Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe speaks at the United Nations. The country has heightened security amid western threats aimed at destabilization.
Originally uploaded by Pan-African News Wire File Photos.
POLICE will be on high alert today and the national reaction force will be deployed in problem areas to deal with any unlawful activities that people sponsoring the illegal stayaway might engage in.
Measures will be taken to ensure that peace prevails during the planned illegal mass stayaway called by the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions today and tomorrow.
Police chief spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Wayne Bvudzijena yesterday said the national reaction force — which has since been activated — would be deployed in all problem areas to ensure that there is law and order during the illegal ZCTU stayaway.
"The Zimbabwe Republic Police remains very clear about its constitutional obligations in ensuring that there is peace, safety and security for everyone in any part of this country.
"We encourage people to go about their daily lawful activities as usual and businesses together with industry to open up to daily business," said Asst Comm Bvudzijena.
He said members of the public that come across any suspicious activities should immediately notify the police on patrol or their nearest police station.
He said commuters, business and industry will be protected through strategic deployments, which include deployments at bus boarding points, shopping centres and industrial areas.
Asst Comm Bvudzijena said there would be visible motorised patrols along the major routes, business districts and industrial areas and members of the public should expect an increased number of roadblocks.
"Such deployments and roadblocks are intended for the safety of members of the public and they should, therefore, co-operate with directives given by officers on patrol or manning such roadblocks," he said. In similar calls by ZCTU in the past, he said, the blockading of roads using any objects and stoning of passing motor vehicles have been witnessed.
"Members of the public are reminded that it is an offence to coerce anyone into an activity that he does not want to participate in, including the prevention of others to board buses.
"It is also an offence to pass threatening messages through the phone or any other communication tools," he said.
Asst Comm Bvudzijena said police would be on the lookout for people who commit such offences and when arrested they should not cry foul.
He said police were also aware of the recent strategies resorted to by demonstrators of using children as human shields in the event of any police action.
Said Asst Comm Bvudzijena: "We appeal to parents and guardians to encourage their children not to participate in such criminal activities.
"We are also aware that schools will be closing tomorrow (today). Adequate preparations have also been made by the police to ensure their (schoolchildren’s) security as they proceed to their homes."
ZCTU has called the stayaway to ostensibly protest against "deteriorating living conditions".
Dialogue among the concerned parties has been cited as a key tool to resolving pressing matters with moves underway for social partners to sign a social contract.
Government has said the planned stayaway is in furtherance of opposition politics and urged workers to ignore the ZCTU call.
The Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare, Cde Nicholas Goche, said the Tripartite Negotiating Forum was a platform to discuss socio-economic issues yet the ZCTU had not brought its concerns before the forum.
He said that while Government was working to revive the economy under the auspices of the TNF, the umbrella labour group was throwing spanners into the works.
"As the minister responsible for labour administration, I wish to appeal to all workers to ignore the politically motivated stayaway being called for by the ZCTU on April 3 and 4, 2007," said Cde Goche.
The minister said the Government had learnt that it was individuals in the ZCTU aligned to the opposition politics of the MDC, National Constitutional Assembly and Crisis Coalition Alliance who wanted labour to be seen participating in the current Western-backed violence aimed at illegal regime change in Zimbabwe.
"All workers are, therefore, being urged to ignore the call and report for work as usual. Government will ensure that transport is available during the days in question and police will be there to ensure workers are not intimidated when boarding buses on their way to their workplaces," said Cde Goche.
He said employers were free to deal with staff members who choose to deliberately stay away from work.
Dare’s anti-Zim media campaign misguided
By David Samuriwo
GILLIAN DARE, the purse holder and financier of the violence being perpetrated by the MDC, should be aware that by throwing all diplomatic etiquette into the dustbin and putting on her combat gear she has become a prime target for deportation.
Not only that, there is also a real possibility that the political officer, labelled in some sections of the media as a British spy, could one day be caught in cross fire as she plays night nurse to arrested MDC hooligans.
It will be a pity for her family to welcome her at Heathrow Airport in a body bag just like some of her colleagues from Iraq and Afghanistan.
To be honest, I must confess that I took this woman for granted. What with the numerous sponsored tours to British-funded projects that I attended together with her beloved Grace Mtandwa followed by the free lagers that I downed after her diplomatic pretensions.
Her latest blatant interference in the internal affairs of Zimbabwe has left me without any iota of respect for her.
According to a source in South Africa who is based at Rhodes University and is studying journalism, Dare has sent out word that a considerable number of Zimbabwean journalists could soon find themselves earning the much-sought-after British pound.
It does not matter whether one is based in Zimbabwe or in the Diaspora. All one has to do is to join an anti-Zimbabwe media campaign team that has been set up by the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO).
In pursuit of her country’s unbridled ambition, Dare has received a huge amount of money from a section of the FCO known as ADS to pay Zimbabwean journalists, academics and opposition politicians to pen articles that paint President Mugabe and the Government in bad light after each arrest of MDC hooligans.
The articles will be forwarded to various media outlets worldwide and prompt payment will be made for each publication. Individuals responsible for Zimbabwe in the ADS are Ben Llewlyn Johns, Neil Hammond and Simon Atkinson.
Already listed as potential contributors to the demonisation campaign are Peter Robinson and Daniel Ndlela. The two were chosen on the basis of a project they worked on dubbed, "New Zimbabwe: Sustainable Growth and Transformation". The project was commissioned by the Zimbabwe Institute in South Africa, a so-called "think tank" of Zimbabweans-based in that country.
According to the sources, Dare insists the recruited journalists should also cover the dire need of the restoration of the rule of law, the need for a new constitution, regime change either through the ballot box or through street protests. Proper finalisation of the legal framework of the land resettlement programme with exceptional emphasis being placed on adequate compensation to those whites dispossessed of land.
In this respect, Dare argues, there is need for some of the white farmers who bought their land after obtaining a certificate of no interest from the Government to return to the farms.
Dare insists that the campaign should also sensitise the world that the "isolation Zimbabwe is facing" is self-imposed through disregard for property rights especially the forced eviction of "productive and highly skilled" white former farmers.
This she says will need a new government that has to take unpopular decisions like returning vast tracts of land to these white former commercial farmers.
Unfortunately, the anti-Zimbabwe media campaign as envisaged by Dare has taken off on a wrong footing. Last week, the British junior foreign minister, Ian McCartney lied to the House of Commons that President Mugabe’s daughter was studying at the London School of Economics.
Authorities at the College were left with no choice but to put the record straight denying that they had no student by that name.
The generous payouts being made to these mercenaries to demonise the country are a blessing in disguise to the Government of Zimbabwe.
Dare’s anti-Zimbabwe media campaign will never reach the envisaged earth-shattering crescendo, as she would wish, as evidenced by the false start it has made.
Instead, the lies will find resonance in the British Houses of Commons, and Lords, the US Congress and such other bodies who have steadfastly refused to understand Zimbabwe’s political environment.
The Dare-led anti-Zimbabwe campaign is not without a precedent, despite acres of video footage depicting how Iraqis "welcomed" their "liberation," American forces are today still returning to their homeland in body bags. The US Democrats-led Congress has now put its foot down.
It is insisting that American soldiers must leave Iraq at the earliest possible opportunity.
As long as Dare’s strategy is based on lies and deception like the ones US president George W. Bush used to invade Iraq, it is bound to fail.
It is against this background that the sudden change of strategy by the MDC to try to attain power through violence, not through the ballot box should be holistically looked at.
The British government, through its representatives in Zimbabwe, does not care about the country’s economic decline as often stated by its Ambassador here, Andrew Pocock.
Dare’s anti-Zimbabwe media campaign captures it all. The British are looking for a reversal of fortunes in favour of their national interests — that is total control of any future Government of Zimbabwe that will enable a return to the pre-2000 skewed land distribution pattern.
The resources that are being copiously given to the MDC are no different to the vast arsenal of weaponry that was given to the Unita bandits at the height of the Angolan civil war.
However, of major concern to the MDC is the realisation that no neighbouring country is prepared to support its calls for civil war, hence its tactics of sporadic bombing of isolated police stations and instilling fear by bombing public transport utilities.
It is unfortunate that Dare and her allies in sponsoring the violence being perpetrated by MDC hooligans, the so-called democratic resistance committees, is not realising the futility of the exercise they have embarked on.
To start with, it is a foregone conclusion that Zimbabwe’s security forces will definitely get an upper hand sooner rather than later.
Secondly, no sacred cows will be allowed to room in the wheat fields as the security organs of the state assert their authority.
It is an established fact that the formation and commissioning of these resistance committees has the blessing of almost all senior members of the Tsvangirai-led faction of the MDC. Dare and her co-conspirators are happily dolling out stipends to hooligans who are now well equipped with modern gadgets of destruction such as improvised explosive devices, hand grenades and teargas canisters.
As the net closes in Dare should not be surprised when charges of treason, sabotage and murder are eventually laid against some senior members of the opposition. This is the norm worldwide. Nobody is above the law. That the British and American governments, have, against all wisdom decided to sponsor a violent insurrection against a sitting government speaks volumes of the double standards in their favoured gospel of peace and democracy.
Already, police have picked up the special advisor to Morgan Tsvangirai, Ian Makone, for questioning following a spate of bombings that have rocked the nation.
Another MDC stalwart, Piniel Denga, is also under police custody while seven other activists have been picked up for petrol-bombing Zanu-PF offices in Mbare.
More MDC officials belonging to the Tsvangirai faction are likely to be arrested as police intensify their investigations.
Perhaps as a final footprint, Dare is strongly advised to incorporate into her anti-Zimbabwe media campaign team, one Basildon Peta, a famed chequebook journalist now based in South Africa. The gentleman will surely provide comic relief to the otherwise dull and stupid campaign.
Last week’s reports in the western media that Vice President Joice Mujuru had resigned from Government were a typical example of how ambitious, ill-conceived and amateurish Dare’s anti-Zimbabwe campaign project is turning out to be.
Kaunda’s analysis on Zimbabwe accurate
EDITOR — I was filled with unbridled joy and emotion when I read about former Zambian president Dr Kenneth Kaunda’s support for Zimbabwe (The Herald March 23 2007), which was echoed by other Zambian politicians — Fredrick Chiluba and the maverick Michael Sata.
I was overjoyed because Dr Kaunda is one of Africa’s illustrious sons; I was emotional because he reminded me of departed heroes like Jomo Kenyatta, Julius Nyerere, Chris Hani, Agostinho Neto, Amilcar Cabral, Samora Machel, Steve Biko, Kwame Nkrumah and Patrice Lumumba. They, just like President Mugabe, had one thing in common, the quest for the total emancipation of Africa.
Indeed, Dr Kaunda is an authority on the liberation of Zimbabwe.
It was refreshing to hear him speak on the emotive issue of land. The onus is on us Zimbabweans not to surrender our national heritage.
All Zimbabweans must understand that the current socio-economic and political situation did not stem from bad governance, No! It came because we decided to get our land back from the descendants of settlers who had stolen it from our forebears.
It is evident Westerners, behind the onslaught on Zimbabwe, are engaged in a spirited project to re-orient African politics to suit their interests. They are doing this by coming up with puppet political parties in the mould of the MDC that believe Westerners were ordained to lord it over the whole world.
I wonder how a sane Zimbabwean would fail to see that the trend of economic challenges we faced since the start of the land reform programme are a result of systematic external manipulation?
I salute you Dr Kaunda for your accurate analysis of the challenges facing our beloved Zimbabwe.
Police deploy for Zimbabwe strike
Security forces have been deployed in Zimbabwe as unions started a two-day strike in protest against the country's worsening economic crisis.
Police blocked roads into the capital, Harare, and military helicopters were seen patrolling the city.
But the strike has so far had a slow start. Many workers cannot afford to lose pay and are instead going to work.
The capital was slightly quieter than usual, but many shops and offices were open in the central business district.
Zimbabwe's main trade union, the Congress of Trades Unions (ZCTU), says it called the general strike over the government's failure to respond to the economic meltdown and was pushing for wage rises.
More than 80% of Zimbabweans live in poverty and inflation is running at more than 1,700% - the highest in the world.
"This ... is the only solution to make sure that the authorities should come back to the negotiating table," ZCTU president Lovemore Matombo said. "We are quite aware of what the government is likely to do."
But a clothing factory worker in Harare told Reuters news agency that workers feared losing their jobs if they went on strike.
"I understand what the ZCTU is trying to do for us ... but things are so hard I cannot afford to lose this job, and although I get very little, I cannot afford to get nothing at all," Dickson Mapara said.
Police spokesman Wayne Bvudzijena said the elite National Reaction Force had been deployed and would target those who threaten the government.
"The police will be on the lookout for people who commit such offences and when arrested they should not cry foul," he said.
There were no street demonstrations planned for the strike, amid fears of police violence, unions said.
No regime change
Meanwhile, South African President Thabo Mbeki says he wants to promote a compromise between rival factions in Zimbabwe but would not push for regime change.
Mr Mbeki told the UK's Financial Times that there was no big stick available to change the government in Harare but there was a need to tackle Zimbabwe's elections.
"We have to get the Zimbabweans talking so we do have elections that are free and fair," he said.
Southern African leaders last week appointed Mr Mbeki to mediate between Mr Mugabe and the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party.
On Saturday, MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai said nine members of his party had been badly beaten up in custody after being arrested.
Last week, Zanu-PF announced that Mr Mugabe would be its candidate in next year's election, letting the president stay in power until 2013, when he would be nearly 90.
Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2007/04/03 10:44:27 GMT