Zimbabwe: A coup by any other name
Melissa Tandiwe Myambo
Friday 6 September, 2019
When Sally Mugabe passed away years ago, I was criticized for pointing out her corruption. I was told, munhu wafa wanaka, which loosely translated is sort of an admonishment against speaking ill of the dead. But we must speak the whole truth and nothing but the whole truth about the dead!
Robert Gabriel Mugabe, 21 February, 1924 – 6 September, 2019, lived for almost a century and contrary to the current whitewashing attempts to sanitize his reputation and bleach his blood-stained legacy, we who knew Mugabe will never forget that he was a murderer first and foremost. I am seeing a lot of coverage along the lines of great liberator who brought his country freedom from colonialism then became a tyrant in later years. Even before he presided over the Gukurahundi massacre of at least 20,000 people in Matabeleland in the 1980s, he was suspected of orchestrating the murders of his fellow freedom fighters Herbert Chitepo and Josiah Tongogara in the 1970s. Why? Because he was already a ruthless megalomaniac and did not want any competition from those many considered to be more able leaders. In his 37 years ruling the so-called free nation of Zimbabwe, he oversaw the assassination of many more rivals and political enemies. Once a murderer always a murderer. He also murdered democracy, human rights, the economy and the whole country. How often - when there is another power cut/food shortage/fuel queue - do people sigh, nyika yafa, the country is dead? The fact that he died in a Singaporean clinic is further evidence of his misrule because he also murdered the country’s healthcare system.
Now, he will be given a hero’s burial at the expense of the Zimbabwean taxpayer. Kill one man, go to prison. Kill thousands, turn the breadbasket of southern Africa into a basket case, destroy a country and be celebrated as the founding father of a nation. A great tree has fallen, they will say. This sort of cringeworthy revisionism is the jaundiced root of African oppression which will continue until we are willing to speak the truth about our despicable dictators.
Wednesday 20 March, 2019
I never thought I would see Chimanimani on the international news but the tragic loss of life and ongoing destruction caused by Cyclone Idai has for once put this sleepy, mountainous area on the international radar. I don't yet know if my grandmother's house has survived the vicious wind and the heavy rains but I do know that Chimanimani, on the border of Mozambique and Zimbabwe, is badly hit. I have family members from Beira - on the coast of Mozambique and a city 90% destroyed by the cyclone - all the way to Mutare, in Zimbabwe's Eastern Highlands. Malawi has also been badly effected. Hundreds have died thus far and thousands have lost their homes. I am grateful to the organizations trying to help and if you can imagine the horror of seeing your household, animals and loved ones washed away in a torrent of mud and water, please consider giving what you're able. Herewith a list of legitimate charities.
Wednesday 6 February, 2019
It took me over a week to read this devastating article about lawyers protesting the lack of justice in Zimbabwe's legal system because I could not get past this sentence: "The lawyers asserted that abuses by the military and police include abductions of suspects or close relatives, the assault and torture of suspects to induce confessions, the denial of treatment for tortured suspects."
Between weaponizing rape as a tool of oppression by Zim security forces and the holding of mass trials for protesters and the tortured protesters Pastor Mawarire recounts seeing in prison, how does the Croc think his statement to Sky News that he's "soft as wool" will go over now? It's a pity African dictators really have no idea how to even pretend to be running a democracy. This week, courageous school teachers are on strike. May their democratic right to strike for a living wage be honored...
Meanwhile, the UK is not taking Zim back into the Commonwealth because of human rights abuses and the MDC has refused dialogue with the Croc while soldiers are patrolling the streets and so many hundreds or thousands of protesters are being detained...
Monday 21 January, 2019
So the Croc was finally forced to cancel his trip to Davos. He announced yesterday that "in light of the economic situation," he would head back to Zim. There were rumors of a coup but not possible to tell if any validity to those. Internet shutdown has been condemned by High Court, the Croc has finally landed in Harare, at least 12 people have been killed, more arrests, Pastor Evan Mawarire still not released - could face up to 20 years in prison, according to Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum there have been more than 240 incidents of assault and torture...
So in sum, a flourishing democracy. Everything is going along swimmingly well. Just saw this petition calling for ED to talk to MDC's Nelson Chamisa and try to form a government of national unity. Pretty sure this happened before. Zanu-PF lost the elections but claimed victory anyways and then went into a government of national unity. Will history repeat itself? I see no reason ED would go for that...But if not, what is the plan to restore some semblance of a functioning economy?
Friday 18 January, 2019
Hard to get verified info out of Zim - that is one of the evil purposes of the internet shutdown, of course. But the few reports trickling out are horrific. Soldiers are rounding people up and beatings, torture, even killings are being reported...Don't forget that the army fired live ammunition into a protest on 1 August after the elections when all the international journalists were on site. Six people died and no-one yet has been held accountable. So...imagine what they can do undercover of an internet blackout...
People in Zim trying to access internet can try these VPN and Tor options. Hope they work!
Past is prologue as they say. Just remembered that wrote a short story, entitled "Blood Guilt," in 2013 in which a fictional Zim government tries to shut down the internet to stop a damaging video going viral...If African leaders read African fiction they would learn how not to be such embarrassing caricatures of a Banana Republic dictator...Oh yes, they're dictators so keep calm and carry on. So many of you are doing such a wonderful, thorough job of being dictators.
Reports that the government has issued another directive to shut down the internet "until further notice." Some internet access was restored starting Wednesday evening but now this new shutdown began last night. Why?
And where is Mnangagwa? Is he still heading to Davos despite the turmoil and unrest in the country? Does he know that Theresa May has cancelled her trip to Davos because of Brexit? Even that most puerile of presidents, Trump had to not only cancel his own trip but also that of his cabinet members to Davos because of the #TrumpShutdown. Yet, the Croc is just blithely continuing his travels as if everything in Zim is hunky-dory? Does he actually plan to go to Davos to declare that Zim is "open for business," his favorite mantra, when there is an #InternetShutdown and no fuel?
Wednesday 16 January, 2019
Sign the petition, "Stop police and military brutality in Zimbabwe. Ban ED Mnangagwa from Davos."
Third day of the #ZimbabweShutdown and there’s little international coverage of the horrifying events there. Yes, the never-ending Brexit debacle, Trump’s petulant, heartless shutdown, and the terrifying terrorist attack in Nairobi are very important...but so is a government which pretends to be “democratically-elected” sending soldiers carrying AK-47s into high-density neighborhoods where they are dragging people out of their homes, beating them, torturing them, forcing them to roll in mud...according to some reports killing them...
Today, Pastor Evan Mawarire of the #ThisFlag movement was arrested. Another sign that there is no democracy in Mnangagwa’s new chapter of Zanu-PF dictatorship. What is the South African government and the ANC doing? As usual nothing at all. Shameful how they never stop protecting Zanu-PF, no matter what.
And where is ED? Is he still in Russia trying to get funds from Putin? These guys are enjoying their time as caricatures of dictators. ED told Putin he is a “senior brother” whom he looks to for help with the Zim economy. Putin congratulated the Croc on his “landslide election victory." Ummmm…is that what you call it? You can't make this stuff up. Even though Zanu-PF heavily rigged the election (see below), they barely squeaked to victory!
So as Zimbabwe has no fuel, no money, no internet and no democracy, ED is planning to jet off to Davos to the World Economic Forum to canoodle with the elites of the global economy. Shouldn’t he fly back to Zimbabwe? Even Donald Trump – arguably one of the world’s most odious characters – cancelled his trip to Davos because of the #TrumpShutdown. His administration thought the “optics” would be too damaging. But ED seems to have no such fears? What are optics in an autocracy anyways…Let them eat cake!
Tuesday 15 January, 2019
Protests against a massive fuel hike have turned deadly. The Crocodile, most conveniently, is in Russia hanging out with Donald Trump's BFF, Vlad, Democracy Destroyer Extraordinaire. If Putin fails to provide Zim with much-needed funds, no worries, Mnangagwa's on his way to Davos to trawl for other foreign investment...but who would want to invest in a pseudo-democracy which has rampant inflation (a la 2008) and fuel shortages and a government that is willing to send the military out into the streets when the people are exercising their democratic right to protest?
#ZimbabweShutdown is an attempt to make the government understand the economic pain Zimbabweans are feeling having the highest fuel prices in the world (literally, since Sunday, the highest in the world). How has the "democratically-elected" government responded? Calling out the troops and shutting down the internet, that's how. They have ordered telecoms companies to shut down the internet so that people cannot communicate and coordinate protests. Let that sink in...Look at this wondrous democracy at work... At least five people have already been shot dead. What will happen tomorrow?
Friday 24 August, 2018
So the totally expected has unfolded before our eyes. Now, the charade can end and the curtains can descend and Zanu-PF can continue with their misrule. It's only been 38 years. What's another 38? You can read about the Constitutional Court's ruling here. I hope there is peace in Zimbabwe even though there is no justice.
Security is tight in big cities, conspiracy theories are flourishing, Vice-President Chiwenga has said nothing will change after the #ConCourt results, rumors abound that the Croc has already started preparing for his inauguration, and meanwhile, the players are arriving at the Constitutional Court. Follow live updates here.
On the bright side, Munyaradzi Shoko (see below) was released and charges dropped although his lawyer says he was assaulted by police whilst in custody which would be entirely typical of the ZRP.
Thursday 23 August, 2018
This headline does not reassure me that democracy is on the way: "Zimbabwe arrests Mnangagwa critic over Facebook post." Munyaradzi Shoko's FB post reportedly claims that the president's name was "generally associated with evil and devilish deeds." How can this be illegal? The president aka the Crocodile is generally known to have masterminded Gukurahundi in which thousands of Matabeleland residents were massacred. Most reasonable people would agree that such deeds are accurately described with the adjectives "evil" and "devilish." Shoko was also charged with public violence for protesting in July...has anyone in the army been arrested yet for killing civilian protesters?
Wednesday 22 August, 2018
In case you missed the live feed, you can read the play-by-play of what went down today here. You can become better acquainted with all the electoral irregularities that the MDC's Advocate Mpofu alleges e.g. he says, "There were at least 16 polling stations with identical results - identical results for Chamisa, identical results for Mnangagwa. It is like a kid who was playing with the figures." That is a statistical impossibility in my opinion so if ZEC did rig, which I presume they did as they always do, why were they so clumsy about it? Could they not even try and cover their tracks by developing more sophisticated methods of stealing the election. Honestly! They have so much experience now, they should be the Lebron James of rigging...
In sum, there were some amusing Latin phrases and a lot of bombast as well as those ridiculous wigs but overall, this is a David vs. Goliath fight and I still fail to see how nine Constitutional Court judges in a captured judiciary will actually manage to deliver a verdict favourable to the MDC...
They will, nevertheless, announce their decision, which is final, on Friday at 14h. I will be paying close attention to the whereabouts of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces. Right now the streets around the court are being cordoned off by the riot police. But where will the army be on Friday? Will they stay in their barracks no matter what? There are also persistent rumours that the two architects of the coup, Mnangagwa and Chiwenga, are now at odds...if true, how will that impact how events will play out on Friday? As the saying goes, God bless, Zimbabwe.
Dambudzo Marechera - we need more like him. Read this: 'The 40-year-old “prophetic” Dambudzo Marechera novel that predicted troubles of modern-day Zimbabwe.'
The Constittutional Court is hearing arguments. Live stream here. Thanks God for technology!
Hundreds of people are watching on screens outside the court. I can't believe the judges still wear these ridiculous wigs. I think Advocate Thabani Mpofu just said that results came from "non-existent polls"! That would be shady as Michael Cohen and Paul Manafort. Hmmmm...
Thursday 16 August, 2018
The Constitutional Court is due to hear Chamisa's challenge on 22 August but the Croc is trying to have the whole case thrown out of court, am unclear if this will work or not. Meanwhile, the super convenient Zanu-PF super majority in parliament is considering changing the minimum age to run for president from 40 to 55. Guess who is 40? Yes, you guessed it, Nelson Chamisa of the MDC Alliance. Zanu-PF has never been accused of subtlety...
The Zanu-PF Youth League apparently wants to propose a Patriotic Act which would threaten politicos who call for sanctions against the country with hanging. This is aimed at Tendai Biti, of course. As we can see, democracy is growing from strength to strength in Zimbabwe. Just kidding, this electoral charade is like a doctor prescribing a banana milkshake for a patient with stage four cancer and pretending it could be the cure we have all been waiting for...
Democracy is on life support in Zimbabwe but dictatorship is flourishing. However, hope springs eternal for some: watch Advocate Fadzayi Mahere talk about the MDC's court challenge and the possibility of the courts agreeing the electoral votes were wrong and then, pray, hold thumbs, cross your fingers, pour libations, intercede with the ancestors...Did I mention that the Croc is at a SADC meeting right now consorting with his peers, barely/shadily/non-elected southern African leaders?
Sunday 12 August, 2018
If Zanu-PF's goal in holding so-called "democratic elections" was to change their image, they have clearly failed. Look at this heartbreaking video from the New York Times which shows the sheer desperation of the average Zimbabwean and the fear and violence caused by so many failed Zanu-PF policies. And look at this headline from the Financial Times, "Zimbabwe’s post-election crackdown scuppers investment hopes." Even though Zanu-PF is a venal, cruel, malevolently incompetent party which does not deserve international aid, without investment the people will only suffer more and they surely do not deserve more hardship.
Friday 10 August, 2018
With minutes to spare before the deadline to file a challenge to the electoral results, the MDC did lodge their case at the registry office today. Now, the Croc has to put his inauguration scheduled for Sunday on hold until the Constitutional Court can evaluate the challenge and make a ruling. They have 14 days to do so but don't hold your breath! This looks like more Theater of Empty Gestures to Create the Illusion of Democracy. But as the Croc told us yesterday, he can intervene in the courts when he wants to and I've seen no evidence that the Constitutional Court would be immune to political interference...An independent judiciary is the dream of every true democracy but alas, Zim is not even close.
So, before month end, I expect the Croc to get his inauguration and there will be much pomp and circumstance and all the African heads of state will fly in and they will congratulate him on his "hard-won victory" and declare the elections "free and fair" and proceed to figure out the most efficient ways to loot the country and secure the international monies needed to prop up the battered economy. Haru Mutasa of Al Jazeera tweeted today: "The number of foreigners and investors eager to invest who have called and emailed today wanting updates, they just want whatever is happening in #Zimbabwe to end so they come and invest. Politicians personal interests aside, most pple here just want jobs + the economy 2 recover." In other words, the scavengers are already circling...
Meantwhile, I am confused about whether the MDC is challenging the presidential and parliamentary electoral votes or just the presidential votes. You will be the first to know when I find out. May this weekend in the meantime be characterized by "peace, peace, peace" as one Supa Mandiwanzira once put it on ZTV. Of course, Mandiwanzira, a Zanu-PF loyalist, was claiming the election had been peaceful when it clearly had not been so I should stop this train of thought. I mean, can the weekend really, truly, actually be peaceful, please. The army should stay in their barracks...
Thursday 9 August, 2018
Another day rich in irony. Zambia deports Tendai Biti despite a High Court order. The US government tried to deport a woman and her daughter seeking asylum despite a court order but the judge demanded that the plane carrying them back to El Salvador be turned around in order to bring them back to the US so they may have their day in court.
Moral of the story: SHAME ON YOU, ZAMBIA!
The soap opera continues. The Croc’s London-based media team has tweeted that he has intervened to release Tendai Biti!
"STATEMENT ON RELEASE OF TENDAI BITI
Tendai Biti was released earlier today following my intervention. At such a crucial time in the history of the new Zimbabwe, nothing is more important than unity, peace and dialogue. (1/3)"
As clever people have pointed out:
a) so they drag Biti back from Zambia (with the complicity of the Zambian government) in order for Mnangagwa to exhibit his magnanimity and then boast about it on Twitter
b) the Croc says he is not in charge of the army but yet he is in control of the courts?
c) if Zim is trying to pretend that it’s now a democracy, just FYI, in democracies the judiciary is *supposed* to be independent. The president should not be “intervening.” While we're talking about democracy, just FYI, protesters don't get shot by the army, abducted, beaten, and tortured either...
Wow! African leaders do not fail to disappoint. Zambia has DEPORTED Tendai Biti. To be more precise, the Zambian government has defied their own High Court which stayed his deportation until they could hear his appeal. But no, the government just decided to contravene their own courts and the international convention on asylum seekers and hand him over to Zim authorities who may very well harm him. Who can prevail upon the Croc and cronies to respect Biti's human rights? Certainly, not SADC which certified this "election" as free and fair. African dictators are thick as thieves so who will speak out to rescue Biti? I don't know but I suggest everyone call, email, tweet their Zimbabwean embassy, the UN, the EU, Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International etc. etc. etc...
Wednesday 8 August, 2018
Zambia is apparently trying to refuse Tendai Biti asylum!! Why would they do that? He may be deported back to Zimbabwe which would endanger his well-being. He has been tortured before as have many other opposition members. Please, Zambia, give him asylum!!
In November, when Mnangagwa was demoted from his position in the government by the G-40 faction led by DisGrace, what did he do? He fled the country! Why? Because he knew that he was risking his life staying there. Now the same goes for Tendai Biti. Meanwhile, ED is pretending that he is not the one who is ordering the security forces to harass, abduct and torture the opposition. A mysterious "third force" or rogue elements within the army supposedly under the guidance of General Chiwenga are being blamed for the current persecution. But that is a very convenient tale and we have not forgotten that when Mnangagwa was committing atrocities in Matabeleland during Gukurahundi and election violence in 2008, Mugabe also pretended that he knew nothing of what was happening...
Whereabouts of Tendai Biti are in dispute. Some say the military actually failed to detain him at Chirundu border post and he has successfully escaped into Zambia, other reports indicate he has been arrested. Read the BBC report here.
I hope Biti is safe in Zambia!
Zanu-PF used to beat and torture people before elections to make them vote for Zanu. Now, they're beating and torturing people after the elections which they claim they handily won. Why? The MDC is challenging the results in court so why are the security forces hunting down opposition leaders and WHY HAVE THEY ARRESTED OPPOSITION LEADER, TENDAI BITI? Biti was attempting to cross the border into Zambia to seek political asylum because his mother and other relatives have been consistently harassed since the election. The military kills people with live ammunition and now blames the violence on the opposition? How convenient. The charade is up, Mnangagwa. Stop pretending you're different from Mugabe.
Tuesday 7 August, 2018
The post-election crackdown presumably conducted by the security forces continues while calls for peace are issued by the EU, US, UN etc. and people debate what real world consequences Zim’s new, undemocratically installed government should face because it seems the world is weary of instability in the country and would rather close their eyes to the glaring absence of human rights committed by the security forces…
Although, nobody seems to know who is in charge of the security forces and who is calling the shots…or at least, the Croc and his allies are claiming no knowledge despite being in charge of the country. Most disappointing is that even after at least six protesters were gunned down by the presidential guard, the New York Times declares that “Mr. Mnangagwa, ZANU-PF and the military have not yet struck out. They still benefit from the hope that Mr. Mugabe’s fall turned the page for Zimbabwe, and the country can finally reclaim the stability and prosperity its natural resources and educated population should have.” If rigging the election and killing, raping, abducting and torturing the opposition doesn’t earn one a strike-out, what does? Would American people accept this from their own leaders?
Meanwhile, despite the MDC’s proposed court challenge to the election results, the Croc is planning his inauguration for 12 August and the 27 MDC members arrested for supposedly inciting violence (when the presidential guard killed six people) were released on bail. Tomorrow, 8 August, the MDC Alliance is scheduled to hold a press conference and perhaps we will hear more about their plan to challenge the election results…
Sunday 5 August, 2018
Masked men without uniforms, soldiers wearing balaclavas, AK47s, sjamboks, vendors' stalls destroyed, doors pushed open, interrogations, abductions, beatings, torture, rape. Dozens, perhaps hundreds, of MDC supporters are right now in hiding because there is a widespread campaign by men in and out of uniform to intimidate, threaten, and brutalize opposition supporters. One MDC activist alleges that men burst into her home in the early hours of Sunday morning and raped both her and her husband.
These so-called “historic/landmark” elections which were in principle supposed to usher in a “new dawn/era” for Zimbabwe is depressingly familiar to anyone who has followed Zanu-PF’s terroristic tactics over the years. However, some activists say this weekend marks a new level of intimidation unseen even under Mugabe...
The population is fearful and uncertain of the future. The police and army put out a statement today trying to persuade people to go to work on Monday morning because there are competing rumors making the rounds alleging that the army has called for a big march tomorrow…Confusion reigns...What is clear is that this election and its heinous aftermath should not reassure anyone that Zim is on the path to democracy.
If Zanu-PF and the army can terrrorize people like this while the eyes of the world are still upon them, just imagine what they will do when the world is no longer watching!
As Wilf Mbanga trenchantly pointed out, the Croc needed to win this election and at least appear to win it credibly. Zanu-PF apparently colluded with ZEC to orchestrate the perfect victory, a miraculous two-thirds majority in parliament (winning seats even in anti-Zanu-PF provinces like Manicaland and Matabeleland South) and conveniently winning the presidency with 50,8% of the vote, high enough to avoid a run-off but low enough to appear like a legitimate result…
Orwell should arise from his grave to bear witness. The presidential guard killed protesters on Wednesday, at least six have died thus far, although there are new reports that the tally is now seven. The president who presumably is in charge of the country and maybe even his own presidential guard has called for an independent inquiry into the killings. But meanwhile, 27 members of the opposition are being held in jail on charges of inciting violence…
Logic is not Zanu-PF’s strong suit but violence certainly is…
Saturday 4 August, 2018
In November last year, just after the coup, I wrote:
“The people of Zimbabwe were willing to march in solidarity with the military to remove Mugabe. Will they be willing to march against the army to protest Mnangagwa IF Zanu-PF tries to steal next year's election?”
That question has now been answered. No, they are not and they should not because the army is clearly willing to shoot to kill as we saw this week after ZDF gunned down protesters armed with nothing more than courage. Some of those brave souls are being buried today and the gruesome images of their fatal gunshot wounds have been seen by millions of Zimbabweans, effectively quashing any potential of more protest.
The reality is that NOTHING has changed in Zimbabwe at all. The coup in November was just about changing who runs Zanu-PF. The party moved from being run by a nonagenarian to being run by a septuagenarian but it’s the same old, same old, literally old, old men who fought a war long ago and believe that they are the only ones who deserve to run the country. As this article pointed out in November, these are the same old men who have always been there: they are the problem and represent the blood-soaked past, they are decidedly not the solution nor the future Zimbabwe needs.
Thus far, they’re running the country into the ground and making a mockery of democracy along the way. It’s sad to see South Africa’s ANC and even the EFF congratulating the Crocodile as if this were a genuine election. ED used the army in November to remove Mugabe and now he is using ZDF to enforce the “democratic election.” There are reports that the army is busy beating people up far away from the cameras. Some Zimbabweans have expressed shock at the behavior of the army after they celebrated these same soldiers as “liberators” of the people, jumping on their tanks, taking selfies with them...Why would anyone trust the ZDF when they have only ever acted to protect the interests of their Zanu-PF leaders?
But despite the ZDF's killing spree, election irregularities and credible evidence of rigging, many people, in Zimbabwe and out, are going to be willing to pretend that ED is the democratically-elected leader of a democracy. Nothing could be further from the truth but truth is anathema to those who benefit from ignorance. I learnt that lesson a long time ago as a secondary school student in Harare when I was in the Taurayi Zenith debate club. Debating a different school one cold winter evening, I was charged with arguing for freedom of the press and my opponent was tasked with arguing against. I made the usual points regarding the relationship between a free press and democracy - journalists hold politicians accountable, keeps them honest, brings more transparency to government practice, illuminates corruption etc. My opponent's rebuttal was to seize on my point about corruption and argue that Zimbabwe should not have a free press because then these inveterate searchers for truth – journalists – would expose our politicians’ corruption and then we would not respect them…ergo we should tamp down on the press to make sure we don’t find out about the venal ways of our politicos so that we may respect them…
As a teenager, I found that logic absurd and had to stop myself from guffawing dismissively. But as an adult, I have realized that many people share this point of view: easier to sweep the dirt under the carpet and pretend the house is clean. Many powerful people, parties, organizations, banks etc. will participate in this fiction and will not look kindly upon those who jump up and down and insist on reminding us that underneath that carpet is utter filth…
Friday 3 August, 2018
The killing of Cecil the Lion evoked more tears and outrage than the killing of six (and possibly more) unarmed civilians protesting a highly specious "election." Despite these murders carried out by the army who came on to the streets on the orders of someone in the ruling party, so many countries, companies and investment consultancies are all too happy to certify this "election" as expressing the legitimate will of the people...Where is Raila Odinga? I hope he won't also jump on the bandwagon and congratulate Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa on his cooked-up "victory."
What has happened in Zimbabwe is a travesty of democracy and has divided the country...Today, as the MDC tried to hold a press conference, riot police arrived to chase away the assembled local and international journalists. But then someone in Zanu-PF remembered that they were supposed to be pretending that this is a democratic election and a Zanu-PF bigwig arrived to chase away the police and encourage the journalists to attend the press conference. Schizophrenia! As soon as the election observers are gone and investment and aid monies flow on, I am sure Zanu-PF will return to their usual repressive measures with gusto...more tomorrow...
Thursday 2 August, 2018 - Friday 3 August, 2018
Close to 1 a.m. in the morning, ZEC has now managed to release the election "results." The foregone conclusion has become reality and the Croc is now officially declared the president with a lot of pomp and circumstance and big English like "disaggregated data."
It seems this "election" has been a very costly charade: biometric registration, the vote, now loss of life just in order to declare that ED has "won" an election that was neither democratic, free nor fair.
The MDC is contesting the results already. Allegations of irregularities etc. are being pointed out on social media but since Zanu-PF controls ZDF, the state-controlled media, the courts and indeed, all state apparatuses, they can now proceed to claim "victory" and proceed with a new era of Zanu-PF rule...Violence as per usual...
What a waste of money and time this has been but heartbreaking for the people who believed that real democratic change was possible...I really don't know why I waste my time following these "elections." It just raises my blood pressure and makes my hair turn white...I will now return to watching US news on whatever nonsense Donald Trump is tweeting. At least the military does not parade on the streets of the US...at least not yet...
Any potential MDC protest is a non-starter because we saw yesterday that the army is willing to shoot protesters in cold blood...
22h in Harare, ZEC (Zim Electoral Commission) podium empty. Thanks for not keeping time when the people are awaiting presidential results! Hearing that the army is patrolling the "suburbs," assume this means the townships but cannot verify. Also hearing a rumor that ZEC Chairwoman, Justice Priscilla Chigumba, is the "small house" (mistress) of the Zanu-PF Minister of Mines. Cannot verify, just reporting the rumor but if there is any credence to this, means that the election is pretty much an inside job...
According to this Guardian article, the Croc did not give the order for the ZDF to fire on protesters. Does that mean that Mnangagwa is not in charge of the army he used to depose Mugabe? And if he is not in charge of them, who is? This bodes worse for Zimbabweans. If the armed forces are divided, then there could be significant in-fighting amongst them and all these dudes are armed...
Yesterday's death toll up to 6, 3 died on the spot yesterday, 3 more from their injuries now. The soldiers shoot people and then arrest opposition leaders for inciting public violence. Why does no-one arrest the soldiers who fired on weaponless civilians??
Still waiting, waiting, waiting for presidential "results." Supposedly they will come at 22h local time or according to ZEC, they will "start to announce" the results. This means they may announce the results extremely slowly, constituency by constituency, so that the final tally is announced very late in the night. Why are they delaying?
Skullduggery and chicanery are suspected by all fair-minded observers. This does not include a number of election observers from non-democratic countries who are characterizing the election as "orderly." Really, why do these non-democracies even comment? They don't have democratic elections themselves so who are they to come and judge Zim's elections?
The late night presidential results announcement that we're expecting is obviously an attempt to avoid protesters coming out onto the streets which by the way are being patrolled by soldiers. Police have arrested people at the opposition's headquarters, not clear why. Rumors that the police want to question Tendai Biti, not clear why...
In 2008, every polling station posted results outside the polling station. People used their phones to take pictures of these tallies. Then, despite this pictorial evidence that showed MDC had won, Zanu-PF "massaged" the numbers and eventually stole that election. Seems that this year's V11 forms from each polling station are already the subject of disputation and possible massage once again...waiting to hear the results...
Zanu-PF has declared that they will accept the results if Nelson Chamisa is declared the winner. Really? Seeing is believing! Since Zanu-PF controls the armed forces, this is hard to imagine...
As things stand now, to the best of my knowledge, parliamentary results are as follows: ZANU PF has 165 seats, MDC Alliance 63, NPF 1 and 1 independent. This means that Zanu-PF has a two thirds majority and therefore can change the constitution as they like.
There are soldiers in downtown Harare. We can no longer pretend this is not a military takeover. For those who were pretending. This election appears thus far to be a mere legitimation of Zanu-PF's internal November coup...
Still awaiting presidential results. Soldiers and police patrolling streets of Harare. How quickly the military came out of their barracks yesterday instead of letting riot police do their job and disperse the crowd. Is this the new normal? So many questions. Rumors on social media thus far impossible to verify: opposition leaders being arrested, reports of irregular voting results e.g. Mnangagwa receiving more votes in some areas than registered voters...Following live updates here.
Wednesday 1 August, 2018
What is happening in Zimbabwe today is horrible. The army fired live ammunition into a crowd of MDC supporters and at least three people are confirmed dead. There are gruesome pictures of bloodied, gunshot-wounded people all over social media implying there could be even more fatalities and several injured.
This should not be happening. Why can't the army use water cannons or tear gas to disperse the crowd? But at the same time, why are the official results for who won the presidential election taking so long to come out? Are they busy cooking the results as is the usual habit of Zanu-PF? And isn't it quite convenient how Zanu-PF has won a two thirds majority in parliament over MDC, 144 to 61?
Now, Zimbabweans are divided over whether chicanery is afoot and if so, what to do.
a) Has the vote been stolen? (Of course, the African Union, COMESA, and SADC have already declared the election free and fair. Really, who are they to do so? Meanwhile, the European Union and other Western observers are more cautious in their assessments thus far...a pity Zim cannot rely on fellow Africans to hold Zanu-PF accountable!)
b) If the vote has been stolen, what should be done?
In other countries, I have heard the rallying cry, "No Justice, No Peace!" But in Zimbabwe, I think that cry is more like, "No Justice? Oh, well, we'll just be peaceful anyway." That at least is the majority view, it has been and seemingly will be. Don't get me wrong, I am not advocating violence from the comfort of my home in Brooklyn, that would be irresponsible and hypocritical, but I do sympathize with those who feel that their vote and their voice mean nothing. If the results have been cooked, it is not the first time. It's like 2008 deja vu all over again...
Apparently, ZEC will inform us who the president is tomorrow...and we shall see what happens after that...May there not be violence and may justice prevail...
Sunday 29 July, 2018
Politicians, both current and former, both in Zimbabwe and out, make me sick. They are shamelessly, grotesquely, vomit-makingly hypocritical. On the eve of the election, former President Robert Mugabe has given a press conference in which he says a) he will likely vote for the opposition party candidate, MDC's Nelson Chamisa instead of his own party's candidate, the Crocodile Mnangagwa who removed him from power in the November coup and b) he hopes the voice of the people will be heard in the election tomorrow. Really? Now, he wants the voice of the people to be heard? Because when the MDC won the election in 2008, Mugabe "colluded" with Mnangagwa to steal that election for Zanu-PF. Hypocrites, all!
Secondly, according to all the reporting I have read, the Crocodile is going to hold this election and make it just "free and fair" enough to allow the international community to reinvest in the country. He keeps saying, Zimbabwe is "open for business" and so it seems to cynical moi that this election is just part of an elaborate rubber stamp game to legititmize the coup and allow foreign direct investment and foreign aid to return to the "democratically elected" government...
I don't much like Chamisa of MDC either but the excitement and fervor for change is real and if these elections were truly free and fair, the MDC has a great chance of winning...I remain skeptical of Zanu-PF ever letting go of the reigns of power no matter what happens tomorrow (why would the Croc go to all that trouble to remove Mugabe only to cede power to the "small boy" Chamisa, 35 years his junior and a man too young to have fought in the war of liberation?). However, I am also open to the possibility of a miracle...It is still miraculous to me that Mugabe was removed from power after 37 long, long years so...
Saturday 21 July, 2018
Election day will be a public holiday so people can cast their vote but 30 July is just around the corner and tensions are rising because it is unclear if the vote will be free and fair and who can be trusted to ensure that it is so. Watch Tendai Biti here about pre-election worries regarding the voters' roll, biometrics, ZEC (Zimbabwe Electoral Commission) etc.
Saturday 23 June, 2018
So depressing! Just yesterday we were making Solstice prayers that this Zim election would be peaceful and now, today, a bomb goes off at a Bulawayo Zanu-PF rally, seemingly aimed at Mnangagwa. Bombs? In Zimbabwe? I hope this is not going to start a wave of a new type of election violence because we have not had bombs before. And the elections are a mere five weeks away. Already accusations are flying about who was behind this bomb but it's best to wait for facts before wrongfully accusing the wrong person/party...
Friday 11 May, 2018
Every day now, I receive messages promoting the MDC candidate for president, Nelson Chamisa. This is a reflection of the anti-Zanu PF sentiment that has been simmering for years in the Eastern Highlands from where my family hails. "Takananga Canaan naChamisa 2018. Chamisa chete chete vote 2018," reads one WhatsApp meme, "We are looking forward to the promised land with Chamisa 2018. Only Chamisa, vote 2018."
Well, I still remain skeptical that Zanu-PF and/or the Croc Mnangagwa will be willing to give up power if the MDC manages to win the vote. They won the vote in 2008 and who stole the election from them? Yes, the Croc Mnangagwa was the mastermind tsotsi behind that theft...So, what is the MDC's plan a decade later to ensure the integrity of the ballot box?
Monday 12 March, 2018
I felt a vague sense of shock upon opening up the New York Times to find that none other than Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa had authored an op-ed in that globally-influential paper. Why, I wondered, does the new president want to write about what he claims is a new Zimbabwe in the Times? Aaahhh, yes, because he is appealing to the "international community" (aka powerful countries) to lift sanctions and invest their dollars in Zim's fragile economy. He is trying to rebrand the country from basketcase banana republic to business-friendly nation (in this cynical age, countries, like people and companies, all have to have a brand). He is talking the talk of democracy but is he walking the walk?
That is a question we cannot yet answer seeing as it's only four months since the coup which he still claims was not a coup...Fascinating to learn that as South Africa considers expropriating white-owned land without compensation, Zimbabwe is reversing some of the controversial land-ownership policies that helped destroy the economy. To wit, ED writes: "We amended the Indigenization & Economic Empowerment Act, which had constrained foreign ownership of local businesses and discouraged much needed investment. We have now removed this constraint in almost all sectors, sending a clear signal that Zimbabwe is open for business. I wish to assure everyone that all foreign investments will be safe and secure in the new Zimbabwe. Transparency and the rule of law will be key." I will investigate the meaning of "almost all sectors" but I would say preliminarily that in the 2000s, Mugabe pretended to effect land reform by taking land from white farmers and giving it to his ZANU-PF cronies (NOT the landless people who need and needed it). Mugabe himself owns 21 ill-gotten farms but ED's "open for business" neoliberal rhetoric of private property is sacrosanct, safe and secure, does not bode well for genuine, non-violent, just land reform...
Wednesday 14 February, 2018
Today is Ash Wednesday for Christians and Valentine’s Day for lovers and D-Day for South Africans as President Jacob Zuma finally bows to pressure and resigns but for Zimbabwe, today marks just three months since the coup that would ultimately remove Mugabe began and sadly, it is also the day that Morgan Tsvangirai has passed away.
Tsvangirai was the first person in post-independence Zimbabwe to establish a really successful opposition party, no easy feat in a country suffering under the “one-party rule” of ZANU-PF and “president for life,” tyrant Robert Mugabe. Tsvangirai was the head of the ZCTU (Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions) and was accused of being a western puppet when he formed the MDC (Movement for Democratic Change) in 1999 whose rallying cry was, “Chinja maitiro, maitiro chinja” (change our ways). There is much to be written about Tsvangirai’s leadership of the MDC but for today, we should wish his friends and family our sincerest condolences and remember that when he first stood up to Mugabe, he was heroic and courageous in his brave struggle for a more democratic Zimbabwe. His passing will greatly impact the future of the country…
Monday 1 January, 2018
The fundamental question of 2018 is whether the Croc will preside over peaceful elections later this year. Has he really gone to all that trouble of overthrowing Mugabe in the coup he insisted was not a coup in order to let the opposition party win the elections? This article claims Mnangagwa will not improve Zimbabwe's chances of progressing down the road towards democracy but actually retard them.
One thing is for certain, the military are more fully in control now than ever before: General Chiwenga who was head of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces six weeks ago when the coup began (feels like ten years ago) has now been made Vice-President and has also been assigned the Defence and War Veterans portfolio which this article says is unconstitutional. Does this corralling of power in the hands of the military convince you that democracy is on the way?
Thursday 21 December, 2017
President Mnangagwa, aka the Croc, met with business people in South Africa’s capital, Pretoria, today. In the last few weeks there have been awful rumours about ordinary citizens being harassed by the soldiers who were, ironically, November’s heroes. How quickly things can change. Right now, the Zim government is trying to convince international investors that they are a safe bet. The only way they can possibly drag the economy out of the Zanu-PF-created quagmire it has been drowning in for years is if adequate investment can be secured….We shall see what 2018 brings…
Friday 1 December, 2017
(HYPERLINKS BELOW MAY NOT WORK BUT CAN BE FOUND ON THE ESSAY OF THE MONTH TAB
WHERE THE ORIGINAL TIMELINE WAS POSTED)
Zimbabweans are waking up today wondering if they are having a bad dream from which they cannot free themselves. The Croc's cabinet rewards those who helped him wrest power from Comrade Bobs: the army, the airforce and the War Vets. It also has many people from his own ethnic group and where are the opposition members we wanted to see included?
This is what he has done, this is what he could have done and this is a message circulating this morning: "We expected too much from someone who was with Bob and Zanu for the past 60 years. Ndoshamwari dzake dzakamira naye. This is pathetic. Let's register and vote. Asante sana. Iwe neni tine basa." These last two sentences mockingly echo Bobs' infamous non-resignation speech of...was it ten years ago? Let me scroll down to find out. Mugabe gave that speech on 19 November, a mere 11 days ago, feels so much longer. For some reason he thanked the nation in Swahili, asante sana, and then said in Shona, you and me still have work to do, as in we have unfinished business...
Well, as you see, Zimbabwe has unfinished business. If there are free and fair elections next year and a genuine free press, the people of Zimbabwe will finish with Zanu-PF and vote the Croc and his cabinet out! Please note, IF...The coup represented change but not necessarily progress. This cabinet, however, is barely even change and certainly not forward progress...
The Croc has been talking the talk but now, we see that he is not walking the walk. Crocodiles don't really walk much. They spend most of their time wallowing in the mud...That's what we're seeing today. Same old mud...The people of Zimbabwe were willing to march in solidarity with the military to remove Mugabe. Will they be willing to march against the army to protest Mnangagwa IF Zanu-PF tries to steal next year's election? Because they cannot win fair and square with this cabinet...
Thursday 30 November, 2017
ZBC is reporting that the Croc has announced his cabinet. This cabinet is so unserious and uninspiring and unchanged from Mugabe days (except for more MaKaranga) that really, if this is not fake news, we have to ask, WHAT WAS THE POINT OF A COUP? I feel that every day we come back to this very same theme: do these guys comprehend the concept of a coup? Scroll down. A coup is supposed to represent CHANGE. So the plan is this: we're going to bed. When we wake up, this better turn out to be fake news because who would actually put Supa Mandiwanzirah in their cabinet??
Wednesday 29 November, 2017
On this rainy, unseasonably chilly evening, I meet a woman from Tsholotsho in Matabeleland. She is not very old but old enough to remember seeing her father shot dead in 1985 by the North Korean-trained Fifth Brigade during the abominable Gukurahundi massacres overseen by one Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa. Her father had been accused of feeding “dissidents” antagonistic to Zanu-PF and thus he was murdered in front of all his wives and dozens of children. His family was told that if anyone cried upon seeing him fall down dead, they too would be shot right there and then.
These stories are all too common for Zimbabweans who grew up in rural Matabeleland. Yet, so many of them, despite their PTSD, want nothing more than to give Mnangagwa a chance to redeem himself. They are desperate to forgive and forget in the hopes of a better tomorrow. This is also why there are so many messages lighting up social media which represent the wishful thinking category of news I cannot confirm is true but which many people hope represents rumours based in reality:
-One tale is that Zanu-PF government workers will be required to submit CVs to find a position in the new administration’s leaner, meaner operation. I am fairly positive many of them do not even know what a CV is since Zanu-PF is such a rotten political party, operating for years through patronage and rewarding only a willingness to condone corruption and blind loyalty to Mugabe, that a CV submission if true would represent a massive change in the ruling party's modus operandi.
-A picture of a car stopped at a robot (traffic light) is circulating with the claim that Mnangagwa is a “humble president” who is shunning Mugabe’s obnoxious motorcade which used to roar through the streets bringing all traffic to a halt as his entourage consisting of dozens of security vehicles raced by at dangerously-high speeds, woe unto any creature that failed to scramble out of the way.
-There are some documents circulating that purport to be the new leaner, meaner civil service with cabinet cut down to twelve people.
None of these are verified but even if they eventually qualify as fake news, their very existence shows how eager Zimbabweans are for a new efficient, competent, capable, honest leader on a genuine anti-corruption crusade…
It is true, however, that the Croc is adopting the communications platforms of the modern presidency. He is on both Facebook and Twitter (hopefully he won’t be "twitting" corrosive nonsense like cringe-worthy, fact-allergic, mentally-unhinged, emotionally-stunted, hate-mongering, thoroughly racist, sexual predator Donald Trump. American people, take heart! If Mugabe can be removed, Trump can most certainly be impeached. Have you signed the pro-impeachment petition?).
The Croc tweeted something very important today: “I’m calling for those Zimbabweans in diaspora to participate in rebuilding our Zimbabwe nation which shall include diaspora voting and dual citizenship.” Technically, Zim already allows dual citizenship as in it passed in Parliament a few years ago. But in practice it is yet to be realized. The people at “kumapassports,” which is the building next to “kumabirths,” have no idea how it works. Kumapassports and kumabirths, by the way, if you are lucky enough to have never visited either of these hellholes, are the most horrible, venal, Kafkaesque, byzantine, bureaucratic morasses of infinite madness-making machinations you will ever encounter. I personally think corrupt Zanu-PF politicians should be banished to these two government buildings for the rest of their lives so they can experience the nightmarish quagmire which ordinary citizens confront daily as they try and obtain documents we all need – birth certificates, national IDs, passports…
…But diaspora voting would be a game-changer. Some people estimate that as much as a third of the population is outside of the country and most of these were considered hostile to the Mugabe/Zanu-PF regime as their base has always been peasants in the rural areas, especially those in Zezuru and Karanga-speaking regions…So, that would be a risky move for Mnangagwa to allow real, unrigged diaspora voting…but that promise might just encourage more diaspora investment in the country which is broke even though former Minister of Finance, Ignatius Chombo, was found with US$14 million in cash in his ceiling...or as some other versions of this possibly apocryphal tale have it, US$9 million stuffed into a suitcase...
…Meanwhile, we are still waiting for the cabinet picks but some good, if ironic, news. Pastor Evan Mawarire of the #ThisFlag movement was acquitted in court today of the charge that he had tried to overthrow Mugabe. This article reports that, “Declaring him innocent, Judge Priscilla Chigumba told Harare’s high court on Wednesday that ‘there is no evidence that he urged a violent removal of government’.” Yeah…that’s because the War Vets were busy plotting to remove the Mugabe government themselves so the high court can hardly convict Pastor Mawarire on these charges when the new President has just been sworn into office in this coup they keep denying is a coup…but a coup by any other name is still a coup…
Tuesday 28 November, 2017
I am still drowning in a flood of fake and real news on a daily, and sometimes even hourly, basis. Anxiety, fear, trepidation, adrenaline are still running high for Zimbabweans and thus the incessant, fervent sharing of photos, videos, audio files, pithy Whatsapp declarations and cryptic “twits.” If you would like to be scandalized by the grotesque antics of Zim’s super-rich elite on Instagram, check out this British tabloid article, which features all their conspicuous consumption and shallow, Kardashian-esque lifestyles.
In the last 48 hours, pictures have circulated of the Croc with a rather gormless-looking white guy (sorry to go all ad hominem but just being honest). Noone knew who he was at first but he was shown posing with various stakeholders: shaking hands with the Croc, smiling with Mai Mujuru, and making nice with Morgan Tsvangirai (who really needs a good nickname if he’s gonna be a recurring character in the Blue Roof Mansion TV series which so needs to get made). These photos immediately sparked speculation that the UK was already in the process of lifting sanctions. The gormless white guy turned out to be Rory Stewart, the British Minister for Africa, who was the first foreign visitor to officially come a calling. Sanctions have not yet been lifted but wiser observers have noted that China is already well-ensconced in Zim so now that conflicted Anglophile/Anglophobe Mugabe - who both loved and admired Britain but also hated himself for loving and admiring it so much since it is Zimbabwe’s former colonizer – is out of the way, the UK wants to get back in the door. And thus Rory is the first courtesy call paid to the new administration…
Although the Croc has not yet announced his cabinet, he has taken several other steps to combat graft and portray a new, economically-efficient state, at least according to the multiple photos of his pronouncements which I received on Whatsapp. Firstly, he is encouraging the parents of those super-rich spoilt brat social media sensations to repatriate the monies stolen from Zim. There will be a “Don’t ask, don’t tell,” three-month amnesty accorded to these corrupt tsotsis if stolen funds are returned no later than 28 February, 2018. Now, I won’t spoil the party by asking if the Croc is going to bring back any funds he may have stashed outside the country in case one day the former First Lady, “Dr.” Disgrace, should, I dunno, maybe try and poison him with tainted ice cream? Okay, if you missed that episode of the Blue Roof Mansion TV series, which is truly stranger-than-fiction truth, just scroll down.
Secondly, ED has circulated a memo stating that he is going to slash the government bureaucracy into a lean, mean machine…This will be music to the ears of the IMF, World Bank and all those other multilateral institutions with their neoliberal agendas…Thirdly, he did not attend Kenyatta’s inauguration today citing an onerous schedule and budget constraints. Undemocratically “elected” African leaders normally support each other (even when their country is bankrupt) by celebrating each other’s ascension to power through very “treacherous shenanigans”…so that was a bit of a curveball…
These budget-conscious moves above make me wonder if we’re moving towards a Singapore-style state in which political freedom is traded for positive economic growth? Certainly, Mnangagwa is getting his capitalism on big-time right now…but will freedom of the press and freedom of speech be part of this new dispensation…I think it’s important to remind all Zim stakeholders right now that what has taken place in Zim in the last two weeks is certainly a coup but I no longer think of it as a military coup. It was a coup conducted with the explicit and implicit support of the liberation war veterans, some of whom were in the military (e.g. General Constantino Chiwenga, Major-General Sibusiso Moyo) and some of whom occupy different sectors…As stated somewhere below, the war veterans have often reiterated that they fought for democracy and all freedoms associated with a democratic state…Don’t forget this, please!!
To round up tonight’s thought download (and I would like to thank my friends and family for finding me the very best stuff out there), I will leave you with this article which I so wish I was clever enough to have written: "On Grace Mugabe: Coups, phalluses, and what is being defended."
Will Zim see the formation of a new cabinet tomorrow?
Monday 27 November, 2017
Did I imagine this or did Mnangagwa say during his swearing-in speech that he was going to "hit the ground running"? I've noticed that these Team Lacoste members do not seem to possess the commonly-accepted definitions of some words/phrases e.g. a coup is supposed to be fast and is what happened in Zim even though they keep on saying it didn't.
Well, just as the coup unfolded in slow motion, ED's "running" seems to be an unhurried, meandering walk...Hence, while wild rumours and fake lists flood social media, he has dissolved Mugabe's cabinet and appointed two acting ministers but we're still waiting for him to name his cabinet...Will he include someone like Tendai Biti to shake things up and assure us we're on a different path? Or will he just reshuffle the same old crooked Zanu-PFers? While the rest of the world is obsessed with jejune royal nuptials and beauty pageants, I suggest you read this thrilling recap of what General Chiwenga called "treacherous shenaningans" (as far as he could pronounce shenanigans...:)
Saturday 25 November, 2017
12:03 - Which reminds me...Dear Pseduo Pan-Africanists. For the last twenty years, you have aided and abetted Comrade Bobs in his self-absolving theorem that all Zimbabwe's woes were the fault of the Anglo-American imperialists and had nothing to do with his venality, greed, selfishness or incompetence. You stuck to his side like a leech because his unconstitutional, unethical, immoral, violent, deadly land grab was sanctioned by you because you perpetrated the myth that he was righting the wrongs of the past, and returning land stolen by the colonials back to its rightful owners, the children of the soil.
Now, I will say for the record here again that I believe in just land reform. Real land reform executed without violence or partisanship or corruption. Mugabe did NOT do this. He took land from white farmers who supported the opposition MDC (and not from white farmers who gave money to Zanu-PF). Then he used that land to curry political favour and leverage by serially dishing it out and taking it away from various stakeholders. In the process, he destroyed the economy whose backbone is agriculture and ruined countless lives, not just of the dispossessed white farmers but of the thousands of black farm workers who were, by the way, a key constitutuent of the trade union organization, ZCTU, which was led by, guess who, Morgan Tsvangirai, former leader of the ZCTU (Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions), now head of the opposition party, MDC-T. Mugabe's post-2000 cynical land grab was always an attempt to undermine fellow Africans in the MDC.
Of course, Euro-America does try to interfere in African politics. But you have no more credibility to make this case because you refuse to recognise that this interference cannot excuse African leaders from their accountability for their own sins. I assume your heartfelt apology is in the post...
11:50 - This future is so unclear that conspiracy theories continue to circulate on various platforms. I received yet another Whatsapp message telling me not to eat products produced at Mugabe-owned Gushungo Dairy because they are "tainted with a deadly substance." This all stems from the hypothesis that The Croc was almost assassinated by the Mugabes with poisoned ice cream. Other fake news fictions taking wing involve the imminent deportation or permit revocation for Zimbabweans working in Botswana, Zambia, South Africa etc. Not true but spreading like wildfire and sowing fear and anxiety nevertheless...
11:21 - I've found myself in the last days thinking of Pepetela's brilliant novel, Mayombe. Its hero, Commander Sem Medo (Fearless), was a true Angolan nationalist but even as he was fighting for the liberation of his country from the colonizer, Portugal, he could never see himself in the future, liberated, postcolonial Angola. He considered himself a guerrilla fighter, not a builder or a state bureaucrat, and he was happy to confine his role to the duration of the liberation struggle...
This fictional character is so poignant to me...When will the liberation parties which fought for southern African independence from white minority rule and colonialism relinquish their grip over the national trajectory and the armed forces which are so determinative of it? We thank the liberation war heroes who brought us independence but are they now holding back our future?
10:50 - “Like a compass needle that points north, a man's accusing finger always finds a woman.”
― Khaled Hosseini
Feminist scholars will write about this one day. How Grace, as horrible as she is, has been made to bear the full weight of all her husband's myriad sins. Just as all women who try to climb to the highest rungs of power are made to do. Hillary Clinton is still paying for her own and Bill's sins. Dr. Nkosasana Dlamini-Zuma, beware! South African president, uJacob Zuma, intends to pass the presidential baton to his ex-wife in the near future.
It's not that we should not hold these women responsible for their mistakes and their complicity in their husbands' wrongdoings. I am merely saying we should not hold them more responsible than their husbands and in Zimbabwe now, this Empty-headed Gal - Evil Genius Grace narrative is being used to exonerate Mugabe. NO WAYS! Mugabe is a murderer, not just of the Zim economy but also thousands upon thousands of people.
At yesterday's inauguration speech, I was not surprised to see several women lambasting Grace whom I really do prefer to call Disgrace. But she is not as disgraceful as Bobs himself. Some commentators have made the point that if Grace were a war veteran, Zanu-PF would not have been so offended by her power grab. Yes, I agree. But...when Grace successfully chased genuine war vet, Mai Joice Mujuru, out of the party, we didn't see General Chiwenga bringing his troops out of the barracks as he did when Mnangagwa was removed...I hear the ZDF have returned to their barracks now that The Croc has been sworn in. How long will they stay there? What might entice them out again? If Mnangagwa's wife, Auxilia (a very suitable name), decides she wants to be more than a mere auxiliary to her husband, what will happen?
10:23 - Can you imagine, this whole process of removing Bobs and installing The Croc began 11 days ago. It was a coup but wow, Team Lacoste has shrewdly utilized every tool of the state to sanitize this whole process. They have even had the courts declare the army's actions constitutional on the basis that Grace and her G40 gang had undue influence over poor, innocent, elderly Mugabe and had usurped his executive functions. On one hand, we have to acknowledge the skill and cunning it took to outfox Bobs. If he wasn't so elderly, he would have realised that he should have taken out General Chiwenga before removing Mnangagwa. But on the other hand, this blame it all on Grace narrative is such a convenient narrative...
Misogyny has been rife in the characterization of Grace Mugabe's role in the downfall of Zimbabwe. She has been painted both as an "empty-headed gal" (said Comrade Chris Mutsvangwa of War Vets) and the Evil Genius Pupeteer pulling Mugabe's strings. She is the former "typist" (said with a condescending sneer) who used to be Mugabe's secretary before she landed the country's most eligible sugardaddy. But she is also the mastermind who almost stole Zanu-PF and thus the Zimbabwean state apparatus from the powerful war veterans. How can she be both?
Well, that's how misogyny works...
08:18 - The Herald declares that this is, "the end of a long soap opera." Is it? Or is it just a new episode with characters who were previously members of the supporting cast suddenly elevated to being the main characters? And even as Team Lacoste assume the role of protagonist, will any of them emerge as heroes?
07:47 - Will the Crocodile announce his cabinet today since he declared in his inauguration speech yesterday that he has to hit the ground running? It had been reported that he would name his cabinet during the speech but that didn't happen so when will it and will it be inclusive?
Friday 24 November, 2017
14:14 - More later on misogyny and Disgrace, the apology owed by the pseudo Pan-Africanists, and whither Zim...but first we have to go for a walk...
13:51 - Since yesterday, rumours flying around about potential cabinet appointments. If this inauguration speech was talk, that will be action, ED's first action as President of the Republic of Zimbabwe. Different voices and viewpoints are being raised as multiple stakeholders try to shape this fluid period of transition. Check out this Open Letter to the Croc from the Zimbabwe Truth Reconciliation and Restoration Initiative.
13:48 - The stakes of this Zim reset could not be higher. I have heard so many heartbreaking stories in the last 72 hours about exploited, undocumented Zimbabwean workers in South Africa who now feel that they have more leverage over their evil bosses who sometimes pay them half of what promised or nothing at all after they complete their work because the evil boss merely threatens to call the immigration officials. They have been getting away with murder so to speak but if Zim becomes a viable country again, these workers feel that they won't be forced into working for these types in the first place because returning home becomes a real option...
13:37 - I am still gathering my thoughts and canvassing opinions but the bankers here are loving it! I rarely concur with bankers...
13:31 - "The voice of the people is the voice of God"...
13:30 - Supports the Palestinians. Blast from the past liberation party position but still necessary.
13:28 - Wants to reengage with the world and nations that Zim has been fighting with (ergo UK and US)..."In this global world, no nation can be an island"..."All foreign investments will be safe in Zimbabwe"...China, are you listening?
13:21 - ED is talking about the banking system. This speech is aimed at Big Business and multilateral institutions like the IMF so they feel that Zim will provide a "friendly business environment."
13:17 - Jobs, jobs, job creation. Investment, Foreign Direct Investment, economy, economy, economy, investment. Problems of liquidity must be tackled urgently.
13:11 - Promises elections will happen in 2018! Fab. But will Zanu-PF promise not to rig the ballot box and launch a campaign of violence against the opposition?
13:07 - Land reform will continue...but land will be used "optimally." This wll be a break from Zanu-PF cronies using rich, fertile agricultural land which they "repossessed" from white farmers to have braiis on the weekend. He says he will also compensate dispossessed white farmers...That's a game-changer, we will have to discuss more anon...
13:03 - We shouldn't be "hostages of the past." Let "bygones be bygones."
13:01 - Mugabe is still his father and a founding father of the nation...
12:58 - Recognizes non-Zanu-PF Zimbabweans...finally!
12:55 - The Croc takes the podium. Better late than never. Busy acknowledging every dignitary and his dog. Zimbabweans love this pompous protocol. Hearing the same old names from my childhood...
12:43 - What time will ED speak? This swearing in ceremony is taking as long as the coup...
12:27 - Good coverage on Aljazeera for international audience. I will try and find a good article on this to post later but very important that Mnangagwa is Karanga. Mugabe is Zezuru. They are both Shona but from different regions. This is significant in the Zim political landscape...
12:02 - ZRP Police Comissioner Augustine Chihuri is booed by the crowds and some "twits" say they are chanting, Chihuri must go! Absolutely, good riddance to bad rubbish. He is so corrupt and partisan, he should step down...I am going to call Bob Mueller to come to Zim and launch a Special Counsel into all Zanu-PF criminals...As soon as he is done investigating Trump's collusion with Russia...
11:53 - All this pomp and ceremony is time consuming. But all eardrums on alert as we wait for the Crocodile's speech...It is paramount that he speak the language of democracy with absolute flluency. Munogona Democracy here, Comrade Croc?
11:42 - ED is taking the oath to uphold the constitution...umhum, the proof will be in the pudding...
11:38 - Chief Justice begins the Croc's swearing in...
11:33 - Eish. These people are really running with delays. Let's talk about how the ANC should apologise for sanctioning Zanu-PF's stealing of the election. Imagine if the ANC and SADC had declared the stolen election of 2008 illegitimate? They could have saved Zimbabwe from an extra nine years of Mugabe. Instead, they have sanctioned this oppressive dictatorship. I saw an ANC spokesperson making the most illogical statement. In response to a question about the coup, he said that Zanu-PF is the sister liberation party of ANC and that he was "suspicious" about what was happening in Zimbabwe because "everyone was happy." Yeah, dude. When everyone is happy that Mugabe is gone, it should illustrate to you how misguided your infinite, unethical support of Bobs has been!
11:12 - I have not read The Herald in years as really just blatant Zanu-PF propaganda so I cannot say if it was until last week reflecting the G40, Grace's faction, viewpoint. But it certainly is 110% behind the Crocodile's cabal, Team Lacoste, now. Look at this story, "G40 cabal was on a self-enriching crusade." And Team Lacoste was not? Please! ALL of Zanu-PF has been shamefully ransacking the country for decades, treating it like their own personal ATM. So is the Crocodile's intention, backed by the force of Chiwenga's army, to blame all financial crimes and misdeeds on G40 with no acknowledgement of their own collusion, complicity, cooperation, coordination in enriching themselves?
11:02 - Now, Mugabe is not coming. As always with Bobs, seeing is believing so I am not surprised. Probably he was never due to come. But what a pity because he has deprived us all of some well-deserved schadenfreude. If he loved Zimbabwe, he would have come because it would give us all more closure...okay, and also schadenfreude. I admit it, I totally admit it.
10:56 - Mugabe's agemate, former president of Zambia, Kenneth Kaunda, arrives...He had been sent last week by Zambia's current president to try and convince stubborn Bobs to resign...
10:50 - Crowds in the National Sports Stadium being entertained by singer of the moment, Jah Prayzah, with his aptly-entitled hit, Kutonga Kwaro, anthem of the coup.
10:46 - Mnangagwa is now seated. He is no spring chicken at 75 but still 18 years younger than Bobs. When the Blue Roof Mansion series is cast everyone will be 30 years younger and way more attractive.
Delays because some other heads of state are still arriving...African time?
10:33 - Ugghhh. Seeing more reports on violence. Zimbabweans have been ever so smug about this so-called "bloodless" coup, lording it over Kenyans with the cry that a Zim coup is more peaceful than a Kenyan election...Kenyans, let me assure you that Zim elections have been marred by murder, abduction, rape, torture...and now reports surfacing that former Minister of Finance, Ignatius Chombo, is in hospital after being tortured in military detention...Already signs that Chiwenga and Mnangagwa are determined to keep on drawing from the Zanu-PF playbook...
10:27 - Peeps are "twitting" that Morgan Tsvangirai has arrived...
10:08 - Some sources reporting Comrade Bobs will be in attendance! Ko "Dr." Disgrace?
09:47 - Oh goodness. Worrying reports of violence that we absolutely cannot support. ZDF may be targetting families of deposed Saviour Kasukuwere and former Minister of Disinformation and until last week, current Minister of Miseducation, Jonathan Moyo. I will try to confirm but such extra-legal, vindictive actions would be despicable and unacceptable.
09:30 - A very clever somebody has asked me if Mugabe will be present as Mnangagwa takes the oath. How would I know? In my whole life I have never seen the swearing in of a new president. But if ZDF wants to continue the charade that this is not a coup, shouldn't Mugabe and Disgrace be there for the handover? Now that would be entertainment! We all want to see Comrade Bob now that he has joined the ranks of the unemployed. And according to various sources, the unemployment rate in Zimbabwe is 95% so he will have plenty of company. Congrats, Gushungo, this is your legacy, university grads selling bananas at the side of a potholed road. Shame!
09:00 - Settle in, settle down. Did you bring the mangoes and the watermelon? You are probably drinking. That's fine. Let's get down to business. First dignitary to arrive is supposed to be the Mayor of Harare in the next minutes. Rumours abound that the main opposition party, MDC-T, has not been invited. Other sources say that MDC-T leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, did receive an invite late last night...Our eyes are peeled. Zanu-PF must provide us with a symbolic spectacle that signals a new era of openness to the opposition and to alternative viewpoints...
Thursday 23 November, 2017
WATCH: ‘Mnangagwa, the military and Mugabe are cut from the same cloth.’ Please watch and listen closely to these brave activists! They're reminding us of where we have come from. I just had a...vigorous discussion with a lovely Ndebele-speaking Zimbabwean who lived through the atrocities of Gukurahundi at the hands of the infamous North Korean-trained Fifth Brigade. He said we must forgive Mnangagwa and give him a chance to make positive change in Zimbabwe. I said, please don't give these guys a long leash. They must immediately prove that they are trying to reform and are now trustworthy and will deliver the democratic freedoms that the war vets fought for. I remember once hearing Comrade Wilfred Mhanda, genuine war veteran, say that Mugabe had cynically reduced the Chimurenga to a struggle for land. Cde Mhanda was clear that they fought for the land AND democracy - freedom of speech, freedom of association etc.
Now, if you want to follow the nyayas regarding Zanu-PF's continuing intrafacational battles, nowhere better to look than the Herald. General Chiwenga is suing former Minister of Disinformation and possibly the second most unpopular man in Zimbabwe after Mugabe, Professor Jonathan Moyo, an obnoxious member of the G40 cabal who loved to trashtalk on Twitter and was an ardent supporter of Disgrace.
I have to travel today so let's get some mangoes and reconnect tomorrow to watch the swearing in of the Croc as Zim's new president. At that point we will talk about why the ANC/SADC/AU owe Zimbabweans a massive, heartfelt apology and why those misguided, pseudo Pan-Africanists who claimed for so long that Mugabe's unpopularity was a fiction sponsored by the Anglo-American imperialists should be on their knees begging for forgiveness...
Wednesday 22 November, 2017
22:22 – THANK YOU/SIYABONGA/TINOTENDA!
Flip to any news channel and you might see what I’ve just seen for the fourth time today. An enthusiastic TV journalist trying to interview an “ordinary” Zimbabwean about his or her opinion about the incoming president and the “new” era. So many of them, both in Zimbabwe and even those in the diaspora in South Africa, are AFRAID to share their opinion. They fear reprisals for them and their families for simply voicing their viewpoint and they’re right to do so.
Mugabe and his Zanu-PF party along with the ZRP (police), CIO (secret police) and the ZDF (army) have inculcated such fear because the people have seen the consequences of speaking up and speaking out, of attending an opposition party rally, of daring to support anyone other than Zanu-PF. The consequences for any of these ranges from arbitrary detention, torture, assault, imprisonment, being “disappeared,” or even murder.
Earlier this month, a young, white American woman was arrested for allegedly sending a tweet saying, “We are being led by a sick and selfish man.” Because she is a white foreigner, there has been a huge social media campaign, #FreeMartha, to release her. Her arrest was thanks to the newly-formed Ministry of Cybersecurity which polices social media. This innocuous tweet which she claims she didn’t even send was seen by the tyrannical Zanu-PF government as an attempt to overthrow Mugabe!! Will ED be putting an end to this democracy-destroying Cybersecurity ministry considering that freedom of expression is a fundamental tenet of democracy? Now that Zanu-PF itself has hypocritically reversed its decades-long support of Mugabe and have said far worse things about our long-serving despot, in public and in parliament for the first time, shouldn’t such ridiculous charges be dropped? Shouldn’t the laws be rewritten to enshrine all democratic freedoms?
So all of this is to set up for my biggest thank you of all. I want to thank the unnamed protester, the demonstrator, the activist, the vendor, the NGO worker, the teacher, the student, the lawyer, the ordinary citizen who has shown such bravery all these years in confronting this venal, vengeful regime at great personal risk of losing life, limb and livelihood. THANK YOU! You are so valiant, brave and courageous!
19:47 - Meet Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa aka ED aka Ngwena/The Crocodile. He is the man who will be sworn in as Zimbabwe's new president on Friday. He just arrived back in Harare after hiding out in South Africa since he was unceremoniously fired by Mugabe on 6 November, afraid for his life because he believes that Zanu-PF loyalists of the G40 cabal recently tried to kill him and who knows better than the Croc how violent Zanu-PF's tactics can be?
Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa, leader of the now victorious Team Lacoste cabal within Zanu-PF.
Claim to fame: 1) Overseeing the massacre of tens of thousands of Zimbabweans in Matabeleland province in the 1980s which is known as Gukurahundi.
2) Unleashing a wave of deadly force to steal the 2008 election when opposition party, MDC, beat the Croc's boss, one Robert Gabriel Mugabe, at the polls.
Yet today, ED is speaking the language of democracy, "Today, we are witnessing the beginning of a new, unfolding democracy" and pledges to be a servant of the people...But two reasons to doubt the sincerity of these statements: He has addressed the excited crowds at Zanu-PF Headquarters and he finished his speech with "pamberi neZanu" (forward with Zanu). If he is a sudden convert to democracy and wants to serve ALL the people of the country, not just Zanu-PF supporters, why didn't he pick a neutral location and end with pamberi neZimbabwe?
13:17 - AMHLOPE MAKOROKOTO CONGRATS MOZEL TOV, ZIMBABWE!
If you should see any Zimbabwean today, tomorrow, or for the next 18.5 years, please effusively congratulate him/her! S/he should politely respond, "Tese!" (Together). Zimbabweans are a very communal people so good things should be enjoyed together.
But later today, we have to discuss how this is not progress, but change. Change is a beginning but not an end. Zimbabweans must celebrate this change but recommit right now to fight for progress! That progress has been stymied for years by Zanu-PF/Mugabe apologists who have justified their/his despotic rule with specious logic and ideologies. As David Coltart, MDC activist and human rights lawyer, said, this is the end of a tyrant but not the end of tyranny.
Now, if you have not congratulated me yet on this historic toppling, please do so. And later on we will discuss necessary thank you's, apologies owed and crocodile tears...iwewe neni, tine basa rakawandisa!
Tuesday 21 November, 2017
17:52 - Getting messages, now confirmed. MUGABE HAS RESIGNED! When I stop crying, I'll write more.
17:51 - Opposition MDC MP tells Zanu-PF he has been trying to impeach Mugabe for years but Zanu-PF only woke up last week, "including you, Mr. Speaker." LOL!
17:45 - Itai Dzamara, the "disappeared" activist, is mentioned! Zimbabweans love the English language. They are quoting Shakespeare...
17:41 - They have also brought up the shameful episode when Disgrace assaulted her sons' friend in Jo'burg, a young girl whom she found talking with her sons. Disgrace allegedly beat up the girl with an electric power strip and the girl subsequently filed a case with the police. I have inserted the word "allegedly" but actually all Zimbabweans believe it happened...
Remember that TV series we were discussing yesterday, Blue Roof Mansion? Well, as you can see, we have PLENTY of material!
17:35 - In sum, it's all the fault of Disgrace (scroll down for what I have written about misogyny below). Mugabe family is also being accused of "harbouring criminals" - Saviour Kasukuwere and Jonathan Moyo, who were last week this time, Honourable Ministers of Parliament and members of the cabinet!!!
This hypocritical aboutface is giving me whiplash. Zanu-PF is not even shy...Now, they are saying Mugabe is too old to be president...As if he wasn't 93 last week. Hypocrisy is so ugly, no matter if the ends justify the means...
17:30 - Facebook is live streaming parliamentary impeachment proceedings! Click here: Open Parly ZW
17:07 - General Solomon Mujuru's ghost is still haunting various messaging platforms. In addition to an excited audio message claiming he is still alive and was not killed as previously thought in 2011, now, there is a text message circulating claiming that the "Commander has vowed to join the masses on Wednesday 22 November, 2017, in the Grand National Shutdown." (I can't help but correct grammatical errors when I quote these messages, just FYI).
Now, I don't know if this Grand National Shutdown is still going to take place. Maybe it depends on what happens right now with the MPs at the Sheraton. But ancestral spirits coming back to help the people is a Zimbabwean tradition. I don't have time to write about that now but Mbuya Nehanda who was responsible for the first Chimurenga in the 1890s against the colonials was actually an ancestral spirit who manifested in the body of a svikiro (medium). When the colonials hanged her in 1898, they did not vanquish the spirit of Nehanda who still makes appearances in Zim now and then through different mediums...
16:47 - Jay-Z aka JZ aka Jacob Zuma, president of South Africa, will fly to Zim tomorrow along with his Angolan counterpart. They also can't understand this coup/non-coup and so they have to go and see for themselves. Meanwhile, the president of Botswana has written Mugabe an open letter telling him to resign!
WOZA IMPEACHMENT! The party continues outside Parliament in Africa Unity Square but the MPs had to decamp to the Harare International Conference Centre at the Sheraton because they needed more room. Both houses or whatever you call them are meeting NOW and they can't all fit in the Parliament building.
US Democratic Party, are you watching? A week ago, if you had told me that Mugabe would be impeached before Trump, I would have laughed and made an appointment for you with a shrink to treat your delusions. This has been the longest week of my life. US Democratic Party, let's see how fast Zim Parliament can move. Please take notes.
14:21 - WOZA IMPEACHMENT! Thousands in Africa Unity Square telling opposite-facing Parliament that Mugabe must go! Other protesters outside Mugabe's Blue Roof Mansion insisting they will stay there until he's gone. Comrade Chris Mutsvangwa of war veterans fame says SADC should tell Mugabe his time is up. Mixed reporting on the cabinet meeting: some say a few ministers did go, others say they all snubbed it. But never mind all that, WOZA IMPEACHMENT! Parliament, get your impeachment ON! The MPs are inside now and they say they have the votes to trigger the process...let's cross our fingers, pray, or have some wine, whatever you need to make it through these anxious times...
11:38 - You better put on your dopest gear and make your way to Africa Unity Square! There's a #ImpeachmentParty under way, just opposite Parliament. There are several groups heading there, some to pray, others to party, but all to encourage MPs to vote to begin impeachment proceedings. Africa Unity Square is not that big so if you're in Harare, best to head there now to stake out your spot! Send pics.
09:47 - Best live updates I can find are here.
So...yesterday, ZDF said the students must remain "calm." Today, UZ students say they plan to march to Statehouse and have three central demands, "Grace Mugabe's PhD must be revoked, Robert Mugabe must step down as University Chancellor, and he must step down as the president of the country."
How will the ZDF react to a demonstration they have not sanctioned? Further complicating this seemingly-infinite imbroglio is that in Mnangagwa's statement, he is, for once, speaking the language of democracy and says protests must be respected?! Is this really the wicked Crocodile of the Gukurahundi genocide? Or is the Crocodile just dressing up as a giraffe with a long neck who can see something we can't?
I really do not know. Please God, NO VIOLENCE! Parliamentary vote to proceed with impeachment process to happen at lunchtime...
9:11 - The reason why I was left wondering about the status of this so-called coup after reading the ZDF press statement was because it referred to talks between the Croc Mnangagwa and Mugabe. If Mugabe is being impeached, what do they have to talk about? Talks seemed to indicate an ongoing negotiation in which Mugabe still wields some leverage and might remain as head of state. But if he is to be impeached, that does not make sense. As I have kindly explained to ZDF, time and time again, they seem to have great trouble with the definition of coup. It is supposed to be quick and must end in the removal of the leader.
But this morning, there is a statement circulating on social media, greatest source of fake and real news. It is purportedly from the Croc and says Mugabe must go and he will not return to Zimbabwe until it is safe for him to do so. I cannot guarantee the veracity of this document but it is currently being circulated as genuine..
09:00 - eNCA is reporting that two thousand people have gathered at Mugabe's Blue Roof Mansion. Zanu-PF has instructed cabinet ministers not to attend the cabinet meeting. Parliament is due to begin impeachment proceedings now so that the charade that this is not a coup can be continued by creating a constitutional path to removing Mugabe and helping Zimbabwe out of this imbroglio.
8:18 - Good morning! I suggest you fix yourself a cup of tea with lemon and honey because it's going to be a very long day. If you are lucky enough to take alcohol, might as well just start drinking from now.
So many things to discuss. Firstly, Mugabe called a cabinet meeting yesterday. They are due to meet at 09:00. Will it happen? And if it does, will it be explained as yet another smoke-producing event to obscure the machinations of a coup so that SADC, who are also meeting in Angola today, do not decide they should intervene? If it is a coup, they will oppose the new dispensation because it came to power by force. Hence the charade that it is not a coup must continue for their benefit. SADC has never once intervened on behalf of the people of Zimbabwe but is quick to protect the rights of its leaders to continue to oppress the country's citizens.
So SADC, don't mind us, just carry on with your own lives. Did you read this petition that Zimbabweans sent you that advised you to, "please drink your tea and biscuits and watch [events unfolding on Zimbabwe] on your TV's the same way you did for 37 years. There is no need at this time for you to do anything but business as usual. We speak for many people when we say we hoped and prayed for this day for long and now that it's here, DON'T mess it up for us. If you love Mugabe so much you can have him all to yourselves, we will even throw in a 50 something year old lady as a bonus"?
But having reread last night's ZDF press release, I am left increasingly ambivalent and confused: is this a coup?
Monday 20 November, 2017
21:11 - The ZDF has had a press conference, thus disturbing my otherwise peaceful evening. Their communications strategy leaves much to be desired but only new things in their press statement as far as I understand so far are the following: The Crocodile Mnangagwa has been in contact with Mugabe and "is expected in the country shortly"; students "are encouraged to be calm" (this is troubling) and they are continuing "with the operation code named 'Operation Restore Legacy'" to set Zimabwe "on the the desired development trajectory."
When will "Operation Restore Democracy" begin? These Zimbabweans have started this petition: "We the People of Zimbabwe DO NOT Want Another Mugabe. Here Are Our Expectations. We the people of Zimbabwe are obviously excited by the inevitable end to Robert Mugabe's grip on power. In our excitement, however, we will NOT neglect our responsibility to ensure that we will never find ourselves in the position we have been for the past few decades. We hereby clearly outline our expectations on whoever holds the office of the President of the Republic of Zimbabwe whether in an acting capacity or as substantive president."
You can sign by clicking above!
18:44 - On second thoughts, the new TV series, Blue Roof Mansion, will probably have more in common with Game of Thrones so, dear HBO, call me anytime.
18:21 - Dear Netflix, now that you are cancelling House of Cards, please feel free to call me to write the Zim political series, Blue Roof Mansion. Eish! I better go and do my real writing work right now. Social media wits, please do not plagiarize this Netflix request, okay? :)
8:18 - In the continuing saga of parallel universes, of coups which are not coups, and resignations that are not resignations, Mugabe has called a cabinet meeting tomorrow for his Zanu-PF ministers but Zanu-PF is supposed to be voting to impeach him at the very same time...
17:16 - Okay, #OccupyZimParliament, #OccupyMugabe, #OccupyZimImpeachment, #OccupyZimStatehouse - or really whatever you want to call it because who cares about hashtags unless they effect change on the ground - is on!
Chris Mutsvangwa of War Vets, or should I say Comrade Chris Mutsvangwa, is asking people to come to Africa Unity Square tomorrow, Tuesday, to help parliamentarians along as they begin impeachment proceedings against Mugabe. This is supposed to be an impeachment of days not weeks but these parliamentarians will need a lot of assistance as doing good for the people of Zim is not their forte. And what will happen with the land? Here's one of several articles that claim the Mugabe family owns more land in Zimbabwe than any other individual pre or post-independence. Mugabe once told UK Prime Minister, Tony Blair, "Keep your England and let me keep my Zimbabwe." Emphasis on the possessive pronoun "my" clearly. Maybe he never did think of it as "our" Zimbabwe and that may be the root of all the corruption and mercenary, deadly hogging of power...
15:33 - Pastor Evan Mawarire and his #ThisFlag movement are staging a sit-in in Africa Unity Square, Harare, "until Mugabe goes." Please go and support them if you can and spread the word. If you can't sit there for long, maybe take some food to help the people do their version of occupy Wall Street, except this time we can call it, "occupy parliament." I hope that's not a bad analogy. Occupy Wall Street did not end in success...
14:30 - Dear Zanu-PF MPs, do you know that Zimbabweans are so desperate for salvation from Mugabe that there is an audio message circulating on Whatsapp that the late General Solomon Mujuru is still alive? Even though he was allegedly killed by Mugabe in 2011, Zimbabweans are so frantic for deliverance that some are willing to believe that General Mujuru is coming back to help them after supposedly hiding out in Germany for the last six years. Speaking of Germany, Chancellor Angela Merkel may not be able to form a coalition which would mean new elections in which the racist Far Right may gain seats. Why not give the world a lift and impeach Mugabe? Kenya's Supreme Court has ratified Kenyatta's shady election so you can see that, you, the people who have been responsible for allowing Mugabe to rape and loot Zimbabwe all these years, should try and, for a change, spawn some positivity in the world and impeach your president. Kenyans have been enviously commenting that a Zimbabwean coup is more peaceful than a Kenyan election. So keep up the non-violence, find a way within your arcane constitution and please remove Mugabe.
14:20 - Dear Zanu-PF MPs, you are meeting at 14:30 to discuss impeaching Mugabe. Let me give you my two cents because I know you really, truly, most definitely care about my opinion.
11:59 - VaMugabe, what time are you stepping down, please? Imimi neni, tine basa!
11:21 - IMPEACHMENT MOTION issued by Zanu-PF Chief Whip. First time in years, Zanu-PF has done something useful. Despite all evidence to the contrary, I have lots of work to do so please keep following on live updates, link below. Mugabe, keep on trying, you might still be able to be impeached before Trump!
11:06 - Live updates is reporting that, "Students [are] demanding that University of Zimbabwe vice Chancellor Levi Nyangura step down because he is corrupt and gave Grace Mugabe a PhD. Students are also demanding that Robert Mugabe steps down. 'We want a fresh start. We're getting all these degrees, but they're worthless because there are no jobs. We want to take care of our parents,' said a third year social work student."
Firstly, as the holder of a genuine PhD which took me years to earn, this is a valid point. "Dr." Disgrace who received hers after two months thanks to corruption and I kid you not, "discovered" in the course of her in-depth research that orphans do not have parents, should have hers stripped forthwith. Secondly, I read a very sad tale yesterday about a UZ graduate who is now selling bananas on the side of the road because Mugabe has decimated the Zim economy. Thirdly, TINOTENDA/SIYABONGA/THANK YOU, UZ students for fighting the good fight! You have been fighting for so long for all of us. May your efforts be rewarded and your studies ensure a brighter future in a post-Mugabe Zimbabwe!
10:50 - As I mentioned before, the war vets are saying today is D-Day. Here are live updates on today's events as they unfold. The War Vets are declaring again that Mugabe must leave. University of Zimbabwe students are refusing to write exams until Mugabe has gone. CNN is reporting that Mugabe is drafting his resignation letter...Until it is done, it's not done...
7:17 - Africans are a benighted people. First, we must fight colonialism, then we have to fight those who liberated us from colonialism.
Last night, Mugabe might have read the wrong speech. Otherwise why were the uniformed generals shuffling pages behind him? Whichever way, this has turned up the heat on this pressure cooker situation. As some social media wits were saying, that speech was like when you break up with your girlfriend and she asks you what time you want dinner. Denial is not jut the name of a river in Egypt. Like father, like son, however. Mugabe's son posted a Facebook message saying it was impossible to fire his dad.
The people marched on Saturday in support of ZDF because they believed that ZDF was liberating them from Mugabe's oppressive rule. Last night, Mugabe's speech was filled with multiple uses of the word "perception" as in, some factions of Zanu-PF perceived their interests to have been threatened but no worries, he, in his capacity as supreme leader, will rectify that. The speech was directed to Zanu-PF and was only for the benefit of "alienated" factions within Zanu-PF. It did not address the larger context: the country at large wants Mugabe to go.
Is the ZDF going to anger the people who showed their full force on Saturday by allowing Mugabe to stay? Received this Whatsapp this morning and will seek to confirm/find more information later:
Zimbabwe Final Shutdown
We will be shutting down everything on Wednesday 22 November, 2017 if President Mugabe doesn't step down...
Bulawayo - City Hall at 9:00 in the morning
Harare - Africa Unity Square at 9:00 in the morning
All businesses must be shut down on 22 November, 2017, and schools will be closed down and no-one will be allowed to go to work and all taxis will be shut down...
Mugabe must go
Grace must go
Let's all go on the streets 22 November, 2017, carrying our flags and we march all day until Mugabe steps down...National shutdown
Please forward to all Zimbabweans and all groups...
Today, we will see if impeachment proceedings begin as promised if Mugabe does not resign by 12 noon today...Stay tuned...but now it's best to do a bit of yoga to prepare for another tough day!
Sunday 19 November, 2017
22:51 - Oops! Heart-stopping tweet from @TrevorNcube: "Let me share with you what I am picking up. Military people below General Chiwenga believe he has sold out and might take this into their own hands. The people want Mugabe out yesterday, this might get out of control. Tonight did not help #Zimbabwe."
That is truly a devastating tweet. And Mr. Ncube is not known for "twitting" (as the Zim papers refer to it) unfounded nonsense...Now, again we won't sleep tonight?
On a brighter note, the war vets are saying that impeachment will definitely proceed tomorrow, Monday, after 12...
22:40 - I hope they start impeachment proceedings tomorrow as promised. But the way this so-called coup is going, Donald Trump may be impeached before Mugabe. ZDF, please scroll down, down, down for a reminder of the definition of coup!
22h - One of my clever relatives on my family Whatsapp group has written: When you have a coup which is not a coup, expect a resignation speech which is not a resignation speech (not sure now of provenance of this witty comment as seems to be everywhere). Zimbabweans have got jokes! But social media is lighting up with declarations of defiance. There is no going backwards. If he refuses to realise his time is up, he shall be removed. It was said earlier that Zanu-PF gave him a deadline of noon tomorrow to resign or face impeachment. Does that still hold?
If not, Mugabe just punked the whole world!
21:39 - No offense, ZDF. But if you vetted this speech before he gave it, I have one question: did you understand the big English words Mugabe was using, like untrammeled? Did you think it was another way of saying resign? Chirungu chinonetsa...
21:25 - WOW! Mugabe is such a troll. This is so surreal. Why did General Chiwenga sit behind him and allow him to deliver this speech after yesterday's marches? He is such a stubborn old man.
21:21 - Mugabe did NOT resign or retire or recognize that everyone wants him to GO...
21h - The army is shown on ZBC. Mugabe arrives and sits down, prepares to speak...
20:53 - SABC (South African Broadcasting Corporation) is streaming live on Youtube and will stream ZBC live when Mugabe finally graces us with his presence...
20:51 - Some people say Mugabe's speech is being vetted by the military hence the delay. Others are saying that they are recording it because letting him address the nation live might be too risky...
20:13 - Have just seen Reuben Barwe of ZTV for the first time in years. Lol!!!
20:12 - Both eNCA and SABC broadcasting ZTV live!
20:11 - ZTV in normal 8 p.m. evening news broadcast now...everyone standing by for the man of the hour to make us all happy...
19:55h - Sorry. Should have said this earlier. Reuters has reported that Mugabe will step down. But those of us with long familiarity with Mugabe would like to see it with our own eyes...ZTV is announcing that we should stay tuned, Mugabe is about to address the nation...
9:11h - Bobs, what time are you making your announcement? We would like to get back to our lives. Don't worry, we will start fighting against Mnangagwa from tomorrow if he is going to continue Zanu-PF's repressive rule but please let us sleep well tonight. Fambayi bhoo, Gushungo!
18:20h - ZTV is outside Statehouse. Mugabe wants to address the nation. Now, the question is, will he resign or will he refuse to go? Everyone constantly refers to him as "the stubborn old man."
17:23h - Good coverage on BBC World News and eNCA...
17:17h - State broadcaster, ZBC, heading to Statehouse. Speculation running rife. Is some type of announcement imminent? Can we discuss how it is impossible to get any work done with all this upheaval?
15:20h - Wow! Finally this coup has speeded up. Zanu-PF has done an about face. 9 November, Harare International Airport was renamed Robert Gabriel Mugabe Airport. 19 November, Mugabe is sacked as head of Zanu-PF and now he has been given a deadline to resign as president by noon on Monday, 20 November.
Disgrace, horrible woman, is being scapegoated in an extremely misogynistic fashion. Her horribleness does not justify this convenient misogynistic scapegoating. But as of now, she has been expelled from the party, removed as head of Zanu-PF women's league and may be prosecuted. Let me repeat, prosecuted!
She absolutely should be prosecuted. But so should her husband and those calling for her to be prosecuted!
The pot calling the kettle black. Zim version: the crook calling the criminal a gangster!
14:34h - How long can one man hold a whole nation hostage? If the whole country, the military, the war vets and your own political party don't want you, what are you waiting for? It's time to go! Chizororai Gushungo!
14h - Robert Mugabe has been removed as the leader of Zanu-PF. Replaced by the Crocodile Mnangagwa. Disgrace expelled from party. But Mugabe is still technically the president...what does that mean??? Can he just go already?
13h - The waiting game is on! Zanu-PF Central Committee is meeting right now. Will they fire Mugabe as party leader thus further clearing the way forward for a post-Mugabe Zimbabwe, for the first time ever in the country's history?
Fake news is everywhere and it's hard to tell fact from fiction from wishful thinking from pure desperation. Trevor Ncube is trying to keep it all straight while providing frequent updates here.
I hope to be back tonight with more about the historic Mugabe Must Go marches of yesterday and maybe, fingers and toes crossed, praying for the good news of Mugabe's departure?
Read this disturbing article out this morning alleging that the US and China were informed of the coup before it happened and that there actually has been some violence since the military moved in on Tuesday night. The people who have allegedly been beaten by the military are some of the regime's most evil and are responsible for egregious violence themselves.
But due process is due process and human rights must be respected! We have been asking for a long time where is activist Itai Dzamara? Now, we must ask where is Augustine Chihuri of the ZRP?
Saturday 18 November
Please don't be reading this. Please be at a march to call for Mugabe to go!!!! See below for updated info.
Zimbabwe Solidarity Marches in the US:
ATLANTA: Martin Luther King Centre @ 12
DALLAS: Dallas City Hall @ 12
WASHINGTON, DC: Zimbabwe Embassy @ 12
NEW YORK: Zimbabwe Mission House, near UN @ 2
INDIANOPOLIS: 62nd & Georgetown @ 2
Friday 17 November, 2017
10 p.m. - Sooooo...amazing news! Zimbabweans will for once be able to go to a demonstration tomorrow without fear of being teargassed, beaten or arrested. Or at least that's what it looks like because the army says they support the rallies happening tomorrow and therefore, I assume that the ZRP (police) will not be harassing protesters for once.
Rallies: Harare - War Vets rally (This is one of many but is confirmed. You can ask my BFF, Google for others)
Jo'burg - Marching from Eastgate Mall to Zimbabwe Consulate - confirmed! 10 a.m.
Cape Town - Grand parade
Windhoek - Meeting at 10:00hrs, Cnr Robert Mugabe and Jan Jonker Street, marching towards the Zim embassy
London - Zim embassy then Trafalgar Square/Zimbabwe House, 429 Strand (are those the same? You find out)
Belfast - Belfast City Hall
These are primarily Mugabe must go rallies. You can write your own placard. NO VIOLENCE, PLEASE!
I'm sure you have been following the zigzag course that this very bizarre coup has been taking. We all grew some white hairs when Mugabe pitched up at a graduation ceremony today to give out diplomas. This army has its own idiosynchratic definition of house arrest! But now, things are moving towards Mugabe's exit because his own party, Zanu-PF, is recallinghim, branch by branch. More amazing, this was reported on ZBC!!!
Tomorrow will be a long day so good night, more tomorrow. GO TO A RALLY!
10 a.m. - #SADCBackoffZim! Throughout the day, you can follow Trevor Ncube's updates: https://twitter.com/TrevorNcube
The ZDF has issued a communique that communicates almost nothing fuelling more anxiety, speculation, rumours and heart attacks. Zimbabweans are on tenterhooks as it is very unclear whether Mugabe will stay or go. Where is Mnangagwa? He is very MIA...Meanwhile, people are mounting social media campaigns to tell SADC to back off as they are Mugabe supporters and are very unwelcome in this moment.
PLEASE SIGN THIS PETITION to tell SADC not to interfere in Zimbabwe's affairs.
It's amazing how the kleptocrats support each other in rigging/stealing elections. As for these generals running the so-called coup...do they know that a coup d'état is French and means a "sudden, decisive strike"?
By all means, General Chiwenga, move at a glacial pace. You know how that thrills us!
Thursday 16 November
Only in Zimbabwe can a bunch of generals with guns be outwitted by geriatrics!
Very bad signs in the ongoing coup attempt in Zimbabwe. Yes, yesterday it was a coup. Today, it is an agonisingly slow coup attempt because until Mugabe is deposed, he is still the leader of the country. The ZDF (Zimbabwe Defence Forces) are not communicating with the people at all even though they took over ZBC and broadcast on ZTV yesterday. Therefore everyone is on edge and at the mercy of myriad "fake news" messages circulating on every platform known to humankind. I do not want to spread fake news but as of now I can tell you for certain what we do not know:
We do not know if Mugabe will step down, or when he will step down if indeed he will step down at all.
We do not know the whereabouts of Disgrace. Namibia has denied that she is there. Some people are saying she is still at their residence in Borrowdale, Harare. Who knows...
Further bad signs for a post-Mugabe Zim: Today, Mugabe and Chiwenga met with envoys from South Africa whom President Zuma sent as SADC representatives to discuss and negotiate...something. The presence of South Africa and SADC can only benefit Mugabe and increase his leverage. These liberation war vets stick together and that's why the ANC has always backed Zanu-PF.
I will remind you that I warned yesterday that the army could still very well be outsmarted by that cunning mudhara...I will now return to watching the Trump telenovela with its frenetic-breakneck speed-bombshell every eighteen minutes pace. This Zim coup is unfolding like the tortoise strolling home for a nap! I will update here IF anything happens...
Wednesday 15 November
Less than 24 hours ago, I received a phone call that there may be a military coup underway in Zimbabwe. Last week, when dictator of 37 years, Robert Mugabe, fired the vice-president, Emmerson Mnangagwa, rumors circulated that army commander, General Constantino Chiwenga, who backs Mnangagwa was going to take over. The army, it was said, would not sit by and let the 93-year-old Mugabe hand over power to his wife, Grace aka Lady Gaga/Gucci Grace/Disgrace. They favored a genuine war veteran like Mnangagwa, who once shared Mugabe’s prison cell and fought in the war of liberation, to succeed Mugabe.
A week ago, those were just “fake news” rumors. Today, it seems it is true.
On the night of 14 to 15 November, the army moved tanks into the capital, Harare, and placed Mugabe under house arrest. Grace’s whereabouts are still unknown but there are reports that she has been given safe passage to Namibia because of course, she cannot come to South Africa as she is wanted on criminal charges here for assaulting a young girl a few months ago. The army spent the greater part of the day broadcasting on the state-run ZBC songs from the liberation war. They are calling this a “bloodless transition/correction” and Major General Sibusiso Moyo, an aide to Chiwenga, was repeatedly shown in his military regalia on ZTV reading the army’s statement:
"…the situation in our country has moved to another level.
Firstly, we wish to assure the nation that His Excellency, The President, of the Republic of Zimbabwe, Head of State and Government and Commander in Chief of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces, Cde R.G Mugabe and his family are safe and sound and their security is guaranteed. We are only targeting criminals around him who are committing crimes that are causing social and economic suffering in the country in order to bring them to justice.
As soon as we have accomplished our mission we expect that the situation will return to normalcy."
Let’s put these semantic shenanigans aside. This is a coup. We hope it will be bloodless and violence must certainly be avoided at all costs. The army does not want to call it a coup because the African Union and SADC (Southern African Development Community) can officially intervene if it is. Hence, the hedging but whichever way, Mugabe, who just last week renamed Harare International Airport after himself, should not be given a free pass. He is a criminal. So is his wife and all their cronies. They should all be hauled into court to face criminal charges for myriad sins against the country.
But already narratives are being spun all over social media and beyond blaming Grace for Mugabe’s corruption, criminality and mismanagement of the country’s economy. “Biggest lessons from events in Zimbabwe in last 24 hours? Usaterere mukadzi… (Don't follow a woman/wife)” is one whatsapp message circulating. There’s another meme going around that juxtaposes a picture of Mugabe’s first Ghana-born wife, Sally, who was quite popular against Grace, lamenting that Sally died too early and Grace has lived too long.
Please stop this misogyny! Disgrace is an absolutely dreadful human being. No-one who has watched her crude, rude, unbecoming rants at political rallies or knows anything about her violent history of alleged assaults can think otherwise. But the idea that she is the evil puppeteer exerting undue influence over “innocent” Mugabe is ridiculous.
Wily, cunning, Master of the Game Mugabe has been outplaying all political opponents for the last fifty years, well before he married Grace in 1996. Even during the liberation war in the 1970s, he was suspected of killing off his opponents. Since he took power in 1980, we have seen how he has maneuvered and manipulated and masterminded a decades-long dominance. The army should not, for their own self-serving sake, foster the lie that Mugabe has been taken advantage of by criminal elements. He is THE tsotsi-in-chief who has successfully perpetuated a reign of terror for far too long.
I always wondered why my Pakistani friends celebrated when there was a coup in their country. Now, I understand.
Three weeks ago, I left the country very depressed. A common phrase heard on the streets everywhere was “nyika yakafa” (the country is dead). The Zimbabwe flag flying over Africa Unity Square in Harare’s city centre was hoisted high on its mast but it was literally in tatters, symbolic of the deteriorated state of the whole country. It is across the street from Herald House which accommodates the national newspaper, another tattered rag that I have not bothered to read in years. It is just a propaganda mouthpiece for Mugabe’s party, Zanu-PF. In fact, their headline this morning was, “Zanu-PF unfazed by Chiwenga.” Events unfolded faster than their ability to keep up but honestly, there was no sign of the coming coup. No-one knew it was coming. I did see one tank during my stay but it was there to chase away street vendors. Mugabe and Zanu-PF have destroyed the formal economy so now the city centre looks less like Jacaranda-lined Pretoria and more like a West African city with informal traders everywhere trying to scrape together a living. (So this army that has now come to rescue the people was busy chasing away the people just the other day…).
The only sign I saw that maybe, perhaps, it could be that things were changing in Zimbabwe was the information obtained from one Mount Darwin resident who said that even the people in this Zezuru-speaking Mugabe stronghold no longer wanted to hear his name. They had finally come to see what the rest of the country realized long ago: Mugabe is a looter, not a leader.
That’s why he must go! We are elated to see Mugabe go after 37 years of too much oppression and untold suffering even though we don’t know what comes next…
…Now, as I write, the situation is still fluid and it’s unclear how this cookie will crumble…Mugabe has not yet officially stepped down. People are expecting that Mnangagwa “Ngwena” (the Crocodile) will be taking over.
But is this cause for celebration?
For too long, many Zimbabweans have been waiting for “mudhara” (the old man) to die because they believed that his passing would suddenly change everything and the country would magically return to its former glory. I do not share that opinion.
The corruption of the Mugabe family has been enabled by the entire Zanu apparatus. They are all complicit in stealing elections, depriving the Zimbabwean people of their democratic and human rights and driving the economy to catastrophic collapse as they enrich themselves.
The Mugabe family is just the most visible iceberg tip. Zanu-PF is a deeply-entrenched network responsible for massive corruption and bloody violence against political opponents. Mnangagwa is no savior if indeed he is to be the new president - if Mugabe does not outsmart them yet - because he is a foundational element of this corrupt network.
Like Joice “Teurai Ropa” (spill blood) Mujuru, he has always been a Zanu-PF stalwart enacting Mugabe’s wishes until now, when they finally threatened his own future. We cannot ever forget that Mnangagwa presided over the genocidal massacres of Gukurahundi that took place in Matabeleland in the 1980s and colluded with Chiwenga to steal the elections for Mugabe in 2008 when the opposition MDC won.
This “bloodless transition” from one faction of Zanu-PF to another is not adequate. We need a transition to actual democracy and legitimate, violence-free elections.
The African Union, SADC and other countries in the region should not come with their hypocrisy and continue to perpetrate the lie that a military coup represents the end of democracy in Zimbabwe. Mugabe destroyed democracy decades ago and all of you sat and sanctioned his bloody regime. Enough!
Today, we are happy to see him go but this is only the first step in a long journey towards the democratic dispensation that Zimbabwe deserves...
To be continued...
I will occasionally post here on Zimbabwe-related topics…