Tag Archives: mugabe

Mugabe’s cronies: the new colonialists

According to an investigation conducted by ZimOnline, 40% of commercial farmland seized as part of Robert Mugabe’s so-called “land reform” programme is in the possession of the Zanu PF elite — a group of approximately 2200 people.

This is a powerful indictment on the land grabs that have ruined Zimbabwe. It shows that expropriation had little to do with tackling the inequities created by Zimbabwe’s colonial past, and everything to do with buttressing Zanu PF rule and stealing resources for the benefit of a few.

The amassing of land, diamonds and other resources by this corrupt and greedy ruling cabal represents a new, horrifying colonialism in Zimbabwe: a system of oppression which denies ordinary Zimbabweans basic political and economic freedoms, and condemns the poorest of the poor to the enslavement of poverty and persecution.

Read more about the investigation’s findings at the M&G.


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Zuma – Mugabe’s messenger

According to the Financial Times, President Zuma will ask the UK to drop its targeted sanctions against key figures in Robert Mugabe’s kleptocracy. EU and US sanctions have been a serious inconvenience to the opulent, tax-funded lifestyles of the Zanu PF — it’s little wonder why it’s screaming for them to be dropped.

Zuma apparently argues that the sanctions are standing as an impediment to the implementation of the Global Provisional Agreement, the plan which sets out the coalition deal signed between Zimbabwean parties last year. I personally believe Zanu PF would obstruct implementation of the agreement regardless of whether sanctions were in place or not — and that the moaning about sanctions is merely an excuse for Zanu PF’s contempt for the GPA’s obligations — which require a respect for human rights and a relinquishing of illicit power.

The cynic in me says Zuma’s merely doing this as a favour for a “friend”. Sadly, it would seem that the bonds between the ANC and Zanu PF — ironically both considered “liberation movements” in their day — seem to strong. It is this relationship that has rendered South Africa’s approach to Zimbabwe pathetically reprehensible and completely ineffective.

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“The Zimbabwean” hits home with worthless wallpaper

An outdoor campaign for The Zimbabwean, a free newspaper for the Zimbabwean diaspora, makes a devastating (and need we say remarkably cost-effective) critique on the economic destruction Mugabe has wrought on Zimbabwe.

This is a fantastic, fresh-thinking ad. In these cash-strapped times it’s easy to forget that sometimes the communications with the most impact are the cheapest to produce.

The ad was featured on Creativity Online, a journal for creative branding communications.

To see more pictures, visit The Zimbabwean‘s Flickr photostream.


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Why Africa’s leaders can’t solve Zimbabwe crisis

Robert Mugabe, the embattled Zimabwean despot, has no intention of relinquishing power. He’s even said as much. And this is merely confirmed by the ongoing abduction, incarceration and torture of opposition activists and a bloody-minded refusal to share key ministries in the proposed unity government.

The SADC (Southern African Development Community) is only too aware of the Zanu PF agenda – and this makes its efforts to force the opposition MDC (Movement for Democratic Change) into a government in which it will be no more than a junior partner all the more chilling. The SADC is using the unity government as a legitimising mechanism to keep Zanu PF in power. It knows that it needs the  MDC to provide Zanu PF with a veneer of democratic respectability. But this is not what Zimbabwe’s long-suffering people chose at the ballot almost a year ago.

Yet again the SADC has refused to acknowledge the manifestation of the Zimbabwean people’s democratic will – but this is hardly surprising when SADC observer missions sunnily declared successive Zimbabwean elections “free and fair” – despite overwhelming displays of Zanu PF-sponsored intimidation and rigging.

Indeed, the SADC’s track record has shown that African leaders are incapable of resolving the Zimbabwe crisis. Not because they aren’t able to – but because they do not want to. Why? Simply because our region’s leaders are not democrats. Most share the belief that liberation movements have a divine right to rule, plunder and pillage their respective fiefdoms. Lip-service is paid to democracy and transparency provided such concepts do not challenge postcolonial ruling elites.

When Zimbabwe’s groundswell of democratic opposition to Zanu PF was met with brutal repression, Southern African leaders (with one or two pitiful exceptions) either spoke in support of Mugabe or remained shamefully silent. As Zimbabwe descended into a maelstrom of economic devastation and oppression, both quiet diplomacy and Mbeki’s mediation proved spectacularly successful in propping up Mugabe’s contemptible regime. South Africa has even adopted a proactive approach, working tirelessly to prevent the Zimbabwean tragedy from being discussed in the UN Security Council.

Tsvangarai and his party should treat the SADC – and its brazenly partisan mediation efforts – with the contempt it deserves.

As I have suggested before, an interim government must be installed by the United Nations. This government, staffed by non-political technocrats, can handle humanitarian operations to ensure the rollout food supplies and healthcare countrywide as well as the operation of essential services many of which are at a standstill.

The UN must demobilise the security and army, and provide a “peacekeeper” contingent of soldiers and police to ensure safety and security.

And then, some time next year, proper elections must be held – free and fair elections implemented and monitored by the international community.

Zimbabwe deserves nothing less.

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Mugabe’s murders: the Zim starvation crisis

Solidarity Peace Trust has released a video entitled Death of a Nation which investigates the widespread starvation in Zimbabwe.

People are dying from lack of food. There is simply no maize — certainly none that the vast majority of people can afford. Wild fruits, seeds and berries (which  often cause painful stomach cramps) are the only sources of sustenance. And that is, obviously, woefully insufficient.

It is heartrending to see a nation suffer like this at the hands of its wicked, malicious dictator — who is propped up by the indifference of the international community and the ongoing failure of its neighbour — South Africa — to show moral leadership and decisive, courageous action at a time when it is so urgently required.

The world must act NOW before any more innocent Zimbabwean lives are lost.

Watch the video below:

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Mbeki’s Zim negotiations were self-serving

This piece was written (and published on Thought Leader) before the announcement that a deal had been brokered between Zanu PF and the MDC. What remains to be seen, however, is whether or not this will truly result in Zimbabwean’s people democratic will being respected. The details that have thus far been outlined about the unity deal show it to be fragile and clumsy. Has Tsvangirai sold out? Who holds the power? Zanu PF is claiming they do, but we will only know for certain in the days and weeks to come.

President Thabo Mbeki’s latest attempt to get Zimbabwe negotiations back on track smacks of self-serving desperation — an attempt to salvage a bloodstained legacy and ensure an easy exit for the murderous tyrant he seems quite happy to consider a friend.

Mbeki as a mediator has no credibility anyway. His antipathy towards the MDC and its leader is well known — as is his implicit support of Mugabe and the brutal suppression of democratic will and political dissent that has accompanied the dictator’s systematic destruction of a once-prosperous nation.

As the suffering of the Zimbabwean people continues, with starvation salaries for those lucky enough to be employed and chronic shortages of food and medicines, it is only too clear that Mbeki has never had the best interests of the ordinary people at heart. He has nailed his unwavering support for a “liberation” elite to the mast, with devastating consequences.

It was inevitable that these farcical negotiations between Zanu-PF and the MDC would flop — because the former has been (and continues to be) extremely reluctant to relinquish its iron-fisted grip on the Zimbabwean people and, of course, all the perks that comes from the wanton pillaging of the state.

Had the South African government even a shred of integrity — or held the belief that human rights and a sustainable democracy are sacrosanct — it would have condemned the behaviour of our neighbour’s government a long time ago.

But its willingness to support an illegitimate regime financially and politically and give the thumbs-up to the sham elections of the past eight years has meant that South Africa and its president are complicit in the Zimbabwean catastrophe.

It is not too late for Mbeki to redeem himself (a little). He could do this if he were to stand up and denounce Mugabe, and do everything in his power — such as imposing smart sanctions — to ensure that the results of the March 29 elections are respected and acted upon. The Zimbabwean people deserve nothing less. But of course that will never happen, and their unnecessary suffering will continue until the inevitable collapse of Mugabe’s crumbling regime.

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Mugabe’s friends: China, Russia (and SA)

“Smart” sanctions targeting Mugabe and 13 of his fascist associates have been vetoed by China and Russia in the Security Council. True to its pro-Zanu inclinations, the South African government also voted against the measure (as did Vietnam and Libya — no surprises there).

Click here to read the Telegraph’s report and here for the BBC’s.


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