Saturday, November 29, 2008


29th November 2008.

Dear Friends,

Not a week goes by in Zimbabwe without some so-called minister demonstrating to the country and the world how ridiculous and incompetent they are as they delve more and more into the world of make-believe. Anyone with half a brain can see that the stories they continue to tell the world to explain Zimbabwe's collapse are nothing more than downright fairy stories. And always there is the wicked ogre - the west and western sanctions in particular - to justify their every ludicrous claim that things are just fine in Zimbabwe. There is no crisis, it's all a western plot designed to undermine Robert Mugabe and give credence to the opposition. Never, will these tellers of tales admit that they themselves might be just a little responsible for the absolute breakdown of every aspect of life in Zimbabwe. Last week we had Gideon Gono, surely one of the chief story tellers, blaming the country's astronomical inflation rate on Zimbabweans themselves! It's all because they haven't worked hard enough on the farms they were given, they have not made sufficient use of all the benefits that were bestowed on them by a munificent Reserve Bank which had bankrolled the country's noble and patriotic land reform programme - at the behest of one Robert Mugabe, of course.

This week we had more fairy stories. It was those wicked sanctions that were the cause of the cholera outbreak in Zimbabwe, the Deputy Minister of Health Muguti claimed, "It is very regrettable that people are dying of cholera. Maybe the ones who created this situation have decided to kill us softly." Declaring that "The situation is under control", Muguti added with the usual absence of logic that we have come to expect from the regime that there was no need to declare the cholera outbreak as a national emergency - because it is under control. The very next day after this extraordinary statement Muguti contradicted himself by saying, " The outbreak will worsen with the rains." The fact that it has been raining for over a month seemed to have escaped his attention! Not once have the authorities admitted that it is ZINWA's failure to provide clean and safe water for the country that is the direct cause of the epidemic. Without forex they cannot buy the chemicals to purify the water and the only source of legal foreign exchange is the Reserve Bank headed by none other than Gideon Gono. Mugabe extended his term of office for another five years this week despite the Agreement signed by all three political parties that had clearly stipulated that no such appointments would be made without the agreement of all the signatories.It is Gideon Gono's refusal to increase the withdrawal rate that has made life such hell for people who spend their lives standing in line waiting to withdraw amounts so small that they will not even buy a quarter of a loaf of bread, let alone medicines. The ZCTU is right to point out that Gideon Gono's failure to increase the amount people can withdraw may well account for the huge number of deaths from an entirely preventable disease. 'Killing them softly' as Muguti described the actions of the imagined enemy is perhaps a more apt way to describe what Mugabe and his cronies are doing to their own people. As Eddy Cross pointed out this week, Didymus Mutasa's words some years ago about having a population of only six million are fast becoming a reality. Mutasa had said it would be preferable to have a reduced population if they all supported the liberation struggle, ie Zanu PF.

The combination of lies and downright stupidity reached a crescendo with the refusal to let the Elders into the country to see for themselves the humanitarian situation. By refusing them entry the Zanu PF regime demonstrated to the whole world their arrogant contempt for any opinion other than their own. That action more than any other showed the world that Mugabe will bow to no one; he really believes that he can take on the whole world and win. A certain Adolf Hitler had the same belief. Did not Mugabe say that if his enemies compared him to Hitler that did not bother him one bit? Surrounded as he is by clownish, incompetent and unelected ministers who faithfully echo his every wish it is not surprising that he now believes himself to be invincible. SADC's cowardly failure to bring him to book have merely supported him in this view. We have only to look at how the government-controlled media covered the disgraceful refusal to admit the Elders to understand the extremes they will go to defend Mugabe's stance. Personal abuse and downright lies about the Elders may have satisfied Mugabe's ego but they did nothing to ease the suffering of the people or bring a solution to Zimbabwe's problems any nearer.

If the reports coming in that the MDC have officially pulled out of the talks are true then I for one applaud their decision. Today the UK Daily Telegraph reveals that buried deep in Zanu PF's version of the Constitutional Amendment, Mugabe as President reserves the right to abandon the Inter-party Agreement if 'for any reason' he sees fit. Such a presidential decree would immediately nullify the Agreement and leave Prime Minister designate Morgan Tsvangirai out of office. Despite all the suffering the people have endured, I do not believe that is what they wanted when they voted for the MDC and Morgan Tsvangirai on March 29th.

Yours in the (continuing) struggle, PH



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