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A South African blog with an international flavour

Posts Tagged ‘robert mugabe

The new political thought in Africa – Indigenization

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To “indigenize” means to force local cultures to adopt another. Most changes in original culture occur when western corporations impose their products on other economies i.e. Westernization

In world politics, Indigenization is the process in which non-Western cultures redefine their belief systems and impose their religions, culture and take ownership of  native land.

Due to imperialism and the impetus to modernize, many countries have invoked Western values of self-determination, liberalism, democracy and independence in the past.

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(Above: The War In Afghanistan is part of the bigger struggle of culture vs culture)

But now that they are experiencing their own share of economic prosperity, technological sophistication, military power and political cohesion, they desire to revert to their ancestral cultures and religious beliefs.

Since the 1980s and the 1990s, there has been a resurgence of Islam and “re-Islamization” in Muslim societies as one example. This has resulted in the chaos and invasions one sees in the Middle East at present.

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(Above: Julius Malema is an adherent of the new political thought – indigenization- in Southern Africa)

And what we are seeing in South Africa is Julius Malema, the president of the ANC Youth League preaching indigenization and gathering support from  and supporting the brothers in Southern Africa who believe the same philosophy.  He is going to Zimbabwe to study nationalization and Malema has picked the right country to start his studies.

Zimbabwe has an Indigenization Minister and The Indigenization and Empowerment Bill was passed by Parliament in 2007 and signed by Robert Mugabe in 2008. The bill demands that all foreign and locally owned companies hand over at least 51 percent ownership to black Zimbabweans. Mugabe has insisted the the economy must be taken out of the hands of white corporations and others and that  the the Bill will be enforced.

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(Above: Robert Mugabe’s election poster says it all. The Indigenization and Empowerment Bill was passed into law in March 2010.)

Will Julius Malema become South Africa’s first Minister of Indigenization? Malema seems to heading on a collision course with South African President Jacob Zuma despite being part of the cartel that propelled Zuma to the presidency. Tim will tell……….


Zimbabwe burns while the Father of the Nation goes shopping and partying

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Life is all about timing. Doing the right things at the right time and seizing the opportunity when it presents itself. Graeme Smith and his cricket team are a prime example. Smith has developed a powerful team over the past year and knew that the time to defeat the Australians had arrived.
It has been incredible just how fate has dealt Robert Mugube such good timing over the past eight years.

In 2000 Mugabe started with his program of genocide. He started with the few remaining white people who were farmers. Rhodesians, who had bought into the new country and were proudly Zimbabwean. They were producing the grain and the tobacco that had lead to Zimbabwe being able to export food to Sub Saharan Africa and sell to the international markets.


The Zimbabwean economy was thriving and the Zim dollar was stronger than the rand in the late 1980’s. Mugabe was ruling a country that could rightfully claim to be the “Breadbasket of Africa”.


The very people who were responsible for the “Breadbasket” became the innocent victims of genocide. Sure they received encouraging words from the British and the Americans when Mugabe started with land invasions in 2000. The jaw war continued well into 2001, while the Zim economy started faltering and the world was shocked at the violence with which old people were being evicted from their farms and some even murdered.


Then 9/11 happened. The airplanes being flown into skyscrapers will be the most striking images I will probably see in my lifetime. The Asian tsumani is the other major impression in my mind, of days that changed the world forever.

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(Above:  The twin towers during the 9/11 attack)


In an instance Zimbabwe was off the radar. Mugabe had won the stand off. He had been telling Blair for how long now that Zimbabwe was no longer a colony and that Mugabe quite frankly couldn’t be bothered with anything that little Bush and Blair had to say.


The world’s media became filled with images of the Twin towers, Osama Bin Laden became the most wanted man in the world and America was at War.


The War on Terror had had little impact in Southern Africa. Corruption and scandal still emerged from South Africa on a continual basis and Mugabe, after sorting out the perennial enemy, the white man, started climbing into his own people, who happened to be called the MDC. This political party became the first real opposition to the Mugabe rule.


Mugabe proceeded to ruin Zimbabwe. Foreign currency had dried up and the economy was into tailspin. A famine resulted and the Mugabe regime began to use food as a political weapon. Supported by the Chinese and to a lesser extend by Libya, Mubage kept buying weapons and oil to survive. He knew that South Africa would never ditch him, so his supply of power and access to the sea were secure.


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(Above: Robert Mugabe when he came into power in 1980)


Thabo Mbeki seemed to be bound by unwritten rules when it came to dealing with Mugabe. Mugabe always seemed to have the upper hand and Mbeki retreated into the vague policy of “quiet diplomacy” and even blocked action against Zimbabwe by the United Nations when South Africa was sitting on the UN Security Council.


Mugabe’s nose was put out of joint by the Mandela persona and he felt that Mandela had usurped his rightful position of Father of the liberation movement in Africa. Mubage has survived five US presidents since winning the independence election in 1980.


Bob was the big daddy of African leaders and he let Thabo Mbeki know that. When the world sent Mbeki in as the front man to deal with Mubage, it was like sending a Grade One pupil to tell the Headmaster how to run the school.


Mugabe simply ignored Mbeki and continued as the weapon of mass destruction in Zimbabwe.


In 2008, when the world again had time to focus on Zimbabwe, the question of land distribution was fait accompli. Nobody even mentioned the dispossessed as a stolen election and a huge cholera outbreak caused more words to emanate from America and Britian.


America described Mugabe as being out of touch with reality and the British said that Mugabe was an obstacle and that a solution was not possible with him involved.


Ears pricked up in Southern Africa. Would Zimbabweans who were scattered around in surrounding countries like South Africa and Namibia be able to return home and rebuild their country? Was Mugabe eventually being given the boot? Even Bishop Desmond Tutu said that a military invasion must be considered in removing Mugabe.


And then timing played a part again. Israel invaded the Gaza strip and the same media that made such a huge noise that 1000 people had died of cholera are now deafening silent that nearly 2000 people are dead now and many more infected.


Are Israeli, American and Palestinian lives more important than Zimbabwean lives? Robert Mugabe seems to think so. He has killed more people through the cholera outbreak than have died on both sides in the Gaza War so far and yes, the eyes of the world are fixated on the Middle East and Zimbabwe has slipped off the radar yet again.


Mugabe has survived this type of thing before. 9/11 and the loss of American lives meant that white farmers in Africa were being robbed of their land didn’t have as much meaning anymore. This time he simply informed Bush and Blair that they mustn’t think Bob was stupid. The announcement was made that Bob knew the cholera outbreak was a biological warfare assault against Zimbabwe but that he was ready to repulse a military invasion.


Mugabe understands that Little Bush is no longer relevant and that Brown will be focused on the Middle East as black Africans die in their thousands from cholera.


Mugabe has just left Zimbabwe on a month long holiday to an undisclosed overseas destination. He has told the opposition he is tired of their games and will form a new government when he comes back. Timing has once again come to the rescue of Mugabe and he has seized the moment. Zimbabwe burns while the Father of the Nation goes shopping and partying around the world.

What went wrong with Robert Mugabe

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O Zimbabwe Zimbabwe…….our hearts go out to our brothers and sisters in Zimbabwe. The Chimurenga ( Shona word for “struggle”) that Robert Mugabe has unleashed on the people of Zimbabwe had had a heavier toll on the country than anything Zimbabwe has seen in the past. Not even Ian Smith could have wrecked Zimbabwe the way Robert Mugabe has, plundering the treasury and running a country into the ground. All that is left is the rubble of the first revolution.


It was heady times in 1980 when Zimbabwe became a democracy. The winds of change were truly blowing across Africa when Robert Mugabe won the election and the breeze was definitely felt in South Africa where the last white government of an African country was huddled. A school mate of mine, Daniel De Leo wanted to hitchhike to Zimbabwe to watch Bob Marley play at the independence celebration in Zimbabwe. He didn’t get there but he did hitch to Swaziland to catch Peter Tosh live a few years later.

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(Above:  Bob Marley, the king of reggae who performed at Zimbabwe’s  independance celebrations)

Robert Mugabe seemed to be reasonable man in the early days. I mean any president who hung out with Bob Marley must be pretty cool. Could you imagine BJ Voster or PW Botha chilling with Bob in Tuinhuys? There was no backlash or revenge towards his former enemies and Zimbabwe became a success story. The Zimbabwe dollar was worth more than the rand at one stage and the country became known as the breadbasket of Africa.


So what went wrong then and why did Robert Mugabe descend upon this path of madness and genocide against his own people? He was well respected and well received around the world. Yet the signs were there in the early 1980’s but the world chose to ignore the Matebele Massacres.


From 1982 until 1985, Mugabe used his North Korean trained Fifth Brigade to crush any resistance in Matabeleland. It has been estimated that 20 000 Matabele were murdered and buried in mass graves which they were forced to dig themselves and thousands of others were allegedly tortured.


The violence ended after ZANU and ZAPU reached a unity agreement in 1988 that merged the two parties, creating ZANU-PF leaving Mugabe in a position of unquestioned power.


2000 was a watershed year for Zimbabwe. It was 20 years down the line for an independent Zimbabwe and it was time to reflect and have a look at what had been achieved during that period of post colonialism.


And then the madness started. White owned farms were repossessed and occupied by so called war veterans. The economy went into tailspin and the currency collapsed. All Mugabe would do is rant and rave that he was not scared of the Bush and Blair show and that he would still be ruling when they long gone. On that point he was certain. Mugabe has ruled for 28 years now, the longest standing president in the world. He has been in power since Jimmy Carter was president of America and speaks of Big Bush and Little Bush when referring to the US presidents.


Nobody quiet knows how many Zimbabwe refugees there are in South Africa, let alone the rest of the world. They have fled poverty, starvation, police brutality and disease as the world once again stands by and watch a country disintegrate.



The situation in Zimbabwe was foretold about 50 years ago by Frantz Fanon, whose theories about the consequences after colonialism have proved remarkably prophetic.


Fanon wrote the Wretched of the Earth in 1961, and saw what independence and nationalism was doing to post colonial Africa.


Fanon argued that the future will have no pity for those who, “possessing the exceptional privilege of being able to speak words of truth to their oppressors, have taken refuge in an attitude of passivity, of mute indifference, and of cold complicity”.


The kind of person needed in was those able to deal with its problems of grinding poverty, greed and corruption, rampant unemployment, poor nutrition, destructive sexual abuse, and so many others.


Yet many African leaders did not live up to this ideal, with Mugabe joining leaders like Idi Amin who brutalized Uganda in the 1970’s right up to the modern day war zones of Dafur, the Congo and Somalia.


Leadership failure leads to rulers and ruling parties oppressing their people. Fanon highlighted leadership failure, ranging from the activities of ruling parties to those of the heads of states. Because of their failures and lack of accountability, ruling parties and heads of states threaten the people.


Mugabe uses the police to threaten the people of Zimbabwe and has stolen an election in March 2008. His paranoid attitude towards the rest of the world and the MDC could be due to the fact that he knows that he failed to address to issues that have crippled Zimbabwe.


The army and the police constitute the pillars of the regime. The strength of the police force and the power of the army are proportionate to the decline in which the rest of the nation is sunk.


Instead of welcoming expressions of popular discontent, instead of taking the free flows of ideas from the people to the government as its fundamental purpose, the ruling party forms a screen and forbids such ideas.


When the masses raise their voice after realizing that they have made sacrifice for change and nothing has changed; the torture machine of the dysfunctional state is mobilized against them.


There are serious lessons that South Africa also needs to learn from Fanon’s words. Thabo Mbeki was removed from the position of State president by the ANC, who accused him of stifling debate within the ANC and ruling autocratically


In his book the Wretched, Fanon says: “Before independence the leader generally embodies the aspirations of the people for independence, political liberty and national dignity”. Yet soon after independence is declared the leader reveals his inner purpose, that is, to become the general president of the company of profiteers impatient for their returns who then become the new elite.”


What would happen if Mugabe was removed overnight, due to an international regime change, he died or if he were to the toppled in a palace coup?


The ruling classes, whose members supports the leader and are essentially preoccupied with the pleasures of everyday life paid for by the government, would be left in a quandary.


They would not know what to do after their leader is gone. The leader has considered himself as the father of the nation. He is unchallenged and if an attempt is made to challenge him, those involved are kidnapped or accused of treason.


Should Mugabe die or be pushed out of office, a power struggle would take place within Zanu. Whether another election would be free and fair is debatable as many within ZANU will be worried about charges being brought against them for crimes against humanity.


An international invasion of Zimbabwe has many risks and we not talking about the Zimbabwe Defence Force. The invasion of Iraq was the easy part for the Americans and so would an invasion of Zimbabwe.


There would be an occupation while elections are being put together. Strange things happen to a country when an invading force is running the show. The occupiers may decide they have a favourite and may not even want to leave.


Zimbabwe does not need to suffer more. Mugabe likes to see himself as the father of the nation. Take that respect away from him. He must be shunned and humiliated until he is gone. The military option must also be put on the table.


And as Bob Marley sang 28 years ago to the people of Zimbabwe…”Get Up…..Stand Up…..Stand up for your Rights……”

Desmond Tutu calls for Mugabe to go

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Desmond Tutu has been the spiritual voice of South Africa for a long time and has been a constant critic of the Mugabe regime since the madness began in Zimbabwe.

The” Bish” as Nobel Peace prize winner has become known, has said that armed force is an option in removing Robert Mugabe from power. He was also critical of the South African government’s actions up to now in helping to solve the problem.

 Tutu asked the question “how much more suffering is going to make us say we have given Mr. Mugabe enough time?” “I am deeply, deeply distressed that we should be found not on the side of the ones who are suffering”, added Tutu about the South African response to the Zimbabwe crisis.

 Meanwhile Mugabe has declared that he couldn’t be bothered with anything the world has to say about Zimbabwe. The 84-year-old described the latest US criticism, which followed earlier calls from President Bush for him to step down, as “the last kicks of a dying horse“.

 We obviously are not going to pay attention to a sunset administration. Zimbabwe’s fate lies in the hands of Zimbabweans,” he said, days after telling supporters that “Zimbabwe is mine.

 Mugabe also hit out at America’s top envoy to Africa Jendayi Frazer, and was quoted as describing Frazer as a “little girl” who was out of touch with reality in Zimbabwe and the rest of the world. She thinks that Africans are idiots, little kids who cannot think for themselves,”

 Once again all South Africans should take seriously what Desmond Tutu is saying about Zimbabwe. Our neighbours are suffering. There is a humanitarian crisis right on our doorstep. The time for dithering and talking has come to an end.

 Lets continue from the days when Bono from U2 urged the world on “Rattle and Hum” album …………”to support a man like Bishop Tutu in his request for economic sanctions against South Africa”…….as the people of a country have once again given up on the peacemakers from the west while they argue.

 It is clear that Archbishop Tutu is right once again. The longer Mugabe stays in power, the worse the situation will become. He has to go now. We have let down the people of Zimbabwe and we cannot rely on our government’s ability to help anymore.Let’s join Tutu’s call to the world to free Zimbabwe now.


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The next step that Robert Mugabe will take is to declare a state of emergency. And why will he do it? Well it is down to the endgame in Zimbabwe and Mugabe will cling to power just like the previous regime did in South Africa in the 1980’s. We in South Africa have been down this path before and are more fortunate that we had a president like FW de Klerk who could see what the results would be should he not relinquish power.


Mugabe made it clear that he will not step down as president of Zimbabwe at a party conference yesterday. He is quoted as saying: “”I will never, never, never, never surrender. Zimbabwe is mine, I am a Zimbabwean. Zimbabwe for Zimbabweans. Zimbabwe never for the British, Britain for the British.”


This statement makes a mockery of the power sharing talks that have been going on for months in Zimbabwe between Mugabe’s party the ZANU-PF and the MDC, who legitimately won the last general election.


South Africa’s approach of quiet diplomacy has failed the people of Zimbabwe and it is now time to act.


Mugabe has also scorned the power of any African country to invade Zimbabwe.


How could African leaders ever topple Robert Mugabe – organize an army to come? It is not easy,” he was quoted on Friday as saying at a meeting of his party’s central committee a day earlier.

I do not know of any African country that is brave enough to do that.”


The UN has estimated that over 1000 people are dead from the cholera epidemic that has scourged the country, with another 20 000 infected with the disease. Yet Mugabe has said that there is no cholera in Zimbabwe.


ZANU PF has even gone a step further and said that the cholera outbreak was biological warfare employed against Zimbabwe by the British and the Americans.


Where are your tanks and drones America? Where are your ground forces and helicopters America? The situation in Zimbabwe is much worse than Iraq, yet Saddam was toppled. Or was Iraq really all about the oil and not the people. Time will tell whether the world will free Zimbabwe or not.

Who has been the worst president: George Bush or Robert Mugabe?

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The throwing of shoes at George Bush during a press conference by an Iraqi journalist summed up the entire Bush presidency.

It was all in Bush’s response to the incident. He claimed that the majority of journalists supported him and the American people and what has been accomplished in Iraq. So what exactly has been accomplished in Iraq Mr. President?


It was heady days for Bush when Saddam was toppled and Bush claimed that the mission was accomplished, blindly unaware that the resistance in Iraq was in place and ready to fight the occupation. At the end of his presidency he seems to think America has won the war.


Bush has been out of touch with reality all along. In fact he played right into the hands of the militant Islamics who wanted to fight America in their own back garden and thereby bleed America financially.


The war in Afghanistan is getting uglier by the day as the Taliban gets stronger in the rural areas and is now attacking American supply lines with much success. Bush’s response was to launch attacks across the border in Pakistan.


A new card was thrown on the table when the Mumbai attacks occurred. The attackers have been identified as Pakistani’s which just adds to the confusion in the War on Terror. The shift in focus by the Pakistan government from trying to control the Afghanistan insurgents in Pakistan to a possible war with India has only played into the radical Islamists hands once again. Pakistan is very unstable and could collapse politically at any time.


George Bush could never foretell the consequences of his actions. He has caused much hatred for Americans and has made the western world a very dangerous place.


On the other hand Robert Mugabe has since 2000, embarked on a strategy to stay in power at all costs. Knowing that the brotherhood that exists from the days of fighting colonial rule is still strong on the African continent, he knew that nobody would lift a finger to stop him.


In Africa, when in doubt blame the white man for all your woes. This is exactly what Mugabe did when he started expropriating white owned farm land and distributing the farms to his cronies. The result has been a nation wide famine as the farms fell into neglect and crops ruined.  Zimbabwe, once the bread basket of Africa, became a basket case.


Sanctions were imposed which Mugabe then blamed for the famine and spiraling inflation that has bankrupted Zimbabwe. Two elections were held, one of which Mugabe stole and the other which he lost.


The lost election did not bother Mugabe in the least. After all, who was going to intervene? Thabo Mbeki tried quiet diplomacy which Mugabe just brushed aside. And now Zimbabwe is in the end game. A cholera outbreak, which has been described by the Mugabe regime as a biological warfare attack by America and Britain (when all else fails, blame the white man) is gripping the country. Mugabe then stated that there is no more cholera in Zimbabwe. This statement proved his government does not care about the people of Zimbabwe and cannot survive for much longer.


Who has been the worst leader for world peace? Well Mugabe has decimated a country and forced millions into starvation while Bush has created a scenario that will take decades to solve, and the financial collapse that has shaken the world and left millions without homes and jobs also happened under his watch. The honour therefore has to go to George Bush.

COPE is good for democracy but bad for the ANC

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Seconds out…..round number one…….


The first skirmish in the battle for the control of South Africa took place in the Western Cape this week as by elections were held to elect new representatives.


The ANC’s administrative woes continued as they failed to register candidates in 12 constituencies.


Independents who claim to belong to COPE, the new political party who broke away from the ANC won 6 of those seats, the DA 5 and the ID 1. COPE is still busy registering as a political party and could not therefore field candidates.


However the first real sign of the battle the ANC will have to face in next years general election, took place in the 15 wards where the ANC did field candidates.


All 15 of these wards belonged to the ANC before the by election.


The results: The ANC won 3 seats, COPE 4 seats, the ID 4 seats and the DA 4.

If all the votes in these 15 wards are added up, the ANC received 32 % and COPE 27 %. The ID gained 20 % and the DA 18 %.


It is way to early to tell whether this will mean a major reduction of support for the ANC in the 2009 general election but one thing is for sure……the winds of change are blowing over South Africa once again.


Questions that must be asked is whether the ANC and their partners are mature enough to deal with the challenge in a dignified manner, or will old style African politics be employed with intimidation and violence the order of the day?


The conclusion that can to be drawn from the results is that COPE is bad for the ANC but good for democracy in South Africa. Absolute power is known to corrupt absolutely. We just need to glance north to Zimbabwe to see what absolute power did to Robert Mugabe.


More information about the by election can be found at: