Zimbabwe Review

Reflections on Zimbabwe

Archive for February, 2009

Dear editor of the Herald

Posted by CM on February 27, 2009

There was this gem of a letter to the editor in the Herald of February 24:

We need Nathaniel Manheru column

EDITOR — I was saddened to read in your paper last Saturday that we will no longer be seeing the Nathaniel Manheru column entitled “The Other Side.”

Many of us had come to look forward to the Saturday paper because of the column.

Is there any possibility that you could reconsider the decision and carry on with the column? It has provided us with a good analysis of events that are going on in the country and beyond for many years and at a crucial time as this, we need such columns for our weekly reading.

I have not always agreed with what Manheru says but, as he pointed out in his last instalment, the column was about exploring ideas.

It appears to us that Manheru is putting down his pen to avoid offending the inclusive Government, but I believe the new set-up requires robust criticism for it to succeed at all. To this end, it is my hope that Manheru and The Herald bring the column back.

Takunda Matoro.

Harare.

Editor’s note

We take note of your concerns, and hope to find a suitable replacement for Manheru.

I had to laugh at both the letter, whether genuine or planted, and the editor’s claim to “take note” of the letter-writer’s expressed concern about the deprivation he says he will suffer as a result of the withdrawal of the column.

The infamous, boastful and mean-spirited column, widely thought to have been penned by bombastic chief Mugabe propagandist George Charamba, no doubt did titillate a lot of readers with its outrageousness. At that sort of level it certainly created a stir which definitely delighted the cowardly anonymous writer, whether it was indeed Charamba or someone else.

Cowardly because of how he could make all sorts of scurrilous charges against anyone who did not agree with every aspect of the absurd Mugabe -is-right-and-infallible project that it seems to be Charamba’s chief task to try to propagate and defend. And despite the letter writer’s claim that ‘the column was about exploring ideas,’ it more frequently  seemed to be one angry man exorcising the demons that possessed him by having uncontrolled license to engage in character assassination and hurl abuse at any he considered to not  agree with and admire his boss.

A key part of ‘exploring ideas’ is to then welcome and allow rebuttal and engage in debate. I do not remember a single time that the Herald ever featured a contrary response to the Charamba/Manheru column. Which also makes a joke out of the editor’s pretense to ‘take note’ of a reader’s concern, something the paper never seemed worried to do with holders of opinion different from Manheru’s. It was as if the writer and the paper were quite happy to throw scurrilous charges against all manner of ‘enemies’ from a very thin cover of anonymity, but were then simply too unconfident and cowardly to entertain rebuttals and different views.

Even taking into account the politically-prostituted, low standards of the publication of recent years, the featuring of the Manheru column was astonishingly cowardly and unprofessional of the Herald.


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Posted in Politics | Leave a Comment »

The price and the promise of Zimbabwean recovery

Posted by CM on February 27, 2009

A lot of loose figures are beginning to fly around about what it will cost to revive various sectors of Zimbabwe’s economy. I recognise one must have working figures and estimates, but a lot of the throwing around of figures strikes me as being pretentious. One reason is that they are efforts to quantify the unquantifiable.

What does a statement like, “It will cost US$300m million to revive education, the health sector, agriculture, etc” really mean? You can cost the repair of physical infrastructure, the paying of salaries and so forth, but it is impossible to put a cost on work culture, business confidence,  motivation and so on, which are all integral part of functioning systems.  These attitude-linked traits take a long time to build up where they don’t exist or where they have been severely damaged, as in Zimbabwe.

A danger of quantifying recovery in purely monetary terms is what we have seen with the racket of so-called ”development aid” all over Africa over the last 50 years or so: billions of dollars expended, but no abiding change in the fortunes of the continent.  A few thousand “development experts” from the aid-giving countries do rather well for themselves but the overall condition of the claimed target groups is continuation of wallowing in poverty.

It could be the same with the feeding frenzy that Zimbabwean recovery efforts are likely to be. Millions of dollars will be donated and borrowed, NGOs will spring up at every corner, those with the right connections will suddenly get a new line of access to easy money for conspicuous consumption while the systems the money is supposed to fix continue to flounder. We have seen it all many times before, in Zimbabwe and countless other places in Africa.

This is not an argument against making budgets or against raising money for Zimbabwe’s recovery efforts. It is instead to say that our problems go deeper than can be fixed by merely spending money on them. They also require fundamental attitude change and unusual  leadership commitment to rebuilding the whole national ethos. I am not optimistic that there is any sign of this kind of spirit amongst either the old or the new politicians who have come together in the new unity government.

As a related aside, it has become deeply ingrained in the African mind that “we cannot do without aid from the West.” So you have contradictions such as a country claiming to need aid for inexpensive cholera medication because it is broke, but that same country has no problem at all somehow finding the money for expenses such as luxury vehicles for its top few hundred governing elite! When the things we think we ‘need’ in order to run our affairs include lifestyles that some even in rich Western countries that became so in a different age are questioning, of course we will find our low productivity cannot fund them and we have to resort to debt and being beggars. The idea of lean and mean cabinets or business management units who have to work their way up to whatever perks they enjoy by performance is unfortunately foreign in an Africa where we desperately need ruthlessly-evaluated, results-based politicians and businesspeople. But no, some members of the bloated new cabinet are already receiving their new Mercedes Benz sedan (the most prized perk in all of Africa) before they even have offices to operate from! If this is the sort of way that recovery costs are being calculated, any recovery will not match the extent of the money spent on it.

It is interesting that new prime minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s first ports  of call to seek financial assistance were South and SADC, rather than the Western capitals to which he has long been considered beholden. This surprising development is no doubt partly out of the criticism Tsvangirai and his MDC faction have received, of being “stooges” of the West.

There is an interesting dichotomy in Western attitudes about aid. One the one hand there is discussion about how ineffective and wasteful it often is, and as well as about donor dependency and corruption on the recipient end. And yet a unpopular as the idea of aid sometimes is amongst ordinary Westerners for these reasons, their governments have reasons to continue it, and those reasons are not always humanitarian or development considerations.

Aid is quite clearly also a powerful means to exercise influence on the recipient country. Given how Robert Mugabe has framed The Zimbabwe Crisis is being essentially a result of the West preferring a dispensation in Zimbabwe which favored the white minority, especially the farmers, Tsvangirai’s perceived closeness to the West remains a hot potato for him, even as it also provides him with at least the potential to get various kinds of support.

But what if Zimbabwe sought and got most or all of its recovery costs from the southern Africa region; from SADC? Early intimations are that Zimbabwe might well get significant such support, in what would be an unprecedented case of African countries pulling their own resources to help one of their own. In this case if Zimbabwe was indeed economically and politically stabilised this would be money very well spent for the region. The significant regional “contagion cost ” of Zimbabwe’s  troubles would be eliminated, and a once-again strong Zimbabwe would have many other benefits to the region as well.

But how would the Western “donors” take such unusual fledgling efforts at African self-sufficiency? Surely they would be relieved and happy to not be expected to exclusively or even mainly fund Zimbabwe’s recovery? Not necessarily! I suspect some would like to be asked, to then loudly grumble about those troublesome, always-begging Africans but then be seen to be oh-so-reluctantly but generously giving in to the requests (purely out of humanitarian concerns for the oppressed, impoverished Zimbabweans, you understand.)

“Ah, but in return for this generous aid we are giving you, what are you going to do about that little matter of the white farms that were taken? What about your too-aggressive indigenization laws that we are worried will affect the operations of our nationals’ companies? What are you going to do about all those mining and other concessions that have recently been going to the Chinese in a country that we have always considered to be under our sphere of influence?” And so on and so forth.

You get my drift. So don’t expect that our Western friends will necessarily be happy if SADC or others prove to be the main source of ‘recovery funds!’

Such a development also has the potential to radically alter African thinking about what it can or cannot do for itself. When the current economic and political dust has settled, the lessons of Zimbabwe, not just the obvious negatives but the positives that will become more apparent with time, will reverberate far and wide on the continent and beyond. Ironically, that may be precisely why the very possibility of an eventually powerful, successful and independently-acting and speaking Zimbabwe causes such hysteria in some circles!

It is to present the image of an African country that breaks the mould of the continent’s mostly pathetically weak, donor-dependent and donor-compliant banana republics. It is to begin to no less than re-shape the African psyche against economic and psychological domination and control by The Other, and to positively and fruitfully, profitably take control over one’s resources and destiny. Unfortunately we simply have not seen this yet in Africa, and for some such a prospect is frightening.

Posted in Economy, Mind set | 1 Comment »

Zimbabwe’s continuing land contestation and the symbolisms of ex-farmer Roy Bennett’s legal troubles

Posted by CM on February 15, 2009

So Roy Bennet, MDC ‘treasurer general’ and deputy agriculture minister-designate in the new unity government has been arrested. First a standing treason charge that kept him in exile in South Africa for three years was revived. Many Zimbabwe opposition politicians over the years have dubiously been charged with treason, with the charges almost always then failing to stand up in court.

Then awkwardly, the treason charge was suddenly dropped and replaced with a charge of ‘terrorism.’ Whatever the charges preferred against Bennett, it remains to be seen what sort of evidence will be presented. But it is widely considered that the charges are false and little more than harassment...read full article

 

Posted in Agriculture, People | 1 Comment »

Biti risks falling into Gono trap of claiming mantle of latest Zimbabwean economic ‘miracle man’

Posted by CM on February 15, 2009

Just – appointed MDC minister of finance Tendai Biti has started  his tenure with a bang. He is seemingly everywhere in the media, with admiring, sympathetic and sometimes even heroic portrayals.

The understandably Mugabe-reviling BBC particularly likes the fact that Biti sometimes wears a British-style bowler hat and is apparently a fanatical supporter of a British soccer team! “Phew,” you can almost hear the BBC sigh with relief, “finally we get some Zimbabwean officials who are openly favourably-disposed to things British!” Mugabe and Co. have been merciless in their rhetoric against the British media and political establishments.

The excitement is understandable. It is incredible that the day has come in Zimbabwe when an ‘opposition’ politician occupies such a key portfolio, and under Mugabe! (Never mind that with the new unity government, Zimbabwe technically has no opposition for the moment.) It is indeed a historical development in Zimbabwe’s politics.

Apart from the political significance of the appointment, many are pinning their hopes of an arrest and reversal of the country’s economic decline on the MDC occupying this key portfolio. Their hope is that the party has access to the tap of Western largesse, both in terms of the lifting of sanctions and in terms of attracting aid and investment. We shall see.

Biti is clearly is enjoying his moment in the sun, and appears to have as much of a penchant for publicity as central bank governor Gideon Gono, who just  five years ago was hailed by some (and by himself!) as the Zimbabwean economy’s Mr. Fix- It. “Failure is not an option” boasted Gono at the time, with the local media eating up his every word for months to come, until disillusionment with him begun to set in as the economy continued its free fall, and inflation to skyrocket.

Gono over-sold himself as a ‘turn-around expert’ with a miracle cure and he under-estimated the importance of accompanying political and diplomatic reform for the success of his many attempted schemes to “save” the economy. The reform that was required of the politicians simply didn’t happen. Gono has gone from popular Mr. Fix-It to being one of the most reviled public officials in those five years.  The messianic media portrayals have long been forgotten, even in the obedient state media.

The early signs are that there is a high risk of Biti falling into a Gono-like ego-trap. There is the similar basking in media attention, when a more low-key profile might be more prudent. There are the many too-early pronouncements about what he is going to do, when it would be better to speak in generalities until he gets his feet wet and has a more realistic idea of what is possible. He has continued to issue hot-headed statements against the MDC’s governing partners ZANU-PF as still being ‘unwilling to share power.’ That may well be true, but that line now sounds odd coming from someone so firmly embedded in the government. That is the type of  statement that should now come from another MDC official, not Biti. It is simply not to his advantage in his new position to be creating even more enemies than he has now amongst jittery, resentful ZANU-PF officials who are likely to be doing all they can to trip him up personally and politically.

There are the boastful failure-is-not-an-option-style statements, at the very least prematurely raising hopes of economic recovery amongst some long-suffering Zimbabweans willing to grasp at any straw of quick relief. Yet the fact of the matter is that there are still many factors completely outside Biti’s control that could result in failure for him that could be every bit as spectacular as that which the once-lionised Gono is now blamed for.

For the sake of Zimbabwe I hope to be proven wrong in my concern about what appears to be a certain rashness on Biti’s part that is unbecoming of a finance minister, and I wish him well in his difficult portfolio.  Perhaps he will quickly get over his youthful excitement and avoid the ego-and-publicity-before-results trap that was partly Gono’s undoing in terms of public esteem.

Posted in Economy | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

High court judge fights president’s wife for farm!

Posted by CM on February 4, 2009

Oh boy, if this reportedly brewing legal confrontation is ever allowed to see the light of day, it will surely be an epic battle.

Ruthless dictator’s wife sees a farm she likes, makes the usual moves on it (she has done this before), reportedly eying it for her son. Slight complication: farm owner is not someone who can be characterised in the racial-ideological terms of the times, but is actually a judge of the high court appointed to it by the marauding woman’s own husband, the country’s sitting despot!

Here is the story so far:

HARARE, Zimbabwe (CNN) — A Zimbabwe High Court judge is trying to take the country’s first lady to court, accusing her of using political muscle to wrest from him a farm he was given during the land seizures.

The matter has not been given a date, however, amid reports that other judges have been refusing to hear it.

High Court Judge Ben Hlatshwayo is suing a company owned by Grace Mugabe, wife of President Robert Mugabe, for grabbing Gwina Farm in Banket, about 100 kilometers (62 miles) northwest of Harare. The farm is near Mugabe’s rural home.

The judge said he acquired the farm in December 2002 as part of President Mugabe’s controversial land grabs, in which Mugabe took land from white commercial farmers and distributed it to black Zimbabweans.

In an affidavit, filed at the High Court in Harare, the judge said the “unlawful conduct” by Grace Mugabe’s company, Gushungo Holdings, amounted to spoilation — or taking of the farm by force.

He said emissaries of the first lady have been visiting the farm frequently and issuing instructions to workers, according to court documents.

“There is clearly no lawful basis for such interference, which conduct, by its very nature, amounts to spoliation,” Hlatshwayo wrote in the papers.

Lands and Resettlement Minister Didymus Mutasa said the judge had been given alternative land as compensation for the farm that Grace Mugabe wants to have. Mutasa opposes the judge’s affidavit.

Hlatshwayo said he had been operating his farm in “quiet, undisturbed, peaceful possession, occupation and production” since it was allocated to him.

(http://edition.cnn.com/2009/WORLD/africa/02/04/zimbabwe.mugabe/index.html)

Oh boy, oh boy, what a can of worms we are opening up here! Phew, where  does one even start?!

The woman has notoriously muscled other people off their farm before. This latest move would confirm her as a “multiple farm owner,” which her husband has repeatedly said was un-acceptable greed and which he has claimed his widely-condemned land reform effort was partly meant to correct. Hypocrisy!

Is this the state of land tenure in Zimbabwe today? Can some person see a piece of land s/he likes, walk over to it, order the occupier off and take it over on a whim because she is the spouse of the president or some other official? Is this how things now officially “work” in Zimbabwe in regards to land tenure? Is this a sign of the ‘achievements’ of the land ‘revolution?’

Why should anyone, Zimbabwean or foreigner, make any serious investment in farming (or really anything else) with this shocking example of insecurity of land tenure?

As for the judge in question here, he got his farm in similar circumstances to those under which he risks losing it, an almost poetic kind of justice. He can justly claim that in his case the previous white owner lost it (and he gained it) under a broad, deliberate and now legalised government thrust to settle Zimbabwe’s long-festering ‘land question,’ but for a high court judge, that seems a rather thin argument.

Zimbabwe’s judges are considered hopelessly compromised by the system of patronage Mugabe has perfected in his time in power. A the economy has contracted and become more dysfunctional every year, being a member of the favoured elite has been an important survival strategy. One is entitled to perks one would simply not be able to otherwise access or afford:free or subsidised fuel, a fine house, one or more new vehicles every few years and for the super-elite, a farm to play around with during one’s spare time.

But there is a cost for being in this elite circle: You do as you are told and you don’t make waves. You also understand that you are not ‘entitled’ to anything. Everything you have is by the favour and generosity of His Excellency.

So when H.E. wants you to move to make way for his wife, you don’t ask questions, you move. And you especially don’t attempt to fight her in the courts! Are you crazy?

All these years the Mugabe-appointed judges have been accused of being thoroughly compromised by the many ‘perks’ that have come their way, such as farms.  And indeed, there have been very few politically-sensitive cases which have not been ruled in the government’s favour in recent years, if they come to court at all (delaying the hearing of sensitive and unwinnable cases forever being another oft-used tactic.)

And this judge seriously expects that his colleagues in such a judiciary would ever contemplate touching this red-hot case with a ten foot pole, let alone rule in his favour? Dream on!

Now that the bare facts have come to light, with the about-to-be dispossessed judge clearly and unwisely showing his unhappiness at what is about to happen, his misery is just about to begin. His first mistake was not to immediately surrender the farm to Grace, grinning broadly and sheepishly volunteering, “Abuse me any way you want madame.” This is what he would have been expected to do, and I have no doubt that most of his colleagues are shaking their heads in disbelief at how he has refused to play by the un-written but clearly understood rules of patronage. After all in this case he was offered the consolation price of another (read  “much less attractive”) farm! It wasn’t as if he was going to be put out on the street.

Now that he has made the mistake of crossing this line by merely expressing unhappiness about his pending dispossession, I predict the poor judge is doomed. Can he keep his job? No; more fundamentally and importantly, can the poor chap survive, can he live?

Stay tuned for the next commentary on this exciting developing story of what happens when a monster starts to feed on itself.

Posted in People, Politics | 1 Comment »

Government media praises Gono for merely playing catch-up with economic trends

Posted by CM on February 4, 2009

From The Herald:

New policy measures hailed

By Victoria Ruzvidzo and Joseph Madzimure

STAKEHOLDERS across the economic spectrum have commended Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Governor Dr Gideon Gono for crafting policies that could ignite rapid economic transformation. Measures that included the deregulation of exchange control regulations, local currency reforms and the enhanced foreign currency licensing framework would stimulate production and take the economy back on a growth path.

Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries president Mr Kumbirai Katsande said the central bank chief had exceeded industry’s expectations. “The governor went further than we expected. This presents an excellent platform . . . We needed a statement with hope and this is what we got,” he said.

The Herald report goes on to quote various other big names from commerce and industry, all of them apparently (with The  Herald, one is never sure whether what is reported is what was actually said) lavishing praise on the heroic Gono.

If the policies Gono announced eventually help to “ignite economic transformation” as The Herald so poetically puts it, Gono can hardly be credited with ‘crafting’ anything new or particularly innovative in them.

The US-dollarisation of the economy Gono and the acting finance minister  have now formalised had been happening for quite some time as the Zim-dollar became ever more worthless.

Zimbabwe’s recent example with its fuel supply industry is instructive in this regard. Throughout the first several years of severe fuel shortages that began about the year 2000, the government insisted this was a “strategic” sector that it had to tightly control. That control became increasingly irrelevant as more motorists and industry had to resort to ‘the black market’ for their fuel as the official market could not work with the restrictions government put on it, mainly that of being expected to retail the fuel at less than the cost of sourcing it.

For years government resisted calls to liberalise the fuel sector.  But liberalisation happened by default anyway, because the ‘black market’ became a more significant and reliable source than the ‘official’ market! Eventually government came around to changing its stupid and outdated laws to acknowledge the reality that had been dictated by the market. That is all Gono has done with his ‘currency’ reforms and other measures: accept the reality he has been refusing to do for so long, that whether you like it or not, the market rules!

The US-dollarisation of the economy Gono and the acting finance minister  have now formalised had been happening for quite some time as the Zim-dollar became ever more worthless.

The policy measures The Herald refers to in the first paragraph of its story  merely indicate Gono’s realisation of and capitulation to what has already been going on in the economy, and which he had no power to stop. They were simply inevitable and inexorable trends given the reality that had been brought about by the earlier efforts to deal with economic symptoms instead of causes, and of trying to control the economically uncontrollable.

Posted in Economy | Leave a Comment »

In short term, Mugabe benefits from sticking to unity government deal

Posted by CM on February 4, 2009

The widespread doubt and scepticism about whether Robert Mugabe will stick to the national unity government deal with Morgan Tsvangirai is justified, given how slippery and cynical Mugabe has been throughout his time in power.

At an African Union meeting in Ethiopia, Mugabe is said to have assured his fellow African rulers that he would stick by it, even going way over the top in describing his commitment to it:

“This development is in line with our past record and current aspiration of building a nation that is anchored on the principle of justice, equality and neutrality,” Mugabe said. Nation anchored on ” justice, equality and neutrality?” Talk about cynical bullshit!

And yet Mugabe does have incentive to stick by it. To the outside world he can give the impression of having made tremendous concessions, making everybody forget that he personally and his party have clearly been shown to be second in terms of their popularity with the Zimbabwean electorate. If it wasn’t for a flawed and cynical electoral process, accompanied by the poor strategy of Tsvangirai and his MDC, Mugabe and his ZANU-PF would by right have been the opposition party now, rightfully out of power.

Whatever difficult-for-him concessions it required, the unity agreement has given him what he arguably could no longer earn by winning honest elections. He gets what he craves the most, to continue to be called ‘president of Zimbabwe,’  whether the Zimbabweans are with him or not. And regardless of which ministerial and other portfolios are conceded to the MDC, as long as Mugabe and ZANU-PF have control over the guns and other instruments of raw power, they can easily run circles around Tsvangirai and the MDC.

So in the short term I believe Mugabe is sincere about sticking to the deal. It gives him more than he deserved and earned, even some of the ‘presidential authority’ he had lost internationally by his nakedly shabby electoral antics.

While the politicians are making an accommodation amongst themselves, it remains to be sen if this agreement represents the beginning of the end of Zimbabweans’ long nightmare or not. That is quite something else.

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Mugabe denies responsibility for anything and everything

Posted by CM on February 4, 2009

“Mugabe blames Western sanctions for Zimbabwe crisis” is a new headline, but its sentiments and justifications are old, now associated with Mugabe for many years. All of Zimbabwe’s problems are cast by Mugabe’s regime as being the fault of what they are always careful to describe as ‘illegal’ sanctions by the West.

Excerpts:

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe on Tuesday blamed Western sanctions for his country’s economic collapse, which has left millions jobless and hungry.

Speaking on the final day of the 12th African Union summit in Addis Ababa, Mugabe charged that European and US sanctions against his regime had crippled his nation’s economy and fuelled popular unrest.

“We believe that these illegal sanctions are not only unjustified and cruel, but they have also contributed deeply to the suffering and the poverty-induced polarisation of the people of Zimbabwe,” he said.

Mugabe accused donors of punishing Zimbabwe for his land reform programme, in which white-owned farms were forcibly seized and given to black farmers, who often had little experience or access to equipment.

“Our condemnation, our isolation is because my government took the necessary measures to create conditions for equal opportunities, for decolonisation, for creating conditions in which our people could regain their lost resources.”

Zimbabwe has been bogged down in a bitter political feud since the March 2008 elections, further scuppering an already ailing economy.

Suppose one bought this argument for Zimbabwe’s spectacular economic decline, particularly over the last decade. But can ‘illegal Western sanctions’ explain the killing of regime opponents, boastfully and publicly flagrant abuses of the basic rights of opposition officials and supporters, the vast  restriction in thinking and media space?

According to Mugabe, the ‘illegal sanctions’ can indeed explain and justify all this.

“We believe that these illegal sanctions… have also contributed deeply to the suffering and the poverty-induced polarisation of the people of Zimbabwe,” says Mugabe.

Therefore the people are confused!  Because of the suffering they experience, they are no longer able to make the ‘right’ choice to support Mr. Mugabe’s ‘revolutionary’ government. This is why the people at every election have gravitated more towards the opposition. Not because of  democratically justifiable disillusionment with Mugabe’s government, but because of their poverty-caused  confusion as a result of the illegal Western sanctions!

I am poking fun at what I consider absurd “reaching” for arguments by Mugabe and his supporters to absolve themselves of responsibility for Zimbabwe’s mess. But there are many who actually seem to buy this “comrade Mugabe is an infallible angel, all our problems emanate from the West.”

So here you have the reason why it is perfectly okay to ignore the result of an election which show you no longer have the voters’ affections: the voters did not really know what they were doing, they were confused by the hardships of Western sanctions to vote against us! Therefore those results were illegitimate and invalid, therefore it is completely justified for us to hang on in power.

What is amazing to me is that Mugabe & Co. bother at all with this kind of circuitous justification of their incompetence and repression. I think it would be much more honorable to openly come out and say ‘ we have utter contempt for Zimbabweans and believe ourselves to have a divine right to lord it over them as we wish indefinitely.”

It is astonishing the extent to which Mugabe will go in his refusal to take any responsibility at all for anything.

Amore truthful and apropriate headline, and a fitting epitaph for his whole three-decades  rule, would be,  “Mugabe denies responsibility for anything and everything.”

Posted in Politics | Leave a Comment »

Hell, they’re just Africans

Posted by CM on February 3, 2009

On Bloomberg:

Starving Piglets Fed to Zimbabwean Crocodiles, Weekblad Says

By Carli Lourens  Feb. 3 (Bloomberg)

A farmer in Zimbabwe fed 700 piglets to crocodiles and slaughtered 250 breeding sows last week to prevent them starving after he ran out of animal feed, Landbou Weekblad said, without saying where it got the information. Farmers are struggling to find food for their livestock in Zimbabwe, which has suffered a decade of recession, the Cape Town-based magazine said, citing Deon Theron, deputy chairman of the Harare-based Commercial Farmers’ Union. Zimbabwe has an inflation rate that was last estimated at 231 million percent in July. At least 6.9 million people, more than half the population, need food aid, according to the United Nations.

http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601116&sid=a98ZGaKZSSxk&refer=africa

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Dear Carli Lourens,

Thank you for your sad, interesting Bloomberg story about the starving piglets who the Zimbabwean farmer had to feed to crocodiles.

Too bad none of the many who have written about this have chosen to ask: what about the starving people who would have been happy to have pork for a day, or even just a meal?

Oh well; hell, they’re just Africans.

Posted in General, Mind set, Politics | Leave a Comment »