Zimbabweans cannot continue living their lives in fear

Tanonoka Joseph Whande
May 24, 2012

I am now very concerned about the Movement for Democratic Change, especially, its leader, Morgan Tsvangirai.

Forgive me, if you will, but I want us to face certain realities since we all have a vested interest in the success of Zimbabwe, desirably without ZANU-PF.

However, let us get one thing straight.

I am not here to make friends, nor do I seek enemies. I want to be enlightened by both the MDC and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai himself as to where they got all this nonsense about an improvement in the human rights violations in Zimbabwe, particularly at this time.

Tsvangirai supporters are being abused on a daily basis but, it appears, that does not count because those being abused are not related to him or to any of his inner circle.

Does Tsvangirai understand that it is the so-called ‘common people’, not his relatives, who are bearing the brunt of his coalition government’s brutality?

The United Nations, through its presence in countries and its intelligence and information gathering arms, coupled with public news gleaned from news items, found it necessary to send its emissary, Navi Pillay, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, to Zimbabwe.

Tsvangirai must know that Pillay was not on a fact-finding mission; she knew things before she flew to Zimbabwe.

But, guess what, Tsvangirai looks the UN envoy in the eye and tells her that human rights violations in the country were declining.

He even got carried away as to state that he was hopeful the next elections would be free and fair.

Where did he get that from? Chiwenga?

Newsday quotes Tsvangirai as saying that his party told Pillay “everything”.

“We have nothing to hide,” said Tsvangirai.

But Human Rights lawyers and representatives, as civil society leaders, were very clear and said that the position presented to Pillay by government was rubbish.

“We do have serious human rights challenges continuing in Zimbabwe,” they told Pillay.

But who does Tsvangirai mean when he says “we have nothing to hide”?

Zimbabweans and the entire world thought Tsvangirai and his followers were the victims, not the perpetrators of human rights abuses.

“Pillay’s visit came at the right time when violence was escalating,” said Douglas Mwonzora, MDC-T spokesman, in the Prime Minister’s Newsletter published three days ago.
Mwonzora said that among the rights violations the MDC-T wanted raised was the intimidation of ordinary citizens by the army, police, intelligence organisations along with violent youth groups bankrolled by ZANU-PF and “who continue to behave as an extension of ZANU-PF’s security department”.

MDC-T also raised the issue of the selective application of the law.

Contradicting his party a day later, Tsvangirai said that there is an improvement in human rights violations.

Obviously, he has not lost any property, like fellow citizens have.

He has not been chased away from his home, like fellow citizens have.

He has not had a relative killed or beaten up, like fellow citizens have.
Before the meeting, Tsvangirai’s party had expected that he would give Pillay a briefing “on the deteriorating human rights situation in the country”.

It is clear that human rights abuses are rampant. If Tsvangirai is not aware of such atrocities being perpetrated on his own supporters, then who is he?  Who is this man?

Tsvangirai must stop these silly games; his ineptitude and lack of direction are now a threat to the nation.

Tsvangirai cannot tell the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights that all is well on the human rights front in Zimbabwe.

NGOs are in chains, so is the media.

Zimbabweans have no human rights, no property rights. School children are being denied the kind of education that colonial governments extended to Mugabe.

Tsvangirai has to be guided now; he should stop making reckless statements on our behalf.

Human Rights lawyer, Dewa Mavhinga, said that they gave Pillay ‘detailed presentations from various civil society groups, focusing on what is happening, including political violence, violence against women and the non-implementation of a number of international human rights treaties that Zimbabwe has ratified’.

“We still face challenges in the deregulation of NGO’s, food distribution on a partisan line and extreme polarisation of the Zimbabwe environment, particularly the militarisation of state institutions as we draw closer to an election,” explained Mavhinga.

It is not fair to say Tsvangirai is forgetting; the whole MDC-T is forgetting.

Clearly, the MDC must re-examine its leadership.

If a political leader, who has suffered the loss of so many of his supporters, in addition to some being brutalised and being made homeless and with the violent tempo picking up steam, can tell the United Nations that the human rights situation in Zimbabwe is improving, then, pardon me, I call it treason.

Is Tsvangirai speaking about Zimbabwe?

The people of Zimbabwe did Tsvangirai no wrong. Unlike Mugabe and ZANU-PF who had to use strong-arm tactics, forcing people to tow their line, Tsvangirai got people’s votes under less traumatic conditions.
The MDC-T got where it is now through the support of a wide range of people, groups and organisations and this party must respect those contributors.

The heart of the matter is that Tsvangirai and his party owe their existence to the people. They should have strived to make it possible to stop us from living our lives in fear.

It is a disgrace that Tsvangirai continues to preen Mugabe’s ego, always trying to endear himself well with Mugabe and his ZANU-PF, at the expense of the people.

Tsvangirai no longer sees that Zimbabweans are in distress.

I do declare that party principles, the party’s aims and goals are slowly being shredded and are being compromised by none other than the president and leader of the MDC himself.

This stupidity must stop; Zimbabwe deserves better.
For how long is the MDC rank and file going to tolerate such embarrassing behaviour from those who sit snugly at the top and who no longer care what is happening to the ‘common person’?

Tsvangirai does not seem to care anymore.

And of him, I ask, is it not a human right to have access to information?

Is it not a human right to have access to education, to food, to worship, to assemble, to own property?

Is it not a human right for you, Mr Tsvangirai, to hold a rally with your followers whenever you want?

Mr Prime Minister, is it not a right for those displaced by your government and now live in the so-called Diaspora to have access to the same protection as everyone else, to have the right to vote and own property?

Look at Mugabe, Mr Tsvangirai!
The party structures have been sidelined in favour of friends and relatives; and friends and relatives are shielding you, Mr Tsvangirai, from the very people who moulded him.

Hell, Tsvangirai no longer feels the pain that is so rampant in Zimbabwe. Instead, he is getting comfort from it.

I hope he will come to his senses soon enough because he is on the wrong track.

He is no longer brave enough to state and stand by his position, let alone that of the party he leads.

Tsvangirai, of all people, should have taken this opportunity to champion the cause of human rights before a god-send UN Chief for Human Rights on behalf of fellow Zimbabweans.

But, instead, he says our human rights record is getting better.

Will Tsvangirai go back to the United Nations to complain again?

I am not happy with you, Mr Tsvangirai; you have taken refuge in the wrong camp. Please, come on out; you are embarrassing us.

Our people are being abused.

Mugabe, in his meeting with Pillay, admitted to political violence, a human rights abuse, but tacitly blamed it on the history of our war of liberation.

Mugabe admitted it yet Tsvangirai does not care to notice.

The people of Zimbabwe continue to invest more of themselves, their worth and, as we have seen over the years, even their lives. Zimbabweans are more passionate about their country than the parties they belong to; they are especially better than the fake leaders who come along.

If any political party, particularly Tsvangirai’s MDC, which is getting so much support from the people, is not able to make us stop living our lives in fear, they should get the hell out of our lives.


I am Tanonoka Joseph Whande and that, my fellow Zimbabweans, is the way it is today, Thursday, May 24, 2012.

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