[Guest-posted by Captain Marlow]
Mugabe Land for Friends program
The Zimbabwe government has evicted the 18 last remaining white farmers in the prime farming district of Karoi but President Robert Mugabe’s friend, Billy Rautenbach, has been allowed to keep his farm in the area that lies 203km north-west of Harare. The controversial Rautenbach, who is wanted in South Africa to answer to some criminal charges, is said to be a personal friend of Mugabe. The farmers had survived the government’s chaotic and violent farm seizure programme over the past five years but were in the last week ordered to leave their farms for new black owners, most of them senior officials of Mugabe’s government and ruling ZANU PF party who already own several farms seized from whites. An estimated quarter of the 12 million Zimbabweans face starvation unless more than one million tonnes of food aid are urgently provided between now and the next harvest expected around March/April 2006.
Someone commented on a previous post saying that Mugabe is doing a lot of good by taking land from rich whites to give it to poor blacks…
The American Ambassador to Zimbabwe returned to Washington for “consultations” yesterday after President Mugabe’s Government threatened to expel him. Diplomatic sources said that the high-level consultations “may be followed by important changes” in US relations with Zimbabwe. Christopher Dell flew home after Simbarashe Mumbengegwi, the Foreign Minister of Zimbabwe, accused him of inciting revolt in a speech last week that blamed Zimbabwe’s present crisis on the Government’s mismanagement and corruption.
Police and army officers arrested the entire top leadership of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU), other civic leaders and hundreds of ordinary workers ahead of planned protests here against worsening economic hardships and government incompetence.
Mugabe will have to ask the Chinese to build him bigger prisons.
“Let me warn the (President Robert) Mugabe regime that targeting civil society for regular attacks means declaring a war against the people, and the people shall respond,” he added, calling for the release of up to 200 activists arrested during countrywide protests initiated by the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions.
I hope Tsvangirai will come out strengthened by Mugabe’s crackdowns on everything that moves; Mugabe has a knack for doing the wrong thing at the wrong time.