Mugabe launches ‘violence petition ‘

Posted: 07/03/2011 in MDC, Mugabe, Politics, Sanctions, Violence, ZANU-PF, Zimbabwe

After hours of waiting in the baking sun and
then rain thousands watched as generals ,
church leaders and other top figures queued up
to sign the document .
The rest of us must wait our turn, which will
come in the form of a door -to -door campaign
in which Zanu -PF militants will arrive at our
homes and ask us to sign a petition to the
European Union and the United States to end
sanctions against President Robert Mugabe and
his circle .
” Conscious of illegal and unilateral sanctions
imposed by the West on my country Zimbabwe,
I therefore do hereby append my signature to
register my protest at the said illegal sanctions
and to demand an immediate end to this form
of aggression against my country and my
people,” reads the petition . Below this , we must
write down our names , give our ID numbers ,
state where we live , and sign .
The Movement for Democratic Change calls it a
” Zanu -PF violence petition ” , but Zanu -PF insists
it is the document that will put an end to all our
troubles . At the ” anti -sanctions ” rally on
Wednesday , Mugabe’ s strategy to get the world
to take notice of his new crusade was carried by
the young men who stood behind us . ” Hit list :
Old Mutual , Rio Tinto , Standard Chartered ,
Barclays and many more,” a poster screamed.
By threatening foreign businesses, he hopes to
make the world more amenable .
Mugabe once said the measures against his
ruling elite were a pinprick that would not worry
him. But a frenzied propaganda campaign in
recent weeks has tried to convince
Zimbabweans that all the country ‘s economic
woes are the result of sanctions .
Among the Zanu- PF rank and file, it is taken as
gospel . At the weekend , at a district Zanu -PF
meeting in Mbare to organise Wednesday ‘ s rally ,
the district chairperson , Onesimo Gore, blamed
potholes on sanctions . A youth leader rose to
say if it wasn’ t for sanctions , he would have a
job .
Campaign of intimidation
Few believe this . But even fewer will refuse to
sign the petition when the youths come
knocking . There is little doubt this is the start of
a new campaign of intimidation .
Zanu -PF sees it as some sort of pledge of
allegiance to Mugabe . He has ordered that two
million people must sign the petition , which will
be handed to Western governments as proof
that Zimbabweans are on his side . The road to
the two million signatures began on Wednesday ,
as crowds gathered at dawn at an open ground
on the outskirts of Harare .
Many were supporters, but many others had
been forced to attend , with their markets shut
down by militants and some of them force-
marched to the venue . On one side a group
that has recently been at the sharp end of Zanu-
PF attacks jostled for space , hoping to make
sure the powerful people on the podium saw
their huge banner: ” Nigerian community says
‘NO ‘ to sanctions !”
Mugabe warned again that he would target
foreign businesses if the West did not lift the
punitive economic measures. He mentioned
foreign banks and mines , which he claims are
conspiring to steal mineral earnings. The West
depends on Zimbabwe in many ways, he said ,
and ” we are ready to hit back” . ” We have been
sending our beef to them and they say it ‘s the
tastiest beef they ‘ve ever had , ” he told the rally .
” Our tea goes into the blend they call Lipton and
they call it English tea . “
Zanu -PF ‘ s campaign has entailed hour -long TV
news bulletins dedicated to convincing
Zimbabweans that the economic crisis of the
past decade is the result of sanctions , not Zanu –
PF misrule . The West is blamed for everything,
from the poor drug supply in hospitals to the
run-down stadiums . Zanu -PF says America’ s
Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery
Act, enacted in 2001, has destroyed the
But the US embassy in Harare pointed out this
week that the US had provided more than $ 1 ,4 –
billion in aid to Zimbabwe since 2001 . In the
five years after the US applied targeted
sanctions in 2003 trade between Zimbabwe and
the US doubled and Zimbabwe currently runs a
trade surplus . The EU and US measures include
travel bans and asset freezes on more than 100
Zanu -PF figures and an arms embargo .
However , no asset freezes have been
confirmed . Some argue the list of targeted
companies includes corporations and banks in
which government has only minority shares and
other state-owned enterprises that provide basic
services .
Recently , one of the country ‘ s largest internet
service providers , ZOL , said the sanctions were
more general than Mugabe’ s critics let on . ” Any
business will tell you that sanctions are hurting
all businesses in Zimbabwe and therefore all
citizens. They [ the sanctions ] raise the cost of
supplies since some companies simply refuse to
deal with us, whether or not we are on the
[ sanctions ] list ,” ZOL said .
” PayPal, an online payment [ service ] provider , is
a perfect example . It has banned anyone in
Zimbabwe from using its system on that basis ,”
said ZOL .

JASON MOYO Mar 04 2011 15 : 17


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