Friday, April 11, 2008

Zimbabwe News Bulletin: Ministers to Represent Nation at Lusaka Summit; Police Ban Demonstrations; 4 ZEC Officials Appear in Court

Ministers to represent Zim at Lusaka summit

Herald Reporter/

Zimbabwe will be represented by three Cabinet ministers and the Secretary for Foreign Affairs at today’s Sadc summit called by the regional group’s chairman, Zambian President Levy Mwanawasa, to discuss the just-ended elections, a senior official said yesterday.

The Secretary for Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Joey Bimha, said President Mugabe would not attend today’s Sadc summit in Lusaka, which he described as unnecessary.

Ambassador Bimha told ZBC-News that Zimbabwe would instead be represented by himself, Rural Housing and Social Amenities Minister Cde Emmerson Mnangagwa, Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Cde Patrick Chinamasa and Foreign Affairs Minister Cde Simbarashe Mumbengegwi.

The opposition MDC-T has said its leader, Morgan Tsvangirai—who is claiming victory in the March 29 presidential election — will attend the Lusaka summit.

Ambassador Bimha said the summit was "unnecessary", as the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission was still busy collating results of the presidential election.

In an interview with ZBC-News shortly before leaving for Lusaka, Ambassador Bimha said Government was not deliberately delaying the release of the results.

Government has made it clear that it was waiting for ZEC to finish the verification of the results in some constituencies before the announcement.

Ambassador Bimha said ZEC was an independent body made up of people selected by both the opposition and the ruling party and Government does not have the power to push the electoral body to release the results.

"The summit was called without consultation with the Zimbabwean Government," the Deputy Minister of Information and Publicity, Cde Bright Matonga, told AFP earlier.

Announcing the summit, Mr Mwanawasa noted that the elections were accepted by international observers, including Sadc, and he commended "the people of Zimbabwe for the calm and peaceful manner in which the elections were conducted".

"Similarly, I appeal to them to maintain the same spirit of calmness which they exhibited during the elections as they await the results of the presidential elections.

"Given the developments immediately following the elections, I have decided, as chair of Sadc, to call an Extraordinary Summit to discuss ways and means of assisting the people of Zimbabwe with the current impasse as well as adopt a co-ordinated approach to the situation in that country," Mr Mwanawasa said.

There has been pressure from the opposition parties to the international community to push for the release of the results of the presidential election.

Sadc has indicated its preference to resolve any issues within the region.

ZEC has been engaged in verifying the results of a close contest that could result in a run-off between the top two contenders — Cde Mugabe and the main opposition leader, Tsvangirai.

Although the opposition party has claimed victory, independent monitors have said their tallies indicate that a run-off is required as neither candidate received more than half of the votes.

The harmonised elections included four ballot papers for President, Senate, National Assembly and local councillors. Results for the latter were announced at ward level, while the parliamentary results were announced nationally at intervals by ZEC as the count was verified.

Vote counting was done at each polling station and the results posted there before forwarding to collation centres for tallying.

Therefore, it is possible for parties and individuals to make their own calculation of the results, but this is not official and it is illegal for anybody except ZEC to announce the results.

This is similar to the situation in Mozambique in the December 1999 elections, when opposition leader Afonso Dhlakama announced that he had won the presidential election based on partial results and a "parallel count". The national electoral commission took 16 days to collate, check and verify the results, which showed that he had not, in fact, won the election.

ZEC has stressed the need for patience and has said they are working as fast as they can but each vote counts.
Herald Reporter/

Four ZEC officials appear in court

Bindura Bureau

FOUR Zimbabwe Electoral Commission officials yesterday appeared at the Harare Magistrates’ Courts on allegations of abusing duty and causing loss of votes to presidential candidates Cde Robert Mugabe, Simba Makoni and Morgan Tsvangirai in the harmonised March 29 elections. elections.

Eastridge Primary School headmaster Stephen Mukoko (63), Kuwadzana 7 Primary School headmaster Mezah Mazambiri (44), Salary Services Bureau secretary Tariro Midzi (41) and an education officer, Nelson Kapisa (55), are also facing an alternative charge of wilfully failing to perform duty under the Electoral Act.

It is the State’s contention that as a result of the actions of the four, Cde Mugabe lost 141 votes while Tsvangirai and Makoni were prejudiced of 60 and 15 votes respectively in three Harare constituencies in the just-ended polls.

The quartet’s appearance also came at a time when four other electoral officers were dragged before a Bindura magistrate on similar charges.

Jew Kuta Sibanda (57), Gilbert Runzonza (44), Richard Yotamu Daka (39) and Canaan Kaseke (age not given) appeared before Bindura magistrate Mr Charles Murove facing fraud charges or alternatively breaching the Electoral Act.

Mukoko, Mazambiri, Midzi and Kapisa were not asked to plead to the charges when they were arraigned before Harare magistrate Ms Olivia Mariga, who remanded them in custody to Monday for bail ruling.

Prosecutor Mr Tapiwa Kasema alleges that Midzi and Mazambiri, who were stationed at Kuwadzana East Constituency, failed to collate results and prejudiced Makoni of 10 votes.

The two allegedly received V11 forms from Crowborough North tents A and B indicating that Makoni had garnered a total of 73 votes but wrongly completed on V23 forms that he got 63.

Kapisa, who was based in Glen Norah Constituency, is being accused of wrongly indicating on the V23 forms that Cde Mugabe had garnered 260 votes instead of 396 in wards 27 and 28.

It is further alleged that Tsvangirai lost 60 votes in Harare South Constituency after Mukoko had negligently indicated that he polled 5 407 votes instead of 5 467 while Cde Mugabe and Makoni lost five votes each.

The four were arrested separately when the alleged scandal was unearthed.

The State also alleges that such cases impacted negatively on the announcement of the presidential poll result.

Sibanda, Runzonza, Daka and Kaseke, represented by lawyer Mr Graciano Manyurureni, were remanded out of custody on free bail, but Sibanda and Runzonza remained in custody after prosecutor Mr Emmanuel Muchenga indicated that he would appeal against their release.

Allegations against Sibanda and Runzonza are that on March 30 the two, who were at Muzarabani South Constituency command centre, failed to display the results for the constituency at the command centre.

Daka, who was based in Dotito, Mt Darwin, allegedly failed to capture a postal vote for Cde Mugabe in Ward 36 and results from two wards on forms V11 AND V23.

He also allegedly failed to capture another postal vote for Tsvangirai in ward 9.

Kaseke, who was also a constituency election officer for Mt Darwin North, allegedly omitted Cde Mugabe’s 172 votes and Tsvangirai’s 174 votes in ward 3.

The State further alleges that Kaseke also failed to note that he had inflated the MDC House of Assembly candidate’s result by one vote.

He is expected back in court on April 21.

In another case, an MDC-T polling agent has since appeared before another Bindura magistrate, Ms Charity Maunga, charged with breaching the Electoral Act.

The State alleges that Miriam Semeni (34) cast her vote at Hermann Gmeiner Primary School in Bindura when her name was not on the ward’s roll but was in ward 14.

Semeni allegedly took advantage of the increasing number of the people and had taken ballot papers and proceeded to vote.

A polling officer who had told her earlier that she was not supposed to vote at the centre saw her and reported the matter to the police, who arrested her immediately.

Semeni, represented by lawyer Mr Ernest Jena of Dinha, Bonongwe and Partners, is denying the charge, arguing the polling officer did not fully explain the implications of a missing name on the voters’ roll.

In another case, nine Zanu-PF youths were fined $1 billion each, or alternatively 30 days in prison, after they were found guilty of disorderly conduct in public.

Richman Mudzengerere (30), Desmond Mavunga (30), Edward Chinoro (29), Botha Jaji (28), Freddy Joe (28), Watson Kaseke (24), Rodrick Dongo (20), Tawanda Kaseke (18) and Terrence Gotora (18) had denied the charge but were found guilty when they were tried before Ms Maunga.

The State proved that the nine had approached Ms Florence Nyamangara and Ms Itai Katsiru at their lodges at Brinkburn Farm in Bindura and ordered them to remove their property, saying they intended to use their houses to rear chickens.

Sensing danger, the two complainants locked their houses and rushed to a nearby roadblock where they reported the matter, leading to the arrest of the 10.

Police ban all political rallies

Crime Reporter

THE Zimbabwe Republic Police yesterday banned all political rallies until the results of the March 29 elections have been announced.

The ban comes after MDC-T applied to hold a rally tomorrow.

Police have also warned that they would decisively deal with anyone who is spoiling for a fight.

Addressing journalists yesterday at the Police General Headquarters in Harare, Police Elections Commander Senior Assistant Commissioner Faustino Mazango said there were many elements who wanted the country to lose peace but police would remain firm in maintaining peace and tranquillity.

"The Zimbabwe Republic Police will be very firm in its endeavour to maintain peace. Surely, those who want to provoke a breach of the peace, whoever they are and whatever office they hold, will be dealt with severely," Snr Asst Comm Mazango said.

He said the application by the MDC-T to hold a rally was turned down because the post-election period was still sensitive.

Last week, the MDC-T attempted to place advertisements in newspapers claiming that it had won the presidential election with more than 60 percent of the vote and parliamentary elections with more than 80 percent of the constituencies.

The adverts were rejected on the basis that they were false as the results were still being announced and were an attempt to whip up political emotions.

"The MDC-T has today (yesterday) applied to hold a rally this Sunday (April 13, 2008). Besides failing to meet the legal requirements in the giving of notice, we are all aware that the current period is still very sensitive unless it is the intention of that party to provoke and cause mayhem for the purposes of satisfying their masters," said Snr Asst Comm Mazango.

"The police have been directed to deal effectively with any breaches of the law."

The police also warned the MDC-T to desist from agitating for a war.

"As the ZRP, we also realise that the MDC-T is spoiling for a fight. We are aware that they have deployed around 350 youths countrywide to man bases.

"We wonder what such bases are for at this particular time except to ignite violence countrywide," he said.

He ordered the youths to immediately vacate the bases and return to their homes.

"These youths are, therefore, warned to vacate the bases and return home immediately without further ado otherwise the law will descend on them," Snr Asst Comm Mazango said.

"We urge the MDC-T not to use the youths as pawns because the life of every Zimbabwean is precious."

He urged people to ignore the calls by the MDC-T for stayaways. "We are also aware that the MDC-Tsvangirai faction is agitating for stayaways. This is an unfortunate development for a party that wants to claim to rule Zimbabwe. People are urged to go about their normal business and to go to work," he said.

Snr Asst Comm Mazango assured that security would be provided. "Police are fully deployed to ensure that peace prevails in the country," he said.

He commended the nation for continuing to uphold peace, which has prevailed before, during and after the polls.

"Allow me to thank the nation for the peace and tranquil atmosphere that has prevailed in the country. The peace and tranquil atmosphere that has prevailed before, during and after the elections has surprised many people within and outside the country. Some people would have wished that this country descended into anarchy," he said.

"We commend everyone for their effort to uphold peace and we guarantee that peace will prevail and as the ZRP we will strive towards this goal."

Snr Asst Comm Mazango urged the nation and other stakeholders to remain calm as the nation waits for the announcement of the results.

"As everyone is aware that the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission is working tirelessly on this issue, therefore we call on the nation, political parties and the international community to bear with the commission," he said.

Commenting on the 11 ZEC officials that have been arrested on allegations of electoral fraud, he urged the courts to be firm and mete out deterrent sentences.

Church leaders meet ZEC

Herald Reporter

CHURCH leaders met the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission yesterday and expressed satisfaction with ZEC’s explanation over the delay in announcing results of the presidential election.

The heads of Christian denominations met ZEC in Harare to seek an explanation over the delay and urged the nation to maintain peace while the election body does its work.

Speaking to journalists after a closed-door meeting with ZEC chairman Justice George Chiweshe, Bishops Trevor Manhanga and Patrick Mutume expressed satisfaction with the explanation they got.

"It was a free meeting, church leaders expressed the concerns they have and Justice Chiweshe answered the issues raised. He said he could not go into detail as the matter is before the courts," Bishop Manhanga said.

ZEC has publicised results of House of Assembly and Senate elections but is yet to announce the outcome of the presidential election contested by President Mugabe of Zanu-PF, Morgan Tsvangirai (MDC-T) and independents Simba Makoni and Langton Towungana.

Bishop Manhanga urged the nation to maintain peace as witnessed before, during and after the country’s first harmonised elections.

"We appeal to the people to remain peaceful. We are confident it is going to be a fair process to determine who is the ultimate winner. We thank the nation for the maturity they have shown. A nation cannot go forward when there is violence," said Bishop Manhanga.

Bishop Mutume said they wanted to understand why there was a delay in announcing the results.

"He (Justice Chiweshe) told us that he is not under Zanu-PF, MDC-T or any other party. He said his organisation is free to make decisions. If we did not push him to the wall, it (meeting) could have taken 10 minutes. Important questions were asked," he said.

"As pastors, we are the ones who start receiving blows. This has pushed us to say let’s go and see the man in charge," said Bishop Mutume.

Justice Chiweshe said he discussed the "elections in general" with the clergy.

He said it was not true that ZEC had not announced the results because of a High Court application by the MDC-T.

"No, that is not the correct position. We said we are unable to discuss issues because the matter is pending in the High Court."

He said ZEC had not stopped its functions simply because there was a case before the courts.

"We have not stopped what we are supposed to do. If ready with the results, we will release them," Justice Chiweshe said.

Justice Chiweshe said ZEC was fully responsible for all electoral issues and anyone with queries should approach
the commission.

"ZEC is responsible for running elections and people should be directed to us. They should refer them to us," he added.

The commission, Justice Chiweshe said, was not working under pressure from anyone.

After the results of three other elections were announced, he said there was no need to keep staff at the National Command Centre.

Justice Chiweshe said the anomalies discovered in some constituencies were unearthed by ZEC, political parties and contesting candidates.

High Court judge Justice Tendayi Uchena will deliver judgment in the case in which the MDC-T is seeking an order for ZEC to announce presidential results on Monday next week.


Pan-African News Wire said...

Levy beware of the Ides of April

SO this is supposed to be the day Southern African leaders gather in Lusaka, that historic city host to so many pan-African conferences at the height of decolonisation, only this time whole African leaders are supposed to do the bidding of the white West, that is pressure Zimbabwe to abet the regime change agenda stoically resisted over the past nine years.

An agenda driven by a white West riled by Zimbabwe’s Third Chimurenga, the first of its kind in Africa.

I am sure if African leaders show up for the summit, many of the founding fathers of this great region among them Nyerere, Mondhlane, Machel, Tambo, and Lumumba, to mention just a few, will turn in their graves.

Lusaka of all places? Lusaka that spawned crucial decisions that brought independence to much of Southern Africa? Lusaka that gave so much for the liberation of Zimbabwe and the entire region?

Yes, it was in Lusaka where the Lusaka Declaration — Southern Africa: Towards Economic Liberation — was signed by the nine founding member states who formed the then Southern African Development Co-ordination Conference, the forerunner of present-day Sadc.

That declaration laid the groundwork for the formation of the Sadcc on April 1 1980 to spearhead black majority rule in South Africa and Namibia.

Present at that inaugural historic summit were Angola, Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Swaziland, Tanzania, Zambia, and newly independent Zimbabwe.

They all unanimously agreed to consolidate the work of the then Frontline States — Angola, Botswana, Lesotho, Mozambique, Tanzania, Zambia, and Zimbabwe — to bring down apartheid South Africa. At that time Levy Mwanawasa, the President of Zambia and current Sadc chair, was a strapping 33-year-old young man, already a trained lawyer with his own law firm Mwanawasa & Company in Lusaka.

Since his practice was based in Lusaka, the epicentre of the struggles against colonialism Levy, as the Zambian Press love to call him, knew all about the conferences whose objective was complete decolonisation of Southern Africa.

Being one of the well-read young man at the time, Levy should know how those summits were viewed by the West hence should be the last man to mock history by curtsying to London and Washington.

It comes as a surprise, therefore, that Levy, at a ripe 60 years can call an emergency summit to discuss the delayed release of results in neighbouring Zimbabwe, a 12 day delay, when he saw no need to call for one when Jean Pierre Bemba and his brigands threatened the peace process in the DRC.

How ironic that Levy QC forgets precedent, particularly as a similar situation obtained in Mozambique but the then Sadc chair did not fret over the issue.

Levy’s summit, for that is exactly what it will be, should it go ahead, comes as a surprise particularly as no summit was called to discuss Mozambique when presidential election results in that country were delayed by two weeks in 1999 with the National Election Commission battling logistical problems.

Lessons from Maputo

Mozambique’s second multi-party elections produced such a close contest that election officials were forced to announce the winners a whole fortnight after polling stations closed as close contests naturally demand intense verification.

Just like in Zimbabwe, the close outcome left the opposition Renamo frustrated and threatening to lodge a series of complaints in the Supreme Court.

Renamo threatened to make Mozambique ungovernable if Chissano was endorsed ahead of Dhlakama.

In the end Chissano and Frelimo won 133 seats, while Renamo weighed in with 117 in the 250-seat Assembly. Chissano had 52,29 percent of the vote against Dhlakama’s 47,71 percent.

A bitter Dhlakama dismissed the results as a "democratic farce" threatening to create ‘‘difficult conditions’’ for Mozambique, which was taken to be a euphemism for a return to war. But the then Sadc chair did not call a summit as it was appreciated that election systems by nature involve complex counting.

And in Mozambique the system left voters, citizens, diplomats, observers and the media increasingly tense as rumours flew about Maputo fuelling charges and counter-charges of vote manipulation amid a torrent of threats from Renamo.

Finally on December 22, the National Electoral Commission announced the results saying it had taken its time recording the initial vote counts as it could not be rushed or tied down by regulations.

Renamo meanwhile had capitalised on the delays by holding daily Press conferences where it insisted it was winning in six of the country’s 11 provinces. Any parallels with Zimbabwe, Levy?

Renamo’s figures, of course, were were dutifully picked by some local and Western media and non-governmental organisations to a point where Renamo declared itself the winner before the CNE had made even preliminary announcements.

The resultant confusion created considerable tension which, combined with Renamo’s allegations of fraud and other irregularities, put the spectre of military confrontation over a country that was just coming out of a ruinous war of destabilisation.

Security forces were put on high alert as Renamo demanded the elections be declared null and void and a rerun held under the supervision of the ‘international’
community, opposition speak for the white West.

The CNE stood its ground, Chissano was declared the winner and Mozambique moved ahead. It did not take a summit to achieve that.

The situation was the same five years latter when Guebuza won with 64 percent of the popular vote with Dhlakama receiving 32 percent, the results took much longer to come out and again Renamo and its coalition alleged electoral fraud and denounced the result.

Renamo’s claims were echoed by Western observers among them the European Union and the Carter Centre. But the then Sadc chair did not convene a summit.

Ignoring own history

Levy, who won his first presidential contest on December 27 2001, with only 29 percent of the vote courtesy of Zambia’s first past the post system should know better the role of the Western hand in African polls.

His main rival in his inaugural presidential contest, the Western anointed Anderson Mazoka, who came a close second with 27 percent of the vote disputed Levy’s victory.

The EU actually jumped the gun and usurped the powers of the electoral commission of Zambia to announce that Mazoka and his United Party for National Development had won the elections.

Premature congratulations flowed from Western capitals torching wild scenes of violence in Lusaka when Levy was finally declared the winner.

Has he already forgotten this? If his memory can’t stretch that long, what about the events around his re-election on September 28, 2006; under a strong challenge from Sata.

Though this time Levy won with 43 percent of the vote Sata, who made a clean sweep of the cities and towns, prematurely claimed victory, again torching scenes of violence when the MMD began closing the gap when the rural constituencies began reporting in. No summit was convened.

So what has prompted Levy to call for a summit on Zimbabwe, particularly as he, being a member of Comesa, never insinuated one when fellow Comesa member Kenya was embroiled in the worst scenes of violence seen since the Rwandan genocide of 1994? So what has gotten under Levy’ bonnet?

I will not say much, apart from reminding him that he has clearly overstepped his boundaries. As an African, particularly one at the helm of a nation, he is supposed to have better understanding and political sophistication.

But what’s worrisome is that this is the same man who made another faux pas on Zimbabwe exactly a year ago, probably after watching too much of that Western tragedy, the Titanic.

Levy had to eat humble pie in Dar es Salaam when Sadc censured the West over Zimbabwe after which he despatched his deputy, Banda, to do the damage control here last April.

We are in April again and Levy is up to his old tricks. Is his memory so short that in the space of 12 months he shoves his feet in his mouth again? I wouldn’t want to hear Roy Clarke say I told you so. Brother Levy don’t vindicate that precocious Briton.


Pan-African News Wire said...

Change for change’s sake bad

By Peter Mavunga

I RECEIVED a moving letter from my niece who was last week excited about change in Zimbabwe. The prospect of an MDC victory was too good to be true. She had voted for the first time and now, on the threshold of political change, she could not contain her excitement in a country in which "we want jobs, food, and basic commodities in the shops".

The same message came in an e-mail from one of my many correspondents. I had not heard from him for some time and suddenly, in the wake of the harmonised elections, he wrote to remind me that recent events in Zimbabwe proved him right.

This is what I have been telling you all along, he wrote, and it is time you too changed and stop supporting the unsupportable.

The sub-text here is that the current political establishment in Zimbabwe has failed and it needs to be changed. That is the only credible inference one can make from this. For we never fix it if it ain’t broken.

What I am being told is that we need to change the political set-up because those who have been in power for the past 28 years have failed. Let us bring in the new who have the distinct advantage of promising to bring in jobs and money too.

This illustrates a fundamental difference of opinion deriving from our different starting points. If the motivation for change is a desire to turn round the economy, as my correspondents would like me to believe, then I suggest they are probably looking at the problem back to front.

It is important to understand the reason why the economy is in such bad shape. A failure to appreciate the reasons why there are no jobs, food and basic commodities in the shops represents, in my view, a wrong diagnosis which, in turn, leads to a wrong solution.

The diagnosis that the Government led by Zanu-PF caused the economic collapse and, therefore, has to be replaced is a distortion, either deliberate or unintended. I accept that there are those who simply do not see what is going on.

However, a major part of what has happened in Zimbabwe is the result of some deliberate act of subterfuge intended to obfuscate rather that clarify issues.

The Zimbabwean economy was never as bad as it is now prior to 1997. Indeed, President Mugabe was the West’s blue-eyed boy for his efforts at reconciliation. After all his Marxist-Leninist rhetoric prior to independence, his accommodation with the white community who had vowed never to serve under him was too good to be true.

Not only was the policy of reconciliation a stroke of genius, it was capped with Cde Mugabe’s embracing of the IMF/World Bank solution — the Economic Structural Adjustment Programme after the collapse of the USSR. And when an African leader is behaving in a way the West expects him to behave, he is rewarded with a state visit.

Indeed, President Mugabe, now reviled by the British, was once upon a time a guest of the Queen. I was there at Horse Guards Parade when the Queen was waiting for him. And I saw both host and guest being carted off in a horse-drawn carriage. That, I was told, was a sign that things were going well between the two countries.

I say this to illustrate the point, lest we forget, that things were not always as bad as they are now. Something happened and that something had to do with a change of government in Britain. When Tony Blair came to office with Claire Short as his secretary of state for international development, they made the decision to turn their back on Zimbabwe.

Abandoning an international agreement signed by a previous (Conservative) government was a fateful decision. It had serious consequences even though the consequences may be conveniently forgotten by the advocates of change.

There are unconfirmed reports that Gordon Brown would give £1 billion in aid to Zimbabwe if there was a change of government.

That begs the question why the same Labour government (albeit with a new leader) did not pay up the money in 1997, I hear you say!

That would be my question too. For that would be yet another illustration that change within Zimbabwe is, in fact, being engineered from without.

And that is the message for my correspondents advocating change. Whose change is it and for what? I think I know why the British government is dead against President Mugabe and Zanu-PF.

They were unhappy about the land reform programme. They took exception to the fact that their kith and kin lost out in a struggle for land.

They are unhappy that Zanu-PF has remained stubbornly united on the land question; that their (the British) repudiation of their obligations under the Lancaster House agreement has contributed to the chaos that has descended upon Zimbabwe. And with that, there is only one way out of this: Mugabe must go and go now, to use Peter Hain’s clarion cry.

And now we should not mess with the British. They have influence. They have their European partners whom they persuade, cajole and even coerce into line on Zimbabwe.

They have their American cousins across the pond with whom they have a special relationship. And, above all, they have a powerful media.

When they attack Zimbabwe on all fronts, just look what happens. The IMF in 1998 resorts to undeclared sanctions. A year later it suspends support for Esap. The International Development Bank also suspends loans and credit guarantees to Zimbabwe. In 2000, IDA suspends all new lending to Zimbabwe.

In 2002, American companies and institutions are forbidden under the so-called Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act from doing business with Zimbabwe. This Act was drafted with the aid of those advocating change locally in Zimbabwe.

Indeed, the MDC has been advocating sanctions for a long time on the grounds that these would precipitate the collapse of the economy.

It is, therefore, disingenuous to advance the case for a change of government on the grounds that it has failed to manage the economy. How can you when the clear objective of the Western governments is to cause economic collapse?

In Britain, the opposition is there to criticise the government in a manner that shows up the government’s incompetence at managing the economy. But that role does not include economic sabotage such as advocating sanctions against Britain.

Opposition parties like that are only found in Africa or in Iraq where the big powers want something and are prepared to use any locals who will join in with them to advance their enterprise.

Yes, Tony Blair may have persuaded others to remove Saddam Hussein from power because they said he had weapons of mass destruction. Was that true or it was the powerful using their influence to impose their will on an unsuspecting people?

We tend to join in other people’s projects. The regime change agenda is not our project but it is curious that some of us have embraced it as if it was ours.

Consider this. The MDC-T leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, is a man who has been praised lately for the way he has conducted himself since the harmonised elections for the way in which he has allowed due process to unfold itself.

Yet some white farmers have already threatened resettled black Zimbabweans with evictions warning them of an incoming MDC government. They simply could not wait. Where is the respect for the black leader, if I may ask?

In the British media we have not read anything about the white farmers threatening to go back to their old farms. It is not a story here. The real story for them is, as the BBC put it, that up to 60 farms had been invaded by war veterans, but they conveniently forgot to give us the names of the farms invaded. Where is the respect for the black man or woman?

When black Zimbabweans have run away from "repressive" Zimbabwe and sought refuge in Britain, their stories of torture and human rights abuses have been believed and used to vilify "tyrant" Mugabe. Yet at a whim they have been sent back home to the same tyrant when it has suited them. Where is the respect of the African man or woman?

I am disappointed that with Zimbabwe’s squalid racial history, no white person has striven to articulate the complexity of our situation. Rather everyone seems interested only in the material assets that Zimbabwe offers.

Land for themselves, above all else, seems to be their over-arching objective, hence their indecent haste to get it back irrespective of how badly it will make their leader look. But do they care how Tsvangirai looks? After all, he is only a means to an end and the end justifies the means.

How sad!