Kubatana.net ~ an online community of Zimbabwean activists

Archive for February, 2012

Manifesto for Introverts

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Monday, February 27th, 2012 by Amanda Atwood

This spoke right to my heart. Maybe because I found #7 particularly validating . . .
(From an Atlantic Monthly advert for Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking)

Diamonds. A good deal for Zimbabwe?

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Friday, February 24th, 2012 by Bev Clark

Who controls revenues from Marange diamonds?

A case study of Mbada and Anjin companies by Global Witness.

This paper reveals the control exercised by the Zimbabwe security sector over Anjin and the transfer of 25% of Mbada, a valuable diamond mining company, to a firm based in series of tax havens and secrecy jurisdictions with unidentified beneficial owners. The secrecy surrounding the real owners of Mbada has a number of potential consequences, including a possible loss of tax revenues, and the potential opportunity for officials or military figures to personally benefit from a state asset. The partial control of Anjin by the military and police creates opportunities for off budget funding of an unreformed and partisan security sector.

You can read the case study on the Kubatana web site

One of the ways to go

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Friday, February 24th, 2012 by Bev Clark

Visualise us

Black history and the racial abuses of the sixties

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Friday, February 24th, 2012 by Lenard Kamwendo

The Help is a movie set during the civil rights era and is based on a novel written by Kathryn Stockett and was directed by Tate Taylor. The movie tries to tell the story of how black maids faced racial and personal injustices inflicted on them by the wealthy families they worked for in the sixties. During that time white people were regarded as special to the extent that black maids had their own separate toilets outside the house. The way white people allowed their children to be brought up by black maids and yet still regard them as second class citizen in America showed how much white people regarded themselves as superior at that time.

The vile treatment these hard working women received at the hands of the white women somehow gave them the courage to tell their story even though they knew that they would face retaliation from their employers. With the help a young white lady with a passion for journalism two black maids went on to tell their story of discrimination based on color which they faced everyday in white families. Since the movie was written and directed by white men and women some may ask whether whites can tell the real black man’s story well. Also whether the movie is a historical white wash and sugar coated so that it can instill the spirit of forgiveness and moving on while doing away with real injustices inflicted on black people at that time. But on the other hand it’s all about the endurance that can the make us be able to change the bad policies of the past.

The US Embassy Public Affairs Section in Harare screened the movie as part of its efforts to commemorate Black History Month. Black History Month, is an annual observance in the United States for the remembrance of important people and events in the history of the African Diaspora. It is celebrated annually in the United States during the month of February.

Basa kuvanhu, Umsebenzi ebantwini, work to the people

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Friday, February 24th, 2012 by Marko Phiri

Interesting that the much talked about Marange diamonds are creating tens of thousands of jobs in India, at least according to international media reports which have been picked up locally. According to these reports, up to USD1,5 billion worth of Marange diamonds will make their way to India this year alone. Remembering of course that media reports remain the primary source of “the truth” for millions under the sun, the incredibility thereof notwithstanding. And you have to go “wow”, remembering that this national money is headed to one country when bogus Dr. Mpofu has said – apparently much to the consternation of the fiscus point man Biti – that the Marange godsend will “easily” pour into the national purse USD2 billion annually. Ehe. With these Indian reports claiming USD1,5 billion, one obviously has to question where the bad doctor gets his civil-servants-pleasing numbers when it is apparent the country (and of course the civil servants) stands to get stupendous returns to what Zanu PF is claiming as its birthright: much love to compatriots who are neither MDC-T nor MDC-99! Can’t a country get honest people who will share the resources with the ordinary man? I ask this deliberately perhaps as that Panglossian trait that, despite all pointers to the contrary, you would still expect the best from mortal men who themselves expect the best from everyone else but still continue to controvert those very same expectations! Talk about the painful contradictions of contemporary Zimbabwe. Yet the Indian reports bring bad vibes when you recall that Zanu PF has only seen benefits accruing from the mining sector as deriving merely from the community share ownership when the bigger picture demands employment creation proper as the Indians. “We believe that the flow of Zimbabwe diamonds will create over 60,000 jobs,” a diamond buff in India swooned. Yeah, Zimbabwe has over 80 percent unemployment with swarms of korokozas and one dead ZBC News at 8 expert caught with a Lebanese trying to smuggle the “tsotsi khiphi daimani”  (thief, hand over the diamond) helping themselves to the wealth that has stomped even the granddad of liberation politics.

Police Stories: the War on Terror

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Thursday, February 23rd, 2012 by Upenyu Makoni-Muchemwa

At 9.50 this morning I was stopped at a police roadblock just before the service station near Harare International Airport. The roadblock was manned by three police persons, two women and one man. The male police officer was in visible possession of a ticket book. When I pulled over, the police officer asked me for my driver’s license, which I gave him. He then inspected my car and demanded that I pay a spot fine of $20 for failing to display a third license plate on my car.

I’ve watched several episodes of Dr. Phil when he counsels people with anger problems. He always asks the person involved to identify their anger trigger. I don’t think I have an anger problem, but I’ve discovered that at police roadblocks I have a trigger. It’s when the officers threaten to impound my car, or arrest me because I have stated that I do not have the fine amount demanded and have politely asked for a ticket. I have yet to meet a traffic policeman who does not issue these threats. And I’ve been detained at many roadblocks. My trigger is that the ticket is a last resort for the police, when it should have been the first. What makes me even angrier is when upon learning that I don’t have cash on me, the officer arrogantly informs me that I do in fact have a boyfriend/husband/relative/ or other who can and will bring the money necessary. ‘Make a call’ he says. As though he himself has spoken to that mysterious other person and knows they will come running to pay him the fine money.

I used to yell at police officers that they were not privy to the affairs of my household and should not presume to know so. I used to tell them that they had no right to demand immediate payment, and that in fact it was illegal. I used to demand the officer’s force number for my records, whereupon they would leave me, I assume, to calm down a bit. I used to yell so much, that I, a light-brown skinned woman would get very pink in the face from pure, unadulterated rage.

I’ve stopped yelling. I’m polite but firm. I can keep calm now because I already know the steps in the dance. He will demand money; I’ll ask for a ticket.  He will threaten me and then detain me hoping that I’ll be in enough of a hurry to be coerced into paying. It’s a tactic that I’m certain must work in a busy Zimbabwe. I will not be forced into paying a fine when a police officer is unwilling to issue a ticket. Like George W Bush, I’ve declared my own ‘war on terror’.

One of the main reasons why Hitler lost to Stalin on the Eastern Front in World War Two was because of the German Army’s poor supply lines. This was then exploited by the Russians who used a scorched earth policy most effectively against the Germans. My war is primarily psychological, but from this example it’s obvious that supplies are integral to success. Therefore, as Sun Tzu advises, I shall secure my supplies in case of extended siege. I’m creating a roadblock kit to keep in my car. It will include water, because sitting in Zimbabwe in summer in a parked car is like choosing to live in an oven; chocolate for that instant sugar hit that will make everything a little better (maintaining morale is crucial to any war); nuts for long lasting energy to survive the roadblock; a book to pass the time; and enough data and battery on my phone to document these acts of terrorism.