We are not afraid

So, the government has started confiscating the passports of Zimbabweans who dare to raise a voice of criticism. This is an outrageous infringement of individuals' rights to freedom of movement Curtailing people's right to freedom of movement will not solve the problems created by the Mugabe reg

ime. The fact that the first person to have his passport seized is none other than Trevor Ncube sends a chilling message to any would-be purveyor of an alternative view on what is happening in Zimbabwe today.

Ncube, of course, is the publisher of The Independent and The Standard – the only local, independent newspapers still surviving in the country. He also publishes the Mail & Guardian from Johannesburg where he normally resides.

Ncube has never been convicted of any offence. He is a law-abiding citizen. He provides much-needed jobs to hundreds of Zimbabwean workers. He pays his taxes to the government. His only crime is that he beams a light into the information-starved darkness of 21st century Zimbabwe.

Like most patriotic Zimbabweans, Ncube can see his country being wrecked by a greedy, wicked bunch of power-crazed geriatrics. Raising his voice in protest has cost him  and all those inside the country who are desperate for accurate information and independent, informed commentary – most dearly.

The second person to have his passport seized was Paul Themba Nyathi (former MDC secretary for information)  whose crime is that he does not belong to Zanu (PF). We condemn this heavy-handedness in dealing with dissenting viewpoints.

The two men are now virtually prisoners in a Zimbabwe-wide prison. In the case of Ncube, he is consequently unable to go about his legitimate business as a publisher  which entailed frequent commuter trips between his Johannesburg and Harare offices.

If the intended message is to silence critics of Zanu (PF)’s misrule, our response is simply: We are not afraid.

‘Give me liver’ – Mugabe

They came to Esigodini. They feasted disgustingly for three days, while the rest of the country starved. They passed meaningless resolutions. And they went back to the bright city lights to continue terrorizing people into submission.

Some 3 000 Zanu (PF) delegates at the party’s annual conference at Mzingwane high school in Matabelaland South reportedly slaughtered and consumed 50 cattle, five buffalo, 11 kudu, 17 impala and five reedbuck. “I don’t want steak  give me liver,” President Mugabe is reported to have demanded.

The party faithful and their tyrannical rulers spent their energies criticizing the UN, which is trying to give humanitarian relief to those made homeless by government actions. They insulted UN envoy Jan Egeland and planned further restrictions on the operations of NGOs.

The ruling party Congress demonstrated one thing: when it comes to solving problems or generating original and constructive ideas on the way forward for the beleaguered country, Zanu (PF) is brain dead.

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