Monday, December 15, 2008

The Weekly N&C for December 15th, 2008

An End of Their Own Making

The appalling man-made disaster that is befalling Zimbabwe (Rhodesia; hereafter not noted) is spiraling into a tragic end. That is, of course, not to predict what ending, but to focus the attention on the fact that one way or another the current failure of what was once one of the most successful Sub-Saharan Nations in Africa is going to result in some sort of resolution, and soon.

The post-Lancaster House Accords Republic of Zimbabwe has fallen so far that hyperinflation obliterates any value from the local currency, food and clean water are functionally inaccessible (to the general population), and disease sweeps the land. The regime of Robert Mugabe and his ZANU-PF politburo still does not recognize the results of the last Presidential Election and refuses any meaningful power-sharing with the opposition. Detentions and disappearances of human-rights activists and opposition party supporters are once again the norm, and now the government propagandists have turned to claiming an external threat of support for an insurgency.

Take a moment to read that BBC article in detail, please. It is a fair summary of most all of the above.

For familiarization, please also note:

The Zimbabwe African National Union – Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) is the one-party formed after the forcible unification of the two communist-inspired revolutionary parties in 1987 (roughly the same time as Mugabe’s regime tossed out the constitutional protections guaranteed under the Lancaster House Accords).

The Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) is the opposition, now fragmented into two factions, that successfully contested the 2005 and 2008 elections. The fact that they are legally tolerated has not impaired the Mugabe regime’s active suppression of this party. Astoundingly, the major faction (MDC-Tsvangirai) may well have won more than 50% of the Presidential vote in the 2008 election. They are the current plurality in the parliament.

To continue then, the claims of external threat are particularly troubling, not because there should not be an external threat to a regime like Mugabe’s, but that there seems to no real threat actually occurring. But let that not dissuade the propagandists of the ZANU-PF; they have hauled out claims that every problem contributing to the collapse of human existence inside Zimbabwe is the fault of outsiders. Here is a short list of the most recent versions of such claims:

. Hyperinflation is caused by the Americans – the particulars of that claim have even made it into the wikipedia entry on the Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act of 2001 (ZDERA).

.. Zimbabwe Cholera outbreak is a racist U.K. genocide plot – this was widely spread in the mainstream media, but thankfully with intelligent counterpoints to the claim.

… All the disease outbreaks (Cholera, Anthrax) are just excuses for “Western” invasion – Robert Mugabe himself stated such as part of his asserting that there is no disease in the country now. Yes, he really said that.

…. The MDC has bases in Botswana for training an insurgent army to invade Zimbabwe – This is the latest one, repeated *here*, and if one would prefer the official propaganda version, *here* in The Herald (which is controlled by the Government).

To go ahead and introduce a brief bit of illumination on how quickly the accused parties got announcements out to the contrary, *here* is the Government of Botswana’s denial and *here* is the MDC party’s denial.

There is a very good reason why those denials had to come out so quickly, and it has nothing to do with the current ill-relations between the Governments of Botswana and Zimbabwe. It is to prevent giving any excuse to the Mugabe regime to conduct an improved version of the Gukurahundi, the massacres of the Ndebele (Matabele; a Zulu-related tribe), specifically the followers of the rival ZAPU party, that ran from 1982~85 and likely killed around 20,000 Ndebele tribals. The above-mentioned forcible unification of the ZANU and ZAPU parties was the result of that reign of terror. For as brave and independent historically as the Ndebele are, the facts are that the massive population superiority of the Shona tribals virtually disenfranchises any other tribe-based political movement, and the (yes, you guessed it, Shona-dominated) ZANU was more than willing to use the Army against the people.

There is absolutely no reason to believe that thinking has changed since then.

Look at these parts of the picture:

This is a map of Zimbabwe in relation to other countries. Note Botswana to the West.

This is a map of the regions of Zimbabwe. Note the two westernmost regions are Matabeleland, the Ndebele homeland.

If one were to suppose a hypothetical insurgency based in Botswana, then all lines of communication and activity go through Matabeleland. During the Rhodesian Bush War, by the way, neither communist army had that opportunity. The closest bases to the west were actually to the northwest, in Zambia. Those bases were the ZAPU Army strongholds. Mugabe’s patrons in the ZANU Army were based out of Mozambique. Let us go down a sample list of where he and those patrons are now, from the top:

Robert Mugabe – President. The face of the ‘successful’ revolution.

Solomon Mujuru – supposedly retired ZANU Army commander. The man who made R. Mugabe’s career. Kleptocrat par excellence.

Joice Mujuru – Vice President (one of two). Wife of S. Mujuru. Another revolutionary, and another Kleptocrat, with a reputation for violence.

Emmerson Mnangagwa – Cabinet Minister. Bomb-setting revolutionary. Very successful Kleptocrat. Has pretentions of replacing R. Mugabe at the top of the ZANU-PF.

There are more.

Not a one of them has any regrets about having turned Zimbabwe into a one-party government or having done so by turning loose a North Korean-trained Army Brigade on a ruthless suppression campaign to make it that way.

In counterpoint, the MDC is led by:

Morgan Tsvangirai – A trade unionist, who did not fight in the revolution. A rising star in the ZANU-PF who was horrified at the excesses of his own party in releasing the Gukurahundi. A man who, as an opposition politician, has visited the mass grave sites and shown real empathy for the Ndebele suffering.

Maybe also, there is this…

The Ndebele have always been a proud people, but in a way that outsiders rarely seem to grasp. There was one, once, who did. He is buried now, atop the high point of the Matobo Hills, the most sacred ground of Matabeleland. When they placed him there, the Ndebele chiefs performed the only known Matabele Royal Salute to a European.

Maybe that is why the regime is so happy killing Ndebele…

A sense of the inadequacy in the regime's founders; how during the Second Chimurenga they could not compare to the strong fighters from Matabeleland.

If there is ever to be another Royal Salute, to a man or woman of any race, let now be the time that the foreigner step forward.

Because the tyrant and his clique that has seized the government is setting things in motion to commit another massacre of the people of the nation.

They have shown they prefer to destroy the nation rather than give up their power, their perks, their “luxury cars and plasma TV’s”.

No one made this end for them; the Mugabe clique made this all by themselves.

Stop Mugabe and the ZANU-PF now.

Denounce the Lancaster House Accords.

Send a real invasion before the Gukurahundi falls again.

End Notes:

Most notes are embedded as links in the text.

Gukurahundi as a Shona word means roughly "a rain that washes away things".

Here is a quick link to the Zimbabwe news section of All Africa dot com.

The Matobo Hills are a UNESCO World Heritage Site, but for traditional reasons.

The following are Wiki-p links, provided for General Information ONLY. This is a very contentious topic. Propagandists are very actively using Wikipedia to present their versions of things. (Both sides)

General Information on contemporary Zimbabwe

General Information on the Lancaster House Accords. Lacks mention of American Government pressure.

General Information about the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC; both factions)

General Information about the Zimbabwe African National Union – Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF)

Historical Information on the Zimbabwe African People’s Union (ZAPU)

Personal Profile: Morgan Tsvangirai; MDC-T leader

Personal Profile: Arthur Mutambara; MDC (M) faction leader

Personal Profile: President Robert Mugabe; ZANU-PF leader

Personal Profile: Solomon Mujuru; ZANU-PF; retired

Personal Profile: Vice President Joice Mujuru; ZANU-PF

Personal Profile: Emmerson Mnangagwa; ZANU-PF


L.Douglas Garrett said...

Another of the ZANU-PF clique got himself shot in the arm recently, by the way. He was the field commander of the 5th Bde. in the Gukuruhundi and is currently Air Marshal and on the JOC.

'tis a shame.

The odd part may well be that it might have just been a robbery attempt, because it was a poor try at murder.

Another theory is that the ZANU-PF clique have fallen to infighting over the loot; Do not discount pro- vs anti- Mugabe faction infighting either.

L.Douglas Garrett said...

More on the Shiri shooting, from the Times (UK), today. They cite Government reports that the wound is "in the hand".

Given the timing of the GovZimbabwe's releasing the report of the shooting and the accusations they are now publicizing, it also can not be discounted that this "shooting", IF IT EVEN HAPPENED, is being played for propaganda value to justify the very repression in Matabeleland this The Weekly considered impending.