Zimbabwe

What is but a small blot to a man’s image, especially one whose ideas had shaped your thinking for as far you could remember? Studying sociology I had become curious about the land question in Africa. Sam you are one of whom it can be said that “ akekho ofana nawe”  (there is none like you). Rest in eternal peace dear brother, colleague, mentor and comrade!!! You planted many ideas and these will live on!

You can always tell when President Mugabe is really rattled. It's when he launches into a tirade about white, racist, imperialist conspiracies in a desperate attempt to deflect attention away from the facts. It has worked pretty well for him in the past but his latest rant only served to highlight the issue he currently wants to bury - the state-sanctioned torture of opposition supporters and the fact that those responsible might now be brought to book in South Africa.

While anyone interested in justice and tackling the culture of impunity around crimes against humanity that still prevails in Zimbabwe celebrated yesterday's landmark ruling by the South African High Court, one man was vociferous in his condemnation of the judgment - Zimbabwe's very own (in)Justice Minister, Patrick Chinamasa.

There has been a lot of talk in Zimbabwe recently about constitutionality and constitutionalism – about how to ensure that the country’s new Supreme Law is not co-opted and corrupted by the powers-that-be as the current constitution has been and that Zimbabweans enjoy the rule OF law not rule BY law. Nothing could have highlighted the importance of this debate as acutely as the wrongful arrest and illegal detention of renowned lawyer, Beatrice Mtetwa – the day after the country’s constitutional referendum.

Some statements really do beggar belief. Like Zimbabwe's (in)Justice Minister, Patrick Chinamasa, suddenly announcing that he had discovered corruption within the country's judicial system. Better late than never, you might say.

More than three years after the inauguration of Zimbabwe’s Inclusive Government (IG) in February 2009, the piecemeal and painfully slow transition process is finally gathering some speed. It now seems as though the referendum on the new Constitution will take place before the end of 2012, followed by elections in the first half of 2013, which will once again pit President Robert Mugabe and his ZANU-PF party against Prime Minster Morgan Tsvangirai and his MDC.

Occasionally there are stories that are so extraordinarily bizarre that you need to triple check that they’re not on a spoof news website. And ‘sex toys for prisoners in Zimbabwe to stop the spread of homosexuality’ is one such story. It could – should – only be a satirical attack on the homophobic rantings of so many of Zimbabwe’s politicians, church elders and others. But it’s not. It’s a genuine story – although it is in that daily purveyor of hate speech and half-truths, the Herald, so still needs to be taken with a pinch or two of pro ZANU-PF and anti-MDC salt.

I was wrong. I thought that President Mugabe and ZANU-PF would rig the vote just enough to win – just enough to be ‘crediblish’. You’d think that I – and many others – would have learned by now. You should never underestimate Mugabe or ZANU-PF. And you should never believe that electoral thieves will be content with stealing ‘just enough’ to win – if they can, they will steal the whole bang shoot.

Including Matabeleland.

Zimbabwe is often viewed – and certainly reported – as a country in which things are pretty black and white. But every now and then something happens that makes everyone wonder what is going on. Like this week’s decision by the High Court to give the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (ZACC) the authority to search the offices of three very powerful ministers from President Mugabe’s ZANU-PF party in connection with the biggest scandal in recent Zimbabwean history.

As is so often the case, there is one rule for Zimbabweans and one for their politicians. Or rather - there is one rule but politicians can bend it or break it with impunity. The latest example is the well-established - and globally accepted - rule that people should actually pay for the electricity they use.

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