Gun Crime in America – One Man’s Analysis

The modern press want us to believe that it is a free, adaptive and resilient press core that report on issues that fall into the category of public interest. They want us to accept that they work diligently on behalf of their public readers, and keep us informed of stuff that is of key interest to the people, gives light to subject matter that would prompt debate, and inform others of key motions, opinion and the stuff going on around us that is going to help to change public opinion or create new perceptions or ideas to flow. This is the ideal world that the press wants us to believe they provide us right?

So why then did I have to find out about a key public address made in a special session of the US Congress, to key leaders of the US Administration that are currently looking for ways to change guns laws, through a post on FaceBook?

I found this article really interesting, and very informative, more so because I struck me that coverage of this speech failed to make public coverage in any of the press that I could find, yet the ideas presented resonated with me, and I am sure thousands of others.

The reality here? If what your saying does not fit with what the Leaders of our Nation are saying, if it does not suit the agenda of the Press Core, if it is the truth, and nothing but the pure unadulterated truth, then the people that apparently matter are not interested. Shame on them!

Here is the content of the speech I speak of.

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Guess our national leaders didn’t expect this. On Thursday, Darrell Scott, the father of Rachel Scott, a victim of the Columbine High School shootings in Littleton, Colorado, was invited to address the House Judiciary Committee’s subcommittee. What he said to our national leaders during this special session of Congress was painfully truthful.

They were not prepared for what he was to say, nor was it received well. It needs to be heard by every parent, every teacher, every politician, every sociologist, every psychologist, and every so-called expert! These courageous words spoken by Darrell Scott are powerful, penetrating, and deeply personal. There is no doubt that God sent this man as a voice crying in the wilderness. The following is a portion of the transcript:

“Since the dawn of creation there has been both good &evil in the hearts of men and women. We all contain the seeds of kindness or the seeds of violence. The death of my wonderful daughter, Rachel Joy Scott, and the deaths of that heroic teacher, and the other eleven children who died must not be in vain. Their blood cries out for answers.

“The first recorded act of violence was when Cain slew his brother Abel out in the field. The villain was not the club he used.. Neither was it the NCA, the National Club Association. The true killer was Cain, and the reason for the murder could only be found in Cain’s heart.

“In the days that followed the Columbine tragedy, I was amazed at how quickly fingers began to be pointed at groups such as the NRA. I am not a member of the NRA. I am not a hunter. I do not even own a gun. I am not here to represent or defend the NRA – because I don’t believe that they are responsible for my daughter’s death. Therefore I do not believe that they need to be defended. If I believed they had anything to do with Rachel’s murder I would be their strongest opponent

I am here today to declare that Columbine was not just a tragedy — it was a spiritual event that should be forcing us to look at where the real blame lies! Much of the blame lies here in this room. Much of the blame lies behind the pointing fingers of the accusers themselves. I wrote a poem just four nights ago that expresses my feelings best.

Your laws ignore our deepest needs,
Your words are empty air.
You’ve stripped away our heritage,
You’ve outlawed simple prayer.
Now gunshots fill our classrooms,
And precious children die.
You seek for answers everywhere,
And ask the question “Why?”
You regulate restrictive laws,
Through legislative creed.
And yet you fail to understand,
That God is what we need!

“Men and women are three-part beings. We all consist of body, mind, and spirit. When we refuse to acknowledge a third part of our make-up, we create a void that allows evil, prejudice, and hatred to rush in and wreak havoc. Spiritual presences were present within our educational systems for most of our nation’s history. Many of our major colleges began as theological seminaries. This is a historical fact.

What has happened to us as a nation? We have refused to honor God, and in so doing, we open the doors to hatred and violence. And when something as terrible as Columbine’s tragedy occurs — politicians immediately look for a scapegoat such as the NRA. They immediately seek to pass more restrictive laws that contribute to erode away our personal and private liberties. We do not need more restrictive laws.

Eric and Dylan would not have been stopped by metal detectors. No amount of gun laws can stop someone who spends months planning this type of massacre. The real villain lies within our own hearts.

“As my son Craig lay under that table in the school library and saw his two friends murdered before his very eyes, he did not hesitate to pray in school. I defy any law or politician to deny him that right! I challenge every young person in America , and around the world, to realize that on April 20, 1999, at Columbine High School prayer was brought back to our schools. Do not let the many prayers offered by those students be in vain. Dare to move into the new millennium with a sacred disregard for legislation that violates your God-given right to communicate with Him.

To those of you who would point your finger at the NRA — I give to you a sincere challenge.. Dare to examine your own heart before casting the first stone!

My daughter’s death will not be in vain! The young people of this country will not allow that to happen!”
– Darrell Scott

“Then you will know the truth, and the truth shall set you free.” – John 8.32

Please do what the media and the US Government have failed to do. Pass this on. Tell your friends and family to check it out, it is well worth consideration and our time to ponder it.

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Xenophobia – the new desensitising word.

I’ve been sitting reading a lot today about an attack on Zimbabwean people in a province of South Africa, where there has always been an ill ease of existence between the South African tribes, who let’s be honest, can barely get along with each other at the best of times, and our Zimbabwean brethren.

From what I can gather large scale attacks were aimed at Zimbabwean refugees who had taken up residence in the De Doorns area of the Cape Provence began on the weekend, and gained in frenzy, displacing some 2,400 Zimbabwean community from the elegant and picturesque setting in the infamous Cape wine area. As economic pressures take their toll on the African economy, local residents see the Zimbabwean settlers as “job stealers” and therefore a threat to their livelihood. In many ways, it is frustrating to watch these events unfold, as from a rational point of view it is possible to understand the underlying fears that drive these situations into melt down in such a way.

However, knowing the blood thirsty nature of the native South African’s, especially those of the Cape area, and having seen firsthand the brutality and viciousness of the tribal South African, it is of little wonder that we have not heard of deaths and extensive casualties from these disturbances. I was not surprised to learn that there had been no Police involvement in protecting the settlers, as it has been rumoured extensively that in the run up to the 2010 world cup, that the South African authorities are going to be clamping down on vagrant beggars and people found loitering around aimlessly, in such manner as refugees and job seekers might do.

With this type of aggressive targeting from the defence forces, how are Zimbabwean settlers, who incidentally should be protected under parliamentary law passed in South Africa, meant to survive? I have pondered to myself if such measures and out bursts of violence might not be state instigated quietly behind the scenes! It is not a massive jump to consider that as Mugabe has done in Zimbabwe itself, that the South African government may be using violent groups of thugs to target large groups of migrant workers that they view as a threat to stability and security for the 2010 World Cup. It will be interesting to watch going forward if this is just a warm up to more targeted and specific actions throughout the country. With well over 4 million Zimbabweans believed to be in South Africa, it is with deep concern that you begin to wonder what lies in store for our people as pressure mounts on the South African government to “clean up” ahead of the World Cup games around the country, and in the light of the dwindling job numbers as recession takes hold in South Africa.

If we look back through history, migration has always lead to tensions between settlers and locals, immigrants and residents. There is nothing unfamiliar about the situation in South Africa, for it has happened many times over in many places around the world. Circumstances in Zimbabwe have lead to a mass exodus from Zimbabwe into just about every country south of the equator. In some area’s the wealth of knowledge that comes with the Zimbabwean migrants has been recognised as a positive thing and welcomed those who have chosen to take refuge in such areas. However in other places, such as South Africa, our nations commitment to education and disciplined up brining has meant that Zimbabwean’s tend to take better jobs, more easily than the local work force, with envious results from the local population.

Envy and resentment is easily stirred and I have a tendency to believe that the South African authorities know this all too well. They are also far too familiar with the volatile nature of their population and it won’t take much of a spark to begin a genocide on the scale of Rwanda and Burundi. The trouble with South African situation is that much of the violence within the South African community is armed. There are large number of surplus weapons easily available on the black market and it is a well known fact that large proportions of the South African population have armed themselves. As migrants and immigrants on either work visa’s, refugee papers or illegally in the country, Zimbabwean’s are not entitled to arm themselves, and so expectantly look to the authorities to protect them. However, if as I suspect, as evidenced by the lack of police presence in De Doorns during this attack, we discover that the South African authorities are involved with the cause of the violence, where next can these people turn?

To flee back to Zimbabwe is returning to a fate less than attractive. To aim further afield is to leave loved ones behind as the costs associated with such trips are restrictive and often far out of reach of the average man or woman. For those left behind is the constant fear of reprisal or persecution at the hands of angry war mongers. No better words can really be found to describe these people. You may wonder why I use such expressively descriptive words for the South African people. Let me enlighten you as to my reasoning.

It is common place for news agencies and reporters to use buzz words or highly enlightened wording that removes the impact of a situation and desensitises the general public to the horrors of what is really transpiring on the ground. Take for instance the buzz word associated with the attacks on Zimbabweans in South Africa. Any report you read talks of Xenophobia, which when defined describes a fear of an unknown people of those that are different from one’s self. In a way it makes it sound like someone who suffers from any type of phobia, from a fear of spiders or snakes to fear of the outdoors or closed up spaces. The full horror of a “Xenophobic” attack is removed through the use of the buzz word, and people are able to deal with the news issue without blinking their eye.

Now let me take you through the realities of a Xenophobic attack, the nature of what we read about when we hear of Zimbabwean’s being targeted by South African hooligans. In South Africa it is common place for gangs of young men to traverse an area armed with machetes, shambok’s (a long leather whip), old tyres and thick tree branches. When these gangs come across a group that they deem warrant a good beating, they plough into the middle of the squat, yard, area, wherever it maybe, and lash out mercilessly at whomever is within reach. In most instances the majority of the group will disperse with prompt efficiency, needless to say it does not take much encouragement to flee a persecutors thrashing. It is now and then however that one or two might fail to make the necessary escape from the clutches of the mob, and are set upon until huge welts of skin are removed as the shamboks rain down mercilessly on the human flesh writhing on the ground.

As the group work themselves into a frenzy heaven help anyone who might fight back or say the wrong thing to the wild mob. In instances such as these heavy vengeance is levied against the perpetrator, used as an example of what happens to those whom might choose to stick up for themselves. Caught and beaten, the victim would then have his thigh muscles cut above and below the knee to the bone. This is done to prevent the victim fleeing as a tyre is tied around their neck, all taking place in indescribable pain and emotional suffering. The victim is doused in petrol, and taunted and victimised as the group reaches the apex of its frenzy, setting light to the poor individual who has been chosen to receive the burning necklaces that Johannesburg made famous in its townships in the 1980’s.

This horror is not just handed out to one or two unlucky members of the masses that are targets by the ethnic violence. This is common place, four, five sometimes many more turning up at corners throughout the township, a vivid and emotive form of terrorism that spreads fear among the targeted group, quelling them into a quivering supplication for fear of similar reprisals. This is the Xenophobia that the news reporters speak so freely about, without adequate feeling or respect for those who have suffered such humiliation and torture at the hands of these murder squads. This is why I choose to use such powerful words when describing the violence that meets anyone whom would stand in the way of an angry South African mob. It is true that when the mobs riot in South Africa, the police fear to go anywhere near the trouble.

So who I ask, who do our people turn to? Zimbabwean’s in South Africa are caught between a rock and a hard place. Living in fear of persecution, escaped from a life of poverty and persecution my people are faced with a difficult existence. It’s a shame really. When independence came to Zimbabwe in 1980, so many believed that they would have a better life and be entitled to enjoy the riches of the land that they called home. Yet even today they are prevented from enjoying the land of their forefathers. Zimbabwean’s have had a raw deal in many ways, under years of subjugation by the white man, and now at the hands of greed and corruption within their own ranks. I wonder if there will ever be any easy answer for our nation. How we all long for the day we can return to a free and fair Zimbabwe, but the truth is that such a dream is a long way off, and much suffering stands between us and that dream. How much blood will flow before the world stands up and takes notice of the wrongs that befall African people on the African Continent?

My heart bleeds for the victims of this latest round of abuse in South Africa, and if I was able I’d be suggesting to Zimbabweans residing in the boarders of South Africa to lie low and safe until such time as the World Cup has come and gone and you no longer pose a threat to the authorities under pressure to keep law and order during the games. It is not an easy road that you have chosen to walk, and you walk in the valley of the shadow of evil more so than any others of us. Guard your safety and protect your life, for tomorrow is another day, another hour that we might meet in unity and fight our corner to free our home land. Right now it is time to be selfish, for your life is worth more than a meaningless death. It is up to the rest of us to highlight the plight of those trapped in a society that neither wants nor tolerates our brothers and sisters. It is our job to write, and speak out and inform the world about the wrongs of against society in these ways. Let us stand our ground on behalf of our brethren and unite in one call. Change.

A world without Risk is a Dangerous Place.

young-black-man-in-anguish-over-effects-of-addiction1I sat earlier this week watching a program on television about the Marsden family. It was a heart wrenching account of a family torn apart by the death of their baby son only 2 years of age, who was taken from them in a tragic accident. All it took was a moment of time to lose sight of the toddler, a second to lapse into a panic driven hunt that lead to the discovery ten minutes later of the boy’s body in a pond close to where he’d started his misadventure.

I felt the burden that these parents had been forced to carry, and the guilt that they will always bare no matter what the circumstances or findings of any coroner, panel or magistrate, judge or jury. There is no easy answer that can heal the pain, nor is there any sense of time that’ll ever change that wish that circumstances were different. It was clear to see how the family had been affected by the tragedy within their unit and it was also clear that in their minds eye they needed to do something to fulfil their desire to show that their son didn’t die in vain, that through his passing maybe something could be done to safe guard other children.

The Marsden family have been campaigning for a change in the law to better protect children from the hazards of ponds. As I watched the program, I was moved by the feeling of tragedy that had befallen the family, but the fact of life is that tragedy befalls all of us daily throughout life. Sometimes it is out of nature that we have to die and we as those left behind have to find a way to deal with the hurt that this specific gap left by one’s passing has left in our lives. Other times the passing is not so easy to put down to nature and becomes even harder as we’ve had no time to prepare ourselves for the sudden loss. As I pondered this I became aware that we all have to guard ourselves against the eventuality of having to deal with the pain of death.

So does this mean that we need to prepare ourselves through the changing of the law? I began to look at some statistics. In the next two or three paragraphs some of the grim realities of life on earth are laid out in one place to think about. Some of the worst of our world I present for you to consider.

The World Health Organisation tell us that over 400 people a day die as a result of AIDS related illnesses daily in Harare, Zimbabwe. There is a violent crime every 13 seconds in the Capital city of South Africa, and a death associated to a gun crime every 30 minutes around the world. Someone dies every 5 seconds in the developing world from famine related illness according to the World Food Program, while the first world produces more grain to be turned into fuel than the entire third world could ever require in a year.

Since the beginning of the 21st century war has claimed the life of 466 people daily when you spread the death toll of all 125 major conflicts of the 21st century across the 365,250 days of the century. In a paper produced looking at the factors affecting youth deaths from 0 – 18 years across a year, in 1990 in the USA 17.3% of all deaths were attributed to Vehicle accidents and 14.4% to various other deaths, making accidental death the major attributor to youth deaths in that year. Yet swing the tables to a third world country and the WHO will tell you that 66% of child deaths in Southern Africa can be attributed to AIDS. In India and China, the two biggest populations on earth, child mortality has reduced by 30% in the last 15 years, yet 4,6 million children still died before the age of one in both China and India last year.

Finally if we begin to actually take a look at deaths by age, the top three causes of youth death are as follows: in children from 0 – 1 years of age, the top three are Developmental or Genetic Conditions, SIDS or Premature Birth Issues. In children from 1 – 4 years of age the top three are Accidents, Developmental or Genetic Conditions or Cancer. From 5 to 15 years of age the biggest killers are Accidents, Cancer and Homicide. And lastly the 15 to 24 age group follow a top three trend of Accidental Death, Homicide and Suicide. The largest number of deaths in any society befall the 15-24 year old age group, the largest attributor being motor vehicle accident in this age group.

I recently saw a video produced by the South Wales Police Force to be used as one of the most vividly dramatic ways of warning about the dangers of using a mobile/cell phone while driving. It left me feeling quite ill for two reasons. Firstly, I’ve been guilty of using my phone to text before while behind a wheel, and secondly to watch three lives get snuffed out, one that of a toddler strapped in its baby seat was a toughly sickening and mind numbing thing to do. Death is not something to smirk at or make look appealing in dramatic fashion through the movies.

The main reason for presenting so many facts and figures around death and tragedy came from my desire to try discover how many children are killed each year through accidental death. In my mind’s eye, since time began a child on a mission to discover is probably the most open to danger at that one stage of his or her life than at any other time. Yet it would seem that statistically this is not true, and we find that illness and various other factors associated with growing up present more of a risk. While yes statistics show that children do die from accidental causes, are we able to prevent them having an inherently explorative nature? Will a fence any height really prevent a determined young child from falling into a pond full of water while chasing the ducks?

Don’t get me wrong, I fully appreciate the impact that the loss of a child on a family. If there is one thing that we hope for our children it is that they have a long and fruitful life, and when that is abruptly cut short we are left with so many questions, feelings of guilt and an empty hollowness that never fully repairs itself. Yet we all feel the effects of tragedy as it is estimated that over 50 million people pass on each year. So why then is it that when a child dies we become so in sensed with a desire to do something to change the status quo?

A large proportion of that energy is guilt. The guilt that we were not able to do anything, the guilt that we were not there, the guilt that we failed in our duty to protect our child, the guilt in that someone we cherished died alone when they most needed us. This factor drives us to see that no other human ever need to go through the pain and suffering that we are going through. Personally I also feel that if we are blatantly honest with ourselves it’s because it’s a very lonely world to shoulder all that guilt alone, and very often we look for a way to halve the burden we carry. The sad reality is that even when you find that your able to maybe make a change in the law that the pain continues, and the burden does not go away.

Life is a cruel and wicked curved ball that deals both joy and hurt, and more often than not it is not dealt in equal proportion. The happiness of the things we take for granted in life can so quickly be snatched away from us and in most circumstances we are not in any position to deal with the thoughts and feelings that besiege us in that most emotional of times. We spiral into a deep and closed depression while we struggle to deal with our feelings. I began to wonder if as a society we should not maybe begin to look at ways of educating ourselves to deal with emotion. Ways to prepare for such traumatic events in our lives and thus be better equipped to deal with the rapid flood of emotion when it comes.

One of the most troubling facts that emerged while I was doing my research for this post, was the number of deaths among young people that are attributed to suicide. It is the fourth biggest killer right across the board in child age ranges, and according to the WHO there is a suicide attempt every 3 seconds with a death caused by suicide ever 40 seconds. Statistics from seven European nations, Canada, the US, Australia and New Zealand show that suicide accounts for 23% of all deaths in children over the age of 10. 10 years old! It beggars belief that a child the tender age of 10 would contemplate taking its life.

The highest levels of suicide are found in India or China, while in Europe it is Eastern Europe that suffers with the highest rate in teenage suicide. In a recent survey carried out in the Sates, 10,000 young people ranging in age from 12 to 19 were surveyed and it was alarming to find that 60% of those surveyed said they had thought about suicide. In cases of child depression the leading pointer for suicide were situations where children were unable to deal with the death of a family member, the breakup of a relationship or feelings or fears associated with being gay. It was alarming to find that most teenagers believe that if they do not get into the right college of university then they will be regarded as a failure by their peers and the world at large, and a large number were bitterly affected by family divorce and financial issues in the home.

Is this not a pointer at how ill equipped we are as human beings to deal with emotions and the hurts and ups and downs of life. This curve ball that we travel along in life is our only chance, and how well we equip ourselves will greatly change how well we apply what we know to getting that perfect strike. We spend anywhere up to 15 years educating ourselves, very often with subjects and knowledge we’ll never use again in life. I can most assuredly say that I have never used the sign or cosign rule since I left school, and have never had to use the theory of osmosis in my daily life. Yes undoubtedly it is useful to know while you are preparing to choose what direction you wish your life to take, but surely it is just as important to prepare yourself responsibly for the journey ahead? You don’t go camping without learning about the area you plan to camp in, packing a bag with a tent, some food and the necessary items required to make your camping expedition a success and enjoyable adventure. Why then do we set out on life not really prepared for things we know we are going to come across?

I really don’t believe that it is right to wrap children up in cotton wool and legislate to protect them against everything. It is a big bad world we live in, but it is one that we have to learn to become tough in, and there is a part of taking risk and living on the edge that allows us to learn what is right and wrong and what will hurt us and what will not. Unfortunately in such a densely populated part of the world there are a whole world of risks from other people that make it difficult to allow our children to grow up in the same way we did, but in as much as is possible I think life will always be cruel to some and kind to others. Throughout the walk of life we have taken away so many of the freedoms that children need to become well balanced and equipped to survive in a world of hugely intense pressures and demands on them as people and part of the society within which we live. By taking away the skills they learn from seeing the hurt others go through when a friend close to them dies, by removing them from the emotive realities of tragedy and by trying to over protect them we take from them the chances that they do have to learn some of the things that we need to learn as humans. So while it is hard to face and try to deal with a tragedy that so many of us face, maybe there is something that we all learn by watching others go through these things, and just maybe without realising it your loved one’s passing has served a purpose you never even considered.

Forewarned is forearmed – ZANU PF’s seige Mentality exposed and laid bare before the people.

The recent carefully orchestrated violent disruptions of the Constitutional conference by a rented ZANU PF rowdy mob in Harare should not be viewed as an isolated incident of thuggery. Instead, it is part of a comprehensive ZANU PF strategy that has been developed over time and has been deployed with reckless abandon coupled with a characteristic nauseating indifference to human suffering.

It fits neatly within the ZANU PF’s horrendous scheme of imposing its will on the people without any grain of remorse. History abounds with examples of the manner in which this Party has trampled upon the rights, hopes and aspirations of its people with impunity.

The realities of today’s onslaught on innocent civilians are just snippets of ZANU PF’s grand plan – to cow everyone into submission while positioning the Party as the supreme body in the day to day affairs of the state.

One Party state mantra

Such deluded warped logic was nurtured in the pre-independence era when Robert Mugabe steadfastly toiled around with the folly of one party state democracy. He was so obsessed with the one party state mantra to the point of intoxication. This explains the brutal manner in which the war against dissidents in Matebeleland was executed soon after the country attained independence in 1980. The plan is simple; deal ruthlessly with any potential opposition and eliminate their challenge to the political establishment.

To begin with, ZANU PF does not envisage a situation where another political Party will ever rule Zimbabwe other than itself. In fact, it has never entertained the idea of multi-party democracy. As a party, it is allergic to the idea of two competing political parties co-existing in harmony. That is why the only credible opposition party in post independent Zimbabwe, PF ZAPU, was later swallowed through the unity accord in 1987, bringing to an end, a sad chapter in the history of our beloved Zimbabwe.

Matebeleland Massacres

Before the signing of the Unity Accord, ZANU PF had visited the people of Matebeleland with the notorious fifth brigade which embarked on a brutal military campaign against innocent civilians that left over 20 000 either dead or unaccounted for. Such merciless mass killings have prompted some human rights groups to call for the indictment of Mugabe for crimes against humanity.

Although Mugabe has regretted the pitiless killings, referring to the darkest post independent period in Zimbabwe’s history as a moment of madness, he has however, in trade mark hawkish fashion, never offered an apology or compensation to victims or surviving family members of those who perished. Not even a healing process through a truth and reconciliation commission is conceivable in ZANU PF’s scheme of things, preferring instead to hide behind the flimsy excuse that doing so will ‘open old wounds’. What hogwash? It is perfectly acceptable for the modern day politburo to constantly talk about the wounds caused by colonialism but it seems wounds created by our own people against each other are not to be mentioned at all!

Sadly, the Matebeleland massacres hardened Mugabe’s tenacity and such bloodshed has been used as the yardstick to define and redefine ZANU PF’s modus operandi in pursuance of its narrow selfish agenda vis-à-vis the national interest. ZANU PF brooks no impediments. Whatever stands in their way they uproot. In a nutshell, it is either you are with them, or against them. Pure and simple. It is on the basis of such an intolerant dogma that the anti-people crusade was wheeled into motion.

In developing this thesis, I will constantly replenish readers’ memories with a few illustrative examples from historical archives. Such cases clearly demonstrate that the disruptions that characterised the constitutional conference in Harare are not in any way, one-off skirmishes that can simply be attributed to the so-called remnants of the old regime who are failing to realise that the only constant thing in life is change itself. Such incidents fit neatly into ZANU PF’s long standing selfish, broad based anti-people crusade that has been deployed with alarming regularity by the unpardonable and morally bankrupt foot soldiers who have unashamedly declared their amenability to manipulation

More worryingly, the rowdy mob was led by youth minister, Saviour Kasukuwere and Mugabe’s nephew, Patrick Zhuwawo, who constitute the young generation of trusted subservient apologists of the geriatric leader. Their deplorable complicity in the chaos that engulfed the constitutional conference venue is a harbinger of worse things to come especially, given their two allies’ special relationship with a leader who boasts of degrees in violence.

The 2000 Constitutional Process

In 2000, ZANU PF contemptuously subverted the will of the people by shamelessly foisting on the nation, a discredited constitution that was hijacked at the crafting stage, in pursuit of self-serving interests. We were told ad infinitum, that ‘the people had spoken’. But what the people actually said, inexplicably, got lost in translation.

Quite refreshingly though, the people’s response to such blatant manipulation of the constitutional reform process was unequivocal. En masse, the people resoundingly rejected the doctored version, by voting ‘NO’ in the referendum.

Such an overwhelming response against the ZANU PF government’s preferred position sent shock waves within the rank and file of the Party. Mugabe in particular, was visibly stunned by such an open rejection and has never forgiven the people for such a basic lesson in humiliation. He masked his anger by sounding misleadingly magnanimous in defeat in a public address. It was a classic case of calm before the storm. Without warning, thugs that fondly refer to themselves as war veterans struck.

 Farm Invasions

The war veterans’ response marked the beginning of farm invasions, chaos, the suspension of the rule of law and worse still, state sanctioned violence. There was a bloodbath and we are all aware of the shear extent of the madness. The ZANU PF propaganda was that the ‘NO’ vote was sponsored by white commercial farmers who opposed the provision in the new constitution which empowered the government to compulsorily acquire land, a stipulation that would leave the affected parties with no recourse to any legal challenge.

At one point vice president, Joseph Msika and the then minister of Home Affairs, Dumiso Ndabengwa, the two lone voices of reason, called for an end to the mayhem by acknowledging that as a demonstration, the farm invaders had underscored their point. It was now time for an orderly land reform programme, the two men argued.

This appeal was made in Mugabe’s absence, since he was away on one of his usual Vasco Dagaman trips. Unfortunately, the two gentlemen were not preaching the original ZANU PF ‘gospel’. This is understandable because the two gentlemen are not themselves original ZANU PF anyway.

And not surprisingly, when the ‘dear leader’ returned, he ordered the invaders to stay put, marking the beginning of the end of serious commercial agricultural productivity. In doing so, Zimbabwe has embarrassingly scored a first. It has earned itself the dishonourable reputation of being the former breadbasket of Southern Africa that made a remarkable overnight transformation into a miserable begging bowel. It sounds exaggerated but that is the sad reality.

We are now importers of maize from Zambia and South Africa, the two countries that have been sensible enough to welcome former Zimbabwe white farmers. To be honest, the two countries are reaping the rewards of their leaders’ prudence. In our case, we have of late been busy stock-pilling our harvest of thorns owing largely to our leader’s narrow-mindedness. I do not remember any period in our country’s history, ever importing food from Zambia. But, that is in the past now.

No fair minded person has ever been against the land reform programme. The bone of contention has always been about the manner in which the land has been distributed, which has left the country facing human induced famine. What started off as a vindictive war against white commercial farmers, degenerated into a senseless onslaught on the country’s food security. Food shortages, hunger and starvation are now common place. No sensible person can honestly say that the land snatch that we have witnessed by Mugabe’s henchmen was undertaken in the interests of the people or the country as a whole. Nor can we pretend that in doing so that the wounds of the past have been healed. The sad reality is that the greed of a few has only deepened the heartache and suffering of the masses in Zimbabwe.

Persecution of White Judges

Closely linked to the racially motivated war against white commercial farmers was the onslaught on white judges, accused of working against the land redistribution programme. One by one, the white judges were forced into early retirement including the then Chief Justice, Antony Gubbay who was hounded out of office.

This paved the way for Godfrey Chidyausiku, Mugabe’s preferred choice, to be appointed Chief Justice. According to critics, the partisan manner of Chidyausiku’s appointment left the judiciary heavily compromised. It exposed the once impartial judiciary to political manipulation, which threatened its long standing and cherished independence and neutrality. With Chidyausiku’s appointment, the judiciary was effectively Zanunised.

Elections in 2000 and 2002

By any stretch of imagination, both the parliamentary and presidential elections held in 2000 and 2002 respectively, could never have been conducted in peace, especially after the rejection of the ZANU PF sponsored constitution in an earlier referendum in 2000. ZANU PF was seething with anger and someone had to pay for such an open defiance.

The violent land invasions that were now in full swing had set the tone for a vicious campaign that was to follow. Unprecedented levels of pre-election and post-election violence drove many hapless individuals out of the country into foreign lands. The rural areas were declared no-go areas for the opposition MDC. Most of the MDC parliamentary candidates were virtually unknown to the electorate, for fear of persecution. This was a brutal campaign by a Party that is in the habit of negating the will of the people willy-nilly.

However, people refused to be intimidated though, and the MDC got 57 seats in parliament, a remarkable performance for a party that was barely six months old and unable to campaign due to state sponsored violence. In the 2002 presidential elections, the violence intensified since the stakes were high.

Nevertheless, Morgan Tsvangirai narrowly lost by a mere 400 000 votes. Independent observers were convinced Tsvangirai won the election but Mugabe’s men had again subverted the will of the people through rigging. The MDC leader declared the election result the biggest electoral fraud in history. Once again, Zimbabwe was stuck with an increasingly unpopular leader for another six long years.

Still smarting from a mauling in the urban areas which overwhelmingly voted for the MDC in both the parliamentary and presidential elections in 2000 and 2002 respectively, Mugabe’s thugs launched a sting operation intended to intimidate the electorate into accepting the results of the stolen presidential election.

It was a pre-emptive attack in which soldiers laid siege on unsuspecting city dwellers in Chitungwiza and Harare’s poor suburbs. Such unprovoked brutality is beyond comprehension to say the least. An undeclared state of emergency was imposed against civilians whose only ‘crime’ was the exercise of what is indeed their inalienable right to vote for a leader of their choice in a purported democratic country.

Operation Murambatsvina

As if that was not brutal enough, ZANU PF callously declared war on the people in urban areas through the indefensible operation Murambatsvina which left many homeless in the middle of the winter season. It prompted the UN special envoy, Mrs Anna Kajumulo Tibaijuka, to declare the operation grossly disproportionate and inhuman because of the heartless manner of its execution.

Lives were lost, property was destroyed and people were displaced. School-children, the sick and the elderly, suffered the most. The wanton destruction of people’s shelters and livelihood sources was akin to a scorched earth military style policy only conceivable in a war situation. And yet this was an ‘elected’ government unleashing mayhem against its own people.

Threat to De-register Humanitarian Aid Agencies

As hunger and starvation ravaged the countryside, the government saw it fit to suspend the activities of NGOs engaged in the distribution of food for humanitarian purposes. In its wisdom or the lack of it, the Mugabe government even had the audacity to threaten NGOs with deregistration if they continued handing out food to the starving masses.

These NGOs were accused of spreading opposition politics under the guise of food distribution. ZANU PF’s paranoia had hit new levels. As a Party, they failed to comprehend how the MDC had made inroads in the rural areas, once considered ZANU PF strongholds.

March 2008 Harmonised Elections

Still fresh in everybody’s mind is the manner in which ZANU PF once again subverted the will of the people in the March 2008 harmonised general elections. It took more than a month for the Electoral Commission to release the presidential election results which Mugabe clearly lost. It is believed that during that month long period the results were doctored in order to rob Tsvangirai of clear victory.

Tsvangirai refused to participate in a rerun, citing violence perpetrated against his supporters. Logically, Mugabe should have been deemed duly elected President of Zimbabwe since he was unopposed. Simple common sense! Anyway, common sense is something that is not normally associated with ZANU PF.

There is not a chance of such an association ever being remotely possible in the not-so-distant future, not even by mere coincidence. Mugabe pushed ahead with an unnecessary one man show and declared himself the winner, a result that should have been pretty obvious even before anybody had cast a single vote.

It is within the context of ZANU PF’s unashamed endemic disregard of the people’s will that the recent chaotic scenes at the launch of the constitutional reform process ought to be considered. ZANU PF has a notorious reputation for not respecting the will of the people.

Only ZANU PF supporters, including the myopic war veterans, are licensed to cause mayhem with calculated malice and never face the consequences of their heinous actions.

According to the ZANU PF violence manual, anyone who rapes, tortures, maims, injures or kills, in the name of the Party, is a ‘principled’ defender of the gains of the liberation struggle. That’s the ZANU PF way.

The scepticism with which the National Constitutional Assembly (NCA) has greeted the government led constitutional process has at last been vindicated. Within the context of last Monday’s ZANU PF sponsored chaos; the NCA’s parallel constitutional process is not only desirable, but justified. At least the civil society is on the side of history.

Ladies and gentlemen, least you forget, we have been on this treacherous path before, please, be warned: TRUST ZANU PF AT YOUR OWN PERIL! This deceitful Party is selling us another dummy. Beware! Forewarned is forearmed, goes the old wise saying. Extract of an article published by Kenneth Mawomo at Hat News.