Its do or die time
At Church this morning in Midrand, two men who had just arrived in South
looking for work approached me. They were both experienced teachers and both
were MDC people. They simply told me that they had no choice but to try and
find work in South Africa - any sort of work, to survive and to send some
funds home to keep their families alive.
They are micros of the flood tide of humanity that is now moving south from
Zimbabwe. Desperately needed at home, committed to their country, but faced
with no other choice but to flee the country of their birth for a squatter
somewhere in South Africa and then to try and eek out an existence doing
whatever they can find to do.
Yesterday I watched Mugabe speak at a funeral in Harare where he said that
would never allow the MDC to take power. There was no doubt about his
- he was very clear and the language graphic. Interviewed on SABC the poor
Zimbabwean Ambassador to South Africa was asked to confirm that this was the
position of the Zimbabwe government. What else could he say but that the
in SA had misconstrued Mugabe's remarks!! Nothing could be further from the
truth and S K Moyo knows that full well.
I also watched the SA Deputy Foreign Minister, Aziz Paghad respond to
journalists at a media briefing and saying that 'all these things' (reports
of violence, illegal detention, denial of ordinary democratic rights) were
responsibility of the SADC observer mission that was now on the ground. He
the mission had a wide mandate. I see that the US has been asked to pay for
SADC mission - what happened to sovereignty?
Mugabe's remarks about his declared intent to deny a transfer of power to
MDC no matter what the outcome of the election is both an acceptance of the
fact that he is likely to be defeated and a flat refusal to accept that the
people of Zimbabwe have the right to vote and decide in secrecy as to who
new leadership should be. Here we are three months after the 29th of March
not one of the results of that election has been implemented. Not a single
Council has been sworn into position, not a single MP or Senator has been
in and all Ministers, even those who were defeated in the election, remain
office and drawing their full allowances.
This is a frontal attack on democracy by a full member of the SADC and the
It is a direct challenge to Mbeki and his team of facilitators who have
for 15 months to bring about this very electoral process. All that has been
said and done by anyone with direct responsibility for this shameful state
affairs is to wring their hands ineffectually and say that 'what more could
they do'? Mbeki's snide remarks in the House of Assembly in Cape Town this
week of 'do you want us to throw stones at Mugabe?' fall into this
category. My personal response would have been that it might help! Certainly
preferable to a bland silence that Mugabe rightly interprets as acceptance
At home the US dollar has cruised to Z$4 billion even with three zero's
knocked off at the end. A payment through a bank is now halved in valued
it is finally credited to your account. Cash is impossible to come by and
payment of the very large denomination bills by financial institutions
creates problems for both customers and the business community.
There is no food in the markets - bread is almost unobtainable, maize meal,
the basic staple food, is only available in small quantities and via Zanu PF
political structures - and I thought that the manipulation of food supplies
was a crime against humanity? Government institutions that can only adjust
their prices after consultation simply cannot keep pace with the situation -
a return flight on Air Zimbabwe to London is about US$200 - a real bargain
any language and that is business class!
In the hope that change might happen after the election, many have held on
kept their businesses open, paid staff and sacrificed. If the outcome of the
run off on 27 June 2008 is one that retains the status quo many, if not
will reach the end of their tether.
Recently I have become more and more irritated with the frequent claim by
that the MDC is a puppet of the West - in particular, Britain and the United
States. Mbeki shares this view even though he knows full well that the MDC
homegrown opposition movement based on a mass membership. Not so, Bright
Mutonga, the Zimbabwean government spokesman at present, went even further
said last week that the US had given MDC and other NGO organizations US$6
million and that Britain had given these same groups over 3 million pounds.
Apart from the fact that the MDC has seen very little funding from any
sources since its inception and very little from the business community and
none at all from the British administration, it is difficult to refute such
puerile arguments. We are not a liberation movement - but many of our
leadership served in the liberation struggle even helped lead that struggle.
do not want to back to that route as a means of 'regime change' - we
simply want our democratic rights as citizens of an independent state to be
respected. Is that such a threat to present leadership in many African
that they are prepared to allow Mugabe and his henchmen to get away with the
farce that is taking place here right at this time.
I watched Tendai Biti go to Court on Saturday in chains and shackles - what
mockery of everything that the South African and SADC leadership is saying
they stand for. Three days ago he was in sponsored talks in Pretoria on the
possibility of a negotiated outcome to the present impasse. He was given
assurances that his personal safety and security would be respected. This is
simply not good enough and I hope that the leaders of the G8 make that point
any African leaders with whom they have to deal in future. At the same time
courage he has showed, the shame is on South Africa!.
If African leadership fails us again on the 27th June, it will be a step too
for Zimbabwe and Zimbabweans. If you want a shooting war then so be it, but
not blame us when we start. Do you want South Africa to find itself firmly
fixed on that slippery slope that so many African States have ended up on
to slide into corruption, negative growth, the collapse of economic and
institutions and despotic authoritarian leadership?
Or are we going to see African leadership standing by their numerous
to principle and insisting that the Zanu PF regime step aside and go into
political opposition in a new dispensation. That would make all the
its do or die time.
Johannesburg, 15th June 2008