Sunday, July 11, 2010

Zimbabwe News Update: Political Tolerance Promotes Development, Says Vice-President Mujuru

Political tolerance promotes development: VP Mujuru

Herald Reporter

Vice President Joice Mujuru has called on political leaders to be tolerant and allow divergence of ideas for the development of Zimbabwe.

Addressing journalists after the Zanu-PF National Consultative Assembly meeting at the party headquarters in Harare yesterday, VP Mujuru said leaders should lead by example.

"There are certain things that happen wherever we are with opposition parties and within the party and people lose temper over nothing.

"As leaders, we have to be composed, we have to be tolerant, we have to really understand what needs to be done. It does not matter, day or night, whether on a bus or in church, you must portray your leadership qualities and be tolerant of whatever circumstances you come across."

VP Mujuru said the NCA had adjourned to next month on a date to be advised.

"We managed to group the leadership of Zanu-PF so that we can teach others the values of Zanu-PF. The values of our struggle; the values about us as the leadership of the party, which has brought this emancipation and independence in the country," she said.

VP Mujuru said national political commissar Cde Webster Shamu would launch a programme to teach party cadres the importance and values of party slogans and the national anthem.

"He was also teaching the leadership on why we would not do certain slogans and why we do not have to do them."

She said there was also need for people to understand the important words in the national anthem.

‘Illegal sanctions have hardened ZDF resolve’

Herald Reporter

The illegal Western sanctions imposed on the country have hardened the Zimbabwe Defence Forces’ resolve.

Addressing troops at a graduation ceremony of 100 section commanders after a tactics course at Inkomo Barracks yesterday, Lieutenant-Colonel Albert Malamo said the ZDF was committed to producing highly trained personnel.

"I understand you conducted the course under adverse conditions with limited resources.

"This is because of the illegal sanctions imposed on our country by Britain and her Western allies.

"However, we should soldier on. To some extent those illegal sanctions have hardened our force to be able to soldier on even if the going gets tougher. We want to applaud ourselves as we have managed to make do with the available resources," he said.

Lt-Col Malamo urged ZDF forces not to tire in defending the gains of independence and protecting Zimbabwe’s interests.

He paid tribute to the 19 female graduates, saying this showed women could compete with their male counterparts. The course started with 120 participants drawn from various formations and units within the Zimbabwe National Army but 20 dropped out for various reasons.

Howard’s visit: What a missed chance

By Alexander Kanengoni
Zimbabwe Herald

John Howard, the former Australian Prime Minister is not exactly our friend.

Considering that he was one of the people at the forefront of the global campaign to impose sanctions on the country and cripple our economy to achieve the regime change objective, all well-meaning Zimbabweans find it difficult not to dislike him.

Recently, he paid an unexpected visit to the country to canvass for support to be elected ICC vice president.

I don’t think we extracted much, if any political mileage at all from his unexpected visit.

Just as the visit by the Brazilian Samba Boys a week or so before him, his visit offered a huge opportunity for the country to use him to correct the negative perception of the country that he was instrumental in creating.

Instead of confining him to the five star Miekles and the leafy environs of the Harare Sports Club, we should have taken him on a tour around the country to see for himself the devastation that the sanctions that he prefers to call targeted are causing on ordinary people.

Of course all this would be before a tour of the Victoria Falls or Gonarezhou Safari resort to sample the true African beauty that these places offer.

Because he came through David Coltart, the Minister of Education, he should have been taken to visit an unfinished rural school because funding dried up in the middle of construction due to sanctions.

He should have been asked to talk to the poor pupils learning under a tree to discover their enthusiasm to learn; that they are just as eager for education as their Australian counterparts except that they happen to be Zimbabweans and black.

He should have been taken on a tour to a council clinic in Makokoba or Budiriro and see for himself the tragic situation there because the country is having difficulties in accessing the Global Fund to fight HIV and Aids because of the sanctions that people like himself advocated for on the dishonest pretext that they are targeted.

Because, just like the Brazilian soccer team, he had the entire global media focussed on him, we certainly would have extracted much political mileage.

That would also have helped to expose some misconceptions that he assisted the world to construct about the country.

We would have loved Howard to say something during the tour. Perhaps as Shakira said during her whirlwind visit to Gonarezhou, he might have said he would visit again when he had more time and in more relaxed circumstances, perhaps together with his family that time around.

The man was desperate for our vote.

How we would have loved it if he had spoken this before CNN, BBC, Sky News and all the other international news agencies!

As usual, those news agencies might have chosen to omit that or used the story with their usual twist to suit their anti-Zimbabwe stance but some other agency would have reported it correctly.

There is no doubt Howard would have done that because of the reason for his visit. He wanted us to support his bid to be elected vice president of the ICC.

The man was down on his knees.

He was at our mercy.

And all this would not necessarily translate into a vote to support his bid to become vice president of ICC in Singapore. Absolutely no!

I don’t know how David Coltart feels about it but we must at least credit him for bringing us Howard on a silver plate.

We could have done whatever we wished to with him but we didn’t take the chance! It might not have meant much but in this world where we are fighting tooth and nail against the machinations by the powerful and highly organised and well-funded Rhodesian lobby spawned all over the West, every little thing that we do counts.

Talking about the Rhodesian mentality, it’s amazing how it is still reflected in our midst. Nathaniel Manheru’s contribution in The Herald on Saturday last week went a long way to describe it in the private media. But I cannot help adding one more frightening example. Last Sunday’s issue of The Standard carried a cartoon about Brazil’s painful exit from the World Cup in South Africa. It depicted the Brazillian coach, Dunga telling a journalist: "My boys played well. But I think we were cursed by that country that we played friendly with."

The question that immediately comes to one’s mind is whether the cartoonist is Zimbabwean or not. The love for one’s country cannot be imposed on any person. It is instinctive. In our culture, it’s like the love for one’s biological parents. No matter how much you might disagree with them, it’s unthinkable to disown them. In fact, it is impossible to disown them.

The cartoonist is literally disowning his country, that is if he is Zimbabwean. He makes reference to the country as if it’s another country that he happens to be making a glossing comment over.

If the cartoonist comes from this country, he is displaying a frightening Rhodesian mentality. The Rhodesians do not believe in Zimbabwe. If they had their way, they would bring back Rhodesia and they do not hide the fact.

While most people agree the visit by the Brazilian team, which was beamed live to more than 60 countries, helped tremendously to allay the perception that the country was lawless and chaotic, that nothing functioned any more, that the people were violent and unfriendly, the cartoonist tragically helps to perpetuate this misconception.

That is why it is difficult to believe he could be Zimbabwean because a Zimbabwean cannot condemn his country to that extent even if there may be many things that he does not agree with.

While the Minister of Finance, Tendai Biti, is pleading with the KPCS to grant the country a certificate to enable us to sell our diamonds and get the much needed money to kick-start the economic recovery efforts, some young Zimbabweans, representing Crisis International, are arguing we should not get the certificate purportedly in the interests of the Zimbabwean people. They were there on television a few weeks ago.

What interests of Zimbabweans can an NGO called Crisis International represent that the inclusive government is unable to do?

It eventually required government intervention to also suspend sales of diamonds from River Ranch and Murowa mines because the definition ‘blood’ diamonds had been inexplicably confined to mean only diamonds from Chiadzwa.

There is nowhere in the world where anyone has ever heard such shameless hypocrisy.

A long time ago when Nathaniel Manheru discontinued his column in The Herald on Saturday, I am one of those people who mourned his sudden exit because I wanted him to continue his political duels with The Independent’s Muckracker.

Well, he has returned and the debates are increasingly becoming so one-sided. Muckraker mirrors the dilemma of the so-called independent press in the country since the formation of the inclusive government.

The people are tired of being fed with messages of endless conflict and painful images of hopelessness, which continues to be the main recipe of the private media. People might have liked it during the height of our crisis, when there was no solution in sight.

The formation of the inclusive government has provided people with hope, the people love their country and want it to pull out of the crisis.

They want to read hopeful stories about themselves and the future of their country not gloom and predictions of a pending collapse; it’s as simple as that.

The British might disagree over their costly adventure in Afghanistan but that disagreement is never allowed to sway their total support for their men fighting there and their media reflects it.

If any of their papers dares to support the Taliban, there would be an uproar from the public.

It would be promptly accused of treason, even banned. That is what is called patriotism.

We had a completely different story when our men were fighting in the DRC several years ago. Some of our so-called independent papers behaved as if they were published and controlled in Kigali and we were supposed to view that as ‘freedom of the press.’

Now, that stance has come to haunt them in the current political dispensation. They have nowhere to hide their Rhodesian mentality.

They are unrepentant Rhodesians with men placed in strategic positions in almost all NGOs around the world to influence the West’s opinion on Zimbabwe because they still dream of getting back to what they consider ‘their’ farms.

The Zimbabwe Media Commission has licensed several papers to begin publishing.

If they come onto the streets and push the Rhodesian anti-Zimbabwe agenda that sold papers like The Daily News because they were hiding behind the MDC, they might just be in for a rude awakening.

Even if they give away the papers for free, they might still discover people want to read more hopeful messages about themselves and their country.

Because honestly, it will be difficult to convince anyone that Crisis International represents the interests of Zimbabweans more than the inclusive government does, as those poor fellows tried to tell us on television.

It will be even more difficult to convince anyone that Rio Tinto, a foreign company, can sell its diamonds because they are ‘clean’ whereas Mbada, an indigenious company, cannot because its diamonds are ‘blood’.

But because they have no shame, they will attempt to do just that.

We should not get completely surprised if former British Prime Minister, Tony Blair, decides to pay us a surprise visit in the future for whatever reason.

Rather than hype on our past disagreements with him, we should think wisely on how to turn such a visit into a political advantage for the country.

As they say in football, we will live to rue John Howard’s visit that we allowed to go begging.

Zim returnees welcome

Zimbabwe Herald

Zimbabweans returning home from South Africa, some in fear of xenophobia attacks after tomorrow’s World Cup final, are certainly welcome because for those with skills they will realise they are better off here than in a foreign land.

Thousands of skilled Zimbabweans had left the country in search of jobs in neighbouring countries and overseas and were prepared to take up even menial jobs, which were paying much better than what they were earning at the height of the economic meltdown, especially in 2008 when things went really haywire.

A good number of these people left their families here and were managing pretty well because they could send groceries and a few dollars or rands back home for the upkeep of their families.

These few dollars or rands would be sold on the black market and the families would be able to pay utility bills and meet other necessities.

But after the introduction of the use of multiple currencies early last year, it has become increasingly difficult for Zimbabweans doing menial jobs in foreign lands to be able to meet their daily needs where they are based and of their kith and kin they left behind.

What we are basically saying is xenophobia or no xenophobia all Zimbabweans, skilled and non-skilled, are welcome home because in different ways they will contribute to the rebuilding of their country.

We commend the South African government for being proactive to deal with the threats of the attacks that swept across the country in 2008 in a matter of days and left 60 people dead, others injured and property damaged.

Assurances by South African Police Minister Nathi Mthetwa that they will not tolerate any violence are laudable.

Last month, the SA government reconstituted the Inter-Ministerial Committee on Xenophobia to study rumours that there were plans to attack foreigners like what happened in 2008.

South Africa has done itself and the entire African continent proud by successfully hosting the 2010 World Cup, the first world soccer showpiece to be held in Africa.

The tournament has been a huge advertisement for South Africa, its neighbours and the whole African continent.

Although there are still two more games to go before the official closing ceremony, we believe the good organisation and smooth running of the tournament displayed so far will continue until tomorrow when the curtain comes down.

So the South African government should not let threats of xenophobia blight the success it has scored by hosting arguably the biggest sporting event in the world.

It is also a good idea that the SA authorities have indicated they will use the success of the World Cup to extinguish threats of the attacks by educating their nationals on the importance of playing host to people from other parts of the world.

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