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Friday, 24 August 2007

THE CHARISMA OF DICTATORS BY TANONOKA J WHANDE!


 
THE CHARISMA OF DICTATORS
by
Tanonoka Joseph Whande
 
Someone said 'I have met the enemy and he is us.' How scary.
But we do these things to ourselves, don't we?
 
The world's love affair with dictators never seems to end. One would have thought that, as times move along, attitudes and tolerance to inhuman behavior would harden. But, alas, we are still at the mercy of murderous rulers who ignore the international community's restraining voice with impunity.
 
Worst among enemies of good governance is diplomacy. They call each other 'His Excellency' when the excellent people of their countries are being killed by dictators who, because of diplomacy, cannot be confronted by other concerned leaders, who, basically, are just cowards that prefer to look the other way while humankind cannibalises itself.
There should not be any doubt as to who people remember better. The villain or the Samaritan. The good are remembered as much as the bad but the bad ones always appear to hog more of the limelight.
 
Hitler overshadows decent luminaries and philanthropists and even discoverers of important medicines. There are people who think Pol Pot means 'skull' owing to the infamous killing fields of Kampuchea. We have Rwanda. Sudan. In this day and age, the world is still held spellbound by murderous dictators and seem helpless to do anything about them.
 
Unfortunately, in order for us to highlight the extra-ordinary exploits of well-meaning people, we are compelled to highlight the prowess of their adversaries and their cavalier exploits. While we talk about those who triumphed against 'evil', we are obligated to talk about those who advanced evil and almost succeeded.
 
To know good, one has to experience the bad.
 
We cannot talk about Nelson Mandela's triumphs without talking about apartheid, about Verwoerd, Vorster or Botha. Even for Botswana, to highlight the role played by their three dikgosi, we have to take note of the formidable odds they were up against.
 
Legends are legends because they were either extremely good or extremely bad. Good characters are only recognized when compared to the bad ones.
 
The world is full of legends.
 
Poor Haiti. Papa Doc Duvalier. Baby Doc Duvalier. Jean-Bertrand Aristide, a former Catholic priest, for God's sake.
 
Then there was Bokassa. Abacha. Pol Pot, who appears to have bequeathed his iniquities to Robert 'Pol Pot' Mugabe. Remember Pinochet, Mobutu and the stubborn dictators in Burma? Don't forget Israel's frequent changing of the guards, all of whom bent on decimating a certain section of their geographical immediacy.
 
But dictators blossom with support at home. Would Adolf Hitler have gone as far as he is said to have gone if he did not have the support of the locals?
 
Archives show so much violence in pre-independence South Africa with just about all of that violence being black on black: the oppressed fighting each other. Dictators thrive on internal support. Even the white oppressors in South Africa got as far as they did because of local support, from both blacks and whites.
 
What do records of the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission show? How many 'guerillas' are recorded to have 'massacred', or just even abused white oppressors?
 
Outsiders never understand how one man can hold a whole nation spellbound, offering little resistance. When I was abroad, I was always at pains to explain how we, in Rhodesia and South Africa, could be kept under subjugation by a few white people. The phenomenon is real; it is true. Oppressed peoples behave like a dog hit by a car but still alive and determined to die at home.
 
In Rhodesia, as in South Africa, a few thousand white people kept millions of Africans under brutal repression for as long as they wished until the international community stepped in. Yes, there was a guerrilla war but Zimbabwe's independence was negotiated after the white minority government realised that if they did not compromise, they would lose everything. It was not an all out military victory that brought Zimbabwe's independence. Freedom fighters did not march into Harare. The international community can make things happen if they want which is why I do not understand SADC.
 
There are several situations that we ignore, at our own peril, of course. One is the fact that when people are really oppressed and repressed, they hardly protest. They comply more than they protest. There may be scattered protests here and there but the majority will 'mind their own business.' Real oppression offers no alternatives. Today, Zimbabwe is a classic example.
 
Unfortunately, the attitude of the neighbours or the surrounding countries also encourages or discourages what is going on in the troubled country. Zimbabwe, again, is a classic example where the neighbours, because of their inactivity and 'non-involvement in another country's affairs' are actually encouraging the killing of innocent people by a rabid and desperate dictator.
 
Anyway, it's only in those countries where the oppression is not total that you find some people making noise or protests. I, being Zimbabwean, wish we could have the kind of freedom that Batswana take for granted.
 
Secondly, no tyrant in whatever country or continent can survive without local support because local support is what matters the most. 'Local support' is internal support. No dictator can survive without it.  
 
 
"Paradoxically though, many dictatorships survive with the support of a significant swath of the populace," says Gerard Padro i Miquel, assistant professor of Political Economy at the Graduate School of Business at Stanford University. "In sub-Saharan Africa, for example, rulers such as Kenya's former President Daniel arap Moi maintained power by exploiting ethnic and regional differences via a policy of selective economic rewards and privileges. In effect, the deep ethnic divisions found in much of Africa are life insurance policies for dictators."
 
How long could Haiti's 'Papa Doc' Duvalier have lasted without local support? Idi Amin, brutal as history records, had plenty of local support. Even his fellow African presidents had the temerity to endorse him by electing him Chairman of the Organization of African Unity, a stupidity they just recently denied the slave trader, Omar al-Bashir, of Sudan.
 
 
Dictators appear to have a hypnotic charisma that draws people to them. We have seen it in history. Until Pinochet died, there were people who loved and admired him and who would have gladly died for him. Look at Gaddafi, Jean-B├ędel Bokassa; even Hitler and Pol Pot have, to this day, die-hard admirers.
 
Mobutu Sese Seko and Kamuzu Banda terrorized their nations yet there were thousands who supported them. My compatriots in Zimbabwe are no exception.
 
The thing is that regardless of how bad a situation is, there are always people who benefit from the status quo and they and their hangers-on will fight to maintain it. Alas, they will have 'state apparatus' to inflict their wishes on an unwilling population.
 
Generally, dictators maintain power through terror and the naked use of force applied by huge standing armies and police forces, who, amazingly, almost always obey the dictator.
 
Zimbabwe is such a painful experience. Violence and repression have replaced the constitution and the rule of law. Once touted as having the most literate labour force, one of the best ground forces, a very efficient and able police force, etc, today the entire nation is cowed by the dictator who, long ago, ceased to be an asset to the country and its peoples. No one is happy with him anymore. Police officers are being retrenched from their meager paying jobs in their thousands; teachers earn less than what a maid in Botswana gets, soldiers are removed from barracks and asked to work from home to avoid feeding them.
 
Transport has all but stopped and supermarkets are closing down by the day. And in that sea of misery, you find people who still support the man. This alone tells us that the support is based on more than money or rewards.
 
There are people who always believe in the philosophy espoused by dictators.
 
They are hypnotic, aren't they?
 
Dying for one's principle or belief is one thing but blowing oneself for the same is foul. One should not die for a principle. Because dictators don't have much time for sanity, one must choose to stay alive and suffer injustice than to die for it. Alive, one can fight for their principle. The difference means success and the prevailing of good.
 
We can't all just 'give up pondering the vagaries of the human race and its capacity for cruelty?'
 
The biggest tragedy is when humanity fails to learn from its history and mistakes, for we have been given ample time and experience to avoid evil.
 
I have met the enemy and he is us.
 
*Tanonoka Joseph Whande is a Botswana-based Zimbabwean writer.
 
 


 

Thursday, 23 August 2007

MUGABE'S HITLER-STYLE YOUTH BRIGADES!

Revealed: Mugabe’s secret plan to create his own version of the Hitler Youth:



Hitler had the Hitler Youth. Mao had his Red Guards. Robert Mugabe has the 21st February Movement - a youth organisation now to be revamped, indoctrinated and let loose in our streets and schools.

The 21st February Movement - it's Mugabe's birthday - began life in 1986 as a benign boy scout-type organisation. Now it is to become a fanatical corps of uniformed kids, all dedicated and devoted to their President and their Party.

A recent meeting of Zanu-PF's governing body agreed to militarise and politicise the 21st February Movement, starting with pre-school toddlers. The programme, which will be compulsory for all children, is titled, with surprising frankness, 'Operation Catch Them Young'.

I have been shown the minutes of the meeting in which the members - senior Zanu-PF officials - agreed to this regimentation of all school children in order to "safeguard our sovereignty".

The minutes read: "Plans to build the Party Ideological School should be expedited to ensure consistence in inculcating the ideology of the Party in instilling values and norms and to institutionalise these values and norms from pre-school level."

Take that tortured sentence apart, word by word, and it means one thing: brainwashing.

Plans include dressing even the smallest children in green uniforms and teaching them to march and chant Zanu-PF slogans. The aim is to have fanatical kids as young as four screaming their loyalty to Mugabe in unison.
This same meeting also agreed plans to clamp down on dissent among university students. "Politically correct and educated cadres within the Party should be appointed to administer universities to safeguard the interests of Zanu-PF, its beliefs, values and norms," the minutes recorded.

It also discussed the lack of Zanu-PF young women activists, and had an answer to that problem too. "We resolve to mobilise all young women to form and join the Zanu-PF Young Women's League."

This planned brainwashing of all our young people clearly has many purposes, but one purpose in particular the Politburo was happy to set down and spell out in the official minutes. "The President," it recorded, "should be President for Life."

FIRST POSTED AUGUST 23, 2007

LINK!!!!!

PART I: 71 dark days in Mugabe’s jail: a former Zim journalist tells his story!!

This is the first in a two-part series by former Daily News news editor Luke Tamborinyoka on his experiences while in remand prison in Harare. Tamborinyoka was arrested together with 41 other party activists during a government crackdown on the opposition last March.

Tamborinyoka, who is also a former secretary general of the Zimbabwe Union of Journalists, now works in the MDC's information department as the technical head of the department.

By Luke Tamborinyoka

LINK!!!!!!

HARARE - Inscribed on the door of cell C6 at Harare Remand Prison is a simple message in the local vernacular Shona language: "Zvichapera boyz dzangu", a telling reminder that this suffering will eventually come to an end.

I walked out of the prison gates at exactly 1933hrs on Thursday, 7 June 2007, after a three months-stint as a guest of the State.

But even the euphoria for new-found freedom did not erase my memory of the simple inscription obviously scribbled by an optimistic home-sick inmate.

After what I had gone through, it remained a pleasant surprise that I was finally out of the belly of the beast. The ordeal had indeed come to an end.

In the glaring moonlight, I turned my back to the dilapidated two-storey building that constitutes the D-class section of this cursed and unimaginative piece of architecture.

I painstakingly walked the final 10 metres to the prison fence and immediately jumped into the crushing embrace of my loving wife, Susan.

I ordered that we quickly drive away, never again to look back to the dingy prison buildings where I had seen over 10 people succumb to various diseases related to malnutrition.

The D-class section, reserved for "dangerous" suspects, was my home for 71 dark days.

It was a place where one had to adjust to tough conditions such as leg irons, dirty khakhi shirts and shorts, sub-standard food, tight security, the company of hardened criminals and scowling prison officers.

For me, Harare Remand prison represented the dark rictus of death. It was an odd place for hardened criminals and innocent prisoners like me whose persecution arose simply because of our relationship with Zimbabwe’s main opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party.

Harare Remand Prison was a potpourri of the genuinely guilty and those whom the tyrant wanted to torment and intimidate. Harare Remand will forever remain etched in my mind as one of tyranny's prized institutions plucked straight from the heart of Hades.

It was a waiting room of extreme fortunes where two cellmates could part to go to contrasting destinations: one for home and the other for the guillotine.

My ordeal started on a sunny Wednesday afternoon on 28 March 2007. On that day, over 500 armed policemen descended on Harvest House, the national headquarters of the MDC.

From 1215hrs to 1530hrs, an assortment of visibly drunk policemen wrenched open doors and seized party equipment, from documents to computers and laptops.

They stole people's mobile phones, prised open cabinet drawers and stuffed money, passports and other valuables into their pockets. Everyone was ordered to lie down while the sadists among them indiscriminately battered our backs with batons.

My friend, Kudakwashe Matibiri, and I lay down for close to three hours while adventure-seeking young policemen hit us with booted feet and gun-butts.

The sorry sight resembled a scary scene from an Alfred Hitchcock whodunit.

Mugabe's merchants of death had come to Harvest House ostensibly to recover "weapons of war" which they said were hidden at the MDC headquarters.

They combed cabinet drawers, ceilings and any other crevices within reach. They poked every nook and cranny. Like determined bloodhounds, they sniffed all sorts of odd places such as toilet cisterns and air vents in search of the elusive MDC "weapons".

Their desperation was understandable in the circumstances. The following day on Thursday, 29 June 2007, Mugabe was due to leave for Dar es Salaam in Tanzania to explain the crackdown on the opposition: his police officers had shot dead an MDC activist, Gift Tandare. May his soul rest in peace.

Mugabe’s clearly partisan police force had beaten to pulp MDC president Morgan Tsvangirai and other senior opposition party officials. Several MDC executives and party members had been abducted, severely beaten up and dumped in far-away places.

Mugabe had to have a plausible explanation for the SADC leaders in Dar es Salaam and the prospect of an arms cache at Harvest House would give him a credible story to justify the violent crackdown on a legitimate opposition.

They were obviously disappointed when they failed to find even a box of matches at Harvest House. The regime's grand plot had fallen apart at the seams.

Harvest House is a six-storey building in which the MDC occupies the two upper floors with the rest occupied by an assortment of tenants.

The police ordered everyone in the building, including tenants and their clients, to get into the police vehicles.

About 100 people were taken to the infamous Room 93 of the Law and Order section at Harare Central police station where the series of the nights of terror immediately commenced.

That night, we were severely assaulted. One by one we were called into another office where all sorts of wild allegations were made against us. We were part of the MDC thugs that had "petrol-bombed" police stations, the police alleged.

We worked for a puppet opposition party. We wanted to hand the country back to the white colonialists and any such drivel associated with a regime that is fast accelerating the nation towards an inevitable implosion.

The following day, the number of suspects was trimmed down to 23 and eventually to seven. No charge had yet been preferred against us.

For three nights, we were tortured and brutally assaulted with a baseball bat, clenched fists and batons. Ian Makone and Paul Madzore came out the worse for wear in the sordid ordeal.

For three days, the beatings and assaults continued.

For three days we were denied access to food, legal and medical assistance.

For three days, the sadists continued to call us one by one, asking all sorts of questions.

For three days our condition deteriorated due to the incessant torture. They wanted to know more about the MDC's ‘democratic resistance campaign’.

They alleged that the MDC was beating up the police.

On Saturday, 31 March, we were finally told that a court order had been obtained that we should go home because the police had detained us for more than 48 hours without preferring any charge against us.

It was then that an official whom I suspect to be a member of the dreaded state security Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) called me to a private room.

He said I worked in the MDC's information and publicity department and I was responsible for the "Roll of Shame", a column in a local weekly where the department named and shamed all government and ZANU PF personalities who were committing human rights abuses.

He referred to what he called "anti-government speeches" that I made five years ago when I was secretary-general of the Zimbabwe Union of Journalists. He accused me of writing for "anti-government" on-line publications.

He said I had retained my news editor's position at the banned Daily News and I was responsible for co-ordinating the pool of former Daily News reporters to write for anti-government on-line publications.

For my alleged "crimes", the officer said I was going to be imprisoned.

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Part Two

LINK!!!






HARARE – This is the second and final part of Luke Tamborinyoka’s experiences in a Zimbabwean jail. Tamborinyoka, together with 40 other MDC activists, were arrested last March for allegedly petrol bombing state institutions last March. He was finally released after spending 71 days in remand prison. This is his story.

HARARE - Faced with the prospect of releasing us on the basis of the court order, a grim-faced officer called the seven of us into a room and read the charges against us.

We were being charged with carrying out a spate of petrol-bombings in Harare and other cities. We were charged under section 24 of the Criminal Law (Reform) Codification Act and were specifically being accused of “resisting the government and seeking to remove the government through acts of sabotage, banditry and terrorism.”

I was shocked. Me, a terrorist bomber?

The real terrorists I knew were the State security agents who had pumped six bullets into the groin of opposition activist Patrick Kombayi way back in 1990.

Even though the culprits, Kizito Chivamba and Elias Kanengoni, were convicted and sentenced to seven years in prison, Mugabe had pardoned them.

The real terror bombers I knew were those who had blown The Daily News' printing press to smithereens in the early hours of 27 January 2001. They have never been arrested.

The terror bombers I knew were those who had petrol-bombed The Daily News' offices in Harare and Bulawayo in 2001.

The real terrorists were those who in the 1980s directed and carried out the killing of 20 000 innocent civilians in the Midlands and Matabeleland provinces, all in the name of quelling an armed insurrection in the two provinces against the government.

The real terrorists were those who had just murdered an MDC activist, Gift Tandare, in cold blood in Harare’s Highfield suburb on 11 March 2007.

The real terrorists were ruling ZANU PF party activist Tom Kainos Kitsiyatota Zimunya and state agent Joseph Mwale, who petrol-bombed and killed MDC activists Talent Mabika and Tichaona Chiminya in broad daylight on April 26, 2000 at Murambinda service centre in rural Buhera district.

Some of these real terrorists have never been arrested while in the case of Mwale, he remains an employee of the state despite a High Court order that he be apprehended and prosecuted for the murder of Mabika and Chiminya.

In any case, the real terrorism was the one that had just been meted out on us at the Law and Order section offices where these strange charges had been concocted.

It is the most misnamed office where neither law nor order prevailed.

We were taken to court under heavy security. This drama, of course, was meant for the state media.

The state-controlled Herald newspaper went on to gleefully report the arrest of the MDC terror-bombers, including the "journalist-cum-activist" Luke Tamborinyoka.

(When the State case eventually collapsed like a deck of cards three months later, the same State media thought it was not a story worth reporting - so much for professional journalism).

There was no magistrate when we arrived. We were almost collapsing due to hunger and the injuries sustained after three days of torture.

Someone must have summoned ambulances to the Magistrates Court but the police ordered that we not be allowed access to medical attention.

One of my colleagues, Shame Wakatama, collapsed and we all thought he had died. It was then that the police panicked and allowed the ambulance crew to drive us to Harare’s Avenues clinic.

The court later convened at the clinic and magistrate Gloria Takundwa remanded us in hospital under prison guard until the following Monday. We were put on intravenous tubes by hospital staff eager to nourish and boost our wasted bodies.

But the worst was yet to come!

I am not ordinarily given to fear. But when about 10 gun-totting agents of the state’s spy Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) backed by prison officers burst into the clinic at around midnight and demanded to take "our people", I became jelly-kneed.

They scared the hell out of an adamant sister-in-charge, violently plucked out our intravenous tubes and frog-marched us via the emergency exit to a nearby van.

The sight of AK rifles in the van was frightening but the thought of driving in the deathly quiet early morning hours with armed CIO agents to an unknown destination was enough to almost paraylse one with fear.

The eight of us were later dumped at Harare Remand prison at around 1:30hrs, breaking the prison’s own record of “check-in” time in the process.

My colleagues, Zebediah Juaba and Brighton Matimba who had come out worst during the torture, were immediately taken to the ill-equipped prison hospital to await the attention of a government doctor.

The “doctor” was to pitch up at the prison complex after two months and orally interviewed the 30 of us in about 20 minutes.

The oral interview took place long after my two colleagues had been discharged to the cells even though they were still in critical condition.

Matibiri and I were allocated cell C6, where I carved out a place for myself near the corner.

That corner was later to be referred to as the “MDC’s Information Corner” after it emerged it was in the same corner where the late party spokesperson Learnmore Jongwe met his mysterious death in 2002.

Later, more MDC activists were to join us in Remand Prison and more were to be detained at the prison hospital where they never saw a doctor.

These include Ian Makone, Paul Madzore, Morgan Komichi, Phillip Katsande and Dennis Murira.

Life in prison was an ordeal on its own. Remand prison is supposed to be temporary but some inmates had stayed at the prison for years, seemingly abandoned by the state which brought them to the jailhouse and by relatives who no longer come to visit either because they have long died of HIV/AIDS or they have simply grown tired of the routine trips to the prison.

More than 95 percent of the inmates have no relatives who bring them food and they depend on the prison meal of a morsel of sadza (thick porridge made from maize) and cabbage boiled in salted water.

Rations of soap and toilet paper were last seen in the 1980s, we were told and a colleague, Arthur Mhizha, learnt the hard lesson that in a Zimbabwean prison, you bathe with one hand while with the other, you hang on to your prized piece of soap.

The ‘MDC team’, as we were known, became famous for donating some of its food to other inmates, including Fungai Murisa, one of the ZANU PF activists who is facing a murder charge after he and others allegedly murdered an MDC activist in Makoni East in Manicaland province.

Food is acquired at a premium in prison. It is a one-meal per day affair served from an aluminium bin. Yes! A bin! And it is only acquired after a stampede that would leave rugby players green with envy.

Only adventurous inmates such as Reason, one of the most notorious prisoners in D-class, could afford the rare taste of meat. He was well known for what became known as the “rat barbecue.”

He would “murder” the stray rats that patronized the dirty toilet chamber in cell C6 and roast them on the overhead globe during the night when prison officers are snoring the night away.

For the less adventurous, it was one meal of sadza and cabbage, taken every day at around 2pm before everyone was ordered to retire to bed at around 3pm.

The cells are another overcrowded affair, with an average of between 45 and 70 prisoners sharing a single cell and battling the night away in the usual pastime of fighting away the cold and killing lice.

One also learnt to meet with suspects with fascinating and sometimes just unbelievable stories of how they ended up in jail. One such character was Takawira Mwanza, a former army officer who was arrested and served four years for stealing Mugabe’s prized bull from his Norton farm.

The bull, which was airlifted from China, turned up at Mwanza’s rural home in Sanyati. Mwanza says that even though he served his sentence for stock theft at Chikurubi Maximum Prison, Mugabe was not happy that he should be left to go home.

He says he is currently languishing at Harare Remand prison, waiting for the day when Mugabe wakes up in a good mood and order the prison officers to allow him to go home and meet his family.

In the meantime, he has to contend with his two blankets in his beloved corner in cell C6 at Harare remand prison.

The MDC president, Morgan Tsvangirai, left his own mark at Remand prison. On Monday, 13 May 2007, he came to visit us and when he proceeded to see Morgan Komichi in the prison hospital, there was chaos from other sections when both inmates and prison officers went into a frenzy, shouting “President” as they stampeded to catch a glimpse of the man who has given Mugabe a nightmare.

The officer-in-charge of Harare Remand Prison, known as Musonza, was transferred to Prison Headquarters after the incident.

Tsvangirai was also “banned” from visiting Remand prison lest the officers and the inmates got into another frenzy!

Moreover, the chants of “President” directed at Tsvangirai in a government complex made a lot of people uncomfortable!

By mid-April, there were 30 MDC activists in prison, some shot and abducted from their homes while others were arrested in the streets of Harare to face the same charges of terrorism.

What kept us going was the inspiring presence of Ian Makone, the simplicity of Zebedia Juaba, the comforting singing from Paul Madzore and Shame Wakatama and the gospel teachings of Kenneth Nhemachena.

In June, the State case began to crumble after it emerged that it had created fictitious witnesses to incriminate us in acts of terrorism.

For our charge, the State consented on 7 June 2007 that it had no evidence and we were eventually removed from remand.

But another reality struck as I walked out of the prison complex, that in fact the whole country was just another big prison. Harare Remand was simply a microcosm of what the whole country has become.

There is no food on the shelves; starvation is stalking the nation and people can no longer afford to visit each other because of prohibitive transport costs. Zimbabwe has simply become a big prison with Mugabe as the chief warden.

Our unwarranted arrest showed that the regime has developed sudden bouts of panic. Mugabe has every reason to panic. When he came to power after the crucial election of 1980, he was 56 years old.

Morgan Tsvangirai will be 56 on 10 March next year - a trivial statistical coincidence but maybe one that could still scare an old tyrant in an advanced state of panic.

* Luke Tamborinyoka is the technical head of the MDC’s information and publicity department. He was news editor of the banned Daily News and a former secretary-general of the Zimbabwe Union of Journalists. He is currently writing a book on his experiences and his stint in prison.

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MUGABE NOW PROTECTED BY ANGOLAN BODY-GUARDS!



By Our Correspondent

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HARARE, August 23, 2007 - An increasingly paranoid President Robert Mugabe has reportedly dismissed his close personal security guards and hired Angolan soldiers to protect him in the wake of a foiled alleged coup attempt two months ago.


Impeccable sources within the security forces told The Zimbabwe Times this week that Mugabe had engaged the services of Angolan commandos because many of his own close security guards had been linked to the attempted coup back in June that was ruthlessly crushed by loyalists within the security forces.


The coup attempt and pending elections, which are scheduled for next year and which observers say could be hotly contested by the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), have reportedly sent shivers down the presidential spine.

The sources said the Angolan soldiers reported for duty in Harare a fortnight ago. Angola’s Armed Forces Chief of Staff, General Francisco Pereira Furtado, visited Zimbabwe last week.


"Most of the President’s close security people have been replaced," a source "within the military said. "Some of them have been with him for 10 or so years. There are at least 250 of them at the moment altogether."


Mugabe has apparently retained a few Zimbabwean soldiers including, so it said, those who leaked information about the coup and helped to suppress it.


Three of the senior soldiers said to have been fingered as being connected to the foiled coup have died since then. They are Brigadier General Armstrong Gunda and two generals, Taurai Lifa and Fakazi Mleya. The name of the former commander of the Zimbabwe National Army, Retired General Solomon Mujuru, who is the husband of Vice President Joice Mujuru, has allegedly been linked to the coup attempt in June.


In Harare General Furtado said Angola would support Zimbabwe in any way necessary because Zimbabwe had played a significant role in Angola during that country’s protracted civil war.


"Zimbabwe played an instrumental role in the process that resulted in the current peace and stability in Angola. So, our generation should lay a firm political
foundation for generations to come," he was quoted as saying in the State newspapers.


Furtado met Defence Minister Sydney Sekeramayi and Air Force of Zimbabwe commander Air Vice Marshal Perrence Shiri, both men are close to Mugabe.


The source said another 1 500 Angolan soldiers were expected to arrive in the country before the end of August.

The ongoing succession battle within the ruling Zanu-PF party has left Mugabe, who has ruled Zimbabwe with an iron fist since 1980, exposed security wise.


"This has become a very sensitive issue in the army at the moment because some of the men who were replaced feel cheated by Mugabe. This issue is likely to create more friction within the army," said the source.


Efforts to get a comment from Mugabe’s spokesperson George Charamba or Zimbabwe National Army (ZNA) Lieutenant Colonel Simon Tsatsi were fruitless
yesterday.


This is not the first time that Mugabe and Angola’s President Eduardo dos Santos have worked together militarily. In Angola Mugabe provided both military and logistical support to dos Santos’s then embattled government.


In 1998 Zimbabwean and Angolan troops were deployed to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) to prop up the beleaguered government of President Laurent Kabila, which was succumbing to the military might of an armed rebellion.


Following the assassination of Kabila, Mugabe dispatched Zimbabwean soldiers to protect Joseph Kabila, who took over from his father. It is reported that Zimbabwean soldiers still protect Kabila in the DRC years after civil war ended in the vast African country.

Friday, 10 August 2007

ZIM DIALOGUE: SOME PERSONAL COMMENTS!


>>If the purpose of the Dialogue is to solely prepare for the 2008 Elections, then my fellow Zimbabweans are a very sorry lot!

>>If the purpose of the Elections is for CDE Mugabe and ZANU-PF to prove next year that they can defeat the MDC (no matter how many factions there are), then my fellow Zimbabweans are a very sorry lot!

>>If the purpose of the Dialogue is for Mr Morgan Tsvangirai to see to the "levelling" of the "playing field"so he can prove that the people are "behind him", then Zimbabweans are a very sorry lot.

>>If the purpose of the Dialogue is for Prof Arthur Mutambara to prove that he can "beat everybody" and get the Presidency of Zimbabwe, then my fellow Zimbabweans are a very sorry lot.


>>In the whole misguided zeal, the ordinary person is suffering waiting for the 2008 Elections!


>>Yes my fellow Zimbabweans are indeed a very sorry lot!
>>WHERE ARE THE TRUE PATRIOTS WHO RISE ABOVE PETTY POLITICS???????????


>>Rev Mufaro Stig Hove.


Cell: 0791463039 RSA.
mufarostig@yahoo.co.uk