HomeCommentMuckraker: Squealing about sanctions won’t help

Muckraker: Squealing about sanctions won’t help

BRITISH business mogul Sir Richard Branson has made a generous offer to Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai to support investors who want to take risks by getting involved in projects at an early stage.

But Zanu PF spokesmen such as Herald columnist Tichaona Zindoga have shot down this proposal because it undermines the authority of President Mugabe.

“Branson, it will be noted, contrived to project Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai as the leading partner in a coalition with anonymous parties in the government of Zimbabwe where he is but the chair of the Council of Ministers and President Mugabe is his boss as head of state and government,” Zindoga admonishes.

Isn’t this pathetic? Zanu PF seeks to undermine Tsvangirai at every turn even though Branson’s initiative would have paid handsome dividends. But Branson has to be slapped down for failing to acknowledge Mugabe’s supremacy.
“Branson failed to acknowledge,” Zindoga says, “that Zimbabwe got over the really rough (last) few years, as he put it, owing to the determination of President Mugabe’s leadership in the face of Western adversity.”

Is that what people really think? That Mugabe’s “leadership” got us through the horrors of the last few years? Isn’t it the near-unanimous view that the country survived that period despite Mugabe’s repeated attempts to plant roadblocks in the path of reform?
And didn’t Sadc get involved in the post-2007 political process precisely to prevent Zanu PF from causing any further damage to investment in the region?

Admittedly they weren’t too successful in that regard. But the point remains, Zanu PF and the two MDCs were yoked together to secure reform and recovery, something Zanu PF is resisting every step of the way.

Zindoga amusingly claims Western investors “want to hijack the success story of the country”.
Success story? What success story?

Branson should stop being naïve and declare “a pox on both your houses”. He should make it clear no funds will be forthcoming so long as Zanu PF persists in sabotaging the economy. That should provide a welcome wake-up call to those like Zindoga who see themselves as champions of the regime.
By the way, could we have Zindoga’s designation? We need to know which “journalists” are intent upon preventing reform. We still haven’t heard who Tendai Midzi is. He claims to be teaching at London Metropolitan University but the authorities there say they have no such person on their books.

Muckraker is intrigued by the turnaround in Mugabe’s post-UN agenda. He had been due to fly to Ecuador to pick up an honorary doctorate. But suddenly that ceremony has been postponed to December because of “pressing engagements at home”.

So it had nothing to do with revelations regarding his Ecuadorian host, “Archbishop” Roberto Crespo?

“There had been “some attempts by the private media to discredit Archbishop Crespo, labelling him an illegal arms dealer,” the Herald told its readers.
Attempts to link Archbishop Crespo to arms smuggling had “fallen flat”, the Herald reported, “with the clergyman acquitted on all charges brought forward by pro-American regimes”.

“After a few years in jail,” the Herald omitted to say!

“Observers have linked the failed legal onslaughts to attempts to discredit the pro-poor lobbyist who is highly popular in his homeland.”
This is rather like our own dear leader isn’t it. You never actually hear the people saying what a highly popular leader he is. Only apologists like Crespo who parachute in brandishing bogus degrees; and Sizzla who is having difficulty finding venues in France for his concerts because local authorities and the French Communist party took exception to his murderous lyrics, say that.

NewsDay on Wednesday published details on how the US/Zimbabwe talks went in Washington last week. The Herald said very little so here is the full communiqué for the record.

“On September 23, Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, Ambassador Johnnie Carson, and Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for African Affairs Michelle Gavin met with senior members of Zimbabwe’s Zanu-PF/MDC transition government, including Minister of Energy and Power Elton Mangoma, Minister of Justice and Legal Affairs Patrick Chinamasa and Minister of Regional and International Cooperation Priscilla Misihairabwe-Mushonga.

“The Zimbabwean delegation reviewed in detail the economic and political progress that has occurred over the past 18 months since the conclusion of the Global Political Agreement (GPA).

“The United States recognised and applauded the economic advances that have occurred in Zimbabwe but remains concerned that political progress has not been as successful. The discussions were cordial and both sides agreed on the need to seek opportunities to continue an open dialogue.

“The United States pointed out that the current political and human rights environment in Zimbabwe remained troublesome, pointing to the recent harassment of Woza and the disruption of constitutional reform meetings in Harare. The United States said that Zimbabwe must make further progress for the removal of targeted sanctions. Political progress comes with strong institutions, not strong individuals, and developing strong and transparent institutions will sustain economic growth.

“The United States remains a major contributor and continues to provide humanitarian assistance to the people of Zimbabwe. Our sanctions are under regular review, but as long as human rights violations, land seizures, and intimidation of those participating in the political process continue, the sanctioned individuals and entities on the list who continue to perpetrate and benefit from these acts are unlikely to be removed. Significant improvements in the political environment, greater respect for human rights and political freedoms will result in change in the US posture.

“The United States welcomes engagement with the transition government, and we are committed to keeping the door open to further dialogue.”

In the same week that the Zimbabwean delegation was in Washington, reports emerged that Senator Jamaya Muduvuri remained in occupation of a farm, Twyford, belonging to a French national despite a High Court order and a Bippa protecting her.

The farm owner, Catherine Joineau-Meredith, has repeatedly appealed to Tsvangirai for help, to no avail. She says she has lost 15 hectares of seed maize, 50 hectares of seed sorghum, 25 hectares of citrus, 30 hectares of sweet potatoes, five hectares of commercial maize, 220 sheep, and 26 head of cattle. Her farmhouse burnt down on September 14.

“All the promises given to me personally by you and your office have stood empty and no action has ever been undertaken to rectify all the illegalities that have taken place since February 6 2009 when the farm was occupied by Mr Muduvuri,” she wrote to Tsvangirai.

Zimbabwe is holding out the begging bowl to the USA and the EU expecting them to feed our most needy people over the coming season. Did the US officials in Washington ask Mangoma and Chinamasa how they reconciled farm occupations and crop theft with good governance? And why does the Zimbabwean government expect other countries to supply food when productive farms are occupied and pillaged?

Hopefully the Americans have got word of Didymus Mutasa’s recent remarks on refusing to recognise a government headed by Tsvangirai. That deserves world-wide attention and neatly demonstrates the obstacles to democracy the American team expressed concern about in Washington.

US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Susan Page spelt out the problem: “Again we stress the fact that as long as these violations of human rights, these arbitrary arrests, continued violence and brutality continue, we’re not in a position to lift our sanctions despite how they want to characterise them.”

That’s probably a reference to the asinine claim that sanctions are “illegal”.

Governments everywhere are perfectly entitled to take what measures they like when dealing with those who, in the words of the 2001 presidential proclamation, “formulate, implement or benefit from institutions (which) impede the transition to a multi-party democracy; persons who through their business dealings with Zimbabwe government officials derive significant financial benefit from policies that undermine or injure Zimbabwe’s democratic institutions…”

If the US does not wish to trade or invest in such circumstances there is no obligation for it to do so.
So no more squealing please about “illegal” sanctions. The worst sanctions faced by this country are those imposed by Zanu PF. And every day we count the cost.

We note in the government’s complaint to the UN about the denial of visas to journalists, that the journalists named are lumped together with a senior intelligence officer.

Is this fair? And in Reuben Barwe’s case there could have been a weight problem. How many seats did he occupy?

We have been told endlessly that Zimbabwe has an “image perception” problem. How does a plane-load of 80 hangers-on from an impoverished country improve that problem?

Last week Muckraker was obliged to give Cde Mahoso extra homework because he didn’t know the difference in the colonial pecking order between a dominion and a self-governing colony.

Just for the record, a dominion (like South Africa) was fully independent and a self-governing colony (like Southern Rhodesia) was partially independent.
Now Mahoso’s embarrassment will have been compounded by news from Cuba that “el Maximo leader” has departed from the state-controlled hymn book on a number of key issues, a move that is likely to cause consternation in the ranks of Zimbabwe’s ideological dinosaurs.

After endless column inches bulging with fawning solidarity in the Sunday Mail over the years, it now emerges that Mahoso may have to review his stance.

The Guardian reports that Castro, in interviews with US analysts, now laments Jewish suffering over the centuries, defends Israel’s right to exist, and accuses Iran’s president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of anti-semitism.

Further, he appears to regret urging the Soviet Union to nuke the US during the 1962 missile crisis and feels responsible for the “great injustice” of the persecution of Cuban gays in the 1970s.

Topping all this and bound to distress the Cuban fan club in Harare is the statement that “the Cuban model doesn’t even work for us any more”.
Fidel is quick to point out

that the US economy is also in crisis. But it hasn’t sunk to Cuban levels yet.
“With infrastructure crumbling,” the Guardian says, “food shortages acute and average monthly pay of $25, it is certainly clear that the economy, under near-total state control, is in a bad way.”

Fidel’s brother Raul, now head of state, says Cuba cannot blame the US embargo for all its economic ills and that serious reforms are needed.
Could he please come and say the same thing here!

We liked the bit in President Mugabe’s UN speech where he says: “The people of Zimbabwe should, like every other sovereign nation, be left to freely chart their own destiny.”

Indeed. But what happened the last time they tried to do that?

Still with sovereign nations, did everybody see in NewsDay the Chinese nationals who caused a major scene outside Meikles Hotel when they refused to have their vehicle clamped?

They broke a clamp padlock before assaulting a municipal police officer who was part of a team that wanted to tow the car away. They refused to pay the $57 fine for the clamp to be removed.
The group said they were well-connected. Sources said they were doing consultancy work for a Zimbabwean security outfit.
The picture told a thousand words. Here were the new colonisers, guaranteed privileges and impunity. We can look forward to many more such incidents in the future as our new masters flex their muscles.

The Herald on Tuesday told us the diesel n’anga who deceived cabinet ministers and senior Zanu PF officials had finally been caught and brought to court after being on the run for one and a half years.

Those deceived by Rotina Mavhunga, or Nomatter Tagarira as she was also known, included Didymus Mutasa, Sydney Sekeramayi and Kembo Mohadi.
They accompanied her to rocks in Chinhoyi to perform rituals hoping refined diesel would pour out of the rocks.
Asked by the magistrate, Ignatius Mugova why she defaulted, Mavhunga said she was unaware that she was on the police wanted list.
“I am not aware that police were looking for me,” she said. “Some of the police officers would come to my shrine in Mhangura to consult but they never mentioned that I was wanted,” she said.

It would be useful to have a full list of members of the taskforce mandated by cabinet to explore the claims, and those who believed them, so we know just how gullible those purporting to be our leaders are.

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