Saturday, April 16, 2011

(HERALD) Manheru: Independence: Mungoshi’s so many questions?

Manheru: Independence: Mungoshi’s so many questions?
Saturday, 16 April 2011 10:17

As I sit down to write this piece, my mind temporarily refocuses on the SADC Troika meeting recently held in the Zambian border town of Livingstone. It has turned out to be a meeting for vile tongues as commentators of all manner and gradation fall over each and one another to sound very knowing.

The raucous home chatter aside, more cacophony came from the British House of Lords. Still more noise came from European parliamentarians. Not to forget the menacing noise America's Africa Command, bellowing from Germany. Then another - again American - coming from one Johnnie Carson, America's black Assistant Secretary for African Affairs.

All these noises are calculated to browbeat little Zimbabwe, something of a pastime in the West.

Triggering humourous imagination

But it is the debate home - ironically much of it instigated and thus hardly home-grown - which engages my humorous imagination.

As I ploughed through the maze of that debate, occasionally blinded by flashes and spasms of its mindless anger and gratuitous spite, I was reminded of a little Yoruba tale which the great Nigerian writer, Chinua Achebe, adapted for a speech he delivered at Harvard University, way back in 1972. I will allow the great writer to tell it himself.

Eshu, the god of mischief and confusion

"Once upon a time . . . two farmers were working their farms on either side of the road. As they worked they made friendly conversation across the road. The Eshu, god of fate and lover of confusion, decided to upset the state of peace between them.
A god with a sharp and nimble imagination he took his decision as quickly as lightning. He rubbed one side of his body with white chalk and the other side with charcoal and walked up the road with considerable flourish between the farmers.

As soon as he passed beyond earshot the two men jumped from their work at the same time. And one said: "Did you notice that extraordinary white man who just gone up the road?" In the same breath the other asked: "Did you see that incredible black man I have just seen?" In no time at all the friendly questions turned into a violent argument and quarrel, and finally into a fight. As they fought they screamed: "He was white!|" "He was black!"

After they had belaboured themselves to their hearts' content they went back to their farms and resumed their work in gloomy and hostile silence.

The return of Eshu

"But no sooner had they settled down than Eshu returned and passed with even greater flourish between them down the road. Immediately the two men sprang up again. And one said: "I am sorry, my good friend, you were right; the fellow is white."

And in the same breath the other farmer was saying: "I do apologise for my blindness. The man is indeed black, just as you said." And in no time again the two were quarrelling and then fighting. As they fought this time, they shouted: "I was wrong!" "No, I was wrong!"

Thus ends the little story of naughty Eshu, or is it the story of the two foolish farmers working their little farms across the mighty Zambezi, across the mighty Limpopo, or across the sandy Save, whichever natural divide you choose! I swear they bear no resemblance to anyone or anything we have in Southern Africa or Zimbabwe!

The midnight crowing riddle

Soon the cock will crow, marking the nightly midpoint between April 17 and 18 , 2011. Those with the gift of memory will immediately attach commemorative significance to that evanescent moment. It is a moment that recalls the re-birth of our country, which was the birth of our nation, Zimbabwe, on that hard-to-date midnight moment so trapped between those two dates and two black nights in 1980.

Quite what date this country was born is itself a question of inconclusive debate which no one prefers to answer. What is beyond debate is that Zimbabwe was born, born from the shackles of Britain's Rhodesia. That consigns the time debate to those who chase nuances, to those who want to split hairs.

What mind was born that day?

My preoccupation is reading that national mind which has been evolving for the past 31 years. How old is it now? How has time and circumstances constituted it? Whither tends that mind? On that one, I have the time and energy to split hairs and propose to do just that in this piece. It is going to be an exercise of mixed emotions, one that allows for both peels of laughter and spurts of raw anger. I shall endeavour, gentle reader, to give you both in equal measure.

Same time, many names

The national mind whose 31 years of evolution we are set to mark on Monday did not come into being on that dateless moment of midnight in 1980. Its roots lay elsewhere in another time, in another ethos, in another regimen. By any measure, that mind was not one of Rushdie's "midnight children". It could not have been, since I am not talking about minds of wonder babies delivered in that hour of national birth, babies formed by lovers who knew when to mate for mathematically exact outcomes.

I am talking about minds of conscious, living beings who could count that moment of national birth within a given time continuum, and thus could mark it off, give it a name even.

For those that were coming home from a long war, that midnight moment had a different meaning, a different name. For those like me who had spent the war in rural areas, playing courier to the revolution, we let out an offloading sigh, the sigh of a loaded traveler upon hitting his destination, finally. I sat under the cool muchakata shade, regaining breath, reminiscing on little battles survived.

Evaristo who did not come

For those like my aunt - Tete Mai Febi - whose son Evaristo had gone to war in the early 70s, that midnight moment marked the beginning of a long, painful search that yielded no result. To this day! "Which liberation army would he have joined, Zanla or Zipra?" "Which Assembly Point might he be?" "What look has long, brutal war given him?" "What name did he operate under?" "Which part of the country did he fight in?" "Is he well?" "Or could he be d . . . , ooh no?" A midnight moment of so many questions, so many fears, all from so mute war, a war of many riddles. Tete still asks today, will ask in her quiet, stoical way on the midnight that separates this Sunday from this Monday. Evaristo never showed up from that war, as also never did thousands others whose fate we cannot continue to debate, but whose fate's circumstances we continue to wonder. Of course Pemberai came back and we all celebrated. For a few more years we besieged her with many questions of what it meant to be, and to survive that long, brutal war. She answered and was able to assuage our curiosity. But there was this one question she could not answer: had she seen Evaristo in those years of war?

I pray she did not!

Tete is old, too old to see or read newspapers. But her only other surviving son - Chimota, now married and working very hard to redeem the family from extinct-ing its male line - bought her a small radio from his small harvests. Through this small, talking box, the old girl follows news. As I sit here, working on this piece, I prayerfully hope she missed the news on the bones of Chibondo, a painful place I have been. At Chibondo, I went through the pain of listening to a narrative from a woman - then a small girl - who miraculously escaped a massacre that had eaten seven of her family members, all of them that fateful night. And all that she narrated, she had got from her elder cousin brother and her late grandmother who had survived the massacre, all to live through the horror of these corpse-less deaths. The Rhodesians had rounded up all the corpses, carted them into their army vehicles, to take them to Mt Darwin.

The latter-day Golgotha

Of course with each massacre, Mt Darwin became less and less physical, more and more of a mythical place akin to the biblical Golgotha, the place of skull. Whilst no victim elder quite knew where at Mt Darwin the Rhodesians were offloading this grisly kill, most elders began to use Mt Darwin as that spatial "painkiller" for orphaned children who asked so many needling questions. "Ko mai vangu varipi?" "Vari kuDaruweni," came the soothing, elderly reply. "Ko vanouya riini," persisted the youthful, innocent enquiry. "Manje-manje," came the tearful, elderly response, emitted from between lips fastened on a face that looked away in infectious agony from bitter memories.

This particular lady had just rediscovered the remains of her mother, through tattered, dank clothes, and bracelets, both of which had hung tenaciously on a skeletal frame over all these years.

Chasing a ghost's spoor

I prayerfully hope that tete missed the news. The other year - soon after the war - the family went to Belingwe, now Mberengwa, chasing what appeared to be a spoor for the elusive chimera that Evaristo has now become. It came back empty-handed, hearts filled with fresher, mounting agony. I dread her asking us to go to Chibondo, to find Evaristo. Should that request come, I will have no reason or means to deny or deflect it, without appearing inhuman to my aunt. I would be forced to go back to Chobondo, to meet and inspect her many hideous bones, once more. Let it not come to that, please! For apart from reliving the horror of Chibondo on my part, the sight of so many bones, none of which might be Evaristo, any of which might be Evaristo, is sure to rip the old girl apart, straight to her grave.

Through the eyes of our writers

Her agonised mind, too, constitutes the national mind or thought I trace today. As does many more such minds, shaped by tragedies of that war that sired Zimbabwe. There is no better way to reconstruct that part of the national mind spanning across the two epochs than to turn to our writers, one in particular who captured riveting contrasting temperaments of the tempestuous mid-seventies, the same seventies of Chibondo.

I am referring to Charles Mungoshi - now ailing - whose bequest to all of us comes in the form of "Waiting for the Rain", the novel he published in 1975. I chose to make it my starting point for this psycho-delving into who we are, more accurately, why we are who we are mentally. Working within the dominant Zimbabwean literary motif of drought and the expectation of plenty, Waiting for the Rain, draws a remarkable contrast between an urban and outward oriented character significantly named Lucifer, and his rustically spiritual but wayward and itinerant brother called Garabha.
In between these two antipodes lies a throng of characters, mostly rural, each representing a shifting and nuanced shade in a composite whole of national consciousness.

Uncle Kuruku and angry one

From this bustling, idiosyncratic multitude, I isolate Kuruku, Lucifer's uncle embodying an angry generation of nationalist peasants whose sons are serving indefinite detention terms in far-away prisons. With time, these incarcerated activist sons can no longer communicate with those they left at home, who also become both angry and restless, often using the cover and license of drunkenness to rail at settler colonialism. The butt of such frequent raillery are the minions of the colonial government, especially headmen and chiefs who are within earshot of these angry fathers.

The story of Ham

Uncle Kuruku's bitterness festers, often exploding into philosophical diatribes which few in the village can follow, let alone appreciate, given the apparent dangers of informers and arrests. But coming through this overflowing anger is a clear ideology of anti-colonial resistance, particularly its cultural strand of authenticity as developed by the first generation nationalists.

For me, one fascinating episode in Waiting for the Rain is the encounter between Lucifer who is about to leave drought-stricken, rural and impoverished Manyene and Rhodesia, for a far-away white country, thanks to a benevolent white missionary. His angry, drunken uncle Kuruku is also a lay preacher. He asks Lucifer if he knows the story of Ham in the Bible. "Do you know (the story of Ham), Lucifer - you are going overseas you should know - do you know why you are black?"

"No, Uncle."

"Well, well. What are you going overseas for then if you don't know why you are black, a beggar and a laughing stock?"
"I haven't thought about it."

"You ought to think about it, boy. That's the only reason you were made for. To keep in your head every single minute of your life your blackness and to contemplate your blackness with every breath you take."

The black that won't change

Uncle Kuruku expounds on the dishonourable circumstances that created a Ham and his children who won themselves the colour of curse, contempt and revilement. He concludes: "So remember that. Remember that you are black and no soap on earth will wash that colour away. And out there, where you are going, your heart is just the colour of your face: murky, dirty. And no amount of sleeping with the whitest of their womenfolk nor any amount of eating at the same table with them will ever make you clean enough in their eyes. So, go there, see everything and envy nothing. Hear everything and reveal nothing. Come back to us here and true's God we will send them looking for shelter in the underbrush like so many rats. By Those-Long-Gone, we will make them have a taste of their own medicine, the thankless grabbers. They have given us enough hell - a few more years of waiting won't make the slightest difference from what we have seen of them. Only a few more years and then we will show them. Go sonny. I wait for your coming back."

Split personality of Lucifer

For mudhara Kuruku, Lucifer becomes another rain, much awaited by the stricken community. But all that turns out to be vain, pathetic hope. Lucifer is just that, the rain that betrays an expectant, desperate community. He personifies the rain that wont come. He is the rain that fails, choosing to shower "the thankless grabbers" of far away lands.

It is interesting that this great betrayal (not in the sense of Ian Smith) begins well before Lucifer is taken away from Manyene and then Rhodesia by the fawning white priest. Well before his departure, still in the village, Lucifer becomes agonisingly schizophrenic, until his betraying, individualistic, self-contemptuous, pro-white half finally carriers the day.

It is this part of the novel which for me has searing intensity and lasting lessons for all of us as Zimbabweans. What ironically challenges Lucifer into an existential introspection is not his exchange with uncle Kuruku the nationalist. Rather, it is the inert, drought and poverty-stricken milieu of rural Manyene with its menacing and forlorn nights.

Against this arid backdrop, Lucifer explores his life and place in the vast scheme of existential things: "I am Lucifer Mandengu. I was born here against my will. I should have been born elsewhere - of some other parents. I have never liked it here, and I never shall and if ever I leave this place, I am not going to come back. It is the failure's junk heap. Those who go to the towns only come back here to die."

Home, the biological, geographical error

His ascetic and self-contemptuous philosophical reasoning leads him into renouncing and rejecting self, parent, community, cause and country: "Home is where you come back to die, having lived all your life elsewhere. Home is a cluster of termite-eaten huts clinging on the stony slope of a sun-baked hill. What is there that's worth loving? What is here - in this scrub, in this arid flatness, in this sun-bleached dust to love? You go for mile after mile in this swelter and not here, not there, not anywhere is there a tree big enough to sit under.

"And when you look everywhere all you see is the naked white earth criss-crossed by the eternal shadow of the restless vulture. I have been born here but is that a crime? That is only a biological and geographical error. I can change that. Or can I? Can't I change anything here if I want to? Must I live with what I no longer believe in? Because I have been born here and here is home where everyone is and the roots of the Family are - is that the only reason why I must come back to die in this desert?"

Curse on twisted lips

After this riveting repudiation of home, family and country, Lucifer no longer belongs, and treads the soils of "home" completely "blind to the country and everything". For him the word "Home" evokes "childhood nightmares in the deep of the night, witches as tall as ghosts who come when the world is covered in rain-night darkness riding on hyenas, the crack of an ox-hide whip on bare flesh and the distorted face of a mother in pain. Unknown figures flit in the dusky bush to pounce on stray children at home".

The horror image of home which he conjures drive him into restating his rejection of it, this time more emphatically, with greater vehemence: "And until you die you don't know who you are at home. Except occasionally when you realise you are a bundle of hate, fears, hunger, suspicions and superstitions all tangled together. At home, the worms set to work on you on the very day you are conceived. And home is where the rains come late, if it does come at all, and the animals simply drop dead and the old folk are abandoned to await the black messiah with a curse on their twisted lips. Home? No, no, no, no."

The lure of neon

Against such a sordid background, both the white priest and the car that comes to fetch him become vehicles of a great escape from the agonizing horrors of home, an escaped from a "paralytic's inertia that his home country is wont to induce in him", towards "neon images" "another country, more dynamic, home far away across the seas" so full of "neo images", of "plastic palm trees darkly etched against a dusky, purple-tinted blue, blue sea, their broom heads sweeping the distant skyline of his frenzied imagination."

The many rains of Uhuru

Zimbabwe thirty one years after Uhuru is a country of both uncle Kuruku and Lucifer. It is a land of binary thoughts. However drunk uncle Kuruku was, his prediction that "the thankless grabbers" would be sent scurrying in a few years time came true, in fact came true a mere five years later, on 18th April 1980. Zimbabwe became free and her incarcerated or exiled children came back home. Of course what we got on that day was an injured country, a fractured country: physically, culturally and spiritually.

It was also a country of drought that has largely remained so for the greater part of its 31 years, both literally and figuratively. We celebrate education, itself the first rains to happily beat us after Uhuru. Today we are torch bearers and I am sure uncle Kuruku is happy with us. We celebrate the expanded social services whose infrastructure we so painstakingly put, only to be checkmated by sanctions. But there is a lot that remains. Again I am sure the Old Man rejoices. Above all, we celebrate the land that has come -so belatedly yet so always welcome - itself a huge rain that chased away hunger for many. We still dance in its giant drops that nourish our people, our long-reviled race. Additionally today, we catch a glimpse of a dark, pregnant cloud on the horizon, admittedly still far off and approaching slowly, against a dissuading rainbow. We call it indigenisation and economic empowerment. Will it reach us, rain on us, we the expectant? Maybe and a lot can be said for either conclusion.

The rain we have not got

Yet there is one rain we have not got. We look in vain for nubial clouds for this one rain, we cannot find them. Ironically the first rains we should have long got, indeed the first questions from history we should have found answers to. Did the white man who departed on 18th April, leave us? Did he leave our country? Did he abandon his ways? Did he leave us alone to found a new destination, indeed to play our own drum? I am afraid not. At 31, Zimbabwe remains a country still to understand that it is black in the first instance. Zimbabwe is a country still to find out why it is black and has to remain so. Much worse, Zimbabwe is that country still to find out how to become black and African. Today everyone seems on a mad stampede to find his or her own white man. "Ndine murungu wangu," that seems to be the national refrain. In politics, in farming, in industry, in commerce, except only in love since none or very few want to marry us, what with our dank blackness! We boast about having whites as company, even though we play lapdog, we grown up men and women. That way we have become a nation of fronts, black fronts masking white interests. What an inglorious fate!

Beating another man's drum

Mungoshi's Old Man - himself the repository of culture and identity, the keeper of Armah's "the way" - blasts us with the same questions. As in the book, he asks: "Where are we? Who are we? What wrong did we do? How many stories do we hear of the white men humiliating our people? Again and again and again. We hear it, but do we see it? We might be blind. We hear it, but do we listen? We might be deaf. And why? Playing the enemy's drum, that's why. Making so much noise with the enemy's drum that we can't even hear the beating of our own gullible little miserable hearts. Each time you drink tea, to whose god do you give praise? Each time you listen to that talking box, on whose altar are you making sacrifices? And if the children grow up with such promises as we have just heard here - sweets and biscuits - what other god will they know and bow to besides that?"

Afraid of becoming owners

These are existential questions we have not addressed, which is why we are in a bit of a quandary. Or much worse, they are questions we have answered like another Lucifer: in a self-deprecatory and self-abasing manner that crushes all of us as meaningful actors able to shape our destiny. Is it not a fact that freedom in our colonial circumstances is measured by how far we go in overturning the enthralling white colonial legacy? There is a certain poignant lack of inner confidence and self-possession which I find most despairing, most baffling for a society with the level of literacy that is boastfully ours, for a society that went to war against the same white man. Or could that be the problem? That like Lucifer, we ate the wrong book which ended up gnawing our being, destroying it to the core and then to nothingness? Could that be why we have been left hollow, reverberating from a nasty wind of many ills? There is a marked deficiency in the national mind and personality of Zimbabwe, a gradual consuming sense of inadequacy and inner doubt.

Augustan quiz

This is why the mention of empowerment frightens us. What will we become without the white man? Nobodies? Just a bit of national boastfulness - just a fraction of what Nigerians have in surfeit - is probably what we need. A bit of firm national identity and commitment - a sizeable fraction of what Cubans have in remarkable measure - is probably what we lack. Much more, western self-knowledge multiplied a thousand times is what we badly need. Europe grappled with this issue as far back as the Augustan Age when the prime existential question was: Know Thy Self. We are still to go through this Augustan quiz which is so fundamental to our overall make-up.

Bending the brittle

We self-devalue because we do not know our worth. Dr Stan Mudenge will tell you we are Southern Africa's Rome which does not seem to know the extend of its boundaries, both spatially and by way of sphere of influence. We found great kingdoms, mastered the art of bending and defeating the brittle will of iron and copper. We conquered rock, darning it into aesthetic shapes we dreamed and envisioned. That is how the Great Zimbabwe was built. We knew the art of trading, the science of gainful exchange, itself the foundation of commerce and civilizations. We knew the Chinese; we knew the Arabs; we knew the Portuguese. We knew all these great nationalities before all else, through trade. We fought great wars, in remote history and in recent history. We also knew defeat, knew how to manage setbacks. In the end we won, which is why 18th April is such an important date. So why this national quiescence, this wilting self-doubting national ego?

The riches of home

More important, we are rich. We should be powerful? Home is not Lucifer's "diseased skin", or that cursed place you come to die, after you have spent a better life elsewhere. Home is not a biological and geographical error. It is where we belong; home is what many nations and nationalities have perished trying to wrestle from us. Home is the world's prized gift, the much sought after mine of King Solomon. Home is the myth that is real: home is gold; home is platinum. Home is diamonds, uranium, copper, tin, iron, vanadium, chrome ... home is where the whole world is turning to for natural resources. It is the rich soils, the salubrious, mosquito-free climate that has been our curse in history. If Ham's children got cursed dark for reckless laughter, we got cursed through shackles for our fabulous endowments. Is that not what the President is trying to get us to see and cherish, indeed to own and leverage?

The great tsunami from Zimbabwe.

Why are those telling us home is such a bad country looking for the first flight to Zimbabwe? Zimbabwe, know thyself! Something happened two weeks ago. Minister Kasukuwere ratcheted up pressure for indigenisation on mining conglomerates who have been extracting our resources. He gave them a 52-day deadline within which to say how they will comply with the 51/49 ownership equation, all in favour of Zimbabweans. Immediately after, in that same week, resource companies listed on both the Johannesburg and Australian Stock Exchanges saw their shares tumbling in a manner that reverberated world-wide. It was a tsunami. At the end of it all, USD$960million was lost, a mere US$40million shy of a billion. Just a small gazetting step by Zimbabwe's mining minister transmits such a huge shock, so far away from home? What awesome power! Does this tell us something about our worth? Or we still are Lucifers consumed in self-contempt?

When indigenisation shall shape Southern Africa

Which takes me to a very sensitive point. For all the furore over the Livingstone Troika Summit, commentators seem to be taking too long to grasp that the real shaping dynamic between Zimbabwe and her neighbours in Southern Africa is not the GPA. Or some such claims to democracy deficit. Who cares what ounces of democracy we lack? Who, dear Lucifer? Yet it is easier to tell you who will not care a hoot what ounces of gold, what carats of diamonds, we claim for ourselves through empowerment. Only we Zimbabweans will not care. The rest of mankind will care, led by westerners. We may be 31 politically; we are hardly one year old by way of economic consciousness.

The white interests that moved Southern Africa
Is it conceivable that some bloody capitalists may have approached some SADC president or presidents to warn that if that nationalist madman across the great rivers is not stopped, all of you run the risk of presiding over collapsing economies, against your angry demons? And this because of a recognition that the rising resource nationalism here in Zimbabwe is likely to lead to a spectacular collapse of capital in Southern Africa and beyond? Is it not a fact that most of the resource-based listings in our region count on Zimbabwe's deposits? Who is likely to catch a cold if Zimbabwe merely sniffs? Who wields the power in Southern Africa? Know thyself Zimbabwe!

Mbeki the seer

But that precisely where our danger comes from. This month on 7th in 2003, against the fog of the war in Iraq, Mbeki warned: "The prospect facing the people of Iraq should serve as sufficient warning that in future we too might have others descend on us, guns in hand, to force-feed us with their democracy" He added: "If the UN does not matter, why should we, the little countries of Africa that make up the African Union, think that we matter and will not be punished if we get out of line?" Mbeki was projecting an African fear against the ensuing oil war which the West waged against Saddam. During that time the United Nations still retained and kept the conscience of the world. But the world has since become worse, with Ban Ki Moon at the helm. Worse with Obama, Cameron and Sarkozy in power. They have just published a joint declaration on Libya and Gaddafi, the first ever such writ against a sitting head of State by outside aggressors acting on a UN mandate. The UN which Mbeki thought could be some delaying inconvenience to western aggression, today declares war, goes to war and abducts nationalist leaders to douse the fires that threaten imperialism and its global interests. That means Mbeki's fears have multiplied a thousand times. The world has become perilous.

Giving the village its rainmakers

But the solution cannot be to acquiesce. It was not a solution in the early 1960s when the Belgians killed Lumumba; when the Americans and the British ousted Nkrumah. Or a solution in the seventies during which imperialism took out the likes of Modlane and Cabral. Or the eighties when we buried Samora Machel. Or much later in the early two thousands when President Kabila went. The solution was never to crown the Lucifers of this world. Rather, it was to find unity and self-belief in ourselves. The solution was unity and struggle, was beating our own drum thereby ensuring our village had its own rainmaker, its own God!

Putting away complexes

Independence Day is a day of great introspection, a day we should scrub the floor of debilitating complexes. I hope this piece challenges you, gentle reader, to do just that. If it does, or even just provokes you into thinking about, I will walk back to the village a contented man. For, taking after the inimitable Achebe, I will have fulfilled what for me amounts to an adequate revolution. Let me allow Achebe to disclose what that "adequate revolution" is: "to help my society regain belief in itself and put away the complexes of years of denigration and self-abasement." Emphasizing that we are not a failed civilization, a place of death or carrion, Achebe declared he "would be quite satisfied if [he] did no more than teach [his] readers that their past - with all its imperfections - was not one long night of savagery from which the first European acting on God's behalf delivered them." I seek no less. Icho!


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(HERALD) Zanu-PF to hold Provincial Co-ordinating Committee meetings

Zanu-PF to hold Provincial Co-ordinating Committee meetings
Friday, 15 April 2011 22:57
Herald Reporter

Zanu-PF will today hold Provincial Co-ordinating Committee meetings countrywide to launch the Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Programme. Politburo members will address the meetings.

In a statement the party's department of indigenisation and economic empowerment said the launch was in line with the aspirations of the majority of people for total economic empowerment.

"Pursuant therefore to the people's aspirations for total economic empowerment, Zanu-PF, the revolutionary party, will be holding nationwide Provincial Co-ordinating Committee meetings to launch the Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Programme on 16, April 2011," reads the statement.

The meetings will commence at 10 am at different venues in the 10 provincial capitals and speakers drawn from the women's and youth leagues and officials from the National Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Board will also address the meetings.

In Bulawayo, the meeting will be held at Davis Hall with Cde Cephas Msipa being the guest speaker, in Harare Professor Jonathan Moyo will address delegates at the Harare Zanu-PF provincial offices.

In Mashonaland Central people will meet at Bindura Municipality Hall and will be addressed by Cde Oppah Muchinguri while in Mashonaland West Cde Olivia Muchena will be the guest speaker at the meeting to be held at the Public Service Training Centre.

Delegates from Mashonaland East will be addressed by a team led by Cde Ignatius Chombo at Zanu-PF provincial offices while Cde Patrick Chinamasa and his team will meet the people at Chiefs Hall in Masvingo.

In Matabeleland North Cde David Parirenyatwa will lead a team at Lupane Community Hall while in Midlands the meeting will be held at Senga Public Service Training Centre with Cde Absalom Sikhosana being the leader of the speakers.
Matabeleland South held its launch meeting on April 1.

In the statement, Zanu-PF said a number of initiatives to empower the people had been implemented since the attainment of independence.

These include the transformation of social sectors like health, education and infrastructure rehabilitation and resettlement. The party added that the country had been at the mercy of the Western countries' onslaught with the imposition of illegal sanctions after embarking on the fast track land reform programme.

It said the indigenisation programme was aimed at empowering people in the various sectors of the economy that include mining, tourism and hospitality, finance, energy, agriculture, telecommunications, manufacturing and engineering and construction.

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(NEWZIMBABWE) Indigenisation to hurt mining growth: Gapare

COMMENT - The Chamber of Mines merely represents the mining corporations. Their interest is not at all the same as the interests of the Zimbabwean economy, or the Zimbabwean people. They would LOVE to see unrestricted growth if all the profits go to them, but that is not in the interest of Zimbabwe, the economy or the people. This is what happens in Zambia, where foreign mining companies alienate $2.5 billion a year from the economy as profits that go untaxed and unpaid out as divididends. That is their ideal situation. They will also lie, cheat and steal to make money. So don't take their word for anything, they are hostile to Zimbabwean interests.

Indigenisation to hurt mining growth: Gapare
by Business Reporter
16/04/2011 00:00:00

ZIMBABWE’S mining industry could stop growing if the government presses ahead with plans to force companies operating in the country to be majority owned by indigenous investors, the Chamber of Mines has said.

The Chamber’s president Victor Gapare insists that the mining sector is central to the country's economic recovery and the government's policy threatens its viability. Zimbabwe is pressing for a law that will see mining companies hand over 51 per cent of their operations to indigenous Zimbabweans.

The country is thought to have some of the richest reserves of platinum in the world.

Earlier this month, Anglo Platinum announced the opening of its new $600 million Unki Mine, which is expected to become Zimbabwe's second largest platinum producer.

In addition platinum-mining major Zimplats, part of the Impala Platinum group, recently approved the Phase II expansion of its Zimbabwe operations. Cash was also generated in 2010 through diamond sales sanctioned by industry watchdog the Kimberley Process.

"My view is that, if the indigenisation issue is not handled sensibly, we will see those investors already mining continuing to mine but with no new capital coming into the country," Gapare said.

"Most of the projects, particularly in gold and base metals, will not meet the required hurdle rates for investment, which will result in sterilisation of a number of ore bodies."

Gapare further noted that the mining sector needs an additional $5 billion (£3.1 billion) of investment to meet its potential.

He said this money will have to come from foreign sources as it simply does not exist in the local market.

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Sata questions Rupiah’s soliciting of funds from diplomats

Sata questions Rupiah’s soliciting of funds from diplomats
By Chibaula Silwamba
Sat 16 Apr. 2011, 04:01 CAT

MICHAEL Sata says President Rupiah Banda's solicitation of funds from Zambia's Ambassadors and High Commissioners is a presidential directive to diplomats to divert money from their missions and send it for his campaign.

Commenting on President Banda's appeal to the diplomats on Thursday during their meeting in Chisamba that they should donate funds to his and the MMD's campaign in this year's elections, Sata said President Banda's open solicitation of money from the envoys confirmed that the ruling party had always been getting money from missions abroad for campaigns hence the numerous reports of misuse of funds at embassies as revealed by the Auditor General's report.

“That is the direct presidential directive that those diplomats should divert money from their missions and send it to Lusaka for his campaign. That is wrong. The anomalies are the same. For example, where did MMD spokesperson and education minister Dora Siliya get K80 million to donate in Petauke? Where is the DEC Drug Enforcement Commission?” Sata said.

“They have no regard for the Auditor General and financial regulations and those are the problems you find with Mr Rupiah Banda because he has no regard for anything. The Zambian people themselves can either tolerate this abuse or not.” Sata said the MMD was using public funds in its campaigns as seen from the Ministry of Health saga where the government was willingly paying back stolen money to the Global Fund without any difficulties because they embezzled without letting the culprits to pay back.

“The government has admitted that they stole money from the Global Fund. That is why they are refunding that money without bringing the culprits to book because they used Global Fund money for campaigning and that is why the government is refunding that money without any difficulty,” Sata said.

“If the government did not have a hand in that we should have seen the culprits who stole that money, the billions which the government is refunding.” On Thursday, President Banda openly told Zambia's Ambassadors and High Commissioners accredited to various countries to donate money to his and the MMD's campaigns in this year's elections and commended them for funding the just-ended convention of the ruling party.

President Banda said the MMD convention was wonderful because of donations from the diplomats and urged them to continue funding the party, particularly this year's campaign. This was in sharp contrast with his foreign affairs minister, Kabinga Pande, who earlier in the week told the diplomats that Zambia's foreign missions continue to be sources of abuse of funds as cited by the numerous queries by the Auditor Generals' report. Pande, when he opened the meeting, called on heads of missions abroad to stop the abuse of funds.

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Rupiah has sensed danger - Imbwae

Rupiah has sensed danger - Imbwae
By Mwala Kalaluka in Mongu
Sat 16 Apr. 2011, 04:01 CAT

INDUNA Imbwae says President Rupiah Banda opted not to attend this year’s Kuomboka ceremony because of his government’s slaughtering of innocent people over the Barotseland Agreement. And Induna Imbwae says those alleging that his group is campaigning against the holding of today’s Kuomboka ceremony were just liars.

In an interview in Mongu yesterday, Induna Imbwae, a former UPND top official in the Western Province who together with other executive members recently defected to the PF, said President Banda knew the folly he committed against the people of Western Province.

Induna Imbwae, who was flanked by Col Best Makumba, David Muzinda and Ted Chimbinde, said President Banda had sensed danger.

“He knows what happened,” Induna Imbwae said. “That can be true because people are mourning here and so he is sensing danger that perhaps they will not welcome him because of this slaughtering of innocent people. He knows what happened. People are aggrieved by that statement.”
Induna Imbwae said people knew the truth.

Meanwhile, Col Makumba said the belief of the people of Western Province was that it was not only two people that were killed by police during the Mongu fracas of January 14, 2011.
Col Makumba said it was therefore immoral for Vice-President George Kunda to justify the Mongu killings as there was no provision in the law that allowed the police to kill when dispersing any unlawful assembly.

And Induna Imbwae said those alleging that his group was campaigning against the holding of the Kuomboka were just trying disturb the PF’s growing campaign in the province.
Induna Imbwae said they had no mandate to stop people from attending the Kuomboka ceremony.

“What we hear from the people is that they fear the crowd that is here of police officers, which of course the Inspector General has confirmed that there are 600 police officers that have been dispatched here in Western Province,” said Induna Imbwae. “It’s not us who are scaring people to come to Kuomboka, no, we don’t have that mandate but it’s the presence of police officers, which seems like we are having a state of emergency in Western Province.”

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Liamba links Sihope’s amputation to detention

Liamba links Sihope’s amputation to detention
By Mwala Kalaluka in Mongu
Sat 16 Apr. 2011, 04:01 CAT

THE Human Rights Commission is only serving the interests of those who wield power and not those of the poor people, says a 71-year-old former Lozi treason accused.

Commenting on the government’s claims that the condition that caused the amputation of another 70-year-old Mongu man’s leg shortly after his detention on treason charges in Lusaka had nothing to do with his detention, Nayoto Liamba said the government was just trying to run away from the truth.

The government, through Police Inspector General Francis Kabonde, has been claiming that the gangrene condition that led to the amputation of Mwiya Sihope’s right leg at Mongu’s Lewanika General Hospital was not connected to his detention at Lusaka Central Prison.

Liamba, who was arrested and detained with Sihope in Lusaka but later taken to Mumbwa Prison where he was acquitted on riot charges, said the cramped space in the cells caused the condition that led to Sihope’s amputation.

He said in an interview in Mongu yesterday that almost all the Barotse detainees, including himself, sustained swollen feet for the period they were in detention at Lusaka Central Prison.

Liamba said they were picked together with Sihope on the night of January 13, 2011 from their homes and that before he could board the vehicle taking them to Lusaka, Sihope had asked for time to collect warm clothing because he was asthmatic.

“When we got to Lusaka, from the 14th, 15th he looked fine but from 17th up to 19th when we were taken to the cells he used to complain that his blood pressure was going up and that he was having difficulties to breath,” Liamba said. “He requested to go to the hospital but the arresting officers did not pay attention to him.”
Liamba said instead Sihope was placed in cell number four where people that had diverse ailments were kept.

“Still he was complaining over the police’s failure to take him to the hospital,” he said. “The situation got worse until when we (his colleagues) intervened that he be taken to the hospital and that we had spoken to the prison warders.”

Liamba said Sihope was subsequently taken to the University Teaching Hospital UTH where he was admitted for about a week.
Liamba said when Sihope came back he told them that he was feeling much better.

“But two days later in the evening at around 16:30 when we were being locked in the cells, Sihope said he felt a sharp pain in the right hand and that he cried the whole night,” Liamba said. “The problem in that place remand is that when you have been locked in for the night they cannot let you out unless someone dies.”

Liamba said the next day he went to inquire how Sihope was and he told him that he had not slept because of the pain.

“Later we complained to the warders that he should be taken to the hospital,” he said. “He was taken to the UTH where his doctor told him that it was a normal thing and that he should just be exercising.”

However, Liamba said Sihope’s condition worsened because Zambian prisons were not for people that were sick, adding that if Sihope had not being detained his leg would not have been amputated.

“A cell which is six to eight metres you find that there are 109 people sleeping there. It is very congested,” he said. “Like for me since I went in there I could not manage to sleep, it was just sitting the whole night for 56 days almost and you find that almost all of us who were detained sustained swollen feet.”
Liamba said his legs stopped swelling when he was transferred to Mumbwa Prison.
“The way we used to sleep in the cells is what caused the condition that led to Mr. Sihope’s amputation,” he said. “It is the cramped state that caused that condition because if he was not arrested he would not have been in that state.”

Liamba said he was disappointed that the HRC never visited Lusaka Central Prison or Mumbwa Prison to find out how the detainees were being kept there.
“We even complained as to why the Human Rights Commission never came to the prison,” Liamba said. “If what we are saying are lies let them HRC go to the prison with journalists so that they see how people sleep in the cells.”

Liamba said the government was just trying duck the truth.

“They know that they are wrong,” said Liamba. “The Human Rights people only defend the rights of the rich and powerful because us the poor people are never considered.”

Following the publication of the picture showing Sihope’s amputated leg in The Post edition of Wednesday, people posing as hospital officials asked his daughter, Ngenda, as to who had taken the picture.

Sihope’s wife, Inonge, said Ngenda told them that anyone could have taken the picture because so many people visited the bed side.



Kunda pleads immunity in defamation dispute

Kunda pleads immunity in defamation dispute
By George Chellah
Fri 15 Apr. 2011, 04:01 CAT

Vice-President George Kunda has claimed Presidential immunity for the alleged defamatory statements he issued against Michael Sata.

And Vice-President Kunda stated that he would request LAZ to discipline Lusaka lawyer Wynter Kabimba for attacking him, President Rupiah Banda and the Judiciary in the crudest manner. In a letter to Sata dated April 12, 2011, Kunda described the PF leader's letter to him in which he raised concern over his malicious utterances as outright insulting and constituted a grave libel upon him.

“You have defamed and insulted me as incompetent and unfit to hold public office,” he stated.
Vice-President Kunda, who put up a list of alleged defamatory articles against him by Sata and Kabimba published in The Post on different dates stated that those articles were still actionable. He claimed that when he was in Johannesburg, South Africa for medical treatment early last year, Sata kept phoning insisting that he had died.

“You have also referred to my health at public rallies and on Radio Ichengelo in Kitwe in the most uncharitable, inhuman, derogatory, sadistic and cruel manner,” Vice-President Kunda stated. “You have also called me a thief, mad, dull, corrupt etc on several other occasions. In fact, your defamatory onslaught on me has been going on for more than 10 years.”

Kunda stated that he had kept quiet hoping that as an elderly senior citizen, Sata would stop the alleged insults and defamation. He claimed that Sata, in league with Kabimba and other cronies, has kept defaming him, the late Levy Mwanawasa and President Rupiah Banda at will and with impunity.
“You are at liberty to go ahead with your threat of instituting legal action, but should you do that, we shall equally reciprocate with a substantial counterclaim for damages against you and your mischievous nephew/lawyer based on the above and other libelous articles, too numerous to mention,” he stated.

Kunda claimed that most of the statements he makes against Sata were factual and he was ready to substantiate them at any fora.

“In addition, you should bear in mind that when I make statements, I do so whilst performing presidential functions and accordingly I am not amenable to the civil jurisdiction of the courts. I must also state that your complaint against me to LAZ of alleged professional misconduct is misconceived. LAZ was not created to settle political scores,” Vice-President Kunda stated.

“Notwithstanding this position, however, I shall make this correspondence available to the Law Association of Zambia and request the association to discipline your nephew Wynter Kabimba who has not only attacked me and the President in the crudest manner, but also attacked the Judiciary. I shall only do so if the association decides to deal with your frivolous and vexatious complaint. You are therefore advised to withdraw the purported complaint.”

Vice-President Kunda stated that as government leaders, they have ignored Sata's wild utterances because they classified them as 'politics' not worth suing over.

“Further, we in government have thick skins and can absorb political punches and we are democrats. On your part, it appears you are oversensitive and with a very thin skin,” Vice-President Kunda stated.
In his letter to Vice-President Kunda dated March 30, 2011, Sata stated that he found it extremely appalling to learn of his malicious utterances against PF and himself during the MMD card renewal exercise in Kitwe.

“You made serious allegations which I list below as follows: (1) that you are aware of my being surrounded by homosexuals, (2) that I am raising money from foreign powers, by promoting homosexuality, (3) that I am guilty of having ill-treated people when I was in government, by demolishing houses in undesignated areas without giving the affected people alternative areas to live in and (4) that as minister of health I diverted government money to my personal account,” Sata stated.

“If you are indeed a lawyer worth his salt, to which I have serious reservations, I would urge you to stop playing to the gallery. Being a lawyer, a Minister of Justice or is it Injustice and Vice-President, your conduct is a serious breach of ethical rules and etiquette to which you are bound to observe as a practicing lawyer, in accordance with the provisions of the Legal Practitioner's Act Chapter 30 of the Laws of Zambia.

“Mind you, the language or behaviour which is outrageous or scandalous or which is deliberately insulting to members of the public or political opponents is a subject of professional misconduct on your part, and attracts disciplinary measures to be instituted against you by LAZ. And by a copy of this letter, I hereby register my complaint with LAZ against you, for professional misconduct.”

Sata told Vice-President Kunda that his behaviour pointed to the fact that he lacked statesmanship in his character hence not suitable for leadership position.

“It's by default that you even hold two positions which you do not deserve. In conclusion, please go back to school and learn managerial skills, they will help you to know how to manage people and also pray to God to give you wisdom to handle national affairs,” stated Sata.
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Friday, April 15, 2011

(NEWZIMBABWE) Good governance: Africa's shield from neo-colonialism

COMMENT - More subservient thinking from the MDC.

Good governance: Africa's shield from neo-colonialism
by Kudzai Mtero
15/04/2011 00:00:00

MILITARY intervention in Libya by Western countries and more recently the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) has been criticised on various levels in different circles, but the overt and harshest criticism has emerged from African countries who view the current aerial bombardment as a form of neo-colonialism.

The Western forces currently in Libya have been accused of being in the country merely for the hidden agenda of regime change, therefore gaining access to the country’s abundant oil resources. Protecting civilians from Colonel Muammar Gaddafi’s army has been used as an excuse for achieving the aforementioned goal, critics of the action argue.

President Robert Mugabe recently labelled NATO’s actions another example of the West’s fixation with African nations’ resources. South Africa’s ANC Youth League (ANCYL) strongly criticised its government’s support for United Nations resolution 1973 (2011) which allows for the establishment of a no-fly zone over Libya, but has been used by western countries to openly aid the rebels.

Away from Libya, France and the United Nations’ military actions in the Ivory Coast are also under scrutiny. France has been accused of ne-colonialism and Russia has warned that the United Nations’ aggressive actions leading to the ouster of President Laurent Gbagbo “set a dangerous precedent”.

Questions have been raised about France’s motive in its heavy military engagement in Ivory Coast, and what exactly they have been promised by Alassane Ouattara in return for their support.

It is unfortunate that powerful Western nations, particularly America, Britain and France, currently appear to have ulterior motives such as financial gain wherever they use force or don’t use it. These Western nations have a challenge to prove to the rest of the world that they do not get involved militarily only in nations that are rich in natural resources particularly oil, but in fact they uphold the principles of democracy equally for all nations, from Bahrain through Yemen to Zimbabwe.

Proving that they are not only about financial gain but genuinely care about human rights of everyone would make developing nations, especially African nations, less suspicious of military intervention. This would also avoid situations such as is currently developing whereby Nigeria, Gabon and especially South Africa are being accused of irresponsibly using their temporary seats on the United Nations’ Security Council to “vote with imperialists”, and therefore selling out fellow Africans, as is the case with the recently held vote for UN resolution 1973 on Libya.

The African leaders and institutions that are critical of foreign military intervention in Africa are to some extent justified in their criticism but they need to understand that Africa’s former colonisers will have difficulties in finding excuses to meddle in the continent’s affairs if they as African leaders wholeheartedly adhere to democratic principles.

[Because if they behave like good boys, they won't be punished? Tell that to Patrice Lumumba, Kwame Nkrumah, Jean-Bertrand Aristide, or for that matter former western puppets like Manuel Noriega, Idi Amin, Mobutu Sese Seko, etc. There is some seriously subservient ideation going on in the MDC, the Sellout Party. Western foreing policy is determined by the direct financial and strategic interests of the corporations and especially the banking families who own them. - MrK]

African multilateral institutions and regional bodies such as SADC, ECOWAS and the African Union should be doing more to ensure that their member states internally consolidate the basics of democracy. These organisations should also be proactive and more effective in handling situations of political crisis or human rights abuses on the continent. This will limit the interference of Western countries in issues that concern African member states.

Kudzai Mtero can be contacted on e-mail:

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(HERALD) Leave us alone — President tells West

Leave us alone — President tells West
Thursday, 14 April 2011 20:59
By Farirai Machivenyika and Takunda Maodza

PRESIDENT Mugabe yesterday slammed Europeans for their continued meddling in the country's internal affairs saying Zimbabwe is a sovereign State with the right to determine its own destiny.

The President, who was speaking at the burial of Cde Menard Livingstone Muzariri at the National Heroes Acre, challenged Zimbabweans to be vigilant in the face of continued aggression by Western powers.

The President's remarks follow recent discussions by the EU parliament on Zimbabwe and revelations by Britain and the US that they have an interest in the country's pending elections.

"As we assemble here there are countries that assemble in Europe to discuss Zimbabwe.
"To them Zimbabwe is not free, it is not independent, to them in their imagination, Zimbabwe is still a colony.

"In their parliament they discuss the situation in Zimbabwe. We are peaceful and we do not debate what is happening in Britain, we do not debate what is happening in Europe," he said.

President Mugabe said Zimbabwe had never sought to interfere in the internal affairs of other countries.

"We do not sit as Zimbabweans, as Sadc to debate how the British coalition led by Cameron is faring. We do not debate how the Americans are running their own country and so we get alarmed when these countries have the audacity to take us as an item to discuss in their own parliament," he said.

Added President Mugabe: "Who are they, we ask? Does Britain still regard us as a colony in spite of the fact that on April 17, 1980 they sent Prince Charles to lower their flag and we hoisted our own?

"That to them is not a reality. It did not truly happen. We are still a colony, but we say we are determined as a country, a free member of the UN, a free member of NAM, a free member of AU and a free member of Sadc to debate our own issues as sovereign States."

The President told the Americans and Europeans to mind their own business.
"We do not worry about the goings on in Europe. We do not worry about the unnatural things happening there where they turn a man into a woman and woman into a man . . . If they want to call their country into a gaydom, a British gaydom, it is up to them. Chengetai tsvina dzenyu ikoko, zvikaitika kuno tinoti itsvina anozviita tinoti mupengo," President Mugabe said.

The Head of State and Government and Commander-in-Chief of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces castigated the recent debate on Zimbabwe by the EU parliament.

"We had the EU parliament passing a resolution on Zimbabwe, how the GPA should operate, how elections should be held and even how our diamonds should be sold.
"So you can see that the outside world wants again our country to lose its sovereign status.

"We should remain wary, vigilant and be determined to defend it and so let's remain united and take care that our country is not allowed to drift through our lack of vigilance into a situation of being controlled as a neo-colony," he said.
"We must be ready to defend our country, sacrifice our lives as many who fought the struggle did. Panyaya yekurwira nyika tose ipapo tinosungirwa kuva masoja.

"MaBritish, Europeans, at the moment onai zvavarikuita. We are Zimbabweans nationally, flying a national flag and singing a national anthem," he said.
President Mugabe reiterated that the control of Zimbabwe's resources was important in maintaining the country's sovereignty.

"If our economy is controlled by outsiders, our politics will similarly be controlled by outsiders . . . That is why we want our people to have economic power so that the political power we have secured through the barrel of the gun is economic based.
"If there is no economic base then that independence is weak, that is why we have the indigenisation policy so that our resources are controlled and owned by us so that they benefit the majority of our people," he said.

The President took a swipe on some Zanu-PF members who sell-out to the enemy and castigated some members in the inclusive Government for calling for the illegal economic sanctions and foreign interference.

On Zanu-PF members selling out, he said: "Pakati pedu tirivatsvene tese here? Tingangova vanhu vanopfunda chibhakera tichiti pamberi neZanu-PF, tinopfunda chibhakera pachokwadi here?

‘‘Chinoitika munhu wava wega kuseri kwemusha, vamwe vanotengesa, vachimhanya kuvavengi vachiti nhasi mumusangano tanga tichiti.

"Zvino vamwe vanenge vana Menard vane maziso anoona nenzeve dzinonzwa ndovaitiudza kuti arikutengesa ndingana nangana," he said to applause.

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(HERALD) MY TURN with Caesar Zvayi: Banish Legion from our politics

MY TURN with Caesar Zvayi: Banish Legion from our politics
Wednesday, 13 April 2011 16:13

THE Bible tells the story of a madman who resided in the graveyard in the Geresenes region east of the Sea of Galilee. The man was in the habit of assaulting people who passed through the graveyard, and it came to pass that Jesus was passing through one day, when the man, who answered to the name Legion, approached him.

When he saw Jesus from a distance, the man ran and fell on his knees in front of Jesus and shouted at the top of his voice, "What do you want with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? Swear to God that you won't torture me!" For Jesus had said to him, "Come out of this man, you evil spirit!" Then Jesus asked him, "What is your name?" "My name is Legion," he replied, "for we are many." And he begged Jesus again and again not to send them out of the area.

It so happened that a large herd of pigs was feeding on the nearby hillside. The demons begged Jesus, "Send us among the pigs; allow us to go into them." He gave them permission, and the evil spirits came out and went into the pigs. The herd, about 2 000 strong, rushed down the steep bank into the sea and were drowned.

Legion - originally a term for several thousand Roman soldiers - is the name of the multiplicity of demons that Jesus cast out of the mad man. I was reminded of this biblical tale after reading Robert Tozana’s harrowing account of how he almost met his maker at the hands of rowdy MDC-T youths who were being cheered on by high-ranking MDC-T officials during the unveiling of tombstones of MDC-T activists at
Warren Hills Cemetery last Wednesday.

Tozana, who was part of a funeral procession for a fallen tout (Hwindi) at Warren Hills exactly one week ago, says he only survived the attack by feigning death at the hands of the murderous mob that was stoning as well as kicking him all over the body.

Tozana said his assailants openly called for his death and would have had their way if he had not faked death.

The images of Tozana’s ordeal at the hands of the ‘democrats’ from Harvest House were first published by The Daily News, kudos to them for ‘telling it like it is’ for once, though they incorrectly identified Tozana as a Zanu-PF supporter who had come to disrupt an MDC-T event. Tozana is an ordinary Zimbabwean who had gone to the cemetery to pay his last respects to a friend. The question is how many other Tozanas are out there who have to go to the extent of feigning death to save their lives at the hands of the MDC-T, a party that ironically portrays itself as a conclave of pacifists at the mercy of hoodlums from Zanu-PF?

This is the song Tsvangirai, who evidently misread the massive procedural failures at the Sadc Troika in Zambia for a diplomatic coup, has been singing around the region yet evidence abounds that violence, as we have seen even with preparations for his party’s congress, abounds in MDC-T. Infact Tsvangirai’s predilection for violence was cited as one of the reasons behind the MDC split of October 12 2005.

High-ranking MDC officials like Priscillah Misihairabwi-Mushonga and Trudy Stevenson were all assaulted by their own party youths with the latter ending up at Avenues Hospital with head and shoulder injuries.

Other party functionaries like the then MDC security chief, Peter Guhu, gave harrowing accounts of how they escaped death by a whisker at Harvest House as they were set upon by MDC-T youths right before Tsvangirai’s eyes as happened to Tozana at Warren Hills. What makes these accounts chilling, as Tozana narrated is the fact that, high-ranking MDC-T officials cheered the assaults. Tozana accuses Tsvangirai and Tendai Biti of failing to rein in their supporters.

Suffice to say the violence that gripped the MDC over the years was inadvetertently traced back to Tsvangirai’s doorstep by the commissions of enquiry that his party set up whenever disturbances rocked Harvest House.All this is documented and has been reported on, yet Tsvangirai has the nerve to masquerade as an angel of peace casting his Zanu-PF counter parts as ‘‘merchants of death.’’ This is not to say Zanu-PF supporters are angels either, but what sets Zanu-PF apart from MDC-T on this score is the fact that the Zanu-PF leadership admits violence on the part of their supporters when it happens and openly condemns it.

Tsvangirai pretends no MDC-T supporter lifts a hand against a political rival yet we all saw and heard him as early as September 2000 threatening to remove President Mugabe from power violently.

Zanu-PF must not sit on its laurels but must expose Tsvangirai and his party for what they are.The violence is give and take. MDC-T supporters are also responsible for the violent clashes between them and their Zanu-PF counterparts, and as we saw at Warren Hills, against innocent people.

Instead of rushing to misrepresent facts to the region, Tsvangirai must deal with the Legion at Harvest House and expend his energies on the real issues pertinent to the GPA like the illegal economic sanctions that he appears unable to pronounce let alone comprehend. By portraying his party as a grouping of saints instead of condemning the culture of violence that has clearly permeated the party’s ranks, Tsvangirai is burying his head in the sand like the proverbial ostrich instead of showing leadership and walking his talk of peaceful engagement.

The other principals to the GPA are on record condemning political violence, and President Mugabe has called on the leaders of the three main political parties in government to convene at a higher level to find ways of stemming the violence that all parties admitted culpability for in the GPA. The ball is is in Tsvangirai’s court; he must exorcise the demon of violence at Harvest House. It does not even require Pastor Emmanuel Makandiwa, just a show of leadership.

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(HERALD) Africa under imperial siege

Africa under imperial siege
Thursday, 14 April 2011 20:43

AFRICA on fire . . . This graphic design demonstrates the continued onslaught on some African states by NATO countries, a situation that is not only a threat to peace and security, but is also seen as a move by the US and the EU at recolonising the continent. — Graphic by Wellington Ziduche and Tatenda Moyana.
By Abayomi Azikiwe

UNITED States, United Nations and Nato military forces have intensified the implementation of policies aimed at total economic domination and regime-change for those states which resist interference in their internal affairs.

As Africa becomes even more of a major source for the exploitation of oil, strategic minerals and agricultural commodities, the continent will be under increasing pressure from the Western capitalist countries.

These military attacks against African states are accelerating at a time when the capitalist governments in western Europe and north America continue to tout the belief that the recovery from the global recession is well underway.

Nonetheless, a recent International Monetary Fund (IMF) forecast indicates that the imperialist states are still very concerned about the future stability of the world markets.

A World Economic Outlook from the IMF reports that "among the challenges are rising oil prices, unrest in the Middle East, continued inflation in China and debt problems in Europe. The recovery has solidified, but the unemployment remains high." (BBC News, April 11)

Fears related to the cutoff of oil supplies, unrest in North Africa and the Middle East, the gloomy economic picture facing Portugal, Greece, Spain, and the Irish Republic are cited specifically by the IMF.

The various countries in Africa that have been targetted for destabilisation and regime-change are large-scale producers of oil and other valuable resources and commodities.

AU peace plan accepted by Libya, rejected by rebels

Since March 19, the United States and other imperialist states under the ostensible control of Nato have been carrying out a bombing campaign against the North Africa state of Libya.

These air strikes and cruise missile attacks have pounded the capital of Tripoli as well as other cities throughout the country.

On April 10, the African Union sent several heads-of-state, a foreign minister and the Commission Chair to begin a mediation process to end the conflict in Libya.

The AU delegation consisted of President Jacob Zuma of South Africa, Denis Sassou-Nguesso of Congo-Brazzaville, President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz of Mauritania, Jean Ping of the African Union as well as the foreign minister of Uganda.

In meetings with Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, the government accepted the peace proposal put forward by the AU.

The proposal called for "the immediate cessation of all hostilities, the co-operation of the concerned Libyan authorities to facilitate the diligent delivery of humanitarian assistance to the needy populations, the protection of foreign nationals, including African migrant workers living in Libya and dialogue between the Libyan parties and the establishment of an inclusive transition period." (AU Press Release, April 10, 2011)

The AU delegation then travelled on April 11 to Benghazi to meet with the Transitional National Council which represents the opposition rebel forces. The leadership of the TNC rejected outright the peace proposal from the AU in addition to ruling out any solution short of regime-change in Libya.

This is not the first time that peace proposals have been rejected by the rebels and their supporters in the US and western Europe. Latin American states under the leadership of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez made overtures prior to the US/Nato bombings to work towards a ceasefire, but the efforts were rejected by the imperialists and the rebels.

On March 11, the AU Peace and Security Council issued an earlier communiqué calling for a ceasefire and opposing foreign military intervention. This proposal was also dismissed by the Western states now bombing Libya and the rebel forces.
The Obama administration has demanded that the Libyan government be toppled.

US military attacks on Libya and its on-going naval blockade of the north African state has been condemned by progressive forces within the peace movement and the oppressed communities inside the country.

Internationally, opposition to the US/Nato bombing has increased on a daily basis with demonstrations against the war taking place in Egypt, Mali, Greece, Serbia, Canada and other countries.

An Associated Press news report said on April 11 that "the military intervention in Libya cost the US an extra US$608 million in the first few weeks of the operation.
Officials call it extra costs because it doesn't include complete spending such as paychecks for US sailors, airmen and other forces, who would have been deployed somewhere in the world anyway."

Ivorian leader seized by French forces

Another source of instability in Africa is the world's largest cocoa-producing west African state of Cote d'Ivoire, where the former colonial power France in conjunction with the UN, have toppled the incumbent President Laurent Gbagbo, arrested him and installed his rival, the Western-backed Alassane Ouattara.

This conflict in Cote d'Ivoire stemmed from a dispute over a run-off election in November 2010 where the imperialist states backed the candidacy of Ouattara.
Gbagbo insisted that he won the elections and that the decision by the Ivorian Supreme Court upholding his position, nullified the claims made by UN observers and the national electoral commission.

On March 31, French and UN military forces accompanied by gendarmes under the control of Ouattara launched an offensive against positions held by military units remaining loyal to the incumbent President Gbagbo.

France and the UN used heavy artillery, helicopters and air strikes to attack the Gbagbo forces. During the period of the siege on the presidential palace in the capital of Abidjan, two massacres were carried out inside the country.

At Duekoue it has been reported that up to 1 000 people may have been killed. Although supporters of Ouattara have been accused of the massacre, the UN has attempted to also apportion partial blame on the Gbagbo forces.

Nonetheless, all of the victims were said to be have been traditional supporters of incumbent President Gbagbo.

Later on April 7, Rupert Colville, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights spokesman said that 40 bodies were found in Blolequin. The culpability for these massacres will undoubtedly be investigated by independent journalists in the weeks to come.

The French and UN involvement in both the attempts to topple the Libyan government as well as the overthrow and arrest of Ivorian incumbent Gbagbo represents the increasing aggressive military posture of Paris on the African continent.

Although French said that the arrest of Laurent Gbagbo was done by the Ouattara forces in Ivory Coast, initial reports indicated that special forces from the European country led the assault on his residence and seized him.

Israeli air strike kills two

The Sudanese government has blamed the Israeli Defense Forces for the bombing of a vehicle where two people were killed on April 5.

According to reports from people around Port Sudan, "We heard three loud explosions. We went outside to see what was happening and eye witnesses told us they saw two helicopters which looked like Apaches flying past." (Sudan Tribune, April 5)
This attack follows a similar strike that occurred in early 2009 when in eastern Sudan the IDF used fighter jets against a convoy of vehicles resulting in the reported deaths of 119 people.

The Sudan Tribune said of the current attack on April 4 that "a foreign plane launched the attack in an area known as Kalaneeb which was described as 14 kilometres away from the coastal city of Port Sudan and on the main road leading to the regional airport." (Sudan Tribune, April 5)

The State of Israel failed to acknowledge or deny their involvement in the attack. Israel has accused Sudan of transporting weapons from Iran to the Hamas government in Gaza. Sudan has denied these allegations.

Zimbabwe's national anti-sanctions campaign

In the southern African nation of Zimbabwe, the ruling Zanu-PF and the Government in Harare has embarked upon a campaign to collect signatures calling for the removal of Western economic sanctions against the country.

The sanctions were levelled in the aftermath of the adoption of a radical land redistribution program in 2000 that took control of large tracts of territory seized by British settler-colonialists during the latter years of the 19th century.

Although the Zimbabwe Government under the leadership of President Robert Mugabe has established a coalition with the opposition Movement for Democratic Change factions, the United States, Britain, Australia and the European Union have maintained the economic sanctions against the country.

The Zimbabwe Government is currently preparing for national elections in the aftermath of the drafting of a new constitution.

The US and other imperialist states are continuing their support for the Western-oriented MDC-T faction headed by Morgan Tsvangirai. The US and other Western states are planning to translate their support for the MDC-T into an electoral victory for the party which has refused to take a position against the sanctions.

In an editorial recently published in the state-controlled Zimbabwe Herald newspaper, the ruling Zanu-PF party of President Mugabe said that "The Western hysterical expression about saving civilians in Libya must be dismissed with the contempt it deserves. The civilians of Libya do not matter as their oil does." (The Herald, April 6)

This same editorial continues by noting: "What Barack Obama has done in fact is to sign an assassination order for Muammar Gaddafi, and his desire may as well come to materialise as did that of his predecessor, George W Bush, who pursued Saddam Hussein to the gallows.

But Obama only sings humanitarian songs for civilians belonging to countries ruled by leaders that prevent the US from imperially dominating their natural resources, such as the civilians in Libya, Zimbabwe, North Korea, Iran and Venezuela."

Role of anti-war movement in US

The recent April 9-10 anti-war demonstrations in New York and San Francisco represent the strengthening of the movement for peace and social justice inside the US.

With the increasing attacks on labour, the poor and the oppressed by the bankers and their backers in government, it will become increasingly important for people inside the country to draw links between the worsening conditions of the workers and its relationship to ever-rising Pentagon budget.

In north Africa and the Middle East, the masses have engaged in mass demonstrations, strikes and rebellions against the ravages of world capitalism and its economic crisis.

The struggles of workers in Wisconsin and other states in the US have gained inspiration from the people of Egypt, Tunisia, Yemen and Bahrain.

This year's May Day will also take on added significance by providing an opportunity for these linkages of the worldwide struggles against capitalism and imperialism to be raised to thousands of workers in cities across the country.

It will be the unity of programme and action of the workers and oppressed across the globe that will end the exploitative systems and create the conditions for world peace and social justice for the majority of humanity.

Abayomi Azikiwe is the founder and editor of the Pan-African News Wire. His feedback address is:

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(HERALD) Africa must reawaken

Africa must reawaken
Wednesday, 13 April 2011 22:10

THE axis of evil is now on African soil. And, Africa, welcome to the real world where masters of the universe are dictating your fate, under their terms.

If this were a column in my mother tongue, Shona, I'd have aptly headlined it, "Kubatwa negarwe wapeta zvirauro" (To be attacked by a crocodile just after you've packed and/ or put away your fishing rods. That is, after you're confident that you have accomplished your mission).

This idiomatic expression, pregnant with mea-ning says a lot about the state of Africa, months after some pioneers in the struggle to dislodge settler colonialism led by the likes of Ghana's Kwame Nkru-mah, celebrated their gol-den jubilees in 2010.
Despite the challenges, the past half century was supposed to be a memorable journey - an African success story that would have seen the continent regaining lost ground and bequeathing the legacy of the continent to future generations.
However, if events of the past few months are anything to go by, it means that although the fishing expedition seems successful; the fishing rods were probably hastily and carelessly put away, and, as a result, the alligators in the body of water where we have been fishing from are mercilessly and brutally attac-king us. As fishermen, we just trusted in getting a good catch, in what we thought were safe waters.
These events also show that the fisherman was eit-her ignorant of the environment in which he was fishing, or if he did, he was not at all worried about his security.
Environmental scanning was not part of ensuring a sustainable future. All that the fisherman wanted was the fish to go and feed his family, for that day. The future would take care of itself!
But failure to understand one's environment can lead to serious trouble since danger can strike any time. This was the caution that a commuter omnibus driver, waiting for one last passenger while loading at illegal loading zones, popularly known as Pamushika-mushika or Pahasha was given by one passenger on Monday: "It's better to leave now, because ‘unobatwa negarwe wapeta zvirauro,' and lose all the money you have made. You can always get the last passenger on the way."
But knowing kombi drivers, they enjoy a good fight with law enforcement agents, while at the same time losing business to oth-er competitors. The statement has made an indelible mark. This is where Africa is right now - at the crossroads, because of its laissez faire attitude to geo-political issues.
We fought! We struggled since slavery days, but we have not learnt the painful lessons of those struggles. We have not yet arrived at a point where we can look former colonisers, eyeball-to-ball, and tell them, mat-ter-of-factly that Africa is for Africans.
The few that have done that have paid dearly. It makes it worse when some among us do not have the gumption to stand their ground and understand this principle - Africa is for Africans. There is also a certain amount of naivety in the way some of us appr-oach regional and inter-national politics.
It is a VERY frightening feeling, and one which makes this writer wonder why Africa continues to be stalled in the same position, waiting for the Anglo-Saxon world to make it move, and when told to jump, asking, "How high, master?"
And, this is happening fifty years after most countries got their independence! Zimbabwe also celebrates its 31st Independence anniversary on April 18, and it is shocking that a nation that now has the highest literacy rate on the continent is still looking for benefactors from Europe, the Americas and the East to get it out of the quagmire of economic hardships. We interrogate it, better in most cases, using their funds and their agendas.
The political landscape, which was one of Africa's success stories has once gain been soiled, giving the former colonial master an opportunity to interfere.
So, what is with the African story? Who are the major protagonists, and why? Is this something Africa can extricate itself from without being adve-rsely affected as the MENE, MENE, TEKEL, PARSIN, writing is already on the wall?
As Africans, do we know ourselves; believe in ourselves; respect ourselves; and, understand the environment in which we ope-rate and can proudly stand on our own? Aren't we facing the danger that befalls the fisherman I talked of in the metaphor?
North Africa, West Africa and Southern Afri-can: there is a common thr-ead that runs across them. In fact, it is like there are nodes everywhere, which make the linkages very easy, but nodes that we did not create ourselves.
Because we are Africans, or it is because we have failed to read our environment, and when we think that we have arrived, we suddenly are under attack!
When Africa thought that the Anglo-Saxon world could go hang, since we could now business with other regions, the West hit back in a dramatic fashion.
If it were the Cold War era, it would have been easy to see whom we could be aligned to, but as it were, those regions' position has not been as dramatically clear as expected.
Looking at this scenario reminded me of George W Bush and his "axis of evil" statement referring to Iran, North Korea and Iraq, although Zimbabwe was always included one way or the other.
Now we see these same nations that labelled others the "axis of evil", being exactly that on the African continent. If they are promoting rebels, and if their intelligence operatives are operating willy-nilly on the continent, working out illegal regime changes, what are they - ie the US, Britain and the EU?
So, what really is happening to Africa as it grapples with the realities it is facing in the midst of what now looks like an onslaught to recolonise the continent, under the guise of setting up democratic systems that align themselves with the so-called international community?
I reiterate: do we know who we are, where we are coming from and where we are going? I will also not pretend that I know what hit Africa, but the sooner we gang up and talk abut this as Africans, the better. For the children's sake! Here is why I ask. On March 17 when I wrote the piece "Media madness on Libya", someone whose identity I cannot disclose, e-mailed me on March 18: "I read your article and typical of all you Zanunoids; you are refusing one reality. You have been fed so much of this anti-Western rhetoric that you no longer accept or see reality. In short, the guilty are very afraid.
"The uprisings in North Africa were never instigated by the West; they were started by citizens who are fed up with dictatorship and corruption. If the West wanted oil in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya; why wait for uprisings? What if the uprisings had not taken place?
"As the late Zvobgo put it, ‘Dictators hide behind the finger of sovereignty and blame of the West.' The Arab world has given its support on resolution 1973 on Libya and do you think that therefore they have agreed to have their oil looted? No; it's because they knew the dictatorship of their friend in Libya. The AU (including South Africa) has now recognised Ouattara as winner of elections in Ivory Coast. What do you say? For your information, UN resolution 1973 on Libya is being debated to extend to any nation that kills and suppresses the aspirations of its people. BE VERY AFRAID."
Dear reader, welcome to scribes' covert and overt occupational hazards, but, we get used to the backlash - a backlash coming from people who want zero tolerance on issues they don't even understand. What it boils down to for such people is "free speech for me, not for thee", for while they seek to gag journalists from expressing themselves, they feel threatened, and all they can do is resort to attacks.
Nato had not yet struck Libya, and when they did that weekend, the brother wrote me on Monday afternoon (March 21) with a new subject heading, ‘You are right, it's oil'.
Caesar Zvayi would have said the brother had a Damascan experience. He wrote: "Tendai - On second thoughts, I agree with you on the Western intentions in Libya. Listening to David Cameron's speech at the weekend, I saw all the hypocrisy painted all over his face."
He said, ‘We want to protect the people of Libya'. Really? I thought of the 1994 massacres in Rwanda; the wars in DRC against women and children. Surely if these guys love us Africans so much; where were/are they when these atrocities were/are being committed. I saw the word OIL on Cameron and Obama's faces." The reader's about turn made me understand Africa's tragedy: seeing, but not believing; hearing, but not understanding. It is a tragedy that is beyond measure; where someone said, we need divine intervention to wake up from our deep slumber.
Why would Africa's three representatives to the UN Security Council also vote with Africa's "enemies" on resolutions about the Libyan uprising, thereby endorsing their foreign policy template on the continent?
Five-decades ago, this diplomatic gaffe would have been understandable, but after the wars that we have witnessed, not only in Africa, but elsewhere at the instigation of these Western nations, why was this done? Why does Africa believe that dependency and not equal partnerships has posterity?
As Professor Jonathan Moyo wrote in this week's Sunday Mail, it was unbelievable that an AU fact-finding mission has to be given the nod to enter Libya - an African state - by Nato forces, so that they undo the damage they caused at the UN. That is unforgivable!
This generation has also stood on high moral ground and accused our ancestors for being bought off with small things like sugar and/or whisky, but when the gains of Africa's liberation are facing real danger of being reversed by men and women with "superior" Western book education, whom shall we blame?
None but ourselves - for always wanting to play second-fiddle, and acting poverty stricken both physically and materially on a continent that will soon have its billionth citizen, and that is the richest in terms of natural resources.
Watch the different TV satellite channels; read the stories and comments on some Internet websites; follow discussions on social networks and blogs, and you feel that deep-seated anger that Libya is stalling the next phase of the imperialistic agenda, whose next port of call after North Africa and Cote d'Ivoire should "automatically" be Zimbabwe. It's a desperation that we witnessed at the Livingstone Sadc Troika Summit last month. Now, the poisoned atmosphere engulfs us as the region awaits the May 20 Sadc Extraordinary Summit.
Why Zimbabwe seems a likely candidate for these uprisings, which can happen in any part of the world, rich or poor was summed up by a colleague last Friday when she asked me to check out Flora Flaunders - International Action Centre, New York and she said, "She's got some story on Libya and Western bullies. Quite interesting!"
And I did. What is amazing is that we have also decided to ignore voices telling the West to back off Africa. The US, a one-time British colony, is leading the reoccupation of Africa through a triangular axis of evil that is unparalleled since the days of slavery. Those voices could be meaningful if enough effort to reclaim Africa's position on the international arena is matched by an equally louder African voice. Instead, we see other bits of Africa so elated that the illegal regime changes template is a step in the right direction.
This triangular monster which can best be represented diagrammatically links the nodes (the regional blocs - Arab League in North Africa; Ecowas in West Africa and Sadc in Southern Africa).
Maybe Paul Craig Roberts' piece on Libya and the North African issue titled, "What does the world think now?" might reawaken Africa from its deep sleep and make them fight the axis of evil on the continent. Wrote Roberts: "The obscene wars of aggression, the obscene profits of the off-shoring corporations, and the obscene bailouts of the rich financial gangsters have left the American public with annual budget deficits of approximately US$1,5 trillion.
These deficits are being covered by printing money. Sooner or later, the printing presses will cause the US dollar to collapse and domestic inflation to explode.
Social security benefits will be wiped out by inflation rising more rapidly than the cost-of-living adjustments. If America survives, no one will be left but the mega-rich.
Unless there is a violent revolution." On the eve of the celebration of our 31st Independence anniversary, and before the much-awaited Sadc Extraordinary Summit, Zimbabweans and the peoples of this region expect that regional leaders restore the people's confidence in the regional body.
Fighting bitter liberation struggles where thousands were brutally killed, others maimed and displaced, was not a passport for some to reverse those gains.

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(NEWZIMBABWE) Minister arrested over Gukurahundi memorial

COMMENT - To use the word genocide for what happened in the 1980s is hyperbole, and political spin. Also, it matters why things happened. The apartheid government tried to create a Zimbabwean RENAMO, to destabilize the country through murder and bombings. To do this, they recruited 100 members of ZAPU, called SUPER ZAPU, through Operation Drama. The government's actions were in reaction to that kind of sabotage. It was not a genocide, it was not a tribal beatdown of the Matabele/Ndebele. (Source: Report On The 1980s Disturbances In Matabeleland & Midlands, Chapter 3 "The Dissident Problem", by Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace in Zimbabwe, March 1997)

Minister arrested over Gukurahundi memorial
by Staff Reporter
15/04/2011 00:00:00

NATIONAL Healing and Reconciliation Minister Moses Mzila-Ndlovu and a Catholic priest were arrested on Friday for attending a memorial service for victims of the 1980s Matabeleland genocide in Lupane.

Ndlovu and Father Marko Mabutho Mnkandla, who presided over Wednesday’s ceremony, are charged with “undermining police authority”, according to MDC secretary general and Regional Integration Minister, Priscilla Misihairabwi.

“Lawyers are trying to gain access to them but we understand that they are accused of addressing an unsanctioned public meeting,” Misihairabwi said from Harare.

Rights groups say over 20,000 people died in a crackdown in Matabeleland and the Midlands by government troops. Official reports on the massacres have never been published and public discussion on the operation by President Robert Mugabe's loyalists remains suppressed.

On Tuesday, Mzila-Ndlovu was barred by police from addressing a public meeting convened by the Habakkuk Trust at Kezi business centre in Matabeleland South. Kezi was one of the districts worst hit by the killings.

Matabeleland South police spokesman Sergeant Thabani Mkhwananzi later explained the meeting was broken off because Zanu PF and the MDC-T, who also have ministers seconded to the National Healing Organ, had not been represented.

Habakkuk Trust’s Dumisani Nkomo said: “I told the police that the meeting was non-political and there was no reasoning behind banning a talk that is pro-peace.

“But it seems apparent now that the problem must be coming from someone who does not want to see peace prevailing in the country.”

Mzila-Ndlovu is the second minister to be arrested, after the MDC-T’s Elton Mangoma, since the formation of a power sharing government in February 2009.

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Slandering Catholics

Slandering Catholics
By The Post
Fri 15 Apr. 2011, 04:00 CAT

It requires little intelligence – if little is all one has – to see and understand that the leadership of Rupiah Banda’s government and the MMD is waging a campaign to malign, slander, humiliate, demonise the Catholic Church and its leadership.

But why should this be so? Our simple explanation is that genuine goodness is threatening to those on the opposite end of the moral spectrum.

Rupiah’s government and party are today attacking the Catholic Church and its leadership because this church reminds them of the need to pay attention to human needs and sufferings.

But in reality, the Catholic Church is only fulfilling its responsibility – the duty to speak for the poor and disadvantaged in accordance with the biblical directive: “Speak up for people who cannot speak for themselves.

Protect the rights of all who are helpless. Speak for them and be a righteous judge. Protect the rights of the poor and the needy” (Proverbs 31:8-9).

If Rupiah and his friends were truly and selflessly concerned about the plight of the poor and the needy, the right relationship between them and the Catholic leadership would be that of partnership rather than enmity.

And when it comes to the issues of speaking out for the poor and the needy and defending their rights, the Catholic Church and its leadership will be “political” but not “partisan”.

It is the duty of the leadership of the Catholic Church, that is priests, bishops, cardinals and indeed the Pope himself to guide nations in matters that affect the lives of their citizens in the light of gospel values.

And the leadership of the Catholic Church, by reason of its role and competence, is not bound to any political system.

It simply contributes toward the reign of justice and charity within the borders of a nation and between nations.

We have paid a lot of attention, we pay a lot of attention to the teachings of the leadership of the Catholic Church on many issues that affect our people and our country.

And what we have come to realise and fully appreciate is the fact that the leadership of the Catholic Church greatly values the democratic system inasmuch as it ensures the participation of our people in all their diversities and complexities in making political choices, guarantees to the governed the possibility of electing and holding accountable those who govern them, and of replacing them through peaceful means when appropriate.

To this end, the leadership of the Catholic Church has been consistently calling on all our people to participate actively and responsibly in civil society.

We think this is so because in civil society, people come together with different interests to work for the common good. Government and civil society should co-operate together and individuals should be obliged to make their specific contributions to the common good.

And we can make a difference if we get fully involved in national affairs, and especially if we are guided by noble ideas and sentiments.

Looked at in this way, it is easy to see that the Catholic leadership has both the right and duty to participate fully in building a just and peaceful society with all the means at its disposal.

And moreover, a church leadership is not fully rooted among its people if it does not try to establish justice.

We are reminded in James 2:17 that “Faith of itself, if it does not have works, is dead”.

And as Pope John Paul II aptly put it, “A faith and a life which are authentically Christian cannot fail to blossom in a love which constitutes truth and promotes justice”.

In a country where the political leadership steals public funds and abuses public offices with impunity, it is right for the leadership of the Catholic Church to see to it that those in power, those in public offices serve the people, and not the other way round.

We say this because sustainable and integral human development can only be promoted in ways that truly serve the people.

For we know that true peace in our country means true justice where there is fair sharing of resources and the benefits from economic development really improve the lives of all intended people, especially the most vulnerable.

Any honest person can see that the teachings of Catholic priests and bishops on this score is what is leading to this hatred, to this anger from the government and the ruling party because it is making the Catholic Church and its leadership more relevant and credible amidst a situation of many problems but also many potentials.

And as we have already demonstrated in the quote above from Proverbs 31:8-9, there is a very strong and important theological foundation for what the Catholic leadership is saying and doing.

And this is not a new position. This is a position the Catholic leadership has held for a very long time.

And this was clearly presented in the 1971 Synod of Bishops declaration, “Justice in the World”: “The hopes and forces which are moving the world in its very foundations are not foreign to the dynamism of the gospel, which through the power of the Holy Spirit frees women and men from personal sin and its consequences in social life.”

This is an echo of another powerful truth presented in the most important document of the second Vatican Council, “The Church in the Modern World” (1965): “The joys and hopes, the sorrows and anxieties, of the women and men of this age, especially the poor and those in any way oppressed, these are the joys and hopes, the sorrows and anxieties, of the followers of Jesus Christ.”

Clearly, we need the Catholic leadership, among other religious leaders and institutions, to continue to be the conscience of our society, a moral custodian and a fearless champion of the interests of the weak and downtrodden.

And as Archbishop Telesphore Mpundu has correctly observed, “the powers of Hades will not manage to bring it down or prevail against it”.

What is going on is a calculated campaign of misinformation of the public by a corrupt clique of politicians who want to hang on to power at all costs so that they can continue to abuse public resources and offices.

And in doing so, this corrupt clique does not take kindly to those who try to stand in its way to wrongdoing.

And it doesn’t need to be Catholics for them to be subjected to the slander, malice, lies, calumny that the Catholic leadership is today subjected to.

All that one needs is to stand in their way and one will be treated in the same way the Catholic leadership is being treated today.

And one doesn’t need to look far to see what we are talking about.

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