Tony Blair’s ghost dogs Mugabe’s campaign

JA”>We are wondering where President Mugabe gets his intelligence from. He told Zanu PF youths at the weekend that British prime minister Tony Blair was planning to invade Zimbabwe Iraq-style.

“The British have been making threats,” he said. “Let them come. They will not conquer us. We know our bushes, caves and hideouts,” he told his bemused audience, who were warned they should be prepared to die.

“Just imagine how he will do it, remove me and put (Morgan) Tsvangirai there and you think the people will accept it …Let him do it and he will regret.”

So part of the threats are all “imagined” because of the challenge posed by Tsvangirai? Proceeding from this imagined scenario, Mugabe went on to tell the youths that Zanu PF could not afford to lose next year’s parliamentary election because that would be a victory for Tony Blair. He didn’t say in which constituency Blair would be contesting. “It’s an anti-Blair election. We must win it and demonstrate that Zimbabwe shall never be a colony again,” he said.

This is nothing short of hallucination by a leader who has run out of campaign material. Nobody in their right mind would want to recolonise a country that Zanu PF depredations have reduced to a shell.

We all know that Mugabe is haunted by his past and fears an MDC government might want to hold him to account. If there is anything British about the election, it is Tony Blair’s ghost that has dogged Mugabe over the past four years because of human rights abuses.

Talking of which, the dinosaur heading the Media and Information Commission, posing as a political scientist, complained in ZBC’s Newshour on Monday that the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights came to Zimbabwe with “premeditated” notions about the human rights situation “because of negative reports from Western media”.

We have not bothered what his doctoral thesis was based on. But we would really be baffled to learn that he embarked on it without preconceived notions. The point is that only the proven stands at the end of the day. Those who discovered that the Earth is round at first thought it was flat! Why would the AU send a fact-finding commission if there was no problem of human rights in Zimbabwe? Why was it not sent to Botswana, for instance?

Muckraker understands the good doctor also gave testimony before the commission. Obviously on closer scrutiny it was found to be porous, and perhaps completely unbelievable on a balance of probabilities, and deservedly thrown out. That must in part explain why the man is full of rancour.

Pursuant to his revisionist theories, Dr Tafataona Mahoso said it was time Africans came up with their “own set of values and ideals” of measuring human rights. The idea is that they should not be influenced by one Tony Blair who allegedly foisted his imperialist values and ideals on the African commissioners.

Muckraker reckons the cornerstone of such values and ideals would be that it’s not a crime to kill your own people or that killing opposition supporters such as Tichaona Chiminya and Talent Mabika in an election campaign are not human rights violations. Generally, the thrust would be that Africans are less worthy and therefore liberal Western human rights ideals are not suitable for Africa.

It looks like the fight against non-governmental organisations is not over yet. It is not Amani Trust alone that is under attack by rabid government apologists. The latest victim is the philanthropic donor organisation that fed thousands of families during long years of drought and food shortages in Mberengwa, Chivi, Mwenezi, Zaka, Beitbridge and much of Matabeleland South, Care International.

In the past two weeks the NGO has been pilloried for causing food shortages in Masvingo, with the governor for the province, that caricature whose bulk has no proportion to his brain, Josaya Hungwe, inciting people to claim compensation from the NGO.

Roped into the anti-Care International campaign this week was Zanu PF’s losing candidate in the Harare Central constituency, William Nhara. It was claimed Care supplied the wrong sorghum seed variety to the people of Masvingo as part of efforts to sabotage the land reform exercise. People were warned to be wary of donor agencies sponsored by “unfriendly” countries like Britain and the United States.

But it emerged at the end of the news clip that all this was calculated baloney. The seed variety complained of was sourced locally after Care International awarded a contract to seed producers. It is only at the end that we realise we are being led down a garden path by deceptive propagandists whose only contact with real people is limited to what they read in their own media, suitably couched in the language they want to hear — a huge illusion.

Whatever the source of the problem seed, we were not told why Care International had to intervene when we have a government that pretends to know it all.

We would like to quote at length Mugabe’s rantings against the people he purports to be fighting for. Ostensibly referring to Tony Blair’s MDC, the Sunday Mail quotes him as urging his violent youths to launch a “vigorous campaign” to push Tony Blair’s midgets out.

“We want to teach them a lesson across the whole country that Zimbabwe will never be a colony again. Elections must be won not tomorrow, but today. Go and work,” he told the youths. Some may call this tough-talking, others incitement.

But soon it was clear what the source of the bitterness was and Mugabe seeks to settle a personal score against the whole country.

“The humiliation we suffered in the 2000 elections should humble us and spur us to victory this time around. Can we rule from a city that is in the hands of the enemy? Who then are the kings in Bulawayo? This is an embarrassment not only to the Harare province youth league but to the whole party.”

So the hate speech he has been preaching in the past four years is part of efforts to assuage his humiliation at the hands of the MDC? And why should a leader who purports to enjoy massive support stoop so low as to divide the country between “followers and enemies?” Does Zimbabwe deserve such low-calibre leadership? Muckraker reckons the man deserves the final humiliation next year.

Then there was that childish assertion that Zimbabwe is holy land.

“This is holy land, it is not only Palestine that is holy land,” Mugabe told his election foot soldiers at the University of Zimbabwe. What he didn’t say is that the Palestinian Authority doesn’t bludgeon its own people to stay in power.  Nor is its intifada against Israel an imaginary political rhetoric.

The increasingly unhinged Nathaniel Manheru appears to think journalists on his hit list may want to hide from him. That is wishful thinking. Journalists should actually welcome his threats. His column is the best possible advertisement for the true colours of the delinquent regime he claims to speak for. Without it we may have thought the ruling party had some redeeming features!

Its vicious intolerance of criticism, its hate-speech, its targeting of ethnic minorities, its bigotry and deceit all offer unprecedented insight into the deeply troubled psyche of President Mugabe’s court in the dying days of its putrid rule and give Zanu PF the reputation it deserves.

Manheru is the face of the beast — the “runaway monster” of his heading last week who “darts” and “hounds” those who cross him. And it’s important his malevolent agenda should be given the widest possible publicity even though readers are understandably reluctant to plough through his turgid text.

This, after all, is the same individual who asserts his authority over the most senior members of his own party, who claims the right to nominate the next attorney-general, and who edits reports of the president’s speeches to ensure multiple-farm owners are spared too much unwelcome attention.

This is an abuse of power writ large. But it doesn’t end with settling scores and advancing his sinister career on the domestic scene. He also displays barely concealed contempt for African leaders such as Presidents Olusegun Obasanjo and Abdoulaye Wade who get in the way of his spurious nationalist agenda.

The two leaders were accused last week of doing the West’s bidding. Then there are the “traitors” on the African Commission for Human and People’s Rights who, unlike Mahoso, don’t understand the importance of concealing Zimbabwe’s persistent human rights violations in the name of African solidarity.

The number of conspirators are multiplying by the day, it would seem. And without Mad-Dog Manheru’s hounding help we wouldn’t know who to thank!

 We liked the observation in Hogarth’s column in the Sun-day Times last weekend that when Kofi Annan said “There is no truer wisdom and no clearer mark of sta-tesmanship than knowing when to pass the torch to a new generation”, Robert Mugabe and Sam Nujoma forgot to join in the applause.

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