Friday, February 22, 2008

Zimbabwe News Bulletin: President Mugabe Blasts Makoni; Returns to Roots; Remembering History

President blasts Makoni

Herald Reporter

PRESIDENT Mugabe has described Dr Simba Makoni, who broke away from Zanu-PF to challenge him in the March 29 presidential election, as a "political prostitute".

In an interview with ZBC-News last night on the occasion of his 84th birthday, Cde Mugabe said Dr Makoni’s method of seeking the highest office in the land was "absolutely disgraceful" because he neither has a party nor the support of the people.

"What has happened now is absolutely disgraceful. I didn’t think kuti Makoni after all the experience could behave like the way he did and in a na├»ve way too yekungosadharara kuti ndinonzi Simba Makoni. Haana kana party, asi vanhu ‘huyai kwandiri mundide ndinoshamisa, I am like a magnet, come to me and I am there to lead you.’ No! You go to the people and the people find you, hausadharare apa uchitsvaga vanhu.

"So I have compared him to a prostitute, a prostitute could have stood also achiti ini ndine vangu varume vamwe varimuMDC vamwe varimuZanu-PF, hapana party isina varume vangu inini, saka neniwo ndoenda kunomination. But you see a prostitute could have done better than Makoni because she has clients," Cde Mugabe said.

However, President Mugabe said people were free to leave Zanu-PF if their views were not in tandem with those of the majority because the party gives priority to the wishes of the majority.

"We had even the Makonis for so many years, the Jonathans (Moyo). After being with us and having absorbed our own experience as a party and surely a bit of our history, then they decide to part ways with us, some of them who became deviant.

"But the party is a people’s party and it must encompass all levels. This is what kills some parties; they think they exist for intellectuals. We want people to be educated, of course, but not everybody can have a degree. The process of running a country or a party or any other organisation is a process of accepting ideas and rejecting others.

If you arrive at a stage when the majority are agreeing that the direction of the party should be this way, you will be lucky, very lucky that you are unanimous. In that view, you will always get dissenting views of a few who see things otherwise.

"It’s not a bad thing to differ objectively, but when you differ subjectively so say ‘aah what this man says I will never accept’, you are being subjective. Once you become subjective and take yourself as the opinion maker, as the key person in making opinion, then you are already dangerous not just to others, but to yourself and you become self-opinionated.

In some cases, it’s ambition, in a revolution we must always guard against those who think they should be leaders. So you will get these rebels because they don’t see things as you see them," Cde Mugabe said.

Asked whether the party leadership saw things the same way, President Mugabe said there were some who wanted freedom to make money through "any means, good or bad", while others "think we should not continue like this, we need Europeans, why should we take the farms, why should we be hostile to the British?"

However, Cde Mugabe said those who hold such views never raise them in the party’s highest policy-making body outside congress, the Politburo.

"So we go by the views of the majority in the Politburo."

The President bemoaned corruption, which he said was endemic at the top, calling for the entrenchment of values and morals among youths.

"This is where we tend to fail not just here in Zimbabwe, but in Africa as a whole and perhaps in the world as a whole. The amount of corruption and the most intelligently executed corrupt activities are those you find in the financial sector. Clever people, young people play around with the figures."

He lamented the fact that some farmers were abusing the free farms, subsidised fuel and loans Government was providing.

On the inter-party talks between Zanu-PF and the MDC, Cde Mugabe said Government had not broken any promises.

He was responding to criticism from some quarters that the announcement of March 29 as the election date could jeopardise the talks and throw off the rails South Africa’s mediation.

But Cde Mugabe said initially Government wanted to delay the elections until 2010 and get the opportunity to harmonise without cutting short the tenure of the current Parliament.

The proposal was abandoned after some people felt the President wanted to extend his term, he said.

He said a decision was taken then that "we are going to elections in 2008 and if my party asks me to stand, I will stand".

Zanu-PF’s decision to request Cde Mugabe to stand for another term was the source of the grumblings over the election date, he said, adding that some thought he would retire.

"Akanga avaudza kuti ndachembera ndiani? South Africa knew it and South Africa had actually opposed our intended extension (of his term to 2010)."

Cde Mugabe said the MDC’s areas of concern had been taken into consideration during the talks, resulting in amendments to such laws as the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act and Public Order and Security Act.

"We have not broken any promises there. People wanted us to postpone elections for their own benefit. You take advantage of their (the opposition) being in disarray, the more they are in disarray the better for you."

Asked what sort of relationship he had with South African President Thabo Mbeki who some say regards him as a "father figure", which could have an influence on his mediation, President Mugabe said they were "comrades-in-arms" and respected each other.

Cde Mugabe said the Zanu-PF election campaign would focus on resisting the British regime change agenda as long as they continued on that path.

This week British Prime Minister Mr Gordon Brown revealed that London had increased funding for the opposition to £3,3 million.

He predicted a Zanu-PF victory in the elections and put to rest the regime change agenda.

"I do hope the humble pies -- and they will be big ones -- that we will deliver for the edification of the opposition will be eaten and eaten satisfactorily."

Turning to the economy, the President said inflation was the biggest problem causing untold suffering to Zimbabweans.

"It means purely we have got to enhance production, make the goods available as cheap as possible. But we need to work with people who also understand that."

Simba Makoni goes back to his roots

By Godwills Masimirembwa
Zimbabwe Herald

ON February 5 2008, Dr Simba Makoni launched another escapade by the Western world into Zimbabwean politics, in the vain hope of reversing the gains of the liberation struggle that dates back to the First Chimurenga War of 1896/97.

That Makoni has been on the political landscape for a long time and rose within the ranks of Zanu-PF to become a member of the Politburo is what gives his Western handlers the false hope of regaining the initiative in their neo-colonial agenda.

But to the majority of Zimbabweans, Makoni has now demonstrated that he is in the league of "good Africans", those who shun and despise their birthright and believe that without whites Africa is doomed.

The obvious question arises, why then did Makoni rise so high in a party that stands for the opposite of what he says he believes in?

This writer believes that in life misfits can wiggle their way into influential and even dominant positions, but the telltale signs of who they really are rarely escape notice and attention. And in the fullness of time, pretenders normally come in the open and parade their true colours.

This is exactly what Makoni did on February 5. He laid bare his soul. He has all along been a reluctant follower, nay a betrayer of the revolution. His utterances at the so-called World Economic Forum-BBC World Debate, held in Cape Town, South Africa, on June 15 last year to debate the state of affairs in Zimbabwe vindicate this writer’s assertion.

This writer thanks Makoni for coming in the open and sparing Zimbabweans of the false notion that in him reposed the qualities of revolutionary leadership so necessary in the on-going struggle against neo-colonialism.

Zimbabweans now know, and this writer is certain that President Mugabe now knows that he misplaced his trust, for clearly, Makoni has all along been an enemy of the revolution.

The chasm between Makoni and the revolution is aptly captured in his own launch statement of February 5, where he said: "First, let me confirm that I share the agony and anguish of all citizens, over the extreme hardships that we have all endured for nearly 10 years now.

"I also share the widely held view that these hardships are a result of failure of national leadership and that change at that level is a prerequisite for change at other levels of national behaviour . . . Let me also affirm here, my deeper faith in, and high loyalty to the whole nation of Zimbabwe which deeper faith and higher loyalty have moved me to offer myself to this once great country and still great people."

Makoni blames President Mugabe for "the extreme hardships that we have endured for nearly 10 years now". He says there has been a failure of national leadership. He says Zimbabwe was once great, but is no longer great, because of a "failure of national leadership".

The phrases "the extreme hardships that we have endured for nearly 10 years now", "this once great country", define who Makoni really is.

"Nearly 10 years now" takes us back to the famous and heroic 1998 near culmination of the land reclamation war. The genesis of the land reclamation revolution dates back to the First Chimurenga War. We won our independence on April 18 1980, but the ultimate precursor of the revolution, the land that had been stolen from us, remained firmly under the control of a handful of whites.

So, nearly 10 years ago, Zimbabweans, under the leadership of President Mugabe, in the face of British arrogance and volt turn, realised the folly of continuing to negotiate and appear to beg for their land, took up the cudgels, as they did during the armed struggle, victoriously marched on to their land, and repossessed it.

So, for nearly 10 years now, Zimbabweans, through and with the able leadership of President Mugabe, have been consolidating their hold and ownership of their land. It was precisely because of the Third Chimurenga, the land reclamation movement, that Zimbabweans were and are being punished by Britain and her allies.

The majority of Zimbabweans are all clear and aware of why they are suffering. They have suffered for nearly 10 years now because they refused and continue to refuse to be vassals in their land, their heritage.

The backlash against Zimbabwe from Britain and its allies for daring to be free was in the form of illegal economic sanctions, demonisation, attempted isolation and all manner of evil dishing to subdue our resolve.

Zimbabweans, though suffering extreme hardships, are proud that they have victoriously fought a good fight against settler colonial and neo-colonialism and are now preserving and protecting their heritage for future generations.

This is the revolution and its results that Makoni publicly disowned on February 5. Though a beneficiary of it, clearly Makoni was not and is not with the revolution.

What wrong did President Mugabe do? How did he fail the nation? Is leading the nation to the ultimate prize failure? Is repossessing our land from a recalcitrant former colonial master failure? Is fulfilling the objectives of the First and Second Chimurenga Wars wrong?

If remaining as vassals in our land is, according to Makoni, right, then Zimbabweans are saying to him, "we would rather be wrong than be right. Our land belongs to us, no matter the extreme hardships we may suffer to regain, preserve and protect it".

Makoni says Zimbabwe was once a great country. Allow this writer to sequence it for him. Zimbabwe was a great country prior to colonisation. This is why Zimbabweans are proud of the First Chimurenga. The First Chimurenga was fought to reclaim the stolen land, to chase away the invading and marauding settler colonialists.

The once great Zimbabwe remained under colonial rule until April 18 1980.

Independence partially restored Zimbabwe’s greatness. Now with political power, Zimbabweans were able to decisively return the country to its original greatness, the greatness of its people owning its lands, our heritage. With our land, we are now a truly great country.

So, the nearly 10 years of hardships Makoni refers to, are nearly 10 years of struggle for our economic independence through the ownership of our land and resources. Sadly, Makoni believes otherwise. He thinks the era when our land was still in the hands of a handful of whites is the era when Zimbabwe was a great country. Now that we have control of our land and resources, Makoni says Zimbabwe is no longer a great country.

If Makoni had been with the revolution he would be gloating over his role in the triumphant fight for the ultimate prize. Ironic isn’t it that he was physically there with the victors in the Central Committee, the Politburo, in the rallies with the masses, at the Extraordinary Congress in December with the thousands of delegates, but in spirit he was at the so-called World Economic Forum, condemning the revolution, despising his own, regretting a status he seems never to have wanted.

It was sad to hear Makoni during the so-called World Economic Forum-BBC World Debate on the State of Affairs in Zimbabwe, say: "At the surface the indicators are not there, but there is a process ongoing within the party Zanu-PF, within Zimbabwe and even within some of our friendly partners. That process is underway. There is an agreement that the state of affairs cannot go on and that it must be reversed."

As fate would have it, former British prime minister, Tony Blair, a foremost advocate and practitioner of neo-colonialism became a board member of the Board Foundation of the so-called World Economic Forum in September 2007. He will chair its Annual Meeting for 2008 in Davos, Switzerland. Truly a Western world Economic Forum.

Would it be far-fetched to speculate that there was already a symbiotic neo-liberal/neo-colonial relationship between Makoni and Blair by the time the so-called World Economic Forum-BBC World Debate on Zimbabwe was held in Cape Town?

Blair, as we all know, has a passionate anti-democracy interest in Zimbabwe, vainly seeking British domination in Zimbabwe’s economic and political landscape. Prior to his joining the Foundation Board of the so-called World Economic Forum, Blair was a regular participant in several of its annual meetings in Davos.

A Blair/Makoni axis of evil against Zimbabwe, bent on reversing the gains of our independence, appears to be in the offing.

This writer submits that it would be fair to say that in the context of Makoni’s condemnation of President Mugabe’s leadership over the past 10 years, his desire is to reverse the monumental gains of that period. But not only the gains of that period, for what happened during the past 10 years, the repossession of our land and resources, was part of a long journey of the struggle of the Zimbabwean people dating back to the First Chimurenga.

This effectively means Makoni was all along a reluctant revolutionary. He now believes it is time to destroy that which he never believed in and was a reluctant participator in.

Zimbabweans need to take comfort in what Makoni has done. Just in the nick of time, at the verge of an epoch-defining election, he demonstrated that he was not and will not be with them in the continuing struggle. We are warned not to vote for Makoni for the presidency of this, our beautiful country.

We vote for him not only at our own peril, but at the peril of the future of our children’s children, at generational peril. If we make the mistake of voting for him, he will drag us into the cesspool with him. Makoni was a reluctant revolutionary, who has gone back to his roots.

President Mugabe, on the other hand, continues to demonstrate that he committed and continues to commit his entire life to the just cause of the Zimbabwean people. The nation needs his wisdom, counsel and guidance.

Our faith and trust for the stewardship of the nation is in President Mugabe. He has been tried and tested, has never and will never fail us. We must vote for him and retain him to the office of President to allow him to continue to guide us in consolidating the gains of our independence.

Aluta continua.

Let’s remember our history

From George Shire in LONDON, United Kingdom

ZIMBABWEANS go to the polls on March 29 to elect a president, senators, House of Assembly members and ward councillors.

Zimbabweans will have the chance to exercise their right to choose between two political cultures that dominate the political landscape in the country. Zanu-PF and the MDC factions are the main protagonists. Whatever the outcome of these elections, one thing that is certain is that the political weather of Zimbabwe, of the Sadc region and Africa and its myriad of political institutions will change and I hope for the better.

All predictions are that Zanu-PF will win the Presidency, the Senate, House of Assembly and council elections. Such a result will be good for Zimbabwe and its allies in Sadc and beyond. However, for that to happen Zanu-PF and its supporters will need to remain firm, turn up in large numbers on election day and vote for the party and its chosen representatives.

It is useful to begin with genealogy. Zanu-PF is a people’s party. It grew out of the quest for national independence that bore the liberation movement. It is a party that was built on an alliance with the majority of the people and their self interest.

It is a party that is at peace with its neighbours and in solidarity with former liberation movements, a party that has resisted the attempts by Britain and its western allies to impose neo-liberal prescriptions to Zimbabweans. The many victories and successes that Zanla and Zipra combatants scored against the Rhodesian army and its apartheid South African allies were made possible by the overwhelming support of the people in the Zimbabwean countryside.

People in the rural areas were on the ground. They provided the intelligence, they conducted political education, they hid the ammunition, and they gave food and shelter to the combatants. It is these people Zimbabweans should salute for being the backbone of the liberation struggle. Every village and every household sacrificed a grandfather or a grandmother, a father or a mother, a brother or a sister.

Every village in Zimbabwe knows somebody who died during the Second Chimurenga or somebody who did not return from the war. Many more are still buried in unmarked graves. I, like many other Zimbabweans, have loved ones who lost their lives in the liberation struggle. The one thing that drove them all was the struggle for land and to be able to walk tall as a people.

My political education began in 1961 with lessons from my maternal grandfather, Mhepo Mavakire Mashinge. He was then in his 90s but still a force to reckon with. Even today — go around Mutanhaurwa, Denda, Tsatse, Ngomakurira, Nyaure, Chinamhora and all around Domboshawa — 25 miles north of Harare and mention his name and you get to know a thing or two about him as a symbol of resistance to white settlement.

In the last eight months of his life I was at secondary school and he asked me to write down the history of the family. Every weekend he would sit down with me and dictate to me all he knew. We covered many subjects. My copious notes ran into 30 exercise books, each marked by a different subject. Some were in the form of a will, some were lessons to the whole of the family about our legacy and others were his recollections of the family’s first encounter and battles with the colonial settlers.

He talked about the Portuguese, the arrival of the settlers in 1896 and the massacre of men and women, the machinations of the Catholic Church and the Salvation Army in the area, the system of Chibaro and how he had mobilised resistance to it.

He revelled in telling me how he set the dogs on a young arrogant District Commissioner from Goromonzi who had come to demand some hut tax and how he sent him away empty-handed. He told me with such rage how the family had been moved from Chishawasha to make way for the settlers and made me promise never to forget that.

We were very close and when he died in June 1962, I was inconsolable.

As a young man I was drawn to Zanu in honour of my grandfather. Every time I have the opportunity to visit his graveside that responsibility gets stronger. But there is more. I have come to realise that there is more to Zanu-PF than the history of the national liberation struggle.

I learnt from my grandfather and many others after him that our contemporary economic dependency on financial organisations such as the World Bank and the IMF can only be broken if there was a political party committed to reinventing the nation state and its institutions as an instrument and structure that has a distributive instinct and capacity.

That through the land distribution programme it is possible to address those conditions of a flexible, non-unionised, and casual form of work that often targets women and children. That if we are to fight against the impact of contemporary global economic domination and the structural adjustment policies of the IMF and the World Bank on the economies of Sadc we would have to form an alliance with those political institutions that grew out of the liberation war — the ANC, the MPLA, Frelimo, Swapo, the Lumumbaists.

The failure of the so-called born-frees to grasp that global economic organisations have been re-colonising national economies through a system of economic dependency and rigid trade restrictions is lamentable. There can be no indigenous theory or solution to the problems in Zimbabwe that is uncontaminated by the grotesque inequalities that Zimbabwe inherited from Rhodesia.

Zanu-PF gives Zimbabweans the best chance to achieve economic independence, and to emancipate socially and economically subordinate groups. The other parties despite their gloss and clamour for change will seek to return to the pattern of land ownership as it was in 1979 and back into the hands of the few. They seek to block the participation of indigenous Zimbabweans in the wider economic sphere simply to please the West.

The failure of the so-called born-frees and that breed of natural science intellectuals to grasp that global economic organisations have been recolonising the national economies of the region is one of those sad events of our times. Their failure to understand that the freedom and liberation of Zimbabwe and Sadc cannot occupy the same narrative space as western-driven neo-liberal solutions is breathtaking.

They are quite happy to see Zimbabwe sleepwalk into an equivalent of the Kenyan crisis. They do not mind if Mbare or Mzilikazi turn into something similar to a Nairobi slum as long as they can do business with the West selling flowers.

They are quite happy to be described as friends of business and fail to notice how their manifestos are complicity with the economic and social structures of globalisation. An understanding of the cartography that relies from building different networks underpinned by a globalisation from below, such as the Look East Policy is beyond their grasp. So much for being born-free. No one in their sane mind should vote for such innocuous propositions.

These born-again cowboys to the rescue despite their qualifications in the natural sciences or their pathological allegiance to Weberian sociology have no intellectual and cultural vitality that inspires the people of Zimbabwe towards a lexicon of freedom, liberation and self-determination. Operating like NGO’s and loyal to their sponsors, they have no permanent foothold in the majorities.

Their umbilical chords are tied to the whims of the West and that is why they think they are better placed to re-engage with it. Voting for them would be like committing a slow suicide. Someone needs to tell them that if they are not guilty of the robbery they should not hold on to the loot.

Who made it possible for them to become ‘‘independents’’, whose blood was it that made it possible for them to live in the low density suburbs and own a litter of chihuahuas, or own shares in supermarkets, are questions that never seem to bother them.

The MDC and their acolytes do not have a simple language of understanding and conducting politics. In as far as there is economic inequality in Zimbabwe and Sadc, in so far as there are still large numbers of people who are poor and small numbers who are rich and in so far as distribution of wealth comes from the market, all the MDC can think of is to mortgage Zimbabwe to the West.

That is the route through which they wish to secure the re-colonisation of Zimbabwe. They must be defeated at the polls at all cost.

Lest we forget, Zimbabweans know that the so-called smart sanctions that have been sponsored by the MDC have crippled the economy, contributed to Zimbabwe being constituted as a failed state and tarnishing the image of Zimbabwe internationally.

The MDC and its allies are parties that are determined to drive individuals to the private market, to persuade everybody to fall in love with the corporate agenda, to worship at the shrine of neo-liberalism, to dismantling the traditional defences of Pan-Africanism, to reversing the legacy of the movements of the liberation war and in their attempt to think new things and change are in reality new Rhodie proxies.

All they want is to be in State House and they are not remotely interested in issues such as land, fresh water, energy, natural resources, education, health, new technology, how to turn around the economy, and the public good. They think like the West and its media institutions.

The MDC have been major players in distorting the realities of Zimbabwe and have played a major part in the formation and constitution of Zimbabwe as a ‘‘failed state.’’ Trapped in their own history they have failed to grasp what it is like to operate between a past which is not yet over and future which is not yet started. Despite their mantra about democracy and good governance, they do not know the meaning of the words. They have no interest whatsoever in the creation of a plural human rights culture that speaks to the realities of the people of Zimbabwe.

Zimbabweans should not be fooled by the rhetoric of the change agents. The rise in inflation and the economic hardships that Zimbabweans have endured stem directly from the loss of balance of payment support, the closure of lines of credit to Zimbabwean institutions by the global economic organisations and Zanu-PF’s refusal to be re-colonised by any other name.

This nightmarish situation was brought on Zimbabwe by those in the MDC and their allies. They do have a right to exist but they are just wrong and misguided. I wish them well and I hope on the morning of March 30 they will go to the drawing board and start afresh, after President Mugabe’s resounding victory.

The past 10 years have been such a wasted opportunity. The difference between "UNITED" and "UNTIED" is where you put the "I". In the abundance of water, the fool is thirsty.

Let’s remember our history.

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