Kubatana.net ~ an online community of Zimbabwean activists

Archive for September, 2008

Corrupt incompetents are still in control

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Friday, September 19th, 2008 by Bev Clark

The Pittburgh Post-Gazette suggests that we hold our applause because a group of corrupt incompetents are still firmly in control of Zimbabwe.

I couldn’t agree more.

They suggest that The Deal is costly and creative political theatre . . .

Mr. Mugabe as president, with his 31-member Cabinet in place, and makes opposition leader Morgan Tsvangerai prime minister, with his own Council of Ministers. One aspect of the new accord is that Zimbabwe now has two sets of ministers, each with his own entourage, luxury car and comfortable office. Then the Zimbabweans said, “Oh my goodness, we have fixed everything. Now’s it up to the international community to give us lots of aid.” (The resemblance to the current behavior of certain American financial institutions is purely coincidental.) The appropriate response to this appeal is a flat negative. Zimbabwe will be nowhere near being fixed until Mr. Mugabe is gone — thrown out of office or dead of natural or other causes. The situation of the Zimbabwean people is certainly pathetic, but there is no point in pouring money or other aid into this bottomless pit, particularly in response to creative political theater.

And creative political theatre it certainly is.

Tsvangirai’s immediate call for aid on Monday (Thursday saw the political parties deadlocked – again – over the allocation of ministries) really makes you wonder whether he’s got his head screwed on straight. Countries waiting in the wings with their bail out packages would do best to wait a while longer.

I’ve been reminded of a song from Evita called Rolling on in, Rolling on out. With just a few little adjustments it would seem to fit our situation quite well. Donors might like to bear the lyrics in mind before they reach for their cheque books.

And the money kept rolling in from every side
Bob’s and Morgan’s hands reached out and they reached wide
Now you may feel it should have been a voluntary cause
But that’s not the point my friends
When the money keeps rolling in, you don’t ask how
Think of all the people guaranteed a good time now
They’re using the hungry to open up the doors
Never been a fund like the inclusive government

Rollin’ rollin’ rollin’, rollin’ rollin’ rollin’
Rollin’ rollin’ rollin’, rollin’ rollin’ rollin’

Rollin’ on in, rollin’ on in
Rollin’ on in, rollin’ on in

Would you like to try a college education?
Own your landlord’s house, take the family on vacation?
The inclusive government and their blessed fund can make your dreams come true
Here’s all you have to do my friends
Write your name and your dream on a card or a pad or a ticket
Throw it high in the air and should our big boys pick it
They will change your way of life for a week or even two
Name me anyone who cares as much as the inclusive government

Rollin’ on out, rollin’ on out
Rollin’ on out, rollin’ on out

And the money will keep rolling out in all directions
To the poor, to the weak, to the destitute of all complexions (well maybe not)
Now cynics claim a little of the cash will go astray
But that’s not the point my friends
When the money keeps rolling out you don’t keep books
You can tell you’ve done well by the happy grateful looks
Accountants only slow things down, figures get in the way
Never been anything loved as much as the all inclusive government

Rollin’ on out, rollin’ on out
Rollin’ on out, rollin’ on out

On out

Motorcade charade

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Friday, September 19th, 2008 by Amanda Atwood

I’ve been thinking lately about the ways in which politics – particularly Zimbabwean politics of late – is performance. These words from Tinashe Chimedza give voice to the concerns many Zimbabweans are raising about The Deal.

Pass me the cognac

The elites scramble for power and profit
The poor become footnotes
We write epitaphs ‘rest in peace Cde Tonde’
The bubbly flows
Pass me the Borboun
Am tired of the imported Cognac
More drivers, another motorcade
Four more motorcades
Another charade
Dish me my share of toil
‘Ndakadashurwa’ – any questions?
The rubble will eat tomorrow
Who wants to jump with them anyway,
The commoners, teach them culture first
Am waiting for my OBE
They are fodder, my cdes remind me
Lets dance ball room tonite
On the bellies of the filth

~ Tinashe L Chimedza

Listen to what the people are saying

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Friday, September 19th, 2008 by Bev Clark

From the border town of Beit Bridge, Kubatana subscribers tell us that they want the new all inclusive government to

form a truth and reconciliation committee especially to investigate the terror campaigns before run off election
lift the cash withdrawal limit

Erasmus from Harare has some other demands

provision of food
kick start industry for production
restore rule of law
provision of health care
revamp our education system
improve the workers conditions
a new constitution within 18 months

Meanwhile Munyaradzi emailed us with this opinion

The fact that MDC and ZANU (PF) are failing to come up with a cabinet spells doom to this deal. Those who have everything to lose, that is ZANU( PF), are the ones who are probably throwing in the spanners. People are fed up with politicians who still think things are normal when ordinary people are starving. It is a shame that in this day and age someone in his right mind would continue to drive around in a 10 car or more motorcade. Teachers are being awarded only $10,000 per month. The way forward for this country is for the leaders to listen to what the people are saying. A deal without the ordinary person in mind is a dud. No matter how they are going share power (whose power?) they will not succeed to bring sanity to the political landscape. For one Zimbabwe Broadcasting Holdings has to be reorientated because they continue to paint the MDC in bad light. Why do they continue to refer to Mugabe as “comrade” while Tsvangirai is called “Mr”? What are they trying to show? ZIMPAPERS is equally to blame. In general the majority of our leaders should mind their language if they want to promote national healing. They owe the whole nation an apology for failed policies and for polarising the country. They could have stopped this rot long back.

State of emergency in Zimbabwe

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Friday, September 19th, 2008 by Natasha Msonza

Yesterday I spent close to 2 hours in and out of a bank queue trying to withdraw my $1000 for the day. I stood so long I began to shiver slightly from both hunger pangs and exhaustion. Soon as I got my one leaf, I proceeded straight to Libby’s and bought myself hot chips for exactly $1000. They were the cheapest meal on the menu. I told my partner and since then he won’t stop making fun of me. He says it’s a whole new meaning to the term hand-to-mouth. It’s simply ridiculous and defeats logic that I spent so long to get such little cash and when I did, I immediately used it all on lunch. The reasoning was had I not spent so long in the queue, I wouldn’t have felt faint in the first place. Which makes me think of the way South African politics work. When they feel someone is not doing their job properly, they shout from the rooftops if they have to and actively advocate having that person removed with immediate effect. Currently, that is what’s happening to President Mbeki, despite his so-called victory on the Zimbabwe mediation.

Recently the ANC mass mobilized to demand that all charges against Jacob Zuma be dropped citing unfair treatment by the NPA. They went out of their way to demonstrate in front of the courts, they even threatened to ‘crush’ anyone who blocked Zuma’s path to the presidency. Frankly it was my first time to witness a group of people actually advocate for a criminal to be set free. The courts probably gave in and acquitted Zuma, and now the heat has been turned onto Mbeki. The ANC is blatantly and unashamedly using the ANCYL President Julius Malema to communicate the fact that Mbeki is no longer wanted within the ANC and to demand his resignation. Although Malema does this under the banner of representing the position of the youth league even those with half a brain can figure out that the silence of the ANC whiteheads speaks of their collective opinion.

Although I do not completely subscribe to the ANC strategy of doing things I sometimes wish we had similar kinds of behavior in Zimbabwe, more so within the ruling party. That’s the way a democracy should be, for the people, and not the individual to be in control of things and to decide who stays and who goes. But in Zimbabwe, it is taboo and even if some members of the politburo were disgruntled about the leadership, they would never dare to explicitly register their disapproval. I guess it’s a question of socialization and this culture of inherent resignation threatens to prevail over all deliberations in this country as long as Bob lives.

Right now barely 48 hours after the contentious signing of the agreement, another deadlock has been reported over the allocation of Ministries and who gets what portfolio. Those clowns squabbling about whether or not the key ministries of Finance, Agriculture, Foreign affairs, Local government, Justice and Information should still be under Zanu PF patronage or not is the last thing we need. It has been as plain as day that the previous cabinet, which by the way, Mugabe himself called the worst ever, failed to run this country and its clear that for any economic progress to prevail, such posts must exchange hands into those of younger, more capable ones.

As long as Mugabe and his people retain these key positions, this will not only be egg in Tsvangirai’s face but there is absolutely no way this country will turn around. The international community has indicated it is not prepared to inject any funds where there is a likelihood of them being squandered again by the chefs in their insatiable appetite for self-enrichment while intended beneficiaries, who are ordinary Zimbabweans, continue to live in abject poverty. I would suggest that as long as selfish interests still prevail over practicality and simple humanity, Tsvangirai must just call it quits. If he decides to give in to Zanu PF’s impossible demands, then we know we’ve got ourselves another wolf out to fatten his stomach – at the expense of the poor taxpayer.

It worries me how people can spend so much time arguing over what obviously needs to be done when the country is at an advanced state of emergency and needs serious economic rehabilitation. Haven’t these ruling party politicians made enough hay while the Zanu PF sun still shone brightly, especially in the years they looted from the whites under the banners of land reform and reclamation of sovereignty? Have they not stolen enough, even from the mouths of the poor – to last them a lifetime? We desperately need a change of tactics and Tsvangirai and his people are our only hope so far. Only the selfishness of an egotistic few now stands between Zimbabweans and the road to economic renewal. This arrangement will only work when individuals involved are prepared to do without unnecessary opulence and to work together for the benefit of the majority.

Politicians and portraits in Zimbabwe

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Friday, September 19th, 2008 by Michael Laban

Where can I get a picture of the honourable Prime Minister? I need one, we all need one, to go up beside the picture of the honourable President. After all, it was never the law (I have been assured by several lawyers) to hang a picture of the President up in public rooms. Therefore I must assume people did it from patriotism (not fear). And now that we have two leaders, and we are still patriotic, we must have pictures of both our two leaders up. For to have only one picture up would indicate that we did it because we wished to be involved in partisan politics. Now that we have two parties and two leaders ruling us, (long live the signing of the agreement!), both pictures would indicate patriotic support. While one picture would indicate partisan support. And no pictures would indicate . . . you like a clean wall and are waiting, along with the rest of us.

Spread of the deadly Kenyan virus

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Wednesday, September 17th, 2008 by Bev Clark

The Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) has issued a statement on the recent agreement between Zanu PF and the MDC and they make clear several important points. Below is what COSATU has to say:

The Congress of South African Trade Unions has noted the agreement signed by the leaders of the political parties in Zimbabwe on 15 September 2008.

We stand by our view that it is only the people of Zimbabwe who must judge whether or not this deal is in their interests. We are therefore awaiting the comments of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) and will be guided by them.

Meanwhile, while awaiting the ZCTU’s response, only insofar as the people accept it, we give the agreement our cautious support, but note that many of the demands raised by civil society and supported by COSATU have not been met, including:

- Civil society has been shut out of the negotiations and it has thus been an agreement between the political leaders;

- The agreement does not recognise the result of the 29 March elections. As a result the loser has become the winner and the winner the loser;

- MDC leader, Morgan Tsvangirai is effectively in charge of a  cluster of ministries, while President Mugabe still has  extensive powers;

- The agreement is not for an interim government until new elections have been held but for a normal full-term government;

- All Mugabe’s draconian laws remain in place, which give him, for example, the power to arrest political opponents.

The agreement marks a dangerous spread of the Kenyan virus that sends a signal to dictators that they can defy the will of the people by force and then retain power through negotiations, brokered by other African leaders.

It marks a retreat from the principles that the African Union and SADC are supposed to uphold and a return to the bad traditions of the Organisation of African Unity that sacrificed the interests of the people to protect dictators.

Meanwhile COSATU waits to hear from the ZCTU, after which it will consider their advice as to whether to continue with the proposed programme of boycotts. If they ask us to proceed we shall do so.