Monday, December 29, 2008

Operation shut them up

I sometimes write on Blogger NewsNet, and posted a couple essays on Zimbabwe in the last few days:

Operation shut them up
...according to the Zimbabwe Times, the chief of the “law and order” section of the police department, with help from the military and the Central Intelligence Organization, is behind the kidnapping and intimidation of political activists and journalists. The operation even has a name: Operation Chimumumu (Shona for a dumb person, i.e. one who is unable to speak).

Jestina Mukoko, an ex newslady who runs the Zimbabwe Peace Commission, was kidnapped on December 4th when a dozen armed men appeared at her residence.Her only “crime” was to document human rights abuses during the elections.

Since then, many voices have been petitioning the government for her release, along with others who have been similarly kidnapped.

Just before Christmas, JudgeYunus Omarjee ordered the police to release Mukoro and 32 other activists and take her and 8 others whose lawyers alleged that they were tortured to be taken to the local hospital for evaluation and treatment.

The government however has refused to obey the court, instead taking Mukoro and 8 others, including a two year old baby, to a maximum security prison...

The high profile arrests might be the tip of the iceberg. One wonders how many ordinary people are intimidated or threatened, without any reports of what has happened.

Zimbawean activist Reverend Hove, who now lives in South Africa, reports that his family’s home has been firebombed, luckily those inside managed to escape without injury. However, the police response to the assault was a clue that this was not an isolated incident:

They called the Police and all the Police asked was, “Is there anyone who does Opposition Politics here?” When told “Yes” they said “That could be why” and left!

Things are so bad that even Nobel Prize winner Archbishop Desmon Tutu has suggested that the international community use threats of force to oust Mugabe.


Mugabe smuggling arms via the DRC

While the world is busy shipping in vital supplies including food and medicine to help the people of Zimbabwe, the UN reports that President Mugabe, who allowed the Harare area water system deteriorate because they “couldn’t afford” supplies, nevertheless managed to buy guns and other military weapons from China, smuggling them in from his friends in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. This is despite an embargo forbidding shipments of arms to that country.

The reason for this deception is that an earlier shipment in April was discovered and diverted after South African Trade Union workers refused to unload the shipment. It eventually was reported to have been offloaded in Angola and flown to Harare.

In this case, the arms were sent to the DRC and flown to Harare......


Zimbabwe situation deteriorating

The good news in Zimbabwe: The rains have at last started. It’s a bit late to save the first planting, but at least in the north, December rains will allow people to do a second planting to get a crop.

The bad news? The rains will probably worsen the Cholera epidemic which has killed at least a thousand people, and probably more, since I suspect many rural people will die at home and not be included in the count.

The news keeps getting worse.

South Africa, with the aid of Russia, has blocked any attempt by the UN to alleviate the situation....

But at least Russia has an excuse: They are making mischief against the west. What is South Africa’s excuse? By blocking UN intervention, they are condemning not only Zimbabwe but much of South Africa to more refugees, bringing with them cholera…and there is an election coming up....

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