Sunday, December 21, 2008

Zimbabwe News Update: President Mugabe Speaks to ZANU-PF Conference; Cholera is West's Latest Weapon

‘Join us or we go it alone’

Herald Reporters

PRESIDENT MUGABE has invited MDC-T leader Mr Morgan Tsvangirai and his MDC counterpart Professor Arthur Mutambara to make themselves available for swearing in as Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister respectively pursuant to the envisaged inclusive Government.

Addressing thousands of delegates to the 10th Zanu-PF National People’s Conference in Bindura yesterday, the President said he was yet to receive a response from "one of the opposition leaders".

The invitation — in writing — follows the gazetting of Constitutional Amendment Number 19 Bill last week paving way for the creation of the posts of Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister respectively.

Cde Mugabe, however, hinted that a response might not come any time soon as the West was averse to any arrangement that retained him as Head of State and Government.

The MDC-T, he said, was likely to continue pandering to the whims of the country’s detractors, while reiterating that Zimbabwe would soon have to go back to the polls.

"I have sent letters that these two (Morgan Tsvangirai and Arthur Mutambara) may come and be sworn in but mumwe haasati adzoka," President Mugabe said, in apparent reference to Mr Tsvangirai, who is holed up in Botswana.

"The long and short of it is that we will have to go back to elections and I hope that we won’t repeat the disaster of March 29."

President Mugabe, however, said the process had not yet reached a stage where he could say dialogue has collapsed even though Mr Tsvangirai remains in Botswana.

He, however, took a swipe at Mr Tsvangirai for prostituting himself to various countries and procrastinating on joining Government saying his handlers had misled him into believing Zimbabwe was on the verge of collapse and that if he holds out, he will form a government from the rubble.

‘‘All this dancing and running around which Tsvangirai is doing, actually we have to pity him (Tsvangirai). He is no longer in control of himself. This is what comes out of being a puppet to someone.

‘‘And you know what happens ka, in the world of puppetry, you see, you make it dance. So he goes to Germany, he goes to the Netherlands, he goes to Britain, he goes to America, he goes all over. And you (can’t help) wondering really what he is doing, you think he is organising for his party. But zvimwe zvacho zvinenge zvisisina rationality.’’

The President said Mr Tsvangirai was free to wait for the envisaged collapse while Zanu-PF moves on with the business of governing.

‘‘My view is that those who run the MDC have given the MDC the impression that Zimbabwe is collapsing and the Government will vanish on its own, then you just take over.

‘‘Zvino ndozvavarikufunga izvozvo. If they want to wait, fine, we will wait with them for that day. We will say we are waiting for your day asi isu tichitonga, and the day will never come.’’

The President said the inclusive Government was aimed at ensuring a period of stability during which the Government would move towards new elections.

It is envisaged the elections will be held using the Kariba Draft Constitution that was included as an annexture to the broad-based agreement, provided it is endorsed by the people in a referendum but if rejected, the elections will be held using the framework used for the March 29 harmonised elections.

The President took a swipe at US Assistant Secretary State for African Affairs Jendayi Frazer for calling for an invasion of Zimbabwe, saying if any African country was daft enough to be persuaded to follow that course of action it would be repulsed by the tried and tested Zimbabwean defence forces.

‘‘What African countries would have the courage of ordering a military invasion of Zimbabwe?

‘‘In other words, what would they come and do militarily here? All they would do is come and pose a threat to our stability and they would be countered by our own force and there would be an unnecessary war started in a foolish manner because of foolish persuasion coming from foolish sources,’’ the President said to applause from delegates.

The President also blasted Western ambassadors, particularly US Ambassador James D. McGee, for misrepresenting the situation in Zimbabwe.

He also took the BBC, Sky News and CNN to task over their negative coverage of Zimbabwe saying these media were proving to be mere propaganda mouthpieces of the West.

The President reminded the West that regime change will always come unstuck as only Zimbabweans had the power to remove him from office.

‘‘We have told them (Americans) as we told the Europeans that the only persons with the power to remove Robert Gabriel Mugabe are the people of Zimbabwe.

‘‘Handina mutupo wechiAmerica ini. Mese munondiziva kuti ndiriGushungo, kuAmerica kune Gushungo? KuBritain kune Gushungo? Saka hukama navo wakabva pai? Ngavandisiye," the President said to cheers and chants of "Gushungo ingoda".

The President told delegates that Zanu-PF had been forced into negotiations with the opposition because of divisions within Zanu-PF ahead of the harmonised elections adding that it was incomprehensible that anyone would agree to sell out his own country for money.

"Kune vamwe vanoti matambudziko anyanya maBritish ngaauye zvavo. Why should we suffer because of one man and that one man is President Mugabe.

"Ngaabve zvake. Havafunge kuti chavanodira iwo maBritish kuti this one man must go chii? Hapana musangano unonzi wakasimba usina mutingamiriri wakasimba."

President Mugabe said he was not bothered by threats from the enemy saying he was prepared to die in defence of Zimbabwe.

"Ini hazvinei kuti ndingatyityidzirwe zvakaita sei kana kuti ndingazodimburwa musoro. I believe that inyika yedu haisi yemaBritish."

He said the West was pushing hard for an illegal regime change agenda by enticing other African countries to condemn Zimbabwe warning that it would be "foolish" to start an unnecessary war premised on the cholera outbreak.

"Yes, there has been this epidemic, but you do not then proceed to say that the cholera outbreak has been caused by the Government and that the Government is thereby guilty of committing genocide against its own people.

"That’s what they are saying. It is all dishonesty, hypocrisy and a pack of lies! That is the difference between European leaders and Africans. We cannot lie like that in public. We are not capable of being so blatantly dishonest."

He said the US and its allies had lied about executed former Iraqi president Saddam Hussein’s military capabilities as an excuse to attack that country and Zimbabweans must be wary of similar attempts against this country.

President Mugabe said the only solution to the current challenges facing the country was the removal of sanctions.

"The solution required at the moment is that which addresses sanctions. Sanctions must go."

He scoffed at calls for the invasion of Zimbabwe under the guise of protecting its citizens saying "those with the right to protect should not impose sanctions that negate the right to protect".

President Mugabe likened sanctions to waging a war on innocent people and vowed the country would belong to the Zimbabweans with or without sanctions and that he would remain as Head of State until the people decided otherwise.

Government would continue to de-link the economy from the West through alternative policies that had seen Zimbabwe forging stronger ties with countries like China, India, Indonesia, Brazil, Venezuela, Argentina and Cuba among others, the President told the delegates.

He reassured the nation that the State was doing all it could to ensure people were well catered for ahead of the festive season and beyond and that more agricultural inputs distribution schemes would soon be unveiled.

6 000 converge on Bindura for national people’s conference

Herald Reporters

THE spirit of Mbuya Nehanda was revived in the legendary medium’s home province of Mashonaland Central yesterday as Bindura morphed into a sea of Zanu-PF colours with over 6 000 delegates converging at the Bindura University of Science and Education campus for the 10th National People’s Conference.

Dancing and swinging to the tunes of the ruling party’s late national hero and political commissar, Cde Elliot Manyika, delegates drawn from all corners of the country turned the sleepy town of Bindura into a cauldron befitting of the party’s revolutionary fervour.

The event was a fitting send-off for the late hero who died in a car crash while preparing for this very conference. Mashonaland Central has been the ruling party’s vanguard, rivaled only by Mashonaland East, and had turned itself into a "one party state" before the March 29 harmonised election when for the first time it failed to sweep the province.

However, the spirit of Mbuya Nehanda and Sekuru Mapondera, the pioneers of the liberation struggle, reminded the delegates once more of the togetherness that made April 1980 into a reality as spearheaded by Zanu-PF.

Party supporters gyrated to the sounds of the revolution as they celebrated Cde Mugabe’s visionary leadership of Zanu-PF and Zimbabwe.

"VaMugabe Takavapa mumwe mukana zvee wekutonga," and ‘‘VaMugabe ingoda yeZimbabwe’’, sang the supporters.

Indeed it was a time for renewal as party cadres sought to find out where they had lost the plot after the near disaster of March 29.

The conference venue was replete with inspirational messages splashed across the walls, tents and security fences hammering home the message, Zimbabwe will never be a colony again.

Some of the banners read, ‘‘Exit Bush, trailed by blood pursued by shame,’’ in reference to outgoing US president George W. Bush’s ruinous legacy of aggression.

Others went, "No to politicisation of the United Nations", and "Very unwise, foolish Elders who pawn Africa’s heritage" against the so-called Elders who tried to use the cholera outbreak as a pretext for United Nations Security Council action against Zimbabwe.

"There is only one Unity Accord" read a banner denouncing efforts to split the ruling party.

Another banner proclaimed, "Our Governor is worth more than Bush’s dirty offer," in reference to the attempt by the US President to lure Dr Gideon Gono away from the Reserve Bank and to the World Bank.

The delegates present also made it clear that they did not see any sense in America and Europe "offering" military intervention when the country was in need of cholera intervention mechanisms.

Cde Mugabe, the ruling party’s President and First Secretary, thanked the Mashonaland Central Zanu-PF leadership for putting together such a well-organised conference.

"Mashonaland Central is one of the small provinces and it was also neglected for quite a long time.

Only after Independence did the Government start to develop this province, along with parts of Matabeleland North and South and in good time more will be done.

"I would like to thank them for their contributions, both personally and severally, in organising this conference.

"This is a province with quite a history," President Mugabe said in reference to the role it played in the liberation struggle.

The Midlands entertained the delegates with the revolutionary song "Ngatirege kuchema muZimbabwe takatarisana neZambuko".

The song that captured the hearts of many, however, was by Masvingo province that went "VaMugabe ingoda yeZimbabwe, mukavarasa marasa Zimbabwe".

Tsvungubvi Primary School drama group were the recipients of 10 computers from Cde Mugabe after their impressive performance.

The arts and culture presentations aside, the conference’s theme of unity was perhaps best captured by the fact that Cde Amos Midzi, Christopher Chigumba and Cde Hubert Nyanhongo were sitting side by side after weeks of bruising encounters in their battle to control Harare Province.

Uphold unity and discipline: President

Herald Reporter

PRESIDENT Mugabe has urged unity within Zanu-PF saying indiscipline cost the party outright victory in the March 29 harmonised elections.

Addressing over 7 000 delegates to the party’s 10th National People’s Conference in Bindura yesterday, President Mugabe bemoaned lack of discipline and commitment to the party by some people who want to use it to enrich themselves.

His call follows ugly fights between Cde Hubert Nyanhongo and Cde Amos Midzi’s supporters during elections to choose the Harare provincial chairman.

Cde Midzi fled the poll venue in controversial circumstances before the polls were conducted leaving Cde Nyanhongo to win the ballot. In another case of corruption, President Mugabe revealed that seven beasts meant for delegates had disappeared before the conference had even started.

These were later recovered though delegates had reportedely slept on empty stomachs. ‘‘Ipo pano tirikubva mukunzwa panze apa kuti imwe nyama yakanga yashaika. Vanhu vanonzi vamwe vakanorara nenzara nezuro. Mombe nomwe dzimwe dzinonzi dzakanga dzabiwa. Zvanzi dzazowanikwa nhasi. Nezvimwewo zvekudya zvehupfu zvinonzi zvakanga zvaenda. Ndiko kushaya maprinciples even morality ikoko.’’

The President said party cadres must accept defeat when they lose polls and live to fight another day.

"Makwikwi ngaarege kupesanisa vanhu, kurwisanisa vanhu. Ndirikutaura izvi maererano nechinangwa chakakosha chokubatana," he said.

"Tinosungirwa kusesekedza musangano. Musangano ndiwomukuru pamunhu wese. Musangano mukuru ndiwo unozvara President, maVice Presidents, ndiwo wakazvara nhengo dzePolitburo neCentral Committee. Tose tirivana vemusangano. Tose rinofanira kukotama pamberi pemusangano."

He questioned why some party members were not prepared to accept defeat and join hands with the victors for the sake of progress.

"Chinozoita zvino kuti iwe utore tsika inenge youroyi wavakuda kuturunura zvatarwa nemusangano chii? Kana urinhengo yemusangano unosungirwa kuva nechido chohutongo hwemusangano."

President Mugabe said no party member owned voters and had no right to stop them from voting for a candidate selected to represent it in elections.

He also took a swipe at party members advocating "Bhora Musango" as this had cost the party during the March elections.

President Mugabe said some party members went as far as supping and dining with the MDC while others joined Simba Makoni’s Mavambo Movement.

"Zvino ndinoda kuti nditi musangano unoda vanhu vanemidzi haudi zinyekenyeke. Haudi vanhu vanoti ini ndavakuda mari. Vanhu vanoda kupinda muzvigaro zvehutungamiriri kuti vazvishandise kuita mari. Tavakuda kushandisa nehurumende kuzvipfumisa. Zvimwe zvinotinyadza zvokuti," he said.

President Mugabe said despite the current difficulties facing the country some leaders were stealing from the people and questioned the morality of such individuals.

He castigated such individuals for lacking principles and morality.

Don’t forget March 29 poll lessons, Zanu-PF warned

Herald Reporter

ZANU-PF should not forget the lessons of the March 29 Harmonised elections where it lost its parliamentary majority to the opposition, Mashonaland Central Governor and Resident Minister, Cde Martin Dinha has said.

In his opening remarks at the start of the 10th Zanu-PF National People’s Conference in Bindura yesterday, Cde Dinha said cadres should work together in reinvigorating the party in preparation for future elections.

He said some members had worked against the party to serve their self interests to the detriment of the party.

"The lessons learnt after the March 29 elections must not be forgotten. In Mashonaland Central we lost two seats and for the first time the party performed dismally country-wide. We lost our majority in parliament as some of us put petty issues and self interests ahead of the party," he said.

He said the ruling party would not have gone to dialogue with the MDC formations if it had not gone into the elections as a divided people.

Cde Dinha said while Zanu-PF members were busy working against each other and the party cause, the enemy took advantage to gain some ground on it.

"Camps among members of the party must not be condoned because that is where the enemy is gaining on us," he said.

He urged party members to follow in the path of President Mugabe, Vice Presidents Cde Joseph Msika and Cde Joice Mujuru who have remained resolute in the fight against imperialists.

"Zanu-PF is a sacred party. It belongs to God, ndeyevadzimu, it should not be left to die because of people who do not have it at heart," he said.

Cde Dinha said while the party had a revolutionary leadership, there were some members who were working to destroy it.

"There are murderers among us. There are people who are working at destroying the party within our ranks. They must leave the party.

"We must have revolutionaries within our ranks. Revolutionaries like (President) Mugabe, Cde Msika and Cde Mujuru. Counter-revolutionaries must be removed from the party," he said to thunderous applause from the delegates.

He said President Mugabe was being vilified by the West because of the land reform exercise and those who have benefited through the programme but are not producing must be removed from the farms.

"While the call from the international world is for President Mugabe to go, the real enemy of the country is Tsvangirai who is working hard to reverse the gains of our liberation struggle," he said.

The more President Mugabe is vilified, Cde Dinha said, the more people in Zimbabwe would be more agitated to demand their national heritage.

"We know that in Mashonaland Central there are some who have not been affected by the land revolution, we would give 50 percent of this land to these people asi kana masanctions akaramba achitirwadza tichatora zvese," he said.

Cde Dinha said Government should disregard the Sadc Tribunal ruling against the land redistribution programme.

"The ruling by the Sadc Tribunal would not reverse the gains of our struggle. However, not even an inch of our country would be taken away from us because of the ruling. We will remain resolute in our fight to defend our country," he said.

Cholera: West’s latest weapon on Zimbabwe

By Stephen Gowans
Reprinted From the Zimbabwe Herald

THE crisis in Zimbabwe has intensified. Inflation is incalculably high. The central bank limits — to an inadequate level — the amount of money Zimbabweans can withdraw from their bank accounts daily.

Unarmed soldiers riot. Hospital staff fails to show up for work.

The water authority is short of chemicals to purify drinking water.

Cholera, easily prevented and cured under normal circumstances, has broken out, leading the Government to declare a humanitarian emergency.

In the West, state officials call for the country’s President, Robert Mugabe, to step down and yield power to the leader of the largest faction of the Movement for Democratic Change, Morgan Tsvangirai.

In this, the crisis is directly linked to Mugabe, its solution to Tsvangirai, but it’s never said what Mugabe has done to cause the crisis, or how Tsvangirai’s ascension to the Presidency will make it go away.

The causal chain leading to the crisis can be diagrammed roughly as follows:

-In the late 90s, President Mugabe’s Government provokes the hostility of the West by: (1) intervening militarily in the Democratic Republic of Congo on the side of the young government of Laurent Kabila, helping to thwart an invasion by Rwandan and Ugandan forces backed by the United States and Britain; (2) it rejects a pro-foreign investment economic restructuring programme the International Monetary Fund establishes as a condition for balance of payment support; (3) it accelerates land redistribution by seizing white-owned farms and thereby committing the ultimate affront against owners of productive property — expropriation without compensation.

To governments whose foreign policy is based in large measure on protecting their nationals’ ownership rights to foreign productive assets, expropriation, and especially expropriation without compensation, is intolerable, and must be punished to deter others from doing the same.

-In response, the US, as prime guarantor of the imperialist system, introduces the December 2001 Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act. The Act instructs US representatives to international financial institutions "to oppose and vote against any extension by the respective institution of any loan, credit, or guarantee to the Government of Zimbabwe; or any cancellation or reduction of indebtedness owed by the Government of Zimbabwe to the United States or any international financial institution".

-The Act effectively deprives Zimbabwe of foreign currency required to import necessities from abroad, including chemicals to treat drinking water. Development aid from the World Bank is also cut off, denying the country access to funds to upgrade its infrastructure. The central bank takes measures to mitigate the effects of the Act, creating hyper-inflation as a by-product.

The cause of the crisis, then, can be traced directly to the West. Rather than banning the export of goods to Zimbabwe, the US denied Zimbabwe the means to import goods — not trade sanctions, but an act that had the same effect.

To be sure, had the Zimbabwe government reversed its land reform programme and abided by IMF demands, the crisis would have been averted. But the trigger was pulled in Washington, London and Brussels, and it is the West, therefore, that bears the blame.

Sanctions are effectively acts of war, with often equivalent, and sometimes more devastating, consequences.

More than a million Iraqis died as a result of a decade-long sanctions regime championed by the US following the 1991 Gulf War.

This prompted two political scientists, John and Karl Mueller, to coin the phrase "sanctions of mass destruction".

They noted that sanctions had "contributed to more deaths in the post-Cold War era than all the weapons of mass destruction in history".

The Western media refer to sanctions on Zimbabwe as targeted—limited only to high state officials and other individuals.

This ignores the Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act and conceals its devastating impact, thereby shifting responsibility for the humanitarian catastrophe from the US to President Mugabe.

The cholera outbreak has a parallel in the outbreak of cholera in Iraq following the Gulf War.

Thomas Nagy, a business professor at George Washington University, cited declassified documents in the September 2001 issue of The Progressive magazine showing that the US had deliberately bombed Iraq’s drinking water and sanitation facilities, recognising that sanctions would prevent Iraq from rebuilding its water infrastructure and that epidemics of otherwise preventable diseases, cholera among them, would ensue. Washington, in other words, deliberately created a humanitarian catastrophe to achieve its goal of regime change.

There is a direct parallel with Zimbabwe — the only difference is that the US uses the Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act — that is, sanctions of mass destruction — in place of bombing.

Harare’s land reform programme is one of the principal reasons the US has gone to war with Zimbabwe.

Zimbabwe has redistributed land previously owned by 4 000 white farmers to 300 000 previously landless families, descendants of black Africans whose land was stolen by white settlers.

By contrast, South Africa’s ANC government has redistributed only 4 percent of the 87 percent of land forcibly seized from the indigenous population by Europeans.

In March, South Africa’s cabinet seemed ready to move ahead with a plan to accelerate agrarian reform.

It would abandon the "willing seller, willing buyer" model insisted on by the West, following in President Mugabe government’s footsteps.

Under the plan, 30 percent of farmland would be redistributed to black farmers by 2014.

But the Government has since backed away, its reluctance to move forward based on the following considerations:

-Most black South Africans are generations removed from the land, and no longer have the skills and culture necessary to immediately farm at a high level. An accelerated land reform programme would almost certainly lower production levels, as new farmers played catch-up to acquire critical skills.

-South Africa is no longer a net exporter of food. An accelerated land reform programme would likely force the country, in the short term, to rely more heavily on agricultural imports, at a time food prices are rising globally.

-There is a danger that fast-track land reform will create a crisis of capital flight.

-The dangers of radical land reform in provoking a backlash from the West are richly evident in the example of Zimbabwe. South Africa would like to avoid becoming the next Zimbabwe.

Zimbabwe’s economic crisis is accompanied by a political crisis. Talks on forming a government of national unity are stalled.

Failure to strike a deal pivots on a single ministry — Home Affairs. In the West, failure to consolidate a deal between President Mugabe’s Zanu-PF party and the two MDC factions is attributed to President Mugabe’s intransigence in insisting that he control all key Cabinet posts.

It takes two to tango.

Tsvangirai has shown little interest in striking an accord, preferring instead to raise objections to every solution to the impasse put forward by outside mediators, as Western ambassadors hover nearby.

It’s as if, with the country teetering on the edge of collapse, he does not want to do a deal, preferring instead to help hasten the collapse by throwing up obstacles to an accord, to clear the way for his ascension to the Presidency.

When the mediation of former South African president Thabo Mbeki failed, Tsvangirai asked the regional grouping, the Sadc, to intervene.

Sadc ordered Zanu-PF and MDC-T to share the Home Affairs Ministry. Tsvangirai refused. Now he wants Mbeki replaced.

At the Sadc meeting, President Mugabe presented a report which alleges that MDC-T militias are being trained in Botswana by Britain, to be deployed to Zimbabwe early in 2009 to foment a civil war.

The turmoil would be used as a pretext for outside military intervention.

This would follow the model used to oust the Haitian government of Jean-Bertrand Aristide.

Already, British officials and clergymen are calling for intervention.

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown says the cholera outbreak makes Zimbabwe’s crisis international because disease can cross borders.

Since an international crisis is within the purview of the "international community", the path is clear for the West and its satellites to step in to set matters straight

Botswana is decidedly hostile.

The country’s Foreign Minister, Phando Skelemani, says Zimbabwe’s neighbours should impose an oil blockade to bring the Mugabe Government down.

Meanwhile, representatives of "The Elders", Jimmy Carter, Kofi Annan and Graca Machel, sought to enter Zimbabwe to assess the humanitarian situation.

In as much as an adequate assessment could not be made on the whistle-stop tour the trio had planned, Harare barred their entry, recognising that the trip would simply be used as a platform to declaim on the necessity of regime change.

The "Elders" humanitarian concern, however, didn’t stop the trio from agreeing that stepped-up sanctions — more misery for the population — would be useful.

President Mugabe’s Government pursuit of land reform, rejection of neo-liberal restructuring, and movement to eclipse US imperialism in Southern Africa, has put Zimbabwe on the receiving end of a Western attack based on punitive financial sanctions.

The intention, as is true of all Western destabilisation efforts, has been to make the target country ungovernable, forcing the government to step down, clearing the way for the ascension of the West’s local errand boys.

Owing to the West’s attack, Zimbabwe’s Government is struggling to provide the population with basic necessities.

It can no longer provide basic sanitation and access to potable water at a sufficient level to prevent the outbreak of otherwise preventable diseases.

The replacement of the Mugabe Government with one led by MDC, a party created and directed by Western governments, if it happens, will lead to an improvement in the humanitarian situation.

This won’t come about because MDC is more competent at governing, but because sanctions will be lifted and access to balance of payment support and development aid will be restored.

Zimbabwe will once again be able to import adequate amounts of water purification chemicals.

The improving humanitarian situation will be cited as proof the West was right all along in insisting on a change of government.

The downside is that measures to indigenise the economy — to place the country’s agricultural and mineral wealth in the hands of the black majority — will be reversed.

President Mugabe and key members of the State will be shipped off to The Hague — or attempts will be made to ship them off — to send a message to others about what befalls those who threaten the dominant mode of property relations and challenge Western domination.

Cowed by the example of Zimbabwe, Africans in other countries will back away from their own land reform and economic indigenisation demands, and the continent will settle more firmly into a pattern of neo-colonial subjugation.

-This article was sourced from