Zim burns as leaders doze

HARARE - Zimbabwe is teetering on the brink of total chaos as the country’s increasingly clueless government, led by an often-absent President Robert Mugabe, fails to respond to the many challenges facing hard-pressed citizens, analysts and opposition parties said yesterday.

They also told the Daily News that the rising incidence of protests against oppression and Zimbabwe’s calamitous economic collapse, did not bode well for peace and security in the country — pointing to the waves of protests by angry students, prisoners and ordinary villagers who are taking the law into their own hands in a desperate endeavour to improve their lot.

And to show how dire and seriously tense the atmosphere has become over the past few months, police officers were on high alert and in large numbers on the streets of Harare yesterday, apparently under instruction from panicking authorities who fear that major public disturbances may be in the offing countrywide.

The analysts who spoke to the Daily News yesterday were generally agreed that the country is teetering on the brink of total anarchy, with some of them accusing Mugabe and his administration of “sleeping on the job” while enjoying huge perks.

Senior researcher with the Human Rights Watch, Dewa Mavhinga, said the ongoing mass demonstrations around the country were “symbolic protests” against the abuse of human rights in the country.

“Recent developments in Zimbabwe are exposing the political stability facade that has been masking the Zanu PF government’s failure to respect basic rights and uphold the rule of law.

“These developments will put to serious test the sincerity and commitment by Mugabe’s government to ensure that Zimbabweans enjoy their constitutional rights. While revolutions are difficult to predict, what is clear is that there is a gradual coming together of different groups and Zimbabweans from all walks of life and political persuasions with one demand in common, that is to have a government that puts the interests of the people first,” Mavhinga said.

Political commentator Maxwell Saungweme said the ongoing protests were a clear sign of anger among the populace.

“People are angry against the current state of affairs. These riots and protests look like disjointed individual events, but the truth is they are a reflection of anger among the people that has been suppressed for long and has reached boiling point.

“The government may succeed in quashing some of these singular protests, but the truth is if things continue as they are, there will be mass protests covering the whole country,” he said.

With Mugabe once again away in the Far East, Saungweme, added mockingly that “the country’s monarchy is out of touch with reality and what they need to do to resolve problems at home”.

“However, you cannot blame him (Mugabe) for this, as he is of advanced age,” he added ruefully.

Former Finance minister, Tendai Biti warned that “the chickens have come home to roost” as Zanu PF, crippled by its vicious factional and succession fights, struggled to deliver on bread and butter issues.

“The ruling party has a clear deficit of leadership. What is affecting our people most is the excruciatingly low standards of living that they find themselves in.

“Our people are literally eking a living from hand to mouth. Right now the chickens have come home to roost. The government of the day cannot pay government wages, and the government has not paid salaries to grant-aided State institutions, which include colleges and universities,” Biti said.

Paralysing strikes, reminiscent of the wave of demonstrations last seen in the 1990s, have hit institutions of higher learning and Chikurubi Maximum Security Prison, where inmates recently mutinied demanding better food and living conditions.

At least five prisoners have died from the disturbances, after law enforcement agents allegedly opened fire to quell the unprecedented riot.

In Matabeleland, irate villagers also recently took the law into their own hands as they stopped a senior official from the dreaded Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) from annexing Maleme farm in Matobo.

But instead of addressing the mounting challenges that include 90 percent unemployment, hunger and a crippling liquidity crunch, the Zanu PF government has employed heavy-handed methods to silence dissent, observers say.

Although government denies any hand in the disappearance of anti-Mugabe activist Itai Dzamara, civil society and opposition parties insist that the State is behind the abduction.

“We have a government paralysed by indifference, a government paralysed by cluelessness, a regime that has no solution to the present crisis.

“We have a leader in the form of President Mugabe, a leader who is not fit physically and otherwise to lead the country. It is even sad that members of the close family are now chaperoning him wherever he is making his escapades,” Biti said.

MDC spokesperson, Obert Gutu, said Mugabe could afford to go out of the country when the situation is going out of hand because he did not care about the suffering of the people.

“Robert Mugabe does not lose sleep because the majority of Zimbabweans are suffering. He lives in his own isolated world.

“Remember, this man has always been a loner even as a young boy herding cattle in rural Zvimba back in the day. Over the years, he has developed a very thick skin. He will soldier on,” Gutu said.

But Piers Pigou, project director at the International Crisis Group, said the fragmentation among opposition parties made it difficult for them to harness the pent-up anger among Zimbabweans.

“These (mass actions) appear to be spontaneous and organic responses to varying issues and pressure points on the Zimbabwean social, economic and political landscape.

“They do not translate into an organised revolutionary phenomenon ... it does, however, reflect some of the mutating and ongoing struggles relating to land tenure, job security, law and order and the deficits in institutional integrity in Zimbabwe,” he said.

Comments (37)

100% grant aided companies not paid february's salaries. the most annoying thing is that the army have been paid march salary to silence them at the expense of others.

zera - 19 March 2015

Zimbabwe is changing . I can see it in the air. slowly surely people are frustrated its creeping in slowly. government is almost collapsing the moment June comes when they cannot pay off salaries is when more strikes from all sectors will happen. students lets march in the streets and soon when they boot commuters and private taxis is going to ignite the flames. remember what caused the Tunisia riots was actually when the vendor whos goods where destroyed by police started everything. the time is coming the riots are getting bigger. Where is itai dzamara lets riot. aluta

petros - 19 March 2015

This is utter rubbish. I wonder how such a story based on pub talk can become a headline of a newspaper? Unfortunately for you Zimbabweans are now wiser and cannot be misled by little. journalists like you.

godfrey gudo - 19 March 2015

We would appreciate if people like Godfrey Gudo shut their f***ng mouths. The country is at cross roads so the writer is only highlighting a situation that exists.

Garikayi - 19 March 2015

The constitution grants me freedom of expression so i will not fuckin' shut up. freedom expression is not only for those who are opposed to Mugabe!

godfrey gudo - 19 March 2015

Anyone with a modicum of sensitivity to the situation in Zimbabwe can sense that there is a change taking place. ZPF have abused and oppressed the people for too long taking abusive advantage of a peace loving people. Everything gets to the end some way down the road. The suffering is horrendous. We are barely half way into march and Mugabe has been out of the country three times. ZPF cannot ever be honest. Zambia told their people exactly what was plotting with their President. But then he won his elections: ours didn't. Anyone who can't see the people are enough-zvakwana- are fooling themselves. God hates oppression and corruption and violence etc and this has gone on long enough. The cry of the people has gone up into the heavens. ZPF must wake up very quickly and form a national restructural government or what ever you want to call it. And the disgraceful opposition parties must also wake up. We need to come together as a team and pull our nation out of the quagmire repenting before the Lord and asking each other for forgiveness. In the meantime Mugabe should be quietly retired and fade off the political horizon. every time the dear man opens his mouth we rush further down the tubes. May God have mercy on Zimbabwe!

TruthBTold - 19 March 2015

gudo enda unofa wakaenda kuxul here

tsuro - 19 March 2015

If this is a dream I will not work you up!

godfrey gudo - 19 March 2015

If this is a dream I will not wake you up!

godfrey gudo - 19 March 2015

Democracy does not only become so if your are bidding fro the opposition. Even if you support Mugabe it remains exactly that. The problem with you guys is that you think everyone hates Mugabe which is not the case. The bottom line is that the anti-Mugabe crusade is in the minority.

godfrey gudo - 19 March 2015

Godfiri anogara kunyika yake ega isiri Zimbabwe. muregererei.

Chabvondoka - 19 March 2015

The goings on in this country is a ticking time bomb. when it explodes people like godfrey gudo will remember this story was not fiction but a statement of fact

pride - 19 March 2015

@gudo stop fooling yourself by thinking that the anti mugabe crusades are in the minority. if it weren't for the army and police you were in fact going to be a part of it. ask your kins they will tell you a shocker

pride - 19 March 2015

We should not forget Itai Dzamara, opposition parlimentarians i challenge you to wear Bring Back Dzamara Tshirts in Parliament until he is back with his family ..we let him down the first time when we didnt join him at Unity Sq. ..he needs us more than ever before!

Mazana Mambombo - 19 March 2015

Nxa! Siyanai naVaMugabe

James Bond - 19 March 2015

@godfrey gudo....no one is denying you your rights or freedom of expression but just that you are not making sense at all, you are typical zanu i'm sure in your world everything is fine in zim but you need to have your head examined because it's clear the country is shutting down slowly. Unfortunately we have people like you who will stick by a now clueless 91 year old Mugabe....it's a shame godfrey gudo, I feel ashamed for you.

tinorovawo - 19 March 2015

Judgement day is coming for all the wicked , @ Godfrey Gudo & your friends , always remember that mwari ndewe varombo. One day you shall see the power of good over evil....when WILL over rides fear and the thirst for freedom over comes the reality of death....ONCE WE WERE CAPTIVES , ONCE WE FOUGHT AGAINST OPPRESSION AND SO AGAIN 'WE THE PEOPLE OF ZIMBABWE WILL RISE AND FIGHT...!!!

Bvumavaranda - 19 March 2015

Who is in charge of the clattering train? The axles creak and the couplings strain, and the pace is hot and the points are near, and sleep hath deadened the driver's ear, and the signals flash through the night in vain, for death is in charge of the clattering train. Edwin J. Milliken

Edwin Milliken - 19 March 2015

We have been waiting for this judgement day for years now! I know most of the people writing on these pages are in the diaspora eking a pathetic living. I am in Zim and I know whats on the ground. i dont read newspapers to know whats happening. These daily news people are pushing an agenda - a newspaper that sees nothing gud in the government everyday. But if Tsvangison were to defecate in 1st Street they will sing praises! Shame on you half cooked journos.

godfrey gudo - 19 March 2015

why are always wishing for bad things to happen to our nation without giving any solution to what we are facing in this country. my proposed solution is to have our own currency.

dambamba - 19 March 2015

why are always wishing for bad things to happen to our nation without giving any solution to what we are facing in this country. my proposed solution is to have our own currency.

dambamba - 19 March 2015

ndiani atadzira @godfrey gudo. please musa tadzire mumwe wedu. regerai ataurewo zviri pa mwoyo pake.

taurai - 19 March 2015

Dzamara ari ku America kwaakaendeswa ndi Gumbura na Mujuru. Ndirikunyeba here cde vp mnangagwa?

Nonagenarian - 19 March 2015

Godo chikwambo chaMugabe.Leave him alone.We all live in zim,only that some of us are alert all the time.He like any other zimbo anototamburawo zvake.The problem with psychotics is that they cant make the difference between good and evil.

Macheka - 19 March 2015

If you support Mugabe you are psychotic and if you support Tsvangison your are a pro-democracy activist? Shame on you!

godfrey gudo - 19 March 2015

eeeeeeh this old man is more than 91 years, bona and your mother please advice your old man to retire, grace you cant rule zimbabwe nokuti handina pandakanzwa kuti wakamboita even business zvaro rekutengesa chero pafleamarket chaipo, so how can you be able to lead millions of zimbabweans when you could not be able to operate a small business. tepewo mazi seriousnes grace and bona mugabbe not to say l hate you guys but you are killing our beloved brothers in zimbabwe and zimbabweans are being ill-treated in other countries please do us a favopur by telling your uncle robert mugabe wekwa zvimba to resign with immediate effect

abudu omorah mkunga - 19 March 2015

@gudo. I don't live in Zim anymore for the reasons that your so loved Mugabe has failed us by not being able to provide jobs. I'm a qualified engineer and would love to come back home but to what ? I have friends who are well educated even if they are not doing any funcy jobs they are living a better life compare to a lot of ppl in Zim. They even provide for their families back home. Would you not have left if you had the opportunity to do so. I bet my last dollar you are stuck there and have no way to get out. So don't waste pols time trying to explain that all is well. We talk to people back home and when we do visit we see it all. You are holding development backwards. I bet you support Zanupf and you didn't even get a piece af land all those who benefited to come on here and say bullshit. Ppl like you deserve to be shot.

Kamba - 19 March 2015

Please just register me

de outsider - 19 March 2015

Grace naBona Vadim apa kungowawata wawata zvisina basa. Isu VaMugabe ndevedu TOVADA ita pweeee tivamise futi naTsvangison Wendi 2018 amhanyiswe futi naBobo kkkkkkkkkkk. Pamberi NaVaMugabe

Murambwi - 20 March 2015

murambwi wakavata chose.i can even say u haven't seen how difficult it is for us in zim.i suppose u r also a tsotsi like others in Zanu.kana wapepuka join others to pave way for better Zim.i wish it be like Zambia were presidents die not deputies like in Zim.never the less we will get there I hope nyadzi dzichakunda bobo wako

ndega - 20 March 2015

This gudo yindwangu sibibili ,zinengi indwangu ezicabangela emuva while others move forward .

goglwayo - 20 March 2015

Whatever yindwangu means you cannot force me to support the opposition! Is that your idea of democracy?

godfrey gudo - 20 March 2015

Some of us hate this Tsvangison guy with a passion just like what you do to our dear Mugabe. That is how democracy works.

godfrey gudo - 20 March 2015

My ideal Presedium President : Strive Masiiwa Vice President : Simba Makoni Second VP : Nkosana Moyo Minister of Finance : Arthur Mutambara

Simson - 20 March 2015

@gudo hausi ndwangu zvako otherwise it would have been impossible for those scolding you to communicate with you. the fact that they are responding to your comments means that you are human. indeed you are right that each one has a choice of who they want to be their leader. that is a democratic right. perhaps we need to learn how to debate in civilised manner without giving in to emotions but rather thinking in a mature manner. i do not think that it is right for people to police the first family and discredit everything they do for the sake of just embarassing them. there is nothing wrong with a father travelling with his child.

taurai - 20 March 2015

For Dzamaara pliz ask Firipi Chyang.

chihera - 20 March 2015

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