Only the president has the right to recall parliament so there must be something going on we said to each other. Perhaps he was finally going to announce that he was tired and it was time for him to retire kumusha to spend the rest of his days in peaceful retirement? Or perhaps he was going to dissolve the House preparatory to calling elections? Or – a more sinister option perhaps he was going to ban the MDC and declare a State of Emergency?
In the event it was none of those things but a case of rubber stamping ie, parliament being used to endorse an agreement that had already been signed and sealed between the Zimbabwean and Chinese governments for a loan of $98 million for the construction of a defence college in the Mazowe Valley. Just exactly why Zimbabwe needs a new Defence College was not made clear since as far as one can judge there is no imminent external threat to the country. Schools, roads and hospitals are surely priorities in a country where the infrastructure is collapsing around you? But, unsurprisingly, it soon became very clear that the enemy was of course the MDC that was the enemy within. An opposition star rally had been planned for Sunday June 5th. There was a massive police presence with water cannons, armoured cars and Zanu PF thugs beating up anyone seen to be making their way to the rally in Highfield. The star was Morgan Tsvangirai, of course, but he failed to attend because, so we are told, the police laid down totally unacceptable conditions: there would be no toyi toying; there would be no derogatory speeches against other political parties and probably he most insulting condition laid down by the police: that Morgan Tsvangirai, who is after all the Prime Minister of the country, should report all incidents of hooligansim to the police.
That was on June 5th., needless to say attendance at the rally was apparently very sparse – another propaganda victory for Zanu PF. Tendai Biti, the Minister of Finance, was a speaker at that rally and the next day his home in Harare was bombed. Coincidentally – or not there was no police guard at Bitis home with the police claiming a shortage of manpower. As with last weeks story about the killing of the police inspector, it is almost impossible to discover the precise truth. Glen View continues to be a very dangerous place and this week the police picked up another 8 people bringing the total of suspects to 20 for the killing of the policeman. Perhaps the truth will come out when the 20 suspects are brought before the court. As for the Biti bomb, I wonder if we will ever know the truth. What sort of bomb was it? One Zanu PF official said the explosion wasnt even powerful enough to kill a rat and what is more, Zanu PF claim the whole incident was staged by the MDC in order to highlight Zanu PFs violence before the SADC Summit this weekend. President Zuma is said to be concerned at the level of violence in Zimbabwe. Thats not surprising when even normally docile magistrates order an investigation into the apparent abuse of suspects and police set the dogs on innocent villagers loitering around the diamond mines at Chiadzwa where 80 people were badly mauled by police dogs.
So after weeks of intensifying violence in Zimbabwe, the SADC Summit is upon us. Prepare for lies and half-truths from Zanu PF and possible violence in the streets as opposing groups meet head on in South Africa. Speaking personally, I have no great hope that Zimbabwes problems will be solved by the SADC leaders; it seems to me that they have neither the courage nor the will to tackle Mugabe. As the Daily News describes the confrontation between the GPA partners, it will be a titanic battle and its hard to believe that the big men of Africa will back anyone other than the Liberation Hero – but we live in hope.
Yours in the (continuing) struggle PH. author of the Dube books available from Lulu.com
The recall of parliament some two weeks ago set up a flurry of speculation here in the diaspora and also at home I gather.