Friday, June 19, 2009

Beatings – More of them

I am intrigued by stories of new ‘beatings’ popping up in the local and international press this week. The first which appeared on the 18th June is about police training and reported in The (ZANU PF) Herald: “Police trainers have been warned against recording videos of the force’s rigorous training sessions using their cellphones and selling the clips on the Internet. This habit is tantamount to selling out of one’s country and thereby derailing the efforts of the organisation to maintain its good image. Those who engage in such corrupt activities would be removed from the force”. So said that notorious policeman, Wayne Bvudzijena.

A day later the plot thickens. “Police are investigating the authenticity of a video clip circulating among members of the public depicting trainers beating up recruits as "part of training". The video clip shows more than 5 police trainers beating up recruits, mostly men, while saying that this was part of the training. In the video, the recruits are being beaten on the back one-at-a-time with sticks, while the others stand in a queue waiting for their turn. After assaulting one of the recruits, one of the trainers is heard saying, "This is now Syllabus E."

So I went to YouTube and had a look. Looked very authentic to me! No wonder the Commissioner and his cohorts are upset.

In Bulawayo on Wednesday the 17th June WOZA (Women of Zimbabwe Arise) held a demonstration. It was not long before the marchers were attacked by the police and several of them beaten and arrested. Then on Thursday another demonstration in Harare received the same treatment. Not only were some of the marchers beaten, so were at least three journalists who were also arrested.

What is about this country and the norms that seem to have developed in policing? Are these societal norms a throwback to the days before colonialism and perhaps during that period? Did the Shona people beat their own who ‘transgressed’? Were ‘suspects’ and political rivals kidnapped and held incommunicado for weeks on end, beaten on the soles of their feet and buttocks? Were judicial orders ignored?

Why is nothing being done by the GNU to reverse this kind of treatment? Geoff Hill’s book “What Happens After Mugabe?” written some two years ago suggests that there is a groundswell of opinion from those Zimbabweans exiled in South Africa to seek ‘revenge’ when ‘the day of reckoning’ finally comes. There have been suggestions that Zimbabwe needs a period of ‘National Healing’ but no-one seems to want to do anything about it, and instead the beatings, the arrests, the threats go on.

Amnesty International Secretary General Irene Khan has been on a short visit and has made yet another damning report of the lack of civil liberties in Zimbabwe. In response Vice President Joice Mujuru told her that Zimbabweans had their own ways of resolving their differences, with government having already started a national healing programme.
What ‘National Healing Programme’ is she talking about? Probably the same one that has been talked about before but nothing, as usual, been done.

Let us remember what happened only last year, how over 100 members of the MDC were MURDERED in cold blood. What has been done about the perpetrators, most of who are known by name?

Nothing is being done. It is not nearly as high on the agenda as ‘seeking removal of illegal economic sanctions’ which is really ZANU PF’s desire to find more loot to loot. Both ZANU PF and MDC are culpable here.

The real tragedy of Zimbabwe is the cultural norms that developed during the Rhodesian Bush War – or as some call it, the Second Chimurenga. ZANLA and ZIPRA, the military wings of what is today ZANU PF, went off to China and Moscow and learned their new trade from Mao Tse Tung and Joseph Stalin. The majority of today’s leadership were only teenagers then, abducted from schools, taken away to Tanzania and ‘conscientised’ by the leadership in much the same form as the police recruits I saw being beaten on YouTube. They returned to Rhodesia with an AK 47 slung across their shoulders and dealt out mayhem and death in horrific circumstances to those they labelled ‘sell-outs’. I know. I saw the beaten and mutilated bodies in the 1970’s with my own eyes. No cellphone camera’s in those days to back me up, but believe me, my mind at the gruesome sights is as clear as any cellphone camera image can portray today.

ZANU PF brought this culture to Zimbabwe and imposed it first on the Matabele people in the early 1980’s. Later, when their power was threatened by the MDC and the white farmers who backed the MDC financially, they re-visited this culture on the MDC, the white farmers and ordinary Zimbabweans who got in the way.

And they still do it today – with the usual impunity, while screaming and shouting at Obama, Brown and the rest of the west to ‘lift illegal economic sanctions’.

When will they learn?

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Delusional Charlatans?

Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirayi is on walk-about in the West. He has recently met Barack Obama and what is clear about that meeting is Obama welcomed Tsvangirayi but he wasn’t about to welcome anyone else from the ‘wrong side of Zimbabwean history’. It is not absolutely clear why Tsvangirayi is on walk about. The Herald suggests he is doing it as a Mugabe emissary to ‘get the green light to lift illegal western economic sanctions’. MT himself says he is telling world leaders how far we have come – which is interpreted by most as not very far at all. And that’s a fact – not only from where the West is viewing things but from where we Zimbabweans are viewing them too. We still have little to show for ‘law and order’, farms are still being invaded, crops stolen while police claim that the thefts are ‘political’ and therefore beyond their attention, the media is far from free, The Herald and the broadcasting media are still consumed with ZANU PF’s versions of events and ‘free and fair elections’ seem to get further away from us with every passing moment.

What is abundantly clear is that ZANU PF is intent on using Tsvangirayi and the MDC as a means of remaining in power. And so far they are doing very well at it.

A more recent exciting news event reported everywhere else in the world but NOT in The Herald for some reason is the story of Tsvangirayi’s so called ‘niece’ attempting to claim a farm of her own. Dr Arikana Chihombori – a United States citizen has been telling the world her own version of how she has been attempting to secure a farm for herself from the Cremer’s in Chegutu. When the Cremer’s desisted from the latest invasion to their property they are now alleged to have called Dr Chihombori’s sister the K word and then set their dogs on her and an un-named ‘Lands Officer’. The Cremer’s deny the allegations and clearly there is no supporting evidence to these outrageous claims. No mauled sister, no ‘Lands Officer’, no independent witnesses and a report has never been made to the police. Should we be surprised? Dr Chihombori then made the mistake of getting herself interviewed by Zimbabwe Online during the course of which she presented herself as a delusional charlatan, claiming her original farm in the Wiltshire area was ‘burned to the ground by whites’ for no apparent reason. Wiltshire was originally a Purchase Area for black farmers way back in the 1960’s and remained that way until Independence in 1980. Today it should be a model farming area. I cannot comment whether it is or not. Dr Chihombori also claims relationships between herself and Jacob Zuma, Tsvangirayi, Grace Mugabe and a few others besides. There are some facts though. Dr Chihombori attended Jacob Zuma’s inauguration last month, she was ‘accompanying’ Morgan Tsvangirayi in some way inasmuch as she was photographed walking by his side and clearly she has made attempts to steal a farm in Chegutu.

Another apparent charlatan who may or may not be delusional is ZANU PF Senator Jamaya Muduvuri who it is reported is busy stealing his 5th farm from a French citizen on a farm in Kadoma. The farm is ‘protected’ (joke of course) by a bi-lateral trade agreement between Zimbabwe and the French government. Not satisfied with simply stealing the farm Senator Muduvuri is reported to be stealing the current crops of oranges, potatoes and maize while Ms Catherine Jouineau-Meredith is helpless to prevent it. The farm workers have been ‘forbidden’ to work by Muduvuri and to ensure that they don’t, they have been severely beaten. The police have refused to intervene on the usual excuse that the acts are ‘political’.

We trust the French government will do something to change this nauseous state of affairs. Or will they? So far they haven’t done much. Ho hum – Zimbabweans who care about a future for their children and grand-children won’t hold their breath.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Economic Sanctions

The ZANU PF regime seems to be obsessed with the ’illegal economic sanctions’ that have been applied to ‘the ordinary people of Zimbabwe’ and have ‘devastated the economy’. A headline in The Herald of Tuesday the 2nd June reads “Sanctions hit local British pensioners’ and goes on to report that ‘the Western imposed economic sanctions have hit pensioners hard prompting the British government to airlift the first 5 of 500 elderly citizens out of Zimbabwe’. No mention of the humungous efforts of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe printing press which is the real reason that pensions have been eroded. I should know. I am a pensioner whose pension has been eroded. Where once my pension was enough to send my son to private school in Matabeleland for a year, now it cannot buy me a beer. And the cause of all this? Inflation. And the cause of inflation? Printing money and even worse, creating electronic money, neither being backed by production.

The Comment on the Leader Page of the same issue relates to EU aid recently channelled into the country to enable some resuscitation of the sugar industry and informs us ‘the country has been reeling from Western imposed economic sanctions which have negatively impacted against all sectors of the economy and social strata’ and implies that once again it is Western imposed sanctions that have been the cause of the collapse of the sugar industry. No mention of devastating farm invasions that have all but ruined the entire agricultural economic base.

One has to ask whether the writers of this Goebbels like garbage actually believe it themselves. If you repeat a lie often enough and loud enough…….!

I wonder how History will record the events of the last 10 years in Zimbabwe.