises by ZANU PF - but I did laugh at the use of 'holistic' - the dictionary defines the word as, "considering the complete person, physically and mentally, in the treatment of an illness" - speaks volumes doesn't it?

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"The activist group Women of Zimbabwe Arise and its consort, Men of Zimbabwe Arise, have offered a contribution to the crisis mediation led by South African President Thabo Mbeki in a document that outlines "Ten Steps to a New Zimbabwe."

I see no reason why the peoples' voices should not be heard in a mediation - it is their voice, in the form of votes, that brings a government to power - assuming that the election of free and fair, which it is not and hasn't been for some time in Zimbabwe.

"The 10 steps urged by WOZA and MOZA include a halt to political violence, equal participation by all groups in society, the repeal of repressive laws such as the Public Order and Security Act, or POSA, and the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act, or AIPPA, and an end to the selective enforcement of other laws."

Their request will either be ignored or politely refused. I cannot see ZANU PF allowing another player in on the mediation.

-o00o-

Take care.

'debvhu

1 Comments:

Blogger Steve Hayes said...

Thanks for the warning about Google Notebook.

I found I had to keep scrolling sideways to read your blog. They seem to be in no hurry to fix the bugs in Blogger Beta, which they pronounced "fully-featured" more than sixc years ago, but many of the features don't work.

2:50 am

 

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