Thursday, January 22, 2009

Something must give

Zimbabwe is on the verge of total collapse and something must give. The two sides, the MDC and Zanu PF represent two polar opposites who are not willing to give an inch, but one will have to relent. It is a supreme battle where one party is holding out with the hope of wearing another down. Reminds me of the "Thriller in Manila" where Mohamed Ali and Joe Frazier slugged it out and wore each other down but they kept on going for 14 solid rounds until Frazier gave up. Who will give up. The proposed SADEC summit next week will be the 15th round and something must give.

Zimbabwe represent a fight between the West and Africa for Africa's self determination and both parties are slugging it out to see who will emerge victorious. In the MDC corner is the West represented by the US and UK (with Botswana giving vital advice, Kenya, in the form of Raila Ondinga has ran out of steam and fallen by the way side). In the Zanu PF corner is Africa represented by SADEC and the AU. No party is willing to give an inch.

You see Mugabe is to Africa what David was to the Israelites, he took on the mighty Goliath that is the West and he is smelling victory. And his fellow leaders are urging him on. He has done what no African leader could do, albeit fortuitously, and went to the heart of the African problem....take control of the land and its resources and give it to the indegenous people. Even the mighty ANC could not even attempt to do confront the land issue head on. Confronted by the devil and the deep blue sea, the ANC chose the devil (an easy path in my opinion). Mugabe's is the difficult path and the results are there for everybody to see.

Now every third Zimbabwean I meet here in South Africa has a piece of land back home and they are just holding out in SA until the situation returns to normal so that they can go back home to their piece of land. Those who did not acquire a piece of land did so out of choice or because some undue infuence. Now imagine what this means for Zimbabwe in the next 10-20 years. Remember they are a well educated kind, these Zimbos.

In my opinion Mugabe, with the encouragement of the African leaders, is willing to ride out the storm with a view to the future. In my opinion, Zimbabwe represent, in the eyes of the African leaders, what Africa should strive for but are very afraid lest they offend their "friends" in the West and encourage their population to turn against them. These leaders know that Zimbabwe chose the route they all should have chosen but they did not have the courage of their convictions to take it. That is why Mugabe can call the UK and the US all manner of names and get away with it; he can derogatrorily invite any African country to come and topple him and get away with it.

In the final analysis it is true that Mugabe took advantage of the situation in the late 1990's and implemented the fast track land reform but then which leader won't. You just have to look at 9/11 and how Bush manipulated the situation to suit his agenda or how the ANC took advantage of the Nicholson ruling to topple their intellectual leader. Every leader will take advantage of a situation.

Have you asked yourself how it is possible that somebody in America could by fuel for somebody in Zimbabwe or a person in Zimbabwe have to go to the Internet to access fuel that is stored somewhere in his country. Why are the commodities made in Zimbabwe freely available in our supermarket shelves but are very scarce in Zimbabwe. Now I am no economist but this tells me that somebody is deliberately withholding these commodities to the ordinary Zimbos for a few more dollars.

The government in Somalia has collapsed and pirates are running the show, the situation in Darfur and DRC are even worse that in Zimbabwe but all the preocupation of the world is with Zimbabwe...why are the leaders of the world not concerned about these situations which require urgent attention. Why is Mugabe such a devil yet almost half of the population support him.

Mugabe has messed up the Zimbabwean economy and Zanu PF became complacent and arrogant at some stage. This was to the detriment of the Zim economy and it is a road that it going to be difficult to finish. African leaders have realised this and I think they are chastising Mugabe behind close doors but they are telling him that it is in their interest that he wins this battle. Is it possible that they could settle for a draw?


  1. Nice article! I personally believe that What Mugabe did was just plain stupid, he neglected the fact that we live in a 'white man's world' the sad fact is the west controls just about everything in Africa. Kicking white folks off of their ( the land they stole from black hands) would obviously piss off the western leaders, they were bound to teach the 'black boy' a lesson, make an example of him so that other African nations would think twice before pulling such a stunt, and thus came the sanctions. The problem was the sanctions hurt the ordinary people more than they did Mugabe( that seems to be always the case when it comes to sanctions), hell, I don't think they hurt the Zanu-pf regime at all and now we have all this mess and the media pretends that Mugabe is SOLELY to blame when it's in fact everybody's fault.pfft. That is just my twisted opinion on the matter.

  2. I agree with the principle of Mugabe ie retain land but from an economic view,poor planning has prevailed. Common sense says as long as you are the land owner, you can bring all sorts of expertise from outside to cultivate your land and share the spoils as long as you get the majority and in that way the economy is running and not at the expense of it's people. Mugabe's stance gives me the impression he wants to run his country in isolation. If the West and Uk pull out completely, what's next?

  3. Bagaetsho a ko re iketle go se nene. Moremogolo, do not betray your training. Let us look at the facts - and here I must caution that the record of events is corrupted and the passage of time does not help. That being said and before we laud Mugabe, look back to the two competing liberation organisations in Zim - Zanu and Zapu; look back to the Matabele massacre, repression - call it what you may and most importantly, look at the Lancaster Agreement, the terms of which, like Codesa, were negotiated and agreed to by Mugabe among others. These agreements were entered into on behalf of the people, but with very little input from the people. That I trust we all agree on. I trust we will also agree that Britain, breached that agreement by refusing to make payment towards land redistribution. Now, this is where it gets murky and difficult but most important for us to unpack and analyse carefully.
    Britain alleges that it stopped or refused to make the payments to Zimbabwe because there was no accountability for those funds and that the funds were being used to enrich Mugabe's inner circle. I don't know whether this is true but I am sure there is a reliable record of events somewhere. This is the point at which the land invasions take place and for the first time we see the veterans on a rampage.
    Now, if I were in Mugabe's shoes, I would have considered a few options - violence of course will be the last(ke Motswana'aNgwaketsi wa malesa temo masiya le kgomo maila go bobela - motho wa gaabo phesana'amoswagadi ga e tshware ntle le shokwe le phela, o ka e tshwara o ka bona mmago). I will of course seek to prove in good faith that the money goes to land redistribution, after all it is the british subjects who wanted to get paid for the land they stole. If that fails, I would institute what is a constitutional right of Zimbabweans to seize the land by legal expropriation - after all this is Zimbabwean land.
    What plunged Zim into a crisis and lend legitimacy to the colonial thieves is what I call - trying to destroy evil by being more evil than evil itself. If you dance with the devil, you will not leave the dancefloor the same.
    This is not leadership, african or otherwise, it is failure of leadership and the price is paid by the ordinary people. Of course Mugabe has support, he is supported by those who benefit from the chaos and there are many who profit from this chaos.

  4. ^^Who really does benefit from the chaos?

  5. I agree with Aquilogy and Motsepe that Mugabe is not the only one to blame here...Britain's hands are dripping of blood as much as Mugabe's. And lets agree they messed up a viable economy. Just to put some facts on the table:

    1. 1980 the Lancaster Agreement is signed in term of which a market led land reform is agreed with a cooling off period of 10 years.
    2. late 80s-early 90s Zimbabwe ammends its land reform legislation in order to speed up land reform with the understanding that Britain will pay for compensation. At the same time the ANC is negotiating with the Nats and they ask Mugabe to go slowly because if he continues with fast track land reform he will scare the Nats. Mugabe agrees.
    During this time also the World Bank and IMF forces Zimbabwe to adopt the structural adjustment programme which totally messes up the Zim economy. With the introduction of this programme Zimbabwe's economy goes on a rapid decline also boosted by corrupt practices of course.
    3. Mid 90s the Labour party of Blair in Britain assumes power and they tell anyone who cares that they are not bound by the agreements of their previous government as far as Zim is concerned. At the same time there is pressure from the war veterans for the government to deliver and Mugabe offers them grants from the monies the government does not have.
    4. At the same time low level land invasions led by peasants in the country side start taking place and the government passes a blind eye. the veterans seize on this and Mugabe sees an opportunity and seizes on it.
    5. during this time the SA, Zim governments and Donors are negotiating ways to settle the land question in Zim but the donors, mainly the British pull out because of the threat of the war veterans and encourages white farmers to go settle in other African countries like Kenya, Mozambique and Nigeria...the talks are off and all hell breaks loose.
    6. The war veterans are in charge and the government chnages legislation in order to effect fast track land reform. the acrimony between Zim and Britain starts and the US enters the fray and the rest as they say is history.

    So much as Mugabe can be blamed, the UK has to take a huge responsibility in this mess and so far they have survived scott free. SA also had a huge role to play in this mess and in the meantime the economy of Zimbabwe was being systematically undermined by the West by eg buying Zim tobacco in the black market and blocking agricultural products from entering Zim.

    These are the facts that we never get to hear about and in my opinion that is why Mugabe will always have the support of his fellow African leaders because he took the bull by its horns and it is a matter of 50/50 whether he will kill this bull.

    Mugabe has his own faults but so does everybody in this saga.

  6. I really can't pretend to know a lot about Zim's history. The little I do know I have picked up by speaking to Zimbabwean friends.

    But it seems to me that for many many many years Zim has been marked by political violence, violence by the Mugabe government. My friends speak about when they were young (maybe 10-15 years ago), there were spates of political leaders who were killed in similar dubious circumstances, car crashes with army vehicles and that sort of thing. People who were threats to the regime.

    They tell me that their is a speed limit on the street outside Mugabe's house - you have to go above a certain speed. And it you are looking a bit suspicious, you will be stopped and beaten up. It's best just not to drive there, they say.

    A friend who has a long history of family involvement wit the MDC tells me about how they have to protect their home, how he lives with the awareness that his political involvement could get him killed.

    I suppose it is a bit like what MoAfrika said - "trying to destroy evil by being more evil than evil itself."
    But we should never justify that. And if other African leaders are willing to overlook the evil of the Mugabe government because they see Mugabe as a hero in a different fight against a different evil.
    Eek. And shame on them.

    Isn't there a certain irony in it, when the people who are fighting for Africa's self-determination are the people who are blaming cholera crisis on the West (and then also refusing foreign relief work)?

  7. In the meantime the scythe swings from side to side; with each swing, a thud of heads as they hit the ground, you can almost count, thud, thud, thud . . .

  8. We must agree that Mugabe is very paranoid and he does not trust anybody and as a result the only way to go about it is to cling onto power. Equally so Tsvangirai is not an angle in this saga at all. He has shown himself to be a spineless leader who panders to the whims of the West. I agree with Arthur Mutambara when he says that Zimbabwe does not deserve Mugabe and Tsvangirai as leaders.

    Thabo Mbeki wrote Tsvangirai a response to a letter by Tendai Biti in November 2008. In the letter he details agreements that have been reached and Tsvangirai's demands that have been met before he could commit the MDC to a power sharing agreements. Mbeki's letter put forwards facts about the whole process which have not been refuted by MDC and instead of responding by either refuting the facts or setting the record straight they labelled Mbeki biased and decided to pull out of the talks. And the letter they wrote to Mbeki is not worthy of the positions they hold.

    And while I agree that Mugabe's Intelligence has Zim on its grip and torture is their main weapon, some of the things you write about is urban legend.

    At the end of the day both leaders are an impediment to a peaceful Zimbabwe and the sooner they are told that the better