Saturday, September 19, 2009

ZIMBABWE - LETTER FROM THE DIASPORA !

18th September 2009.

Dear Friends,

The absence of a Letter from me last week was due to a computer failure, over which I had absolutely no control! When I finally got back online again, it was after the EU visit. Only the day before the EU's arrival in the country Mugabe had referred to 'bloody whites' as the source of all his troubles when he addressed his party's Youth League. Zimbabweans have become used to derogatory and racist hate speech from Robert Mugabe but that does not make it any less shocking, coming as it does from the man who claims 'supreme leadership' of the country. Mugabe was rather more circumspect in front of his all-white visitors from the EU. Everyone was on their best behaviour, in public at least, but there was no doubt the EU delegation needed more than the famous Mugabe charm to convince them that all was well in Zimbabwe's new dispensation. No matter how hard they try - and they have tried very hard - Mugabe and Zanu PF have not succeeded in convincing anyone that sanctions are the cause of Zimbabwe's miseries. As Geoffrey Van Orden, MEP, wrote in the UK Independent this week, 'Keep up the pressure on Mugabe and his clique of kleptocrats.' Zimbabwe needs more than the cosmetic changes brought about by the existence of a unity government. Real change will only come about when there is a new people-driven constitution followed by free and fair elections in the country. Robert Mugabe knows that very well and that is why he is using every trick in the book to delay the process to which he signed up in the GNU.

One look at the massive crowds attending MDC rallies - thirty thousand in Bulawayo last Sunday - should tell Mugabe and Zanu PF that their time is up but, like the political dinosaurs they are, they cannot accept the reality of change. Meanwhile, inspired by their leader's blatant incitement, Mugabe's shock troops on the ground continue their war of attrition against the remaining white commercial farmers. "Farmers will not be saved by the Unity Government" Mugabe declared to his Youth Brigade and in a sickening reprise of earlier scenes over the past ten years we see again pictures of a blood-soaked white farmer attacked by a gang of hoodlums. The evidence is there for all to see in the video on the SW website. And what do the brave ZRP do to protect the white farmer in question. They charge the farmer with violence alleging that he shot at the invaders who have tormented him for months. It could only happen in Zimbabwe.

It is the activities of the military that are, I believe, the deepest cause for concern. There are disturbing reports of acts of violence by lawless soldiers against fellow citizens all around the country. But it was the head of the army, Lt.General Sibanda addressing the troops recently that revealed very clearly where the army's sympathies lie - and it is not in support of the spirit of unity that is supposed to underpin the GNU. Sibanda was speaking about what he called 'asymmetrical warfare' and in particular what he regards as the one-sided war being waged by foreign based radio stations. "Guard against them," he told the troops. What exactly that means is not clear but it is a worrying indication of military intentions. The army remains in tight control of the Chiadzwa diamond mines where another civilian was killed last week. The profits from these 'blood diamonds' are undoubtedly funding Zanu PF and Robert Mugabe's continuing stranglehold on the country.

Writing about the situation in Kenya in the dying days of Arap Moi's dictatorial regime in Kenya, the Kenyan Nobel Prize winner Wangari Maathai tells of an incident which seems to me very relevant to present-day Zimbabwe. It was 1992 and Maathai was present in Nairobi at a big meeting of pro-democracy activists when there was a phonecall telling the activists that Moi wanted to hand power over to the army. The coup was scheduled to take place any time they were told by a reliable source. Mathaai comments, "A government sponsored coup would be the perfect way for President Moi to avoid having to face the electorate at the end of the year."(Unbowed - One woman's story by Wangari Maathai) A silent military coup has apparently already taken place in Zimbabwe. Mugabe is the Commander in Chief of the army so who now is in control?

Yours in the (continuing) struggle PH.

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