I am sure many would agree that most people who left Zimbabwe for political reasons have never stopped to fight against injustices that are committed by the state against its citizens back at home. Many are political activists who belong to party structures. Others are activists in civil society organisations while others express their views through writing opinion pieces in newspapers and blogs. As Robert Nesta “Bob” Marley said in his song “The Heathen” – “Tis he who fight and run away, live to fight another day”, I chose to

"..Live to fight another day!"

“..Live to fight another day!”

express my views by writing this blog, Hararesunset. I have done so in the hope that one day my views will be part of collective views that will inspire people to complete the change they started decades ago in search of social liberty they deserve. However, I feel like I have reached a limit in what I can say so far. I am at a stage where other demands are getting in the way of my writing and thus it is farewell to the blog for me. I will be back writing when time is right again. For all what can be said, I would like to thank all readers and followers who have always taken their precious time to read my blog. Some have always been there to keep me going as their comments have been a source of strength. I wish everyone a good fight against undemocratic tendencies back at home and I will borrow Bob Marley song the “Heathen” as end of Hararesunset part one. Good bye and keep well.

De heathen back dey ‘pon de wall!

De heathen back, yeah, ‘pon de wall!

De heathen back dey ‘pon de wall!

        De heathen back, yeah, ‘pon de wall!

Rise up fallen fighters;

Rise and take your stance again.

‘Tis he who fight and run away

Live to fight another day.

With de heathen back dey ‘pon de wall!

De heathen back, yeah, ‘pon de wall!

De heathen back dey ‘pon de wall!

De heathen back, yeah, ‘pon de wall!

As a man sow, shall he reap

And I know that talk is cheap.

But the hotter the battle

A the sweeter Jah victory.

With de heathen back dey ‘pon de wall!

De heathen back, yeah, ‘pon de wall!

De heathen back dey ‘pon de wall!

De heathen back, yeah, ‘pon de wall!

 

Zimbabwe has turned 33 and today we have nothing to show for those three decades. This line sounds self-defeating to many but truth be told, our country is embroiled in confusion. The fact is only a few that brag of obscene economic and social status while the majority chokes in abject poverty and political uncertainty. Those that seem to enjoy are either descendants of ZANU PF’s murderous tactics or remnants of benefits by association with the party. Those that have murdered for the party resent the onset of true democracy because they fear the wrath of rule of law will lead them to only one destination – prison.

These include architects of ZANU PF chicanery like Perence Shiri, Constantine Chiwenga, Robert Mugabe, Joice Mujuru, Didymus Mutasa and many more. They were and are still associated with crafting methods of eliminating political enemies by killing or silencing

ZANU PF & MDC T Unity on elections road map is a bit shortsighted

ZANU PF & MDC T Unity on elections road map is a bit shortsighted

them either in prison or exile. Those who ride the tide of association and patronage include children of ZANU PF ministers and functionaries who benefited from expensive government scholarships outside the country while the rest of us wallowed in a dilapidated education system.  Today, they boast of being champions of indigenisation whereas their loyalty is paid for by being the deal makers of Zimbabwe business.

Many of them are not entrepreneurs at all but mere beneficiaries of syndicates that loot and blackmail local and international investors. They extort money from people with promises of partnerships in the lucrative diamond industry and other precious metals and more often than not, these deals are turned into threats of violence.  The whole picture is a sad scenario that erodes genuine expectations of those that sacrificed their lives 33 years ago and beyond.

The wannabes

Another group of the politically confused and corrupt is that of people that have for more than a decade forever promised to reform the political system in Zimbabwe. Most of them are now caught in the politics of greed and power grab. Their stories are becoming more like of those in ZANU PF. Several legislators and leaders from the opposition MDCs are trapped in matters that have nothing to do with a better life for all but selfish interests. Take for example in the MDC T, led by Morgan Tsvangirai. Stories of prospective candidate Geoff Nyarota being threatened with death by a fellow party member don’t reflect a desire to make things better. Not long ago, their senator Morgan Femai opined why Zimbabwean women should not bath in order for them to repel men, thus reducing incidences of HIV and AIDS. Before that, many of them, just like in ZANU PF were nabbed for abusing community funds and inevitably, investigations fizzled out. ZANU PF prefers the MDC to be in political debt just like them. A surprise story that made headlines in the New York Times was that of a writer who described the pomp and show-off displayed at Morgan Tsvangirai’s wedding to Elizabeth Macheka.

Confusion is the way

Yesterday, Newsday reported that President Mugabe and Prime Minister Tsvangirai have agreed on poll preparations, setting up a two-member task team that is supposed to develop a legal framework for elections. Knowing the inconsistencies of politics in Zimbabwe, one should not be surprised when in a few days time; the Prime Minister threatens to boycott elections. This is because there have been so many agreements that he has made with Mugabe and then disowned. Given such, on this day, 18 April, I mourn those that fought or have parents that lost lives during the liberation struggle because all their causes were in vain. I suspect our fathers didn’t fight to be represented by the clowning natures of people like Robert Mugabe and the Jabulani Sibandas of this world. All what I can say on this day is that if today’s youth allow themselves to be covered by a worthless blanket with no political clarity, history will judge them harshly. A better course of action by youth is to rise and be counted in elections.

The famous saying

The famous refrain you hear these days – especially from the older generations that fought against minority rule of Ian Smith – is that life was much better before Independence. If truth be told, that was the case. Our currency was stronger, agricultural production fed the nation and education was world class. 33 years later, we have none of this. Sadly, it is rather reckless to make such a comparison because everyone tells you we are free from the whites. But what about freedom in general? This is a lingering question.

This week, the world was awakened by the sad news of the death of Baroness Margaret Thatcher, a lady who became probably the first politically recognisable woman leader in the world.

In a society where men are supposed to be the dominant figures of politics, the UK Conservative party took the lead in breaking the barriers. The party set the ball-rolling in leading the entire world to mourn the demise of Baroness Thatcher.

After years of castigating the British society and all the values it stands for, it was with surprise that ZANU-PF sent warm condolences to the

Thatcher

Thatcher

people of the United Kingdom and the Thatcher family.  One would have thought they would rather ignore the whole issue since President Mugabe and ZANU-PF have for more than a decade declared the British its Number One enemy for many years they have blamed for Zimbabwe’s land and political woes.

Here we are, ZANU-PF has sent warm regards instead. Riding in the world of inconsistency, it is Mugabe that has been on the paramount of attacking the British Society and their leaders describing them as worse than pigs.

It was with shock to read ZANU-PF describing Thatcher as a champion of the land issue in Zimbabwe.

Is it confidence or something else?

Zimbabweans have for long been victims of what I call political guesses where the rule of law and justice become only tools of confusing people rather than those of nation building. Take for instance the talk of elections. The issue of the actual dates of the polls has been reduced to a guess game. No one seems to know when the elections are going to take place as the whole population seems to be depending on the whims of President Mugabe who seems to be happy to keep the nation guessing.

In normal societies, one would have expected the date of the forthcoming coming polls to have been announced by now. Most people are being made to argue on the pros and cons of holding elections now while Mugabe plans his game. For me, this scenario defeats the whole purpose of a commitment to a new constitution that was recently endorsed at a referendum.  If the nation was committed and excited to have a new constitution, one would have expected a different tune of doing things from political parties but what we have now seems to be an illusion of the leadership whereby Mugabe suffers from age deficiency while Tsvangirai seems to be celebrating delayed victories. Mugabe is trying by all means to play the political game at a long unending table whereby he thrives around strategies of confusing the political playing field by carefully managing events as they come by.

On the other hand, PM Tsvangirai is left to celebrate obvious victories which don’t deserve time for recognition in the political sphere. An example here would be that of the recent challenges in court where the PM is supposed to have challenged Mugabe on election dates, something that I think he should not have wasted time dwelling on. The crux of the matter in Zimbabwe’s politics is dwelled around observing and implementing the Thabo Mbeki crafted Global Political Agreement and the question of what SADC would do if election results were to be contested if held under an environment whereby the GPA was not observed. As it is right now, whatever is discussed is not relevant to the future. We need full implementation of the GPA and enough time for parties to campaign in free and fair conditions. For now, our daily fights are centred on things that don’t matter and all what this does is to create future conflicts.

The last two weeks have been dominated by discussions over crucial and interesting developments in Zimbabwe’s political landscape. The European Union removed 81 members of Mugabe’s ZANU PF party from the sanctions list. This was followed by a three member team of Zimbabwe’s ruling coalition visiting London to attend a meeting organised by the Friends of Zimbabwe countries. For some, including myself, the removal of Mugabe’s people from the sanctions list was a major milestone for Zimbabwe not because the violence has stopped or the fact that this removal was motivated by what “Friends of Zimbabwe” termed a largely peaceful referendum but

Accuses the West of negative interference

Accuses the West of negative interference

because for so long, Zimbabweans have been held hostage by ZANU PF who hid behind these sanctions. For too long now we have witnessed a complete refusal by ZANU PF to abide to the rule of law because of the economic sanctions that were levelled against them by the European Union and other countries in the West. They have refused to abide by SADC proposals which call for key reforms in the Global Political Agreement. So, for this large number of people to be removed from these sanctions, chances are that we might see some slight progress towards achieving rather peaceful elections. However, the question of Mugabe’s family and the generals remaining in the sanctions list could still pose even a greater danger as we have seen ZANU PF publicly rejecting the idea of having some members removed while others remaining as a desperate ploy by the EU to divide ZANU PF. Either way, ZANU PF seems to be desperate for re-engagement with the EU because the fact that they allowed Patrick Chinamasa to visit the UK means they are keen to be part of EU partnerships, especially funding. Judging from Chinamasa’s photos in London, one can see that the man was extremely excited given the big smiles and catty eyes that seemed to be all over the place seeking noticing.

Calm down Madhuku…

One of the former major political players in Zimbabwe, Professor Lovemore Madhuku has been in the media recently, bitter about the above developments, attacking the West and MDC T, a party he once so loved and committed his undying love for. I have no problem with Madhuku’s personal views or the NCA, the organisation he leads but I suspect his bitterness is irrelevant to Zimbabwe’s democratic efforts because it is simply based on personalities and the cut off of donor funds to his organisation by the West. As a professor, it is rather silly for Madhuku to call Morgan Tsvangirai a dictator while he himself carries the same problem of having had the NCA constitution amended to allow him to continue as chairman of the NCA. As a professor, it is worrying to note that he dined with Morgan Tsvangirai when the later went against his party’s majority views that voted in favour of the Senate elections leading to the infamous spit of the MDC. Following this line of thinking, one can clearly see that the Professor is not fighting a national struggle but rather his fallout with Tsvangirai, the man he glorified while others like Welshman Ncube spotted dictatorial tendencies in the man. I may be one of the people who might have voted NO in the recent referendum but my reasons seem to have been not the same as Madhuku. It is not new for clever people to realise today that donor funds are not there to stay. Madhuku’s attack of the West is fast becoming a cheap rhetoric similar to that of Mugabe who is always crying betrayal by the West. I know this may not go well with some of my legitimate comrades in the NCA but we ought to share the truth as we see it happen. My humble submission to them is that as much as we wish change to happen within the MDC’s structures, we ought to change ourselves and one of the first steps would be to reconsider Madhuku’s position. There are serious people in the like of Blessing Vavas, Madock Chivasas and Clever Beres who can steer the NCA struggle to higher spirits and in turn the whole national leadership.

Ncube is right?

I believe Professor Welshman Ncube has done the right thing of writing to SADC head of states, querying the legitimacy of calls by Mugabe to have elections in June. Zimbabweans recently voted for the endorsement of a new constitution and one would have hoped such a move would inspire respect for Zimbabwe’s laws amongst others. However, it is disheartening to note that Mugabe and to a certain extent, the Prime Minister are busy spreading rumours of a June election after their unlawful analysis of law. A legitimate concern by Ncube in his letter to SADC is the failure by the inclusive government to amend the Electoral Act and align it with the new constitution. By law, after the new constitution is gazetted, it will have to wait for 30 days before parliament could start debating it and if it was fast-tracked, it would take at least seven days before it is signed into law. From there, the law provides for a 30 day voter registration and inspection outreach programme after the new constitution is gazetted and parts of it come into effect. Then, the parties have to negotiate and agree on necessary amendments to the Electoral Act to bring it into line with the new constitution. From all this, it is clear that a minimum of at least 70 days is required before an election proclamation can be made. This means that no lawful election proclamation can be made before at least the first week of June and the fact that the law requires a minimum of 58 days from the date of the proclamation to the date of the election. On a best case scenario, no lawful election can be held before the first week of August. We know Mugabe will try to force his way but I think the other parties, especially the MDC T should fight alongside MDC to make sure that the electoral act is amended and I commend Ncube for raising this important issue. The rest is just details.

…as ZANU-PF leader arrests MDC people

It would seem old habits refuse to go if one takes into account this week’s arrest of officials from Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s party, including celebrated human rights lawyer Beatrice Mtetwa. This was hardly 24-hours after the referendum on a new constitution whose low voter turn-out left a lot to be desired.

I think it is unfortunate

Less than half of the registered voters saw no use in voting

More than half of the registered voters saw no use in voting

for Zimbabwe to note that the general public seem to have lost confidence in the politics of representation through our political parties, elected members of parliament and government.

This is evidenced by the low turnout in the recent referendum whereby out of 5 million or more registered voters, only 2 million are said to have bothered themselves into going to vote. The rest of the people, who account for more than half of those registered simply did not see the need to hustle themselves to be part of what politicians call a historic moment in our country. Sadly, our politicians seem to be happy with the results of a landslide YES victory without considering what may have hindered the majority of the nation to be part of a historic moment. The idea of winning and celebrating victory is good but there remains a question of what happened to the numbers that have been followers of democracy voice in the past, this time around with an additional ZANU-PF power-base which also voted yes.

Losing confidence – A low turnout

One of the reasons why people are losing confidence in our politics is the feeling that politicians are in it for themselves.  Recent reports say that government ministers awarded themselves over USD 200 000 bonuses for their work. This does not send a good image to the country especially after the GNU where mixed messages and deals seem to be the order of the day. Maybe MDC Ministers will reject these bonuses? But then some observers say MDC leaders have become too comfortable in government, forgetting that their presence in government was meant to create an environment conducive for credible, free and fair elections.

Foreign Observers – The Americans

The United States of America Facebook page recently congratulated Zimbabweans for their peaceful behavior in the recent elections, which they seemed to call a sign of progress. In the same message, they told us on how they were being part of the observers mission, contrary to what ZANU-PF has been accused of, banning foreign observes: How interesting.

Old town, old habits

Tendai Biti, secretary general of the MDC led by PM Tsvangirai described the referendum as the most important thing he has done in his life apart from being a parent. He later complained that the referendum was marred by high levels of intimidation against members of his party, something that comes across to me as a puzzle considering the fact that all big parties were voting yes. Maybe there is a third party to political violence and intimidation in Zimbabwe because there is no logic why ZANU-PF, which has always been the main suspect in committing violence would go out and intimidate people that are meant to vote for their cause.

The referendum has also exposed a great deal of confused messages as far as media reporting is concerned. Reading a copy of an online publication of stories selected from different local and outside media houses, the Zimbabwe Situation on Sunday March 17, one is left with a feeling that the voting process was far from being free and fair. The publication reported stories ranging from people not being allowed to vote while others were being forced to vote, lack of attention from SADC observers and muzzling of the media among other stories. On the other hand, there seem to be a consensus that this milestone vote was largely peaceful and credible. The truth is hard to find.

The new talk in town

The excitement of victory for the YES win is doing rounds on social media. Already, everyone is asking whether national elections, just like the referendum would be peaceful and whether political parties will strike similar deals as they did with referendum disputes. There seem to be optimism from the SADC countries that Zimbabweans will reach an agreement on how to conduct free and fair elections as they see no reason why not given their recent observations that the facilitation meetings are mostly dominated by confidence from parties involved. ZANU-PF, MDC-T and MDC speak with one voice at joint meetings with SADC facilitators indicating that the situation has improved and everything is progressing smoothly. But, the MDC groups complain of an uneven playing field and escalation of political violence in separate meetings. Maybe our only worry now is for politicians find ways of minimizing voter apathy by conducting themselves in a more credible manner that encourages people to be part of politics of the day.

There is a general consensus among the people I spoke to regarding the Kenyan elections that polls there hinged on tribal rivalry driven from the fact that the leading candidates, Uhuru Kenyatta and Raila Odinga, come from different tribes which have been at loggerheads for many decades.

Given this background, one would have expected massive protests and violence after elections especially after the losing candidate Odinga alleged massive rigging.

But remarkable enough, the Kenyan population has shied away from repeating the violent acts which mired the previous elections. They have chosen to be calm.

We haven’t heard Odinga calling for mass protests which is normally sparks violence. In fact Kenya is very calm right now after what Odinga says was a controversial outcome.

If only Zimbabweans were to learn from the Kenyans. The Kenyan body politic invested a lot of time and resources in preaching

Is choosing to approach the courts over protests

Is choosing to approach the courts over protests

tolerance and unity way before the first vote was cast. Kenya scored a first as it televised political debate. This was one of the many indicators that Kenyan politicians have moved from vengeance towards a society where different ideas can be tolerated.

While we may agree that Zimbabweans will not agree to the televised debates due to reasons we may know, I think it is important for our leaders to find alternative platforms where they can demonstrate that they are above the politics of violence.

We know that the constitutional YES campaign has brought together leaders of different political parties to share platforms of encouraging people to vote in support of the constitution.

While this process may seem as an improvement towards tolerance, I also believe it is a selfish act meant to cover and endorse wishes of political parties because other sectors of society seem not to be covered.

Recent harassment of civic society activists and disruption of meetings which campaign against the constitutional draft are not signs of tolerance. Also the fact that the Welshman Ncube led MDC has pulled out of combined political meetings because of the other partners’ failure to draft them in for joint national campaigns seem to be a recipe for future political disputes.

Even PM Tsvangirai’s rallies have been disrupted and that does not send a good message for Zimbabwe’s troubled government.

The other interesting observation in the Kenyan election was the ability of candidates and the electoral commission to invest time and resources in calling for whoever was going to lose the elections to accept the results.

This was done way before the elections happened and this message was intensified during and after voting with electoral officials insisting that all candidates declare publicly that they would accept results even if they lost elections.

In this case it gave the losing candidate no ground to publicly encourage revolts against disputed results. This was a diplomatic coup de tat against politicians by the electoral commission and civil society. It has worked wonders in Kenya. Odinga has shown reluctance in encouraging street protests. The country is relatively safe and peaceful.

The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission should have been taking notes from its Kenyan counterparts. But the Zimbabwe elections body is suspected of bias in favour of ZANU PF. We have a situation whereby disputes are already surfacing before the elections take place with matters such as the safety of supporters and an up to date voters’ role not guaranteed. The media is under duress and there are already signs that if the MDC was to lose elections in June, they would not accept them as free and fair.

We all expect the losers to accept election results but it will be great foolishness for the MDCs to go into an election that are already compromised by political failure to resolve the current disputed issues. It is the job of the electoral commission to preach acceptance of results but we also know that our electoral commission is not ready to run an election. If we were to go with what we have today, the upcoming elections would be handed on a silver platter to ZANU PF. The party seems to have an upper hand. It is already fuelling violence and has supporters holding key positions like the attorney general and the chief elections acting boss Joice Kazembe.

Be that as it may, we just hope Zimbabwe finds a way of resolving its political crisis which to all intents and purposes should mark the beginning of economic revival and a better life for everyone. We all pray for this miracle to happen like the Kenyan elections so far and I guess it is the duty of our leaders to find ways to ensure that the violence which characterised the 2008 elections is not repeated.

Realign Security Sector now

Posted: March 5, 2013 in Uncategorized

ZANU PF’s rejection of security sector reforms is the reason we have violence today.

One of the most worrying disturbances that are engulfing the Kenyan elections taking place this week is the inability of the state to protect its citizens as they cast their constitutionally protected right to vote. Recent media reports in that country indicate that many citizens fear that there will be a repeat of political violence as was the case in their last elections. In Zimbabwe, the same is feared. There are clear indications that human rights violations are on the increase and from what we see today, every one of those violations

Zenzele Ndebele of Ingwe Studios dragged to court after being harrased by the CIO

Zenzele Ndebele of Ingwe Studios dragged to court after being harrased by the CIO

is related to the upcoming elections. Just like before, ZANU-PF appears to be the main culprit in perpetrating violence.

Like many elections before, President Robert Mugabe is calling for peace but on the other hand, relying heavily on state security apparatus to intimidate and commit horrible acts of violence against its opponents. Mugabe is letting his supporters go on the rampage violating every calls for peace because they seem to have concluded that if MDCs were allowed to campaign freely for the YES vote, this opportunity will give them a chance to build up strong support against Mugabe in the mooted June elections.

Disturbing developments

Last week, Zimbabwe news was dominated by the story of a horrible murder that is said to have been committed by ZANU-PF supporters, the brutal killing of an innocent child in Headlands, Manicaland. Also last week, police and intelligence services went on a search and arresting spree targeting Non-Governmental Organisations which are thought to be on the mission to distribute small radios to villagers. Several civil society members and journalists have been arrested while a number of non-governmental organisations have fell victim to police raids and confiscations of radios and communication equipment. Several members of the MDC have been reportedly kidnapped and tortured.

Last Saturday, Mzondiwa Njanjeni a member of the MDC from ward 19 in the Vungu constituency was pulled out of a church service, handcuffed, thrown into a car without number plates, driven to his house, assaulted, kicked around and accused of being a recruiter for the MDC. Bernard Lusina Dube, an MDC supporter was hounded out of his homestead, handcuffed, stripped naked, severely assaulted. He was robbed of his clothing, cash and his cell phone by known ZANU PF supporters. After beating him they left him for dead. He suffered severe injuries on his head and face. This situation is spreading throughout the country, opening the scars of last elections violence.

What is wrong?

From the look of things, it looks like Zimbabweans have been taken for a ride on crucial developments related to the Global Political Agreement. Chief among these is refusal by Mugabe to institute security sector reforms. Mugabe and ZANU-PF have completely

“Mugabe is an excessive burden and so unpopular he could lose to donkey” - Jonathan Moyo

“Mugabe is an excessive burden and so unpopular that he could lose to donkey” – Jonathan Moyo

rejected the idea of having an impartial security sector, arguing that doing so would be an intrusion and weakening of the country’s security. For what we know, the real reason for this rejection is ZANU-PFs reliance on the state’s security to do its dirty work of destabilising Zimbabwe. Zimbabweans are a peace loving people but every time the country trudges towards elections, citizens are subjected to brutalisation by their own police and intelligence services. Zimbabweans must lobby against the staging of elections due to the resurgence of political violence. If we don’t start now, things are only going to get worse. There is no point of holding elections in order to get people killed. This is the very reason why a coalition government was negotiated. For the MDCs to only report these issues will mean nothing until they lay out plans to boycott an election full of violence. The referendum campaigns are already indicating that we are headed for the worst and we should not waste more time to get another soul killed. Democracy building is a long, tiring and sometimes a hopeless process and part of the process involves people rejecting abnormality in its strongest terms. The time is now and we expect cool heads to prevail before we all get hurt.