Eyewitness
'Freedom is so close I can almost taste it'
04 April 2008

'Hope' is a blogger in Zimbabwe, who is writing for Sky News as President Robert Mugabe clings to power.

350zimbabweharareeyewit

I’ve been mulling over Mugabe’s options with regards a looming ‘run-off’ election. I’d be interested to know what other people think.

What are Mugabe’s options realistically?

1. Go through the run-off against Tsvangirai and unleash violence on the people and rig the result to the last paper in the box.

I am hoping he is too arrogant to do this (as my UK friend seems convinced of now), but what if he does do this? We just need to prepare and stay calm and keep our eye on the ball. What’s different now is he has to go through a run-off in the face of a nation that already knows he is a loser and in a weak position. He also has to do it with the world staring at him like he’s an insect under a microscope.

2. Avoid the run-off and retire. I hope so, but this will involve losing face so it’s a hard one for me to imagine him doing as much as I would like too.

3. Try to bluff it out and declare himself the outright winner and refuse a run-off. This is very Mugabe-esque to me, but he has to deal with the uncertainty of how the world and the people will react. It isn’t that I think he cares about what anyone thinks - he doesn’t - its more that I’m not sure how he can ever begin to hope to solve the crisis facing him with hyper-inflation etc, if the world thinks he has stolen the election.

He needs legitimacy to get the help and investment he needs. At the end of the day, its the economy that’s his biggest enemy, not the opposition.

4. The final option is the talk, the fear that everyone has been expressing tonight with the latest news - of him avoiding a run-off by imposing military rule. Maybe, but this must be kept in perspective.

At this precise moment in time Zimbabwe is incredibly calm. The air is thick with expectation, but the people are quietly, peacefully, patiently waiting. The one thing Mugabe’s government has taught us how to do very well is ‘wait’. We queue for everything. So we can wait.

To me, to suddenly declare a military takeover in this climate of calmness would be impossible for him to justify to the region or to the world, or even to the Zimbabwean people. There is no instability. We are not trashing shops, looting property, or hurling stones at the police. We had elections and he lost; its called democracy (although our version is a bastardised version of democracy) and it happens in lots of countries around the world. It isn’t an argument for military control.

So maybe he needs to poke us a bit and make us frightened and force a reaction to create the necessary conditions. Maybe that’s what the raids on a hotel are about? Especially a hotel where journalists were staying? And why not arrest a couple of journalists too to make damn sure the media don’t miss the actions. He can certainly rely on them to ramp up the drama and drum home the fear.

I am determined to not let Mugabe scare me. I plan to try to consciously hold my nerve in the face of his horrible bullying of our nation - and God knows it probably will be a rough ride and cruel. (What do we expect? This is Mugabe we’re talking about!)

But we all have important work to do and we can’t afford the distractions that fear brings to the table.

Freedom is so close I can almost taste it.

:: Find out more about Sokwanele, the Zimbabwe Civic Action Support Group, by clicking here

Written by Eyewitness, 04 April 2008

Comments

Mugabe is responsible for the breaking up of families who are now spread all over the world. At pensionable age we had to leave as our state pension, along with everybody else's has been stolen by the state, our retirement pension, eroded by inflation, is not even worth £5. When I should be mixing with my children and grandchildren and extended family I've lost that. Mugabe has a lot to account for, not the least is the torture and maiming of people and loss of life throughout his rule. Are the people of Zimbabwe going to make Mugabe accountable when he is out of office or will some African state give him refuge, notably his stooge Mbeki.


How I feel for my fellow Zimbabweans back home. There was such a feeling of hope and optimism just before and after the voting process and people were so hoping for a shot at real democracy- there seemed to be light at the end of the tunnel.It seems it is not to be- where else in the world do people turn out in their masses to vote and then...... nothing,just uncertainty, lies and a seriously flawed electoral process where the ruling party know the results before anyone else and this uncertainty is to carry on how much longer- for weeks, months on end?

Incidentally- flying over this beautiful country reveals fallow fields, abandoned commercial holdings, what was once lush productive farmland is now riddled with erosion with a few subsistence 'farmers' scratching out a living. Dont you think restoring the "breadbasket of Africa" to full commercial farming capacity would not only help to solve the current financial meltdown but also go some way to addressing the current world food shortage?


The divorce wrangling of Mugabe's nephew or son(?) (Theo Mugabe)and his wife of twenty years will give you some interesting insight into who benefitted from land grabs and how they lie about who owns what.


Why is there at this time, rumours of a ship with Chinese weapons in Durban Harbour and Chinese soldiers patrolling in Mutare?

This issue will not be settled soon if that is true.


The problem is that you are applying the thinking of a Westernised Democracy to Mugabe and clearly Zimbabwe is no such thing (as with the rest of Africa).The African way is "One vote,One man, One time" and you have Zanu PF for life whether you want Mugabe or not.The same applies to South Africa who have the ANC for life and you need to appreciate that both these Parties are grounded in Communism so they will never relinquish power peacefully.Mbeki has supported Mugabe continuously and whilst the ANC may make noises in Public they will continue to support him.There are News reports in South Africa today of a massive shipment of Arms arriving at Durban Harbour from China and en route to Zimbabwe. As I write some of the Media are trying to get to the bottom of it but if it is true (and I suspect it is) then you have every indication of Mugabe's next step and who is supporting him.


No African country will help Zimbabwe because using the open hand policy of Africa,there's nothing in it for them....so they can live with it or go and buy a AK47 for $6 or two chickens,or just steal some from their protectors and re elect Mugabe to the afterlife...but be warned,there's no point in just getting rid of him,you have to take the whole top tier with him,because they will not want to give up their perks without a fight...its going to be very messy...typical Africa when you look at it like that.


"I am an African", This was meant to be Mbeki's defining speech when he became president of South Africa.

Well Mr. President how is it you are turning your back on Africans in Zimababwe? How is it you say there is no crisis in Zimbabwe?
Where is your nepad peer review on Zimbabwe?

Never again tell us of your belief in democracy, your belief in Africa, your belief in African solutions for African problems.Your belief in ubuntu.
Your quiet dipolmacy is a farce, it has acheived nothing.
It is now so obvious that your words have been lies, the people are seriously asking just what exactly your motive is in all of this.

People said Tony Blair was George Bush's poodle. He was and eventually it cost him his job, his legacy, and his 10 years in power will not be remembered well.

We now see that Mugabe sends you on little errands for him, to SADEC, and other bodies,are you his poodle? are you his messenger boy?

I too am an African, you have shamed me and my country South Africa, please stop acting in our name. Because as you have already discovered, your time is nearly up, go and join Mr. Mugabe in retirement, and you can compare your respective legacies to that of the GREAT African leaders. Nelson Mandela,Desmond Tutu,Seretse Karma, Steve Biko,Robert Sobukwe, to mention a few. Men of inegrity, men whose word meant something.
You shame us
You shame them
You shame Africa


If hyperinflation of 250 000%, no agriculture, no industry, no manufacturing, no power and no hope does not constitute a crisis then I would be very worried if I was a South African with Mbeki at the helm.


Zimbabweans I apologise to you all for the nothing that our government has done for you. When they needed your help during their struggle you were there for them. May your time come soon when you will be free of the fear and misery that your current president has brought upon you. Stick to your "guns" your time WILL come


Mugabe is a highly intelligent man, all Zimbabweans, MDC or Zanu PF, know he has a plan. This plan is so sophisticated that when the results are announced, whichever way they go, but most likely in favour of himself, we are all going to be left feeling numb. How do we know Tsvangirai is not a worse Mugabe? We don't. All we know is that it's time for new governance! Zimbabweans are not violent by nature, and we do not want to resort to that. Mugabe must do the right thing and accept what the people really want...Democracy!!


On The History Channel yesterday, there was a programme called The British Empire in Colour. And it showed what Zimbabwe, or Rhodesia, as it was called then, was like. And it was pretty nasty. Zimbabweans were treated as second-class citizens in their own country. And the Army behaved pretty nasty, towards Zimbabweans. But Zimbabwe was incredibly lush. And it also showed Robert Mugabe, at the independence ceramony, saying, "we`ll never be like the Whites!" and-"We`ll never be a colony again!" So he talked like a madman, even then. It also showed what the land was like when it was under British rule, and under Mugabe. And there`s a lot of diference! It`s no wonder Zimbabwe was once called The Breadbacket of Africa! People should watch this programme, which is repeated on Monday, then Africans will realize what a evil, self centered Mugabe is, and that Africans are mad, to believe that Mugabe is a hero!


I can just imagine how much wealth Mugabe's cronies have amassed!! But every dog has his day! In the end they will hang just like Saddam and his cronies.

It is time for Morgan to take off his gloves, remember Morgan the world will not get involved till the first blood is drawn! That is how it is, you have the world's attention now, don't let it fade.

Every dictator and his cronies in the past have been brought to book. The MDC has nothing to lose, but the Majors and his ministers, Reserve bank governor, to see how they leave the mansions, the cars the servants,t hey have no morals, just sheer greed, it is pay back time now.

People of ZIMBABWE you can no longer allow a handful of cronies dictate and decide when & how long they stay in power!


Mugabe and his military and police henchmen cannot be given a free ticket out - they have much to answer for. The torture and murder they perpetuated is one thing but their manipulation of the economy, interest rates and currency rates that enabled them to cleverly rob the savings base of the country effectively stealing from pensioners and the whole population reducing them to poorper's has destroyed the lives of millions of Zimbabweans , white black and other - So called Black business people who aligned themselves to Zanu PF and profiteered and took over or stole farms, companies and businesses by intimidating owners and then borrowing funds from the Reserve Bank at 20 % interest rates in 100 000 % inflation and then paying back a fraction in real US$ terms due to enormous orchestrated Z$ currency devaluation's also need to be stripped of these assets. The new Government needs to nationalise all these industries, companies, houses and assets and then float them on the stock exchange and then take the funds raised and use them to recapitalise the pension funds and rebuild the farming and industrial sectors of Zimbabwe. Mugabe and all the Black and few white elite who have profiteered through the Mugabe regime at the expense of everyone else cannot be allowed to retain their ill gotten wealth they must account and be stripped of their privilege. Change would never have come to Zimbabwe without Morgan and the MDC supporters, they have sacrificed enormously for all of us there are many heroes from this new Zimbabwe Cold War era from 1999 to now. If Morgan was not a true leader then why is he still the last man standing ? Why was he the only one who has been prepared to stand up all these years and be counted with millions hiding in fear behind him and in his shadow. He will receive the support he needs and the skills required to run the country !!! We will support him !! Can he do any worse than Mugabe ?

Mokoni is still Zanu PF and he stood by and watched what his party were doing to the country and its people he must account !!! We also do not need to dish out open tickets so others can come in under false pretence and attempt to rape the country during its recover either The situation should be managed allowing Zimbabweans and also allowing those with genuine intentions and requisite skills of any colour or nationality ie those who truly want to participate in the rehabilitation of the country, to be given fair open transparent and unbiased opportunities to progress in the country whilst also helping to rebuild it.

South Africa and its people as a whole has in many ways been extremely good to many exiled Zimbabweans political or economic exiles - but unfortunately they have also in many cases exploited many of these Zimbabweans and have profiteered off their plight and desperate situations and abused them in their time of weakness and need. However we should always be grateful for the many and some of the exceptional South Africans Like Mr Paul Verryn of the Central Methodist Mission Johannesburg to whom many Zimbabweans owe their lives.


Mugabe should just let it go than to plan for a run off, his time is now up.


Please lord lead us out of 'egypt'.When the wicked are in authority masses will mourn and groan and when the righteous are in authority masses will rejoice. Lord we know your grace is sufficient for us and is made perfect in our weakness. We look up to you for deliverance. Praise be unto you.


let Mugabe go!!!we continually feel for our sister from Zimbabwe who have now become very cheap prostitutes in Zambia,but my main worry is with his little level of education and Trade Union background wont Tsvangirai become another Chiluba in Zimbabwe??maybe,just maybe the devil in Mugabe they know is better than the angel in Tsvangirai they dont know.


Naturally as choice has pointed towards the advancement of immediate change, voter epathy, having endured povirshed times will only but escalate electoral change, so long as ofcourse it is done in a manner befitting the laws of the land.
Insofar as the future of the current regime, notwithstanding its aged records, if the post was really one that belongs to the people, why keep the true result [Close to You] and let everyone, including [Dj Tiesto] bring about prosperity and regeneration to an economy that has not benefitted from past failed policies. The naturally the fruits of nature will be enjoyed by all towards their desire for freedom of choice.


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