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Author Topic: Zimbabwe: Calls for anti-govt protests in Harare go unheeded  (Read 3788 times)
Posts: 1760

« on: March 02, 2011, 02:43:46 PM »

Calls for anti-govt protests in Harare go unheeded

By Floyd Nkomo
March 1, 2011 - talkzimbabwe.com

PROTESTS organised against President Mugabe and Zanu-PF in Harare appear to have gone unheeded as the capital has remained calm and business as usual.

Armored cars, trucks of riot police and Israeli-built water cannon vehicles swept through Harare since Saturday, fanning out into townships around the city.

Authorities had indicated that they were reading for an criminal activity that would ensue and any demonstrations that were not authorised by government.

Messages, many of them anonymous, posted on Zimbabwean websites and on Facebook called for protests Tuesday but there has been no open campaigning for demonstrators to turn out on the streets.

Article continues below

Some 15 percent of Zimbabweans have access to the Internet and social networking sites.

Many of them are largely based in the diaspora.

According to SW Radio, an anti-government and anti Zanu-PF website, "The protests were set to start at the Harare gardens and the public were being encouraged to keep up the action, spreading the protest countrywide, until 'President' Robert Mugabe resigns."

There was no show of demonstrators at Harare Gardens and no sign in the capital that people would heed the call.

Journalist Angus Shaw had told SW Radio Africa on Monday that "tensions are high ahead of the planned protest".

President Robert Mugabe is scheduled to address a mass rally in central Harare on Wednesday calling for an end to illegal western sanctions imposed on the country.

He will lead the signing of an anti-sanctions petition in Zimbabwe.

The petition is dubbed the National Anti-Sanctions Petition Campaign.

Britain and the US and their allies have imposed illegal sanctions on Zimbabwe.

President Mugabe said Britain internationalised a bilateral conflict with Zimbabwe and mobilised western nations to impose the embargo.


Zimbabwe: The chalice that should not pass

By Caesar Zvayi
March 01, 2011 – herald.co.zw

WELL yesterday, March 1, was supposed to mark the start of an ominous Ides of March against President Mugabe and Zanu-PF’s rule in the form of a “Million Citizen March” through the streets of Harare to force President Mugabe out of office.

The organisers were clearly motivated by the ongoing uprisings in the Arab Maghreb and believed the protests that gripped Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Bahrain, and Yemen to mention just a few countries can be replicated in Harare, turning Africa Unity Square into Tahrir (Freedom) Square, so to speak.

Well it was business as usual on the streets of Harare, despite frantic agenda-setting attempts by flushed correspondents of BBC, CNN and Al Jazeera, confirming what I have always told my interlocutors that events in North Africa cannot be transposed to Zimbabwe for the simple reason that the countries, peoples and circumstances are different.

In fact, I have had my fair share of exchanges with friends, college mates, colleagues and associates on Facebook on the matter, with some even accosting me in between sets at the gym to pose this “ominous” question or warn me that “our” time was up, whatever that means.

At first I would go into overdrive, and argue before realising I was losing valuable gym time after which I would saunter to the shower with very relaxed muscles.
That was before I hit on a brilliant rejoinder that has since given me peace on my Facebook page and in the gym.

“Bring it on. Ko tinogoyerereiko nyoka negavi iyo iripo. The streets are there. Africa Unity Square is there. What is more, Harvest House is just a stone’s throw away, let’s see you lead the charge to Africa Unity Square”.

That always throws them.

They inadvertently amble away, mumbling inaudibly about partisan security forces closing democratic space, etc.

Well, we have walked this path before.

The MDC, it was still one MDC then, tried the template of the Orange Revolutions that swept through Eastern Europe after the end of the Cold War and the attempts came to naught.

The party, in conjunction with the ZCTU called for mass actions to depose the Government and discovered it did not have the critical mass when not even its supporters took to the streets.

It then changed tact and called for stay-aways, and again came unstuck when workers reported for work, with white industrialists dutifully locking out their employees in a bid to give the attempted protest actions a semblance of success.

Tsvangirai and his group ultimately called for what they called “the final push” during which they hoped to storm Zimbabwe House to carry President Mugabe out kicking and screaming, and that inevitably became a final flop when no one took to the streets, even on the stretch in front of Harvest House.

And in 2008, the time Zimbabwe was deemed to be at a tipping point, there was another attempt at a mass action organised under the banner of an ephemeral grouping called “Save Zimbabwe”. Touted as a prayer meeting, the gathering soon degenerated into a violent confrontation between protesters and the police, confrontations that claimed one life and left, and again that never went beyond the environs of Machipisa in Highfield.

There is a reason why all the attempts at street protests failed. The MDC had and still has no cause that the majority would subscribe to apart from the perennial slogan, “Mugabe must go!” If you ask why he must go you are likely to get the following responses: “he has been in power for too long”; “he has destroyed the country”; “he is old”; “we need change, etc”.

Engage them in debate on what precipitated the economic downturn of the past decade, and they soon resort to name-calling and character assassinations as they can’t proffer evidence to indict Mugabe.

Therein is the bane of the MDC and its allies. There simply is no reason for Mugabe to go apart from assuaging westerners who have clearly stated that his actions and policies pose “a continuing and extraordinary threat to the foreign policy of the United States”.

The fact of the matter is that what protesters in the Arab Maghreb are demanding is what has been implemented in Zimbabwe without streets protests.
It was the agenda of the First and Second Chimurenga Wars that ushered in majority rule on April 18 1980.

Protesters in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya were and are up in arms over exclusion from their oil-driven economies.

This is not the case here where policies have been drafted and implemented to ensure that Zimbabweans own and prosper from their economy.

Talk of the land reform and resettlement programme, the indigenisation and economic empowerment policy predicated on a majority shareholding for indigenous Zimbabweans in any company with a capital threshold of US$500 000.

What President Mugabe has achieved in his 30-year tenure is what the people overthrowing governments in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya are demanding.

Why MDC-T and its sponsors dream that people can rebel against themselves beats me. Particularly when it’s common knowledge that the socio-economic challenges were spawned by the illegal economic sanctions called by the same people trying to organise protests against President Mugabe.

The irony is bound to be stark today when people gather near the Harare Exhibition Park for the launch of the National Anti-Sanctions Campaign that correctly identifies the cat that ate the canary.

I bet my last dollar that the Anti-Sanctions Campaign, which I understand is voluntary and whose rollout aims to collect as many signatures as possible throughout Zimbabwe, will be highly subscribed because it identifies with a common grievance.

A friend of mine likened the campaign launch to a village gathering convened by a Tsikamutanda (witch-hunter) where each villager will be invited to take a sip of the magic man’s concoction that will only affect the guilty.

The one who refuses to drink from the chalice will be exposed before all and sundry as the villain who rides the hyena at night with the all-seeing owl as a guide.

With the signing protocol having the three principals to the inclusive Government as the first signatories, I foresee an interesting morning, very interesting day. This is a chalice that must not pass.

Source: herald.co.zw
Posts: 1760

« Reply #1 on: March 02, 2011, 03:30:27 PM »

Tsvangirai’s MDC exposed

Monday, 28 February 2011

News Editor

MDC-T leader Mr Morgan Tsvangirai would phone the United States Embassy in Harare for advice during inter-party talks that led to the signing of the Global Political Agreement, it has emerged.

Former South African President Cde Thabo Mbeki made the revelations in an interview last month with British-based Zimbabwean academic Dr Blessing Miles Tendi.

Cde Mbeki brokered the GPA in 2008.

At a public lecture in London last week, Dr Tendi said Cde Mbeki had told him of Mr Tsvangirai's reliance on Western hand-holding.

Cde Mbeki said Mr Tsvangirai would interrupt the talks to phone former US Ambassador to Zimbabwe James McGee to give him updates and get instructions on how to proceed.

Intelligence agents monitored the calls and transcripts of the conversations ended up on the desks of Cde Mbeki and other Sadc leaders.

At the time of the talks, The Herald reported how US embassy officials would fly to South Africa to brief and debrief the MDC-T leadership on what to say in the talks.

Dr Tendi said, "These are the power-sharing negotiations in 2008, this is from my interview with Thabo Mbeki, they sit around - all the various parties - and they agree on a clause.

"Tsvangirai stands up and says 'I need to go outside for a bit to consult others in the MDC'.

"He goes out there at the Rainbow (Towers) Hotel in Harare and what does he do? He picks up the phone and calls the US embassy to ask for advice from the US ambassador.

"What does he not know? That the CIO has tapped the phones! So they get a transcript of everything, they pass on the transcript to South African intelligence, and they in turn pass the transcript to Mbeki's lap and he passes it onto other Sadc leaders.

"Mugabe's narrative all along has been that the MDC is a stooge of the West. What is that then? And people are surprised when Sadc leaders don't take the side of MDC; it's things like that, that mediocrity.

"It's really pathetic that a leader would call the US Embassy and ask for advice."

Dr Tendi said the two MDCs were guilty of numerous "strategic errors".

He said Cde Mbeki had told him that during the talks the MDCs had insisted on a two-year GPA while Zanu-PF had pushed for a five-year arrangement to give Zimbabwe more time to stabilise.

"When Zanu-PF came to the table, they wanted five years straight, there was to be no two years that the Global Political Agreement would end, and then possibly be extended.

"Had that passed, we would be talking about stabilisation and economic growth. Who shot that down? The MDC again.

"People talk of the MDC playing catch-up, a lot of it has to do with the MDC's own strategic errors."

MDC-T responded to the revelations by calling Dr Tendi a "Zanu-PF apologist".

In a statement, the party accused Cde Mbeki of working to destabilise the then united MDC in 2005.

The party split in 2005 after Mr Tsvangirai unilaterally overruled a party decision to contest in the following year's Senate elections.

"Mr Mbeki has always deployed effort to discredit, rubbish and weaken the MDC. We are also well aware of his disposition and role in the destabilisation of the MDC in 2005," MDC-T said.

However, Dr Tendi has stuck to his guns, adding that one of MDC-T's major weaknesses is the inability to take fact-based criticism.

He said, "I would also like to add that my remarks on February 23, in fact, also drew from a wide range of interviewees in the higher echelons of the former Thabo Mbeki-led ANC government.

"Over the past four months, and in two separate trips to South Africa, I have been interviewing senior ANC officials and some members in South Africa's Department of International Relations and Co-operation.

"It is striking that they all express misgivings about how the MDC is hamstrung by its relationship with Western powers.

"This is not about Mbeki. This is about how the MDC's relationship with the West is widely recognised by ANC elites, and how it has proven detrimental to the party's image and standing among many current and former ANC and Southern African leaders."

Dr Tendi - who is the author of the recently published "Making History in Mugabe's Zimbabwe: Politics, Intellectuals and the Media" - said the view that MDC-T was a Western stooge was now common currency.

"Even in British academia - where I work - this view has gained and continues to gain currency.

"The shift of thought in British academia began most palpably in 2008 with Professor Stephen Chan of the University of London when he wrote: 'I admire Tsvangirai. I wrote a book about him, based on many hours of face-to-face interviews, which was distributed underground in Zimbabwe to help the MDC's 2005 campaign . . . But I also want to say that he screwed up. Tsvangirai's main source of advice was the US Embassy in Harare'."

He said the tendency to label people "Zanu-PF" apologists whenever confronted reinforced his assessment that "mediocrity reigns in the MDC".

Whistleblower website WikiLeaks recently revealed that MDC-T's Western backers felt the party needed "massive handholding".

McGee's predecessor in Harare, Ambassador Christopher Dell was exposed as having said, "Zimbabwe's opposition is far from ideal and I leave convinced that had we (the US) had different partners, we could have achieved more (by way of regime change) already.

"But you have to play the hand you're dealt. With that in mind, the current (MDC-T) leadership has little executive experience and will require massive handholding and assistance should they ever come to power."

Other WikiLeaks disclosures have detailed how the West has worked closely with MDC-T in trying to effect illegal regime change in Zimbabwe, though instruments such as sanctions.

Source: herald.co.zw
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