Tsvangirai Recovers

  • Morgan Tsvangirai and wife Elizabeth.

Movement for Democratic Change Zimbabwe president Morgan Tsvangirai says his health has improved markedly from 2016 when he announced that he had colon cancer.

Tsvangirai is on a nationwide tour to test the mood about a proposed alliance with Joice Mujuru’s ZimPF party, which is expected to deliver victory to the opposition.

He told a local weekly that his doctors in South Africa had confirmed he was on the recovery path.

Tsvangirai is widely expected to become Zimbabwe’s next president if elections scheduled for 2018 are free and fair.

(c) Now Daily 2017. All Rights Reserved.

 

 

Mawarire Denied US Asylum

By Peter Bolder

Now Daily

  • Evan Mawarire (left).

Harare clergyman Evan Mawarire returned to Harare last week after months on the run because his application for political asylum in the United States had failed, sources revealed.

Mawarire’s application failed amid suspicions that he was a Central Intelligence Organisation operative posing as an anti-Mugabe activist. Apparently, Mawarire was found to have abandoned several members of #ThisFlag campaign, who were arrested and tortured after he fled to the US through South Africa in 2016.

Mawarire was on Friday denied bail by a Harare magistrate who deferred his subversion case to February 17. However, intelligence sources confirmed Sunday that Mawarire was linked to Mugabe’s security apparatus and had been planted in the protest movement to destroy the more radical group Tajamuka which seemed to advocate for violence to remove Mugabe. Mawarire claimed ownership of spontaneous violent protests that rocked Zimbabwe in mid-2016 and saw a customs border warehouse being looted and set on fire.

The vocal cleric was arrested at Harare airport Wednesday as he arrived from months of exile in the United States, where he fled in 2016 as state agents pursued him, accusing him of mounting violent demonstrations to overthrow Mugabe.

He was charged for “inciting” people to overthrow a constitutionally elected government, a serious crime which could see him being jailed for more than 20 years if convicted.

Mawarire’s lawyer and fellow anti-government activist under the #ThisFlag hash tag campaign, Fadzai Mahere said the pastor was not guilty of any crime.

“Evan is not the problem,” Mahere said, adding that the political and economic problems which he highlighted were still there.

Apparently, Mawarire became a target after he claimed credit for organising demonstrations and work boycotts which turned violent.

Mawarire applied for political asylum in the US but his request failed amid a tightening of screws on refugees and more thorough vetting by the Donald Trump administration.

State security sources said the authorities suspected Mawarire was linked to radical activist group Tajamuka, which has been endorsed by main opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai.

The pastor has rattled the Mugabe government, which has banned public displays of the Zimbabwean flag, a symbol of his social media campaign. Several other activists have been arrested and charged with causing public violence.

© Now Daily 2017. All Rights Reserved.

Mugabe Command Farming Project Flops

By JOHN CHIMUNHU

Now Daily Special Assignment

  • Two men stand at the gate of a farm they invaded.

Over the last couple of months, I have been travelling extensively around Zimbabwe’s occupied farms, assessing the extent of failure of the country’s chaotic and often violent fast-track land reform programme. My interest was triggered by the government’s launch in 2016 of what officials said was a $500 million project curiously dubbed ‘Command Agriculture Programme’. The name conjured images of Soviet Russia and communist China where dissidents and others who offended the authorities were shipped off to state farms to be worked and starved to death. Zimbabwe’s programme is not too different, as I discovered. Slavery, human trafficking, corruption and violence are the order of the day, amid minimal production.

While vice president Emmerson Mnangagwa was claiming that half a billion dollars had been secured for the programme and Zimbabwe would stop importing maize after three years, on the farms little is happening to show that this will actually happen. Apart from using the programme to feed Zanu PF militias, it is not clear how the nation will benefit from this poorly planned scheme.

I visited the farms initially at the invitation of some war veterans in Mashonaland East province, who were threatened with eviction by Grace Mugabe, president Robert Mugabe’s wife, for their perceived support of sacked vice president and now opposition leader Joice Mujuru. This being the province where the powerful former army commander General Solomon Mujuru, who once threatened to shoot Mugabe if he did not give up power, had set up his base, it was natural that many of the former ‘freedom fighters’ or ‘comrades’ as they preferred to be called were under siege from the Mugabes. And then, of course, I was also after getting more information about Mujuru’s death in a mysterious fire in August 2011.

I arrived at Derbyshire farm to be greeted by scenes of dilapidation and disuse at what was once one of the most productive farms in the province. The gate and wire fences had been removed, like many of the other fittings, to be sold to scrap metal dealers in Harare. There was no farm guard at the entrance and people were just going in and out, some carrying loads of poached firewood and truckloads of sand extracted illegally.

At the main house, I found three youths with menacing looks sitting at the rusty gates drinking beer, smoking marijuana and talking loudly about girls.

My host, who preferred to be known by his nom de guerre Comrade Gandanga Ziguru, told me he was going fishing.

“The government has not given us any inputs for the command farming programme. There’s nothing to do,” Ziguru said.

That was the middle of November, before the onset of the rains, but a time by which serious farmers would have prepared their fields. A tour of local farms revealed a similar pattern of disuse. Under the previous owners, the fields would have been planted by then. But failure to access bank loans had rendered the fast track land reform programme a failure. Attempts by the Mugabe government to arm-twist commercial banks into giving unsecured loans to the farmers failed. The farmers’ hopes now hinged on the promises by government to give them inputs.

Nightly on Zimbabwe television, we were bombarded with stories that the command agriculture programme was a ‘success’. Old videos of healthy crops from previous seasons accompanied the reports in a propaganda blitz that could make Kim Jong Un envious.

Over time and after much haggling about my role as a journalist, the war veteran began to trust me and opened up. As we sat drinking at a local hotel one night, he explained to me the politics at play. War veterans have put their weight behind vice president Emmerson Mnangagwa, he said, as a possible successor to 93 year-old Mugabe who has been clinging to power for 37 years and now wants to be in power until he dies.

“This is wrong,” the war veteran said. “Comrades who died during the war did not die so that one person and his wife can rule forever. The economy is collapsing. People are dying unnecessarily due to curable diseases because there are no drugs in hospitals. There is no money in the banks and there are no jobs, yet Mugabe wants to hold on to power just for the sake of it. We will go back to war if this continues. ”

War veterans have rejected Mugabe’s candidature at the 2018 presidential election. The war veterans have vowed to sabotage Mugabe’s campaign, demanding that Mnangagwa takes over as the ruling party candidate.

“Mugabe is too old to be president,” said Ziguru, a senior member of the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association. “He is too old to be commander-in-chief of the defence forces. Where in the world have you seen such an old person heading an army? Nobody can command an army at that age and that is why there is confusion and corruption in the security forces.”

Mugabe is the world’s oldest president. He has been in power in this southern African country since independence from Britain in 1980 in a reign marked by terror. He faces a tough challenge from former prime minister and Movement for Democratic Change Zimbabwe leader Morgan Tsvangirai as well as his former deputy Mujuru’s Zimbabwe People First outfit that enjoys the support of rebels expelled from Zanu PF at the height of tensions over her unceremonious removal.

Mnangagwa enjoys the support of the military and intelligence services who scuppered a plan by Mugabe to remove him on fabricated coup attempt charges in 2016. Mnangagwa’s popularity has been boosted by his leadership of the ‘command farming’ programme to empower farmers resettled under the violent land reform programme also known as the ‘Third Chimurenga’.

Militias

  • A Zanu PF militiaman burns crops on an invaded farm.

It was not long before I realised I was in militia country and that the so-called command farming programme was probably a cover for Zanu PF to mobilise its troops in preparation for the next general election set for 2018. I met the local Zanu PF party youth chairman, a widely feared man who went under the name Shumba, meaning “the lion”. As we drank beer at a local bar, he told me his story.

“I used to work for the white farmer who ran this place as a foreman,” Shumba said. “When the farm invasions started, we were organised by the whites into farm militia. I was given a gun, motor-bike and a radio for communication. I used to go around the farms distributing pamphlets to the farm workers and mobilising them to resist the invasion by the war veterans.”

Shumba said the country had descended at that time into a state of war. Farm workers, many of them migrants from neighbouring countries or poverty-stricken villages, had been worked into a frenzy about the possibility of losing the only life they knew as farm labourers.

“We formed our own militia. We would be ferried in trucks to farms in other districts where we would beat up the farm invaders. We burned the shacks they had set up and where possible we chased them away,” Shumba said. “I was the local chairman of the newly formed MDC. I kept a large number of MDC T-shirts which I distributed to the farm workers. We would go and meet (MDC president) Morgan Tsvangirai and update him on what was happening on the farms.”

Trouble for Shumba and his colleagues started when the farm owners started leaving, unable to withstand the violence which had claimed about 200 lives countrywide, including five white farmers. The brutal killing of farmer David Stevens by war veterans in Macheke changed everything for the white farmers who had been holding steady in the hope that the invasions would end. Stevens was chased by militants who attacked his farm and took refuge at Macheke police station. The war veterans followed him there and shot him dead, right in front of the police. It was then that the farmers realised they were on their own and that token assurances of government protection were false.

The courts were equally powerless to prosecute the ruling party militants on the warpath. Recently, chief justice Godfrey Chidyausiku revealed that the farm occupations had divided the judiciary, rendering the courts sterile in the face of some of the worst state-sponsored murder and mayhem seen in the country since the army-led Gukurahundi genocide of the 1980s. The issue was further clouded by Chidyausiku’s open support of the farm invaders and antagonism towards fellow judges who opposed the illegal land takeovers.

Left on their own following the departure of the whites, farm workers became a prey for the Zanu PF militias. Shumba was captured and brutally tortured. He was ‘re-educated’ through brutal treatment, which included the rape of his wife by war veterans as he was forced to watch. To save himself, he joined Zanu PF and turned in his former MDC colleagues. The real test came for him during the epic political violence of 2008 which followed inconclusive elections in which Tsvangirai had won the first round.

“We were ordered to round up MDC supporters and lock them up in this tobacco barn,” Shumba says, showing me a large room normally used for storing tobacco. “We tortured the MDC people and some of them died. We would then put rocks in sacks, tie them to the bodies and throw them into the river so they would not float.”

Tensions remain high on the farms. I was surprised to discover that there were deep divisions among Zanu PF supporters who occupied the farms. Many of the occupants are disgruntled that the government has failed to assist them with inputs and that there is corruption in the distribution of the few resources available. In fact, there is anger that senior party and government officials who seized the best land and equipment from the whites have failed to make an impact.

In hushed tones they talk bad about Mugabe and some secretly hope that he will defeated at the next election, not by Joice Mujuru but by Morgan Tsvangirai.

“Do you know that Tsvangirai won the 2008 elections in this area?” said a dreadlocked militiaman spotting an old Mugabe campaign T-shirt tells me in a confidential voice, wary that he might be overheard and killed by his fellow party supporters. “Tsvangirai won that election but we rigged him. We beat up his supporters and they fled. Next year, I will not beat anyone for Mugabe because he forgot us. We thought we could work for the war veterans but they have treated us worse than the whites.”

A visit to a number of farms confirms the militiaman’s story of abuse by the ‘chefs’. Most of the farm workers I interviewed said they were underpaid or not paid at all. They were not given food, health services and decent accommodation as required by labour laws. Most of the buildings on the farms have fallen into disrepair. To cap it all, many of the workers are subjected to regular beatings.

“I don’t blame the whites for beating up workers. Some of these people are very lazy,” Ziguru said.

It is evident that the failure of the land reform programme is because of the government’s failure to plan for the workers.

Shumba told me that the gains that farm workers had made in terms of welfare have now been lost.

“Through the ZCTU, we had negotiated good conditions for the workers,” said Shumba, who works for Ziguru as a tractor driver. “We were paid on time and given proper food and housing. Our health and safety needs were taken care of. Farm health workers were sent for training and if anyone was ill they would get sick leave. All this is gone,” Shumba said.

Command Failure 

Eventually, Ziguru’s inputs came but they were only a fraction of what was agreed under what is officially known as the ‘Zimbabwe Programme for Import Substitution through Maize Production’. The maize seed was the wrong type, more suited to farmers with irrigation facilities. Of the 20 tonnes of fertiliser promised under the contract, only one tonne had been supplied by mid-January. Although the new farmer had received 3 000 litres of diesel, the tractor he seized from a departing white farmer was old and kept breaking down, costing him time and money and consuming more than the 40 litres per hectare allocated by the government.

It is not hard to see why the land reform programme and the command agriculture scheme is such a monumental failure. Most of the farmers could not afford to hire skilled workers and blamed the authorities for failing to factor the critical labour element into their plans. Many farmers lacked management skills for such an enterprise. Ownership disputes were rampant, with many of the new farmers saying they did not have the vital 99 year lease agreements with the state, making their stay on the land uncertain.

In fact, Zanu PF seems to prefer this situation where there is uncertainty and chaos, to keep the land occupiers dependent on the ruling party.

Many of the people who received the inputs sold them on the black market, ignoring warnings from Mnangagwa that they could be prosecuted for the offence.

The failure of the command farming project is closely linked to faction fighting within the ruling party. It was apparent that those with the right connections were getting supplies, while those without political clout were excluded from the programme.

“Grace Mugabe’s supporters in the government are sabotaging this programme. They want it to fail so that they can blame Mnangagwa,” said Ziguru. “It’s all about succession politics. If the programme succeeds, Mnangagwa will be a hero and Grace Mugabe doesn’t want that.”

© Now Daily 2017. All Rights Reserved.

 

I Don’t Have Boyfriends Says Joice Mujuru

Image result for joice mujuru

Now Daily

Ex-vice president Joice Mujuru says she does not have boyfriends, contrary to popular claims by president Robert Mugabe and his wife Grace Mugabe that she had sex with several men while in office.

Officials in Mugabe’s office claimed that Mujuru, leader of the upstart Zimbabwe People First party had gone out with several men before and after her husband General Solomon Mujuru died in a mystery fire that gutted his farmhouse in 2011. Among the alleged lovers named by Zanu PF officials is Movement for Democratic Change-Tsvangirai leader Morgan Tsvangirai and businessman James Makamba, a relative of Gen Mujuru.

Mujuru told an interviewer recently that the ‘rumours’ were started by Mugabe and his wife as they tried to incite Zanu PF youths to turn against her after she emerged as the leading candidate to succeed the ailing dictator.

“Mugabe and his wife told the youths that Mai Mujuru is a witch, thief, is inept and of loose morals. I have no boyfriend. I don’t know where they got that from. Mugabe thought since I had no husband I’d have a man (boyfriend). What would I need one for? I had a husband and that’s enough,” Mujuru said.

The ZPF leader defended herself for not responding to the allegations soon after they were made in 2014 prior to her sacking.

“Knowing that Mugabe was lying I kept quiet,” Mujuru said.

Mujuru, a war veteran, was touted as one of the ailing dictator’s potential successors but her career in Zanu PF was ended prematurely, with Mugabe accusing her of plotting to assassinate him using the military and ‘juju’. Mujuru left Mugabe’s party with a huge entourage of senior officials.

Grace Mugabe claimed to have a sex video of Joice Mujuru “in a miniskirt” with her late husband, confirming widespread fears that Mugabe had put his officials under intrusive video surveillance, including in bedrooms.

© Now Daily 2017. All Rights Reserved.

Zimbabwe Brides for Sale in UK

Image result for ZIMBABWEAN prostitues in uk

By HARRIET FISHER

Now Daily Investigation

www.zimnowmedia.wordpress.com

To her in-laws in Zimbabwe, Edith is working as a secretary in UK. She has been gone since 2011 and has only managed to return home once, citing the tough visa conditions for official refugees in Britain.

She went to UK under an arranged ‘marriage’ to a Nigerian man. The ‘marriage’ has come to haunt her, like the thousands of other women lured from Zimbabwe through this human trafficking scam.

Officially, the British system is full proof and sex slavery of this magnitude cannot happen. But as our investigation found and an official United States government report corroborated, there is a virtual bazaar of Zimbabwean women in the UK, involving criminals, churches, educational institutions and some very respectable members of society.

While home affairs minister Ignatius Chombo was telling parliament last week that the government was cracking down on criminals luring locals into slavery abroad through false offers of educational opportunities and jobs abroad, investigations revealed that thousands of Zimbabwean women are trapped in conditions of virtual sex slavery have been sold to be ‘wives’ of people they hardly knew. One cocky website offered, ‘Zimbabwe Brides for Sale’.

The deal was arranged for Edith by a bogus firm of immigration lawyers involving her sister, who had been staying in the UK with her husband for several years and paid $2 000 for it to go through. Getting the Nigerian man to understand her story was easy but afterwards she realised her own sister had sold her to a ring of notoriously brutal west African human traffickers and smugglers who would make her life difficult to the point of contemplating suicide.

“I told the man that I had just broken up with my husband and I was having problems looking after my child. He was quite understanding at first and promised to take care of me if I joined him in London. He said my child would follow,” said Edith in an interview at a small London apartment she is now renting after leaving the gangsters in a daring escape aided by a religious charity.

Sophisticated

The syndicate that lured Edith to London has plush offices at the upmarket Karigamombe Centre. When we visited them, the Zimbabwean man manning the reception and speaking with a theatrical south London accent insisted that they assisted people with pending immigration issues and those who had been deported illegally or were facing removal from UK. He showed me a list of respectable attorneys and European immigration agents available to help those in imminent danger of being sent home. For a monthly fee of $100, anyone could become a member of the scheme, said the man inviting me to join. The benefit, he said, was that members could also borrow from the fund amounts of up to $10 000 at a time.

It was apparent to me that an illegal money-lending scheme was in operation here. But it was not until I talked to Edith that I got to know that at least six women are sent to the UK from this every week under various disguises. The women are sent to UK on educational ‘scholarships’, to attend religious and cultural festivals or to visit spouses and relatives. The majority never return to Zimbabwe, having become entangled in an intricate web of international modern day slavery otherwise known as human trafficking.

Edith however said the operation was much more sophisticated than it appeared and equated a dating club with the added benefits of relocation to the UK as an incentive. After paying the $100 deposit, she was introduced to Hakeem, a 63 year old Nigerian Muslim who claimed to be in Harare to find the woman of his dreams.

“Hakeem told me that he wanted to find a bride in Harare because he believed that Zimbabwean women were honest, hardworking and witty. I was taken by that. We married after two weeks, I got a name change and a new passport almost immediately. Everything was being handled by Hakeem and his friends, who appeared to be very well-connected to people in the Zimbabwe government because they had a lot of money,” Edith said.

When she got to London, everything changed. Hakeem disappeared for weeks and the life of bliss she had been promised managing his ‘business empire’ never materialised.

“I had no money, so I went to Hakeem’s friends. I was asked to work in a restaurant but they said I was too short to work at the bar. I became a waitress and a dancer. Sometimes I was told to work in a swimsuit and attend to the sexual needs of the customers, to ‘keep them happy’. When Hakeem found this out he beat me so hard I lost my front teeth. He said I had disgraced him, so he threw me onto the street with nothing,” Edith said.

She moved in with a British man who saw her crying on the street. However, he also took advantage of her desperation and made her pregnant. She now has a daughter with him.

© Now Daily 2017. All Rights Reserved.

Trump Set to Punish Mugabe

By JOHN CHIMUNHU

Now Daily Special Report

http://www.zimnowmedia.wordpress.com

United States president Donald Trump is expected to impose tougher sanctions on Zimbabwean leader Robert Mugabe and hundreds of his top henchmen and women, including military generals, when he signs an executive order targeting the dictator this month, high-level sources told Now Daily.

The harsher penalties will be part of efforts to force Mugabe to leave office after a 37 year reign of terror in which millions have been murdered by state agents, driven into poverty or forced to flee the country.  The measures are meant to pave way for democracy in the southern African country wracked by targeted political killings, corruption and state-sponsored lawlessness. Described by former president George W. Bush as an “outpost of tyranny”, alongside North Korea, Burma, Vietnam and Belarus, Zimbabwe is teetering on the brink of economic collapse and civil war.

An executive order targeting Mugabe has been signed each February by successive US presidents since 2001 when Bush banned the despot from travelling to the United States, buying weapons, doing business with Americans or owning property there. However, the measures have not gone far enough to remove Mugabe, who has become more brutal against domestic critics since they were introduced, analysts say.

Trump declared during his election campaign in 2016 that he would use his powers if elected US president to take action on African dictators including Mugabe, Yoweri Museveni of Uganda as well as Angola’s Eduardo dos Santos and Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo of Equatorial Guinea. Dos Santos, the longest-serving reigning head of state in the world has announced that he will be leaving office in August 2017 after 38 years at the helm.

“Zimbabweans must take President Trump seriously and literally on this. Mugabe is a sore point on the world’s conscience and should go,” a senior US administration official told Now Daily.

Trump’s statement has emboldened Zimbabwe’s fragmented pro-democracy movement, battered by nearly four decades of Mugabe terror marked by political murder, corruption and misrule. Activists are calling for tougher diplomatic and economic sanctions by the United States, which provides the largest number of foreign tourists visiting Zimbabwe. Most of the wildlife sanctuaries popular with rich American tourists, including Malilangwe which was visited by Bill Gates in 2013, have been taken over by Mugabe’s wife Grace Mugabe and senior regime figures.

“We expect that President Trump will sign the order extending sanctions on dictator Mugabe, his sympathisers and the state enterprises that he uses to spirit money out of the country and buy weapons to terrorize the population,” said activist group Consumer Action, which is campaigning for a ban on trophy hunting in Zimbabwe by Americans to deprive the regime of revenue. “We implore Mr Trump to fulfil his election promises. Time has come for Washington to show its muscle and close the loopholes that Mugabe has used to loot US aid and hide money stolen from the Zimbabwean treasury abroad. We also urge Mr Trump to impose a ban on American hunters visiting Zimbabwe and demand prosecution for previous offenders and violators of United States sanctions.”

Blacklist

Mugabe is on the US blacklist since 2001 and is banned from travelling to the United States but still goes shopping in New York with his shopaholic wife Grace Mugabe during the annual United Nations general assembly. He is also officially banned from doing business with Americans, although the dictator has found a way around this by going through rogue intermediaries and sanctions busters. A senior US government official was jailed after receiving millions of dollars in bribes to lobby former president Barack Obama on behalf of Mugabe.

Mugabe was first sanctioned by George W. Bush in 2001 as punishment for a campaign of violence, election rigging and lawlessness that accompanied racially-inspired seizure of white-owned properties by Zanu PF militias.

However, Mugabe got welcome relief when Barack Obama came to power in 2008 and softened Washington’s stance on Harare on the “wrong” advice of discredited opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai, who had formed an ill-fated coalition government with the dictator. Obama extended $1 billion in ‘humanitarian assistance’ to Mugabe in 2009 and allowed the country to use the United States dollar as its functional currency following the collapse of the Zimdollar due to hyperinflation. Much of the aid was stolen by Mugabe supporters. Diplomats who raised questions were threatened. A court case against Zanu PF militants who looted a warehouse of US government relief food was abandoned.

American foreign policy on Zimbabwe is confusing, however, experts say. While Washington mandarins are making all the right noises, diplomats on the ground have no qualms about dishing out American taxpayers’ funds to Mugabe through corrupt United Nations agencies, bogus opposition movements, liberal European partners, local NGOs connected to the regime and business fronts acting as suppliers of goods and services.

American humanitarian aid is distributed along party lines to regime agents and members of the ruling Zanu PF party while the diplomats turn a blind eye to safeguard their own positions. Mugabe is known to target individual officers, accusing zealous ones of being Central Intelligence Agency spies and exposing them to danger. Vocal former ambassador James McGee was arrested in a park by junior police officers after Mugabe accused him of spying, triggering a diplomatic standoff. Others choose to keep a low profile, endorsing government programmes and funding them from state coffers.

In 2000, US senator Jesse Helms introduced a motion which led to passage of the Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act, which was said by its promoters to offer a “carrot and stick” for democratic governance. The stick, in the form of targeted sanctions is considered a flop as Mugabe moved his money to Asia and strengthened ties with the Chinese Red Army and Russia to obtain weapons to terrorize the population. The carrot, in the form of assistance for regime opponents under attack has been hijacked by militants loyal to the despot.

For example, media NGOs entrusted with funds to bail out journalists facing danger have been taken over by characters with strong secret ties to the regime. The Voice of America introduced special broadcasts to Zimbabwe but these have not been effective as some of the key staffers are known members of Mugabe’s private army, the Central Intelligence Organization as well as operatives and informants from Mugabe’s propaganda outfits, the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation and New Ziana news agency. Besides, many democrats were sceptical and thought there was a trap when the people who were spewing propaganda for Mugabe suddenly turned up in Washington claiming to be champions of freedom and democracy.

A major stumbling block is seen as the absence of truly democratic leaders in the main opposition parties. The Movement for Democratic Change, founded amid much promise as a coalition of trade unions, churches, student unions and the poor has split into several parties. Founding MDC secretary-general Welshman Ncube publicly stated that Tsvangirai, a former Zanu PF chairman was a CIO mole. Tsvangirai has refused to leave the helm of the opposition party despite being trounced by Mugabe several times in elections that were neither free nor fair. Former United States ambassador Tom Mcdonald said Tsvangirai, a former mine labourer with little formal education, was not a democrat and would need close “hand-holding”, like Poland’s Lech Walesa, if he came to power.

Tsvangirai, a perennial flip flopper, has alienated many MDC coalition partners through sex and corruption scandals and open ties with Mugabe. He married the daughter of a top Zanu PF official who is reputed to be a CIO operative planted to destroy the opposition. He also received a multi-million dollar state mansion as a reward for his work for Mugabe, MDC members say. Zanu PF politburo member Saviour Kasukuwere said Tsvangirai was still working for Mugabe and was a Zanu PF ‘political commissar’. This was after the opposition leader expelled 21 MDC MPs from parliament in 2015, allowing Mugabe’s party to get an outright majority.

Some American strategists are looking inside Zanu PF for anyone who can depose Mugabe. Emmerson Mnangagwa, the vice president is said to be a favourite with the Americans because of his liberal views on trade and diplomacy but this has brought him into conflict with his boss, who now accuses him of ‘selling out’. Mnangagwa, a lawyer who has the support of key military generals and the intelligence services however carries the deadweight of the 1980s murders of 50 000 Ndebeles and moderate Shonas opposed to Mugabe while he was state security minister during an army operation described as ‘genocide’ by human rights groups. The Americans are also accused of funding Joice Mujuru, a war veteran who was recently sacked as Mugabe’s deputy and has now formed an opposition party, Zimbabwe People First.

Ford Rangers Militias

Whether or not the US sanctions against Mugabe have worked is a matter for conjecture. In fact, it depends on who you are listening to. Mugabe, who called George W. Bush “evil”, regularly lectures his subjects in long, rumbling Fidel Castro-type speeches dismissing the sanctions as a failed neo-colonialist plot. Many of his brainwashed followers think he is right because the sanctions have failed to bring down the government in the last 16 years.

Mugabe says he has no need to travel to the United States. He can still shop for American luxury goods in Dubai and Singapore, where he has a holiday palace and gets specialist medical treatment following the collapse of health services in Zimbabwe due to corruption and mismanagement. His eldest son, Robert Mugabe Junior, who has tattooed teeth, dresses like a rap star and avidly follows NBA basketball on satellite television, attends the American University in Dubai, mixing with children of US diplomats.

Mugabe’s massive financial empire, estimated to run into billions of dollars, is managed by shady characters like Sam Pa, a notorious former Chinese Red Army officer and dealer with offices on Wall Street in New York, and Jimmy Zerenie, a Singaporean lawyer who helped the dictator offload ‘blood diamonds’ worth billions of dollars onto the international market. Both men were slapped with US sanctions only in 2016, after years of secretly channelling billions of dollars to Mugabe through their connections in the global financial system.

The favourite truck for use by Mugabe’s murderous militias and the CIO is the Ford Ranger and there is an endless supply of the latest models through South Africa. The militants keep large amounts of US dollars authorised for use in the country by Obama, and their kids speak with American accents.

However, the apparent failure of US sanctions to deliver instant results has led many Zimbabweans to lose interest in politics and those with the means are simply leaving the country. To be fair, the sanctions have weakened Mugabe and created deep divisions within Zanu PF and the military, setting the stage for more rebellion among the population. Former broadcasting minister Jonathan Moyo told a secret meeting of state media editors in 2004 that while the regime’s top brass could still get American luxury goods from Dubai and buy weapons from China, their greatest problem was getting a good education for their children.

“Who would want to send their child to school in China? What would they learn there?” said Moyo, who recently sent a group of Zimbabwean students to Silicon Valley for a tour of technology firms including Google and Facebook, favourites among local anti-Mugabe activists.

In the circumstances, Mugabe was forced to send his eldest daughter Bona to university in Hong Kong, considered to be an embarrassment for the dictator who previously boasted about his strong Western ties.

Global Politics

Zimbabwe is not very important to the US, both for trade or military purposes. It is a small landlocked country of 15 million, whose business deals with America don’t amount to much. Mobil won a tender to mine oil in the northern Kariba basin but extraction has not happened for two decades not only because the deposits are small and uneconomic but especially because of Mugabe’s anti-American politics. The Rex Tillerson, Trump’s new secretary of state was a senior Mobil executive when the firm won the Zimbabwe oil mining tender. He is familiar with southern Africa’s geo-politics, though from an oilman’s point of view. But who knows, he might take more than a passing interest in the activities of a man described by the US’s Foreign Policy magazine as the world’s second most brutal dictator after the late Kim Jong Il of North Korea, whose troops trained Zimbabwe’s genocidal 5th Brigade which massacred 50 000.

The country also has massive deposits of diamonds but these still get to America, the world’s largest market for the gemstones even though contracts to mine them are in the hands of Russians and the Chinese Red Army. Plans to mine uranium are stalled because the regime has prevaricated between selling the concessions to Iran or Venezuela under Hugo Chavez, both enemies of the USA.

However, Mugabe has carved his own diplomatic niche by playing the big global powers against each other.

In the 1980s, at the height of communism, Mugabe made friends with the Soviet Union, obtaining Russian tanks and other military hardware in abundance from Moscow and its allies, including Romania, Yugoslavia, Czechoslovakia, Bulgaria, East Germany, Cuba and Poland. But Mugabe was always a double agent. While he was publicly aligning himself with the eastern bloc, he was also secretly dealing with the West and was knighted by the British queen Elizabeth II in 1986 on the advice of conservative prime minister John Major. Mugabe was hoodwinking his anti-capitalist Zanu PF colleagues while building a secret personal army, the CIO, with the training assistance of Western intelligence services including the CIA, the UK’s MI5, West Germany’s BND, BOSS of apartheid-era South Africa and the Israeli Mossad.

After the fall of communism, Mugabe turned decisively to China, another of Washington’s rivals. The departure of the British military trainers after the dictator’s human rights abuses escalated paved the way for the Chinese Red Army, which is now in charge of training and supplying the Zimbabwean army.

Mugabe has also gone out of his way to befriend and get economic benefits out of each of America’s enemies, including Iran, North Korea, Libya under Kaddafi and Belarus. These partnerships have cushioned him personally and given him access to weapons, technology and possible safe havens if he gets out of power. However, without loans from the US and the multi-lateral institutions that it controls such as the IMF and World Bank, the Zimbabwean economy has sunk to disastrous levels, rendering Zimbabweans among the poorest people in the world.

Even within Zanu PF, they are secretly yearning for a leader who can talk to America and open new lines of friendship to rescue the ailing economy. For that reason, many of Mugabe’s closest aides, including army officers are secretly meeting with US diplomats, selling the dictator’s darkest secrets at the risk of being expelled from both party and government or being killed if they are ever found out.

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Mossad Linked to Mujuru Death

Now Daily

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  • General Solomon Mujuru and wife Joice (obscurred).

The late Zimbabwe army commander General Solomon Mujuru was killed by assassins linked to the Israeli spy agency Mossad in a hit sponsored by senior ruling Zanu PF officials, intelligence sources have revealed exclusively to Now Daily.

The sources disputed the popular version peddled by some state-linked media that Mujuru was killed by Israeli agents in revenge for the death of a member of the Jewish Farquharson family, which operated the River Ranch Diamond Mine in Beitbridge from 1975 but was later driven out at gunpoint by the general.

“If Mujuru had not been killed, Mugabe would be dead by now,” said a security source within the ruling party.

Mujuru had repeatedly called on Mugabe (93) to step down and hand over power to a younger party member, preferably his wife Joice Mujuru, who was vice president, or former finance minister Simba Makoni, who later formed the Mavambo Dawn Kusile opposition party.

Mujuru was found dead in a mystery fire at his Beatrice farm in 2011. His widow accused Zanu PF of being behind the assassination but did not name anyone.

Meanwhile, retired army colonel Richard Sauta has disputed claims that he was linked to Mujuru’s death. In an exclusive statement to Now Daily, Col. Sauta said he was in Kenya at the time of the general’s death and had nothing to do with it.

Mujuru died after telling Mugabe to retire on health grounds.

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