Even Burma can teach Zanu PF to change

We were interested to read in the Weekend Post of November 16 Justice Nicholas Mathonsi’s ruling in favour of human rights activist Farai Muguwu who had been the victim of the seizure of his property when leaving the country for a conference in Ireland.

Opinin by MuckerRaker

The judge ordered the CIO officers responsible to return his property since the seizure was illegal.

Mathonsi described the minister responsible, Sydney Sekeramayi, as untruthful and unhelpful.

The state argued that the CIO should not be held accountable as the Department of State Security did not operate under any statute.
Justice Mathonsi described this as unfortunate.

“Zimbabwe is a democratic country which subscribes to the rule of law. The applicant (Muguwu) is a citizen of Zimbabwe who is entitled to the protection of the law,” the judge said. “He enjoys certain rights including the right to property and free movement as enshrined in the constitution.”

Sekeramayi was described as “exceedingly unhelpful” when he asserted that state agents do not operate under any law.

“The fifth respondent (Sekeramayi) has not been truthful in respect of the items that were taken from the applicant. One cannot help observe as well that all the valuable items which the applicant claims were seized from him have been denied. The fifth respondent has been shown to be completely unreliable on what was taken.”

“It is a principle of our law of evidence that where a witness has been shown to be untruthful, as the fifth respondent has been demonstrably shown to be, an adverse inference has to be drawn against such a witness.”

The judge was scathing about Sekeramayi’s definition of subversive material which the state suspected Muguwu wanted to take to Ireland.

“We now know that the said documents were receipts which do not commend themselves favourably as security threats,” Justice Mathonsi ruled.

“What is known is that the state agents admit taking a number of receipts, insurance policy, bank transaction slips and two reports compiled by the applicant.”

Mbeki on point
It was useful to have on record remarks by Thabo Mbeki who was in the country for a conference on the country’s diamond management. He warned Zimbabwe’s “predatory elite” to stop benefiting from diamonds at the expense of economic development.

“Diamond production must not be governed by a predatory elite which is in collusion with mining companies for its own benefit,” the former president declared. Mbeki warned that unless Zimbabwe cleaned up its act, its attempt to win regional support for the lifting of sanctions would not succeed.

This is all rather different to what we read in the Herald and Sunday Mail.

“As elections loom in Zimbabwe next year, the country must prove it is not a rogue state,” he declared.

He was wrong on one point. He claimed Britain had refused to provide funds for land reform. In fact, Britain provided £44 million and not all of it was used.

President Mugabe, again wide off the mark, said at Lancaster House the Americans, led by Jimmy Carter, promised to fund land reform. We are not aware of any such pledge. Carter’s term ended in 1980. He was succeeded by Ronald Reagan who refused to give money to what he saw as a Communist government.

Mugabe forgot to mention that it was him who nearly walked out of the talks at Lancaster House, looking for support from Cuba. But Samora Machel and Julius Nyerere made it clear they would freeze logistical backing for Mugabe if he abandoned the talks.

Blame sanctions
We enjoyed a report in the Herald last week which said Simon Khaya Moyo had urged delegates to the Tanzanian Chama Cha Mapinduzi congress to support Zanu PF’s quest for economic empowerment. The policies Zanu PF was pursuing would free indigenous people from the bondage of poverty, he said.

At the same time he said Zimbabwe would need food aid if the rains did not come on time.

And, would you believe it, he blamed sanctions for climate change!

Terrible twins
The terrible twins of the Herald’s opinion columns, Darlington Mahuku and Bowden Mbanje, who appear unable to speak for themselves, had this to say last week.

“We must be prepared to get rid of the white man in us if we are to be victorious. We must unite as Zimbabweans in defending our heritage at all costs because unity and security are incompatible (sic),” they sang in unison.

“All we have to do is go forward with courage and determination knowing fully well we have wolves, hyenas and vultures in our midst.”
What a shocking commentary on the current party leadership! This sort of outspoken criticism can get them into trouble. Perhaps Mbanje and his Siamese twin need to stop smoking for a while!

How else do we explain headings like “Uncloaking the neo-imperial diabolical mask”?

Chihuri loses it
Police Commissioner-General Augustine Chihuri has urged senior police officers to reject the new constitution if it has provisions for devolution.

He was opening a senior officers’ conference in Harare. Those calling for an alternative system were unpatriotic, he said.

“We know that there are foreign elements that are trying to infiltrate our country,” he declared. “I urge you to throw away this notion of devolution that is coming from some quarters in this country. Devolution means division,” he said.

What nonsense. Who are these countries that want to “infiltrate” Zimbabwe? Is it the same ones we go to with the begging bowl every year at about this time? And don’t police officers have the right to vote according to their conscience and not what their superiors ordain?

As we said with the army interventions, what is the point of voting if your choice is prescribed to you? That is not democracy? It is dictatorship.

As for devolution, it is about increasing the parameters of self-government. Many people in this country want a greater say over their affairs, especially when they feel they are being marginalised. They don’t want to be told what to think or do. They certainly don’t want to hear facile claims of foreign infiltrators coming from elements in the losing party.

Naïve editorial
The Herald on Tuesday published a naïve editorial expecting new US ambassador Bruce Wharton to normalise relations with Zimbabwe overnight. Wharton pointed out this was something he could not do alone.

There was need to work with the people and government of Zimbabwe to paint an accurate picture of the country, he said. The Herald agreed this would help counter the “outright lies” peddled against Zimbabwe. There was even talk of President Barack Obama visiting the country.
Coming in the wake of Chihuri’s remarks to police officers and statements by Patrick Chinamasa and Douglas Nyikayaramba, this is all pie in the sky.

No US government will give its support to a regime that refuses opposition leaders who win elections access to State House. Congress wouldn’t stand for it.

Zanu PF should take a leaf from Burma’s book. The military there have understood the need for democratic change as a pre-condition for normalisation of relations with the West. Zimbabwe should do the same. And the captive public media should stop misleading people over the need for root-and-branch reform.

Stay out of kitchen
Finally, a message for those self-important politicians who believe they can muzzle newspapers which publish inconvenient stories: If you can’t stand the heat, stay out of the kitchen.

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