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Govt shooting itself in the foot

DESPITE unending claims by President Robert Mugabe and his cronies that the MDC and the Western world have tarnished the image of Zimbabwe, it is the government officials – Mugabe himself included – who have tarnished the country’s image

through their own actions.


Mugabe was shown on Newshour on October 27 addressing children at a school in Buhera where he donated some computers.


He attacked Cosatu officials who had been deported by his government despite a High Court ruling.


His utterances confirm to the international community claims by the progressive forces of Zimbabwe that the regime in power disregards the rule of law as the High Court had ruled against the deportation.


One wonders what the president is trying to achieve when he speaks against court judgements to children who are supposed to learn from him.


Local Government minister Ignatious Chombo was at it the other day when he was shown – again on Newshour – saying that chiefs must approve rallies planned by the opposition parties in the areas under their jurisdiction.


Chombo’s statement is against the spirit of the Sadc protocol on elections which states that political parties contesting in elections should be allowed to freely campaign.


Information minister Jonathan Moyo and Justice minister Patrick Chinamasa have repeatedly said that the MDC will not have access to the state media when the Sadc protocol requires that all political parties participating in elections should have equal access.


Both support their arguments by referring to a warning given to Mugabe by the MDC president, Morgan Tsvangirai, when he said angry Zimbabweans would remove Mugabe from power violently if he did not step down.


The MDC president was brought before the courts for that statement and acquitted, hence by using that example, Moyo and Chinamasa are failing to respect the rule of law.


Interestingly, the MDC got some form of television coverage in both the 2000 parliamentary and 2002 presidential elections. Their stance only shows that Zanu PF has now realised that the MDC has grown much stronger and that it will win the 2005 parliamentary election if it is given an opportunity to explain its policies and programmes to the hungry and jobless people of Zimbabwe.


Shelter is a basic human right, but the regime has now politicised the allocation of residential stands in Harare where desperate home-seekers have been forced to buy party cards in order for them to get land.


A relative of mine, an MDC sympathiser, has had no option but to join one of the housing co-operatives that Zanu PF is helping form across the town. He told me they are forced to chant anti-Tsvangirai slogans at their meetings.


I urge the United Nations to investigate the politicisation of the allocation of land in Zimbabwe and advise the regime to stop this form of human rights abuse forthwith.


The above are just a few examples of how government, through the public media, is projecting a negative image for which it accuses the MDC, Tony Blair and George Bush.


I would like to congratulate the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Holdings for exposing the country’s leaders to the few members of the diplomatic community and officials of human rights organisation who watch local television.


If only Mugabe and his cronies had the gift of thinking before they speak or act, Zimbabwe’s international image would not be so bad.


Benjamin Chitate,

Harare.

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