Archive for Zimbabwe

I Repeat: Robert Mugabe is Not a Homosexual

(They wouldn’t have him.)

I’m not saying Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe is gay—I don’t know and wouldn’t care if he were—but his wardrobe is a little suspect:

A Zimbabwean MP has been freed after spending Christmas in jail for allegedly saying President Robert Mugabe had had gay sex, local media say.

Lynette Karenyi, from the former opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), is said to have made the comments at a rally on 9 December.

Insulting the president is a criminal offence in Zimbabwe, whose leader is known for his anti-homosexual views.

The MP has denied making the comments.

She was arrested on 19 December after allegedly saying Mr Mugabe had had sex with two male politicians.

Zimbabwe’s president infamously said gays were “worse than pigs or dogs” and condemned British Prime Minister David Cameron for suggesting that aid would be cut off from countries which did not recognise gay rights.

That’s what I would call praising with faint damnation. Most humans are worse than dogs, and there are more than a few pigs whose company I would prefer as well.

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Reaping the Whirlwind

Never a good idea to play God, Julian. For as the big fella says, “vengeance is mine; I will repay”:

Late last month Julian Assange secured a million-dollar advance from two publishers to write his autobiography. The WikiLeaks founder says he needs the money to cover the legal expenses arising from charges that he raped two women in Sweden. But perhaps Mr. Assange would do better to defend himself and pay the lawyers’ fees of the people now in legal jeopardy thanks to his wanton disclosures.

One worthy candidate is Morgan Tsvangirai, Zimbabwe’s long-time opposition leader and now its powerless Prime Minister. Yesterday, the Associated Press reported that Zimbabwe Attorney General Johannes Tomana, a loyalist to despot Robert Mugabe, has assembled an “expert panel” to review 3,000 U.S. diplomatic cables published by WikiLeaks for evidence that Mr. Tsvangirai committed treason. “Treason,” AP adds, “carries a possible death sentence in Zimbabwe.”

The charge that hangs most heavily on Mr. Tsvangirai’s head is that he privately urged Western diplomats to maintain sanctions on Zimbabwe—sanctions that target Mr. Mugabe’s cronies—even though the Prime Minister has opposed those sanctions in public. Maybe Mr. Assange imagines that he’s usefully exposed a case of blatant political hypocrisy. The rest of us are more likely to forgive Mr. Tsvangirai for trying to help his country in private while having no choice but to concede in public to a desperate political reality.

This is not the first time the regime has sought to indict Mr. Tsvangirai for treason, and no doubt it would resort to other dirty tricks were it not for the convenience of the leaked cables. But there’s no doubt, either, that Mr. Assange has made the regime’s work that much easier. Even a million for Mr. Tsvangirai’s defense wouldn’t begin to cover WikiLeaks’ collateral damage.

If life were a movie, as I sometimes believe it is, the shot of Assange’s face, racked with guilt, as Tsvangirai is executed before a firing squad would be terrific. “Brad, darling, could you bite your lower lip as the shots are fired? Beautiful! Now, Angelina, when Julian rapes you…”

But some people tell me this is real, that people die from the consequences of Assange’s actions.

Yeah, right. Who would believe it?

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African Queens

Two men from Malawi are convicted in court of whatever they were convicted of (doesn’t matter), when their “crime” was loving each other.

Well, don’t throw down such a gauntlet in front of Robert Mugabe if you don’t want him to pick it up:

Two members of a Zimbabwean gay rights association are in custody, their lawyers say.

They say the two are facing charges of possessing pornographic material and insulting President Robert Mugabe.

Ellen Chadian – administrator of the group, Gays and Lesbians of Zimbabwe – and Ignatius Muhambi – an accountant – were picked up during a raid.

Homosexual acts are illegal in Zimbabwe, but the group has been allowed to operate openly.

Dzimbabwe Chimbga, a lawyer representing the pair, said they had been arrested on Friday.

“The initial charges are that they were found in possession of pornographic material,” Mr Chimbga said.

“Now the police want to add a charge of insulting the president,” he added.

Police told by AP news agency say that they had found a letter undermining President Mugabe during the raid.

Not to break the law, but insulting the president (theirs and ours) is so easy, it happens almost accidentally.

I mean, how gay is that little growth on his upper lip? Oh, sorry.

Besides, he gives as well as he takes:

Mr Mugabe has in the past described same-sex partners as “lower than dogs and pigs”.

Can the UN’s Human Rights Council drop their anti-Semitic rants and Islamic inspired paranoia long enough to investigate this development?

Never mind, forgot who I was talking about.

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Dispatches From the Breadbasket of Africa

Only the basket is bare, with a few stale crumbs and mouse turds left behind:

An estimated 2.17 million Zimbabweans — perhaps a fourth of the country’s population — are in need of food aid, the Red Cross said yesterday.

In a statement, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies pleaded for international funds for urgent food aid to Zimbabwe. UN organizations also have appealed for more donor funds.

“In some parts of the country, the food situation is as bad as many of our volunteers and staff have ever seen it,’’ said Emma Kundishora, secretary general of the Zimbabwe Red Cross Society.

Erratic rain — too much in some areas and too little in others — has damaged crops of corn, the staple food across the southern African nation. The former regional breadbasket also has been hit by acute shortages of seed and fertilizer.

The Red Cross expressed particular concern about the possible impact of existing and looming food shortages on people living with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.

“Hunger is an especially brutal experience for these people,’’ Kundishora said, adding that people were interrupting AIDS medication because the drugs are too toxic without food.

In December 2009, the Red Cross extended the emergency food operation in Zimbabwe until October 2010, calling on donors for $33.2 million in extra funding.

The agency faces a shortfall of about $23.9 million, yesterday’s statement said.

Should 2.17 million Zimbabweans starve because their corrupt and tyrannical leadership turned a once bountiful nation into the (pre-earthquake) Haiti of Africa? Evidently. Maybe we can just take the money we’ve raised so far (about 30% of the necessary funding) and save a proportion of the starving Zimbabweans—about 650,000. That’s not a bad job, and it would motivate the million and a half remaining famine victims to take back their country, and not just leave their lives and liberty in the hands of others who have no stake in them.

Or they could just starve and die of AIDS, I guess. That’s more likely.

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Blood From a Stone

It’s a given that Zimbabwe’s behavior will be criminal and deranged, but exactly how the criminality and derangement expresses itself is endlessly fascinating:

Investigators for the world’s diamond control body say Zimbabwe should be suspended because its security forces are raping women, killing illegal miners, and smuggling gems out of a diamond field in the troubled country’s east.

Human rights groups have made similar accusations, but the charges carry particular weight coming from Kimberley Process investigators who visited Zimbabwe in June and July. Their recommendations are in a confidential report the Associated Press obtained yesterday.

Zimbabwean authorities have repeatedly denied such charges, including in statements to Kimberley Process investigators and officials. The investigators said that they found evidence contradicting the official account and that information provided by Zimbabwean authorities “was false, and likely intentionally so.’’

The Kimberley Process was established in 2002 in an attempt to stem the flow of “blood diamonds’’ – gems sold to fund fighting across Africa. Participants must certify the origins of the diamonds being traded. Suspension could result in buyers shunning Zimbabwe’s diamonds.

What does Robert Mugabe care if Africans are slaughtering each other? For once, he’s not the one doing the slaughtering.

But hey, he’s not all bad. Even a blind, rabid hyena finds a rotting, stinking corpse once in a while:

“We are sick and tired of the old model, where China comes to Africa and extracts raw materials and goes back to China,” Arthur Mutambara told Reuters in an interview on Friday. “Now we are not interested in that.”

China is one of the few countries close to the long-embattled Zimbabwe government, but that did not deter Mutambara from challenging Beijing to do more to help development.

“We are not going to produce raw materials in Zimbabwe for China. China will come on our terms as partners,” he said during a trip to China to attend the World Economic Forum in the northeastern Chinese port city of Dalian.

I love the tough talk, but I would caution him against too cozy a partnership. The Mafia has partnerships, too, but the deals are rarely equitable.

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Stand Up Bob

We’ve been pretty harsh on Robert Mugabe over the years, but I wonder if we haven’t been overly censorious. Oh, sure he expropriated property, crushed rivals, ignored civil liberties and human rights, caused an epidemic, and took a once-wealthy African nation to the doorstep of penury—then blithely stepped across and squatted there.

But the dude is funny, you have to give him that:

Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe has branded a top US envoy “an idiot” with a condescending attitude.

He said that Johnnie Carson, US assistant secretary of state for African affairs, wanted to dictate what Zimbabwe could and could not do.

“You would not speak to an idiot of that nature,” he said. “I was very angry with him, and he thinks he could dictate to us what to do and what not to do.”

Mr Mugabe pointed out that the Southern African Development Community (SADC) supported the unity government.

“We have the whole of SADC working with us, and you have the likes of little fellows like Carson, you see, wanting to say: ‘You do this, you do that.’

“Who is he?

“I hope he was not speaking for Obama. I told him he was a shame, a great shame, being an African American.”

A discredit to his race?

And that’s no the only African American diplomat Mugabe has taken a dislike to:

Mr Mugabe was also not fond of Mr Carson’s predecessor, Jendayi Frazer, who is also black.

In May last year he described her as “a little American girl trotting around the globe like a prostitute” after she suggested that the then-opposition Movement for Democratic Change had won the disputed presidential election.

Why can’t we get a president like that? I mean, we have one who expropriated property, crushed rivals, etc.—but he couldn’t describe a diplomat as a “girl trotting around the globe like a prostitute” if it was written on his teleprompter.

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This is Zimbabwe

zimbabwe

And this is Zimbabwe under Mugabe:

prison

Any questions?

The appalling way Robert Mugabe treats political dissidents was revealed today after secretly filmed images of a Zimbabwean jails was released.

The shocking pictures show horrifying scenes of starving inmates too weak to stand and eating miniscule rations as if they can barely bring food to their mouths.

In other scenes, emaciated prisoners, who appear to be wasting away because of vitamin deficiencies, are shown on mats in cells furnished with only blankets and the thin mattresses in cramped cells.

Producer Godknows Nare, who spent four months training insiders to capture the footage, said prison menus have been reduced to daily bowls of corn porridge.

Human rights activists and former prisoners have spoken of horrifying conditions in the country’s jails, but until now there has been little firsthand evidence available.

Okay, human rights activists, if you can spare a moment from demonizing Israel or hyperventilating over Darfur (one of which deserves it, one of which doesn’t—take your pick), how about going after one of the darlings of the left (of yesteryear, at any rate)?

Maybe Rhodesia was ruled by the “white devil”; but how is Zimbabwe any different, except for the color? The film is called Hell Hole, after all.

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Inflation & Cholera

Isn’t that one of those modern European films, like Bread & Chocolate?

No, it’s African—Zimbabwean, to be precise—and it’s not a film:

Zimbabwe is revaluing its dollar again, removing twelve zeros from the currency with immediate effect.

The country’s central bank is introducing seven new notes in an effort to stave off economic collapse.

The country is in the grip of world-record hyperinflation. The most recent estimate in July 2008 put it at 231m%.

Only last month, a Z$100 trillion note was introduced and the government moved to allow people to use foreign currencies alongside Zimbabwe’s dollar.

The announcement will see Z$1 trillion reduced to Z$1.

Hey, why don’t we try that here? Put a dollar toward economic stimulus, and call it a trillion?

Anyhow, that’s the inflation part—how ’bout the cholera?

Okay, if you really want to know:

More than 60,000 people in Zimbabwe have now been infected by cholera, the World Health Organization (WHO) says.

This figure had been described by the UN’s health agency and other agencies as being the “worst case scenario” in the epidemic which broke out in August.

Cholera has now claimed the lives of more than 3,000 people in Zimbabwe.

The epidemic of the disease, which broke out in August 2008, has been fuelled by the collapse of Zimbabwe’s water, sanitation and health systems.

This is one example of what happens when you leave dangerous dictators in charge of countries. As long as you’re all okay with that.

It turns my stomach, but then that might be something I drank.

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Cure Cholera? Ask Me How!

I know I got uncharacteristically weepy with you the other day about the wretched and inhumane conditions in which the people of Zimbabwe are sentenced to live (but mostly die). Moments of empathy happen in the life of even the most cynical, snarky blogger. Remember, the suffix “-pathy” means disease. I hope you will take pity on me.

Because the old BTL is back—with yuks and chortles aplenty over the incredible heartlessness and cruelty a corrupt, diseased leadership can inflict on its people.

Stop me if you’ve heard this before:

One of Zimbabwe’s top officials blamed his country’s spreading cholera outbreak on what he calls “a genocidal onslaught” by Zimbabwe’s former colonial ruler — Britain.

“Cholera is a calculated, racist attack on Zimbabwe by the unrepentant former colonial power, which has enlisted support from its American and Western allies so that they can invade the country,” Information Minister Sikhanyiso Ndlovu told reporters. Britain ruled the country as a colony until 1965.

On Thursday, Mugabe said “there is no cholera in the country.” His spokesman later said that Mugabe was sarcastically ridiculing what he believes are Western designs to invade the country.

Britain’s Africa minister, Mark Malloch-Brown responded by saying, “I don’t know what world he (Mugabe) is living in,” according to the British newspaper The Guardian.

It’s your world and mine, Lord Mallomar—or whatever your name is. If you don’t recognize that, you’re as delusional as Mugabe and his stooges.

Iran “cured” homosexuality by declaring it nonexistent within its borders; why shouldn’t Zimbabwe do the same with cholera? (Not to mention South Africa’s single-handed eradication of HIV as the cause of AIDS.)

Hey, India, still have a problem with leprosy? No you don’t! It’s all in your mind. And, uh, your skin, nerves, lungs, etc. Don’t let the colonial British keep you down.

Oh, btw, Zimbabwe isn’t the only country he finds diseased and poorly governed.

Any guesses which other nation he finds unfit to inhabit his world? (Hint: it’s not Israel, for a change.)

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Zim-Bad-Way

I may have had my little laugh with Zimbabwe’s hyperinflation, its corrupt and thuggish leader, even its cholera outbreak. (If you think my making light of cholera is in bad taste, don’t get me started on ebola.)

But I can’t laugh anymore. I can’t even quote anymore. You’ll have to go read for yourself.

Even Somalians would be forgiven for looking down on Zimbabwe. It’s gone past armpit and butt crack of the world, straight to anal fissure. It’s up to its waist in waste.

I’ll just say that there is a way to change things, if not necessarily improve them, and it involved dragging Mr. Mugabe behind a Ford F-150 through the streets of Harare. That’s the only way they’re going to get him out of there; no amount of tut-tutting from the “international community” is going to do it.

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