The Mad Hatters Tea Party
Events taking place here in Zimbabwe are so outrageous that it seems
sometimes to be just like the mad hatters tea party in Alice in
In this case the mad hatter of course would be our beloved leader. The
of us are uncomfortable guests.
Since last Sunday we have seen all those arrested discharged from
they went back to Court and were faced with a situation where the
Prosecutors and Magistrates simply failed to turn up and the Police
accused, 'you can go home'! This has happened in Bulawayo where on
the authorities arrested 15 people for 'planning an illegal rally'.
were released without charge 24 hours later. In Mutare 75 people
similar grounds were also released without charge.
There have been further demonstrations and some violence in various
and where people have been arrested on those occasions they have been
in custody in a similar fashion to the 50 MDC and other activists
Then on Friday the Police and Army arrived at the home of the man shot
last Sunday, took his father, who was alone at the time, into custody,
forced him to sign a consent form, took the body from the funeral home
it was being held until the family could arrange his burial. The Chief
his home District said he would not allow Gift to be buried there, so
family was arranging for the funeral to be held in Glen View.
Now if you want to touch a sensitive part of African culture - mess
funeral. This is a ceremony that has great significance in our culture
tradition. It is very important to have a decent burial with all the
required rites and families go to great lengths to pay for such
and attending funerals takes up a lot of everybody's time in
Zimbabwe. So to
take the body, illegally and without the permission of the wife and
bury it in an unmarked grave away from the public eye without the
ceremony, is a very serious cultural slur. When you do this you touch
very soul of Africa.
That meant nothing to the Mugabe regime - they just did it and to
the consequences. The reason? To avoid what would have been a very
embarrassing public display of grief and anger at the actions of the
When we tried to get the most seriously injured people to hospital in
Africa, they were greeted at the airport - on the actual apron next
aircraft set aside to fly them to Johannesburg, by a team of armed
who proceeded to deny them the right to leave the country (their travel
documents were all in order) and they were then forced to return to the
Hospital in Harare where they are now under Police guard.
It would appear there is, in addition to an informal curfew in all
high-density townships and the formal ban on all political gatherings,
on the opposition leaving the country - for any purpose.
Just this morning Nelson Chamisa was on his way to the airport to catch
plane to Europe to attend a EU/ACP meeting when his vehicle was stopped
people in plain clothes, he was beaten and severely injured and his
possessions, including his lap top computer were taken. He is now in
care in hospital with a cracked skull and eye injuries. No doubt this
will allege this was a criminal attack, but I do not think anyone need
deceived by that - this was the work of the CIO in every way. Of
was a criminal act - everything this regime does is criminal in that
Then there are the actions of the Mad Hatter himself. His response to
international outcry over these savage and mindless attacks? He takes
podium at the Party Headquarters - with a selected audience of Party
loyalists, to attack the international diplomatic community in Harare
that if they do not behave themselves they will be kicked out of the
country. He went on the blame the situation on the MDC - claiming
were the perpetrators and that violence would not be tolerated!! Well I
guess that attack is the best form of defence!
Everyone is asking - is this the start of the end? Well I am sure it
so are many others. Mr. Mugabe is 83 and aging fast; his support base
slipping away from him even faster. Increasingly isolated he has just
suffered his first defeat inside Zanu Pf in 27 years. We in the MDC
his first taste of defeat in 2000. He could retaliate against us
were pretty defenseless and had few friends. But this time it was his
Party that dealt him a blow.
Many are concentrating on the violent attacks on our leadership as
main news, but for me the really big news is that Zanu PF and the
said no to 2010. Mugabe must now complete his term, earned fraudulently
2002, retire as President in March 2008 and worse still, ask his own
if he can stand again. I can already sense the humiliation of that
because I am certain, he would not be nominated and, for Mugabe, that
be the ultimate humiliation.
We in the opposition must keep on with the struggle as the final
still far from certain and those with power in the region are not
They have an agenda and I could not agree more with the Mail and
that it was time South Africa stopped meddling in our affairs. For
stop trying to determine our future, the people know what is best for
let them decide, is that so hard to accept? It is for some, because
already know the outcome.
As for the Mad Hatter and his associates, it is time they faced reality
accepted that if we are going to find our way back to the road, we have
alternative as a country but to accept that it must be on the basis of
leadership that is voted in by the great majority of our people. A
leadership with a genuine democratic mandate to do what is necessary to
repair our countries broken body.
That is not going to be easy or painless - it will require both
surgery, but we have been there before and we can do it again. Only
time make sure that the new society we create will meet our
our potential. We owe that to ourselves.
Bulawayo, 18th March 2007