PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe was once again in his element at the recently-held Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) summit in Tehran, posturing about democracy and slating the West for intervening militarily in conflicts under the guise of what he called “ill-defined” concepts such as the “responsibility to protect” and “humanitarian intervention”.
Report by MuckRaker
He called on NAM to push for the democratisation of global politics and economic governance institutions.
Any political changes, said Mugabe, have got to be democratic and peaceful.
“You can’t attain democracy that way because if a group manages to overthrow an existing government it also will in turn be overthrown surely by another group revolting against it,” he said.
A classic case of do as I say and not as I do considering the violence and intimidation orchestrated by Zanu PF in elections since 1980 culminating in the presidential runoff in 2008 which, according to the MDC-T, killed 200 of their supporters and displaced thousands.
While Mugabe abroad touts himself as a democrat, at home he sings a different tune.
Just before the widely discredited presidential run-off elections in 2008, Mugabe said: “We are not going to give up our country because of a mere X.”
Mugabe even vowed not to cede power even if he was trounced in the elections saying: “We will never allow an event like an election to reverse our Independence.”
The West, Mugabe said at the NAM summit, are hypocrites for accusing Iran of making nuclear bombs while they possess the same.
“The irony is that it is countries that have nuclear weapons themselves that are making the loudest noises in accusing Iran of allegedly having the potential to make nuclear bombs. How hypocritical?” he says.
How about a leader who shouts the loudest about democracy abroad while crushing it at home? Is that not also hypocrisy?
Zanu PF mandarins can’t hide their exasperation with Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s jaunts to Western capitals. After the furore over Tsvangirai’s visit to Canberra the green-eyed monster reared its head once again this week following the premier’s trip to the Democratic Party’s convention in the United States.
Tsvangirai has come under fire from “analysts” for choosing to attend the convention while ignoring a “crucial” principals’ meeting at home to discuss issues of national interest, ZBC bellyached on Wednesday.
“The constitution-making process is now at the level of principals who were expected to, among other things, discuss amendments made to the Copac draft Constitution by the Zanu PF politburo in the wake of recent admissions by Copac that it deviated from people’s views,” stated the Herald.
Tsvangirai “hurriedly” left for the US, the Herald tells us, “leaving his written response on the Zanu PF amendments to other principals”.
This is despite MDC-T spokesperson Douglas Mwonzora in the same story saying the premier had gone to the convention at the invitation of the Democratic Party with the “full” mandate of his party.
“It is President Mugabe and his Zanu PF party who are trying to rewrite the Global Political Agreement and refusing to take that document to the Second All Stakeholders’ Conference,” retorted Mwonzora, adding that there was no need for principals to meet to discuss the Copac draft.
Undeterred, Presidential spokesperson George Charamba laid into Tsvangirai accusing him of favouring foreign interests ahead of national issues. This glaring irony, however, wasn’t going to stop Charamba’s incendiary diatribe.”
“His interest is always outward, it is never inward,” said Charamba whose boss has paralysed government operations on countless occasions over “routine” medical checkups and private visits to the Far East, never mind his globetrotting.
These days Charamba has taken on the unenviable task of explaining Mugabe’s whereabouts each time he goes to the Far East as the rumour mill around his health swirls. His standard refrain when asked about his boss’s whereabouts is “He is not yet in the country. When he arrives, we will let you know”.
Every time Charamba opens his mouth he unwittingly advertises the need for professional civil servants in the country, not partisan loud-hailers.
Former British prime minister Tony Blair has lost none of his political skills.
Responding to Archbishop Desmond Tutu who had withdrawn from a leadership summit in Johannesburg because of Blair’s presence, the former PM’s office put out a cogent statement.
“Obviously Tony Blair is sorry the archbishop has decided to pull out from an event that has been fixed for months and where he and the archbishop were never actually sharing a platform.”
A skilled put down. Not too much and not too little. Then of course we have to consider Blair’s record as a successful prime minister in terms of the standard of living of his citizens. Unfortunate though that Tutu, who we all respect, chose to speak from a platform in South Africa on issues of governance. What the South Africans know about governance looks dangerous, as events over the past few weeks illustrate. He should have withdrawn from that one as well!
In fact this latest statement reminds us of the archbishop’s tussle with his rulers over the exclusion of the Dalai Lama not so long ago. The Chinese got a moral lecture on that one as well. The archbishop is qualified to give it.
Hardly a year in power Zambian President Michael Sata’s regime has created a climate of intolerance to dissent mirroring its southern neighbour. This has prompted civil society organisations in Zambia to warn Sata against copying the leadership style of President Mugabe, “as this could have dire consequences for the country”.
“Those in power must also stop emulating the Mugabe-type of leadership, which is aimed at harassing and intimidating political opponents,” read the statement from the Southern African Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes (Saccord).
“It is disheartening to slowly realise that those in power here now have taken up bad lessons from Mugabe’s leadership, which took that country to near hell.”
The Zanu PF virus is spreading northwards.
On the subject of the Chinese we were interested in an article in Business Day on investment in Africa. “Chinese investment in Africa is a tale often told in superlatives. Detractors say the Chinese investments amount to neo-colonialism while promoters claim it is the continent’s best chance of an economic renaissance,” the newspaper says.
“The subject of the debate is one of the great myths of our time. China is present in Africa, but a large investor it certainly is not,” the paper’s Kobus van der Wath comments.
A senior official from the Chinese Ministry of Commerce noted that investments in African countries represent only 4% of China’s global investment portfolio, a tiny proportion of an already tiny value.
“Chinese investment in Africa is still lower than holdings from companies in Switzerland and the Netherlands and trails by a large margin the holdings of first world countries such as the US, UK and Germany.
“Put simply, the Chinese are not, from an investment view at least, the Africa heavyweights that much of the West considers them to be.”
So how come the Chinese are so visible in Africa? The short answer is “projects”. The activities of the Chinese construction companies have mushroomed over the past decade to a point where Chinese contractors now deliver almost 40% of annual project construction contract value in Africa.
The prolific growth has been driven primarily by two factors. The ability of Chinese contractors to do work at far lower cost than Western companies for infrastructure projects, and the willingness of state-owned banks to provide low cost loans for infrastructure projects around Africa. On occasion the project owners may be Chinese but in most cases they are owned by African governments. It is a model that has worked well to win contracts and spread Chinese influence but the China Daily reflected a growing realisation in China that the model was nearing its sell-by date.
Traditional chiefs in Chiredzi have demanded that government reverse the indigenising of the Save Valley Conservancy which has sparked public clashes between cabinet ministers and has seen the European Union mulling renewed economic sanctions on Zimbabwe.
Chiefs Tsovana, Gudo and Sengwe have called for the withdrawal of the leases saying: “We the chiefs and our people are disgusted that the people who are supposed to lead us are the same people who are championing our downfall by grabbing all opportunities presented by our party indigenisation programmes.
“The same people now being allocated our conservancies are multiple beneficiaries of sugar cane plots as well as ranches and farms,” he said.
One of the beneficiaries, former Gutu South MP, Shuvai Mahofa, allegedly sent a letter to the owners of Savuli Ranch in the conservancy saying “please deposit at least US$20 000 from this year’s hunting in my account before Saturday August 13 2011 for my up-keep”.
SW Radio Africa reports that the Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force has issued a public warning that illegal hunting activities are already taking place at Save Valley Conservancy, as the “indigenisation” of the hunting sector continues.
Ironically Environment minister Francis Nhema directed that owners of the wildlife reserve take on the 25 individuals who are mostly senior Zanu PF officials. The effects this so-called partnership is having on the flora and fauna on the wildlife reserve is clearly peripheral.
The chiefs said their hope is to see government’s wildlife-based land reform benefiting the whole community of Chiredzi and not political figures and some unknown generals who are repeated beneficiaries of the land reform programme, reports ZBC.
Tourism and Hospitality Industry Minister Walter Mzembi recently deplored the continuous benefiting of the same people through the land reform programme.
Legal and constitutional expert Alex Magaisa couldn’t have put it more succinctly when he said: Typical acts of primitive accumulation by a greedy and gratuitously corrupt caste with a voracious and uninhibited appetite under the criminally misused guise of indigenisation and empowerment.
Meanwhile the Sunday Mail has uncovered “startling revelations” that some former white farmers, especially those in South Africa, are working with some MDC officials to flood the local market with cheap GMO products in a bid to “sabotage” the land reform programme by “killing” the market for the new farmers.
The Sunday Mail quotes “highly-placed industrialists who spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of victimisation” saying they had unearthed a clandestine plot by former white farmers, especially those in South Africa, to undermine the land reform programme.
“There is a well-orchestrated plot to discourage newly resettled farmers from farming. The former white farmers, mainly in South Africa, have ganged up with their MDC colleagues who have import licences to bring in cheap GMO products into the country,” the highly-placed sources said.
Zanu PF is doing a good job of sabotaging the land reform all by itself. They don’t need much help!
The Chronicle carried an intriguing story this week. It quoted a number of people who had not been included in the census. A resident of New Lobengula said he was not counted because he was at work througout the enumeration period. A resident of Old Magwegwe said she was not counted because she was at a church meeting in Mzingwane. ZimStat director Wahington Mapeta said his agency had anticipated some people would not be at home during the enumeration period.
And here’s the crunch. Residents who were not counted were told to report to census officials at Magnet House.
Magnet House? So “census officials” were actually those guys at the building with a dubious ancestry!