Dear Family and Friends,
South African President Jacob Zuma inspected a guard of honour at Harare airport at the end of his brief visit to Zimbabwe. The South African President’s departure was shown on ZBC television and was one of the few parts of the visit not shrouded in secrecy. Presidents Zuma and Mugabe held hands as they walked along the line of assembled dignitaries and once Mr Zuma had gone up the stairs to the aircraft, Mr Mugabe raised both his arms and with fists clenched, punched the air a few times. It looked very much like a triumphant victory display such as we have seen on many occasions at Zanu PF political rallies.
We Zimbabweans are very aware of the body language of our leaders and very suspicious of the slightest sign that something may be going on. Its a suspicion borne out of ten years of mayhem, oppression and bloodshed.
We hear that Mr Zuma has cobbled together a “package of measures” to get Zimbabwe moving again but as usual the nitty gritty is hidden from view and couched in words which say everything and nothing at the same time; words like concessions, compromise, facilitators and negotiators. So while ‘informed sources’ and ‘un-named insiders,’ speculate about what’s really going on, we look at the body language, hand holding and air punching.
We saw body language that said, again, that Zanu PF isn’t going to give away any real power. They are still very much in control, we all know it, and a prime example came this week when commercial farmers in one area received letters instructing them to attend a meeting this week. The instruction was for the farmer owners to come to the meeting; not managers or foremen but the owners themselves. The letter was signed and stamped by the Zanu PF DCC (District Co-Coordinating Committee) and the venue was a well known country garden restaurant.
At a meeting that lasted 2 and half hours, three dozen white commercial farmers were told that they were still on their farms only because Zanu PF wanted them there and not for any other reason. At first they were praised for being “good farmers” but soon the real reason for the meeting became clear. Each commercial farmer was told that he must provide one beast (cow) for Independence celebrations. When instructed to do so, the farmer must slaughter the animal and hand it over to Zanu PF. This was stage one. Stage two would follow in the coming weeks when each farmer would have to provide diesel, mealie meal and cooking oil for the Independence celebrations.
None of the farmers were in any doubt that the meat, grain and fuel were non negotiable demands. If you don’t provide, you don’t stay on your farm – never said in plain words but clearly understood by everyone. Neither was there any doubt about the fact that it was Zanu PF and not the Government of National Unity who was making the demands and who would be collecting the goods.
So who’s really in charge in Zimbabwe?
Until next time, thanks for reading, love cathy.