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Is there an election coming?

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Monday, July 22nd, 2013 by Michael Laban

Was up in the rural area for the weekend, Madziwa area, north of Shamva. Nicholas Goche country. I know, because I saw one poster to vote for him, as MP. Saw another poster on the back of an ET. And saw two torn (but new) posters. And that is all I saw out there. Is there an election coming?

Five Police points on the way home. But never even slowed down. Waved through every one. I guess we did not look like we had drugs under the seat, or explosives in the spare tyre. Were they just practicing (to intimidate)? Or just showing a sudden presence (which in itself is intimidation)? Or were they getting to the rural areas for the weekend too?

Back past the toll gate, inside the city, before the Shamva turn off from Mtoko Road, then elections is a bit more evident when you look. Whole ZESA substations covered in posters. A few on trees. Many vandalized (or just put up badly by clumsy people who tore them in the effort – too much excitement). But even then, cannot read them as you drive past. No one else seems to be looking at them.

Looks to me like this will be the non-event to rival the Constitution referendum. Which caused a landslide somewhere.

MDC will win the elections, but will not take power

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Wednesday, July 17th, 2013 by Michael Laban

I am asked all the time (but I probably ask it just as often), “What is going to happen with the elections?” Short answer, “I don’t know, I don’t have a crystal ball, if I did, I would have more money than I do now!”

It is an interesting question, even though the result will be the same as it was last elections. Zanu PF will lose the elections, but will not lose power. MDC will win the elections, but will not take power.

Consider, 2008. End result, MDC is the largest group in parliament. Most MPs. Most seats. Most constituencies. But do they start calling themselves the “ruling party”? Do they repeal POSA in their five years as the ruling party (or repeal any laws)? Do they rule? We are a parliamentary democracy, Zimbabwe is legally ruled by parliament.

Presidential election – disputed. But the MDC’s candidate wins that, not by, but they still won. Why do they allow the losing party’ s candidate to remain at his former post? But either way, why is the former ruling party, and it’s Presidential candidate still regarded as the “ruling party”? Why does the real “ruling party” not rule?

So my prediction for 1 August 2013: Zanu PF will lose the elections, but will not lose power.

What would be really interesting – if the MDC (or anyone but the former ruling party) took a massive election victory. How would the current regime hold on to power? We know they will, but how?

Fear is a prison

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Tuesday, June 11th, 2013 by Michael Laban

I am currently developing a Ward 7 (Harare City Council – Strathaven, Avondale, Alex Park, Gun Hill) directory, so people who live here can also buy and play here. It’s about building community, getting to know your neighbours. I walk from shop to church to police station to school to sports club to next shop, and get the contact details for public consumption.

I am amazed at how many places, mainly shops, but even a hospital; do not want to give out information.

“What do you want to know for?”
“Why should we tell you?”
“We can’t give that information out”
“What will you do with it?”

Is this the legacy of thirty years of democracy? That Zimbabweans are so mistrustful that they will not tell the public what the phone number of their shop is? Do they believe ‘Big Brother’ is watching them with CCTVs, Internet devices, etc? Is there some conspiracy I am unknowingly a part of by gathering their (not even private) information?

Or do Zimbabweans simply mistrust their government (unity or otherwise), and have such fear of the ‘authorities’. Most public establishments have a posted on the sign board outside on the street – which is why I have gone in to talk to them – but they are afraid to let anyone take any details. Has the government grown so far away from the people … a favourite phrase from so many liberation speeches of the 50s and 60s, (from Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address)? We want a “government, of the people, by the people, and for the people”. And what have we got? A government of elites, by elites, for elites; we have ‘Representatives’ that do not drive or walk the same streets, do not buy in the same shops, do not have children in the same schools, do not see the same doctors, as us.

Or do I look like a Nigerian spammer? Is it just me they don’t trust? Why is there such fear, belligerence, refusal, denial, and hostility, towards giving the community information that will make them find you, come into your shop, and buy something?

Zanu PF, not the MDC, is the opposition in Zimbabwe

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Wednesday, May 15th, 2013 by Michael Laban

We read a recent article by Ian Scoones about how the tide is turning in Zimbabwe; the political context in Zimbabwe remains highly uncertain, but there are unexpected shifts – partly as a result of the relative success of the “unity” government, and partly as a result of failures in the opposition, both to offer a convincing alternative and to develop a clear set of alliances.

What is wrong with Ian Scoones? Or is he just fucking stupid? The “unity” government is that of the Prime Minister, Morgan Tasvangira and his MDC, the president, Robert Mugabe and his Zanu PF, and a deputy whatever Mutambara/Ncube and their MDC. If they are ‘relatively successful, who then is the ‘opposition’ to have failures within? Secondly, what does he mean by opposition? MDC T has the most seats in parliament. It is therefore the ruling party. Zanu PF has the second most, therefore is the lead opposition. MDC M/N has the fewest, therefore is the second opposition. Is he trying to say/imply that parliamentary majority is an irrelevance, compared to pure power (even illegitimate)? Or is he just a stupid, non-scholar, who uses words as he sees fit without any regard to reality.

Zimbabwe Police – what are they good for?

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Wednesday, April 24th, 2013 by Michael Laban

Coming home from the range on Sunday, about 1600, along Arden Rd through Gunhill I cross Borrowdale road, and get pulled over by the police. Officer takes my license and walks around the pickup. Eventually gets back to say, “let me tell you what your offences are.” All well and good, but since I have been driving it since 1997, and nothing is altered since it was constructed at Willowvale, I have to wonder, “What now?”

Something about no Gross Vehicle Mass displayed. “Since when?”


Well, they slipped that in without telling me. So, fine to be paid. But I have no money, I am coming home from a Sunday out, and I spent the $1 I took with me on a Mail and Guardian. There is nothing in my wallet.

“Park over there behind the police car, we are going to Borrowdale Police Station.” All well and good, I move the truck, and sit there reading the Mail and Guardian. (This new Zimbabwe edition is damn good I think!) Eventually there is a queue of vehicles behind me, and we are about to set off, I believe. But no, a different policeman goes from car to car, and eventually, after all producing money (I watch in the rear view mirror), they all drive off. Just me left.

“Is it you have no money, or you just don’t want to pay a fine?” (Well, that’s a stupid question, who does want to pay a fine?) “No, I have no money”, and I show how empty my wallet is. I have also watched while sitting, at a minimum of three vehicles drive past, without being stopped, who also have no Gross Vehicle Mass displayed. I guess the law passed by them unnoticed too.

You can see the officer mentally grumbling. “Well, this time I will let you off with a caution, don’t do it again” (By ‘it’ I assume he means get stopped without any money, because he has no idea what the ‘offence’ is). He gives me back my license.

Tuesday, I am coming home from Newlands (on a bike) and have to negotiate to get across Borrowdale Road as the lights are not working. Chaos! But not to worry, the police are there. And yet, not there. The police are in the same place, Swan Drive, just west and in sight of the intersection, puling cars over. There are no police at the intersection attempting to direct traffic, or anything remotely useful. There are six of them, 25 meters away, pulling cars over.

It could not be more blatantly obvious, more ‘in your face’, up front, glaring. The ZRP are not around to provide a service (like law and order) to Zimbabwean citizens. The ZRP are there to take money from people.

Where is the law in Zimbabwe?

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Tuesday, March 19th, 2013 by Michael Laban

Well, that was dismal. Almost as exciting as the election of the new Pope! There were more people administering the referendum than people to vote in it. What this most says to me – the people think the politicians (and politics) are irrelevant.

Legislation. What is it for? There was new legislation recently about some new sticker on the back of pick-ups. Where did that come from? Do the police know or understand it, or is it an excuse to solicit bribes at roadblocks?

In a previous blog, I wrote about spending time stopped on Chiremba Road. I never did find out what, if any, ‘offense’ I had committed, under any legislation.

There is new legislation on fuel costs. Who will enforce this?

I read an article in the Mail and Guardian some weeks back, about 450 vehicles (new/ secondhand/used Japanese imports) a day crossing the border. None of it legal. None of it having duty paid for. And the local car industry was collapsing. This is SERIOUS lack of law enforcement, with SERIOUS consequences for Zimbabwe, and Zimbabwean jobs. Not to mention unsafe vehicles all over the roads, killing people.

There is no rule of law in Zimbabwe. So why must we go out there to dip our fingers in ink to agree, or disagree with a new law? (That is all a constitution is. Basic law.) And who did vote? At another meeting today, one guy there, was the only one of 8 in his office that voted. That is a 12 1/2 percent turnout.

But it all stems from our leaders. They have shown us this is the way it is to be done.

In my case, the Registrar General, Tobaiwa Mudede, should be in jail. He was handed a court order in 2002 ordering him, within seven days, to announce the results of my election. He has never done so. He is in contempt of court. The law says, if you fail to comply with a court order, you will go to jail until you do. It has never been done. Mudede should have been in jail for the last ten years. Yet he is running a senior government office. Taking pay.

Where is the law in Zimbabwe?

The head of the ZNA (treasonous fellow), declares who he will salute, and who he will not salute. As if the army belonged to him, and not the people of Zimbabwe! He will salute who he feels like, and not who the people of Zimbabwe tell him to salute. However, instead of the law taking its course (for treason you get hanged by the neck until dead), this man is still head of Zimbabwe’s Army.

Where is the law in Zimbabwe?

We live in medieval China of the warlords. The Wild West. Harry Potter world, in the last book, where the ministry has collapsed. This is fantasy. Legislature has been made irrelevant, just as the justice system has been made irrelevant. Only power exists.

So why should we get out and vote for something irrelevant?