Kubatana.net ~ an online community of Zimbabwean activists

Archive for November, 2006


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Wednesday, November 15th, 2006 by Bev Clark

is where you
change things
it’s not where you
don’t question
to not disturb your friends
to keep tha peace
to maintain your funding
or to look like a nice person

Liar liar: taking stock of Zanu PF’s promises

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Tuesday, November 14th, 2006 by Bev Clark

When I got a recent email newsletter from the Zimbabwean pressure group Sokwanele I was flung back in time to our last election when the extent of Zanu PF’s whole election campaign began and ended with anti-Blair sentiment.

Sokwanele took all the promises made in the Zanu PF anti-Blair campaign

- Getting back your land
- An end to racist factory closures
- An end to racist witholding of commodities
- An end to politically motivated price increases
- An end to sanctions
- No safe havens for corrupt bankers
- No disruption to fuel supplies
- No to political interference
- Empowerment through takeovers
- Faster economic turnaround
- More foreign currency inflows
- Keeping our Zimbabwe
- End to Blair’s MDC

Bury Blair, Vote Zanupf

and compared them to where we’re at in Zimbabwe today.

Take some time out to read Sokwanele’s analysis.

Honoured in Washington DC .. ignored at home

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Friday, November 10th, 2006 by Taurai Maduna

Early this week Zephaniah Maseko Phiri, a 79 year old Zimbabwean peasant farmer made news worldwide by being the first African to win the prestigious National Geographic Society/Buffett Award for Leadership in Conservation.

Sadly, Maseko’s great achievement has not been reported in the local Zimbabwean media. The farmer is one of the many dedicated Zimbabweans who have put this country onto the international map but have received little recognition for their hard work at home.

Maseko who jointly won the award with Nicaraguan environmentalist Jaime Incer will receive a cash prize of US$25,000.

According to the National Geographic Society, Maseko founded the Zvishavane Water Project in 1986. It is said to have been one of Zimbabwe’s first indigenous NGOs.

The water project’s objectives are to educate others about water harvesting and conservation, promote sustainable farming and increase farm income.

In their citation, The Geographic Society stated:

This year’s awardees are being recognized and honored for their outstanding leadership and their vital role in managing and protecting the natural resources in their regions. They are inspirational conservation advocates, who serve as role models and mentors in their communities

Maseko has been farming for more than 50 years but has received little support from the government. He told the VOA’s Studio 7 News programme that the government was not forthcoming with funds to assist him in sharing his knowledge with the rest of Zimbabwean farmers.

Keep up the good work, Zephaniah Maseko Phiri.

The revolution will eat its children

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Tuesday, November 7th, 2006 by Taurai Maduna

Scatterlings of Africa, I call your name and Asimbonanga are some of the songs that come to mind when I hear the name Johnny Clegg also known as “The White Zulu” because of his admiration of the Zulu culture.

During the apartheid regime, Clegg teamed up with Zulu street musician Sipho Mchunu to form the first inter-racial South African band they called Juluka. The band’s music was a fusion of pop, rock and traditional zulu rhythms.

Annoyed by the explicitly political songs of Clegg and Juluka, the apartheid regime banned their music on radio but this never detered them for singing out on the injustices taking place then.

In the song, Asimbonanga, they called for the release of Nelson Mandela and paid tribute to three martyrs of the South African liberation struggle: Steve Biko, Victoria Mxenge, and Neil Aggett.

I’m glad to write that “The White Zulu” is back with his much awaited new album titled ‘One Life‘. In the album, Clegg continues to write thoughtful and political lyrics.

One of the new songs on the album is titled: The revolution will eat its children (Anthem for Uncle Bob).

Commenting on the song, Clegg writes: “Revolutions around the world have always resulted in some form of social engineering accompanied by the inability to factor in that inevitable dark aspect of human nature – the lust for power.”

Some of the lyrics for the song are:

He’s a leader, talks of freedom
He knows the power of the Big Idea
He’s a dealer, he’s a seeker
Of the power that comes from fear
He gave his life to the party machine
Holding on a secret dream
He knows better than anyone
Power comes from the barrel of a gun…
And he’s rising up against them now
And he’s rising up in country and town
Rising up against them now, rising up

The revolution has eaten its children
I see the river of dreams run dry
I’m so thankful I got to love you
You are the reason I survive

While the South African government continues with its “Quiet Diplomacy” on Zimbabwe, Clegg warns, “the revolution will eat its children” while people stand by and look.

The Zimbabwe we want – different visions?

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Friday, November 3rd, 2006 by Bev Clark

Fiery Financial Gazette columnist, Mavis Makuni has commented on the recently published document entitled The Zimbabwe We Want: Towards A National Vision for Zimbabwe. In her article Men of the cloth who would rather sup with the devil she says

The church leaders involved in this subterfuge should ask themselves why the government of Zimbabwe is prepared to listen only to them when it has done everything under the sun to close democratic space and crush dissent in all other respects. These clergymen must surely be aware of the heavy-handed manner in which the government has dealt with opposition party and civil rights activists who have tried to promote the ideals the nation is now being urged to focus on in the church-initiated blueprint.

Meanwhile the Editor of the Zimbabwe Independent, Vincent Kahiya discussing the same Church document says in his Editor’s Memo headed Bigoted criticism

I took time this week to read through the National Vision discussion document prepared by three ecumenical groups in Zimbabwe and presented to President Mugabe last Friday.After reading the 50-page document, titled The Zimbabwe We Want, I was left in no doubt that some of the critics of the initiative by the churches, especially those having a go at individual prelates, had not read the whole document. The attacks were bereft of substance largely because the critics have not focused on the contents of the document but have elected to critique the process by which the paper was created.

Kubatana is also receiving response from some of our subscribers. Mike says

The attempts by elements of the church to go it alone, ignoring their erstwhile partners in civil society, to engage with the criminal and illegitimate regime are reactionary, collaborationist and counter-productive. The fawning attitude demonstrated towards mugabe by Trevor Manhanga are an insult to those who are struggling for a new Zimbabwe. The bishop is deluded if he thinks that mugabe is capable of engaging in genuine negotiations; mugabe only uses such initiatives to distract, delay and divide. He has no intention of addressing the crisis in this country since that would require an end to his denialism and an admission of culpability.

Nduramo in his email to us makes reference to a point Mavis also raises, namely that of the lack of “national” consultation in the preparation of a “national” vision document. He says

The “Zimbabwe We Want” vision document re-affirms the Government’s desire to be in control at the pulpits every Sunday. The ‘WE’ in the ‘Zimbabwe we want’ is a fallacy representing ZANU (PF). Who is the ‘WE’ refering to in this case, when millions of Zimbabweans were not consulted?

Local government is not an extension of central government

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Wednesday, November 1st, 2006 by Mandebvu

No sane Zimbabwean can be surprised by reports that municipal police looted food intended for victims of Murambatsvina. After all they are only following their masters’ example. Given the fact that Town House is occupied by an illegal clique of thieves, it is to be expected that a culture of thievery should establish itself all the way through the Municipality. Two things however stand out. One, what on earth was an aid agency giving food or anything else to the very perpetrators of the crime against humanity that was Murambatsvina? How naive and idiotic is that? One can just imagine some ignorant expatriate murungu saying “I have a good idea, let’s put the nazis in charge of aid to the Jews”. Who is more culpable, the perpetrators of monstrous crimes or the collaborators who help prop them up? At least we know that the thugs are evil but when supposed humanitarian agencies indulge in ignorant actions (usually saying “well we must help the people” and “we don’t get involved in politics”), it becomes hard to tell the difference. Two, the suspension of the whistle blowers, while no surprise, is meant to deter other honest and professional municipal employees from coming forward. I would suggest that honest municipal employees use alternative routes to report such cases and go directly to the media or to CHRA who will be only to happy to expose the culture of theft and incompetence that is the main if not only achievement of Makwavarara and her cronies.

Any legitimately-elected Council is going to have a Herculean job shovelling all the manure out the stables when they move into Town House. Given the fact that the rot permeates every pore of the diseased carcass that is zanu-pf’s administration and the lengths to which they will go to prevent exposure let alone submit to judgement, it will require men and women of impeccable credibility and determination to get the job done. Given that sooner or later there will be municipal elections in the city despite the machinations of Chombo and that zanu-pf has as much chance of winning Harare as Mugabe has of winning the Nobel peace prize, let us hope that the MDC will give a little more thought to the selection of council candidates next time around, unlike 2002 when many were political opportunists, future sell-outs or frankly just incapable of running a bank account, let alone supervising a modern city.

Local government is not an extension of central government despite what Chombo would like to believe. It is the closest most citizens ever come to government and it is the institution that most affects our daily lives. We require councillors with capability, integrity, vision, fortitude and commitment, not arbitrary party flunkeys looking for an easy path to parliament and ‘real’ power. We want and deserve councillors who are ‘of the people’, who have a proven track record of community service that goes beyond political rhetoric and grandstanding.