Police do not selectively apply the law and do not target MDC-T members, new police spokesperson Charity Charamba said. According to the Herald she said this “while quashing MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai’s claims that police were partisan”.
A more accurate account would have been that she said this “while attempting to quash” Tsvangirai’s claims. Addressing supporters in Zaka, Tsvangirai said the role of the police was being compromised. He accused the police of arresting members of his party for political violence. He also said MDC-T members were victims of violence unleashed on them by Zanu PF.
Charamba however claimed the force was impartial in discharging its duties. She said the police have zero tolerance to crime and Commissioner-General Augustine Chihuri would confirm that. But Tsvangirai insisted the police were not arresting Zanu PF members who were assaulting and killing MDC-T members.
“People were burnt by Zanu PF members and some were assaulted and their assailants were known,” he said. “They are actually boasting of committing a crime. Are the police still in existence?” he asked. “What is the role of the police?”
“The law only applies when an MDC member is accused of committing a crime,” Tsvangirai said. “There are 29 young people who are rotting in prison and their crime is that they are MDC. Why should we have selective application of the law when we are saying we are one?” he said. Enough said about the first Charity.
Another Charity, Dr Charity Manyeruke who lectures in the Department of International Relations at the University of Zimbabwe, said Tsvangirai’s claims were baseless.
“We know the international community has cleared Zimbabwe of any violence hence they gave the go-ahead to host the United Nations World Tourism Organisation general assembly.
“We should not have people lying that there is violence when we can’t hear or see it,” she said. “We can’t continue with these lies of violence when it’s not happening.”
Not happening? What planet is she living on? What happened to Talent Mabika and Tichaona Chiminya? And more recently to Tonderai Ndira? As for the UNWTO general assembly, when did it clear Zimbabwe of violence?
For these Charities the mantra seems to be “see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil”!
Conspicuous by absence
As if to buttress Tsvangirai’s assertion, the police were conspicuous by their absence last week when war veterans besieged Finance minister Tendai Biti’s offices, grounding government business to a halt in at least four ministries.
The veterans held government workers hostage, barring anyone from going in or coming out, reports the Daily News.
A bemused Biti slated the police and the army for not taking action saying they are always fast to respond to civil rights protests by human rights groups such as Women of Zimbabwe Arise, and yet very slothful in dealing with the war veterans’ lawlessness.
Newly-appointed Harare provincial police spokesperson Tedious Chibanda has clearly taken his predecessor’s lethargic cue, declining to comment on the incident and referring the Daily News to the national police spokesperson.
“Those issues are commented on at national level, we do not talk at provincial level,” Chibanda unhelpfully said.
Asked to comment on the issue, national police spokesperson Charity Charamba said she was off-duty while her deputy Oliver Mandipaka said call after an hour.
Evasive ‘war vet’
Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association leader Jabulani Sibanda was afforded a chance to put to rest speculation he was born in 1970 and thus too young to have fought in the liberation war.
Surely his interview with the Sunday Mail would bring closure to the lingering question of whether Sibanda was the revolutionary he claimed to be or just a charlatan.
The youthful looking Sibanda claimed to have joined the liberation struggle in 1976 although conceding to be “very young at that time”.
When probed on how old he was when he joined the war, the “irrepressible” Sibanda was, however, very tame and evasive. “I was old enough to make that choice,” was Sibanda’s feeble reply.
“I don’t want to be forced to talk about personal issues,” he added. “I am not in this position in a personal capacity.”
Asked who he trained with during the war, Sibanda gave yet another ambiguous response. His former colleagues were either retired or their whereabouts are unknown.
“Some of them are still serving today like Brigadier Ncube. I think he is in Mutare or somewhere. I also trained with Brigadier Matiwaza, he must be a retired brigadier by now,” Sibanda claims.
To the question of which areas he operated from during the war, Sibanda could only say:
“I cannot give the whole situation saying this happened here and so on.”
“I am just content with what I am telling you” was the lame rejoinder.
When the interview meandered beyond personal issues, the vitriolic Sibanda emerged with all guns blazing threatening to mete out retribution to “corrupt” Zanu PF officials.
Despite a shadow hovering over his credibility as a war veteran, Sibanda still demands to be taken seriously.
Zanu PF chairman Simon Khaya Moyo believes his party’s conference to be held in Gweru in December will “sharpen its strategies and ensure a resounding victory” in next year’s elections.
A “giant” 5 000-seater conference centre is under construction in Gweru in preparation for the December meeting, the Herald reports. The facility will be equipped with “modern technology”, whatever that means.
The US$6,5 million project spearheaded by Zanu PF provincial vice-chairperson Larry Mavima is on course “despite the illegal sanctions imposed on us”.
According to Mavima the project signalled the “renaissance of Zanu PF”.
This “renaissance” continues unabated despite practical collapse of Zanu PF-run companies. The Financial Gazette reports that workers at Zanu PF-owned Jongwe Printers were up in arms against management over unpaid salaries. Workers at another Zanu PF-run company, Catercraft, said they had not been paid for the past six months.
So much for renaissance!
Poor grasp of history
We are surprised at George Charamba’s poor grasp of modern African history. He told the Herald, gullible as ever, that Uganda was “one of the first countries in Africa to gain Independence”.
He was accompanying President Mugabe to Uganda’s golden jubilee Independence celebrations.
In fact the following countries gained Independence before Uganda (1962): Sudan (1956); Ghana (1957); Nigeria (1960); Tanzania (1961); Congo Kinshasa (1960); Congo Brazzaville (1960); Gabon (1960); Cameroon (1960); Togo (1960); Central African Republic (1960); Chad (1960); Mali (1960); Guinea (1958); Sierra Leone (1961); Morocco (1956); Tunisia (1956); Ivory Coast (1960); Niger (1960); Mauritania (1960) and Senegal (1960).
Clearly many African nations were independent before Uganda.
President Mugabe also needs some help with other facts. He told mourners at Stan Mudenge’s funeral that when there was a logjam over the land issue in the Lancaster House talks the British went to the Americans for help with compensation which the US agreed to.
They contributed “significant amounts” the president told us.
In fact it never happened. The Americans at no stage agreed to support land reform.
Finally we were amused by the Mail&Guardian’s story on the Born Free Crew’s new video which features President Mugabe. The idea behind the videos, reports the M&G, is to bridge the huge gap between the 88-year-old leader and the young, urban voter.
“But with his co-stars leaping enthusiastically around him, Mugabe manages only a few reluctant, wooden moves, his grey designer suit out of place next to the bandanas and mohawks of the Born Free Crew,” reads the M&G.
“Shot in Mugabe’s office in the capital Harare, the video shows him standing to attention while the singers salute him. They then surround him, dancing and throwing their arms around his shoulders as if he was one of their own. When they finally coax him into a dance, he carefully, if seemingly reluctantly, kicks one leg and then another, wearing a wide grin.”
Fawning man of the cloth
Zanu PF politburo member Tendai Savanhu recently handed over groceries to vulnerable groups living at Matapi Hostels in Mbare.
Savanhu visited the beneficiaries of his largesse accompanied by a Pastor Alwyn Bizure of Adonnai Ministries.
The fawning pastor said Savanhu’s gesture showed Zanu PF was putting God’s word into practice and has a “God-fearing leadership that is obedient and visionary”.
One wonders if those at the receiving end of Zanu PF brutality in Mbare share the pastor’s sentiments.
Bippa subject to govt’s whims
The Herald carried a story this week in which Mines minister Obert Mpofu told some Russian visitors that “we have been subjected to very destructive media. The Western media has been hostile to us because we wanted to use our resources for our people”.
Shouldn’t this read: “The international community has been very critical of us because ministers are helping themselves to public resources and in the process undermining the economy?”
The Russians should know the Bippa they signed is not worth the paper it is written on because Harare will tear it up when it suits it.