Friday, December 12, 2008


I am about to escape to the ‘Diaspora’ for four weeks. What will Zimbabwe be like when I return?

Today the street rate for the dollar moved from 40 million to 1 USD to 100 million to 1 USD. This follows the release of 100 million dollar notes, 200 million dollar notes and 500 million dollar notes into the banking system and the ‘cash withdrawal’ allowance being moved from 100 million to 500 million a week. This morning I listened to the ZBC news to hear the director of the National Incomes and Pricing Commission threatening businesses who either put up their prices or leave their shops open but the shelves empty, that they will first be prosecuted and then have their trading licences withdrawn.

Government just don’t get it. After years of inflation and the corresponding ability to track it, it should now be obvious to even the dullest of minds that inflation is directly related to un-earned money supply injected into the system.

The Reserve Bank Governor has told the trade unions that by the 12th of January – the day I plan to return to Zimbabwe – workers will be able to withdraw their entire salaries of hundreds of billions of dollars on production of their payslips at the bank. By the 12th of January they might actually need hundreds of trillions of dollars to buy one single $US but that too seems to escape the minds of our ‘learned helpless’ leadership.

While this economic idiocy prevails, other arms of the ZANU FP ‘government’ (we do not have a government right now of any kind but Mugabe and his cronies pretend that we have) have been abducting civil and opposition political activists and the latest stories emanating from the Maranke diamond fields suggest that hundreds of civilians seeking to extract the raw diamonds have been killed in cold blood by helicopter gun-ships strafing the area.

Western leaders are threatening invasion ‘to save the Zimbabwean people from cholera’, their threats actually being music to Mugabe’s ears. If anyone is going to threaten Zimbabwe with invasion it must be seen to be a real threat and everyone knows that it isn’t so why make these threats? More dull political minds it would seem. To stem the chance of invasion happening, Mugabe has told us all, that the Cholera epidemic is ‘completely under control’, and therefore invasion is unwarranted. Talk about the twilight zone – this beats most of all that has gone before.

But if there is justification for invasion it is the ongoing and escalating abduction of civil and political activists and the wholesale slaughter of people scratching an opportunity from diamond fields that have themselves been stolen by the government of Zimbabwe from their rightful owners.

Meanwhile the South African government and ruling ANC have jointly said that they are going to ‘persuade’ Mugabe to retire. Another joke, of course.

Oh, well, Next Year will be Better!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Crimes Against Humanity

Fifteen MDC activists were abducted six weeks ago from their homes in Banket, about 70km north of Harare. They are still missing, despite a Harare high court order for the police to produce them.

Jestina Mukoko, a human rights activist and head of the Zimbabwe Peace Project (ZPP), was abducted from her home, in Norton, about 40km from Harare, before dawn last Wednesday. On Friday, Beatrice Mtetwa, a human rights lawyer, was unable to find a judge to hear an urgent application to instruct the police to produce Mukoko. Mtetwa was the lawyer who represented the family of activist Tonderai Ndira, who was abducted from his home in the Mabvuku Township southeast of Harare in May. His body was found a week later and a post mortem showed that he had been killed minutes after he was dragged out of his house and shoved into an unmarked vehicle

Today the police report they are not holding Mukoko while we are told that two other ZPP members were abducted at gunpoint yesterday afternoon.

The ZPP has spent the last 10 years documenting atrocities committed by government agencies and individuals, and identifying the perpetrators. The ZPP has been doing the investigative work that the Zimbabwe Republic Police should have been doing. The abductors are surely those who now fear that they will soon be prosecuted for their crimes and are doing whatever they can to eliminate the evidence.

Yet no-one really seems to care about these latest abductions and incarcerations. They equate with the worst crimes against humanity. While Europe and America speaks out about cholera they seem silent on these crimes. Mr Mbeki is particularly silent. Perhaps he too should be prosecuted for aiding and abetting these crimes against humanity? In police parlance he could be prosecuted as an accessory after the fact. Perhaps before the fact too.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

4th December

Events are moving along – so much so that my relatives (some of them!) have suggested it is time to pack our bags and get out. And go where, I ask myself? Mumbai perhaps? Baghdad? New York? Johannesburg?

But jokes aside, I realise today as I passed some (black) schoolgirls skipping – literally – along the road on their way to school, that the reason this is the ‘Twighlight’ Zone is because we live in several different Twighlight worlds here in Harare.

There is the world of Budiriro 2, Chitungwiza, Glen Norah, Dzivarasekwa and all the other ‘high density suburbs’ where life must indeed be hell. Where there is shit (literally) in the streets and corruption a way of life for all. I visited Budiriro a couple of weeks ago and last Sunday I was in Mabvuku where the rubbish is piled high in the streets and the residents draw water from wells that are surely unsanitary, where the talk of the day is ‘who died yesterday – from AIDS, from cholera, from having been beaten by the police or the army or both’.

Then there is the world of Greendale, Highlands, Borrowdale Brook and Mount Pleasant where life is difficult but not hell – not yet anyway. Where the residents took action years ago and installed generators, then boreholes and/or water tanks, where the talk today is about ‘what I paid today for a bowser of water, who won the Test match between the Springboks and England, or which member of the ZANU PF hierarchy was found looting something from somewhere’

There is another world that can be seen and heard – it is the world of Zimbabwe Broadcasting Holdings and ‘The Herald’, the latter being the ZANU PF daily press, where Mugabe and his cronies are still feted as heroes, where everything will be fixed tomorrow – and would have been fixed yesterday if it wasn’t for the western worlds ‘illegal economic sanctions’. But today for the first time there is a different tune. It is ‘please come and help us’. A plea from the useless Zimbabwe ‘Minister of Health’ (he’s not the Minister of Health, there is no Minister of anything right now) to the world aid community. We need 400 million for this and 500 million for that. Please give it to us.

And the aid community will help, of that there is no doubt. But please, whatever you do to help, don’t give any MONEY to the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe to re-distribute to the ‘needy ministries’. If you haven’t learned by now what the RBZ will do with it, you’ll never learn.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

2nd December 2008

“Mugabe's government has seized thousands of white-owned farms and redistributed the land to poor blacks”

This is a quotation from one of the world’s most respected news agencies, Reuters, in a document filed on Saturday the 28th November while quoting on a SADC Tribunal decision in support of 75 white farmers who challenged the validity of their land seizures. The italics are mine.

When is the real world going to wake up? The land has NOT been redistributed to poor blacks. The majority of the land has been looted by ZANU PF politicians, senior military, policemen and civil servants and now, having looted what they can including farmhouses, tractors and other agricultural implements, the land is either lying idle or if the farmhouse is still in any way intact, being used as a ‘weekend retreat’ for the new (very idle) rich.

On a journey from Harare to Chirundu late last month the only evidence of crop growing came from one large commercial farm near Karoi. Nearer Harare there are a few huts scattered about and a few attempts at land preparation done obviously by hand or at best, by ox drawn plough that will feed the crop grower for six months but nobody else.

Where once there were commercial farmers growing maize, tobacco, cotton, groundnuts, cattle and pigs, now there is NOTHING.

And yet, ZANU PF, as quoted by Didymus Mutasa, wants more land! It’s not the land they want, believe me.