Outside looking in: A letter from the diaspora

While Zimbabwe or Zanu PF at least, continues to idolize the late Colonel Gaddafi, the ‘African hero’ as they have described him, the African Union has been largely silent on the subject. Zimbabwe has been an almost lone voice, heaping praise on Gaddafi and vilification on his alleged killers.

On Thursday Zimbabwe’s Foreign Minister, Samuel Mumbengegwi, blamed the UN for Gaddafi’s killing. Mumbengegwi’s argument appears to consist of an attack on the UN.’s nine member Security Council as being unrepresentative of UN. membership as a whole. Mumbengegwi claims that this arrangement makes it possible for the nine powerful Security Council members to flout the wishes of the majority because, as he put it, they have “the troops on the ground and the planes in the air”.

Mumbengegwi, predictably, blames the west, his argument being that the west supported the NTC, the anti-Gaddafi transitional government that currently runs Libya. The story goes that Gaddafi was captured hiding out in a storm drain by NTC troops and, in the ensuing clash with pro-Gaddafi forces, the dictator was killed.

The UN is anxious to establish the precise facts of his death but for Zimbabwe, and Mugabe in particular, it is not the morality or otherwise of his killing that makes Gaddafi’s death significant – it is a question of money. With the new dispensation in Libya, Mugabe is faced with the problem of how to mend fences with the NTC. He had made several very lucrative deals with the Gaddafi government and this week it was reported that a diplomat is asking that those deals be cancelled. The diplomat is none other than the one expelled by Mugabe for his support of the NTC!

Now that Gaddaffi is dead, his mines, farms and other businesses in Zimbabwe are presumably the property of the new Libyan government. But what about Gaddafi’s widow? Will she and her family now be given asylum in Zimbabwe? Her late husband had numerous properties in the country and he and Robert Mugabe were known to be close allies. However, Zimbabwe’s recent history has shown that property rights have little meaning for Mugabe and Zanu PF. Grace Mugabe demonstrated that this week when she evicted people in Mazowe from their homes – without compensation – on the basis that she wanted to use the land to build an extension to her orphanage. Other reports, however, claim that, in reality, Grace wants to build a shopping Mall on the land.

As the stalemate in Zimbabwe drags on and on, the moral decline deepens and people are using the political hiatus to enrich themselves. The absence of the rule of law and a partisan police force makes that easier. Impunity is the order of the day and the police so often ‘turn a blind eye’ that they could now best be described as ‘partially sighted’. Kunonga’s thugs are still beating up Anglican parishioners, this week at Watsamba, near Mutare, where five people were hospitalised. Also in Manicaland province, political violence is on the rise and the MDC activist who was abducted last week was found dumped by the roadside.

The Chipangano gang in Harare seems to be totally out of control; they attacked MDC. HQ in a pre-dawn raid and on Wednesday assaulted an MDC Organising Secretary with logs and stones, fracturing his leg in the process. None of these attacks are dealt with by the ‘partially sighted’ ZRP. They do however ‘see’ whatever suits their political masters and have banned MDC rallies in Vic Falls, Binga and Lupane. No coincidence, I think, that Binga villagers had earlier refused to comply with Minister Chombo’s directive to take over white-owned fishing companies!

None of this improves Zimbabwe’s international image, though Zanu PF continues to claim that it is all part of a western plot to ‘demonise’ Zimbabwe. The EU has announced that sanctions will remain until ‘democratic reforms are in place’ and this week Switzerland refused to grant visas to Mugabe’s party of 62, including his wife Grace. The huge delegation was due to attend a UN meeting in Geneva. In a typically childish Zanu PF response, Attorney General Tomana threatened to pull Zimbabwe out of the world body; the Attorney General is always quick off the trigger with his threats – but they usually come to nothing. After all, who would be the loser if Zimbabwe pulled out of the UN? The old adage about ‘cutting off your nose to spite your face’ springs to mind!

Yours in the (continuing) struggle PH.aka Pauline Henson author of the Dube books, detective stories with a political slant set in Zimbabwe and available on Lulu.com

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