|February 11th, 2008||#22|
Re: Zimbabwe: Mudgabe Turns On Jew Hoogstraten!
Zimbabwe: New Land Owners Face Eviction
11 February 2008
Resettled farmers in Zimbabwe have been hit by input and financial shortages, and have failed to deliver on production, prompting the government to repossess their plots, according to analysts.
Didymus Mutasa, the land reform and resettlement minister, recently told the official daily newspaper, the Herald, that the government had reclaimed at least 1,449 A2 farms - the category for commercial production - after a land audit completed in 2007 revealed that they were not being used productively.
In 2000 the government dispossessed more than 4,000 white commercial farmers of their land in a controversial land reform exercise and reallocated it, often after cutting it up into smaller plots, to thousands of land-hungry black Zimbabweans.
"Government is repossessing all vacant and unutilised A2 farms and we are not going back on this exercise. We will withdraw the offer letters and allocate them to deserving new applicants," Mutasa was quoted as saying.
He said the government was attempting to address some of the problems faced by the new farmers, and repossession of the plots should not be read as a reversal of the land reform programme.
The owners of most of the farms being taken back by the government had not even taken occupation, said Sam Moyo, a land affairs expert who advised the government on its land reform programme. "A number of plots have remained vacant, meaning that the beneficiaries were not able to go and establish themselves on their plots for a variety of reasons."
Zimbabwe's economy is in meltdown: the International Monetary Fund (IMF) estimates that the country's annual inflation rate has reached 100,000 percent and is still rising; shortages of foreign exchange have affected the supply of agricultural inputs and fuel. As a result, many farmers had been unable to make any of the hoped for short-term gains from farming and had abandoned their plots, Moyo said.
According to economic analyst John Robertson, "The bottom line is that most of these farmers have not produced enough to justify being retained on their farms. Those that have managed to do so were either lucky enough to have taken over sound infrastructure they found on the farms, or were the big fish that got favours from the government."
He pointed out that the beneficiaries did not have the "motivation" to farm effectively because they got the land for free, and that the government had hurried to parcel out land "for political populism" without ensuring that the beneficiaries were well supported with money, skills training and inputs.
"Some of these farmers applied for land for the kicks, and that is why they sold the inputs and fuel they obtained, while in some cases farms were turned into weekend barbeque resorts, a trend that was common among multiple-farm owners," Robertson claimed.
The financial squeeze the farmers found themselves in was worsened by reluctance on the part of the banks to issue loans to the new farmers because the 99-year leases offered by the government did not offer adequate collateral security.
Robertson argued that while repossession of the farms was justified, how would the A2 farmers repay any loans they might have taken? "One just hopes that the government is not using repossession as one of those election campaign tactics, to lure voters with pieces of land that would also be taken away once victory is attained."
The country will be holding joint parliamentary, council and presidential elections in late March and, as happened in 2000 on the eve of another major poll, there are fears that the land issue could be used to sway voters.
The land reform programme coincided with a series of droughts, which hit production and led to livestock deaths. Land was also underutilised by those who lacked the necessary skills to farm, particularly in the case of specialised crops like tobacco.
Most of the farms were carved up into small units, making it difficult for beneficiaries to produce on a large scale, with the new farmers sometimes having to share infrastructure left by the outgoing owners.
However, Moyo had maintained at the time that "Since most of the new farmers don't have adequate finance ... small plots would be the more viable option."
Unfair, say farmers
The new farmers whose land has been repossessed were taken by surprise and are angry. Some cited discrimination. "I don't understand what criteria they used to repossess my farm," said Stanley Banga, 56, who was given a 60ha plot in Goromonzi district, about 50km southeast of Harare, the capital.
"True, I have been struggling to produce adequately, but that cannot be blamed on me. While other managed to get inputs, I had to struggle because I am neither a war veteran nor an active member of the ruling [ZANU-PF] party," he said.
"My only hope is that the authorities will understand ... There was drought, I lost my income and could not access inputs easily. Now it's the heavy rains that have been falling non-stop."
If his plot - largely covered by overgrown grass, except for small patches of maize in the waterlogged fields, with a dilapidated farmhouse left by the previous owner - is taken back, Banga will have nowhere to go.
|February 11th, 2008||#23|
Re: Zimbabwe: Mudgabe Turns On Jew Hoogstraten!
Zimbabwe: Men in Black Car Harass Paper Vendors
10 February 2008
UNIDENTIFIED men, believed to be State security agents, last week picked up a newspaper vendor and locked him up at State House, for defying a "directive" not to sell private-owned newspapers along Borrowdale Road.
The road leads to President Robert Mugabe's mansion.
The vendor, who was selling The Standard, The Zimbabwe Independent and a number of South African newspapers, was detained for hours at State House, The Standard was told.
The vendors' harassment comes hardly two weeks after the vendors were given a 1 February deadline to leave the road "as they were selling newspapers that attack President Robert Mugabe".
Points from which vendors are "banned" include the corners of Churchill-Borrowdale Roads, Sam Levy's Village and Borrowdale-Harare Drive.
The vendors said last week the alleged agents drove a black car without number plates and asked for the government-owned Herald daily.
When told the paper had not been delivered, they shouted abuse at the vendors.
Zimpapers has failed to provide its titles on the streets on time because of a sharp decline in newsprint supplies.
This has left vendors with only The Zimbabwe Independent, The Standard, and the South African newspapers - all distributed by Munn Marketing.
Nicholas Ncube, Munn Marketing operations manager confirmed the harassment of vendors.
"One vendor was picked up at Borrowdale primary school on Sunday and they took him to State House where he spent some hours," he said.
Ncube said he went to Borrowdale police station to make a report on the harassment of vendors and when he told the officers of agents moving in a black car without number plates and terrorising vendors, the officers said they had "no capacity" to deal with the agents.
Police spokesperson Oliver Mandipaka said he was not aware of that report.
"I have checked with Borrowdale police station and they are not aware of that report," he said.
The Zimbabwe Independent and The Standard, the country's remaining independent newspapers, have been critical of Mugabe's rule in the wake of declining living standards and hyperinflation - unprecedented in a country outside a war situation.
Yesterday morning the black car, a Toyota Yaris, was back, this time with number plates (AAW9286).
The sight of the car sent the vendors scurrying for cover.
[Blacks never tolerate criticism where they have the chance to suppress it. Freedom of speech is a White idea that is utterly foreign to non-Whites including jews.]
|February 11th, 2008||#24|
Re: Zimbabwe: Mudgabe Turns On Jew Hoogstraten!
New Hope for Zimbabwe
by Tom Woods, Roger Bate and Marian L. Tupy
Zimbabwe's economic meltdown and political repression just keep accelerating. Four million Zimbabweans have now fled the country, and most of the 8 million remaining there face extreme hardship.
Since 1994, average life expectancy in the beleaguered nation has plummeted from 57 years to 34 years for women, and from 54 years to 37 years for men — the shortest lifespans in the world.
And small wonder. Some 3,500 people die every week from the combined effects of HIV/AIDS, poverty and malnutrition. State-sponsored killings and torture of the opposition activists are common as well. More people die in Zimbabwe every week than in Afghanistan, Darfur or Iraq.
Clearly, African leaders — most notably South African President Thabo Mbeki — have failed the people of Zimbabwe. Yet, as the crisis worsens, there is hope that a new regional leadership will address Africa's forgotten tragedy more forcefully. The United States, too, must reconsider its past policy toward Zimbabwe and seize this new opportunity.
[Neocon bilge. New leaders won't make any difference. The problem is subhumans are not capable of running countries. They aren't even capable of keeping from starving to death. Only Whites are fit to exercise political power. It is only the jew-imposed dogma of racial equality that keeps us from realizing and acting on the natural and obvious fact of racial inequality.]
None can fault past U.S. policy, which has featured tough rhetoric and sustained effort to coax the world to act by embracing targeted sanctions. But it's time to change course.
Change in Zimbabwe has always required a healthy dose of reality. There has never been a time like the present to call for a tightening of the noose on the Mugabe regime. The time is now ripe for one simple reason: President Thabo Mbeki of South Africa is heading for the door.
For years, the U.S. State Department has found it way too convenient to "support without reservation" Mr. Mbeki's leadership in resolving the crisis in Zimbabwe. With Mr. Mbeki's departure, State should now admit his "quiet diplomacy" was an unmitigated failure.
Mr. Mbeki's inaction and cavalier attitude to the suffering of the Zimbabwean people has done grave harm to the idea of an "African Renaissance." One can't help but wonder if he ever actually intended to do anything to end the cruelties of Robert Mugabe's reign in Harare.
[Relying on Mbeki is sending a kaffir boy to do a White man's job. There is no such thing as good black leadership. South Africa is rapidly going the way Mugabe's Zimbabwe has already gone.]
There is good reason to hope Mr. Mbeki's replacement, the newly elected African National Congress leader Jacob Zuma, understands the calamity that is unfolding to his north and is willing to take the steps necessary to wake the region from the nightmare that Zimbabwe has become.
For one thing, Mr. Zuma's election would have been impossible without the support of South Africa's powerful trade unions that have close and friendly ties with Zimbabwe's opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).
Meanwhile, Washington can do more too. Admittedly, direct U.S. national interest in Zimbabwe is limited, but we can do more to relieve one of the world's greatest humanitarian disasters than simply voice hollow rhetoric.
[We could divert a few million dollars from our failed Iraq campaign to a Rhodie brigade that could seize power and restore the fields to the farmers.]
The time has come to break away from the Mbeki-led talks between the ruling ZANU-PF (Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front) and the opposition MDC. These talks will never produce a way out of Zimbabwe's political crisis. The talks already are melting down as the MDC sees clearly that Mr. Mugabe does not intend to follow through on reforms that would guarantee free and fair presidential and parliamentary elections in March.
The United States should engage Mr. Zuma and, importantly, the new National Executive Council of the ANC, in discussions on how to create a six-month road map that can lead Zimbabwe through constitutional reforms and toward competitive and internationally monitored elections.
[Elections? What are elections going to do? Elect this nigger or that, it won't make a difference. Blacks are incapable of self rule.]
And now that the long-suffering MDC looks set to finally reunite, the White House should invite their presidential candidate, Morgan Tsvangirai, for an Oval Office meeting with President Bush in the next month or so. Mr. Bush is said to be keen to do more about the Zimbabwean crisis. An Oval Office meeting would give Mr. Tsvangirai much-needed international recognition and greater clout at home.
Washington also needs to prepare for a post-Mugabe Zimbabwe. The State Department would do well to intensify its contacts with the opposition.
But long-term planning offers little solace to the suffering people of Zimbabwe. Left alone, the 83-year old dictator will likely outlast many of the hungry and poverty-ridden Zimbabweans he holds captive.
The U.S. can play a more constructive role on Zimbabwe and help it find a way to freedom by publicly and expeditiously parting with the moribund "quiet diplomacy" of Thabo Mbeki.
Tom Woods is a senior associate fellow at the Heritage Foundation and a former deputy assistant secretary of state for Africa. Roger Bate is a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute. Marian L. Tupy is a policy analyst at the Cato Institute's Center for Global Liberty and Prosperity.
|February 17th, 2008||#25|
Zimbabwe: Inflation at 66000 percent, Mbeki still happy
17 February 2008, 15:38 GMT + 2
ZIMBABWE’s inflation rose to a farcical 66212 percent in December — a number so high as to make it almost impossible for the price of any basic item to stay the same for a day.
Zimbabwe now enjoys the highest inflation rate in the world and its economic policies have become meaningless as prices rise with breathtaking speed.
|February 17th, 2008||#26|
[Below is a standard sort of article on U.S. reaction to Zimbabwe, with our analysis and translations at the bottom.]
Bush: Mugabe Has Ruined Zimbabwe
By Scott Stearns
14 February 2008
President Bush says he is disappointed that South African mediation has failed to ease Zimbabwe's political divisions. VOA White House Correspondent Scott Stearns reports, Mr. Bush spoke to radio reporters on the eve of his second trip to Africa.
Political instability in Zimbabwe was a big issue during the president's first trip to Africa five years ago. Mr. Bush embraced South African President Thabo Mbeki as an honest broker in the political standoff between Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe and opponents in the country's pro-democracy movement.
Mr. Mugabe is now looking to extend his 28 years in office in elections next month. The opposition has failed to come together in a unified campaign. Mr. Mugabe's most serious challenger, Simba Makoni, is a former member of his own party.
President Bush says the United States will continue to support freedom in Zimbabwe, denouncing Mr. Mugabe as a "discredited dictator" who has brought misery to his people.
During a White House interview with radio reporters, Mr. Bush was asked by VOA about Zimbabwe's rapid economic decline.
"Zimbabwe used to be a net exporter of food," he said. "Today it is a net importer of food. Mr. Mugabe has ruined a country."
Zimbabwe's official inflation rate, already the world's highest, has now risen to more than 66,000 percent. Price controls introduced last June have had little effect in a country with chronic food and fuel shortages and an unemployment rate of about 80 percent.
Critics blame President Mugabe for economic mismanagement and the poorly handled seizure of white-owned commercial farms. Mr. Mugabe blames sabotage by Western governments led by Britain.
Stephen Morrison is co-director of the Africa Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a private policy research group in Washington. He says President Bush's decision to enlist the aid of the South African leader has failed to change Zimbabwean politics.
"In '03, there was the handoff to Mbeki on Zimbabwe at the very close of the trip, and of course now we're approaching the countdown towards the March elections, and what that will mean, and of course [what] Mbeki's achieved - as we can tell right now – [he] has achieved nothing in terms of getting resolution of that," he said.
President Bush told radio reporters that he is disappointed that the situation in Zimbabwe has gotten worse since his first visit to Africa.
"I was hoping that the South African government would have been more pro-active in its intercession to help the people of Zimbabwe," he added. "It's not anti-anybody. It's pro-people. And that has yet to happen."
The president is scheduled to leave for Africa Friday with stops in Benin, Tanzania, Rwanda, Liberia, and Ghana.
[Failure of black African countries is always treated by controlled media and politicians as a matter of personnel or policies, when in fact it has nothing, essentially, to do with them. Blacks are incapable of self-rule. They simply do not have the IQ to manage themselves. Thus, when they are given a functioning White state and economy, they can't sustain it, let alone improve it. But no Western president, serving at behest of jews as they all do, dares mention the underlying reason that all sub-Saharan (that is, black) states are failures: black IQ is too low to self-govern.]
|February 17th, 2008||#27|
Zimbabwean IQ is put at 66 by the world's foremost IQ expert, Richard Lynn, in his book IQ and the Weath of Nations.* An IQ of 70 is considered retarded. 70 is the average IQ of sub-Saharan Africans, i.e., blacks.
Zimbabwe fails because it is run by retarded negroes with IQs about 35 points less, on average, than those of the Whites who founded and built Rhodesia.
There is no second reason.
[Chart showing IQ of different nations:]
Last edited by Alex Linder; February 17th, 2008 at 04:16 PM.
|February 17th, 2008||#28|
[A blog post from "The Audacious Epigone" from October 2006 gives a good view of the situation.]
Whites brace for final blow in Zimbabwe
Things have gone downhill for white farmers in Zimbabwe since they lost the protection of the Lancaster Agreement in 1989. This loss began an affirmative action program of land redistribution in which white farmers had their land turned over to the state. The state then proceded to dole it out to well-connected black friends of the Mugabe regime.
With a staggering unemployment rate of 80%, a quarter of the population infected with HIV, a plummeting economy (GDP shrunk 7% last year), ubiquitous poverty (PPP of $2,300), and international disdain, it appeared that desperation might force Mugabe to stop pillaging the only productive residents he had left. As white farmers fled to a welcoming Mozambique, they hastily turned brush into an agricultural bounty. Zimbabwe tried to get them back as well as letting those who remained stick around.
But such overtures lasted only a few months. By June, the Zimbabwean government began forced 'purchases' of white-owned farmland at about a tenth of fair market value. Given a true inflation rate of over 1,000% (although officially it is said to be 267%), that 10% is cut down again by the same magnitude a year later. People who own real estate and the means of production suffer relatively little from rampant inflation, because as prices for labor and material increase so does the nominal value of the property and the price of the goods or services produced. The worst time to sell real assets is during an inflationary period, because the cash received quickly loses value. So Mugabe really ravaged the whites.
Imagine the government 'buying' your $200,000 house from you for $20,000. A year later, that $20,000 is really worth $2,000. Just like that you go from middle class to destitutely poor.
It's hard to see why any white farmers remain. Understandably a farmer does not want to leave the place he's lived for his entire life. He knows the terrain, the climate, his neighbors. Fleeing doesn't just require abandoning home, it also presents big economic hurdles, as Zimbabwe's economy as computed by its official exchange rate is only 11% of what it is if computed using purchasing power parity. Moving to the developed world essentially cuts his wealth down to a tenth of what it had been before he even starts 'rebuilding' elsewhere.
But southern Africa has become much worse since the end of its colonial days. Zimbabwe is poorer today than it was in 1980 when it gained independence following eight years of bloody civil war. Despite previously having been the breadbasket of Africa with the land and conditions that make an agronomist drool, and contemporarily having two-thirds of its workers employed in agriculture, the country is now a net importer of food. Whites, who make up less than 1% of Zimbabwe's population, have been the last refuge of productivity in the country, but they've now had to pay the price that market-dominant minorities so often do when political control falls into the hands of the majority.
Zimbabwe is about to deal the final blow to the whites it has plundered for decades:
A new law about to pass parliament will, in effect, give the regime power in the next 90 days to dispossess the last few hundred white farmers who still cling to their land.
A couple of white families are trying to appeal the eviction notices they've already received. If they lose, the door is open for Mugabe to take everything:
A constitutional amendment passed last year declared every acre of land that has ever been listed for seizure — about 6,000 white-owned farms in total — the property of the state. That move prevented the owners from having any recourse
to the courts.
The families hope to show that the amendment does not override their right to due process. A white investor wonders why what has already been taken by the rapacious government isn't enough:
After the hearing, Daniel Nel, 44, who was a government-approved South African investor, asked: "I am a white African, so why must I go?" He said: "We are operating on about 20 per cent of the land we used to have, but we still produce
many thousands of tonnes of crops, and do so with government loans. So why do they want us to go?"
Because the white population has about a 35 point average IQ advantage over the rest of Zimbabwe's population. That's a gap wider than the one between Ashkenazi Jews and African Americans stateside. Unfortunately, Zimbabwe's wider population simply cannot compete economically with the white elite. So taking from them is the natural 'solution'. Putatively done for the benefit of the unprivileged black population, the result is a contraction of the economy by a full 40% since just the turn of the century.
There is an ecumenical lesson here about how crucial it is for the numerical majority to also remain the economic majority. When those controlling the economy become a minority, the majority will be moved to take from them. This sobering fact should inform the developed world's immigration policies.
Although the White Man's Burden has become a phrase of derision, we can help Zimbabweans and people all across the sub-Saharan. We can encourage economic transparency and discourage corruption through incentivizing good behavior via international loans and aid, and more importantly, NGOs and foreign governmental agencies should, to the extent that they want to help, devote themselves to distributing nutritional supplements, especially iodine, to as many children as possible. Raising the continent's average IQ ten points will do more for it than any number of wealth transfers, vaccinations, and scholarships for natives to study internationally.
[The technocratic solutions recommended in last paragraphs are so much lipstick on a pig. You can't turn niggers into humans through aid, medicine, education or any other popular cure-all. The "problem" is that Whites allowed themselves to be talked/threatened out of their commanding role, and when their will faltered, they soon had their farms stolen and their heads chopped off - those who didn't flee. Whites must stand firm and never yield to jewsmedia bullying.]
Last edited by Alex Linder; February 17th, 2008 at 04:31 PM.
|February 17th, 2008||#30|
Poor Whites Struggle by in Zimbabwe
After the departure of many white people, those who remain in the country often face economic hardship.
By Joseph Nhlahla in Bulawayo (AR No. 156, 13-Feb-08)
An elderly white man sits behind the steering wheel of an old van with “National Railways Zimbabwe” emblazoned on its doors. As he and the group of black men with him disembark from the van, people start pointing and passing comments about him.
Slightly unkempt, with a rough beard and a stooping back, the old man trudges to the Bulawayo offices of National Railways Zimbabwe, NRZ - once the envy of other rail companies in sub-Saharan Africa but now a run-down shadow of itself after years of mismanagement.
Someone in the crowd of onlookers at Bulawayo station asks why the old man is still around when so many whites have fled the country to settle elsewhere, after the ruling ZANU-PF threw them off their farms in President Robert Mugabe’s land-grab policy.
Another man says he is surprised the railwayman is actually an employee rather than employing others as has generally been the case in this former British colony.
The responses come fast and furious, “He is from that group of poor whites who have nowhere to go”; “He has no choice but work for the NRZ or he would be out on the streets as a vagrant”; “He never owned a farm because if he did, he would have left the country after it had been taken over by the war veterans.”
Everyone has an explanation for the apparent oddity of a white man holding down a “proper” job alongside blacks. The increasingly common sight of white men working on the railway is taking locals some time to get used to.
The plight of white people has changed ever since Zimbabwe’s current political and economic crisis set in. Some say it began with the seizure of white commercial farmland in 2000.
For many whites, the going has never been this tough since they settled here decades ago.
Although the minority white group continued to enjoy some of its class and race privileges into the post-independence period, members have also borne the brunt of President Mugabe’s anger. He has frequently accused them of stealing African land in the past, and also of working with his political foes to depose him.
In 2003, former government junior minister Jonathan Moyo, who has since fallen out with Mugabe, said whites should leave the country because they were behind the creation of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change, MDC.
These accusations stemmed from reports that the MDC was being funded by white commercial farmers, with state television showing footage of MDC president Morgan Tsvangirai allegedly receiving a cheque donation from white farmers.
The white population has plummeted over the last two-and-a-half decades. Following independence from Britain in 1980, some figures put the white population at over a quarter of a million. However, by 2004, various estimates – including the last census - put the figure at under 30,000.
A Bulawayo-based historian and researcher told IWPR that much has changed over the years for whites in Zimbabwe. Those remaining in the country are often there because they have little alternative.
“While whites have always been a minority, their mass exodus after 2000 has meant those who remained may have been less wealthy, with no relations outside Zimbabwe, and unable to relocate,” he said.
As Zimbabwe prepares to go to the polls, the bulk of the white minority is likely to vote for the MDC, as has happened in previous elections.
Yet there are still whites who support ZANU-PF, taking part in national galas organised by the ruling party where songs extolling the virtues of the regime fill the air.
Despite Mugabe’s vitriol towards whites, senior government officials have maintained strong relationships with white business people. Mugabe has also appointed whites to prominent public posts, notably Timothy Stamps, a former health minister who now acts in an advisory capacity in the ministry, and Stuart Hargreaves, the director of veterinary services.
An American professor of journalism working in Bulawayo says whites still enjoy some privileges.
“We still do get preferential treatment,” she said. “We see it in queues where whites who decide to jump the queue are not taken to task; in shops where shop assistants are very ingratiating.”
Hayes Mabweazara, a Zimbabwean academic based in Scotland, said the year 2000 saw whites becoming victims of “reverse racism” which forced many to retreat from public life.
“The post-2000 political upheavals following the farm invasions ignited an unprecedented form of ‘reverse racism’ that naturally forced whites to withdraw from public visibility purely for security reasons. A great many of these lost their relatives and friends in the farm invasions,” he told IWPR.
“Those who have stayed on remain hopeful that one day sanity will prevail and they will find their feet again. It is a particularly sad story for many who have known no life outside Zimbabwe.”
A white missionary priest who adopted Zimbabwean nationality in the Eighties says white citizens still have a place here, despite efforts by the regime to marginalise them.
“While a few remain, whites still have a place and a role to play in the creation of a better Zimbabwe,” said the priest.
“Unfortunately, their involvement in national discourse or politics has been met with hostility by the regime. It is possible that those who were forced to leave the country will come back, but others will obviously decide to move on with their lives in their adopted countries.”
Joseph Nhlahla is the pseudonym of a journalist in Zimbabwe.
|February 17th, 2008||#31|
[A look at Mudman Mugabe's dirty tricks...]
How Mugabe’s men plan to sabotage Simba Makoni’s bid for the Presidency.
ZANU PF’s top operatives are wasting no time in setting out to destroy the Makoni campaign before it even gets off the ground. A high level security meeting was held on Wednesday, plans were formulated, and on Thursday a top secret Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) memo was sent out. As usual I was one of the first to see it.
It’s a chilling document. It emanates from the office of the CIO director general Happyton Bonyongwe, it is coded DG/sm11, and it puts all national and provincial security operatives, spies, thugs and bullyboys on “condition red.”
The memo describes Makoni as “too hot to handle”, says that in challenging Zim1 (CIO code for Mugabe) he is posing a big security risk, and adds that the political atmosphere is charged up, and “citizens are restless and ready to vote out Zim1.”
This last is an extraordinary statement. Apparently the top CIO men believe Mugabe could lose. But they are also intent on making sure it doesn’t happen, by all fair, and as you will see if you read on, by all foul means.
The memo essentially summarises the CIO’s anti-Makoni plans. First, the document instructs: “Be advised to temporarily suspend all minor operations in your provinces for RDWK ahead.”
“RDWK”? That was a new one on me. My CIO source who showed me the memo told me that, almost unbelievably, it stands for “Real dirty work.” That certainly makes sense in the light of what follows.
“Assign your trusted operatives to ensure a tough ride for Makoni… Place Makoni, his financial backers and disgruntled civil servants who might support him under top 24 hour surveillance. Employ all RDWK strategies without restraint. Mobilise street kids in urban areas, hire them, then plant them at all Makoni’s rallies to cause violence. The police will be on hand to arrest rioters. Those arrested will be detained in jails until after the elections.”
“Without restraint” are the key words in the above paragraph. We know what that means. Intimidation, violence, beatings…
And for the first time in my experience this document gives written proof of how ZANU PF uses food aid for its political ends. It reads: “In rural areas keep track on Non-Governmental Organisations when distributing relief food. Ensure that no non-card carrying ZANU PF individual gets food. Feed villagers with any tarnishing information on Makoni that you can think of.”
There is more, too much to be contained in this space. It’s all frightening. We know that Simba Makoni is a man of integrity and intelligence. We will soon find out if he is a man of courage. At least if he reads this - or some of his people read it - then he will know a little of what to expect in the coming weeks.
The elections take place on March 29. Not long to go. Ladies and gentlemen, my fellow citizens, to paraphrase an old Chinese curse, we live in interesting times.
|February 17th, 2008||#32|
[Buckle is a delusional liberal who continues to risk her own life by living in Zimbabwe while pretending its problems have nothing to do with race and can be cleared up by voting.]
[Cathy Buckle's February 2008 weekly letters]
We are Ready
Saturday 16th February 2008
Dear Family and Friends, Now is not the time to give up! This is the rallying call in Zimbabwe and its getting louder by the day as elections draw ever closer.
This week I met a friend who had been transferred to a town nearly 400km away. We had not seen each other since August last year and those times, just six months ago, seem like they were from another era. It is hard to believe that back in August inflation had just topped one thousand percent and that now its sixty six thousand percent. Its a percentage so high that none of us can comprehend what it really means. When I last saw my friend in August, a litre of milk was thirty thousand dollars; six months later its five million dollars! My friend isn't surviving on his salary anymore. He can't afford for his wife and child to live with him and he survives only thanks to the subsidies given him by his parents who have a plot in the rural areas. My friend's entire monthly salary is sufficient to buy him a two litre bottle of cooking oil and one loaf of bread. It costs more than his entire monthly salary to travel the 400km back to the town he once lived in, to see his friends and relations.
As is the norm in Zimbabwe today we talked about plans for survival. The usual question that was uppermost in the conversation was: Wouldn't it be better to leave the country? Go somewhere that has food in the shops, water in the taps, regular electricity and where even a menial job earns enough for you to pay your rent and buy a months supply of basic foodstuffs. Despite all the hardships, we agreed that now was not the time to be making decisions and that we must wait till after the elections. Everyone is just trying to hold on until after the elections.
Hope for real change is now less than six weeks away. It is undoubtedly going to be a gruelling six weeks. Since the Africa Cup of Nations football games ended, so too did the supply of electricity and many residential areas are back to fifteen hour a day power cuts. With these come water cuts and with 66 thousand percent inflation come prices that change at least once a day and businesses that are closed more than they are open.
There is a feeling of real anticipation in the air of Zimbabwe and whether it is a protest vote or a ballot for a new democratic order, we stand ready to rebuild our battered land. Despite all the negatives attached to every aspect of the coming elections, we are ready.
Until next week, thanks for reading, love cathy.
Saturday 9th February 2008
Dear Family and Friends,
It's been a long and dramatic week in politics in Zimbabwe. Things are changing very fast and some of the news I relate here may well be out of date or have altered completely by the time you read this letter.
The first major development took place last weekend when the two factions of the opposition MDC met to decide if they were going to reunite and stand as one party in the coming elections. Despite everything that has happened to the MDC and their supporters in the last 8 years including murder, rape, torture, abduction and arson, the two factions were not able to agree to stand together to fight Mr Mugabe and Zanu PF. As I write it is still not clear if both factions will be fielding a Presidential candidate or how many individuals they be putting forward for parliament, senate, rural and local council seats. I suppose the inability of the two factions to unite has not come as a surprise to most Zimbabweans but, regardless of the detail or the inevitable finger pointing, it is a sad event for Zimbabwe. So many people, so many sacrifices, such pain - what a shame that in the end, at this most crucial time, the desperate sate of the country could not come first.
The news of the MDC division had hardly got around when it was completely overtaken by the dramatic news of a serious challenge within the ruling Zanu PF party. A Presidential challenge no less! Simba Makoni, the ex Minister of Finance, long time Zanu PF member and presently sitting on the Politburo, addressed a news conference on Tuesday. Saying that he had consulted widely and across the board, Mr Makoni said he was accepting the call of the people and offering himself as a candidate for President of Zimbabwe. His short speech was realistic and down to earth. Simba Makoni said: " Let me confirm that I share the agony and anguish of all citizens over the extreme hardships that we all have 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 pre-requisite for change at other levels of national endeavour."
Almost as one Zimbabwe drew breath.
Naturally the rumours and speculation that have followed this historic announcement have almost overwhelmed us. Is Simba Makoni expelled from Zanu PF?
Is he standing as an Independent. Has he got a political party waiting in the wings?
Is he a threat to Mr Mugabe?
Will other senior Zanu PF members now come out in the open and support Mr Makoni?
Is this the end of Zanu PF as we know it?
Is this going to split the Zanu PF vote? Will it have an impact on the MDC vote?
The most pressing question on everyone's lips has been : is Simba Makoni genuine? As each day has passed and the attacks on Simba Makoni by the State propaganda have increased to greater heights, they have perhaps even answered the question with their own vitriol. In one classic editorial in The Herald came the predictable and groaningly familiar blaming of the West - so insulting to the intelligence of Zimbabweans. The editorial said: "one does not have to be a seer to see that Simba has just subscribed to megaphone politics by giving a black face to the voices from the White House and Whitehall."
In the middle of all of the upheaval came the announcement that the date for nominating candidates had been moved back another week and so, again we wait and we watch. Certainly whoever Simba Makoni represents and whatever positions the two branches of the MDC take, the events of this past week may well have broken the apathy that is suffocating Zimbabwean voters. I join the call of others and urge Zimbabweans, wherever you are and if you are still on the voters roll to please come home and vote on the 29th March.
Until next week, thanks for reading, love cathy.
A Daunting Task
Saturday 2nd February 2008
Dear Family and Friends,
What is happening in Kenya is making us very nervous here in Zimbabwe. A disputed election result; over 800 people killed; 250 thousand displaced and a stable and prosperous country spiralling into chaos in just a single month. As the violence and killing has gone on day after day, it soon become obvious that this wasn't just about a questionable election result, but about a number of past disputes and old grievances that had never been resolved. Its also about poverty, unemployment and inequality - all factors that are predominant in Zimbabwe's chronic situation.
Everyone is asking if what's happened in Kenya could be us in two months time and as fast as we shake our heads and say, no, that won't happen here - its hard to find reasons why not.
For eight years we've been a country in deep turmoil. Opposition MP David Coltart wrote recently that of the 39 parliamentary election challenges brought after the June 2000 elections, not one had been concluded by the courts at the end of that term in 2005. He went on to say that the 2002 legal challenge to Robert Mugabe's election as President was also nowhere close to being concluded - and this term ends in just two months time in March 2008.
The election challenges are just the beginning. To this day the perpetrators of hundreds of cases of rape, murder, abduction, arson and torture - all committed in the name of political violence since 2000 - have yet to be brought to justice for their crimes.
Aside from the court challenges, political violence and oppressive legislation, it is the day to day things that have bought most people to the end of their tether. Everyone has had enough of living like this: no food in the shops; negligible production from all those thousands of farms grabbed by the State; electricity and water cuts that go on for days at a time, or worse; not being able to get drugs when we are sick; not being able to afford to send children to school; not even being able to get our own money out of the bank. In urban areas we are fed up with municipalities who take our money but do nothing about sewers overflowing onto the streets, dustbins not collected for many months, drains and roadside vegetation not cleared, long grass not cut and roads so littered with potholes and gullies as to be almost unusable.
There are plenty of reasons why one more disputed election may just be one too many here. This mayhem began in February 2000 when Zanu PF lost a referendum. They have had eight years of chances just as the people have had eight years of suffering and decline. Within the next week candidates for the elections have to be announced and in them the hope for the future lies and the prevention of another Kenya. A daunting task indeed.
Until next time, thanks for reading, love cathy.
Last edited by Alex Linder; February 17th, 2008 at 06:23 PM.
|February 23rd, 2008||#33|
Saturday 23rd February 2008
Dear Family and Friends,
Headline news on the propaganda mill one day this week was that three trillion Zimbabwe dollars had been raised for President Mugabe's 84th birthday party. I thought about what you could do with that much money but before I could work it out I had to check in a dictionary just exactly how much a trillion was.
My sources say that a billion is a thousand million and a trillion is a million million. This means that for the President's birthday celebration being held in Beitbridge, there is a pile of money which on paper is a 3 followed by 12 zeroes. Even in Zimbabwe's collapsed state, 3 trillion dollars is a huge amount of money. It didn't take long before my kitchen table was littered with bits of scrap paper covered with handwritten sums. Why didn't I just use a calculator you might ask? That's simple, there are too many digits and so this sum had to be done by hand.
The calculations took some time to perform and the results were shocking. For three trillion dollars I could buy three million kilograms of maize meal at the present Grain Marketing Board price of a million dollars a kg. This, of course, is assuming that the GMB had any maize meal for sale, which they say they haven't. Allowing half a kg of maize meal per person, 6 million Zimbabweans, half the population of the country, could have had one decent meal with the President's birthday party money. A friend who is far more mathematically minded than me, and had more patience with all those lines of zeroes, worked the figures out a different way. 85 trucks, each holding 35 tonnes of maize, could have been filled with the three trillion dollars of birthday party money.
Moving away from the dollars, I went in search of ingredients usually found at a birthday party. Three major supermarket chains which have outlets all over the country were visited. The cake came first on my list but there was no flour, sugar, margarine, baking powder, milk or eggs in any of the supermarkets.
Puddings and sweet treats were next on my list but there was no jelly, instant pudding, custard, biscuits or tarts to buy. Sandwiches, I thought, they are good for parties but there was no bread or rolls, no spread, cheese, cold meats or sandwich fillings to buy. What about a hot meal I thought but there was no maize meal, rice, pasta or potatoes and so that idea was also a non starter.
The shopping list and the search for ingredients was a pointless exercise but at least it was easier than trying to understand the latest official inflation figures. In January 2008 inflation was one hundred thousand, five hundred and eighty percent - it is the stuff of hellish nightmares and the reason why we parents can't sleep at night.
Trying to understand three trillion dollars was utterly absurd for an ordinary mum in a collapsed country. Hardest of all though was knowing that half the population of the country could have gone to bed tonight on a full stomach if the birthday party had been sacrificed for the suffering, hungry people of a country whose 84 year old ruler has been in power for almost 28 years.
Until next time, thanks for reading, love cathy.
Last edited by Alex Linder; February 23rd, 2008 at 08:47 PM.
|February 23rd, 2008||#34|
Zimbabwe Leader Celebrates 84th Birthday
BEITBRIDGE, Zimbabwe (AP) — President Robert Mugabe vowed Saturday that "there will never be regime change" as he celebrated his 84th birthday at a rally ahead of elections next month.
The bash in the southern town of Beitbridge on the border with South Africa cost 3 trillion Zimbabwe dollars — the equivalent of about $250,000 at the dominant black market exchange rate.
Opponents blame Mugabe for an economic meltdown that has left Zimbabwe with acute shortages of gasoline, hard currency, food and most basic goods. The official rate of annual inflation rose to 100,580 percent in January — the highest in the world.
Mugabe, who has ruled Zimbabwe since its independence from Britain in 1980, lashed out at the country's "enemies" who have criticized his presidency, including the U.S. and Britain.
"There will never be regime change here ... Never," he said Saturday.
|February 23rd, 2008||#35|
[China moves in]
CHINA and Zimbabwe yesterday signed a $42 million loan facility for local agro-business concern Farmers' World to implement the second phase of the farm mechanisation programme.
China is courting Zimbabwe for investment and exploration opportunities in the gold and platinum mining sectors following a visit there by the Chinese deputy minister of Commerce and a 22 member delegation comprising experts in the mining, exploration and trade sectors.
[Having done so well with the farms, Mudmadman Mugabe wants the mines too]
President Robert Mugabe who has presided over Zimbabwe's eight year economic meltdown epitomised by an annual inflation rate of over 100,000 percent, has poured cold water on moves made by mining sector stakeholders in a bid to reverse the country's draconian mines indigenization legislation. The 84 year old ruler said that the government would not relent nor go back on its plans to empower locals and that it will still go ahead and give them over 50 percent of shareholding in foreign mining companies.
Last edited by Alex Linder; February 23rd, 2008 at 09:43 PM.
|February 23rd, 2008||#37|
[Daily life in Zimbabwe]
"There's no mealie meal in the stores," she said, referring to the finely ground cornmeal used to make sadza, the porridge that is Zimbabwe's staple food.
The smallest bag costs 12 million Zimbabwean dollars on the black market, more than her weekly earnings, said Mukwena, a widow who is raising her two children on her meager earnings selling snacks on a street corner. When the mealie meal runs low, she feeds her family nothing more than a thin gruel made with the leftovers.
|February 23rd, 2008||#38|
Is Zimbabwe-style Inflation Coming to America?
February 22, 2008
Elements of “Zimbabwe economics” are sounding eerily familiar. By Robert Morley
In Zimbabwe, inflation is measured by the hour, not month-over-month as in America and the rest of the developed world.
Zimbabwe’s few remaining merchants update their price tags four, five, or more times a day—that is, when shipments arrive on time, or haven’t been hijacked. For many people, life is a struggle just to get their paycheck to the store quickly enough so that it doesn’t lose value before it can be spent. Life is even harder for the millions who no longer have jobs at all—destroyed by an economy in meltdown.
A report released by Zimbabwe’s Central Statistical Office indicates that the inflation rate for the month of January, as measured by the All-items Consumer Price Index, stood at a practically incomprehensible 100,580 percent.
|February 23rd, 2008||#40|
HARARE - Two youths were brutalized by guards at President Robert Mugabe’s Gushungo Farm in Banket on Tuesday, sustaining severe injuries.
The two, who were on Friday admitted to Parirenyatwa Hospital, said they were accosted by two police officers as they walked along a road adjacent to Mugabe’s farm and accused of planning to steal the president’s diesel.
They were actually going to fetch water with jerry cans because of a critical water shortage in Banket.
One Inspector Mupambi, of the police’s intelligence arm, PISI, led the attack.
Showing deep soft tissue bruising on their buttocks and soles of their feet, the youths (who requested anonymity fearing a backlash) told The Zimbabwean that, despite pleading their innocence and showing the officers their empty jerry cans, they were handcuffed and frog marched to Banket, almost five kms away.
“Mupambi would drive his car for 500m, stop and beat us up with baton sticks on our buttocks and soles of our feet,” said one of the tearful youths. “He was beating us up holding the baton stick with both hands to ensure maximum impact.”