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A philanthropic spirit encompassed with an entrepreneurial mind, I am passionate about technology and the things technology can help people to achieve.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Gays In Zimbabwe: The Morgan Tsvangirai Storm!!

The weather outside my office is blazing hot, the temperature on my desktop monitor shows it is thirty two degrees Celsius. This sums up the mood among the Zimbabwean folk as well. The temperature within the court of public opinion has risen to an all-time high stoked by the interview which the Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai had with BBC News. The social networks mainly Facebook have been abuzz with even those who profess not to delve into politics jumping into the argument. There was no time to waste, it was a call to arms for many, sides were picked and daggers drawn mostly toward the Prime Minister. My first reaction was shock like everyone else but knowing the media especially the Zimbabwean one, I had to dig deep to the source which is BBC and my find was a one minute video clip, an excerpt of a lengthy interview. Could it be the whole conversation revolved around gays? Not sure but let’s use the transcript of what we have. For the benefit of many who have neither the time nor zeal to look for the source I will quote what Morgan Tsvangirai said and it reads thus:

“it’s a very controversial subject in my part of the world, my attitude is that I hope the new constitution will come out with freedom of sexual orientation, as long it does not interfere with anybody, who am I to define what individual opinion is going to be as far as their sexual preferences are concerned…there is a strong cultural feeling towards gays, to me it’s a human right, it is something that individuals must be allowed to make a choice”

Alright now this puts things into perspective, what follows is my own analysis of the obtaining situation, trying to separate myself from the emotional baggage around this issue. Key points I noted here are “I hope the new constitution will come out with freedom of sexual orientation” and “to me it’s a human right”. Morgan Tsvangirai knows that the issue regarding gays and a new constitution is beyond his control but determined by the people

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Mind Control: Is Twitter Altering Reality??

In today’s world it is of necessity for one to question things beyond what they seem to be. Taking the information from any source as being a given can have fatal consequences. My belief is there is a few who want to profit and ride on the ignorance of many. It is incumbent upon every human on the face of the earth to be as inquisitive as possible for the benefit of everyone or else we will all perish. The bible clearly states, “My people perish because of the lack of knowledge”. Note that it does not say from the absence of knowledge.

Monday 11th of October 2011 was just one of those days, wake up, read the headlines on lamp posts and try to absorb all this and how it relates to my state of affairs. One read “America could escape recession”. It got me wondering; have they (recessions) not been happening often lately. Has the economic cycle reduced by that much a margin to keep us on our toes every 2 or so years? I wrestled this thought and shoved it somewhere at the back of my mind and store it to be retrieved at a later date perhaps be put down as a blog.

But one single event that changed my day was when my Facebook stopped updating the news feeds, it had been an hour so I logged out and back in but could not manage beyond the authentication page. It was then that it hit me

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Intelligence: The Case For Zimbabwe CIO....!!!

If there is anything that invokes feelings of fear, hate, rage & discomfort among the Zimbabweans it is the mention of the acronym CIO. Translated Central Intelligence Organisation, the CIO have become a legend among the Zimbabwe people; more like what aliens and terrorists are to American citizens. This perception goes back into history, reading the story of Gukurahundi one finds traces of CIO involvement with some acting as double agents to sabotage the newly formed black government. Independence brought with it reconciliation, the people were going to be one, set aside the guns and embrace the hoe to work for the common cause of Zimbabwe. Perhaps it was in this ambit that the CIO was transformed into a non-partisan force, whether this goal was achieved or not is for one to decipher. It could be the organisation was never given a chance to grow as events of the early 1980s show. Throughout the decades the dreadfulness of the reticent organisation seems to grow; more so after the birth of opposition party Movement for Democratic Change. Many abductions, torture and deaths of civilians are blamed on the CIO; but if my memory does not delude me this was never proven beyond reasonable doubt. In other circles there is mention that the secret agents are immune from prosecution. I have never really bothered to delve into the quagmire that is our laws, so patched here and there that if it was a piece of clothing every inch would have been graced by the pierce of a needle.

However one question that has never been asked but lingers in the subconscious of our minds is whether this organisation is important and whether it should be incorporated into a future democratic Zimbabwe? Some in political circles have voiced that it is not necessary to maintain such an organisation in a true democracy. But it is needful to think hard regarding this issue. The thought happened to fly past my subliminal as I was watching the commemoration of 9/11 by Americans

Friday, September 16, 2011

Zimbabwean Wikileaks: The Patriots Spoke!!!

The article below was originally written on Sunday,December 12, 2010 as a note on facebookwhen US diplomatic cables were beginning to surface. I have decided to post it as a blog in the light of events taking place within Zimbabwe given the fact that more cables were released pertaining to ZANU-PF, MDC & Zimbabwe Security Agencies. With hindsight, it is evident that there are still a lot of people within Zimbabwe, particularly ZANU-PF who are eager to see things changes for the good. I will pen another blog to analyze the current scenario further after going through most of the cables.

There has been animosity toward Wikileaks releasing information detailing PM Morgan Tsvangirai's conversations with US Embassy, ZANU PF sympathizers have jumped to highlight that Morgan was urging sanctions. Well if I was in his position I would advocate the same, imagine ZANU PF without target sanctions, how would the shopping trips to fashion cities like Madrid, Paris be? Then there is the issue of stashing wealth. Truth is these people's preferred place is the west, the look east is just sour grapes, if sanctions are removed you will see, deep down Mugabe has admiration for UK, they made him, his style et al has a Buckingham signature about it, enough of this, let's talk business.

I have a note posted before this one detailing the life & aspirations of Julius Assange and his purpose for Wikileaks. He is an advocate of a free society where governments have to be transparent and information is not withheld from the populace. This is one thing that makes me believe in his cause, how many clandestine deals are done by governments, in South Africa there is the famous arms scandal for example, in Zimbabwe far too many to mention from the seventies up to present, how nice it would be to have the rumours confirmed by hard facts e.g. findings of Dumbutshena Commission, the Willowgate scandal, disappearance of many political figures. Zimbabwe is a gold mine for the most astounding leaks ever if not the most gruesome. Knowing this I am upbeat about Wikileaks.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Big Brother Amplified: An Insider's View (How Luclay Lost)

The Big Brother Amplified show has come and gone, it was opened by the fall of Lotus with a thud on the opening day of 1st of May 2011 and ended with another thud of Luclay “Clayton” Misoya being evicted from the house (stage) dashing the hopes of South Africa landing the much coveted prize of US$200,000.00 up for grabs. Luclay was described as the best housemate South Africa has ever brought to the show hence the anger that followed his loss is somewhat understandable. Many esteemed entertainment writers had already concluded that Luclay and Karen won unless the scale tipped heavily in Lomwe’s favour who was seen as a potential threat to the “Otonos” as Luclay and Karen were affectionately known. Nobody saw Wendall Parson winning but he did, despite outcry of rigging, this victory was a fair one. Here is a thesis from an insider, it might not answer every question but will put some things into perspective.
Building the Brand: The Hunk
Wendall was not seen posing a threat, he was reserved and calm, “not amplified enough” in the eyes of some. But one thing that went unnoticed is the team behind him (Wendall United Fan Club) WUFC in short. The campaign was premised on peaceful campaigning, winning friends and hard work. To kick start it we had to make sure Wendall is noticed despite being quiet, the major selling point was his looks, girls were eager to see more of the hunk, in the forums it was a debate of who is hotter between him and Luclay. This debate could not carry for long, so we had to go around looking for fans that matter, with access to many of the people who were behind Munya Chidzonga’s campaign we set about early to seek their support and experience, probably half of them refused to be part of Big Brother given what transpired with the All Stars, a few did not wish to be part of WUFC choosing the more suave Vimbai Mutinhiri. With sides picked the stage was set, the real work had begun, it was to be a 91 days full of events, there was never a dull moment behind the scenes.

Big Brother Amplified: The Aftermathathematics!!

The dust has settled, comments are not coming thick and fast. Swearing, abuse words and slurs have subsided. I believe cool heads have been restored in most of us such that we can engage and delve into the issues underlying the conclusion to the Big Brother Amplified or Season 6 of the hyped show.

Wendall & Karen react to the news that they were winners of Big Brother Amplified

It is in this climate of calmness that I have decided to put pen to paper or is it finger to keyboard and seek to explain how the whole scenario played out much to the delighted of many and the chagrin of even a large number among the African viewership. Many a blogger and entertainment columnist have tried to explain it or pacify the Luclay fans with detailed analysis but I thought it would be good to hear it from one with inside information of Wendall United Fan Club behind the scenes.
So be on the look out for the full blog that should be published by 1900hrs on the 8th of August 2011

Friday, June 24, 2011

Devolution/Federalism in Zimbabwe: Is It the Panacea??

For some time now the idea of a Federal State in Zimbabwe has been thrown around, Devolution is the new anthem sung by politicians. For those who are not in the know, the idea of a Federal State is premised on the principle of decentralization of power from central government or authority to provinces of a nation. But Federalism alone cannot solve the problems that Zimbabwe finds itself in. On the contrary it might actually worsen the under-development in many areas. Those who are calling for Devolution/Federalism are doing it without the right mindset; their goal is to entrench the “each man for himself” idea. There are some in marginalised regions who feel they must have their resources to themselves, govern who gets what job in their region. It is being used as a way to side-step the corruption that has gripped our nation. But one area where politicians are not clarifying (whether by omission or design) is that Devolution/Federalism does not grant the general populace access to resources, it only results in management of revenue and expenditure allocation. For purpose of this thesis I will analyse pertinent issues centring on resource distribution and the pitfalls a federal republic is likely to run into in trying to use this as a way to pacify the community.

Natural Resource Distribution

There is an uneven rainfall pattern across the country, with the South Western and Southern parts of the country receiving little rainfall during the year. The Matabeleland Zambezi Water Project was started to resolve this problem. There is need to share this resource equitably to avoid exploitation of those without by the haves. A situation whereby a province sells water to another can fast track the Water Wars as predicted by Science in Africa. How much will a people or region part with to secure access to water? After water there is arable land to consider, according Food and Agricultural Organization, no place in Zimbabwe receives rain all throughout the year. The most arable land in the Eastern Highlands receives rainfall for between 200 – 269 days per year, the most arid parts of the country South, Midlands and South West receives rain for not more than 90 days per year. This has repercussions for crops and livestock sustenance. Despite attempts to establish this area as the hub of cattle ranching, these factors still make it hard to maintain the herds without incurring much cost. The ratio of animals per square kilometre bears testimony to the fact that animals have sought domicile in the middle to upper parts of the country where flora is in abundance. The mineral deposits in the country are also concentrated along the Great Dyke which cuts across the middle of the country giving some provinces an edge over others. (For details of Zimbabwe landscape: Click Here)

Financial, Logistics & Human Resource Distribution

In the current environment, the wealth of many Zimbabweans was depleted by hyper-inflation, so there is little investment potential from within. Despite many having moved to so called greener pastures, the upkeep costs in the Diaspora makes it almost impossible for one to set aside income for capital or wealth creation. The Zimbabwean way of life also involves one looking out for not only one’s immediate family but also the extended family; this does not leave room for a saving culture among those in the Diaspora. This leaves Foreign Direct investment as the most attractive option to develop the regions; however this has setbacks as there are logistical points to consider. Capital (FDI) will naturally flow into those regions that have the infrastructure to support business with easy access to market via a good rail/road network. The areas that are remote will lose out on any meaningful investment because of high costs of set-up. As people increase their disposable income through education, they want more luxury to go with their status. This is evident in the movement of the most skilled labour to better places like Harare and Bulawayo that can sustain the need for luxurious lifestyle. This is also the reason many MPs are elected in their constituencies but within a short time they move to stay outside the constituency. However most of this movement is put down to proximity to parliament for attending government business. The concentration of highly skilled labour would entail that companies/investors will have to pay a premium to attract the best skills to the not so luxurious areas but still this does not guarantee that they will remain there for lack of other necessities such as good schools for kids.

Private Capital Consideration

There is an element of private capital to consider, we have to consider how much income/wealth is held by whom. What if those who have a bigger share of the nation’s wealth come from a certain region? This would mean they can grab opportunities/investment at the expense of others. This would see such investors setting up in other areas but the Net Property Income earned in other provinces will be spent and kept elsewhere in the form of dividends, share disposal and investment. While the region or community gets something in the form of employment and Infrastructural development, dividends and profits make a large portion of the resources extracted. A good example is how Great Britain developed its economy by making profits in Africa, Oceania and South America; the profits were simply exported back as dividends. In Zimbabwe the government does not have much of a stake in business, while policies can be put in place to retain some of the income earned by companies or investors, there has to be a balance struck in order not to price the region out of the market or scaring investors away. This is on the backdrop of regions fighting to attract much investment from the others. The same private investors do not give heed to policies that limit them on who to employ and from where. Although incentives can be put in place to encourage sourcing of labour within the region, there is no guarantee that the skills are readily available, the past level of development has an influence on how much the local inhabitants are skilled in a particular area.

So in the final analysis, Zimbabwe needs transparency, cooperation and a spirit of togetherness if we are to achieve growth and general improvement in the standards of living across the provincial divide. We have to share the meagre resources available with those who might be in areas that cannot derive development given the limitation of resources. Each province for itself will only exacerbate the under development of certain areas as the provinces do not have an equal composition of natural, human, financial resources and attractiveness to Foreign Direct Investment. The need to fulfil basic needs will result in further exploitation of regions by countries with an advantage of capital as we are witnessing happening with Chinese investors.  It is needful to strive towards a balance in terms of development, accessibility and skills development before Devolution/Federalism can be considered. This can be modelled along the lines of having a national purse then government determines which region to grant money for capital generation and investment. Who gets to get what and when can be directed by the short term and long term goals of government. In that way equity can be achieved across the whole country, thereafter the advantages of Devolution/Federalism will outweigh the disadvantages.

Credits: The Landscape Analysis of Zimbabwe is courtesy of Food & Agricultural Organization (FAO)

A Glimpse At Zimbabwe (Rainfall, Vegetation & Livestock Sustenance)

Note: The above is an extract from the FAO website detailing the amount of rainfall received across Zimbabwe.

Note: The map show the livestock distribution across the country. Credit to FAO

Note: Period of plant growth for Zimbabwe, this exlcudes irrigated land.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Hard Choices in Political Leadership: Comptence vs. Affirmative Action

Now that the dust has settled regarding the MDCT congress, I believe it is now safe to crawl from my hiding place. It should now be safe to say something without invoking a lot of emotion. One feature of the MDCT congress was the issue of tribe, there were screams from certain quarters that the challenging of Lovemore Moyo by Lucia Matibenga could disrupt a delicate tribal balance at the higher echelons of the party. In ZANUPF the same pattern is evident where tribal balancing is strictly followed according to the dictates of the 1987 Unity Accord. But in a democracy is there a need for tribal balancing? How does it go with democracy?

In the Zimbabwean context perhaps the people are so used to the ZANUPF way of doing things which is a dangerous precedent for the well being of the state. In South Africa there is no regard for tribal balancing, when ANC go for their elective congress candidates are selected based on competence. I believe tribal balancing is not necessary in a democratic setting; political positions must be contested based on one’s appeal and promise to those who will be voting. Reserving positions for certain tribe or gender is tantamount to stifling the ascendancy of the most capable candidate for the job. I have noted how the tribe card is played at positions from Vice-President downwards. What stops the same from being applied at the presidency level? Is there a realization that the office of a president is serious business with serious repercussions in the event that an incompetent person is selected? It is my considered belief that the same principles that preclude affirmative action at the presidency equally applies across all sectors and positions in society. In an increasingly competitive global market place, a country cannot afford the luxury of having a second best President, Minister of Finance or Foreign Affairs, the consequences of wrong policies internally and externally can be dire.

I believe tribe should have no place in a mature society; people should be afforded the chance to showcase themselves and let the voters choose the best among the crop. Politicians seem to believe that the average human being will make an irrational choice based on tribe. Funny enough it is the same politicians who breed tribe consciousness among the electorate. There was a time in America when it was not envisaged that a black person can become president, had the black consciousness movements continued putting race into people's thoughts and actions, Obama's ascendancy might still be a figment of imagination.

The unfortunate thing about involving tribe in politics is that even the beneficiaries of such moves will not be contented. There is a discontent among many Ndebele for being always playing second fiddle. Rather than try and skirt the issues, politicians particularly from opposition must make painful decisions to break away from the notion of tribe. Every post must contested by any person with best winning.

Many would argue that this is untenable as many small tribes particularly Ndebele would be elbowed out. This is true in the short to medium term because people will have to unlearn reading politicians through tribe card. It’s the prize to pay for inheriting a political system fraught with tribal notions. Once a culture of competence based selection is entrenched in the minds of the people, tribe will move from the fore to the subconscious of our mental faculties. We must liberate the smaller tribes from the give me, give me mentality, there is a tag associated with people who are given positions rather than earn them. Affirmative Action will leave one being adjudged undeserving no matter how capable the person might be, on the incumbent it can leave one vulnerable and lacking confidence.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Social Media - Re-Defining Political Though Leaders

Many a times I engage in fruitful debates via facebook, good points are raised in the course of these discussions. Unfortunately most of these great thoughts are lost in status updates and buried forever in Palo Alto at facebook servers. A few discussions I have recently been a part of centered around the following:

1. The case for a Federal System of Governance.
2. Hard Choices in Political Leadership: Competence vs. Affirmative Action.

I am inviting fellow bloggers to delve into these issues and present a compelling case why their thoughts should curry favour and be sold to the general population. As the future leaders we must apply our minds to the future we envisage for Zimbabwe. We cannot wake up in time doing trial and error but by careful calculation and meditation we should plan before we get there.

I hope to we will influence a change in our journalism fraternity from incessant politicking to presenting hard questions to the people of Zimbabwe encouraging a culture of healthy debate.

We are the Zimbabwe we want to live in, let’s picture it, plan it and execute it!!

Friday, April 15, 2011

The Resurrection of Simba Makoni...Another Dawn?

As I look out the window of this Gauteng taxi weaving its way past a maze of traffic at break-neck speed; I find myself jerking left, right and centre. What a better time to drown myself into my blackberry and see what is happening some thousand kilometres away in my beloved homeland. Facebook is the new meeting point not the former tuckshop, terminus or Fantasy Land; the crisis has thrown us far and wide we resort to social networks to find people who are familiar with our inclination.

As always Jones Musara does not disappoint, you are guaranteed updates every morning, afternoon or evening. He reminds me of Matigari of Ngugi Wa Thiongo, his life seems to be 99% politics with the 1% reserved for Chelsea football club. However on this day there is a slant to his updates, he is the subject of his own focus after some friend voiced concern about his weight or lack thereof, still another chided that he is not the type to be liked by any woman except the woman happen to be politics. Can a man be married to politics? What would be the conjugal boundaries and rights in that setting?

As I ponder this unusual matrimony of human to ideology I find the business of the day, something to awaken me before the taxi zooms past the point where I am supposed to disembark. It reads Simba Makoni calls for a non-political Transitional Structure to replace the current Government of National Unity; I almost fell off my seat but luckily we are packed in this taxi like sardines and I have 2 heavily built women on either side for support. Maybe they are the can and I am the sardine ensconced in between. For a year or so I thought Simba Makoni had retired at the break of Dawn/Mavambo project, the dead surely are risen, I hear Jesus calling Simba not Lazarus.

As I read further I understand this Transitional Structure will have to exclude Morgan Tsvangirai and Robert Mugabe; what criteria Simba? Simba Makoni was probably sitting in the house waiting for the next assignment. My take is Mugabe is already advanced in age so excluding him from a Transitional structure is neither here nor there, save for Chinotimba crying foul and a yell of president for life from women's league. But for Morgan Tsvangirai my eyebrows were raised, what if Simba is onto another project to exclude the guy on whom most if not all opposition politics revolve? How would the Zimbabwe political landscape look without Morgan Tsvangirai? I believe ZANUPF knows Morgan Tsvangirai is gaining ground with every passing day as evident in his surpassing of Mugabe in terms of popularity during the 2008 presidential election. Other means to dissuade people from MDC seem to bear little fruit, if it is true that Simba Makoni's Mavambo Project was a ZANUPF ploy then it follows what we are seeing is another gambit to sell Simba Makoni after eliminating Morgan Tsvangirai.

Whatever happens the GNU must follow the SADC roadmap to free and fair elections. By having a new constitution we can put to rest the ghost of rigging, intimidation and draconian laws that have worked against opening democratic space. Time is running out on the part of ZANUPF and the tactics seem to be drying as well, after a decade of scheming against the masses there are not many options left to retain power through clandestine means. With the advent of mobile internet or GPRS/3G in Zimbabwe, the propaganda machinery is no longer efficient as well, the social network footprint among Zimbabweans has increased significantly and ZANUPF seem to be losing ground; what with many in the diaspora feeding those at home with information that is detriment to ZANUPF. With all this to consider, Simba Makoni might be the last hope of splitting votes as another Dawn/Mavambo breaks but in a free and fair election might be futile. It is imperative that Zimbabweans consider well their options and what they do, no one would want to be donating experimental votes to a another Mavambo. He who has ears, let him see!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Life & Times of GND (Government of National Disunity)

The events of the past week have been disturbing; many members of parliament, Ministers have found themselves locked up for one reason or another. The mayhem reached a crescendo with the nullifying of the post for Speaker of Parliament or the election thereof. The Supreme Court overturned the ruling passed earlier by the High Court that Lovemore Moyo should continue as speaker of parliament. So now we have no speaker of parliament in place, a deputy Prime Minister whose position bears no mandate from his party, a Finance Minister failing to account for monies that should have made way to the government treasury. Everything is not well in the government of Zimbabwe, every party is pulling to its own side. Despite people being upbeat at the formation of the Government of National Unity, many have now lost faith in this cause. ZANU PF appears keen to maintain the status quo prior to February 2009, at every turn they are eager to frustrate the country moving forward. Their blend of patriotism is to the party leader first, party second and everything else comes thereafter. Despite the nationalism tag which ZANU PF desperately cling to, they are far removed from the principals that brought them together to fight the Ian Smith regime, empty slogans is what remains, the party is turned into an appendage of a few big wigs. Anyone in the establishment can seek promotion only up to number two position; the first place is ensconced in one Robert Mugabe.
Perhaps the GND was not necessary but at that juncture it was the only plausible thing to do, the people had been held hostage after a run-off election where the incumbent had pulled all stops to frustrate any outcome favouring the opposition. Life has somewhat improved for the ordinary man on the street, food has become visible at affordable price, the runaway inflation was tamed. But the chaos is threatening to unleash itself once again; the arrest of many government officials is testament to the fact that ZANUPF is unwilling to forsake its violent nature, torture is crawling back into the mainstream after having gone on holiday. ZANUPF will be happy to go into elections with the current setting that will allow them to manipulate the system; the fear of defeat in free and fair elections might be the reason why they have shifted into flight mode.  Haply if they can force the break of the Government of National Disunity, elections can be held in the same conditions as in 2008. But will SADC and Zuma be amenable to such a situation? It remains to be seen but it appears SADC is not eager to proceed until its road map to free and credible elections is adhered to, without Mbeki at the helm, Mugabe also finds himself without much support within SADC and this might be the reason why he is tentative about going it alone. The fact that SADC is willing to proceed with a makeshift DPM in Arthur Mutambara might bear testimony to the fact that a lasting solution to Zimbabwe’s squabbles is seen as urgent.
On the other arm of the GND you have MDCM/N now led by Welshman Ncube, this group appears to be in government for vendetta and this overlaps to within their own ranks. Currently it has metamorphosed into two other parties MDC99 and the one led by Arthur Mutambara. But it is the hate they have for the main MDC led by Morgan Tsvangirai that is astounding, they have scored minor victories in the form of joining hands with ZANUPF to elect a speaker of parliament. Despite the fact that their candidate lost, just the notion of forming a pact with ZANUPF had many tongues wagging. Recently they scored a major in ensuring that the speaker of parliament was removed from his post, it remains to be seen if they will go into bed with ZANUPF again to frustrate the MDC led by Morgan Tsvangirai.
But overall democracy has suffered, the people’s misery has been prolonged, from the results thus far, it is clear MDC led by Morgan Tsvangirai went into the GND eager to prove something, that given a mandate they can be able to turn around the situation. They are the only group who played the ball and not the man. They had goals to achieve but unfortunately they had to work with the masters of dirty on the one hand and the architects of vendetta on the other. What remains is for the GND to be done away with, therefore it is expedient that a new constitution be enacted together with a clear roadmap to elections. However this will not be easy as ZANUPF is eager to hold on to the one thing that has kept them going, a dysfunctional constitution as well as electoral bodies that are manned by party loyalists. As it is Tobaiwa Mudede is past retirement age but is still holding office for the sake of ZANUPF, he knows how to manipulate those dead votes and do the balancing of figures. But it is evident that we are reaching an end game, there is no way out, the tenacity of the people of Zimbabwe has outlived the oppressors.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

The Ghetto Kind of Life – A Tribute to The Struggle!!

I was pondering the uproar regarding comments alleged to have been made by Job Wiwa Sikhala on his facebook profile. He had written or in facebook terms his mind was thinking about some rumour he received from unnamed sources in Singapore, the post or what was on his mind appear obscure but many took it he thought Robert Mugabe was dead. How people arrived at such a conclusion baffles my mind. Nevertheless can anybody be prosecuted on account of “what’s on your mind?” Do we have the “thought police” as envisaged in George Orwell’s 1984? Haply if so then we can expect Mr. Job Sikhala to be charged with “thought crime”, we are living in interesting times indeed.
However the whole scenario reminded me of the ghetto where Job grew up and most likely still reside. His way of speech might display immaturity but such is life in the ghetto, salacious chatter is a norm. Who does not remember his/her mother standing in her yard speaking to a neighbour with the fence in between as the stupefied judge? Or if time and chance allow, a gathering of many housewives in the street whose quorum was only broken when the fathers started to trickle from work holding a Herald newspaper. Such is life in the ghetto; the ghetto laws transcend the laws of the land and mostly seem to be in direct conflict with each other. Growing up in the ghetto of Chitungwiza, affectionately known as Chi-town, it was customary to see the law being made a mockery of, a desire to come against the system was an in-born trait, who does not remember the municipal police chasing public drinkers down a street with bystanders cheering on Olympic style, the half-drunk fellows always ended being caught and hauled by their belts to the municipal van. Perhaps it was the reluctance to let go of that Lion Lager that disturbed their dash for freedom, with one hand trying not to spill the holy waters as they were called, it was always a losing battle one which played out repeatedly as if the offenders had exhausted their mental strength to recall.
It always seemed the law was against the people, against the ghetto spirit. It (the law) had to be defied with all might, in some cases the people would feel enough was as good as a fist, men & women would form a human wall to defend the street vendors. The green grocers always bore the brunt of the authorities, watching our compatriots’ mangoes, veggies, tomatoes being ferried by the police was always painful. It defied logic how people trying to eke out a living could be treated as criminals. Everyone always had it rough one way or the other in the ghetto.
The ghetto was a harsh environment; happiness and sorrow were so intertwined an outsider observer would hardly comprehend the juxtaposed anomaly. But we were fine that way; our struggle defined our vision and stubbornness to reach our goal to be free. Freedom to drink as we liked on the bottle store without police interfering, freedom for the ganja smokers to indulge the golden leaf as if they were in downtown Kingtson Jamaica, freedom to gather as we liked, anywhere we liked with no one having to eavesdrop what is going on. But times changed, bottled emotions soon gave way to collective outburst of anger, the ghetto people said enough of the harassment, retribution came in the form of food riots in 1998, we posted minor victories until the full might of the state was unleashed, suddenly the ghetto was not the same, soldiers, police filled the streets. It was decided from then onwards that the ghetto people had to be kept in check, a short leash was enacted. Since then the ghetto has known no freedom.
The municipal police withdrew only giving way to a more brutal force, an animal called POSA (Public Order Security Act) came into being, it had no respect for the ghetto kind of life and for the gossiping mothers, AIPPA (Access to Information & Protection of Privacy Act) was promulgated, one would think it protected their gossip but was an instrument to intrude into it. I recall days we had bashments (a house party usually organized and patronized by the youth), from nowhere you would find a Santana parked outside the party venue, disembarking would be police armed to the teeth. People would scurry in all directions, some scaling the durawall or fence to escape the pain of a police mboma (Baton). I remember the mavericks who tried jumping over the razor wire, it was a blood on the dance floor kind of thing. Soon our steps wandered elsewhere, one by one we formed lines out of the ghetto, some to United Kingdom, others to South Africa and others just to anywhere except the ghetto. But still the ghetto remains a part of us, we still believe in freedom for the ghetto, respect for the ghetto, love for the ghetto.
So when I reflect on the issue surrounding Job Sikhala and what he is alleged to have “thought” on his facebook page, I feel an aura that the ghetto is alive & invincible. The ghetto might not appeal to everyone or conform to the dictates the law, but we owe the struggle to the ghetto. In the words of George Orwell, "Until they become conscious they will never rebel, and until after they have rebelled they cannot become conscious.", I envisage the ghetto being conscious at all times, born conscious, living consciously. Waiting for that opportunity to express itself, but the ghetto is under the check of the rogue animals POSA and AIPPA. Still the ghetto spirit will not wane as shown by Dread Gwisai and many others who gathered in the spirit of the ghetto, as they say, they can take us out of the ghetto but the ghetto will not be taken out of us. The ghetto lives to fight another battle, another struggle till the ghetto spirit has overcome. Still then the ghetto will remain the face of the struggle eternally.
With love and respect to the “Ghetto Kind of Life”.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Is Zimbabwe Ready For Change?

As the social network revolution sweeps past Muslim countries, many in Zimbabwe have been murmuring that such a wave should flow to Zimbabwe. It is agreed across political circles that change is long overdue in Zimbabwe. For ZANU PF its the succession debate that has been simmering for a long time, nationally its the people yearning for a less autocratic system of governance, a passing of the baton from the liberation movement's grip on power. The north African revolutions are spontaneous, uncoordinated, ours is a protracted one, the government is well aware of the aspirations of the majority hence always on the alert.

Despite the mood in Zimbabwe, most people are not prepared for what change would usher in. There are many citizens who sought asylum in countries such as England, to them change means letting go of the good life jumping to the next plane to Zimbabwe. Their complicity was evident when they were addressed by the Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, booing him when he advised them to prepare for the home coming. The thought of going back to Zimbabwe haunts many who are somehow trapped in the first world, many left home with personal goals, only to find these frustrated by watertight first world economies that do not promote enough saving, heavily leaning on credit systems to siphon the meagre wages.

The less spoken of element of change is on the economic front, most Zimbabweans at home and abroad do not have capital reserves. Change will only see many look on as investment opportunities are taken by mostly foreign companies and individuals. If there is investment by locals it will be small scale or the preserve of a few well to do individuals. This is a situation far from ideal, having put up with a lot of violence, suffering & exploitation, Zimbabweans deserve to reap the gains of an economic boom. But can we escape the calamity that has befallen most countries that were in our predicament? Its possible, we have to be strategic in our outlook, we have to muster the art of working collectively, pooling our resources together.

As individuals we can be frustrated at the thought of change, we can look at our incapacity then fall into apathy to the extent of loathing those that preach change. As a people we ought to be in active dialogue on how we can make collective investments across the whole economy. Despite our exceptional literacy rates, we seem to have been deliberately deprived of knowledge in the areas of investment, few Zimbabweans know the mechanics investment instruments such as shares, bonds and tr. In my time of schooling I did not come across a lesson teaching how one can apply wisdom to trading in shares, unit trusts and government bonds.

However true emancipation does not come easy, we have to be prepared for the belt tightening that comes with it, the current scenario whereby government goes to seek foreign cash injection is exchange for mining, farming and manufacturing concerns is just but an addressing of the symptoms. The fall out with the West and subsequent withdrawal of much investment by companies such as Anglo-America, BHP Billiton awakened us to the harsh reality that we have no safety net albeit we walk a tight rope some miles above the ground, our fall can only be disastrous. For the little resources we can be able to extract from the ground, we should invest in capital goods that will create more opportunities with the aim for self-sustenance. Added to this frugal spending must be an investment in technology, Zimbabwe's internet penetration ratio is very low for a country with high literacy rates, for competiveness goods must be produced with as little cost incurred, technology is at the heart of most gains made to reduce cost of manufacture.

To achieve a different set of results, we must do things different, since independence we joined the long list of perennial beggars, moving from nation to nation, bloc to bloc with our begging bowl as if the first world owe us anything. The beggarly mentality must cease, it’s a mockery when our leaders go before national television and mourn that we have been excluded from an AIDS funding project. Such experiences only serve to entrench the penury case in the minds of young children. Nothing is given for free, the borrower will always subject to the lender, its ironic that some sections of our politicians scream sovereignity and freedom yet still go about begging. Can a beggar be a master of anything? Does a beggar have the tools to influence anything except a handout of coins from the well-to-do passers-by? Food for thought, bottomline we need a shift in our mindsets, get down to work for the people, deploy our meagre resources to the most economically beneficial projects. The chasing of luxury cars, mansions in Scotts mountains must stop and end with the current politicians, we need new brooms to sweep better, only then will we find safety in our own domicile and perhaps have the luxury to scream a genuine SOVEREIGNTY.   

Friday, January 14, 2011

Zimbabwe's Facebook Politicians - "Are They Any Different From Robert Mugabe"

I was relaxing at home and reflecting on events of the previous night, it had been a busy day on facebook shuttling from one wall to another, there are days when politicians are out and about doing their thing, whether it’s something they plan beforehand I know not but it certainly keeps the inquisitive minds wondering & murmuring. Before the curtain came down I caught on an interesting comment regarding the expanse of a facebook politician’s reach. The thesis was with about 4,000 friends one can reach 100,000 facebookers. Anyway I would not want to delve into the mathematics of it all. What got me wondering was if politicians can reach such a number, are they making headway? I sunk into doubt as to whether there is any exchange of ideas; I juxtaposed this with the Muslim Imams in Cairo, strategically located for voice projection but nevertheless a nuisance to the intended recipients of their multitude of prayers. Such is the conclusion I reached regarding the facebook politicians, reaching many but heard by a few yet a nuisance to many. In the quest for outreach, rules of engagement have been altered.
While at it flashbacks of the “ZIM1” ran through my mind, it was like a sudden rush of wind in a storm; except that this kind made all else still while the cars sped away to wherever the president would be going (ZIM1 is the presidential motorcade in Zimbabwe). This is the closest most Zimbabweans got to engage the president albeit it was a very quiet & queer dialogue. I remember the president always moved for some grand event, no courtesy calls were made to citizens, no surprise visits from the country’s Chief Executive Officer be it in schools, hospitals, social gathering, everything danced to his schedule that was religiously followed I presume. The rule of engagement was “I engage you, you do not engage me”. This was somewhat an unwritten code that information & instructions was to filter downwards and that word or order was final. I see a similar pattern among the facebook politicians, they engage you at their convenience, “they engage you, you do not engage them”.
How many ordinary facebookers or those on the receiving end have engaged the facebook politicians on their wall not the politician’s wall? History informs me this is almost taboo, a breaking of the unwritten code, the altered “rules of engagement”. It reminds me of one facebook socialite from Zambia, one comment to his post simply asked “when are you going to comment on my posts also” with somewhat an air of exasperation. This was probably a case of someone not understanding the altered rules of engagement regarding facebook. Forget the politics of telling politicians what you want as a constituency, democracy has been turned on its head, they tell us what they want & we have to take it or leave it. The 100,000 being reached are not going to be solicited for an opinion; they are simply being told to take it as is, if there are any qualms the person has to go to the politician’s wall to try and knock some sense.
What fascinated me in all this is the fact that most if not all facebook politicians proclaim they are for democracy, this left me in frantic efforts to define democracy, the last time I remembered it was something along the lines of politicians concerned about those whom they purport to lead. Now I am no longer sure I will seek for the definition again. What I see in all this is a brand of politicians who are getting into the habit of telling us what they think, telling us what needs to be done, telling us how it needs to be done, telling us what they think never asking us what we would rather suggest, never checking on how we are doing it or what we are doing, never checking on what we are thinking. They just will not be bothered! They talk we listen, they write, we read, they order we do. How then is that different from the status quo? How different is it to the way Robert Mugabe goes about exercising his role of Chief Executive? The irony is that all advise that they are different from Robert Mugabe. Let’s face it, if someone never visited their constituencies, never took time to check on their constituencies, a courtesy comment, a courtesy like, a courtesy poke on facebook, can such be relied upon to pay a courtesy visit to the constituents in Matapi, St Marys or Nketa?
My own conclusion is this will be hard, facebook is instilling habits in politicians that might be hard to kick, and we are not much different to our online alter egos. Is it not time facebook politicians start to be engaged by their followers or friends on the friends’ walls? I believe most of these politicians will not be able to name at least 20 of their followers by name and surname or answer a simple survey of where we live. Its impossible to know every follower’s detail but to speak for the people one must be prepared to be engaged by the same people on their walls, more like inviting the President for lunch in your house & he eats matemba, then wash the meal down with jolly juice while sitting on a wooden bench, watching Premier League on black and white 14 inch television. Such a politician will have a good grasp of the people’s needs, his policies are likely to bring happiness to them and speak in consonant with them. So to all the facebook politicians, the rules of engagement must change for us to see the difference in comparison to the status quo!